December 2008 Archives

December 30, 2008

Tomorrow is the last day of 2008, and I can speak for myself here when I say that I am not so sad to say goodbye. In fact, I am excited for a fresh start in 2009. However high our goals for the New Year, we all need a little inspiration to follow through with our projected self-improvements. Personally, I would like to be more consistent with my fitness routine. I have tried many things  to motivate myself to attend a Yoga class or to go for a brisk run, and nothing has really inspired me to partake in exercise more than on a sporadic basis. So I figured that I should use my love of shopping as a motivational tool. I will shop for workout clothing so that I will be so inspired to wear the clothing that I will gladly make the trek the gym. Although I'm embellishing the truth a bit, the point is the same: you need to set yourself up to be successful in your resolutions, no matter what they are. My way is to buy the gear I need to make working out more pleasant.

I got a little more motivation  from Gap, where they are currently having a special New Year's 30% off sale on all work out bottoms. Once my favorite lounge pants and now my favorite workout pants, these Stretch Cotton Fold Over Pants are now under $25 with 6% cash back. These pants are super comfortable and quite possibly the most flattering workout pants I have ever worn. They go from early morning Yoga class to the coffee shop-without screaming "I just worked out".

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Stock up on the essentials while all Gap Body Sport bottoms are 30% off and save. Hurry, the sale ends January 14 when merchandise will return to regular price. And don't forget that after tomorrow our Double Cash Back Holiday Promotion ends, so Gap will return to 3% cash back, so you'd better act fast if you want to save as much as possible.





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December 30, 2008

With the New Year as inevitable as the pounds I'll gain from eating holiday treats, I can't help but think of much needed improvements for 2009. Besides a renewed interest in hitting the gym at 6:00 a.m., the quest for an outside as fabulous as the inside is my number one New Year's resolution. A person's attire is an indicator of who they are inside, and being that I'm on vacation, my attire says "I sleep 'till noon and enjoy eating baked goods". Needless to say this is not an appealing look and should be stopped ASAP, however I am enjoying the laissez faire approach to change, and will sit tight until the New Year.


JCrew-JacketAs part of making the outside as fabulous as the inside, I find it best to choose pieces that express my favorite qualities. Pieces such as this Astrid Jacket from JCrew. Whether I pair it with black jeans and sky-high pumps for hitting the dance floor, or wear it with loafers for an eclectic look, this jacket is a mix of fancy lady meets funky girl. In other words, it's the perfect hybrid of who I was and who I want to be. On sale for just $199, this wardrobe revival item is $175 off the original price. 2% cash back will help me make a fresh start to the New Year, and a new "me".


For the wild, speaks-without-thinking part of me, I've found a pair of shoes loud enough to rivalloefflerrandall.jpg my mouth, yet dainty enough for the times when all this girl wants to do is just have fun. A great pair of heels can instantly brighten one's day, and these shoes will not just brighten my day, they'll act like instant mood lifters, making me happy whenever I glance down at the floor. These blue suede shoes by Loeffler Randall are the perfect match for cropped jeans, black leggings, and oversized sweaters. The dressed/un-dressed look is a match for the part of me that likes to wear adorable heels, yet stay at home in my pajamas. Speaking of pajamas, I found these from the comfort of home while browsing Shopbop. At 50% off and 3% cash back, they're a cheaper way to improve my shoe collection, and they get me thinking of my next New Year's resolution: saving money.



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December 29, 2008

The ladies of the Ebates blog have impeccable fashion sense. They pick great clothes and give helpful suggestions for crafting an outfit. Really, they are a great resource for all things fashion, however I can't help but notice from time to time that men's clothes kind of get the short end of the stick. It's not that they don't know much about men's fashion - believe me, they do, but in their day-to-day duties, they just spend more time on women's fashion. I can't blame them; in my average day, I spend probably a combined three minutes looking at women's fashion. Still, I can't help but think that the male readers can use a little fashion advice from time to time, or at least all of our female readers might want some suggestions or pointers for the men in their lives. From time to time, I try to break out of my "t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie" mindset in order to help bring some men's fashion to the masses.

This blog is one of those times.

Before I continue, I will warn you - I am one of the warmest people you'll ever meet. I'm not just talking about my personality (which tends to be warm and fuzzy most of the time, I hope). Rather, I am talking about my internal thermostat. I'm one of those people who seldom needs to take a jacket along with them. More often than not, unless the temperature is dipping below about forty degrees, I am content with a sweatshirt. I don't "bundle up". I don't need to layer. After all, I live in San Francisco. Still, there are a few instances where even here in the City by the Bay I have to reach towards the back of the closet and find something to keep me from freezing my tucchus off when I go out.

scarf1.jpgThe first thing I always reach for is a scarf. having a fairly neat-and-trim haircut means that I am most susceptible to cold on the back of my neck, and that's exactly where a scarf protects. For those of us not fortunate or affluent enough to have cashmere can take comfort in a nice wool scarf. For instance, this Mernoa Wool Striped Scarf from Target. Stripes on a scarf always look good, no matter how you shake it. Personally speaking, I could do without the fringe at the end, but at least it's just two inches, which is pretty unobtrusive. Right now it's on sale for $17.49, which is 30% off the original retail price, plus you get your 4% cash back from Ebates.

fingerless gloves 2.jpgI'm also a huge fan of fingerless gloves. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I've written about them before, but a little reminder never hurts. I bought my first pair of fingerless gloves so I could still type while working in my usually-cold basement, but quickly they began seeing more and more use. Nowadays, I consider the day I first reach for my gloves to be the first day of Winter. Plus, those of us with all those touch-sensitive accessories can still use them without removing our gloves. This pair from Mossimo not only features a stylish grey accent stripe, they are under $10, which is a great deal on a wool-cotton blend. Plus, both these gloves and the scarf from above can be purchased together and will factor towards free shipping on eligible merchandise.

trapper hat.jpgFinally, the trapper hat. I must admit, I don't really get the style. I don't understand why urbanites like myself deem it necessary to wear a hat that reminds most people of Elmer Fudd, but hey, that's their choice. I don't make the fashions, I only talk about them. If you have happened to see any of the thousands of Gap billboards and side-of-bus ads, chances are, you have already seen this hat. However, you haven't seen the fact that this hat is currently on sale, for about five dollars off of the original price. I am sure that most folks in any snow-having town in the US could find a great use for them and are happy that they have come back into vogue. So I say enjoy, and remember that through New Year's you will still be getting 6% cash back on all your Gap purchases. And don't forget: the hat is also available in red!

So there you have it! If you feel the need to bundle up a little bit, here are a few affordable ideas to help keep you warm during the Winter months.


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December 29, 2008

Now that the holidays are over, we can get back to important things like replenishing the meager beauty cabinet, tending to the closet, and getting ready to welcome 2009. As many of us are forced to prioritize what we need versus what we want while recuperating from the financial strain of the holidays, making smart choices about what to buy is as important as ever. I was feeling empowered by this sentiment, and came across the Big Beauty Sale at Sephora. In all of my time as a Sephora shopper, I have never seen a sale like this, where the most coveted items in makeup, skincare, and fragrance are up to 75% off. You'll even receive free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

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Did Santa forget to bring you a few items? Then now is the perfect time to get what you wanted, or simply to stock up on great beauty buys and wrap up 2008 the right way. I am planning on buying some makeup brushes, like the Sephora Brand Professional Set, once $54, now only $29 with 8% cash back. This is a great collection of travel brushes that will keep you looking flawless on the go, but will not weigh you down either.

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I will put my new brushes to good use with this NARS Limited Eyeshadow Palette, now just $45. This is a great value because it is filled with six must-have shades that will work to create virtually any look I am feeling that day or night. Plus, NARS eyeshadows are both highly pigmented and long lasting so I don't have to carry the compact along with me; but it is so chic I just might want to!

Shop on!


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December 29, 2008

In what's apparently a lapse of any and all sense whatsoever, Buy.com has just blown my mind with a massive 1TB Fantom hard drive for $89 after rebates - a historical price when it comes to external hard drives. To put it bluntly, this is the best deal on data storage that I have ever seen. Just imagine how many songs, movies, documents, and family pictures you could store on this thing for practically pennies per gigabyte. Yowza!

fanbtom.jpgThe Fantom G-Force hard drive might just  be a humongous hard drive in a box to most, but when examined,  it's tiny exterior yields a few surprises as well. For starters, it has a dual interface for both eSATA and USB 2.0 connectivity, which is a great bonus for those looking for increased stability and transfer speeds via eSATA. The drive inside also packs a 16MB cache in addition to its brisk 7200rpm rotational speed, meaning you'll be transferring files at nearly identical speeds to your internal drives if hooked up via eSATA. All for under $90!

I'm sure Buy.com is hoping to make a little bit of cash from suckers forgetting to fill out their $20 mail-in rebate, so be sure to get it all set ahead of time. Just navigate on over to the .PDF file beforehand and get it squared away before the drive even comes. That way you can just pop on the necessary UPC and documentation and get one of the best deals around. Just head on over to Buy.com and search for "1TB Fantom" and add it to you cart (it's currently out of stock, but should be back soon!). I know I will be, as this deal is just too good to pass up. Stay tuned for an update on the drive, and remember: this great price will only last through the 4th, so act fast!


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December 29, 2008

A little tip that we here at Ebates learned the hard way:

If you prefer apple cider for your holiday bashes over more potent potables, please remember that apple cider is not vodka nor any other type of high-alcohol spirit. It should not be stored in the freezer. Rather, it is much like any other non-alcoholic beverage, and will expand when frozen. So, if you prefer your sparkling cider chilled to perfection, use an ice cube. Because otherwise, you will have quite the mess on your hands. I know we did!

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December 28, 2008

Many aspiring audiophiles undersell the importance of a quality set of computer speakers. After all, how much time do you spend plopped in front of your monitor a day? Why rob yourself of quality music-listening time with an inferior set of speakers that either overcompensate through obtrustive, muddy bass, or have highs that sound like they were hand crafted out of flotsam? Even though these Creative T20 speakers may be unimpressive when compared to some of the hulking 5.1 space stations you can get elsewhere, they pack a powerful punch in a small package that simply cannot be understated.

creative.jpg A month or two ago, I decided to look around for a nice set of 2.0 speakers. Having had 2.1 and 5.1 speaker sets in the past (that's [# of speakers].[number of subwoofers]), I knew what I didn't want. Namely, bass that shook my walls at the lowest settings, unwieldy amounts of speaker wire strewn across my room, and the hassle of mounting countless speakers in a small space. While both 2.1 and 5.1 speakers suffer from these problems, a nice 2.0 set is an all-encompassing set of speakers that pack both clear highs and thumping bass in one small package, and is perfect for the minimalist desktop I've always striven to have.

I looked into a few different sets of speakers before siding with the T20s. Even though the mid-range Bose counterparts looked nice, their sound didn't quite justify their extra $50. Likewise, the comparable Altec Lansings left me wanting a little more "oomph" than I expected. It was the T20s that packed the best overall sound for under $100, with an attractive exterior and small form-factor that I knew would perfectly match the rest of my desktop setup.

creative2.jpgThe beauty, and simplicity that comes with a nice set of speakers cannot be understated. Even though these speakers couldn't fill my entire living room with enough sound, they're perfect for a desktop/small room setup. The  BassXport sound hole provides enough air for the low-end thump, while the separate tweeters help to let the highs breathe without any interference from the more-than-adequate mids. While you could easily find a pair of far more expensive audiophile-grade speakers to beat these with ease, for a $90 pair of computer speakers, they perform admirably well.

If you're in the market for a nice set of desktop  speakers, I'd have little to no problem recommending these fully. For only $90 from BestBuy, these speakers would make a great last-minute gift (or after Christmas steal) for anyone. Consider it a Christmas gift to your ears!



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December 27, 2008

So here it is, the weekend after Christmas, and hopefully you all got exactly what you were hoping for this holiday season. However, if you're like most of us these days, your wish list far outweighs the gift giving potential of your friends, family, cronies, well-wishers, neighbors, or even co-workers. It does seem, however, that a number of those folks who end up giving gifts to me, at least, end up giving either cash or a gift card if they don't know what to buy. That is, in part at least, why the day after Christmas is such a busy shopping day.

