Stress, Stress, Stress: Give Your Bad Shoes The Boot!

When you’re constantly on the go, it’s easy for aches and pains to take their toll. These inevitable problems tend to be either caused by or make stress worse. But one of the main causes is both fairly obvious and easy to fix. The culprit? Poorly designed, uncomfortable shoes. Believe it or not, wearing the wrong shoes when you’re on your feet all day can cause a myriad of aches and pains that are often attributed to stress. Without trashing all of your favorite heels, here are three great ways to help your shoes fit your life.

Choose well-designed shoes: This doesn’t mean wearing clogs all day (though some people do swear by them). Today, it’s easy to find a wide variety of stylish shoes that don’t kill your feet. For instance, the Silver-Pewter Kiko Shoe by Perlina ($79.20) looks incredibly stylish, but is designed for all-day comfort. There is an entire selection of shoes on Zappos designed specifically with comfort in mind.

Fix your favorites with insoles: Today’s insoles aren’t just for the elderly. If an irresistibly stylish pair of shoes pinches your toes or makes your back ache, you don’t have to give them the boot. The right pair of insoles can not only save those shoes, but make them downright comfortable. For subtle comfort, check out the Superfeet Premium Black Insoles ($40.00). These insoles are black, so they won’t stick out when you’re wearing your favorite shoes. The insoles make your shoes fit better, and align the bones of your feet for improved wear with less pain.

Lose the shoes: Am I suggesting you walk around the office barefoot all day? Not if you want to keep your job. But the average day offers several little windows to kick off your shoes and give your feet a rest, and many people I know find that to be a lifesaver. Whether it’s during lunch or just under your desk, losing your shoes for even five minutes can soothe your aches and leave your feet feeling refreshed.

Best Hiking: A Truly Scenic Appalachian Trail

When I’m in the US, I spend a lot of time in North Carolina, so it’s become one of my favorite places to hike. One of the best places for awesome hiking trails is on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. It has a bit of a dry name but the trail is unbelievably beautiful and stretches almost 2,200 miles long from Maine down to Georgia. I’ve probably hiked about half of it at one time or another and, let me tell you, it’s never a disappointment.

The last time I hiked part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail I started in Asheville, North Carolina and walked two one day hikes from here that were stunning. The trails were in true wilderness in parts with no one around but, on both trails, the wonderful thing too were the other hikers that I did meet – many of them – all friendly, all helpful and all loving it. I even met a couple of thru-hikers, people who were planning to walk the entire length of the trail in one season.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail does have disadvantages to completely comfortable and easy hiking. There are black bears that are seen now and again and a few different types of poisonous snake that you should steer clear of. The bugs though are the most annoying part, especially in the northern regions (I hiked part of the trail in New York State one year and was almost eaten alive with mosquitos), so make sure you have your bug repellent with you and long hiking pants . But, the positives so far outweigh the negatives that, after a while, you don’t even really notice the bugs or worry about the scary snakes. The views are spectacular (come on, it’s the Appalachians, of course they’re gonna be) and breathing the air in the higher regions feels like breathing pure oxygen it’s so clean. There are also some really cool towns that the trail passes by. I recommend Harpers Ferry, West Virginia or Hot Springs, North Carolina as two pretty towns with nice people and only a stone’s throw from some awesome hiking.

My next goal is to hike part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Pennsylvania because there are some ghost mining towns the trail runs through. Now, how cool is that?

Things to Do With Zappos Box..........

There certainly are a number of things one can do with a Zappos Box, below are two examples of what we do with the boxes during a given work day:

1.) Ship Shoes and Clothing to the Best Customers in the World

2.) If you are a developer here at Zappos, apparently you actually use the boxes for shelter, and possibly transportation.

Hina, one of our developers here at Zappos, was caught on Friday actually inside a Zappos box. We’re not sure if she was trying to ship herself to our Kentucky Distribution center or not, but she sure seems to have fit into that box very easily. I guess that’s one way to save on airfare.

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La-zag-nay Day!

Here it is, the infamous question that is whispered through the Zappos headquarters every Tuesday and Thursday: What’s for lunch today?

It’s La-zag-nay day! Which is very similar to Lasagna, but, well, different. (Actually, we just didn’t have the heart to tell Brett he was mispronouncing it.)

Most Popular Distance Runs: BUPA Great Yorkshire Run

The BUPA Great Yorkshire Run in England is near and dear to my heart because I originally come from the British county of Yorkshire. The run also benefits cancer research in the UK, and as my uncle died of lung cancer, I like to support cancer research wherever I can.

Yorkshire is famous for its people and its scenery. Yorkshire people are a bit dour, serious and abrupt, yet, when you get to know them, you realize they are some of the kindness people in the world. Yorkshire people just don’t believe in wasting time on niceties or being evasive if they can be honest. What you see is what you get in Yorkshire, and that, for me, has always been where I feel comfortable. Yorkshire scenery is bleak and cold and very bare, but beautiful in its honesty – just like Yorkshire people.

The BUPA Great Yorkshire Run is run by Yorkshire people. They’re upfront and direct with the stereotypical Yorkshire honesty. But they also organize a great race and they’ll make darn sure you have a good time running in it too. It does rain a lot in Yorkshire though, so make sure you wear running shoes with good grip, just in case.

The Great Yorkshire Run is a 10K race that starts in downtown Sheffield. Thousands of runners attend, but the race is usually run by Kenyan runners. Last year, however, in both men’s and women’s standings the Aussies did really well, and the Brits weren’t far behind.

