Helpful Tips for Giving Watches as Gifts

Watches make a treasured gift during the holidays. When shopping for mens’ watches or ladies’ watches, there are a few simple tips to follow:

•    Go for an established watch brand. A true watch “manufacturer” that produces their own movements in-house ensures the highest quality. Leading Japanese watch brand SEIKO offers craftsmanship on par with top Swiss companies for a fraction of the price.

•    Stainless steel is always a good metal choice. It’s durable, chic and can easily go from day to night. The Coutura Collection from Seiko offers both ladies’ and men’s styles in stainless steel or stainless steel with sophisticated gold-tone accents. Each piece is water resistant to 100 M.

Small Investments Lead to Reduced Energy Bills

With fuel costs on the rise, many consumers are wondering what they can do to reduce home energy bills. Making your home more energy-efficient can be surprisingly quick, easy and cost-effective.
Next time you’re out running errands, keep these five items on your list of things to buy, and you could start seeing the savings in no time:

1.    Window insulation kit. Properly sealing drafty windows not only increases the comfort of your home, but may also significantly decrease your energy bills. Insulating windows is an inexpensive and effective way to keep warm air in and cold air out. Choose a product that can easily fit a variety of window sizes, such as the Roll-On Window Kit by Duck Brand, which requires no measuring and minimal cutting and is practically invisible.

The Pursuit of Happier Shopping: Americans Aim for Affordability

<b>The Pursuit of Happier Shopping: Americans Aim for Affordability</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – According to Nielsen forecasts for 2010, consumers will continue to be frugal with their spending habits as the jobless recovery, like the government bailouts, hasn’t yet affected their finances. Considering this, it’s not a surprise that a lot of American consumers are putting more effort into learning how to better budget their finances and pay less when it comes to shopping. The lesson is a hard one, but it pays off if shoppers learn to make smart purchases that will help them get the most for their money.

Whether it be for high-end items or food, people are trying to stretch the value of their dollar. This is especially true with clothing. In a time when a pair of jeans can cost more than $100, some clothing brands realize the need for affordable quality clothing — and both loyal and new customers are heeding the savings.

The Wrangler brand is one of those companies offering value in a variety of durable men’s jeans, pants and shirts — all retailing for less than $20 and available nationwide at mass-market retailers like Walmart. Today, one out of every five pair of jeans sold in the United States bears a Wrangler label.

Even with this smart shopping, Americans continue to be cautious with every dollar they spend.

“While the economic climate has shown some improvement, retailers are not out of the woods yet,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president, strategic initiatives, BIGresearch. “With a variety of factors still up in the air, including uncertainty over job security, many Americans just aren’t buying into the talk of recovery and are looking for great prices and high quality in their product purchases.”

To help Americans feel more confident when making spending decisions, companies like Wrangler strive for customer satisfaction. As a statement of the brand’s commitment to high standards, Wrangler extends a full one-year warranty on all of its clothing with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee so consumers know they can count on the color, shape, fabric and construction maintaining the high-end look and feel — even without the high-end cost.

To learn more about the brand’s affordable offerings, visit www.wrangler.com.

Pets in Small Packages: Keep Your Littlest Friend Safe

<b>Pets in Small Packages: Keep Your Littlest Friend Safe</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As companies downsize their workforce, Americans are also downsizing their dogs.

Labrador retrievers remain America’s number-one dog, but dogs under 20 pounds are enjoying increased popularity. Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, Boxers, Dachshunds, Bulldogs, Poodles and Shih Tzus all make the American Kennel Association’s (AKC) list of top 10 dog breeds.

Small dogs can require less food, less space and less exercise than larger canine companions, making them a perfect fit for the busy homeowner who wants a lap animal to cuddle.

Of course, small dogs come with their own challenges. The great outdoors, for example, presents a greater hazard to Chihuahuas than to Great Danes. In April 2009, one 6-pound Chihuahua puppy made the news when she was reunited with her owners after being blown away by a 70-mile-per-hour wind.