So this year, put those gift cards and cash to good use this year, and treat yourself to something that will help you through the Winter: a new overcoat. It seems that these days people have overlooked the classic trench coat which had been a staple for all inclement weather during the first half of the twentieth century. I know that they got a bad wrap from all the rebels who wore them in the late nineties as an expression of their disillusionment with their suburban upbringings, but I for one have not let the look go softly into that good night. When all my friends grab their pea coats, mechanics jackets, hoodies, or fleece coats, I stand proud in my old black overcoat that has weathered Winter after Winter. Being the equal-opportunity blogger that I am, I have suggestions for him and for her.

womens raincoat.jpgFirst, for the ladies, this Soia & Kyo Double Breasted Raincoat combines the classic trench coat look with some modern flair. Available in charcoal grey or black, the belted raincoat keeps you warm, dry, and in style. While I've never been a fan of the belted raincoat for men, I find that on a women's coat, a belt helps cut a much more feminine silhouette. The flare at the bottom is what really keeps this coat from looking like you borrowed it from your boyfriend or husband, though on the grey coat, the black piping at the sleeves and shoulders also adds a bit more feminine embellishment. Best of all, this coat is currently 40% off the retail price, now just a low $146.90, plus the 6% cash back at Nordstrom, which is the special Holiday Double Cash Back promotion, so it won't be lasting much longer, so act fast!



Now, for the gents I recommend this Boss Black 'Rotan' Three Quarter Length Coat. I'd imagine that most of you have heard somewhere or another that the emergence of the TV show "Mad Men" has led to a resurgence of classic style, and this coat could pretty much be the embodiment of that trend. The rich houndstooth plaid screams "film noir" while the double breasted cut and the button-tab cuffs make this jacket something you could easily wear over a suit if you chose to. Granted, the model kind of has that "just got kicked out of an East Coast Prep School" kind of look, but if worn open this jacket would look completely natural when worn with jeans and a button-down shirt. I won't lie, this look doesn't come cheap, but you are saving 40% off of the retail price. Still, to get this fine winter coat wrapped around yourself this year it will set you back about $475, but just think about the kind of cash back you'll earn at 6% (I was a literature major, I'll let you do the math).

If these don't strike your fancy, or you just want a pea coat, which is still all the rage again this year, make sure you swing by Ebates before New Year's Day, which is when our Double Cash Back at the nineteen merchants goes the way of 2008 and 2009 ushers back the return of the Daily Double!



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December 26, 2008

As you well know, today is the day after Christmas. So we can all relax, take a deep breath (and perhaps a sigh of relief) and enjoy the last few days of 2008. Not only is the twenty-sixth of December the day after Christmas, it is also a public Holiday known as Boxing Day. So the Holidays are not over yet, and neither are the excuses to recklessly shop!

Traditionally, Boxing Day is day in which the fortunate people of the world are supposed to give back to the less fortunate. However, the holiday has really morphed into a somewhat official shopping holiday were people take advantage of all the holiday sales retailers have to offer. People are no longer shopping for gifts, rather they are shopping for the things they did not get for Christmas, or better yet, for great deals impossible to refuse. I will most likely be taking advantage of some quiet time to eat leftovers and hang out with my family, while also visiting Ebates to check on some items that I am hoping will be further reduced in the spirit of Boxing Day sales. One item in RuffleSkirt_.jpgparticular is this Alice + Olivia Asymmetrical Ruffle Pencil Skirt from Shopbop. Right now the skirt is 30% off and $308 with 6% cash back. While it was originally, $440, the reduced price is enough to spike my interest but not low enough for me to swoop in and buy. I have missed out on one too many great deals on items just like this that I desperately need in my wardrobe, so I think this purchase will involve a little strategy and hopefully some Boxing Day sentiment on the part of Shopbop, where they can feel bad for the less fortunate (me) and lower the price while miraculously still having my size in stock.

Happy Boxing Day! Shop On!


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December 25, 2008

From all of us here at the Ebates blog to all of you out there on the interwebs, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

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Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwazy Kwanzaa, and a Festivus for the Rest of Us!

- Allie, Poppy, Cole, and Bill



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December 24, 2008


Nutcracker.jpgSomewhere between the need for a last-minute gift for the hostess and a desire to spread holiday cheer exists the need for a faux nutcracker fashioned after a soldier. While it has been a while since I have seen a nut cracked by a solider figurine, there does still seem to be a need for the Christmas icon in homes across the globe on Christmas Day. With the help of the Bill, I found a Nutcracker figurine on sale for only $8 (originally $19.99) with 4% cash back at Kohl's. I was pleased to know that one could still buy a classic nutcracker (and for a great deal, I must add). And while this one does not actually crack nuts, it certainly fulfills the role of spreading holiday cheer and being a great last-minute gift for someone on your list who has everything, or for the person has been kind enough to open their doors to you during the holidays. And at the very least, he will be a great conversation starter, especially when you arrive at your Holiday destination with the Nutcracker under your arm.


Shop on!


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December 24, 2008

While it used to be considered rather insensitive to give money for the holidays, retailers have taken the taboo out of not knowing what to get someone and turned it into something desirable. Thanks to the rise of the gift card, anyone can purchase them for any person, from any store, and for any reason. Beyond the holiday season, gift cards are perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, you name it. Being that it's Christmas Eve and the frantic search for the perfect gift is over, now is the time to relax and enjoy the presents coming. In celebration of the receiving of gifts, here is a list of my most wanted Gift Cards, and the things I would buy with them.

Sephora Gift Card.jpg1. Number one on my list would be a gift card to beauty heaven, also know as Sephora. Although my attempts at make-up application have sometimes been frightening, I still enjoy the task of picking out the perfect shades of eye shadow, finding the best blush, and the greatest task of all, matching my skin tone to a new foundation. In a perfect world, I would receive a gift card in the amount of $500, but I'll happily settle for $75.

2. My second choice for must have Gift Cards is none else but Shopbop.com. Those of youMalababa Bag.jpg who have been faithfully reading my blog (bless you) will know all about my obsessive tendencies to hunt through this site on a daily basis. Top on my list of items from this mega cool website is the Filomena Bag by Malababa. Also known as the chicest of briefcases, this bag will be complimenting my outfits for decades to come.

Best Buy Zune.jpg3. The next give-it-to-me Gift Card is none other than electronics central; Best Buy. Before I go and state my case, let me preface by saying that when it comes to electronics, I don't see what the big deal is. Blue-Ray, HD, blah blah blah. A TV is a TV, and if you want to be "in the movie", then I suggest an acting coach and a ticket to LA. It's because of this attitude that I rarely step inside a mega-chain store such as this, but for the few times that I have needed an electro-improvement, Best Buy offers the biggest selection and the best prices. Topping my list is a Zune 120gb MP3 Player. Alas after five years, the iPod Mini is dying a very slow death, and needs some serious upgrading such as more music space and the ability to watch videos.


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December 23, 2008

Hanukkah.jpgThe holidays are not solely about Christmas and no one knows this better than myself. Sunday night was the start of Chanukah, a celebration of family, life, and history. Most everyone has heard of The Festival Of Lights, (especially if you're an Adam Sandler fan) however most don't know the history and meaning behind this eight day celebration. What I'm sure everyone does know is the jealousy felt as a child when your Jewish friends would get presents for eight days while you only had one day of gifts. Let me clear the air and say that it wasn't eight days of jaw dropping gifts. More like two or three really great gifts, with the remainder of gifts being socks and underwear. My mother alone would supply me with enough underwear to clothe an army, and that's before my aunt and grandparents had a chance to give me anything.

The reason for the eight nights has a long, long, history. During the Maccabean Revolution of 200 B.C. the Holy Temple (center of Jerusalem) was destroyed. All that remained is what is now known as the Wailing, or Western, Wall. The temple was home to The Eternal Flame, a sign of God's eternal presence. It was thought that the oil needed to fuel this flame would last only one day, yet it lasted for eight. Cue Mel Brooks yelling "It was a miracle!" and you'll understand the significance. Each day of celebration commemorates each day the oil lasted. My Hebrew school teacher would be so proud of me.
 
Now that you've got the history down, let's get on to the good stuff...gifts, family, and of course, the food. Here's a list of my favorite Chanukah items. Being that this list was made by myself and not my mother, there will be no mention of socks, underwear, or calendars. Even if I did need socks and underwear, they never make an exciting gift. Sorry Mom.

The first item on my list addresses the most important part of this holiday - Latkes! PotatoJewish Cooking For Dummies.jpg pancakes fried to oblivion and drowned in sour cream. I don't think I need to mention how utterly fattening this is, and unless you're an Atkins follower, now is not the time to diet. Getting the mixture just right takes a bit of know-how, so if you're new to the world of Jewish cooking, fret not. Jewish Cooking For Dummies is the ultimate guide to cooking falafel, Hamantashin, and other delicious Jewish foods. Be warned: side affects may cause un-zippering of pants, and a renewed membership to Jenny Craig. Both Jewish and Italian households have a tradition where the grandmothers who have slaved in the kitchen for hours, walk around making sure everyone else has eaten. Commonly heard phrases are "You look too thin" and "When are you getting married?"

Kosher-Hanukkah-Cornucopia-Gift-Basket.jpgMy second favorite thing about Chanukah is the chance to see family. My family happens to be the kind that shouts your name out as you enter a household, and it sounds something like "Allison!, Allison's here!" "Hey look who it is!" It's such a red carpet welcome, that it will easily give anyone a superiority complex, and I firmly believe I can blame them for my big head. Considering that I am not able to see them often, this Kosher Hanukkah Cornucopia basket from Gourmet Gift Baskets makes the perfect Wish I Could Be There gift. It features dried fruits, smoked salmon, chocolate, dip, and much much more. It's enough to please the pickiest eater, and the 5% cash back is pleasing to my wallet.

So there you have it, Chanukah a la Allie. Perhaps some of you thought I would talk about the new jeans I'm eyeing, or the chic sweater I've been dying to get, but during these eight crazy nights, all that matters to me is the love of my family, the memories made and to be had, and of course the food. Happy Chanukah to all and whatever you get, as my mother says, "Use it in good health".


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December 23, 2008

In our unrelenting efforts to appeal to every sport enthusiast in the market, we are always looking for more new and exciting stores so that you can earn cash back regardless of what sports you are interested in. Our latest addition? Holabird Sports. On the surface, it appears that Holabird is just a tennis-specific site, but after a little clicking around, you'll soon realize there is much more to this store. Aside from a wide selection of racquet-related sporting supplies, which include Tennis, Squash, Racquetball, and Platform Tennis (a new discovery to yours truly), Holabird also stocks a wide variety of running shoes and accessories. They even carry medical supplies including braces, bandages, and anti-friction guard to prevent uncomfortable chafing from athletic activity.

What impresses me most about the selection at Holabird is the sheer variety of sport-specific shoes that they stock. Regardless of whether you prefer baseball, basketball, football, tennis, running, walking, or even lacrosse, they have some sort of footwear to help you perform to the best of your abilities. Or, if (like me) you prefer your sports on TV, they have a wide selection of casual shoes and sandals. Naturally, the best part about Holabird now teaming up with Ebates is that we can now offer 4% cash back on their already-low prices. So not only do you get cash back on your purchases as an added incentive, you don't have to go to Baltimore to take advantage of their great deals!


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December 22, 2008

Unlike most people, I rarely feel the anxiety of getting older around my birthday. Rather, I become hyper-aware of the passage of time on the crux of a new year. As I peer towards 2009, I actually feel like another year is about to pass, and I am aware now more than ever how fast time goes by. Only adding to this sentiment is that while watching the news last night, I heard the broadcaster say "A 25 year old  woman..." and I thought to myself, woman? The broadcaster was right. Calling the subject of the news story a 25 year old girl would not be appropriate. So, I suppose, to quote Britney Spears, "I am not a girl and not yet a woman." Actually, I am now a woman, and let me accept that fact with joy. Now that I can think of myself proudly as a woman, I should perhaps take a more woman-like approach to all aspects of my life: fiances, wardrobe, frequency of house-cleaning, and, skincare regime. I suppose it is time to take a preventative approach to my skincare.

