Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DwellStudio Pillow Giveaway!

As I'm in design mode (decorating the boys' room) I am always on the lookout for the perfect pillow or bedding to add fun and color to the room. I discovered the DwellStudio line a while back and am in love with their bedding goods. Now, I get to share my new found DwellStudio decor passion with you - Bedding Sets.com has offered a free pillow to readers of this blog!

What you'll get:
DwellStudio Blossom Giraffe Stuffed Animal Pillow

How you can win it:
As many readers know, we live in San Francisco and are having twin boys. This means quarters are tight but baby goods are necessary. Leave a comment with a tip on designing in tight quarters for a chance to win this DwellStudio pillow (design ideas are not limited to baby design needs).

Giveaway details:
The giveaway ends at 9pm PT on Friday, July 3rd. The winner will be announced no later than Monday, July 6th.

The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.

About the company behind this giveaway:
Bedding Sets.com, part of CSN Stores, offers a wide variety of bedding for children and adults.

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas

For special occasions (Christmas, anniversaries, my birthday) Matt sometimes goes above and beyond and makes the BEST chicken enchiladas. I think this is a perfect freezable as we can make a batch and segment them into a few bags to freeze for multiple meals. I always thought it was some secrete family recipe, but nooooooooo - just tonight he fessed up that it's an Emeril recipe from Food Network.com - BAM!

Here's the magic recipe:


  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup New Mexican chili powder
  • 16 ounces chicken stock
  • 10 ounces tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup sour cream, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make sauce: In a saucepan heat 3 tablespoons oil, add flour and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Add chili powder and cook 30 seconds. Stir in stock, tomato puree, oregano and cumin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until flavors are well-blended. Season to taste with salt.

Combine cheese, chicken and onion for filling. Heat remaining 1/2 cup oil in a skillet until hot. Using tongs dip in tortillas, one at a time, to soften, and drain on paper towels. Dip each tortilla in sauce. On a plate fill with a generous spoonful of filling and roll up; place enchilada seam-side down in a baking dish and repeat until all ingredients are used up. Top with remaining sauce. Bake 30 minutes. To serve, top with sour cream and scallions.

p.s. it may not be a family recipe, but these enchiladas are amazing.

Tasty Tuesday: I need help!

As we try to fill up our freezer, it seems my cooking creativity is waning. Any ideas for delicious homemade frozen dinners? No, I don't want to buy a box of lasagna (a) because I'm not a huge fan, b) because that doesn't quite fall in the "homemade" bucket).

I know there are some creative cooks out there ... help please!

Tasty Tuesday: Foods to Freeze - Soup!

In preparation for the impending sleepless nights and minimal time allowance in the kitchen, we're prepping a series of frozen meals that we can pop out and prepare. First on the docket? Chicken soup - the perfect meal to get through the coldest weather in San Francisco (summer :o) ).

  • Organic chicken breast with skin no bone
  • 1 jabanero pepper (seeds removed)
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 celery root
  • 1 squash
  • Handful barley
  • 1 can organic white beans
To cook:
  • Cover chicken breast with water in a large pan
  • Add barley
  • Bring to boil - then, turn down to simmer
  • Add jabanero
  • After 5min, add turnip and celery root
  • After 5 more min, add squash and white beans
  • Simmer for 10 min
  • Take chicken out and remove skin and break up chicken
Let cool and freeze! I love this soup with pesto sauce. Sometimes we vary it and make it more Thai style (with bamboo shoots, fish oil, rice noodles, and no beans) - for now I'm making it "normal" style.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Famous Twins

While doing a little nightly reading (OK, I'll admit it, I'm procrastinating reading a book on hiring I need to read for work and I was brousing gossip sites - you caught me), I came across this pic of Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, James Wilke (their son), and their new twin girls Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge Broderick. Cute!!! The pic and more deets are on PerezHilton.com.

Money Saver Monday: Pay with Cash!

