After a dearth of attractive miles credit card offers recently, finally a solid offer from Barclays.  You can get 50,000 Miles & More points through this offer, 15K more than typically offered by Barclays:

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase
  • Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket annually.
  • Enjoy 2 award miles per $1 on Miles & More integrated airline ticket purchases
  • Earn 1 award mile per $1 spent everywhere else
  • No mileage expiration with monthly qualifying purchases
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening, after that a variable APR currently 15.99% to 24.99% depending upon your creditworthiness.
  • $79 annual fee
  • This is a U.S. card

50,000 Miles & More miles are enough to fly round trip from the U.S. to Europe in coach on Lufthansa or either of the other Miles & More carriers,  SWISS or Austrian.  You can also use the miles in a variety of ways with Star Alliance members:

  • Adria
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Blue1
  • Bmi
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Continental Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • LOT
  • Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Spanair
  • Swiss
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United
  • US Airways

This is a great means of adding to your point total if you’re targeting a Star Alliance award, particularly if you’ve maxed out the lucrative offers from Chase.

You can apply here

NOTE:  I have no connection to Barclays or Lufthansa

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One could argue that Warby Parker is well on its way to transforming the eyeglass industry by eliminating the middleman, cutting prices, and selling direct to consumers.  Now Warby Parker co-founder Jeff Raider, along with longtime friend Andy Katz-Mayfield, is trying to do the same thing for shaving.  The two launched Harry’s about three weeks ago, featuring low prices and, like Warby Parker, a charitable angle.

Harry's Home Page

Harry’s offers two models, the Truman and the Winston.  (No explanation is provided for the company’s name, but it’s clearly an homage to famous Harry’s of yesteryear.)  Harry’s worked with an American industrial designer who modeled the razors after classic ballpoint pens and butter knives; the razors and blades are produced by a German firm that’s been in the business for 80 years.

The Truman handle is $10; the Winston, $20.  A Truman kit (contains the handle, 3 blades, and a tube of shave cream) is $15; the Winston kit (same items), $25.  What’s more remarkable is that eight multi blade replacement cartridges cost a mere $15!  18 cartridges sell for $25.

As a comparison, 8 Gillette Fusion cartridges will set you back $29.99 at Walgreens (18 for $37.99); at Walmart.com, 6 Fusion cartridges are $30.47 (12 sell for $39.47).

I’m a sucker for a deal, and love (like Warby Parker) the product’s classic design, so I ordered the Truman shortly after the company’s launch:

Harry's:  Packaging

The packaging is faithful to the retro vibe, and is nicely executed:

Harry's:  razor packaging

I ordered 8 blades in addition to the 3 which come with the Truman kit; they were shipped as 4 packs:

Harry's 4 pack - cartridges

The Truman features a polymer handle bonded to a solid zinc rod.  The handle features the Harry “H” logo:

Harry's:  Truman handle

The cartridges feature five blades, a lubricating strip, and of course remove easily.  The cartridge installed on the handle is shipped with a protective plastic sheath:

Harry's:  Truman handle / blade

The handle has a satisfying heft to it.  If you shave in the shower, however, you may find it slipping downward in your fingers, due to the smooth surface:

Harry's:  handle detail

A close-up of the cartridge:

Harry's:  cartridge detail

Like Warby Parker, Harry’s has a strong charitable angle.  For each pack of blades purchased, the company donates one blade (or its equivalent dollar value) to a charitable organization.  Its first partner in this regard is The Mission Continues, an organization that benefits veterans of recent wars.

To learn more about Harry’s, click here:  Harry’s

 

 

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Kevin on March 25th, 2013

A few years ago I coerced Mrs. Hacks into posting about her approach for packing for an international trip.   Pat’s approach was to bring basics that could easily be mixed and matched, as well as accessorized.  This is the essence of the capsule wardrobe; here’s a brief summary from Wikipedia (click on the preceding link for the full article):

‘Capsule wardrobe’ is a term coined by Susie Faux, who was and is the owner of London boutique ‘Wardrobe’, in the 1970s. She considers that a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that will not go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers and coats, which can then be up-dated with seasonal pieces.This idea was popularised by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces.