Clarins.jpgFirst things first: always wear sun protection daily. While I loathe the sticky white film left by most sunscreens, this Clarins UV Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 from Sephora for $40 with 8% cash back glides on smoothly and leaves no trace on the skin, which will make it easy enough to be protected. While I am using my Sephora Gift Card (that I will surely acquire over the holiday) I will also pick up this Peter Thomas Roth Age Defense Kit for $45, a $95 value. PTRAgeDefense.jpg



While it may be slightly too advanced for my skin, I figure I can try out some products, give what I don't want to my mom, and defend my skin from harmful aging factors. And I can use up my gift card and earn 8% cash back. Well, aren't I being a resourceful woman...

Shop on!


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December 22, 2008

oompa_loompa.jpgThis time of the year always has me running around and making rash purchasing decisions far more frequently than is normal for me. Try as I may, when it comes to shopping, I become bi-polar and have several different personalities all screaming opposites while I try to decide on a piece. "Buy it, it looks great!" "No, you'll have to shorten the length!" "Who cares, make it work!" As overwhelmed as I can be, it's a wonder sales people don't find me under a heap of clothes mumbling about a tailor and drooling.

As far as dresses go, I've managed to add two very pretty pieces to my wardrobe, however being the height of an oompa-loompa means I am constantly altering items so that they fit my five-foot-two inch frame. Aside from the height, I too have been the color of a pumpkin (self tanner gone bad) and could easily spend my life making chocolate. I'm starting to think I missed my calling.

Now that I've got some pretty options for the New Year, I can't help but fret over my hair.Peacock Headband.jpg Being in need of an overdue trim while not wanting to lose any length has me walking around with enough split ends to rival the divorce rate. In hair-limbo times such as these, all a girl can do is accessorize, accessorize, accessorize, and what better option is there than the headband? Not the thick, girlish plastic things that scrape one's forehead, but a dainty, lovely piece.

This Ribbon Wrapped Feather Headband is from Urban Outfitters where I'll receive 2% cash back, and only spend $24 on this elegant hair fix. What I love the most about this item (besides it being extremely cheap) is the vintage flapper look that will work perfectly with my collection of beaded garments. The oversized faux peacock feathers will cover my frizzy, split ends and hopefully get me noticed for my great taste, instead of my unruly hair. When a girl doesn't have time, or the extra cash, to get a proper haircut, don't freak out or lose self-esteem. Instead get creative, explore your options, and love what you've got. This leads me to my first New Year's resolution: A better attitude makes for a better year!


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December 20, 2008

Phillip Lim Cadet Jacket.jpgIf, like me, you have a tendency to get stir crazy around the middle of January, there are a few reasons for this occurrence. After the buzz (and hopefully weight) of the holidays goes away, there's nothing exciting or joyous about the next two or three bitter cold months ahead. Yes, there is Valentine's Day and Easter as well, but neither of these festivities cause the same month-long hysteria quite like Christmas. In fact, people are so consumed by the gift-giving frenzy that no one even seems to notice the mercury steadily dropping. By the time January fifteenth rolls around, all that's left are bulging bellies and the phrase "It's freezing outside."

When it comes to staying warm, it's no surprise that the cardigan is a girl's best friend. The up side is staying at a comfortable 98.6, yet constantly wearing them over tank tops or tees can grow boring and lead to wardrobe meltdown. It's for this reason that I have found a new way to stay warm and look chic while doing so. I'm talking, of course, about the blazer. Once worn by equestrians and business folk, the blazer has gotten a much needed make-over, and is the most stylish way to enhance an outfit, while staying toasty doing so. This Cadet Jacket by 3.1 Phillip Lim, is not only bright and cheery, but the cut is anything but stiff and corporate. This blazer is tailored enough to wear under your winter coat, and the modern fit will have you saying goodbye to shoulder pads/unflattering cuts and saying hello to chic. If being in the military looked this good, I may just sign up.

I found this at eLUXURY where you'll receive 3% cash back and free express shipping on orders over $200. If you've been needing a reason to get out of bed during the dull Winter months, then I suggest a little color therapy. This jacket would make a good start.


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December 19, 2008

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As is always the case, dear readers, I can't believe it's already Friday. Furthermore, I can hardly believe that we are now a mere six days away from Christmas. We've been crying "Free Shipping" so much this week that it hardly seems like we need to do a specific Free Shipping Friday feature, but I am a man who believes firmly in tradition and consistency, so I am going to do a special installment focusing primarily (not entirely) on the latest and best in deals that will allow you to get your gifts in time to wrap them and have them under the tree when that long-awaited Thursday arrives.

Remember, before I start listing, that not all these deals will guarantee shipment by that ever-important gift giving holiday, but as all savvy shoppers know, you don't shake a stick at free shipping whenever you get the chance to take advantage of it.

Friday, December 19th

- avenue has a free upgrade to Express Shipping, so you don't pay any extra to get your purchases in a hurry.

- Bloomingdale's is offering free holiday shipping on all orders over $100 if you use the code SHIPXMAS

- Brookstone has free ground shipping on all orders of $50 or more with the coupon code FREESHIP

- Gaiam is offering free shipping with no minimums when you enter code AFFSC at checkout.

- You don't want to miss out on the J.Crew Holiday Sale, you can save up to 60% off plus free shipping on any order! Use code HURRY.

- If you want to add a little class to your gentleman's wardrobe, enjoy free shipping on all orders with no minimum, at Jos. A. Bank.

- YOOX is offering free shipping on all orders today only, so if you wait, you'll miss out!

Saturday, December 20th

- Sephora is offering a free shipping upgrade! Order by Saturday, December 20th and they'll ship your gifts for free & guarantee that they get there by the December 24th. Enter promotion code UPS2DAY

- Place your order by Saturday and you'll get a free shipping upgrade on all orders at Things Remembered.

Sunday, December 21st

- If you're looking to upgrade the homefront a little bit for the Winter months, Blinds Galore is offering you the opportunity to do that for a whole lot less. Through Sunday they are offering Free Shipping plus 15%off with code HOME

- If you want to be ready for holiday travel, or if, like me, you just want a new messenger bag, eBags has a free shipping upgrade to 2nd day air on all Quick Ship gifts

- For the last minute gift basket shoppers, Hickory Farms is offering free standard shipping on orders over $50 per recipient. Use coupon code 08SEASON

- If you're looking for more than just a gift basket to give as a host or hostess gift, check out My Wines Direct, who offer great wine gifts and ship them all for free to most states.

- For the creative gift giver, Zazzle will ship their stock of custom t-shirts, posters, and more for free with the coupon code TWODAYZAZZLE

Monday, December 22nd

- For anyone who loves a makeup, skincare, or fragrances as much as they love a great deal, you can get free second-day shipping and a free sample trio (which you can gift or keep for yourself) just by entereing the code 2NDSHIP at checkout when you shop at Prescriptives.

- Not to be outdone, if you place your Origins.com order by December 22, 3:00 PM, EST, and they will get it there by Christmas, use Offer Code Free2DayLS for Free 2nd Day Shipping


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December 19, 2008

With just two weeks left in 2008, many people tend to re-evaluate the circumstances of their life before the dawn of the New Year. A New Year is a common time to reinvent yourself, banish bad habits, and start over. I personally feel like it's bad luck to stop bad habits January 1st; it's almost like you are setting yourself up to fail. Instead, I would rather start a few weeks before, kind of like today. So I ask myself: "Who does Poppy want to be in 2009?" Unfortunately I do not have the answer to that (although Mrs.Ryan Adams would be a fine start for me).  I do know, however, what I want to wear in 2009, and I am internet stalking items that I want to swoop up if Santa did not get everything on my wish list. Because, like most people, I plan on tightening my grip on my wallet this New Year, I am hoping to buy things that refresh existing items in my wardrobe, to work with what I have, and make it feel current and new - oh so very 2009. The first item on my wish list is an animal print scarf. Because I currently have nothing like it in my closet, it will definitely feel new and make the existing jackets, blouses, and t-shirts seem rejuvenated and more exciting.



Zebra.jpgI found this Kashmere Black Zebra Printed Wrap on sale for 50% off, just $138 at Bluefly with 3% cash back. The scarf will pair perfectly with my existing  winter wardrobe and will also go nicely with Spring's trends of big prints and pastel hues. It is truly a smart buy that I can feel satisfied with (and Poppy 2009 Redux will agree).

Shop on!


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December 18, 2008

For those you you out there who have not yet finished your Holiday shopping, this year your procrastination has paid off. You will not be forced to endure the dismal fate of crowded malls with bitter shoppers, long lines, and influenza-ridden surfaces. Instead, this year you will be able to shop (quite literally last minute) for great deals on great gifts from the comfort of your own home and have items shipped right to your door (or the door of the gift recipient) without paying an insane amount of money for express shipping. For a list of shipping deadlines of your favorite stores, look no further than Ebates. Where, we have taken the time to compile a comprehensive list of the shipping deadlines of our top merchants.

ZezeSlipper.jpgIf you are looking for a somewhat generic gift that is by no means lackluster, these cute Kate Spade "zzee' slippers from Nordstrom fit the bill. For just $49.90, with 6% cash back, these slippers are just as cozy as they are festive, and will be perfect for anyone on your list regardless of taste or how well you know them. They are also a thoughtful and useful gift that hopefully the recipient will not want to return, however, if they do, they can painlessly take them back to any Nordstrom retail location or send back by mail. The shipping deadline for standard shipping at Nordstrom is December 19th (tomorrow), however with express shipping you can order these up until the 22nd and still have them arrive in time for Christmas.


Bangle.jpgIf you really like to 'live on the edge' and are planning on procrastinating longer than the 22nd, shop at Banana Republic (Gap or Old Navy too), where you can earn 3% cash back and have express shipping with guaranteed Christmas delivery until the 23rd. Try this Brooch Bangle that is now just $19.99 with 3% cash back. It is a great buy for under $20 because it looks high-end and it will arrive in time, so no one will know you waited until the Eve of Christmas Eve to complete your shopping.

Shop on!


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December 18, 2008

Your computer's mouse is often overlooked. I know mine is. In fact, the only time most of us even think about the mouse is when it isn't working properly.

slimblade.jpgHowever, today has changed the whole way I think about that silly little device that I spend half the day with my hand on. Today I found a killer deal at Buy.com on the Kensington 72282 SlimBlade Media Mouse. It's a one day only sale, so I will be brief. Basically, this is a sleek wireless mouse with a trackball in place of the roller wheel between the two buttons as well as a built-in media controller on the bottom of the mouse itself. This means it doubles both as a mouse and a remote control for your computer if you play a lot of music or movies on it. Plus, this mouse which usually retails for $59.99 is on sale today for $20.99 plus 1% Cash Back from Ebates. There is another additional discount listed on Buy.com's site for use with Paypal, but let me be perfectly clear on this:

If you make your payment through Paypal, we cannot gaurantee that you will get Ebates cash back for the purchase.

What makes it better is no matter how you decide to pay, you get it all shipped for free! So, act fast. I won't lie - I just bought one for myself. It's a great deal on a highly rated mouse that should last you for years to come!


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December 17, 2008

Let's take a few minutes and analyze our home theater setups, shall we? Just how many electronic devices do you have hooked up to your TV at the moment? If you're like most people, you're probably looking at a TV, a cable box, a DVD player of some sort, possibly a receiver, and maybe even a videogame console or two if you're so inclined. As the number of electronics devices that populate our living areas increase from year to year, the amount of control juggling that goes into relaxing in front of the tube grows exponentially. For me, it takes three remotes,  four clicks, and two spilled drinks to even start my evening wind down, and that's not even counting the videogame controllers! Things are just getting absurd around my place, which leads me to believe that the Logitech 880 Universal Remote just might be my only hope for sanity.

logitech.jpgWhile any Tom and Dick Harrison can go out and grab an obnoxiously large and clunky universal remote from the corner store for $10, the Logitech 880 sets itself apart through its easy-to-navigate color LCD screen and intelligent PC setup, features that make it one of the best remotes out there. It's incredibly easy to use, remembers any and all necessary commands for a particular input, and even stores "favorite" settings to make your life that much easier. Want to push one button and listen to the CD in your CD player? Done. How about booting up your Xbox after an all-night DVD marathon? Even easier. Even though it may seem a little silly at first, the sheer convenience of having one remote to perfectly handle the handful of remotes you have strewn across your coffee table cannot be understated.

If you're ready to save some time, and give your fingers (and arms) a break from all the reaching and juggling, the Logitech 880 Infared Remote Control can be had from Newegg for $150; a small price to pay for a lifetime of convenience. This is $50 less than you can find it anywhere else, and includes free shipping, so hop on this offer before the free shipping won't make it to your doorstep by the 24th! It's the perfect gift for the gadget-laden guy/gal who has everything!