I've been looking for a trainer to round out my "at home gym" for a few weeks now and kept coming up empty handed - they were either too expensive, too broken (the few used ones I found), or too loud (that tiny fan is like a mosh pit at a concert)! Saturday, I struck gold - or should I say flywheel built in fan radness - I found a Cycle-Ops Fluid at a used bike store in San Rafael.
Normal price of trainer: $329 (although it's on sale at Amazon.comfor $260 right now)
Price marked on used trainer: $120
Price I paid: $63 (all the cash in my wallet!)

Plus, the clerk threw in the CycleOps Stackable Climbing Block and hub skewer free! BAM - love it.

After testing the trainer (while enjoying a nice look at my shoes (the overflow from our closet are in the living room) and "The Devil Wears Prada"I know it was money very well spent.

What I'm loving today: Tommy's Margarita Mix

No, I'm not downing margaritas in the celebratory homestretch waiting for the boys. I have, however, had a hankering for the salty sweet taste for weeks - I'm an uber marg fan. After running the Rock 'n Roll marathon last year my first wish was to have a margarita (rocks with salt of course) in hand. Actually, scratch that, first wish was to have movement of my legs back - then came the marg.

Last week Matt found the platinum of margarita mixes for me - Tommy's Drink Mix. This mix is PERFECT for a virgin margarita (sub sparkling water for the tequilla) after a long hot day. Because there isn't much sugar and it's light on the juice index, this hasn't been effecting my GD by spiking my blood sugar too much. Here are the deets:
  • Hand-picked, subtly sweet 100% fresh-squeezed slightly tart, aromatic limes
  • Organic Agave nectar
  • Purified water
  • Touch of organic cane sugar

The look of a professional pre/post/during preg

Sitting in staff this morning I looked around and noticed every man was wearing practically the same thing - blue shirt, khaki pants, brown belt and shoes. Some spiced it up with a blue plaid or pinstripe shirt, but the theme was the same. I noticed this same theme when I worked in Japan last year but it was black pants, black belt, black shoes, white shirt. Period.

I think in tech, there's definitely an unspoken "uniform" - you look the part much like in running. If a man showed up to work (again, in tech - advertising, architecture, etc. all different ballgames entirely) in fitted grey slacks with a purple shirt (picture Euro style), they wouldn't be part of the unspoken "club." On the running note, if a runner showed up to the starting line in long shorts and Velcro high-tops, they would still get the runner's courtesy, but definitely not be in the "club."

Women in tech, on the other hand, get to spice it up more. There's still definitely a theme, but we do get to have more fun. My preg version of the unspoken "uniform" is a black dress (stretchy), cardigan (cozy), heals (won't go without), and necklace - I add color where I can.

Post preg, I'll go back to the basics - pencil pants, long white blouse, blazer, heals (my boss says I gravitate to tranny shoes ... as long as I can keep up with the boys in them, I'll sport 'em), and chunky necklace. I might have to do the black on black or black on grey for a while to hide the "no I'm not pregnant anymore" belly - but I'll cross that (fashion) bridge when I get there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

35 weeks pregnant with twins - belly is definitely bigger than a breadbox!

I've made it to the 35-week mark - woohoo! I'm shooting for July 10th (boys, that means you get to "cook" and hang out a bit longer). July 1st (1-week from today) marks my changeover from PPO to HMO so that's the minimum I'm hoping they hang out - and let me just say, "hoping" is being nice. I now have a belly that rivals the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and a walk that would put Jar Jar Binks to shame ...


= (mind your eyes! I'm showing a LOT of skin here...)

We continue to be amazed by our wonderful generous friends. Last week, Leanne surprised us with some awesome books and onsies to help tell the boys apart. This week, Matt's work threw him a shower (and I love that he got to ... had to be the center of attention - it's a little awkward feeling) where Tracy (a crafty-woman extraordinaire) made a diaper cake and the office stocked us up on all the necessities.

Last weekend Matt went to San Diego for a family get together (I'm not allowed to fly and can't sit in a car for longer than 10-min, so I unfortunately missed it). His cousin relayed the funniest thinking during dinner - he thought that babies were born knowing how to swim because "they're swimming around in the belly" and that they come out breathing because the "belly itself was mostly filled with air - hence the roundness." Love it ... not quite, but good thought.