Yesterday I happened upon two sites which feature numerous posts about this approach, and thought they might be useful to our female readers.  The first is The Vivienne Files.  Here are a few images from a recent post entitled “How to wear an olive v-neck sweater:”

olive page 1

Sweater – Joseph, earrings – Astley Clarke, scarves – Hermes, jeans – Ralph Lauren, boots –  Officine,  earrings – Miguel Ases, khakis – Vince, loafers – Gravati

olive page 4

Sweater – Burberry Brit, earrings – Hari Jewels, silk blouse – Dries van Noten, pants – Sportmax, lace overlay flats – Giuseppe Zanotti, opal earrings – Kimberly McDonald, shirt & skirt – Burberry, pumps – Frye

You can visit the site here:  The Vivienne Files

The second site is called Inside Out Style.  It’s full of fashion, beauty, and and wardrobe tips.   From a recent series of posts devoted to finding your best neutral colors based upon hair color (prices and links to retailers are provided) -

Inside Out Style - Blonde

See the site here:  Inside Out Style

I hope these sites are helpful to you!

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We’re enjoying several days with friends in Palm Springs…  golf, great friends, and a little wine.  What a beautiful spot!

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Kevin on March 14th, 2013

I came across an interesting blog post by Jude Gomila in which he shares several ideas for improving air travel; an excerpt:

Take safety online

It would be silly if you had to recheck all safety tests with an independent agency before driving a car every single time. Having to watch the simple safety instructions every flight is a waste of time and energy for the passenger. No one even watches it anyway. We need to take this online and out of the cabin, making it a test that people hold a license for, rather like a driving license.

Streamline security 

Global entry may be able to speed up border control for people in the US. I’d like to see a worldwide standard for this, where we can be prescreened to be a trusted global traveler in a trusted network. As you probably know, clear are speeding up security checks by making their own privatized security line. Visa and custom forms need to be taken online. People constantly don’t have pens to fill out these forms and they fill out similar information every time. These areas are probably the easiest areas to speed up. Even an array of iPads at border control with a data entry app could work. If people could fill out their visa forms from the entertainment terminal, you could have a standard laser printer on the plane that could print out the data on the standard forms, or better still from the passengers credentials in their Virgin online account.

Some of his ideas might not be practical (“…we should increase cabin height…” for instance), but almost all are interesting.  Read the entire piece here:  Reinventing the Airline Industry

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Perfect for obsessive-compulsives, Genius Pack is a new luggage brand that takes packing and organization to a new level:

(If you’re viewing this in a reader, here’s a direct link to the video:  http://vimeo.com/52887086#at=0

Features:

  • Laundry Compression Technology™ Enabled
  • Toiletry Kit Included
  • Organizational Compartments
  • 22″ Upright: Maximum Carry On Allowance
  • Note that certain features (see below; umbrella, speaker) are extra-cost options
  • Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9.5″ (in.)  |  Weight: 8.6 lbs    

Photos

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We’ll try to get a sample Genius Packer for a full review.  In the meantime, to learn more about the 22″ Genius Packer here:  Genius Pack

Thanks to our great friend, man tamer, and golfer extraordinaire Kris D. for the tip!!

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Kevin on March 4th, 2013

I stumbled across this fascinating video yesterday, and wanted to share it with you.  It would appear we have an issue, although the extent to which you feel that’s the case likely varies, depending upon your politics, beliefs and personal finances.

If you’re using a reader, the video may not appear; here’s a direct link:  http://bit.ly/Wv6uIS

A few related articles:

Income Inequality in the U.S. rivals that of developing nations – @ Salon

The U.S. is Now More Unequal than Much of Latin America - @ Moyers & Co.

The Income Inequality Myth – @ National Review Online

Assessing Income Inequality, Mobility and Opportunity - from the Brookings Fellow Scott Winship’s Senate Budget Committee testimony

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