Category Archives: Shopping

5 Big Mistakes Brides-To-Be Make When Planning a Wedding

(Street Proposal photo by Prayitn)

The big moment finally arrived and you are bouncing off the walls. After all this time – or maybe just the right amount of time – he finally proposed and your mind is buzzing with all sorts of big plans. It’s time to start working, but before you let your enthusiasm get the best of you, make sure to avoid these common wedding planning blunders.

 

Don’t Start Inviting People Just Yet

Once you invite someone to your wedding, you can’t really un-invite them. Without knowing your budget or the groom’s guest list, you might be setting yourself up for disaster. Plan your finances and get on the same page before you start making calls.

Don’t Give Your Parents Too Much Power

Too often, brides are quick to make promises to their parents that later result in regrets. You’re excited. They’re excited. But, ultimately, you’re bound to butt heads with the people who raised you. It’s difficult to take back promises once they’ve been made, so think hard and talk to your partner before delegating any responsibilities to your folks.

Don’t Offer to Pay Expenses

Good intentions often lead to angry wedding parties. If a friend agrees to be in your bridal party, because you offered to pay for shoes, makeup, a dress, travel or lodging, she’s going to be plenty mad if you can’t come through. Again, take a deep breath and think about what you and your partner will be able to manage.

Don’t Skimp on Photography

It’s quite common for brides to focus on the actual ceremony without giving much thought to the aftermath. According to photographer, Arnaud Brichet, who owns the Punta Cana wedding photography company HDC Photo, many times, this results in serious disappointment.

“As memories fade, your photos will be the key link to your big day.” he said. “It’s important to use a professional wedding photographer who has the equipment and know-how to capture the true essence of your wedding, while painting you and your guests in a flattering light.”

Your wedding is big deal, so don’t let a friend or family member convince you they have the ability to photographer your wedding.

Don’t Choose the First Dress You See

It’s quite a thrill to see yourself in a wedding gown for the first time. In fact, the sight can be so powerful, you might feel tempted to purchase the first dress you try on. Unfortunately, over the next several weeks or months, you’re apt to see dresses that put that one to shame. Take your time when choosing your wedding dress. After all, you don’t really need to finalize this task until the big day approaches.

3 of the Best Novels to Read if You Like Short Stories

The Hell that Followed

Unfortunately for people who enjoy brief fiction, publishers tend to prefer full-length novels which make readers feel as though they’ve gotten their money’s worth. While you can find plenty of short fiction collections, the quality isn’t always up to par. Most of the best writers tend to craft longer books which allow them to develop characters. That said, some full-length books contain characteristics that make them appeal to readers who appreciate short stories.

Three Good Examples

Recently, I published a brief list at Amazon.com featuring the best novels to read for people who like short fiction. While all of these books are full-length; each features characteristics that will make them attractive to people who prefer short stories.

Illusions

Breezy and short, this beautiful novella is touching and funny. It’s also extremely thought-provoking and entertaining. If you’re looking for a book you can consume in a single evening; this is a fantastic option. It’s also the type of novel which will stay with you for weeks after you’ve read it.

The Hell that Followed

On sale for only $2.99 at Amazon.com, this is the best novel to read for anyone who likes their stories cut up into easily-digestible segments. With an assortment of fascinating characters, The Hell that Follows features several parallel plotlines and a brisk pace which is perfect for people who usually love shorter fiction. The plot is gritty and intense; and there’s an emotional element that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.

Fools Die

Author of The Godfather, Mario Puzo wrote plenty of fantastic novels before his passing in 1999; however, many people remain unaware of them. This particular novel offers an interesting mix of crime, gambling, danger and some deep insight into the confounding relationship between women and men. Focused on two different main characters, this novel jumps back and forth between plots, making it a good option for readers who generally prefer brief fiction.

3 Cool New Gadgets that Are Blowing Minds

Mindflex

Advancing technology has set the stage for some incredible new gadgets that make life easier, more convenient and a lot of fun. If you think your latest smartphone app is something special, wait until you see how three cool new gadgets are giving consumers and creators the opportunity to utilize their minds in ways many never thought possible.

Google Glass

This amazing eyewear can do almost anything a smartphone can do, including provide access to the World Wide Web for answers to almost any question. Even more amazing, Glass can generate visual displays that augment reality. Don’t know where you are? Ask this amazing piece of Google technology for directions and arrows will appear atop the ground before your very eyes. Don’t know the meaning of an Italian word? Ask Glass and it will speak the meaning right into your ears. Completely hands free, Google’s intuitive augmented reality eyewear also lets you easily take videos and snap pictures, which you can send to any person, regardless of their location on the planet.