In case you were curious, per Baby Center, here's what's going on in there:

"How your baby's growing:

Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Money Saver Monday: Buy it here, not there

Yesterday, after a long drive to Healdsburg and back, I brought my tired hungry self to Whole Foods to stock up for the week. Disclaimer, I think pregnant with twins + 8.5 mo + hungry + tired = a bad equation for any shopping trip! Whole Foods (which friends and I fondly call "Whole Paycheck" adds to the downside of this kind of shopping.

The money saver? Shop at Trader Joes, not Whole Foods. Hurting for organic produce? Farmer's Markets and farms in Marin are a perfect solution. Now if I could only follow my own advice ...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Elliptical for cross training?

I love the elliptical machine. Lately my workouts have been toggling between spin, swimming, and the elliptical + weights. The elliptical boasts a high calorie burn and great distance which is terrific and motivating ... but it's not the same as running. Here's my take:

Positives of training on the elliptical:
  • Low impact - read, no damage to knees
  • Easy to "zone" to - the elliptical is the best TV watching cardio machine at the gym
  • Can control resistance and climb much like a treadmill
Negatives of training on the elliptical:
  • It's just not the same as running! I wouldn't be comfortable training solely on the elliptical and then entering a trail race - if running a race it's important to train on the terrain you're running on
  • I don't buy the calorie count - I love seeing the numbers climb, and I'm sure they're close, but without knowing VO2 capabilities, height, weight, etc. I don't understand how burn can be calculated
  • Good for the booty, not so much for the calves - running gives awesome legs (I think), the elliptical gives a high bum, tight thighs, but only soso calves

Infant CPR

Yesterday my dad and I took an infant CPR class and I'm so glad we did! I took CPR in high school but hardly remember anything and it was adult CPR. Here are the basics:

Choking hazards:
  • Hot dogs
  • Grapes
  • Popcorn
  • Small toys - anything that can fit through a roll of toilet paper
  • More!
Steps for CPR:
  • Is the scene safe? If yes:
  • Is the baby responsive?
If yes - help for choking:
  • Hold face down (hold the head but don't cover the face)
  • 5 slaps to the back (surprisingly harder than you think you would need to for a baby)
  • Turn over - still holding with head towards the ground
  • 5 pushes to the front near the breast bone with 2 fingers (3 for a petite woman or if holding a big baby)
If no (baby is unresponsive):
  • Yell for help! Tell someone to call 911 and come back
  • Check to see if the airway is open
  • Check to see if the baby is breathing (look, listen, feel)
If yes (baby is breathing):
  • Turn on side and monitor
If no (baby is not breathing):
  • 2 breaths covering mouth and nose (if it's an older child, hold the nose)
  • 30 pushes to the front near the breast bone with 2 fingers (3 for a petite woman or if holding a big baby)
  • Repeat for 5 cycles before calling 911 if alone
Here's the clincher - it may feel awkward giving an infant CPR or applying so much pressure, BUT, if the heart stops there are only 4 minutes before the infant will get brain damage. It's better to do something and potentially break a rib (bones can heal) than to do nothing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life's list

I think every day is a day to dream and set goals (OK, that sentence is borderline cheesy but hear me out). If we waited until New Year's every year for setting goals, we'd be stunted. Today I was musing on all the successful people around me (and I'm lucky to be surrounded by quite a few) and I came to the realization that they have 3 things in common:
  1. They're "big" - it's true - they have big personalities
  2. They do what they're passionate about - true success comes from loving what you do and doing what you love
  3. They set goals and are OK with changing goals as they go

So here's my short list:
  • Raise two happy, healthy, smart boys and show them the world
  • Have a garden - my dad has the best green thumb, I hope some rubbed off!
  • Live with Matt and boys in another big city (country?) for at least 1-year (Vancouver, Boston, NYC, Washington, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam...)
  • Run the Boston marathon - this is on the calendar for 2010
  • Do an iron man
  • Run the Great Wall of China marathon
  • Run the NYC marathon
  • Write a book - I have two outlines ... now to write ...
  • Write a children's book - a "page" I hope to take from my brilliant writing mom's book (heh - get the play on words? Writing...)
  • Go to a black tie ball
  • Go to a museum or art gallery opening
  • Go to Death Valley
  • Go to the Grand Canyon
  • Read the top 10 books every written
  • Get published in a magazine
OK, maybe not so short - good thing I'm patient. There's time.

