Monthly Archives: May 2009

13 Things Your Thrift Shop Won’t Tell You

Written by Reader’s Digest

1. This usually isn’t the place to make a fast buck. Some shops issue checks quarterly-and pay you only if your item sells.

2. Some of my merchandise is brand new: When a boutique goes out of business, I’ll pick up the inventory and flip it to you.

3. The recession means times are changing, and so is our inventory. Women’s suits and formal wear aren’t selling the way they used to, but smaller furniture for smaller houses is in demand.

4. We’re not testing toys for lead. Retailers have to, but re-sellers are exempt. (It’s still not legal for us to sell this stuff.)

5. Stick to stores in the nicer neighborhoods, where people have more disposable income, and more disposable high-end merchandise.

6. Please don’t leave “donations” on our doorstep. That three-piece sectional couch that’s been sitting in the rain all weekend? Now I have to pay somebody to haul it to the dump.

7. A Wedgwood urn with a little chip? I can probably work with that. I need complete sets of buttons. I need working zippers.

8. If I say, “That’s adorable, but I don’t have a market for it,” take the hint. I’ve probably been doing this a long time, and I know what will move. It’s not personal, it’s business. If you get belligerent with me, I will not want to build a working relationship with you.

9. And do you really want to buy someone’s used potty chair? I can’t believe I even have to mention this-but some of my competitors do sell this stuff, so someone must be buying it.

10. Consignment shopping is probably the only consumption that’s environmentally friendly: When you buy an item you’re keeping it out of the landfills, where an estimated 85 percent of used clothing winds up every year.

11. Sometimes it’s a fine line between “vintage” and “hideous.” Jodi Miller of Designer Renaissance asks herself, “First, is it icky? Some materials of old just seem flammable and you can’t see anybody ever wearing it.”

12. Ask about my markdown policy. Designer Renaissance in Nashville puts merchandise on sale every Thursday: If an item hasn’t moved at full price after five weeks, it’s marked down 25 percent, the next week it’s reduced 50 percent, and the week after that 75 percent.

13. Sometimes it is personal: We get to know you through what you buy and what you discard due to boredom, bad karma, or your metabolic ups and downs. “I’m growing old with some of my customers,” says Miller of Designer Renaissance. “When they’re dating they get all these hottie clothes, then they get married and you don’t see them for a while, then in their later 30s their sizes start changing every year, so I get them again. We discuss medical problems, emotional problems, who the good divorce lawyers are. This job’s a blast.”

Sources: Dolores Klein, manager, New Canaan Thrift Shop, New Canaan, Connecticut; Sherry Selmer, owner, Urban Exchange, Northampton, Massachusetts; Jodi Miller, owner, Designer Renaissance, Nashville, Tennessee; Marilyn Ross, manager, Vinson Hall Treasure Shop, McLean, Virginia; Marilyn LaShomb, manager, Home Consignment Center, Las Vegas, Nevada; Elke Prado, owner, Mommy’s Merry-Go-Round, Littleton, Colorado.

10 Things Not to Say to a Guy After Sex

Written by Anonymous Guy Writer

So, we had sex. Awesome! But then you decided to go all John Madden and offer some post-game commentary. Follow Madden’s lead some more, and retire from this perilous pastime.

And if you do keep talking, make sure you don’t utter one of these confidence-kryptonite phrases, guaranteed to bum us out and blanket the post-romp air with awkwardness.

10. “That was nice.”
Did we just leave a community theater production of “Our Town”? If you enjoyed yourself, that’s fantastic. In fact, that was probably our only goal during the session. But, please, use any other word to describe it-“hot,” “amazing,” or “incredible” are good starters.

9. “Whaddya wanna do now?”

Often said in conjunction with finished homework, this question makes us thinks you viewed the sex as a chore.

8. “Why’d you stop?”
God must’ve needed a laugh. That’s the only explanation we can think of.

7. “Are you OK?”
If we start crying, forgo the sympathy and just pretend not to notice. Seriously, though — we’re in bliss. The last thing we want is to feel self-conscious.

6. “It’s not you, it’s me!”

This one is salvageable, because we can reply with, “You’re right. You’re just too hot for a normal man to handle.” Although, chances are we’re too busy trying to fashion a noose out of the bed sheets to notice.

5. “Man, I’m starving.”
This implies that, the whole time we were trying to please you, you were thinking about food — which we’re not (for once!).

4. “Wanna try again?”
Even the most goal-oriented dudes will shudder at the word “try” as it relates to the bedroom. Between the sheets isn’t the place for the Little Engine That Could.

3. “Everyone has an off night.”

Off night? Oh, right. Yeah. Too bad you’re not the girl we hooked up with last weekend. We rocked her world.