Luckily, most small-pet problems prove more mundane. Small pets can squeeze through fences that would stop larger animals. Areas like pools can pose threats — a very small pet might not be able to climb from the pool.

But as small pets become more popular, American pet care companies are creating products to keep tiny companion animals safe. For example, Invisible Fence Brand recently launched its MicroLite Computer Collar, which weighs in at just 1 ounce. The collar is so light, it’s great for dogs and cats, small and large alike.

The collar works with a fencing and training system. Invisible Fence Brand collars alert pets with a warning tone when they’re about to leave a boundary set by their owner. Unlike traditional fences, Invisible Fence systems can go through rocky terrain and wooded areas and under water. Pet owners can use the system to section off their driveways, pools or gardens or specific rooms in their home, as well the perimeter of their yard.

For more information, visit www.InvisibleFence.com.

Put Your Lucky Dog on NASCAR’s Raceway

<b>Put Your Lucky Dog on NASCAR’s Raceway</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Avid NASCAR fans should be familiar with the racing term “lucky dog.” During a race, the Lucky Dog Rule allows the driver of the next lapped car behind the leader to gain back a lap during a caution — a time when drivers are forced to reduce speeds due to trouble on the track. But a new contest takes the term “lucky dog” a bit more literally.

NASCAR fans and pet lovers will find much to love in “The Luckiest Dog of NASCAR” Contest, which could put one lucky winner’s pooch on Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry during the Checker Auto Parts 500 in Phoenix on Nov. 15. The winning dog’s owners will receive a three-day, two-night trip to the race.

And what does it take to win? Creativity and a dog unafraid to dress-up. During the entry period, which runs through Sept. 12, 2009, dog-loving NASCAR fans can log onto NASCAR.com/pedigreeluckiestdog to either upload a race-themed photo of their dog, or to vote on the other photos. Each voter is automatically eligible to instantly win one of 200 available $25 Pedigree gift cards. There’s no limit to how many times a person may vote.

Every week, the popular vote on NASCAR.com will determine a finalist. After voters choose 20 weekly finalists, a panel of judges will select one grand prize winner on or about Oct. 1, 2009. The judging process will be based on creativity, originality and adherence to the NASCAR theme.

“We’re excited to give one pet owner the chance to publicly profess the love they have for their dog,” said John Anton, Marketing Director of the Pedigree Brand. “At Pedigree, everything we do is for the love of dogs, and this contest is really about giving people a platform to celebrate the bond between them and their best friend.”

Small Businesses Draw Customers From Big Brands

<b>Small Businesses Draw Customers From Big Brands</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Brand loyalty is under siege, and small businesses stand to come out winners as the current economic meltdown transforms old buying behaviors.

In marketing, brand loyalty is defined as a consumer’s commitment to repeatedly purchase a product or service from a particular brand or store. Online retail is not immune to this concept, where big brands have traditionally dominated. As economic conditions continue to deteriorate, however, smaller retailers looking to increase brand awareness may find new opportunity — with an online storefront and a little ingenuity.

Last September, survey house Mintel International reported that roughly 40 percent of primary household shoppers had started buying store-brand paper products because they were cheaper than the national brand products.

Online, it doesn’t take much to create a wedge between brands and buyers — coupons and discounts are proving they can make a massive impact in buying behavior. A study in January from microtrends researchers Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Inc. (PSB) identified a new demographic segment it labeled “recession shoppers.” According to the PSB research, 64 percent of “recession shoppers” purchased something from a new online retailer they wouldn’t have otherwise, because of a coupon or discount.

So, how can a small e-commerce businesses let these bargain hunters know where to find them? Many industry experts say affiliate marketing is among the most cost-effective strategies.

For small businesses, affiliate network providers, such as LinkShare.com, can provide broad consumer reach as well as smart business advice. Based in part on sales tips offered by LinkShare.com in advance of last year’s holiday shopping season, merchants in the company’s affiliate network saw a 27 percent increase in year-over-year sales on a same-store basis, well above the national average.

