Happy Cyber Monday!

So, Thanksgiving is over and whether or not you braved the mall over the weekend, Monday morning has come bright and early – and as you reach for your morning cup of coffee you might also want to grab your laptop because today is Cyber Monday!

Cyber Monday was originally coined by in 2005 in a press release when they used it to describe the Monday following Black Friday because they saw a 77% increase in online sales and shopping on that day. Ever since, Cyber Monday has boomed, and the name recognition has simply followed its success and retailers have even planned advertising campaigns around the day.

Shopping online has its perks including no bumper-to-bumper traffic, no lines, no fighting the winter weather… Plus, many people take advantage of the convenience of cyber Monday no matter where they are – and this often means at work!

And although convenient, safe online shopping should always be a priority, and as with any shopping spree, be it at the mall, or online, you should have a good plan in place to help you stay organized. Here are a few great tips for Cyber Monday. And remember, if you’re shopping at work, wait for your lunch hour – or don’t get caught!

Cyber Monday Tips:

  1. Stick with familiar retailers
  2. Be wary of AMAZING deals
  3. Insist on secure transactions
  4. Think before you buy
  5. Don’t shop at a leaky hotspot
  6. Use a credit card
  7. Question detailed information requests
  8. Don’t expect money for answering questions
  9. Create an online account to use for shopping only




Black Friday is almost upon us!

On your mark…Get set…Shop!

Black Friday, the mother of all discount days, will soon be here.  Shoppers prime their strategies, store managers psyche up their employees, and cashiers stand ready at the registers to ring up carts filled with Christmas wish lists.

The day after Thanksgiving has a long tradition in the world of retail.  However, the expression “Black Friday” has its origin in the 19th century world of investing.  On September 24, 1864, gold prices plummeted, panic ensued, and the term took root.  It resurfaced a century later byPhiladelphia newspapers using it to describe intense store crowds.  Eventually, it described what we know it as today: the time of year when retailers start making profit, or go “in the black.”

As you head into the malls and surf online this holiday season, here are a few tips and strategies to help make your gift-buying productive:

First of all, regardless of where you shop, have a game plan ready.  This may be a given to some, but those shopping on the fly may get disappointed very quickly if they aren’t prepared.  Those with an agenda grab what casual shoppers might have loved, had they prepped themselves.


  • Top off the tanks before shopping begins: traffic can be a bear, plus every second counts when shopping, and taking a moment for gas can cost you that precious gift.
  •  Park further away from the store: it’ll be a hike to the store’s entrance, but consider that once you’re done, a car parked closer would be dealing with shoppers walking to and from their car behind you as you try to pull out, other cars perched on the side with their blinkers on are anxious to take your spot, and you’ll have that much more parking lot to traverse as you leave.
  •  Pack a kit if you “camp out” the morning before stores open: bring a goodies bag: a magazine or book to read, the store’s sales circular, a book of Sudoku, maybe even a small juice or water to hydrate you for all the running around you’ve got ahead of you.
  •  If you have a mobile device, keep aware of in-store ads posted online.
  •  Find out a company’s holiday return policy and hold on to your receipt.  Keep a folder of holiday gift purchase receipts so they’re not lost.


  • Most websites will have an option to order over the phone or some alternative to using your credit card over the internet.  Caution is king when shopping online.
  •  Find out shipping costs, times. and any promotions on free or discounted shipping (i.e., buy and save on shipping)
  •  Find out of free gift wrapping is available: it conceals the gift and saves you time and labor later.

Just a few simple steps toward getting the most out of your holiday shopping season can ease the holiday burden and make you feel like one of Santa’s little helpers. Happy Shopping!



Get a Jumpstart on Holiday Decorating!

It’s beginning to look a lot like… Yes – the holiday season is almost upon us and it’s the time of year where we all pull out boxes of decorations to take inventory of what survived from last year and what we need to add to the list for this year. It’s a great idea to start your decorating early because it allows you to stay organized, stick to a plan and have time to enjoy the season a little more.

Use Indian summer to your advantage:

One of the best things about getting a jumpstart on holiday decorating is utilizing the weather. Use a warmer-than-usual fall weekend to get your outdoor holiday decorating organized and installed. You won’t be struggling in the cold and you’ll be the first house on the block with a festive feel!

Pick the perfect theme:


Sticking to a holiday theme can be a great way to stay organized while decorating – and today there are more than enough themes to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites!