34 weeks pregnant with twins - belly pics - ready and ridin'!

I've made it to 34-weeks - woo hoo! I'm feeling quite "large and in charge" and I'm thrilled to be in the homestretch. Weeks are filling up with doctor appointments but I'm also thankfully working on a lot of cool projects during my day job and am still able to hit the gym. The bigger I get, the funnier strangers get. Last week at a festival a (very drunk) guy came over saying he wanted to "orbit" my belly. Weird ... and kind of gross. Homeless people have taken to singing to me - no joke, one man walked almost a full block behind me singing lullibys.

All the oddities aside, I'm feeling quite lucky to have the best husband, awesome friends, and still have energy (although it's dwindling). This week in spin the teacher cheered when I walked in - total motivation; I may be spinning on a much lower gear with my knees out to the side, but whatever - it feels great!

Per Baby Center, here's what's going on in there (side note - all the fruit analogies baby sites use for baby size are starting to get difficult to read - not only can I not look at a melon the same anymore, but I'm having fruit withdrawal as the GD limits the amount I can eat):

"How your baby's growing:

Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wanted: Indoor Bike Trainer or Bust!

Now that I'm nearing the finish line ... or starting line ... you know what I mean, the reality of not being able to get out of the house much for the first few months is sinking in. Don't get me wrong - I can't wait until those months when I get to "kick it" with the boys. My transition from running to biking was a toughy when I had to stop hitting the pavement daily and I'd rather not transition from biking to nothing when the boys come. Intro - indoor bike trainers.

A while back I blogged on my home gym setup. Now I'd like to add a bike trainer to round out the cardio kick I oh-so-love. Bicycling magazine has a great lineup of trainers:
Note the hefty price-tags - bummer!

I found the Bell Motivator Mag Indoor Bicycle Traineron Amazon which has great ratings but I'm hoping to get even cheaper! Yes, you guessed it, my next few days/weeks will be spent Craigslist.com haunting and checking in with bike training clinics for used trainers. Wish me shopping luck!

More doctors: nonstress test

As the weeks pile on, so do the doctor visits. My doctor mix is now made up of the following:
  • Weekly nonstress tests
  • Every other week regular midwife check-ins
  • Every other week dietitian check-ins
  • Monthly ultrasounds
The nonstress tests are the newest addition to the lineup and are ... a bit boring to be honest. Today was my first and here's how it went - after showing up at CPMC (for what seems like the 100th time this month) I had a quick ultra. It was too quick, unfortunately, to see the boys - and they're getting so big it's tough to see them anyhow. After the ultra I was strapped in to 3-heartrate monitors to check the boys' heartrates - the monitors were hooked up to a machine tracking heart beats/second. Over the course of the next 25-minutes, the boys fell asleap (dropping their heartrate to around 120) and started moving (spiking their heartrate to 150+).

I need to preface this with I don't know exactly what the numbers mean but the nurse practitioner said that I was in the normal range - normal is perfect for me!

You can learn more about nonstress tests on BabyCenter.com.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Look at the bump, look at the bump!

I'm loving swimming laps more and more by the day! I swear I'm more buoyant now, but it's helping the laps fly by.

During my last swim I enjoyed a funny kid encounter. After sliding (very awkwardly I'll let you know) into the pool, the woman in the lane next to me said "wow, you are pregnant! Very very very pregnant!" (Yes, I know - thanks a lot for the reminder ...) Then she turned to her daughter who I'm assuming is 3 and said "Look at the ladies big bump honey." At this the daughter kept dipping under water to look at my stomach then emerging smiling. Dunk, smile, dunk, smile - you get the routine. When I finally kicked off the little girl started swimming along side me staring at the belly.