In the current economy, drawing even a small number of new consumers could mean life or death for many small e-retailers. Recent research seems to shine a light on a few keys to success: establish an online presence, attract buyers with incentives like free shipping or coupons and extend one’s reach to as many potential shoppers as possible.

Are You Ready for Your New Puppy?

<b>Are You Ready for Your New Puppy? </b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many families buy puppies during the holidays, only to become overwhelmed.

Bringing a dog home can be a 15-year commitment, not to mention a huge financial and emotional responsibility. Many families do not realize how much work raising a puppy entails. Sadly, many holiday puppies end up in shelters come January.

Animals can bring joy into their human’s lives, but only if people are ready to keep a canine companion healthy and safe. Here are some tips for anyone considering getting a puppy for the holidays:

– Make sure that a dog will fit into your lifestyle. Do you have the money to pay for food, routine and emergency vet bills and training costs? Will you be home to care for your puppy? If not, will you be able to find or hire a sitter? Can you handle paw prints on your floors and dog hair on your furniture? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you might want to get a lower-maintenance pet instead.

– Puppy-proof your home before you bring Fido home. Puppies will chew on anything in reach. Some people hide or bundle loose cables and wires as a preventative measure. Place house plants out of puppy-reach, and keep floors clear. Make sure your puppy has a kennel or a bed -; it will need its own space.

Owners can also use Invisible Fence to keep their new dog safe. “A lot of people don’t realize our products can be used inside the home,” says Mark Thomas, the Senior Brand Manager for Invisible Fence Brand. The company’s Shields In-Home Safety Solution is an ideal gift to keep a new puppy safe. The system features a small, portable transmitter and a special computer collar worn by the pet. The system is gentle enough for puppies as young as eight weeks, so it can help young pets stay out of trouble.

– Do your research before getting your puppy. Many pet stores are fronts for puppy mills, where ill dogs face horrendous abuse. Consider adopting from an animal shelter -; one out of every four shelter dogs is a purebred animal. If you really don’t want to adopt, look for a reputable breeder who will let you see their breeding facilities and meet your puppy’s parents.

To give an Invisible Fence Brand Solution as a gift these holidays, you may visit www.invisiblefence.com and find your local Invisible Fence Brand dealership.

Protect Your Plants and Pets

<b>Protect Your Plants and Pets</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Spring and summer plants provide color and scent, but they can also mean upset stomachs for the family pet.

As the growing months hit, homeowners enjoy watching their garden flowers bloom. But according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA),common plants like lilies, sago palms, tulips, azaleas and oleander can poison Duke or Lassie.

Americans don’t have to choose between keeping a dog or planting flower pots. Yes, more than 700 plants cause toxic symptoms, ranging from mild nausea to death, in animals.

But homeowners can put poisonous house plants, like lilies and ferns, out of pets’ reach. High tables or window ledges can keep dogs from ingesting the roses, while hanging baskets stop cats from frisking in fronds.

Animals need their exercise. While some cats stay inside, locking the dog indoors will only cause behavior problems.

Canines and landscaping can co-exist. In outdoor areas, fencing keeps animals away from gardens, where everyday food plants like corn and tomatoes can poison pets.

For owners who cannot install wood or wire fences, or who want to see their landscaping without peering through wooden slats, electronic pet-containment systems provide a great option.

One system, Invisible Fence Brand Outdoor Solutions, uses a concealed wire to keep animals within safe areas. A professional installs the wire around the property line. The wire can also block off danger zones like gardens, pools and driveways.

The homeowner puts a transmitter in an out-of-the-way location. The transmitter sends radio signals to a collar. When Rover approaches the azaleas, his collar beeps a small warning. Thanks to a certified training program, Rover knows not to go near the flower beds.

The Invisible Fence Brand can be laid across pavement, water and rocky terrain. It allows avid gardeners and landscapers to enjoy their favorite summer plants without worrying about their animals’ health. In turn, cats and dogs can enjoy fresh air and exercise in safety.

For more information about the Invisible Fence Brand, visit www.invisiblefence.com.