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December 17, 2008

I'll come right out and say it at the top: I am obsessed with messenger bags. It's hard to say exactly why that is, but truer words have never been spoken. It could be the versatility, it could be the reminiscence of those few years of adolescence when all the cool kids wore their backpacks on one shoulder, much to the detriment of their posture and spinal alignment, or it could be the insinuation of a messenger bag that I actually use my bicycle much more than I actually do.

So here's my issue: I already own a messenger bag that I am completely happy with. At this rate, it should last me another ten years since there is hardly a sign of wear on it after three years of ownership and daily use. It has traveled with me to and from work every day. It has gone to Europe and back with me. It stands up to the rain better than I do these days. If nothing else, I suffer from complete and total product satisfaction, which means I don't need to shop for a new messenger bag... forever.

Now, if there is no reason to buy a new bag, or even shop for one, I will have to do the next best thing: I will blog about how great the bag I am interested in is.

Ever since I purchased my new MacBook, I have been seeking out a more intelligent way to transport it. I have a laptop sleeve which is a perfect fit for my much larger and much bulkier Dell laptop, but just doesn't seem like that great of a fit for the MacBook. That's why I have recently been eyeing Timbuk2's line of laptop messenger bags. I'm fond of them for a number of reasons, really. First, they are a San Francisco company. They started here almost twenty years ago, and even to this day, every bag is manufactured right here in the City by the Bay. They also offer both a number of pre-fabricated designs in addition to the option to design most every bag for your very own custom order.

Timbuk2 v1.JPGTimbuk2 v2.JPGThat means I can create something as simple and subdued as this black and grey bag (at left) or something as bold and eye-aching as this "interesting" creation I made (at right). Either way, check out all the great bag-designing options as well as the pre-made bags at Timbuk2, and save 6% on whatever you decide to design when you shop through Ebates.




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December 17, 2008

Madison Marcus Dress.jpgIn celebration of the upcoming Tim Burton remake of Alice in Wonderland, I couldn't help but remember my favorite part of the movie: The Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Granted, the movie just began filming and won't be in theaters until 2010, but that doesn't mean I can't fantasize about the lovely dresses I would wear, or, for that matter, the tea parties I could throw. Although Johnny Depp won't be attendance, I'll be sure to look exquisite just in case. A girl can dream ya know

Something about a tea party is utterly romantic and sublime. Perhaps it's the dainty china adorned with filigree, the abundance of lace, or maybe it's it's the three-tiered trays filled with mini cakes. Either way, a tea party is the epitome or what it means to be girly and prim. In today's world of Girl's Gone Wild, Reality TV, and an overall decline in class, I think what the world needs is a tea party. What I'll need is the perfect dress. Something dainty but still "me" - ie; not so dainty.

As far as dresses go, I envision something light and ethereal, something that transcends all seasons, and looks equally appropriate in Winter as in Spring. This Transcendence Dress by Madison Marcus is made from 100% silk so it moves like air, yet the abstract print is uber  modern and keeps it from looking like a period piece. With this hideous economy, a girl needs to make the best of her clothing, and this dress looks great with gladiator sandals or a heavy knit cardigan, belted of course.

Lana Dress.jpgAs far as beverages go, I'm equally fond of wine parties, and for that I'll need a dress in darker hues. Preferably one that has dark reds and purples in case there are spills. If I were to write a book featuring my accrued life lessons, this would be lesson one in the Deal Hunting Diva's Guide to Life: Never wear white around the red. Luckily for me (and my dry cleaners) I have found the perfect dress for such occasions. The Lana Dress by Dolce Vita is also 100% silk and features a deep hued floral print set against a black background. The deep v-neck and mini length add a bit of allure, and to keep this dress from looking tarty I'll pair it with black riding boots and opaque black tights. The overall look is sleek and sophisticated, two things any woman would love to be. Selling at Urban Outfitters, you'll receive 2% cash back and free shipping. If your eye is on the cream dress above, it's selling at Bloomingdale's where you'll find free shipping, and 3% cash back. Take the money saved and earned from the above two pieces, and you've got enough to throw your own party. Whether it involves tea or wine is up to you, whether it involves Johnny Depp is up to your fairy godmother. 


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December 17, 2008

If your New Year's resolution is to save some cash, I've got some news that will allow you to save your money without sacrificing looking fabulous. Brooklyn-based handbag line Hayden-Harnett is the newest designer line to announce a collaboration with Target, due in stores December 28th, which is perfect timing if you want to turn over a new and more frugal leaf in the New Year. haydenharnett-00.jpgThe Spring 2009 Collection promises chic and affordable handbags from printed satchels (pictured left) for just $49.99 and sleek clutches like this one for just $29.99, both of which come with 4% cash back, of course. haydenharnett-07.jpg


The whole line is sure to impress without breaking the bank or any resolutions! If you are looking for the real deal, and want to invest in an original Hayden-Harnett bag, you can get 4% cash back on your purchases through Ebates. As one our our merchants, you can shop the designer's own website for an extensive collection of bags, some of which are even on sale. You'll find bags for work or travel, and even iPod cases and fun accessories too.


Hayden-HarnettSoniaTote.jpgPick up this Sonia tote for 45% off, now just $297. You'll enjoy 4% cash back in your wallet after saving $243 off the original price. Now I'll have no problem keeping my resolutions about smart shopping and saving money. But shopping less? No way.

Shop On!


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December 16, 2008

As yet another Tech Tuesday dawns upon us here at Ebates, I started thinking to myself: what is something we don't talk about that much?  As I ran down the list of popular tech items in my head, I began to realize that we have done a pretty admirable job of talking about a lot of the in-demand products like GPS systems, computers, iPods and their countless accessories, and my personal fetish: headphones. However, there was one item that we have been rather remiss in our coverage of: cell phones.

See, here is the issue: most everyone out there these days either already has or doesn't want a cell phone. If you already have one, you are either content with what you have or you have just gone with the "free with the plan" phone. If you don't want one, you just don't want one. But with the latest round of SmartPhone releases, that is all changing. However, there are still two major issues that go along with that.

First: I don't know the first thing about BlackBerry phones. I don't know the models, I don't know the features, I don't know much beyond the fact that I see them everywhere on the bus, and people obsess over them constantly.

Second: I own an iPhone. A lot of people do, now that the prices have come down. I am completely enamored with it and think that it has revitalized the way I perceive the idea of a phone. But there's one big issue: you can't get them through an Ebates merchant. Yes, you can get them at Apple Stores and Best Buy, but both have to be purchased in-store so we can't issue cash back on them. So really it would just be taunting for me to write up how amazing and great they are if Ebates can't help you get one for less. (even if they are totally worth every penny)

g1 closed.jpgLuckily for everyone, I made a wonderful discovery today: Abt Electronics is now selling the Android G1 Smartphone online. This is that great Google-equipped phone that T-Mobile users can now purchase to make all their friends who got iPhones jealous. This phone is sleek, it's powerful, it has a touch screen (like the iPhone), and a QWERTY keyboard plus a trackball (like the BlackBerry), and it uses MicroSD memory, so its memory can be upgraded easily. I have to say, even among the "techiest" of people, this phone will turn heads. There are a few downsides including an inability to record video despite a 3.2 megapixel camera and the glaring lack of an input jack for standard headphones (you need to get a converter from the mini-USB jack so you can plug headphones in that way. But still, for $180, this first attempt is pretty sweet.

g1 open.jpgWhat's sweeter is that those of you who are devoted to T Mobile now have a phone that can stack up pretty respectably to the iPhone without having to give up your service provider loyalty, and unlike us iPhone devotees, you can actually score 2% cash back from Ebates by shopping at Abt, where as we are stuck without cash back in our accounts after buying our phones. Plus, it's got Google backing it up, so you know it will be inherently "smarter" than most "SmartPhones".


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December 16, 2008


QueenHelene.jpgSomething happened last night that changed my life. When I discovered a small blemish on my face, instead of following my usual path of picking until red, swollen, and sore, I practiced some self-restraint and reached instead for my trusty tube of Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. I put a little on the spot and woke up to a smaller, less irritated (and therefore easy to conceal) spot. The Masque is a perennial favorite in my ever-expanding medicine cabinet because it is truly a miracle worker on skin conditions of all types. From blemishes to bug bites - this product will clear anything away. There is a reason Mint Julep has been a favorite since it was developed it 1930.

While singing the praise of Mint Julep (oh wait that was my pleasant neighbor who seems to have the Chicago soundtrack on repeat and is auditioning from her bathroom), I realized that the best part of Mint Julep is that it is effective and just $3.99 with 7% cash back at Drugstore.com. For $3.99 this bottle will literally last for at least a couple years and is a cute little retro addition to a girl's skincare regime. Got a beauty junkie on your list? This makes a perfect (and low-cost) stocking stuffer.

Shop on!


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December 15, 2008

With yesterday's Cyber Monday 2.0 double cash back savings, many users saved big with increased cash back and the tons of sales. However, there are still great savings to be had! With just 24 hours left, TigerDirect's big Laptop Liquidation is perfect for anyone in the market for a great, affordable laptop before the holidays.

mini.jpgFrom a slew of netbooks and notebooks, to a handful of useful laptop accessories ranging from mice to cases, everything can be had with discounts ranging from $10 to $400! Most notable, however, are their highlighted HP Mini-Note's and Acer laptops. For only $299, you can pick up a brand new HP Mini-Note laptop, with a 92% full sized keyboard, SUSE Linux Enterprise, and included webcam - a $200 value! Admittedly, there are many a netbook on sale (including the spacious 120GB Acer One), but many of the competitors suffer from poor construction and/or a minuscule keyboard. The HP Mini-Note stands out on its own with it's flashy aluminum exterior, spacious keyboard, and Linux-based OS that is designed to run quickly and efficiently for all your mobile computing needs. Afraid of that infernal "Linux?" Don't worry! TigerDirect actually has a better deal on their super-equipped Mini-Note with more power, more ram, and Windows Vista for only $399 ($400 off!).

gate.jpgOn top of the netbooks, TigerDirect is featuring a handful of full-sized notebooks to fit whatever computing needs you may have. Check out the $499 Gateway laptop with a Digital HDMI out, the powerful 17" HP Intel Core Duo laptop with 4GB Ram and an XP Pro downgrade, and the surprisingly cheap $399 14" Dell laptop that would make a great starter computer for anyone on the go. Any way you look at it, TigerDirect's laptop prices are certainly affordable for all, so grab whichever one suits your fancy before they're gone!


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December 15, 2008

What does it mean to "look pretty"? If I were to ask one hundred women that question, guaranteed I would get one hundred different answers. The individual's concept of "looking pretty" differs as much as we do, yet "pretty" is something we all strive for. Most of us don't try to look hot or sexy as those descriptions can be, and often are, degrading and cheapening to women. After all, as women we can all be honest and admit that neither hot or sexy were self-referencing terms, and both were undoubtedly coined by the males of the species.

Semantics aside, "pretty" (like "beautiful") is one word that I never grow sick of hearing. Regardless if it is coming from my mother or a drunk homeless man on the street, a compliment is a compliment. As I am rapidly approaching my thirties, I'll take what I can get. Perhaps this may seem a bit dramatic, but having just discovered the first "line" on my forehead, today will not be aMin Young Lee Blous 2.jpg lighthearted day.

Now there are some things that have an instant "prettying" effect such as bit of rose tinted lip gloss, a spritz of perfume (a spritz should be just that; bathing in perfume is not pretty, it's appalling), or a dainty blouse. When it comes to clothing, any blouse that is made from linen or silk and features a light pastel palette automatically says "pretty." This Emma Blouse by pretty specialists Min Young Lee is the perfect example. Made from 100% silk, this blouse features a drapey fit, blouson sleeves, and a soft print palette. In fact, this blouse could easily appear on one of the lead starlets in the next Jane Austen remake. Being in need of a pretty top to wear out on date night, or for that matter, anytime I need a girlish improving, this top will be the perfect fit. I found this at Shopbop for 70% off, however my killer deal hunting skills allowed me to snatch the last one. Don't despair, the entire line is equally stunning and has other pieces on sale as well. Right now at Shopbop you'll receive 10% cash back, which is 7% higher than the norm, so if you need some pretty pieces in your wardrobe, I suggest shopping their extensive sale section. You won't end up spending a pretty penny, either.


