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th-1El Niño is messing with us. Whether your weather is running weirdly hot or punishingly cold, chances are you can use a little treat. That’s why I’m giving away $10 worth of Starbucks gift cards.

If the winner lives in subzero territory it’s time for a steaming coffee, chai or hot chocolate. Maybe a second one, too, to pour over his or her frozen toes.

And if you’re walking around in shorts and a T-shirt in Philly or New York? Further the “hey, it’s spring already!” illusion with a fancy iced drink. (Or hang on to it for the inevitable return of cold-and-damp days, when you’ll really need a little consolation.)

 


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thI sure hope that this week’s winner never actually needs the prize. But we’re in the thick of the cold and flu season so it’s best to be prepared — and it’s even better when someone else buys your supplies.

The winner will receive a box full of things essential to someone who’s down with the sniffles or a full-blown influenza. Here’s what’s in the package:

 


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How to lose weight.

51V5skn-eJL._SX368_BO1,204,203,200_ “Lose weight” and/or “eat better” will appear on many a New Year’s resolution list — just as they did last year, and will again next year. Such plans often gang agley for a number of reasons.

We aren’t really invested in them. We miss our old comfort foods. We don’t know how to adjust the rest of our lives to support a new way of being in the world.

That’s why I’m giving away a Kindle copy of Victoria Hay’s “30 Pounds, 4 Months: How to Eat Well and Lose Weight – Painlessly.”

Her approach is fairly simple: Dieting isn’t something you do. It’s something you are.

“You change your way of looking at food, work light exercise – nothing extreme! – into your daily habits, and learn to eat better food, not necessarily less food,” says Hay, a former journalist and professor and current owner of The Copyeditor’s Desk writing and publishing service.


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IMG_20151210_113500This week’s giveaway achieves two of my favorite goals: supporting the local economy and helping readers finish up their holiday shopping.

I only wish that my meh-photography did justice to the two pendants up for grabs this week. They’re quite striking and hand cut- and hammered by my friend Linda B.

She started by cutting two disks of aluminum: one a deep maroon and the other a vibrant violet. Onto each she riveted a five-armed, gear-like circle that makes the pendants look, at first glance, like sheriffs’ badges or combat medals.

The colors below seem richer, possibly because you’re seeing them in concentrated glimpses. The overlays give a suggestion of motion that I like to think of as, “Hey — get your life in gear and start moving!”

Know anyone who needs an accessory with a built-in kick in the pants? Or maybe you need it yourself.


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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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