Coolest Thing You Can Do With a Shoe: Zappos TV Contest!

Win a $500 Zappos Gift Certificate!

What’s the coolest thing YOU can do with a shoe? Show us by uploading a
video response to this video and you can win a $500 Zappos gift
certificate. It’s that easy!

Some rules:

1) You must subscribe to the Zappos channel on youtube (youtube.com/Zappos)
2) Video must be a video response to this video
3) Video must be under 3 minutes long

Full contest rules here:
http://www.zappos.com/zappostv_rules_061808.zhtml

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If your idea of a vacation is seeing how many miles you can cover through dense wilderness, Great Smoky Mountains National Park might be your dream destination.

If your idea of a vacation is seeing how many miles you can cover through dense wilderness, Great Smoky Mountains National Park might be your dream destination. There are more than 800 miles of trails through America’s most visited park, and if you wait until Fall for your vacation, or head out in the early summer, you’ll have less competition from other visitors.

Some people prefer to spend their vacations in the numerous Great Smoky Mountains campsites, taking day hikes over the trails that wind sinuously through the Smokies. However, you can also take two-, three- and four-night backpacking trips and sleep out under the stars. Either way, you’re guaranteed a fair amount of exercise and a close-up encounter with several forms of wildlife.

Maddron Bald Overnight Loop

If your legs have been parked under a desk all year, this might not be the trail for you, but experienced hikers who have kept in shape will find the hike invigorating. The two-night adventure takes you along the foothills of Gabes Mountain and into the woods toward a campsite known as Sugar Grove, which has developed a reputation for bear sightings. On the second day, you’ll follow Maddron Bald Trail and camp along Otter Creek, and finish the trail on the third day down Snake Den Trail.

This particular adventure on your vacation will take you to 5,800 feet in elevation, and you’ll constantly want to stop not to rest your legs, but to admire the stunning vistas that appear through clearings.

Fontana Lake Loop

For those inexperienced hikers, or the vacationers who haven’t kept in shape, Fontana Lake is the ultimate destination for beautiful scenery without as much burn. Start out your morning at Fontana Lake, and try some jet-boating before you head up into the mountains, or simply take the chartered boat service from the marina to the other side of the 29-mile-long lake.

The hike itself is magnificent, providing interspersed views of both Fontana Lake and Eagle Creek, carrying you up relatively gentle inclines and long, sloping declines. You might get to see some deer, and you’ll find birds of all species flying among the trees. Children in particular will enjoy the view of the Appalachian Trail, which is intersected on the last leg of the hike. You’ll end up at Fontana Marina, where you can return to your campsite or enjoy another opportunity for fishing or boating.

There are thousands of different combinations of trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, each of which has something different to offer. Just make sure you bring plenty of water on your hike, and if you come during the middle of the summer, choose non-rationed campsites for more seclusion and less interruption on your hike.

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Coolest Skate Parks: Intellect Ramp Ranch

If you are looking for a great skatepark near Austin, Texas then check out the Intellect Ramp Ranch in Liberty Hill, Texas. This is just half the fun, as the sister park of Intellect is located in Round Rock, Texas.

If you are looking for the coolest skate parks in the country and are either visiting or living in Austin, Texas, then you need to try out the dual skateparks of Intellect Ramp Ranch and Capital Skatepark. These sister parks will offer you both ramp action and trick accessories. While a little driving will be involved if you want to enjoy both parks, the drive will be worth it.

Intellect Ramp Ranch

Intellect Ramp Ranch is located at 10355 Highway 29 in Liberty Hill, Texas. This is an indoor/outdoor park with over 20,000 square feet of skating terrain. This park’s specialty is ramps. It offers a twelve foot vert ramp, a four foot half pipe, a three foot spine ramp and a seven foot half pipe. In addition to these ramp features this park also offers two street courses. What makes this park great is that it offers lesson and also is a great spot for buying items you need to skate.

If you are a skateboarder, BMXer or inline skater then you are welcome at this park. However, in order to use this park you will need to sign a liability waiver and follow the rules of the park. Helmets will only be required if you are under 18 years of age, and rentals are available on a limited basis.

This park is open six days a week. It is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. It is also open on the weekends. On Saturday the park’s hours are from noon until 10:00 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 7:00 p.m. This park holds weekly specials. Monday night is “Old Man’s Night” and people over 18 skate for half price after 6:00 p.m. Tuesday is “Young Man’s Night” and people 17 and younger will skate half price after 6:00 p.m. Wednesday girls skate half price for the whole day, Thursday bikers get a 50 percent discount after 6:00 p.m. and Friday you can skate or bike for free if you bring a paying guest.