I can't say I was too annoyed - it's good to see kids eager to learn about their surroundings, and I'm getting used to the big comments. It was just odd - somehow I replaced Nemo as the underwater wonder and became the kicking and floating bump.

I am 29 - going on 18 - hurrah nah nah nah nah

Last week at my gym (Bay Club - love it, BTW) I took a free "Body Age Analysis" which is supposed to tell you what your Body Age is (vs. actual age). The test also gives an Obtainable Body Age. I'm thrilled to say ... I am ... 18!!!

The test was made up of the following:
  • Vo2 max testing - mine was calculated at 56.6 ml/kg-min which put me in the 99th percentile compared to other women 20-29
  • Body composition - I was measured and weighed (and the funny part is there's no "pregnancy" option on the test output so I was measured as a "normal" woman) - I came in at 147 lbs, 125.8 lbs of lean body mass, 21.2 lbs of fat, and a 14.4% body fat
  • Blood pressure and stress testing - this was measured just as any blood pressure test at a drug store - mine came in at 120 Systolic and 88 Diastolic - my Systolic is actually a bit high putting me in the "prehypertension-normal" range, but the tester said the boys could contribute to that
  • Strength and flexibility evaluation - I stood on a scale and tried to pull up a weight using my legs, core, back, and arms - I came in average here (bummer - gotta do more curls) - this tells me I need to do more core work (now I'm sticking to plank, but when the boys come I'll ramp it up)
  • Identification of risk factors - this was a questionnaire and I came out in the "Good" to "Excellent" ranges - the lower scores were on caffeine (I do love my coffee) and the higher scores were on eating my fruits/veg and drinking water
All in all, it was a fun test! Doing the questionnaire was a great reminder of the importance of a good diet and good general safety (things like driving (oh, another lower score for me) and stress factor into overall health).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend roundup

I love weekends in the Bay Area. Living in San Francisco we have so many options of things to do and this weekend we took full advantage.

Saturday Emily, Rob, Matt and I made our way up Mt. Tam to enjoy the Mt. Play and a picnic. This year's play was the Man of La Mancha and was excellent! Truly, I can't imagine a better Saturday than sitting in a mountainside enjoying live theater, friends, and good food.
The theater:

Rob and Emily:

View from the top:

Today Leanne and I made our way around the North Beach festival. Luckily we made it out early before the streets turned into a giant frat party.

After the festival I hiked over Telegraph Hill for some much needed spa and gym time.

All in all, a great weekend! I'm ready for another.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

To wear: presenting in public at 8months pregnant (with twins)

Last week I had to present at a user conference about managing open source communities. The conference was here in the city which was great because I could walk, and was to mostly developers with a few other community and marketing managers thrown in. At 8-months pregnant with the boys, finding something presentation-worthy was tough, but I came up with a few winners (I needed 2 as it was a 2-day conference).

I enjoyed outfit validation when I checked in and the girl working reg complimented both the bump and outfit (gold star for her!).

Here are the deets:
  • Black cashmere sweater dress: comfy and perfect for toning down the mass bumpage - there's a cute one at Net-a-porter.com (love that site!) but I wore a White and Warren one I got on Gilt.com
  • Leggings: still fit and look great with almost everything - lots of companies offer cute ones, here are some from Miss Selfridge (a site similar to H&M)
  • Messenger bag: this is more for getting to and from the conference to hold business cards and my notebook (I didn't lug the laptop - instead I opted for a backup on a memory stick) - mine is a Tumi that I got from work, but here's a much less expensive cute option from Moxsie
  • Knee high black boots: they may not look comfortable, but they are - I'm still living in heals - here's a cute knock-off pair of LVs from Amiclubwear
  • Glasses: these aren't so much a fashion statement as a necessity - I got lasik 8-years ago but my eyes are slipping so when I need to see a projected screen, I dawn my Oliver Peoples - here are a cute pair of Oliver Peoples inspired glasses

Friday, June 5, 2009

8 months pregnant (32 weeks) with twins

I've reached the 8-month mark! It seems like I'm reaching a lot of things quickly ... today I was walking into the office and one of the execs said:
"Whoa - your stomach got here a good few seconds before you!"

