Must See Family Vacation Spots: The International Spy Museum

Ever want to slip on the trench coat of an international spy and enter into the mysterious world of cloaks and daggers? Admit it, adults and kids share this particular fantasy. Witness the long-lasting popularity of James Bond movies and the success of the Fox television show 24.

But just how close to the real thing is the fictional world of spies? Washington, D.C. is home to a fascinating museum that answers this question and provides enough fun and information to keep you and your little spies-in-training turning down every corner. The International Spy Museum is constructed to appeal to those who want to learn what really goes on inside the world of international intrigue, as well as keep children from being bored by providing a healthy dose of hands-on, interactive fun.

You begin the tour by choosing a secret spy identity from those posted around the welcome room. These secret identities range in age from the very young to the very old and give you names and birthplaces from around the world. In addition, you are also instructed to memorize several facts such as why you are in America, what kind of job you have (including student) and your spy’s family background. You have about two minutes to memorize this information and will be quizzed at the end of the tour.

Visitors to the International Spy Museum are then unleashed on a history of espionage, where you will see exhibits that reveal all the amazing tricks of the trade. Beside the exhibits there are interactive entertainment stations in which you and the kids can attempt such things as identifying a spy in disguise on a video screen or experiencing what it is really like to crawl inside an air duct and spy on other unwitting visitors. The exhibits are a great history lesson, but also toss in some kid-friendly things like the radio signal beacon disguised as a piece of dog poop.

And if the kids still aren’t satisfied, wait till you get to the International Spy Museum gift shop, which sells nearly every kind of spy gadget you have just seen.


Ah, home for the holidays… we all remember them well. You and your beloved wish for a tropical excursion, where you can lie on the beach, sip Mai Tai cocktails, and watch the sunsets. Then, bam! One phone call and you are snapped out of your fantasy into the reality of family obligations. Now, of course, it does not really have to be that bad; there is a certain comfort in embracing the family call and soldiering through it. That is why the film Four Christmases, a delightful new romantic comedy, is the perfect pre-holiday antidote for the upcoming holiday season. We may not be able to get out of our responsibilities, but we sure can laugh at seeing how other people deal with it on the big screen. Four Christmases – In Theaters November 26th!



Capture the stars and all eyes, with this retro-inspired mixed-metal tassel necklace. Drape this elegant necklace around your swan-like neck, paired with a drape-fold top, black jeans and tiny gold studs for a look that says polished perfection.

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Zapponian of the Day, Ned F.!

Oh Ned, I am a bit sad that the world could not see, enjoy, and envy the “Mandles” that you wear every day – except for today, because it is raining and you are on your way to Portland, where your toes might actually catch a chill. But at least the world gets to enjoy your fresh new bald look. Ned, we salute you today, which is why you my Marketing friend is our honorary Zapponian of the Day.

Help Desk...Operation: Prepare for Christmas

It’s beginning to look a tiny bit like Christmas (man, that’s catchy, sounds like a song title) and Help Desk is prepared, like usual!

On Thanksgiving Eve, the help deskers began what is to be a mission of great importance; the front lobby of Zappos will be transformed into something new and wonderful. Just walking into Zappos you will feel like you’re walking in a Winter Wonderplace (hmm…sounds like another good song title)

I don’t want to let the cat out of the Help Desk bag just yet, but they have some very creative plans for the Dance Dance Revolution machine that resides in the front lobby. It too will be engulfed in the holiday spirit. Ros, Renna, Andrea and Jo are hard at work today…..their work will be the envy of every front lobby in the city, I promise you this. Oh yes, i promise you this.

Stay tuned, this is only the beginning! I’ll be dreaming of a white winter season – another song title. Wow, I’m good.

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Fitness Resolution: Holiday Fitness 101

As the holiday season hits a high note and your day is packed with errands, gift shopping and preparations for the family dinner, squeezing in a workout might seem like an impossible feat. However, keeping up with your health and fitness resolutions for the season might help you blast through the holidays and lower your stress levels; kicking it up a notch at the gym helps release endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers – allowing you to literally sweat away your cares and release tension from that jam-packed schedule. Keep up with your workout circuit this holiday season with these simple tips:

1. Stock up on water. ‘Water, water, everywhere,’ should be your mantra as you go about your busy day trying to keep those energy levels running in high gear. Make sure you take a water bottle along with you on that trip to the gym and keep up with your daily 10-12 glasses by sipping on water throughout the day.