Mindflex

Mattel’s mind-boggling mental acuity game lets opponents control tangible objects using just their minds. Competitors place sensors on their foreheads and earlobes, allowing Mindflex to sense brainwaves which it interprets as directions. Strong concentration skills force a floating sphere in the direction of your opponent, who tries to push it in your direction using only his or her mind. It may sound like something from the future; however, this incredible “toy” is already available at local department stores.

eBook Downloads

To the dismay of the publishing houses, e-Readers are quickly changing the way consumers get their books. Additionally, these gadgets have been a godsend to authors, who are now able to use self-publishing platforms to get their novels in front of readers. According to RJ Lawrence who distributes his eBooks download through Amazon.com, this technology has been hugely beneficial to both readers and authors.

“Some of the old guards in the publishing profession say that self-publishing hurts readers by letting low-quality material into the marketplace,” he said. “In the past, agents and publishers acted as filters that supposedly worked to keep bad writers and bad stories off bookstore shelves. In reality, however, I think we can all agree that there were plenty of bad books available to readers long before self-publishing came about. In the end, readers are perfectly capable of keeping bad writing at bay on their own through basic word of mouth and ratings systems.”

UBid, Happybidday, Pennygrab: Are All Online Auctions the Same?

Auction user (photo by Petar Milošević)

Penny Auctions have grown in popularity over the past year, thanks to widespread radio and television promotion. Unfortunately, they’ve also come under plenty of fire for bilking unsuspecting consumers out of their hard-earned money. Sites such as UBid, Happybidday, and PennyGrab pit users against one another in auction-style online formats that promise to deliver bargain prices on brand name products. That said, although these sites seem quite similar at first glance; they aren’t necessarily the same.

AARP Issues Warning

Recently the AARP issued a warning to its members regarding penny auction sites that take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. According to the organization, many people don’t realize that many of these sites are unlike traditional online auctions, such as eBay, because they require consumers to pay for the right to bid. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether bidders win an individual action or not; they must pay to participate. This means that any time an auction ends; numerous people have lost money, allowing the auction company to reap large profits at the expense of its customers.

Are They All the Same?

While most penny auctions work the same way, not all maintain the same level of credibility. For instance, while Penny Grab and U Bid are accredited by the Better Business Bureau; Happy Bid Day is not. Likewise, while pennygrab.com and happybidday.com require customers to pay money for the right to bid, ubid.com says it only charges a consumer’s credit card if he or she actually wins. Ultimately, this characteristic makes uBid a traditional auction site, which sets it apart from typical pay-to-play auction sites that force consumers to put money at risk just for the right to participate.

FTC Urges Caution

Like the AARP, the Federal Trade Commission has expressed concern about the way some of these bid-and-buy websites work. According to the federal agency, even when participants win a penny auction auction; the vast majority end up paying more than they expected. Additionally, the FTC warns that some sites use automated bots to make false bids on products, which helps drive up prices to encourage higher profits for the company.

New Book Lists for Thursday, May 16

A great resource which offers reliable suggestions, Listmania is quickly becoming one of Amazon.com’s most popular features. Our in-house book reviewer, Lois McGinty compiles new lists on a weekly basis to guide readers toward novels and authors that are similar to many of their favorites. Below, we’ve listed her most recent lists:

Authors Similar to James Patterson
Books Similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Books Similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Books Like Outlander
Must Read Novels that Stick with You
Books like The Lord of the Rings
Books Like Harry Potter
Books Like Game of Thrones

If you have an idea for a new Listmania topic, contact Lois at lmcginty.kingofhowto@gmail.com.

New Book Lists for Sunday, May 5

A valuable resource that provides great book suggestions, Amazon.com’s new Listmania is quickly gaining popularity for helping readers find authors and novels which have similarities to some of their favorites. Our in-house books and publishing expert Lois McGinty creates new lists on a daily basis to help readers unearth new books they might normally overlook. Below, you’ll find a few of her most recent compilations:

Must Read Novels that Stick with You
Books Like Into the Wild
Books Like Fight Club
Books Like the Alchemist
Books like The Lord of the Rings
Books Like The Hunger Games
Books Like 1984

If you have an idea for a new Listmania topic, contact Lois at lmcginty.kingofhowto@gmail.com.