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December 15, 2008

Greetings dear readers, and I hope the weekend found you well. As we are all heading back to work today, you'll be happy to see that Cyber Monday II: the Return of the Savings is here and in full effect. So go, check out all the great savings, and take advantage of all the great deals that will still arrive at your house in time to be wrapped and put under the tree before Christmas Day!


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December 12, 2008

With so many sales going on all over the Internets, how can you, dear reader, be expected to keep up with all of the madness? I spend the entire day looking for deals, and sometimes I can't even keep up with it all! But that's not to say I won't do my best to find the craziest holiday deals out there. Even though I'm completely inundated with all of the special sales and promotional deals to keep you spending throughout the weekend, Buy.com in particular has a few fantastic gift ideas (bundled with fantastically low prices) that should fit the bill for some of your trickiest giftees. Take a peek at four of my personal favorite tech gifts, and be sure to check back next week for more great last-minute gift ideas!

Gift #1: Samsung S860Z Digital Camera
For?: Your favorite emerging, or exceedingly clumsy, photographer.

zcam.jpgDo you have a son, daughter, or especially clumsy friend that should never really have any portable electronic device costing more than $50? Then this particular Samsung Camera was MADE for you. Featuring 8.1MP of generous picture-taking power, 9x total zoom (3x optical and 3x digital), and a small form factor, the Samsung S860Z is an outright steal at $50. It takes clear, 640x480 video that's perfect for recording YouTube videos, home movies, and capturing even the most random and inane happenings on digital "film." Of course, you'll need a SD card to go along with it, but for only $50, this Samsung is a no-brainer for anyone asking for a simple digital camera. It's small, it's sturdy, and takes clearer pictures than some cameras twice it's price. What's more can you want than that? Search for it at Buy.com and save!


Gift #2: Western Digital My Passport 2.5" 320GB External Hard Drive
For?: The adorable, tech-starved special someone in your life

wd passport.jpgWhile I'm not quite sure where external hard drives fit into the traditional gift-giving continuum (It's neither blue, nor new...), I can safely say that this is the best deal on a portable hard drive I have seen yet. If you need a little something that really says "I know you have a whole lot of (essential) crap that you like to take with you everywhere," nothing is better than this 320GB Western Digital 2.5" external hard drive at it's bottom-barrel price of $79. It's so small it will fit in your pocket, and so spacious that it will hold over fifty seasons of your favorite TV shows, 70,000+ songs, and close to three hundred movies in it's 2.5" chassis. Wow! Recently, I purchased a near-identical drive at a special "deal" site for $85, thinking it would never get much better than that. Now, Buy.com comes along and offers up a superior model for $5 less. Amazing! Search for it at Buy.com and save!


Gift #3: Westinghouse Digital Photo Frame
For?: The person who literally has everything.

zframe.jpgHello, friend! Are you tired of the hum-drumming of life? Have you given, and possibly received, practically everything under the sun for the last few holiday seasons? There's a slim chance you (or your giftee) may have one of these little unique desktoppers, but if not, the Westinghouse 10" Digital Photo Frame is the perfectly thoughtful gift that screams "I have no clue what to get you, but chances are there are some people you'd like to look at on your desktop." In case you haven't seen one before, a digital photo frame is like a little high-definition computer monitor for your pictures. You simply load up a folder of your favorite images, pop it into the digital frame, and choose to display one image, multiple images, or view a slideshow of your favorites with just a few button clicks. Thats it! No more annoying opening or closing frames or cropping images!

While it may seem slightly random at first, a digital photo frame is an easy gift to make "personal" by adding sentimental pictures, music, and movies before wrapping it. Best of all, this Westinghouse 10" digital frame will be sure to turn heads with its crystal-clear, high resolution display and stunning ebony finish. Show that you care, and save $30 while doing it with Buy.com's rebate that makes this pricy frame an affordable $83 with free shipping. Search for it at Buy.com and save!

Gift #4: Maximo iMetal HS2 Stereo Earset

For?: The musically minded iPhone or Blackberry owner.

imetal.jpgA product so nice, I'll blog it twice! The Maximo iMetal HS2 Earset is a godsend for thrifty iPhone (and Blackberry!) owners, as it's one of the few earsets out there that actually packs some thump for the buck. Sure, you could go ahead and drop $100 on a set of slightly nicer headphones, but, man! That's an extra $70! As an owner of multiple headphones, I can honestly say that this earset (or "canalbuds", as they are sometimes called) are a great deal for their price - which has just been knocked down 48% to only $36! These are ideal for iPhone-rs who like to listen to music and chat on the go, as the little "play" button is invaluable for switching/pausing songs, and managing phone calls without ever taking your phone out of your pocket. Additionally, the unique design of the canalbuds (which take a day or two to get used to) effectively cancel out almost all background noise, including obnoxiously loud bus chatter and subway traffic. For only $40, they're practically an impulse buy for anyone who needs a headphone upgrade.

In the end, these few holiday picks were just a handful of things I highlighted from the sales over at Buy.com. Poke around the website and see what you can find! Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to the holidays, so leave some comments and let me know what sweet deals you can find!


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December 12, 2008

free_friday.gif

Hello again good readers. Today is a very special installment of Free Shipping Friday from Ebates.

I'm going to be completely straight with you here, folks; if you are shopping this weekend (up through Monday, really) there is absolutely NO reason to pay for shipping. It's true around this time every year, but no year more than this has this been the case. There are amazing sales all over the place, and I'd say with at least ninety five percent certainty that all of our top fifty merchants have some sort of free shipping deal. Some are site wide, some are if you buy some specific item, and some are for minimum purchases. Regardless of what it is, I will say this as plainly as I can: don't pay for shipping this weekend. From something as small as an iPod to something as big as a new HDTV or a sectional, you should be able to get it shipped at no extra charge.

The other exciting news for you as shoppers is that this coming Monday, the 15th, we will be celebrating Cyber Monday II: the Return of the Savings! Since Monday is the last day for most merchants to offer guaranteed standard shipping before Christmas, it is a day that a lot of us last-minute shoppers knock out that last online shopping. To lend us procrastinators a helping hand, Ebates is going to be doubling cash back on at least 100 merchants for one day only, so that you get a little extra money in your stocking (or your pocket, if you're not a big stocking fan).

So make sure you make your list and check it twice, because our savings will be on all products both naughty and nice.


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December 12, 2008

With the Holidays drawing nearer, I find myself scouring the closet with the same desperation that plagues me before any formal occasion. While I am proud of my casual and work attire, my formalwear is lacking some serious excitement and pizazz. I can distinctly remember the tradition and ceremony of shopping for a Christmas dress in my youth; this tradition has long gone by the wayside and recently I wear what I have to save my money to purchase presents or clothing items that have some more longevity. This year, with most of our Holidays scaled back in spending, and therefore grandeur (no one seems to be filled with Holiday cheer), I thought I would put myself more into the holiday spirit by actually purchasing an outfit that will make the day seem more special. With all the sales going on, I am sure to find something fabulous for a lot less that, of course, I can wear many times over. My search for Holiday season attire brought me to Saks Fifth Avenue where they are still having their 70% off sale.

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I fell in love with this printed Italian tweed mini skirt by Catherine Holstein. Originally priced at a less-than-modest $429, it has now been reduced to just $171.60, with free shipping! With savings of over $257, I can happily justify this purchase even if it is Christmas.

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Plus, it is the perfect, classic item that will look great for the Holidays paired with a simple sweater like this Cashmere Bateau Sweater, in heathered Silver on sale for $119.99, with 2% cash back at JCrew. Worn with the skirt, it adds just enough glitz to make it fun and festive without being over the top.
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And to top off the ensemble, I will throw on this beautiful crystal hinged cuff, on sale at Banana Republic for just $34.30 with 3% cash back.

With my holiday outfit in order, on which I have saved an abundant $320 (not to mention all of the cash back I have accrued), I am feeling excited and more festive than ever before about this Christmas!

Shop on!


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December 11, 2008

As we are rushing towards the last day to buy gifts online and have them arrive via standard delivery in time for Christmas, procrastinators out there had better hop to it and start shopping. I bought my first gift yesterday. It was actually inadvertent. While I was not technically gift shopping for my own benefit, I was looking for gifts to feature here on the blog. While most of the time these things overlap, and I do buy the things I gush and swoon over, there are other things that come my way and get passed along that do not always make it to my doorstep.

Today I navigated to the Bloomingdale's site to find a vibrant graphic on the homepage nearly impossible to ignore. I am pretty sure most people in the office surrounding me saw the glow of the webpage coming off my computer.

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There it was, staring back at me in big letters: "Our Biggest Sale...Take 40% off a Large Selection" (pictured above).

While 40% off is nothing to turn your nose at, these days it is enough to cause increased blood pressure or your memorized credit card number to start pacing around your head either. My next stop was the Ebates coupon page, where I discovered a coupon offering an additional 20% off (with code SAVEMORE) and free shipping on orders of $100+ (with code SHIPXMAS). Now I am ready to shop. Before I knew it, my brother's Christmas present was purchased and on its way to his house in five to seven business days. And my bank account was barely phased, which is even more exciting.

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I picked him up a pair of these Joseph & Lyman Shearling gloves, originally $95. Once all was said and done, these ended up being just about $45 with 3% cash back. Plus, if you want to earn free shipping (by getting the order over $100) you can shop for yourself and even ship to multiple addresses!

Shop on!


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December 11, 2008

For those of you who follow this blog regularly, be sure to keep us in your rotation, as this is really the nerve center for our communications. Still, we all realize that in this era of Web 2.0 communication and networking, everyone has their own preferred method of communication.

twitter-logo.jpgSo if you happen to be one of those folks (like me) who can't seem to shake their Twitter addiction, Ebates is now up and tweeting again.  Also, if you used to follow Ebates on Twitter, we have changed the URL, so you'll need to follow the new "Max Cash" Twitter account. The best part is that you don't even have to sign up for Twitter to check it out whenever you want.  Just go to: http://twitter.com/Max_Cash and if you have a Twitter account, we'd love you to follow us. If not, we post some stand-out deals from here on the blog as well as other random deals or news tidbits that haven't or won't make it to the blog.

Hope to see you there!


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December 11, 2008

Boot Barn Blue Low Boot.jpgWhile I shun away from buying fur, crocodile, snakeskin, or any other animal for that matter, I do have an affinity for all things leather. I realize this makes me a walking contradiction and a hypocrite to boot, but in my mind leather is the lesser of these many evils. After all, leather comes from the same cow being used for food, so to me the whole process is resourceful, and not wasteful like fur. No one eats minks, or foxes (for the most part) and wearing them is well, let's just say it's not for me. I don't need to offend anyone, which is very easy being as "opinionated" as I am.

My love for leather spans from apparel to home goods. My leather boot collection ranges from classic black riding to rustic cowboy. As for my favorite leather bags, there's the vintage oversized saddle bag courtesy of my mother, and the slouchy "biker mama" bag courtesy of leather label Mike and Chris. Both are timeless and get me stares of envy (which I gladly accept). As with all obsessions/addictions this one takes commitment and constant searching to maintain. As I was browsing through Boot Barn, I came across this pair of Motorcycle Boots by Boulet. Not only is the dark slate grey "Mercedes Black" color a refreshing change from black or tan, but they also have a nine inch height, making them the perfect (and comfortable) ankle boot. The studded ankle strap dresses these boots up, and when paired with a super dainty top and some tight black jeans, dare I say they're club appropriate? In fact, any club that doesn't allow this killer boot is not a place I'll be spending my money.

As for home goods, there's nothing more appealing to me than a big leather chair. SomethingHorchow Antique Leather Chair.jpg rustic that beckons me to sit and stay a while. This Antiqued Leather Chair From Horchow is a hybrid of old meets new. The tufted cushions remind me of an old Mae West movie, while the antique inspired distressed leather is somehow modern looking. Large enough for two people (wink wink) this chair demands nothing less than cashmere thermals and a handsome man to cuddle up with. (Preferably one who doesn't have a "time limit" on cuddling, and who isn't concerned with personal space.) I'd be lying if I said this chair was inexpensive, but craftsmanship like this doesn't come cheap these days. Just as a pair of Christian Louboutin heels are an investment in your wardrobe, this chair is an investment in your home. Less is more, and having such a grandiose piece like this chair eliminates the need for "room fillers," i.e., lots of cheap looking furniture.

