Brett H. For Blog Publisher

It’s election season here in Zappos Blogland, and the attack ads are getting fierce. Here is my ad to show the Real Vanessa L.

Shark Swimmin'

Lynn, our User Experience Queen here at Zappos, is a thrill seeker by nature. She has more energy than our entire blog team put together, I also wanted to point out.

So, Lynn, in her infinite madness, has decided that, for her upcoming vacation, she would kick back, relax, and swim with sharks in the waters near Guadalupe Island. It’s one of the worlds capitials for Great White Shark populations… know….the kind of shark that Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and the scary boat captain dude were trying to catch. Ahhh….the calm soothing grooves of possible death.

And, since, today is her last day before heading off to ‘relax’, our design and UX teams decided to comfort her nerves with a homemade shark cage (made with great care by John F. and Sara M.).

Just about everyone in two buildings were in on this, and Lynn seemed to be completely surprised.

Have fun, Lynn. Da-Da.

A Nerf Strike is Imminent in Dev/Finance

Las Vegas, NV— Tensions are rising as our Development team and Finance team are ignoring requests for talk of a cease fire of the ongoing Nerf war. Both teams have given up on peace talks, and the rumors of war are abound.

There has even been talk of a premptive strike against Finance from Development, and these rumors were proven today as Alex K., stated, “We feel that we need to strike before their arsenal of Nerf weapons grows any larger. I don’t think we can wait, it might be too late”.

Finance has stock piled some large Nerf machine guns and bows and arrows.

There is even infighting in both camps, our reporter Brett Houchin was caught in a crossfire today and it was caught on film.

The Blog Team will be here to keep you filled in on this developing story.

View 467011699's profile

Death Defying Climbs: Ayers Rock

Mention Australia to the average person and they probably will think of three things: kangaroos, koalas and Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee, the rugged outdoorsman played by comedian Paul Hogan in a popular series of films. The Dundee character, who lived in Australia’s Northern Territory, earned his nickname after allegedly surviving a crocodile attack.

For climbers, the Northern Territory offers something more enticing than a wisecracking crocodile fighter, namely the destination called Mount Uluru. Also known as Ayers Rock, this mountain attracts thousands of visitors each year, many of whom are bound and determined to climb to the top of this unique formation.

Located in Uluru, Kata Tjuta National Park, Ayers Rock is just 986 feet, but the climb to the top is fairly steep, even for a veteran climber. Though it looks like an easy mountain to tackle from the ground, some people have died from heart failure during the climb.

Besides the physical challenges, there are other roadblocks that could interfere with your plans to visit Mount Uluru. The Anangu people are the owners and guardians of this rock formation, and they consider it sacred. They have posted signs asking tourists to please keep off the mountain.

Despite the expressed wishes of the Anangu, there are no laws preventing you from climbing Ayers Rock. It’s not uncommon to see enthusiasts heading up Uluru, but the decision to climb is up to you and your conscience.

If Ayers Rock is too strong for you to resist, make sure to invest in a good pair of climbing shoes, such as Boreal Ace . With a pair of Aces on your feet, you should be able to reach the top and get a bird’s-eye view of the Northern Territory.

Australia is a land of natural wonders, not the least of which is the beautiful Mount Uluru. You may not see Paul Hogan tossing another “shrimp on the Barbie,” but for those who take their chances on Ayers Rock, the experience can be memorable.


Shoe Encyclopedia: Active Wear Shoe Talk

Let us undertake another fun session of shoe encyclopedia. If you’ve been following along, you’ve already learned so much. You should be proud of yourself. You may have already discovered that shoe talk can be, not only fun, but very useful. Let us continue on with this fifth installment of the shoe encyclopedia. You’ll learn about the approach shoe, exactly what supination is, about the exclusive Skate Park line and the definition for blucher.

Approach Shoe
The approach shoe is not going to walk up to you by itself. Rather, an approach shoe is one that will help you approach that mountain top with greater ease. It is actually a shoe designed with a special grip on the sole that is meant to aid rock climbers on the trail back and forth from the climbing area.

