Sunday, December 16

A Hot Cup's Christmas Extravaganza

Items to check out! Freebies to download! Fun all around! Sounds like a Christmas extravaganza!

Books
The heartwarming (and heartwrenching) story of former NFL-er Chris Spielman and his wife's battle with cancer, That's Why I'm Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story takes a look at how Chris balanced football with four children and a wife that was diagnosed with breast cancer during his playing career. While a few of the chapters get more football-oriented, overall, this is a book anyone can read. Great messages abound throughout, and as someone that's had multiple family members affected by cancer, I really enjoyed it.

The Money Code(available 1/22/2013)
Joe Duran's newest book takes a subject that's been covered to death (money and finances) and brings it to life in an engaging way. As someone who could always use some help in the money department, this is a welcome read. Using the fictional character Jack to create a personal narrative, Duran emphasizes the importance of decision-making, and how you can use wise choices to improve your financial life.

The MILF Diet(available 1/1/2013)
John Cho's character in American Pie popularized the use of the term MILF, but that doesn't mean only women can enjoy this book. Sure, it's aimed at females, with exercises and positive reinforcements, so certainly more women than men will own copies. However, Jessica Porter's humorous, honest writing helps keep the reader entertained, and I'm always willing to try out some new recipes--there's no shortage of those in this book. While it's a great gift for any woman in your life, if there's a guy you know that likes to cook, they'd like it, too.

Health
I've never been one for dietary supplements, but I've also never been one to care about what I eat. Of course, as my metabolism starts slowing to a crawl, I'm sure that'll change. If you've already reached that point, Twinlab Diet Fuel combines the herbal power of forskohlii (try saying that five times fast) with chromium, a fat burning mineral, and the thermogenic green tea extract. Use Coupon Code "GNC: 20376" and save $3.00 on any Twinlab purchase. 

I'm all about lotions and creams that not only keep any sort of dryness at bay, but also provide some pain relief. Topricin actually does both, through a natural blend of ingredients. Since I tend to get sore quite often due to the WIDE variety of exercises I do, this is a welcome addition to the medicine cabinet.

I know, I know, I'm a sucker for sweets. But what about sweet smelling things? This bath and body set features fragrances like Snickerdoodle and Frosted Cookie. Not sure if you personally want to smell like that, but I wouldn't mind if someone that wasn't me was wearing them. Assuming they also brought cookies to share with everyone.

Entertainment
"White Skies and Moonlight" by Kelly Sweet
She's described as a Robyn soundalike, and that's good enough for me. Check out the song for free! Makes a great stocking stuffer. If, you know, your stocking is online.

Based off the incredible website of the same name, this board game has a bit of an Apples to Apples feel to it. But since nearly every picture is absolutely amazing, it's even better than the fruited one.

This Is Not an App
Based off the Keri Smith novel This Is Not a Book, this iOS and Android app guides users through a series of prompts to determine the final product and content of the app. This app transforms a phone or tablet into a digital time travel device, an electronic mess-maker, a choose-your-own adventure, a handheld nature emulator, an ethnographic study of the room you are sitting in, or a virtual collection of objects from the world around us. The creative mind (like mine) loves it, and it hearkens back to the ol' Goosebumps days of choosing your own adventure. This Is Not an App is now available for download through the iTunes Store, Google Android Marketplace and at Barnes and Noble for Nook ($4.99).

This is an app that's been around for awhile, but it still cracks me up every time I play it. Maybe SOMEDAY it'll come out for the non-iPhone phones, too. You create music videos by making the sounds of instruments using the iPhone camera. It's hilarious and sometimes you actually create some really catchy stuff. Great party game, and it's free!

*These products were provided to me for review at no cost.

5 Tips For Shopping Safely Online During the Holiday Season (or anytime)
Seems to me like these are fairly obvious, yet I'm constantly amazed by how many people get swindled by online shenanigans. Here are five tips to stay safe while shopping, courtesy of Geeks on Site.

1.       Use your Credit Card, not your Debit Card
Credit Cards offer better protection against fraud.  With a Credit Card, you are only liable up to $50 as long as you report the fraud within 30 days. Debit Cards on the other hand, are more difficult to get refunded and sometimes you only get a partial refund.

2.       Shop from known retailer’s websites
Search engines may redirect you to scam or spoofed websites. Spoofed websites are created with exactly the same appearance and infrastructure as the original website, with the sole purpose of stealing your user credentials. Be sure to verify the website address at the address bar of your browser.

3.       Update your System
When shopping online, make sure to use the latest brand named browser available for your system, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer, as the latest versions of each have increased safeguards to prevent adware, spyware, and phishing attempts.  Having an updated antivirus or antimalware is essential when preventing fraud.  Both the browsers, as well as approved antivirus programs offer some type of verification of websites, making sure they are the original site and not a spoofed one.

4.       Shop at home
Public LANs and WIFI networks, such as libraries, cyber-cafes, airports or even work computers, could be compromised with malware.  Hackers also have access to these networks, and could be tapping into them to get your personal information. Always do your online shopping from network secured with a WEP or WPA password.

5.       Don’t save your information online
Saving your information online such as name, address and Credit Card number might be convenient for your next purchase, but there is always a chance that the company keeping your information could have a data breach. Then your information, as well as thousands of others will be at the mercy of a hacker. For this reason, it’s best to always enter your information every time and not save it in a server which you don’t have control over.

Enjoy the holiday season!

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