Shopping through Ebates will earn you 3% cash back or a whopping $75! Think of it as a reward for shopping with taste.


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December 10, 2008

Here at Ebates we are getting geared up for Christmas, and I can speak at least for the male half of the blog team when I say that one of the things we get most excited about this time of year (in addition to all the great sales and promotions) is toys. Personally speaking, nothing says "happy holidays" like fun and goofy toys. Even as I grow well past the commonly accepted toy giving and receiving age, I still love to give and get toys at the holidays. True, the toys I give and get are a little less conventional these days (can you say "Avenging Narwhal Playset"?), but there are also some cool toys for the kids or kids-at-heart who might be on your list this year.

It's for that very reason that I am bringing Wild Planet Toys to your attention. While you might just skim on by it as "just another toy store," a little examination shows that it is much more than that. They have a vast array of creative gift ideas for the clever and curious, and a number of toys that will be just as coveted by the adults in your family as by the children.

hyper dash.jpgAmong their great toys is the game Hyper Dash, which was recently the #1 selling toy on a site which I will not mention except to say that it has a connection to a certain area of rainforest in South America. It may say that the game is intended for ages six and up, but trust me when I say that "and up" knows no limits. It can be played as a table-top game, or with great distances, and between you and me, after a couple of cocktails, this game gets very challenging.

night goggles.jpgAnother must-have toy this year is a pair of Night Goggles. There are all types in all price ranges at the moment, but few are in the sub-$20 range. This pair sold by Wild Planet is currently on sale for $19.95, and have received rave reviews from a number of users. I hope that these are strictly used by kids, and not for more taboo voyeuristic pursuits, but hey, I can't tell you how to use your present!

water baby.jpgFinally, one for the girls is the always-popular Water Babies. Just how popular are these cuddly little babies? They are the second best selling doll ever behind a lovely young blonde named Barbie. So if you want to nurture some maternal  instinct in your little girl with a doll that doesn't look like she just stepped off the runway, this is a perfect gift. They even come in a wide ethnic range as well as a variety of ages for the babies themselves.

Also, just as a note of social conscience, I am also a huge proponent of toy donation programs. So if you are out there clicking around and shopping, please take your time to shop at any toy site, Ebates merchant or not, and pick up a toy or two to donate to those who are less fortunate, because I can't think of anything sadder than a child with nothing to open on Christmas.


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December 10, 2008

If I have learned anything in my quest to become an expert in the newly developing science of  shoponomics, I have learned that a version of a luxurious item will soon be available en masse. Call it the shopping law of supply and demand. It will happen. Take cashmere for example; cashmere was once an ultra-luxurious fabric reserved for the items hanging in sections of stores I only shopped at in my fantasies. Now it seems like every store has some kind of cashmere for sale: a scarf, coat, throw blanket, even socks and undergarments, all available at a very reasonable price. You don't really need to cloud your shopping judgment and think of how or why the price has dropped so significantly, you just follow the rules of shoponomics and buy. This year, you can pass on the the luxury of cashmere to anyone on your list, regardless of your budget.

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I found this to be especially true when browsing the cashmere selection at Bluefly. I discovered this Portolano Cashmere Hat reduced to only $36 with 3% cash back. With a retail value of $75, this hat is a great deal and available in an array of colors sure to suit anyone's wardrobe or tastes. For less than a candle or a coffee table book, you can give someone (even a peripheral person on your list) a cashmere cap to keep them warm and stylish.


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I discovered this simple and gorgeous Italian made cashmere scarf on sale at JCrew. Once $125, it has been reduced to only $75 with 2% cash back. Even though you cannot put a price tag on a wardrobe staple that will last forever, you can recognize that while this may not be the cheapest cashmere scarf out there, it is certainly the best quality for the price.  In shopanomics, that is called an investment piece.

This beauty will be the perfect item to wrap around your neck on even the coldest of days. What's more is that it is available in a selection of both vivid and neutral colors, either of which will bring joy to a very happy recipient, even if it is yourself.  If the color selection and beautiful construction were not incentive enough to get that item in your shopping cart, take this into account: if you spend $100+ you automatically earn 20% off your entire order. So stock up, and move quickly; colors are selling out fast.


Shop On!


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December 10, 2008

If you have an iPod, chances are you need somewhere to put it at night. Whether it's haphazardly tossed atop your nightstand, dutifully plugged into it's USB charger, or snuggled up alongside you as you drift off into dreamland, your favorite mobile music device needs a home. Unfortunately, most bedside charging devices are either A) relatively lame or B) ridiculously expensive, leaving many loved iPods to wander at night instead of getting the proper rest they deserve. Even though this LG Tabletop iPod Docking System usually fits into the latter category with it's normally hefty price tag, today Newegg has it on their Shell Shocker special for only $69; a cool $100 off its normal asking price!

football.jpgThe LG iPod Docking system (occasionally hilariously misspelled as the iPod Rocking System), packs a surprising amount of features in its tiny football-shaped footprint. Behind its mysterious black front, the Docking System houses a fully functional alarm clock, equipped with a red LED display, snooze button, and sleep timer with multiple options to wake from it's multitude of sources. I say "multitude of sources," because this little alarm clock has a hidden top-loading CD slot, an HD radio tuner for crystal clear (and free) HD radio, and even sports a USB port compatible with USB Media Host that gives you easy access your entire digital music library. Oh, and of course, it plays your iPod like it's going out of style.

Considering all the silly markup on iPod-compatible items, you'd normally have to pay twice as much for a clock that does half the things that the LG Docking System does. It's a solid deal at $169, and is downright unmissable for $70; especially when you factor in Newegg's free shipping on this slightly hefty item. It's a one-day, "Shell Shock"-ing deal, so don't wait until tomorrow to pick up this perfect Christmas gift - I guarantee it will be gone (or at least $100 more).





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December 10, 2008

The holiday season is like one giant yin yang effect. The highs of spending time with family and receiving gifts (some good, some bad) are leveled out by the lows of overspending and contending with crazy shoppers. Holiday parties are no exception. There are the fun "friends only" parties where your time is spent having a blast, and then there are the family parties where your time is spent listening to the newest cousin scream his two-month-old head off.

Michelle Mason Dress.jpgNaturally when it comes to fashion, I say that just as there are many different styles of holiday parties, so should there be many different styles of holiday dresses. After all, do you really want conservative Uncle Ned seeing you in the sparkling mini dress purchased for your best friend's mixer? I think not.

It's with this in mind that I have begun scouring the Ebates merchants in search of two very distinct holiday dresses. One which I will wear for New Year's as well, and the other that I will wear whenever normal behavior is expected. My first pick for dresses, meant to be worn whenever my parents are not around, is this Strapless Mini Dress by Michelle Mason. I found this at Shopbop for 50% off. Now just $159.50, this dress features details like two front pockets and an adorable angular neckline. The boning around the stomach gives me a great shape, even after the wine-induced overeating. Sexy and simple, this dress is glitzy enough to wear out on the town but has a versatile look, thus allowing me to wear it throughout the year.
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The next dress that will accompany me during this season of parties and bad fruitcake is this Black Halo Dress from Couture Candy. A perfect mix of sugar and spice this dress covers where it needs too, but has a drapey silk top for added femininity. Simple and elegant, this dress is refined but not stuffy. The cowl neck with a tank top cut keeps this dress from stepping into corporate waters. Whether I pair this with a cardigan and flats or the highest of heels, I'll be dressed for any occasion and still feel like myself while doing so. Shopping at Couture Candy will get me 12% cash back, which is money that will be used for my next dress occasion... Valentine's Day.



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December 9, 2008

I'm an interesting anomaly: as a normal red-blooded teenage male, I was never much of a speeder. Even throughout my twenties, there were few instances in which I really opened things up and dropped the hammer on my accelerator. Perhaps it had more to do that all the cars I've ever owned started to shudder and feel like they might fall apart if I get much over 75 mph.  My two best friends growing up, however, had lead feet and the cars to satisfy their need for speed. In the years since our reckless youth, they have gone in different directions, though; one has continued his adrenaline quest and has broken two work cars in the process. The other wised up and purchased a radar detector so that he can safely pick and choose when to put the pedal to the metal.

It is in the spirit of the second friend (since we here at Ebates never recommend putting company property in risk) that I bring this little beauty to your attention: radar detector.jpgthe Whistler XTR-105 Laser-Radar Detector.  This little beauty comes highly recommended at picking up pesky police cruisers from great distances, so you have ample time to safely apply your brakes and return to the speed designated by the law of your state. The best part is, Newegg is practically giving these away: they are selling for just $34.99, marked down from $79.99 with free shipping. That's a savings of over 55%, plus the 2% cash back you get from Ebates.

Now, remember folks, that posted speed limits are the law, and I do not in any way, shape, or form endorse exceeding the speed limit or driving erratically. If you drive above the speed limit, radar detector or not, you run a high risk of getting pulled over and ticketed. And you should, because you're breaking the law. So, speed at your own risk, but if you're trying to stack the deck a little, this gizmo could be just what you're looking for.


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December 9, 2008

This year more than ever, unbelievable sales are popping up at stores all over the web. While we could be hesitant (or over just satiated) and wait for a better deal, we could also seize the sale and snag fantastic items and jaw-dropping prices the moment we see them. Case in point: Saks Fifth Avenue is currently having an enormous sale where designer items are reduced by as much as 70%! This includes shoes, handbags and jewelry, men's items, women's, and kids. I wish I took my own advice when I saw a fantastic designer pencil skirt reduced by 70% to only $67. I waited too long and the great deal passed me by. I am still regretting it.

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Good news, however, is that there are many more fabulous items available at great prices. Take this stylish Marc By Marc Jacobs silk blouse, once $228 and now just $67 with 3% cash back and free holiday gift box and ribbon too. You save $161 and hours looking for the perfect gift.

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Or if you are into the uber-luxurious for less, jump on this deal of the in-house label's Cashmere Cardigan with fur Collar, once $628 now just $187.95, you save over $400. And if fur is not your thing, you will find animal-friendly alternatives, like Vince sweaters at 70% off! Shop staggering deals on the best names in shoes and handbags too. Hurry, while they are adding new deals regularly, the best items are selling out quick!

Shop on!



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December 9, 2008

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the fact that one of the best gifts I received many years ago was a pocket watch, but I always have always had a soft spot for the pocket watch. I am always saddened that the classic look and style of the pocket watch has all but fallen by the wayside. Granted, the pocket watch's cousin the wristwatch is also going the way of VHS tapes and the Discman due to cell phones and their built-in timepieces; but there is something inherently timeless about a pocket watch. I know I faithfully carried one for probably about seven or eight years until I finally caved and started using cell phone as my dedicated timepiece. So it is in that spirit of uniqueness and individuality that I am suggesting it to you wonderful folks as an alternative to just another gift card or money.

I realize that this is a generally masculine present, pocket watch.jpgbut at least it is a unique one. So which one should you get? I recommend this Coleman Silvertone Pocket Watch from Target. It's got the great timeless look of a pocket watch, it's refined enough to take anywhere, but it's not covered in ornamentation or imitation antiquing. Plus, the fact that it's manufactured by Coleman, who has long been a trusted name in outdoor recreation products, means you know it should be able to stand up to almost whatever you can throw at it. Plus, this pocket watch has the push-button cover which not only protects the watch face when it is in your pocket, it also sells the entire look of the pocket watch; in my opinion, a pocket watch without a cover is like having peanut butter with no jam.

So act quickly and place your order before the eighteenth if you want to gaurantee delivery before Christmas. Plus, this item (along with a ton of other select menswear) is eligible for free shipping when you spend fifty dollars or more, plus no matter how much you spend, you'll get 4% cash back from Ebates. So show off your creative side with this great gift, and avoid those gift cards. Your recipients will thank you.


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December 8, 2008

Readers, I've voiced my love for all things related to extreme storage here on this blog more times than I can count. Whether it's related to my clinical download-itis, which leads to me hoarding everything I've obtained since second grade, or simply about my desire to never run out of space during a 2 AM downloading binge, nothing makes me as warm and fuzzy inside as a downright steal on a spacious hard drive. But today, the unthinkable has happened: my never-ending desire for all things spacious has finally been satiated. For today, Seagate has officially blown my mind with their massive, hulking 1.5TB Barracuda Hard Drive.

