Friday, March 20, 2009

Almost as good as the Kindle...

For those of us who like to try out new recipes only to print them out and lose them to the abyss of our apartments, there is now a new gadget that stores them all for easy reference, the Demy digital recipe reader. If you know me by now, you know I want one.

All you need is a Demi and a account and you are ready to go. The Demi also is a timer, a measurement converter, offers suggestions for ingredient substitutions and knows what your favorite dishes are. If it did the dishes, it would be perfect.

Kirtsy? Sure, I can Digg it

My friend and fellow blogger, Matt, kindly introduced me to Kirtsy, another social voting site with a decidedly new twist: its target is a female audience. For many reasons, this is a great idea, but the main draw to me is that it may help women who might never have joined the conversation on Digg, StumbleUpon or Reddit (admittedly, I have never voted on these sites, though I do check them out occasionally - I do have a account, but don't really use it much either).

Posts on Kirtsy are decidely more girly fun than geeky fun. They may tend more towards crafts for Easter, off-the-wall wedding venues and lip balm, but you can still find articles about job-hunting, sports and current news as well. The color scheme is similar to Digg, but the layout is more vertical. One big difference between the two sites is that Kirtsy uses editors while Digg let's its users decide what they want to see most. I can really find topics I'm interested in on both sites, but Kirtsy does tend to be a little more like a gabfest among girlfriends than a serious news aggregator. Hey, not necessarily a bad thing though.

The site, originally called Sk*rt, got its start when three female bloggers decided to get together in 2007 and create something that was interesting to them. They found success early on, but met with some legal troubles over their name. So they quickly held a contest and relaunched as Kirtsy. Thankfully, most of the sites that were linking to them followed along.

Kirtsy is definitely a great site that I will be adding to my mix.

Priority #1: Save Money

In these difficult economic times, we ladies need all the financial help we can get. As trusted financial advisors like Jim Kramer get taken down a peg by people who are upset by their misguided advice, there are still a few people who are rolling with the times and tweaking their core strategies to better serve the immediate situation.

I have been a fan of personal finance guru, Suze Orman, and her spunky attitude since I first read her book, "Young, Fabulous & Broke." Though her advice has never been earth-shattering (ie. pay off your credit card debt and then save 8 month's salary before even thinking about investing) I appreciate how she keeps it simple, since I for one am no financial genius. She also has spoken directly to women with her book, "Women and Money." Plus, I admire the way she manages her brand, utilizing codes within her books to drive traffic to her website so users can gain access to planning tools and updated information. Once there, she can advertise her show and other appearances, sell financial products and promote her new book or the Save Yourself account she started with Ameritrade.

I had the chance to hear her speak at an event today where she was promoting her new book, "Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan." She was funny, inciteful and everything you want to be to sell a book, but she left me with a lot of things to think about as well. She kept stressing that times have changed, and we all need to modify our plans based on what we have now, not what we used to have. She advised to focus first on savings and paying the minimums on credit card debt, which is a huge seachange from her prior advice. With the uncertain job climate and changes within the lending industy, she felt that an emergency fund was the most important thing to focus on right now.

Now her folksy, perma-tanned personality is certainly larger than life, and it is understandable that SNL likes to poke fun at her (I think she called at least 3 people in the audience "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" at some point) but as I said before, at the core her message is very basic and straightforward. She wants to tell people about the benefits of a Roth IRA. She is concerned about people not having wills and trusts. Amazingly, she even thinks this current climate might be the best thing that could have happened for someone my age, because it means that now that crazy real estate prices have come down I might actually be able to afford a home some day, and also that the money I am contributing to my 401k at these historically low rates will amount to much larger sums by the time I retire. Boy did I love it when she put it that way! Woohoo financial collapse...well, not quite.