The cost of this park is fairly affordable, compared to some of the other private skateparks in the area. VIP members will provide you with unlimited entry during normal hours of operation for an annual fee of $350. A basic six month membership costs about $30, and the daily member’s fee will be $7. If you are a non-member, then your entrance fee will be $12.

Capital Skatepark

If you are interested in more than just ramps, then you will want to take your boards to Intellect Ramp Ranch’s sister park, Capital Skatepark. This park is located at 2008 Picadilly Drive, Round Rock, Texas 78665. This park not only offers a great selection of skating features and terrain, but it also offers skate camps, a pro shop, contests and equipment rentals. This park is a little more expensive. It will cost $45 a month, $395 for an annual membership and a $12 non-members daily entry fee. You can save $6 a month by signing a 12 month contract with auto bank draft.

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Cool Recipes for the Scorching Hot Summer!

When warm weather arrives, nothing beats the refreshing taste of a salad.

When warm weather arrives, nothing beats the refreshing taste of a salad. Salads are quick and extremely healthy. Best of all, they’re the type of meal that requires little to no cooking . In just a few minutes, you can prepare a meal that your family will love.

Obviously, the most popular salad choice is a lettuce based salad. Just because this choice is so obvious doesn’t mean that the taste has to be boring. There are several ways to spice up a classic salad. With just a few unexpected ingredients, you can turn a classic meal into something new.

*A Vision of Fall Salad*
Serves 4

During the warm summer months, it’s nice to sit back and think about the weather of fall. What better way to that than to create a salad that includes classic fall flavors?

  • 8 cups of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups of green apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of roasted turkey breast, cubed
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of cinnamon sugar pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 8 tablespoons of orange vinaigrette

1. Layer the romaine lettuce, sliced apples, turkey breast, cranberries, and pecans on four plates.

2. Measure the salad dressing into small cups and place on the side of the salad.

3. Serve with whole wheat rolls.

Tip: You can roast a boneless turkey breast the night before, you can use leftover turkey, or you can even visit the deli and have them cut thick pieces of turkey luncheon meat.

While lettuce based salads may be the most popular choice, they aren’t the only choice available. Many people enjoy pasta salad as a side dish, but why not make it into the main course? You can even prepare this meal the night before so that it’s ready when you get home the next day.

*Chicken with a Bowtie Salad*
Serves 4

Your children will love this recipe simply because it has a fun name. You’ll love this salad because it’s a great way to sneak vegetables into their diet.

  • 4 cups of dry whole wheat bowtie pasta
  • 12 ounces of refrigerated southwestern chicken strips
  • 2 cups of grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup of yellow bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup of low-fat ranch dressing

1. Prepare the bowtie pasta according to the package directions and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the bowtie pasta with the rest of the ingredients.

3. Refrigerate for at least two hour

4. Serve with cornbread muffins or garlic bread.

When preparing a salad for supper, why not round out the meal with quick and healthy fruit salad?

Creamy Berry Salad
Serves 4

Your kids won’t mind having fruit for dessert when you doll it up a bit.

  • 1 cup of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 2 cup of fat-free vanilla yogurt and honey, to taste.

1. Combine the berries and place in four bowls.
2. Drizzle with yogurt and honey.

Happy warm weather eating!

If you have any recipes ideas, improvements, suggestions, please comment below and let us know! Let us in on some of your secret recipes!

Tara Reid on Dancing with the Stars, Ethan Hawke knocks up the nanny, Paris Hilton's baby bump and Wonder Woman finds a dead body!

Hollywood party girl Tara Reid is finally catching a break! After years of hard partying, botched plastic surgery and unemployment, Tara is back in the game. Well, sort of. Her new gig will be starring on the hit show, Dancing with the Stars. The catch? It’s the Australian version, not the American one. Hey, at least she’s working…

Have you heard of Ryan Shawhughes? Yeah, neither had I… until now. Ryan is the former nanny of the now-divorced celebrity couple, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. She’s also engaged and pregnant. I know, I know, big deal. But guess who the father of the baby is? Ethan Hawke! Mm-hmm, sounds like the storyline to one of those bad Lifetime movies older women like to watch, but it’s soooo much better because it’s actually true. Of course, it has been a while since Ethan and Uma split, but still the fact that he’s soon going to be married to the woman who used to watch his kids, well, you don’t see that everyday.

Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez love to talk about the fact that they’re raising their twin babies on their own. You know, as in without the help of any nannies as is the custom among celebrity couples. But they left out one tiny detail. Jennifer Lopez’s mom has actually moved in with the couple and is helping out with the care of the twins. Someone might want to tell Marc Anthony that just because she’s not on the payroll, doesn’t mean she isn’t helping out. Wonder what Mama Lopez thinks about what her son-in-law is blabbing about to everyone.