The BUPA Great Yorkshire Run is also part of the Great North Run series of races. The Great North Run itself is the world’s most popular half-marathon road race, where almost 50,000 runners participate every year. The Great Yorkshire Run will be held this year on September 7th, 2008 and all runners will receive medals for completing the race. It’s only the second time this race has ever been run, so get in on the ground floor and you can say you were one of the first to run in it. The run also has 2K and 3K races for kids, which means there’s something for everyone in the family. And don’t forget; get to know some Yorkshire folks while you’re there. You won’t be sorry.

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Tips for Parents of Mulitples: Chore Time!

As kids get older it is important for them to learn about responsibility. One of the easiest ways to teach kids about responsibility is to give them chores to complete. The purpose of the chores is not to provide parents with free labor, although that is a pleasant side effect, but instead it is to make kids feel like they are an important part of the family. As the parents of multiples you face a challenge, figuring out how to assign chores that will seem fair and that will provide each multiple with the opportunity to learn new skills and to develop their own interests.

Assigning Chores Option No. 1: Chore Rotation
You have a few options when it comes to assigning chores. The first option is to create a list of chores and to rotate who does what. When you first assign chores you need to be realistic about what your kids can handle, and the chores need to be age appropriate. For example, great starter chores for young kids can be putting their toys away, putting their clothes in the hamper and filling the dog’s water and food dishes. As your multiples get older you can assign more complicated chores like folding clothes, taking out the garbage and doing the dishes. The rotation of chores option allows your multiples to try each chore out at least once.

Assigning Chores Option No. 2: Interest Based Assignments
After your multiples have tried out the various chores that are available in your household, you can ask each one which chores they like and which ones they don’t like. Hopefully, their like/dislike lists will not overlap and you will be able to divvy up the chores based on what each multiple likes to do. This will not only make doing chores more enjoyable, but it will also encourage your multiples to develop individual interests. Another option that you have is to ask each of your multiples what they like to do and then find a chore that will allow them to explore that interest.

Assigning Chores Option No. 3: The Wheel of Chores
The third option that you have is to make the chore selection into a weekly game. At the beginning of each week have each multiple spin a wheel labeled with different chores, or have them draw a chore from a hat. This will make the assignment of chores fun and by putting a one week limit on the chore they are assigned, if they have a chore they don’t like to do, they only have to do it for a week.

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Survival Gear: Lets Talk Layers

As the days of summer fizzle away to give way to cooler temperatures and sub-zero days, heading outdoors for a cold-weather hike can be a great way to jumpstart your winter weather fitness routine. Still, hiking in sub-zero temperatures is a test of survival; if you’re not clad in layers of clothing and well-protected from the elements, it’s easy to get a severe case of the winter blues and miss out on the thrills of the adventure. When the forecast calls for rain, sleet and snow, make sure you’re well-equipped with the right survival gear.

Layers that help get rid of moisture and dampness will keep you warm and toasty in even the most brutal temperatures. The key to layering successfully is to start with a basic non-cotton tee and then layer it up with thermally efficient fleece. The North Face TKA 100 fleece jackets are a good match for the avid hiking enthusiast. Just pack on those layers and you’ll be fit for the adventure ahead.

It’s easy to forget you need to stay hydrated when temperatures drop, but it’s even more important to drink up when your body temperature is constantly shifting and adjusting. Load up on water! You’ll need at least four liters of water for the day to keep your body in balance, and if you’ll be out on the trails for more than a day, a mini water filter can help you keep up with your daily quota.

Thick socks, a padded pair of mittens and an insulated hat can ensure the extremities are well-protected against the elements. Your hands, feet and head need extra protection in that super-cold climate, and keeping them warm will keep your circulation going as you forge ahead on the trail. Just make sure you have a few extra pairs of socks in that backpack so you can layer up at night; wool socks are ideal for keeping you warm and toasty no matter what the forecast may be.

Whether you’re heading to the Rocky Mountains or escaping to a ski resort with trails, packing the right gear will ward off those winter blues. When it’s time to hit the hiking trails and battle those sub-zero temperatures ahead, prepare for a thrilling adventure with these survival essentials.

Green Movement in Clothing: Organic Cotton

One of the trends picking up steam in the green clothing movement is the use of organic cotton. Organic cotton provides a more environmentally friendly clothing product, while at the same time increasing your health by decreasing your exposure to the harsh chemicals found in pesticides.

Conventional Cotton vs. Organic Cotton
Conventional cotton is grown using vast amounts of pesticides. Indeed, among crops, cotton is one of the most pesticide-dependent. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown naturally, using practices that are earth friendly. Pesticides can cause all sorts of problems. They are toxic, and some people with sensitive skin find that conventional cotton is uncomfortable because of these chemicals. Organic cotton, though, does not have allergens or toxins. (You still have to be wary of dyes, however. Try to find organic cotton products that use natural dyes for color.)

Organic cotton feels soft on the skin, and many companies now make tag-less articles of clothing so that there is no itching or scratching. Additionally, you have the good feeling that comes with knowing that your clothing choices are fairly sustainable.

Clothing Made from Organic Cotton
Several companies, including Faerie’s Dance, Butterfly Maidens, Lotus Organics, Nubius Organics, Go Natural Baby and more offer clothing, towels, bathrobes and other products made from organic cotton. For babies, organic cotton is becoming especially popular, since crib sheets, onesies and more can be made from organic cotton — creating an ideal textile environment for newborns.

It is possible to buy organic cotton jeans , a variety of shirts made from organic cotton , as well as accessories like handbags and organic cotton totes. All of these products are a little more earth friendly. It is true that in some cases participating in the green movement in clothing means that you may have to pay a little more for your clothes. However, prices for organic cotton clothing are coming down as it becomes more popular.