2. Pack the gym bag the night before. If you make going to the gym a last-minute decision in the morning, you’re less likely to stick with a consistent routine. Pack your gym bag with all the essentials each evening so you only have to grab the bag and go in the wee hours of the morning.

3. Layer it up right. If you’re skipping the gym in favor of a walking or jogging session in the great outdoors, make sure you’re layering up with some cold weather basics to keep your body in good shape for the long haul. A long-sleeve mesh crew top , a couple of comfy sweatshirts and other layering pieces will help your body stay warm and protect you from the elements on that brisk winter day.

As always, makes sure you start and end your workout with a brief stretching session and give your muscles a chance to get stronger and reduce the risk of injury.

You can combat holiday stress like a pro with some simple fitness strategies. Plan ahead and stick with those workouts for a healthy and happy holiday season. At the very least, the extra workouts will let you justify that second helping of dessert.

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Skateboarder of the Week: P-Rod

Baseball has its A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, and skateboarding has its P-Rod, Paul Rodriguez Jr.

P-Rod, 23, grew up in Chatsworth, Calif., near East Los Angeles and used to sleep with his skateboard as a child. He doesn’t consider himself the most naturally gifted athlete, but he says he thinks about his tricks and practices for hours until he gets them right.

“Talent isn’t some unforeseen ability that a person has,” P-Rod believes. “Talent isn’t in your arms or your legs. It’s the way your mind views it. I was so obsessed with skating as a kid; it’s all I thought about.”

Yes, P-Rod’s father is the comic, Paul Rodriguez Sr. – one of the Latin Kings of Comedy. And on sites such as YouTube, you can still find plenty of the old man’s work. But P-Rod dominates the proceedings. There’s one site of the elder Paul Rodriguez that apparently young blogger types commented on, saying, “That’s not Paul Rodriguez; P-Rod is a skateboarder.” Someone else on the blog corrected them. We can only wonder if P-Rod found it and showed it to his pop. Apparently, the two of them didn’t see much of one another when P-Rod was a kid, but now they’re much closer.

Paul Rodriguez Jr. is a trim 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, but he is really busy with his feet through a “Goofy Stance” with the right foot forward and the left foot pushing. P-Rod does many of his tricks with a switch stance maneuver. He won a bunch of pro-rookie awards as a 17-year-old in 2002. Unlike some other young skateboarders, he has not gradually lost his love or enthusiasm.

P-Rod’s grandparents were born in Mexico and came to the United States during the 1950s as migrant workers, before immigration became such a big issue. One of his ethnic distinctions is that he is the first and only Hispanic skateboarder to land a pro-model Nike shoe contract. The third edition, Paul Rodriguez Zoom Air Three, is due out in 2009. He also has appeared in three of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games.


Celebrity Gossip: Reality TV Stars, Big Daddy and Jenn and Mom Reunited.

The television show How I Met Your Mother is opening up its doors to reality television stars. Kim Kardashian, Kendra Wilkinson from The Girls Next Door, and Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag from *+The Hills+ *will all appearance on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. The episode is being taped this week, so it likely will not air until sometime next year. The reality television guest stars will all be playing themselves in a fantasy sequence in the show. I guess these reality television stars are trying to increase their 15 minutes of fame into 20?

Comedian Adam Sandler and his wife, Jackie, welcomed their second daughter into the world. Sunny Madeline was born on November 2. Sandler wrote on his web site, “Everyone is happy and healthy.” The couple already has one daughter, Sadie, who was born in 2006. The couple has been married since 2003. Can you imagine having Adam Sandler as a father? I just think that it would be so hard to take him seriously as a father. Who knows? He’s probably a really good father, and I wish the family the best.

According to Jennifer Aniston’s interview in the December issue of Vogue, Jennifer and her mother, Nancy, are slowing reconciling after years of estrangement. Aniston told the magazine that they first started talking again when Aniston went through her breakup with Brad Pitt in 2005. Aniston’s states that her mother “has changed,” and that “she’s humbled with age.” The past estrangement from her mother stemmed from a interview that her mother gave to a tabloid television show, and the book that she wrote, From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir, which was about Jennifer’s and Nancy’s relationship. I think it’s a great thing when a mother and daughter can be brought back together, because a mother-daughter relationship is a bond that everybody needs.