Supination is not a shoe or a shoe feature. Instead it’s an action that can be done by the foot. It is when, during walking or running, the outermost part of the heel touches the ground as it’s supposed to, but instead of rolling inward, like in a normal walking pattern, the pressure stays on that outside part of the heel. This causes pressure on the smaller toes and the lateral side of the foot. To help with this problem, supinators (those who walk or run with supination) can try neutral running shoes.

Skate Park
I’m not talking about the place you go hang out with your skateboarding buddies. This Skate Park is actually an exclusive Zappos collection made especially for skaters. It contains shoes, clothing and accessories for skaters, boarders and surfers. This is the place to get all the shoes and other gear you need to look awesome while you enjoy these great outdoor sports.

A blucher is a shoe that features two side flaps of fabric or other material. These two materials feature lacing to hold them together. For instance, many tennis shoes feature the blucher style, as can dress shoes and even boots. In other words, many, or even most, shoes that contain laces display this style.

Baby Boomers: Now's a Great time to Spend Your Days Fly Fishing

What exactly is the perfect retirement gift? All things considered, freedom is at the top of the list, and with that comes the gift of fly fishing. With early retirement there are a whole lot of perks such as finally have the time to take that special fly fishing trip you’ve always dreamt of. Whether planning to go out of state or out of the country to go fly fishing, you will want to insure you are well-prepared and have all of the necessary gear for fly fishing including the right boots, chaps, uppers, suspenders, first-aid kit and all-terrain protection.

If this is your first time fly fishing, plan ahead and research the area where you plan to fly fish to determine the season and local specifics. In the case of the Golden Trout Wilderness, one of the most popular spots for fly fishing in California, fishing season begins the last Saturday in April and goes through November 15. The guidelines at this location require that anglers use only barbless hooks and artificial lures, irrespective of the species of fish you’re trying to catch.

There are a number of rivers and lakes where you can go fly fishing in the United States. The best golden trout can be found at Cottonwood Lakes in the Lone Pine area of California. Another excellent spot is the Lower Kern River located near Bakersfield, California, which offers a wide variety of fish including carp, trout, catfish and smallmouth bass.

Another great choice is an overnight fly-fishing package in Montana, where trout fishing is abundant. Where you fish will dictate the equipment you need. For instance, in Montana, a fisherman might use hip boots simply depending on whether or not the fisherman needs to go far out in the water. Fly fishing trips in Montana include fishing such waters as Bitterroot River and Clark Fork Rivers. Three-day, two-night packages are available during April, May, October and November. What are you waiting for? It’s finally time to relax, get booted and suited up, and get ready to fly fish!

View 466980568's profile

Best Vacation Spots for Skaters: Lincoln Park

Lincoln, Nebraska is known mainly for farming, however, the city has more to offer. While you may think that it would not be a hot spot for skateboarding, Lincoln, Nebraska actually has several skate parks and skateboard shops. If you are making your way across America’s bread basket for work or fun, plan on stopping by Lincoln to grind some rails, hit some ramps or find new skateboarding duds.

Lincoln, Nebraska Skate Parks
Lincoln, Nebraska is the home to at least three skate parks, one indoor and two outdoor. The indoor park is located at 6400 Cornhusker Highway, Suite 64. This park is modest, but it offers you a variety of wooden ramps to practice on. There is a fee to use this park, but fortunately it is only about $2. It is important that you follow the posted rules, such as not flipping your board over while on the ramps, which will get you quickly kicked out of the park.

In addition to the indoor park, Lincoln, Nebraska also offers two outdoor parks. The first park is called Peter Pan and located on 33rd Street. This is a free park and has a lot of great features to try out. Some of the most notable features include a four-foot half pipe, a launch box, coping, a good sized pyramid and a wedge. The second option that you have for an outdoor skate park is Tierra Park. This park can be found by traveling about three blocks south of the 27th and Highway 2 intersection. This is another free skate park. It offers wedges, a spine ramp, a quarter pipe and sliders.