Maybe I should enter a race - win by a belly? Maybe not.

The boys are moving constantly now, and I love it! "Baby B" still seems to like doing flips and "Baby A" just kind of bobs up and down - he also gets the hiccups which is odd to say the least.

Super Pose!

Itchy belly:
Per Baby Center, here's what's going on in there:
"By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

San Francisco walks

One of the biggest things I love about San Francisco is all of our hidden paths, parks, and gardens. Every day I get to walk home over one of the most beautiful hills - Telegraph Hill. Sometimes the parrots sing to me as I walk, other times one of the two cats that always dwell the hill walk part way with me. I love this walk.

Just some of the many beautiful flowers on the hill:

A nice "cool down" after spin:

The towers seen from the top of the hill (Coit and Transamerica):

Tasty Tuesday: Pregnancy with gestational diabetes

Yesterday, while finishing a mouthful of delicious peanut M&Ms, I got a call from my doctor saying I have gestational diabetes (GD). Bummer! I thought I was immune - I workout, try to eat well (fruit and yogurt for breakfast, salad for lunch, salad and chicken for dinner with the occasional candy thrown in), but my body decided I need to improve my habits (aka, ditch the M&Ms).

So this tasty Tuesday is not so sweet, but still delicious ...

New favorite breakfast? Greek yogurt - specifically Fage. This is great with granola, fruit (but not too much), sugar free jam, and on it's own.

Bottom line - YUM!

If anyone else is facing GD, here's a handy food list someone sent me:

Good Choices:
All meats and seafood
Most Veggies (carrots and sweet potatoes are naturally sweet)
Small amounts of whole wheat pasta, lentils, quinoa
Greek Yogurt (Fage) from Trader Joes has the lowest sugar of any yogurt on the market
Almonds (very good)
Thin sliced whole grain bread
Any fruit the size of a medium apple (this size = 15 carbs)
Small whole grain crackers
Cottage cheese

Not Good Choices:
White bread, rice, potatoes
Anything breaded or coated
Juice (choose whole fruit over juice)
Chips, pretzles, candy, ice cream, dessert of any kind of pastries

Obviously, doctor knows best, and I'm off to see a maternity diabetes dietitian tomorrow. Here's a good site for extra GD research, too: http://www.diabeticmommy.com/34-gestational-diabetes-diet.html.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Baby room setup

This weekend marked my last shower (don't worry, not the skip and I'll stink kind - the other kind) and it also marked the decorating of the boys' room. Ryan and Meghan, my two fav interior designers, came over to help with the cause. It's crazy walking by the room and seeing two cribs set up... the countdown begins - 4-6 weeks and I'll be happy.

Money Saver Monday: Make the Ask

These turbulent economic times are tough for us all. It's scary wondering if businesses are going to stay afloat (mine is doing just fine thank you very much), let alone if our banks will keep their doors open long enough to capitalize on the promised high interest rates. Fears aside, the economy is turning out to be good for the shopper in all of us.

While I don't recommend bargaining all the time, it's a buyers technique that I think is A-OK in the right circumstance.

Intro: women's fashion store going out of business (bittersweet - they're keeping their 2nd location). The want: a leather stool to go with my new $25 desk (thanks Craigslist.com). The ask: cheap! The conversation:
Me: How much is this chair?
Retailer: $45
Me: How about $35 and I pay with credit card and pay the 4% credit card charge?
Retailer: How about cash?
Me: I don't have that much ...
(Luckily, one of my girlfriends piped in saying I could borrow cash)
Me: Well, I think I can make it work. (Looking in girlfriends wallet - where did she get all those $20s?!). Oop - it looks like she doesn't have that much - how about $30?
Retailer: OK

Sold to the fast talking buyer!