Beyonce‘s little sister, Solange, had some bad luck during a recent performance. A piece of metal fell on Solange’s foot which resulted in a painful break. But even a broken foot didn’t stop this diva-in-training from going on with the show. She finished her performance before allowing anyone to rush her off to the hospital. What a trooper!

Who’s the latest celeb on baby bump watch? Paris Hilton! And it’s not just talk this time. Paris was recently photographed walking alongside boyfriend, Benji Madden in LA. But in these particular pics, Paris Hilton is sporting what appears to be the beginning of a baby bump. Now since we’re talking about Paris the bump could be one of three things: 1)an actual baby bump which means that the heiress really is pregnant, 2)a PR stunt much like the recent appearance she made on Pop Fiction or 3)a really big lunch. Hmmm…

And finally here’s some gossip about a real blast from the past. Lynda Carter, known for her portrayal as Wonder Woman, made headlines again recently and it had nothing to do with her acting skills. The former TV star was out on the Potomac River when she spotted something out of the ordinary – a dead body floating face down. While she didn’t pull any superhero stunts, she did call 911. Too bad she wasn’t wearing her old Wonder Woman costume at the time – that would’ve been a hell of a story.

Sources: TMZhttp://tmz.com , Dlisted – http:dlisted.com , Celebitchy – http://celebitchy.com

National Safety Month Kick-Off

June is National Safety Month and the Zappos Safety Committee helped to kick it off at the KY fulfillment Center! The safety topic for the first week of June is Heat Protection. Safety Committee Representatives are on hand all week during lunches to spread the safety knowledge and pass out cool-ties (trust me your gonna’ need them- IT’S HOT!). Team-members also have the chance to win some Zollars if they can answer various safety questions.

The Zappos Safety Committee has lots of fun activities (and Zappos trinket giveaways) planned for the month of June. So keep an eye out for all of the fun happenings!

Andrea's Getting Married!

Everyone knows and loves Andrea W.; I mean come on she takes care of feeding ALL of us in the KY Fulfillment Center. Andrea will be taking the big step on Saturday June 6th, 2008. Yes folks she is getting married! So her Zappos family thought it would be nice to throw her a wedding shower and feed HER for once! So we donned our pj’s and had a Pajama Wedding Shower Breakfast Potluck. The spread of food was unbelievable- from quiche to waffles hot off the griddle! Everything was delicious!

CONGRATULATIONS TO ANDREA!!

How Shoes are Made: Basketball!

How are basketball shoes made? And how come you need them to play basketball?

When it comes to playing basketball, it is important to wear the right shoes – especially if you play often. You don’t want to sustain an injury from wearing the wrong kind of shoes to play basketball in. There are three main parts to the basketball shoe: the upper, the midsole and the outsole. Each part plays a role in providing the right kind of comfort, stability and support for your foot and ankle while you play basketball.

Upper

This part of the shoe is the soft top. In the “old days” these were made of leather. Those days, happily, are gone. Instead of stiff leather, there are a number of textiles that are flexible and comfortable – and even more durable. One of the most commonly used materials is a mesh made from synthetic materials, allowing them to be rather breathable. Options for the upper depends on the type of basketball player you are:

  • High top basketball shoes: These types cover go up to the ankle, providing support. Most basketball players choose these types of shoe because the stability they offer is much better.
  • Mid top basketball shoes: When you don’t like the feel of high top shoes (some don’t) you can use mid tip shoes. These come right to ankle level. Speed players can benefit from these, since they allow for more agility and a reasonable amount of ankle support.
  • Low top basketball shoes: I have ankles that need support, so I never use low top basketball shoes. These are lightweight, but usually aren’t terribly ideal for playing basketball. Most regular basketball players avoid low top shoes.

Midsole

The midsole is that soft, cushioned part of the shoe that your foot sits on. Many ballers consider this the most important part of the shoe. EVA or polyurethane (or a combination of the two) is usually used in order to provide shock absorption and cushioning. Many different basketball shoes (Nike is a good example) use different cushioning technologies in order to provide increased comfort and to reduce the amount of stress placed on the foot. The sides of the midsole are generally stiffer, to prevent the foot from rolling.

Outsole

As you might guess, the outsole is the bottom of the shoe. It is the bottom part that is made of rubber. You want it to be flat in order to provide the right kind of base. That way, you will have a smaller chance of hurting yourself. A good base can keep your ankle or foot from rolling. Additionally, it is important to look at the bottom for the tread. Different patterns (herringbone is the most popular) provide traction so that you don’t slip while playing basketball. Also, if you play streetball, you should look for basketball shoes designed for tougher play. The outsoles of streetball shoes are usually made from heavier rubber.

When you look for basketball shoes, you should find solid shoes that provide good support and cushioning. The right kind of shoes can improve your game, and help you avoid injury.

construction, basketball shoes