Shopping for Skateboarding Gear in Lincoln, Nebraska
Shopping in Lincoln, Nebraska is somewhat limited, however, you will be able to find a couple of shops that specialize in skateboards and gear. Your first option is Precision Skateboards. It can be found at the intersection of 48th and Van Dorn. Your second option is located 5.43 miles from Lincoln, in Bellevue. At 7704 South 36th, you will find Next Generation Skateboard Shop, a charming board shop with attitude and great skateboard clothing and boards.

View 467391948's profile

Spin it to Win it, with Dr. Vik!

One thing that makes this company great, (besides the copious amount of shoes and apparel and accessories that we have on our site as well as our free shipping and returns) are the wonderful people behind the scenes that make it all tick. I speak for quite a few when I say that without Dr. Vik ( our resident life coach ) we wouldn’t be the people we are today or wouldn’t have the confidence or support to be the people that we are today.

Everyone in the Zappos Headquarters is encouraged to meet with Dr. Vik in order to set a series of goals or to talk about one goal that they want to set and achieve and Dr. Vik helps them focus on getting there.

Everyone’s a winner…they just need to believe it for themselves.

Here’s a little insight on how to Spin it and win it:

First: You need to brush off and get rid of the 3 things that bind us.

1) Past Baggage: We all have things in our past that tend to pull us down and constantly prevent us from moving forward. Well, the truth is that there isn’t a future in the past – so LET IT GO! Just like traveling, life is one wonderful adventure, but if we pack a bag that’s impossible to carry we’re probably going to give up early and go home. What we should do if we make that common mistake is get rid of the bag all together. You will soon realize that the things you “couldn’t live without” are the things we miss the least. So for this life adventure, travel light, that way you don’t have to turn down any new opportunities or trinkets that come our way.

2) Improve Self Talk: Really. If your loved ones or co-workers talked to you the way you talk to yourself you would probably stop sending them Christmas cards and request a new work position and/or quit. I, much like many others out there, am my own worst enemy. But guess what? The only person who can change that is you. So from here on out, look in the mirror with confidence and say: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.” Or say something along those lines. You’ll find that your whole day is completely different. Even if you don’t believe yourself the first few times you do the ‘ol pep talk, just “fake it ‘till you make it” because one of these days you will. And you should. Because without everyone else, you’re all you got.

3) Self Esteem: Which falls pretty close to improving self talk, but your self esteem gives you the extra bit of confidence to go the extra inch. Never underestimate the powers that come from within. We are all capable of achieving our every goal, even the goals seems unrealistic at this moment in time, they won’t once you believe that it is possible. Even if your goal is to lasso the North Star and move it to the South – try it anyway. Because the odds are pretty good that you’ll lasso something wonderful and just as fulfilling during your brave attempt.

Things to remember:
Setting goals that are achievable boosts your self confidence, changes the way you see yourself and allows you to stay motivated and moving forward, as opposed to backwards or no where at all. But don’t set goals that are too small because then that’s you holding yourself back from something more, and you don’t want to do that. Do you? Ok, so lassoing a star really isn’t the best goal to set for yourself. But, if you do want to get closer to the heavens, start out by climbing Red Rock, NV, then go from there.

One more thing, once we do start our journey in achieving our goals – take weight loss for example – don’t start out by cutting your calories in half and beat yourself up every time you get visions of sugar plums in your head. Think 80/20. That way 80% of the time you’re keeping yourself on track and 20% of the time you can have that birthday cake without punishing yourself or giving up all together because you were a bit naughty. And most importantly don’t let the guilt of your slip up get in the way of achieving your ultimate goal. Guilt often times leads to bad self talk and we don’t need any more un-edifying comments in our head than the ones we already have. Ok.

And that, my friends is how we spin 180 degrees away from the road that we’ve either traveled on before or one that’s not worth traveling on at all, and move in the direction of something wonderful, exciting and new.

Thanks Dr. Vik for all that you do for the employees here at Zappos and for being an amazing source of encouragement, confidence and support.

For those of you who haven’t taken the moment to speak to Dr. Vik, you should. At the very least you’ll get to sit on the thrown, wear a crown and get a fun and beautifully retro Polaroid picture of yourself.