th-1When I started Surviving and Thriving back in 2010 my life was very, very different. I’d recently gotten a university degree (at age 52 – better late than really late) and was making a living as a full-time writer for MSN Money plus an every-other-week staff writer at Get Rich Slowly. I freelanced for other publications as well, and traveled a lot.

Now I live in Anchorage, Alaska with the love of my life and am back to freelancing full-time because MSN Money fired all its writers on the same day back in autumn 2013.

Earlier this year I started an online course called Write A Blog People Will Read* and also hung out my shingle as a writing coach.

Tired? You bet.

Grateful? Indescribably so.

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sev_logo_tileBack in 2000, Scott Jordan got frustrated when trying to mix two of his favorite things: travel and tech. So he created what he called the “pocket revolution,” i.e., a line of clothing that would organize and protect his gadgets while leaving them easily accessible on the road.

Since then he’s sold more than 10 million pockets, in the form of “tech-enabled” clothing for men and women – everything from underpants to hoodies. Multiple pockets, some of them completely hidden, protect your gadgets, cash and other valuables.

Just for giggles and grins, here’s a video of best-selling author Amy Tan showing what she keeps in her SCOTTeVEST clothing:

The garment is a veritable clown car, isn’t it?

When a representative from SCOTTeVEST contacted me to offer a couple of samples, I jumped at the chance – and one reader will win two great-looking, comfortable and practical garments.


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th-2Conferences are always good for odd bits of swag: mouse pads, Post-It notes, bathtub toys.

I was a little more selective at this year’s Financial Blogger Conference, because my suitcase wasn’t very big.

Too, I kept a couple of items for myself:

RepayDebt.org’s “Slash Debt” T-shirt, which bore a piggy-bank head with long black curls and a top hat. (Get it? I didn’t, either, until my daughter reminded me of the existence of the Guns ’n’ Roses musician Slash.)

A squeezable foam “stress bull” – not because I’m stressed, but because I thought it might amuse DF’s granddaughter. He looks a bit incongruous in the cloth Noah’s Ark, since he’s twice as big as the other critters, but I’m sure they’ll work something out.

Purple socks printed with stylized pennies, from Pennyhoarder.com. They’re reversible to plain purple if you care what people think about your accessories. (Hint: I think they’re cool.)

But I still came away with a few things someone will want.


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POSTERRegular readers know how I feel about the “Tundra” comic strip, created by Alaska cartoonist Chad Carpenter. Not content with being syndicated all over the world, Carpenter recently branched out into filmmaking with “Moose: The Movie.”

At one of the screenings Carpenter handed out autographed calendars. I promptly re-gifted mine for the May 3 giveaway (whose write-up included my impressions of the film).

Now that “Moose: The Movie” is available for home viewing, I’m reinstating the weekly giveaways with a copy of the DVD.

Is it great cinema? Of course not. But it’s good, goofy fun and very Carpenterian; witness the wildlife protection poster glimpsed in the Gangrene Gulch ranger station. Anyone who’s visited (or wants to visit) the Last Frontier will fall in love with the cinematography.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. A review from The Alaska Dispatch News calls it “bright, fast-paced, well-produced, utterly entertaining and very amusing,” among other things.


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The last time that Savings.com had a gift card giveaway, two of my readers won. Each got a $20 Visa gift card.

This time around, the scrip is even more generous: Forty winners will each get $25 worth of buying power at The Body Shop.

Savings.com has also brokered an exclusive discount for Body Shop fans. But first let’s talk about how to win the gift card.

It’s pretty simple: Go to The Body Shop giveaway page and enter your e-mail address in the form. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 20. Winners will be notified on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Summer can be rough on your skin. Getting a $25 head start on emollients would be a nice way to end the season. Or stock up on your favorite body products in advance of winter’s chilling effects.

Note: From now until Aug. 20, you can get $10 off Body Shop orders of $60 or more plus free shipping. Use this link and enter the code SAVINGSDOTCOM10.


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