TSD-1500AS-Main01-JH.jpgWhen this 1.5TB drive hit the market a few months back, I was taken aback at it's ridiculous size, as well as Seagate's ability to create a drive that was so cost-effective for its size. Considering that most large-capacity drives tend to be more expensive than they need to at launch, Seagate bucked the trend by pricing it at an affordable $159 or so at a handful of retailers. Unfortunately, many of these early drives suffered from some bizarre errors, including freezing computers, refusing to format, and just generally not being recognized by the operating system. Thankfully, Seagate resolved the problems in the latest batch of hard drives, and even put out a firmware patch for old drives that ran into any problems. Thankfully, Seagate's drives come with one an unparalleled five-year warranty, so if anything does come up down the line, you can rest assured knowing that things will be taken care of.

I know what some of you may be thinking: What in the name of all things holy will I ever do with 1.5TB of disk space? The better question is: what can't I do with 1.5 TB of extra disk space? Toss it into your computer, grab an external enclosure, or just snatch it up for the next time you need it, because you can never have too much disk space on your computer, especially when it's only $139.99 with free shipping from TigerDirect. Considering that comes out to just about $0.09 per gigabyte, there's truly no better deal out there. Grab it with free shipping today!


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December 8, 2008

Of the many charming qualities I possess (wink wink), gift giving is not one of them. Frankly, I am just not an adept gift giver. Good shopper, yes. Good Samaritan, sometimes. Good at finding the perfect gift for someone, no. This personality defect only becomes a major problem once a year, so I have learned to live with it as I gently glaze over Christmas Gift time quietly and stealthy, with nice (just not perfect) gifts for everyone on my list. This year, I have decided to overcome the "bad gift giver" flaw and make the attempt at the elusive Perfect Gift.

Frankly, the odds are in my favor, and with my Ebates arsenal of over 1,000+ merchants, I really have no excuse. I have done a good job so far. I have my gifts and stocking stuffers picked out. Except for that one person on my list: the one who has everything and therefore is impossible to buy for. This person shall remain nameless, because this person does read my blog and I don't want to spoil the excitement of what might possibly be the best gift for the person who has everything.

GreenDimes.jpgMuch to my excitement, I stumbled upon this Green Dimes Eliminate Home Junk Mail Gift Card, for just $19.99 with 7% cash back at Drugstore.com. This amazing gem promises to eliminate 90% of your home junk mail and plants up to five trees in your name! So not only do you give the gift of saying goodbye to annoying catalogs for stores where the previous resident shopped, but also the unwanted credit card offers that threaten the safety of your identity. This is a gift of joy and peace of mind - make someone you love the King of their mailbox once again and do something good for the earth in the meantime.


Monopoly.jpgIf the Green Dimes gift card does not seem like it will bring tears of joy to the recipient, the Sephora Brand Monopoly surely will. Sephora has teamed up with Monopoly to create a beauty-full edition of the classic game where you - Go To Jail for bad hair days, Advance To Go for winning a shopping spree, and pay for your products with Beauty Bucks. The special edition game sells $23.50 with 8% cash back, plus this items ships for free with code SHOPNOW (hurry, ends tonight). This is a great gift that will bring a sincere smile to the face of every man woman and child who has dreamed of taking over the world vis-à-vis their beauty product empire.


Shop on and Give!


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December 8, 2008

This past weekend I did what many Americans do every year: I had an eye exam. Fortunately for me, my vision has not changed, or more specifically has not gotten worse, since there is no way I will ever wake up seeing 20/20 again. While that's the good news, the bad news is that my wallet had to pick between contacts or frames. Although I am extremely fortunate to have insurance, this isn't wonderland, and at some point the ol' insurance company steps in. Naturally I chose contacts, however I am in need of new frames. Well, not so much need but really really want. After all, I do work in fashion, and eyeglasses are just another accessory.

Hugo Boss Frames.jpgSince I work for Ebates where I can literally buy everything to survive (yes..even food) I started scouring the Health and Beauty Category for stores that sell frames. While trying on what seemed like hundreds of frames ranging from classic to retro to downright weird, I came across this pair by Hugo Boss. Designed for men, these frames look as if they were stolen off my grandfather's dresser, and have a very distinct retro look. As pessimistic as I am, I doubted I would find the exact pair I tried on in my optometrist's office. As soon as I clicked on FramesDirect I started seeing the glass as half full, and after thirty seconds I was staring at the exact same frames that had driven me to almost spend $225.

One part scholar, one part sexy teacher, these glasses play dual roles and can be trendy or nerdy, whichever way I dress around them. At just $150 I saved $75! That's a huge chunk of change that is now where it belongs -- in my bank account. Not only have I found the exact frames I want, but by shopping through Ebates I was able to save $75 and receive 4% cash back!

The moral of this story? If you find something that you can't live without, don't buy it. Instead write down the product info and find it on Ebates for much less. That's what real deal hunting divas do, and so should you.


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December 5, 2008

Ah, the first weekend of December. The cool, crisp wintry air, the fallen leaves, and the first real glimpse of the holiday season. It was exactly one week ago that we had the huge, crazy rush of Black Friday (along with its equally busy sibling, Cyber Monday), and it seems to me this weekend is going to be one of two things:

  1. jr.jpgA continuation of last weekend's madness, as all the rational people who weren't crazy enough to get up at 4 a.m. for sales head out to the malls and shopping centers.
  2. The final relatively mellow weekend before last-minute shoppers trample over one another for the last Elmo Live to be had before Christmas.

Either way, the beauty of Ebates is that you don't have to wade through the lines and play the guessing game of what's going to sell out first. With our (literally) virtual bevy of stores and items, you can always find a great sale almost any day of the week. This weekend, J & R is having a superb sale on all things electronics. Whether you're looking for a new, portable hard drive to take all your movies and music on the go, or picking up a travel mouse and a Wusthof 8418 8 Piece Knife Block Set, J & R surprisingly has it all on sale!

hdd.jpgPoking around the five pages of deals, a few things jump out to me as a great deal. Firstly, the Buffalo Technology 300GB 2.5" hard drive. Just a few weeks back, I picked up a similar 320GB drive from another website for over $85, and I haven't seen anything come close since. This is simply a great deal on such a small, spacious drive, and is a perfect companion for anyone on the go. With it you can take all your movies and music with you, making updating your iPod, watch movies, and show off family pictures on the go easier than ever before. It's small enough to fit in any purse or briefcase, and at just $69.99, is a great deal considering the instant rebate, no tax, and free shipping.

camera.jpgEqually impressive is the Olympus Stylus 12-megapixel digital camera, on sale for $149 (down from $349.99).  Many photographers have said that 12-megapixels is right about where there's almost no discernible difference between physical film and a digital pictures, meaning your pictures will come out just as good (if not better) than your old point-and-shoot ever did. Better yet, the Stylus 1200 includes Olympus's TruePic III Image Processor, found in many of their expensive top-of-the-line SLR cameras for a fraction of the price. It's a great holiday bargain for anyone looking for an upgrade/replacement for their camera, so give it a peek!

Whatever you're looking for, there's a ton of good stuff on sale over at J&R this weekend. Most importantly, with under 20 days left until Christmas, everything you order on sale should be able to make it to your house before the 25th with their Free Shipping! So act now, before prices go up and shipping gets more pricey as the shopping days dwindle down! Oh, and don't forget that with Ebates you'll get 3% cash back on all those great sale items!



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December 5, 2008

These days there are more choices and options in headphones than most of us can wrap our mind around. Not too long ago, I decided to get some new headphones, which gave us an idea: "Why not look at both of these headphones and explain what makes each of them great?" 

What you have here is the result of that idea.



Enjoy the video, and if you want to get a pair of either the Bose On-Ear Headphones or the Koss PortaPro Headphones, make sure you go through Ebates and get some cash back along the way. That sounds good no matter what you're listening through!


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December 5, 2008

JCrew Renee Jacket.jpgA keen fashion sense isn't something one is born with, despite what you may read in magazines or hear in interviews. Not a single person is born with the knowledge that a pencil skirt is incredibly slimming or that a black pump will instantly take an outfit from drab to fab. People who always look like "best dressed material" have done so through trial and error, like myself. While I am not so bold to claim best dressed, I can say that I have developed a skill at dressing and creating outfits. Unfortunately for me, this talent seems to yo-yo as much as the stock market does. Some days I have overwhelming creativity, while other days I can stare at my closet for hours, only to leave theShopbop Current Elliot Jean.jpg house in jeans and a t-shirt.


Yesterday, while browsing J.Crew for a vintage inspired cropped cardigan (preferably in an animal print), I came across this Golden Roses Coat. As if the beauty of this coat wasn't enough, it's on sale for $298, which is a savings of over $125. Made from silk and wool, this coat looks as if it were taken directly from the set of the 1960 movie It Started In Naples with Sophia Loren. The bold yet artful rose print is such a statement that it needs to be accompanied by the simplest of clothing. Being in a creative mood, I quickly came up with the perfect outfit of a black turtleneck, loose jeans rolled at the hem, and topped off with black ankle booties. The look from the waist up says European Chic, while from waist down it says Rock and Roll. Being that these two styles are polar opposites of each other, combining them into the perfect outfit made me want to try my hand at foreign policy. Considering I've actually been to other countries, perhaps this should be a new career choice - maybe I'll even run for vice president.

However, until my political career gets going, I'll stick to what I do best, which is fashion. The second most important part of this outfit (and equally exciting) are the loose "I'm wearing my boyfriend's jeans" denim. These must be the perfect blend of loose and fitted. Nearly impossible to do right, denim label Current Elliot hit the nail on the head with their Boyfriend Jean. I have been wanting these for months and have literally created hundreds of outfits around them. I found them at Shopbop where I'll receive 3% cash back. Something about the tough faded denim with fraying holes reminds me of my younger days as a grunge kid decked out in bands t-shirts and Doc Martens. I can hear my mother yelling "Why would anyone buy jeans with holes in them, you can do that yourself!" but what can I say? If fashion were a mental illness, I'd be it's sickest patient. However... unlike truly crazy people, I am completely aware of my psychosis and I plan to do nothing about it.

 


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December 5, 2008

With Christmas just about three weeks away, many of us are making our lists and checking them twice - to budget out gifts for people on our lists. Regardless of the economy, it is still Christmas, and when you are spending your hard-earned dollars on the people you love, it is important to make sure, this year more than ever, that you are getting someone a thoughtful gift at a great value. A tried and true gift that fits this very criteria are books. Whether they are artistic coffee table books, hardcover classics, or the newest bestsellers, most everyone is pleased or at the very least grateful to open up a book from under the tree.


BobbiBrown.jpg A great books for the Fashionista this year is "Bobbi Brown's Makeup Manual: Everyone From Beginner To Pro" available at Barnes & Noble for 30% off the list price at just $22.40 with 8% cash back. Enjoy free shipping on orders over $25, so pick op something else while you are at it and the entire order will be at your doorstep in three business days or less. This fabulous book covers everything from skincare essentials to every aspect of makeup execution from Bobbi herself  who has twenty five years of experience behind her. This book is essentially an all-encompassing how to guide detailing how to get many coveted makeup looks with easy-to-follow instructions. Plus, the book even has a section all about makeup artists and their insider secrets which can help to turn every woman into a gorgeous, flawless pro. The book itself is also pretty flawless: glossy pages (easy to wipe down if you have some makeup spillage) and a fun cover that will make any coffee table more intriguing. Check out the Bobbi Brown website in our Health and Beauty Category to shop for some goods with 4% cash back.


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If someone on your list is less inspired by makeup and more by fashion than Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's new book "Influence" is the gift for them. This book is filled with beautiful photographs and anecdotes about all the things that influence the Olsen twins and their noteworthy fashion and cultural influence. This book is wildly entertaining and sells for an affordable $24.50, saving you 20% off the list price with 8% cash back also from Barnes and Noble.


Style.jpgFor the more refined woman, I recommend Nina Garcia's (former editor of Elle Magazine, now for Marie Claire and host of Project Runway), "Little Black Book of Style" for just $15.96. This book is intended to guide one through the discovery of their fashion voice and personal style, to always look their best with ease. She details what to wear and when, and throughout the book she promotes the importance of 'eternal style being internal style'. Garcia is both credible and easy to follow, and this book makes a fun gift for the developed fashionista or the struggling one young and old.