2. “Do you mind if I finish myself?”
Of course not. But, rather than ask permission, just go for it. The show will definitely help stitch up our wounded ego.

1. “It happens to lots of guys.”
If you utter this phrase — the single most abhorred combination of words in the history of spoken language — then you deserve not to be satisfied.

This anonymous guy writer also doles out advice to women in Cosmopolitan and If he can’t satisfy you, at least he can make you laugh (at him).

35 Online Tools That Make Your Freelance Career Easier

Written by Ritu

Over the years the appeal of freelancing has grown tremendously. Some are drawn to freelancing to enjoy the freedom of choosing their own work hours, some as a way to stay ahead during times of recession. Today, there are many individuals on the web pursuing their career as a freelancer. Bloggers, web designers, social media strategists and many others have found that freelancing is a great way to utilize their skills and sell their services through the wonderful medium we call the internet.

Although freelancing appeals to many, the stakes are quite high. I am sure most of you agree with me when I say there are a few sleepless nights, and work often seems to follow us wherever we go since most of us work from home. Like everything else, freelancing has it’s ups and downs.

The benefits of freelancing, however, certainly outweigh the pitfalls – and using the right online tools can help tip the scales even further. Gadgets and online apps are a freelancer’s best friend when it comes to being effective.

35 Tools That Make Your Freelance Career Easier

Here are 35 online tools that can help make your freelancing career even easier:

  1. : A brainstorming tool that lets you put your ideas into bubbles and save your mindmap as an image.
  2. Relenta : Helps you manage your contacts, emails, documents and other activities.
  3. Wridea : Idea management service and collection of brainstorming tools for writers.
  4. Slideshare : Create and share slide shows online.
  5. Toodledo : A web based to-do-list to help you organize.
  6. Mint : A very simple easy to use finance tool for personal use and to manage your freelance finances as well.
  7. eFax : Although you might think Fax is outdated we are pretty sure most of your clients still use it, especially the corporate ones. Use this site to make your life easier when it comes to faxes.
  8. Webnote : Allows you to quickly take notes using a web browser. You can save the notes using any computer and visit the site later to retrieve notes. Useful when using public computers.
  9. Box : Share files online with your clients and friends using this simple tool.
  10. ReadBag : A bookmarking service that lets you save links that you can read later in your browser, email, phone and even in an offline mode.
  11. Stock.xchng : Free stock photography for your blog, site or any other use that you might have for images.
  12. YouSendIt : Allows you to send files and folder that are upto 2GB without clogging your or your client’s inbox.
  13. WordFast : A translation tool that is compatible with any language supported by word.
  14. FaxZero : Lets you send free faxes to US and Canada.
  15. Copyright : Find everything you need to know about US copyright.
  16. RSS2PDF : Turn your RSS feeds into PDFs and read them even when you are offline.
  17. CentralDesktop : Helps freelancers collaborate, communicate and share files with clients and coworkers.
  18. FlightStats : Get up-to-date information on your flight so you can let your clients know about delays and know when exactly they are arriving if you have to pick them up.
  19. SiteKreator : Helps you create sites instantly, all you need to do is add content.
  20. InstaCalc : A web based calculator that includes spreadsheet capabilities, unit conversions and programming commands.
  21. BlinkSale : Lets you send invoices online, recurring templates and keep track of your invoices and purchases.
  22. Skim : Helps you take notes directly on a PDF file as you read.
  23. Icebrrg : Lets you easily build online embeddable forms.
  24. ConceptShare : Allows you to invite clients to take a look at your design work and get real time feedback while you work on the project.
  25. GoToMeeting : Setup online meetings with clients and colleagues using this popular meeting tool
  26. Wufoo : Another tool to help you build forms.
  27. Escrow : Use this service to protect yourself and clients when the stakes are high.
  28. XE : Most freelancers work with international clients and a currency converter is a must to determine the payment. This tool takes care of giving you up-to-date information on currency rates.
  29. : This tool allows your clients to view the status of a project using a token.
  30. CreativeCommons : This site provides free tools that lets freelancers easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.
  31. ProofHQ : Lets you annotate a variety of document types – PDFs, PSDs, JPGs, Word, Powerpoint – and webpages.
  32. ProposalKit : An online tool that helps freelancers with proposal and contract management.
  33. SlimTimer : An online timer that helps you track time spent on a particular project and bill your clients accordingly.
  34. SpotRunner : Use this website if you are planning to build a TV advertising campaign.
  35. MonkeyOn : Allows you to create a to-do-list that you want other people to do.