Shop on!


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December 4, 2008

In the lunch room at work this afternoon, we somehow got on the topic of dental hygiene. You'll be very happy to know that it turns out most Ebates employees (at least those who were dining in the lunch room today) are all avid brushers, flossers, and a few are even mouthwash enthusiasts. I, like my co-workers, can't get enough of that freshly-brushed feeling that most people only enjoy but once or twice a day.

Still, no matter how meticulously you care for your teeth, most people ignore the other major component of dental hygiene: the toothbrush. While we may buy wonderful and futuristic electronic toothbrushes or just get the newest latest traditional brush with hand-selected bristles or magical alignment, most people I know treat their toothbrush in the same manner: pick up, apply toothpaste, brush, rinse, replace in holder or cup, repeat.  It's a time-honored process that most everyone grew up with. I am no exception. However, after doing a little research, I discovered that there could still be thousands of germs and bacteria all over my brush every time I put it back in its designated spot, and that's just gross.

The solution? The VIOlight Zapi. This silly looking little egg-shaped marvel contains a special UV light that helps sanitize your brush after every use. sanitizer.jpg It really seems about as simple as can be possible: set it inside the housing and press a button, and the Zapi takes care of the rest. And by "the rest" I mean massacring germs and bacteria. So if you want a clean, fresh, and, most importantly, healty mouth, this is the product for you. Right now they're in stock and on sale at drugstore.com for $29.99, with 7% cash back. They're available in four colors, so you can find the one that best matches your personality (or just your bathroom) and it even comes with a matching toothbrush. But fear not, you don't need to use their supplied brush; the Zapi sanitizer it compatible with most every "traditional style" toothbrush or electric toothbrush head. From what I can gather "tradtional" just means that it's long, narrow and has bristles that you clean your teeth with. 

If you have any questions about the Zapi, you can check out the user's manual in .pdf format here


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December 4, 2008

50header.jpgAs one half of the male contingent around here, I can say that it's tricky tracking down good deals on "essential" winter clothes. Things like sweaters, a nice pair of jeans, and solid outerwear are hard to get a good deal on. That's why when Aeropostale started up there 50% Off All Guy's Clothing event, I was even tempted to get a few things even though I was completely new to their store. 

For just $50 you could get a new V-Neck sweater and a hoodie, and probably toss in a hat as well. Or maybe some scarves for friends and a pea coat for yourself? There's a lot of stuff on sale. I didn't think this sale was going to run for much more than Black Friday, but it looks like it's going to stick around for at least another day or two. Even if you're not sure about a size or style, returns are easily made at any Aeropostale shop near you, so you can cut out the lines and save money online with 2% Ebates cash back.

50scarf.jpgThere are a wide range of styles, colors, and categories on sale during the 50% off Guys event for you to choose from, with the added bonus of a handful of specials in the Girls department if you're looking for a little something extra for her as well. There are only so many more days before the gift giving begins, so save 50% when you can, wherever you can!



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December 3, 2008

In my ceaseless quest to find the interesting or at least ambiguously named merchants here on Ebates, I stumble across a number that really tickle my fancy. This week's site, RaidenTech.com is one of those sites. 

So what is it about this site that amuses and amazes me at the same time? Simple: they have quite possibly the largest collection of remote control items I've seen assembled in one place. With the holidays right around the corner, this could be a godsend to some of us looking for some sort of tech-type gift on a budget. What's even better is that they don't limit themselves to just RC, either; they have a wide range of accessories for consumer electronics including the Nintendo Wii, the PlayStation Portable, even the Apple iPhone.  Probably the best way to put it is that they have a little bit of everything for the geek or gadget lover in your life... from spy cameras to tabletop foosball tables.

So check out RaidenTech.com - fulfill your remote control dreams or pick up some hard-to-find accessories for your favorite gadget, and while you're at it, get 3% cash back from Ebates.com.

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December 3, 2008

With a skincare market full of $600 anti-wrinkle creams, $80 facial cleansers and procedures that require you to go under the knife, it is obvious that women are fervently looking to turn back the hands of time and get anti-aging results regardless of the cost. For those women who seek distinct results without the surgery or the gut-wrenching prices of some other brands, Olay Professional has the solution for you. Available now for pre-sale (due to the insanely high demand) at Drugstore.com for $51.50 and free shipping ($10 off suggested retail), is the Olay Professional Pro-X Anti-Aging starter Kit. This is not your average drugstore skincare line. In fact, this kit is filled with three essential scientifically developed and clinically proven products that are guaranteed to provide results.


Olay.JPGThe starter kit comes with three products: Age Repair Lotion with SPF30 intended to protect skin, Wrinkle Smoothing Cream intended to transform the skin by improving texture and tone while diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and the Eye Restoration Complex, which targets the delicate eye area, smoothing puffiness, dark circles, and crows feet. All of the products work by re-signaling the skin's moisture barrier and boosting the skin's turnover rate to encourage the skin to preform like it did when it was younger.

The kit packs some major bang for only $50 and is subsequently creating a major buzz with beauty junkies and skincare professionals alike. Pre-sale begins now, and the product is intended to ship on December 23, 2008. It would make a great gift for the woman on your list who needs to try all the new and cutting edge beauty products. But don't wait! This product is going fast! Save $10 and get 7% cash back, which is nothing to furrow your brow over. In fact, show some smile lines and save big!

Shop on!


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December 3, 2008

If there's one thing I love more than the other things I love (coffee, chocolate, bread, bread dipped in chocolate, etc) it's costume jewelry. Bold brooches done in the shape of tigers, massive cuff links that seem to be the width of your wrist, and earrings so big Edie Sedgewick herself would back down. My love for bold, stand-out jewelry stems from being a jewelry designer myself. Not satisfied with the boring or insanely priced jewelry on the market, I set out to create my own. While jewelry can be found on the sidewalk (literally), most costume jewelry can be found at vintage stores, yard sales, or any other venue where people "get rid of" their belongings, yet what some may consider tacky crap, I simply fawn over. I'm not sure if loving other people's discarded goods makes me authentic and resourceful, or a crazy baglady in training. I shall wait to find out.

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No other designer does chatchke -Yiddish for misc, also meaning "crap" - jewelry like Kenneth Jay Lane. If you're thrown off by the use of the word crap, I mean it in the most endearing way. This Silver with Crystal "Pave" Stone Pin is done in a Spotted Leopard design, and is as chic as it is flashy. I haven't worn brooches (or any other animal-themed clothing item) close to my decolletage since high school when asked if someone could "pet" my puppy dog t-shirt. True story. I was mortified and stuck to prints that could not be "pet" for years to come.


This dynamic brooch is best worn as a clasp for an oversized wrap or pashmina. It sparkles against otherwise simple or tame colors, and looks equally luxe against bold and wild prints. I found this at Bluefly, where they stock a huge selection of costume jewelry by Kenneth Jay Lane and many others. Originally priced at $215, this pin is on sale for just $129! Receiving 3% cash back assures me that even if I'm dressing like a bag lady, I'll have enough cash to avoid living like one.


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December 3, 2008

Any Winehouse 2.jpgAlthough Amy Winehouse said no, no, no to rehab, she has said yes to great fashion. Her style is much like her music. Colorful, retro, and full of soul. As if her 60's beehive hairstyle wasn't eye catching enough, Amy's rock-a-billy/ 60's Motown fashion is done in the only way she can: amazingly.

As for myself, I've always loved the rock-a-billy look of the mid 50's to early 60's. The halter dresses, the stiff and extremely scratchy crinoline, not to mention the cherry red lipstick. No time period embraces a woman's curves such as this era of pencil skirts and shrunken cardigans. If Betty Page was the flame for this look, then Any Winehouse (minus the drug addiction) is the torch. Despite my love for this va-va-voom look, achieving it without looking like a fool (or like you're wearing a Halloween costume) is best left to the pros (which I am not). Dressing the part takes more than a few key pieces in one's wardrobe. The difference between rock-a-billy sex pot, and school teacher is knowing what works and what doesn't. This Cropped Jacket From J.Crew is a perfect example of a retro staple with a fun twist. Instead of pairing this with cropped leggings and looking like Marilyn, try a dark rinse jean and a white t-shirt. Originally $248, this jacket is now just $169.99, making me not just a stylish shopper, but a smart one too.

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Another retro trend I am loving this Winter season is the resurgence of vintage-inspired feather headpieces like this feather headband from Urban Outfitters. Although much more flapper than rock-a-billy, this beautiful piece is totally feminine, and is great for bad hair days (which I am always having). Perfect with a a cocktail dress for New Year's, or a simple black sweater for dinner with friends, this accessory is sure to become my new want-to-wear-everyday item, replacing my beloved beret. At just $18, it's not going to cause me wallet shock, which in these times of financial hysteria is a good -- no, great -- thing. Both these stores will earn me 2% cash back, making me one happy (and trendy) customer.



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December 2, 2008

With the holidays just a few weeks away, the crunch time is approaching faster than a snowball tossed off a mountaintop. Given the economic crunch so many are feeling, some people are thinking twice about spending big cash on the newest electronics out there, and videogame systems are no exception. While I personally vouch for the utter awesomeness of the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, it's important to know your roots too! That's why a great system like the PlayStation 2 shouldn't go unnoticed - especially with a great bundle for only $139, and it's vast catalog of over 1400 titles.

Over at Wal-Mart.com, they have a special "Cyber Week" black PS2 bundle with the excellent Lego Batman videogame that's fun for the whole family, and a special Justice lego.jpgLeague: The New Frontier featuring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more! Best of all, it even comes with a $30 Wal-Mart gift card that you can use to buy another controller, some more videogames, or even a new set of slotted spoons for your kitchen! Considering that a PS2 generally goes for $129 without any games, and the bundled games and card would cost you over $60 purchased separately, this deal is sure to go fast. And thanks to Ebates' Holiday Double Cash Back, you'll even receive 2% cash back! Not a bad way to kick off (or wrap up) your holiday grabs! Just head on over to Wal-Mart and search for "PlayStation 2 $30 bundle" and pick yours up before it's gone.

After all, who doesn't like videogames, Legos, or Batman? You just can't lose with so much awesome bundled with so much savings!


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December 2, 2008


My favorite part of gift giving and receiving on Christmas is the stocking. There is something just so inexplicably pleasurable about finding cute little trinkets and items to give to someone, concealed by an enlarged sock hanging from the mantle. It is such a great tradition that, despite its ridiculousness, it's quite sentimental and festive. Typically, I recommend great beauty products to put in a stocking, although I reluctantly accept the fact that beauty products and accessories do not excite every woman. But there are tons of other stocking-worthy gifts that are just waiting to be stuffed.

Ring.jpg This fun, festive, and chic cocktail ring at JCrew  is just $55 with 2% cash back and it makes for a great stocking stuffer. It can be thrown on with almost any outfit and layered with existing jewelry, plus, it's easy on the wallet, which is a fun bonus to shopping for stocking suffers. JCrew has a ton of great jewelry pieces: beautiful pins, fun cocktail rings, and statement necklaces that are the perfect stocking accoutrement. Also, check out more Jewelry deals in the Ebates Holiday Products Deals Pages.

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Simple necessities also make for great stocking stuffing material. This Scotch Guard Fur Fighter Hair Removal Kit from drugstore.com is on sale for 12% off and sells for $8.79 with 7% cash back. This fur-fighting savior is also part of a drugstore.com BOGO offer, so it is a great deal and a fun option for a stocking, particularly for those of us who live with pets and subsequently endless amounts of pet hair.

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Stockings would be virtually nonexistent if it was not for festive novelty candies like these chocolate Santas, Snowmen, and Presents for $8.99 per 8oz, with 6% cash back from Fannie May Candies. You are guaranteed to make yourself sick of them by New Year's Eve, but they are deliciously addictive and truly do make the season brighter!

Shop On!


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December 2, 2008

Greetings readers! Today we embark on a new adventure in Ebates Blogland: video blogs! That's right, instead of having to wade through everything that I write, you get to sit there and listen to me talk (if you so choose) instead. So sit back, enjoy, and let me know what you think. We are hoping to make this a regular feature here on the blog, so I'm curious to hear what you folks have to say. 




If you like what you see (the computer, not Bill), swing by the Apple Store page at Ebates and check out the whole new line of products they have available while getting 1% cash back on all your purchases.


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