Bonus – 5 Blogs You Should Subscribe To

If you are a freelancer or are planning to become one, here are five blogs you should subscribe to for tips and inspiration

  1. Freelance Folder : The blog that you are currently reading. Launched back in 2007, Freelance Folder is one of the best blogs on the web dedicated to helping freelancers.
  2. Skelliewag : Written and managed by Skellie, Skelliewag is a blog that you don’t want to miss. In Skellie’s own words “If you want to make a living from your passion, not AdSense, this is written for you.”
  3. Freelance Switch : A blog that is often referred to as the mother of all freelancing blogs. If you are looking for insightful tips and helpful advice from the veterans, FSW is for you.
  4. 43 Folders : Launched by owner and writer Merlin Mann in 2004, 43 Folders talks about finding time and ways to do your best creative work. A must read blog to keep your creative juices flowing.
  5. MenWithPens : Ranked no.2 among the best blogs for writers, MenWithPens offers tips and advice to take your freelance writing to the next level.

I hope I was able to introduce a few new tools that can help your life as a freelancer. If you have a chance, please take a minute and share some of the tools that help you manage your freelancing career – they will probably be useful to others too.

Photo by Amir K.

Best sites online to watch movies for free

Written by Ariston Anderson

The Internet may have killed the music industry, but a handful of companies are stepping in to guarantee that the same fate doesn’t befall the film industry. It’s a simple formula: offer top quality streaming for free or low cost with minimal advertising and the experience is much more pleasurable than pirating.

Theatrical film distribution has never been tougher, as witnessed by the shutdown of a number of independent studios last year: New Line folded into Warner Brothers while Paramount Vantage folded into big Paramount; meanwhile Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures completely shut down.

And as more and more indy film distributions companies close, it looks like the Internet is becoming more and more the source for Indy distribution.

“For an independent filmmaker, this can mean an effective way of keeping distribution costs low, which have traditionally been one of the unspoken hurdles in getting to your audience. Plus, you have the ability to get your work in front of more eyeballs than any limited theatrical release could ever accomplish,” says Matt Dentler, head of programming at Cinetic Rights Management, a company founded to represent film sales for digital media.

“I’ve been at Cinetic for precisely one year now,” Dentler tells WalletPop, “and the broadband VOD space has developed dramatically in that time. Hulu is now a major force in streaming, Amazon re-launched its online VOD platform to great success, and Netflix streaming is now available through Roku and Xbox. This is one segment of film distribution that grows more and more every single day. The same can’t be said for other, older forms of distribution in 2009.

“We’re still working to figure out the best model, and I think it’s going to take a little more time to see where consumers migrate the most. But, yes, the advent of cable VOD, iTunes Movie Store, broadband streaming, are making the idea of “digital distribution” more than a novelty. It will one day become the norm.”

While Hulu has recently scored another a granddaddy of a deal with Disney, in additon to NBC and FOX, it’s not the only site out there for film. Bookmark these sites and start discovering a wealth of new films daily.

If you love documentaries, head over to SnagFilms, which specializes in anything from rock legends to politics to sports. All of the films are free to watch, and you can even snag them to place elsewhere on the Web.

The Auteurs is for the film junkie who is looking for more of a cinematic community than Facebook has to offer. Follow friends to find out what they’re watching, and then download your own films, straight from the festivals. Some films are free, while others are available for a $5 download.

Like the name suggests, Babelgum specializes in cinema from around the world. So if your curiosity has gotten the better of you, head over to Babelgum and start browsing free films. The site even hosts an online film festival, complete with a full jury which gives out more than $125,000 in cash prizes.

Joost has an amazing selection of films: global, independent, documentaries, comedies and more. And if you’re frequently found browsing the Classics section for Cary Grant, Shirley Temple, or Charlie Chaplin, Joost is the site for you.

And yet another reason to support public TV, we love the offerings of Thirteen’s Reel 13. We first discovered the amazing animated film Sita Sings the Blues, as one of their weekly features. And you can pe into their vault of amazing classics from anything from Moonstruck to Inherit the Wind. All free.

Crackle, a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, has a huge free library of recent and classic blockbuster films. It’s enough to make me cancel my Netflix subscription.

And don’t forget about YouTube of course, which is no longer just for music videos and webisodes. YouTube Movies has increasingly been adding more and more feature length films in the platform we’ve come to expect from YouTube: easy to find films presented in a user-friendly format. Be sure to check out the Tribeca Screening Room which features shorts and features from the recent festival, with new films added every two weeks.

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive film streaming search engine out there, head to SurftheChannel and search through their film section to find your favorites. The site, which doesn’t stream any content, compiles the best links from around the web into one site.

And a new site, Jinni, purports to be the Pandora for film. It’s a new search engine powered by their Movie Genome, that characterizes films not just by key words, but by plot elements, atmosphere, emotions, and more, allowing options for movies you can stream instantly. If you’re overwhelmed with all of your new options out there on the web, type in a few of your favorites, and let Jinni do the work and pull up some fresh suggestions.