This fun theme is the perfect way to get longevity out of your decorations. Because your décor isn’t Christmas-focused you can leave it up through the end of winter if you choose. Try using a color palette of blues and whites or whites and reds for inspiration to get started.

This unique theme is stylish and fun. Capture a sophisticated look with vintage holiday postcards or adorable pocket watch tree ornaments.

This go-to favorite color scheme for the holidays is a classic. It’s versatile and fun, and there’s no denying Christmas is around the corner when you see these colors highlighting your home. There’s plenty of ways to play this theme modern, traditional or even somewhere in the middle.

Start spreading the cheer early!

While you’re getting a jumpstart on your holiday decorating, why not get a jumpstart on other holiday to-do’s like sending Christmas Cards or Christmas Ecards. Sending a Season’s Greetings Ecard is a great way to let friends and family know it’s time to get in the spirit!

And now that your home is starting to take shape for the holidays, bring the same Christmas enthusiasm to work. Blue Mountain offers FREE downloadable calendar desktops that will put your holiday spirit on display at home or at the office.




Happy Veterans Day!

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in
the country’s service and with gratitude
for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.

—President Woodrow Wilson, November 11, 1919, proclaiming the first Armistice Day

In 1954, President Eisenhower declared November 11, Veteran’s Day, changing the name from Armistice Day (established a year after the end of World War I.) He also included all men and women who have ever served as honorees.

As the nation extends its gratitude and appreciation to our men and women in uniform this November 11, the story behind our national holiday, its name, and those involved deserve recognition as well. To do this, one must visit Emporia, Kansas, 1953.

 If The Shoe Fits

Shoe store owner Alvin J. King was a man whose patriotism was ripe at age 15 when
he tried to join the Navy at the end of World War I. Too young to become a sailor, his support of the military never waned. Later in life, as a business owner, Alvin got involved with American War Dads during World War II. Disappointed that those serving after
World War I were not also recognized, King embarked on a campaign to transform Armistice Day into Veterans Day. His efforts were embraced by most fellow merchants
in town, as well as Emporia’s Board of Education. On November 11, 1953, King and his champions closed their doors and observed the first “All” Veterans Day.

King’s campaign, however, did not stop there. United States Representative Edward Rees, an Emporia native, helped draft a bill establishing Veterans Day as a national holiday, with its newly christened name and breadth of honor. The bill was signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954, with both King and Rees present at the signing.

 Change Of Date, Its Restoration, and Annual Ceremony

Over a decade later, the holiday was moved to the fourth Monday in October by Congressional law, enacted in 1971. However, several states returned to observing Veterans Day on November 11 for the next four years, when Congress once again
decreed it as the holiday’s official date.

Every November 11, at 11 a.m., members from each branch of the military honor our
dead at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The President places a wreath at the Tomb to the sound of “Taps” played on the bugle.

This Veteran’s Day

This year, as you hang your flags and proudly wear your red, white, and blue, remember to thank our men and women in uniform for their proud service. We honor a tradition begun nearly a century ago, forged in history, and transformed by a man and his community, who felt that all who serve deserve nothing less.

More Veterans Day History

Veterans Day Timeline

Department of Veterans Affairs



Thanksgiving Recipes!

Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most loved meals of the year – and that can put a lot of pressure on the cook! Everyone knows what to look for on Thanksgiving, and everyone has a favorite, but sometimes it’s good to change it up a bit – nothing too crazy, but a new take on an old classic can be a welcome treat.

One great idea is to have one or two new additions to the menu each year. That way,  favorite traditional fare will stay in place, but a few new options will be on the table. Here are a few suggestions…

Side Dishes –

Side dishes are a great place to mix it up and try something new. Although mashed potatoes are somewhat sacred on Thanksgiving, Butternut Squash Risotto is a great option too, plus it’s very festive and seasonal for the occasion.

Many households have some take on a sweet potato recipe – usually a sweet dish topped with pecans, brown sugar and marshmallows, but why not turn them into a savory side dish and feature Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Ginger.

Turkey Talk –

Now, you might not want to mess around with the main course too much, but these suggestions are pretty tame, and,  if you’re cooking for a very large number of people, you you  might be cooking two bird anyway so try one traditional recipe and one that’s a little different.

If you haven’t tried a deep-fried turkey yet, maybe this is the year – try this yummy  Cajun Deep-Fried Turkey recipe. If frying the turkey is just not your thing try this delicious recipe for a Honey Brined Smoked Turkey – it’s sure the please!

Sweets –

It can be fun coming up with interesting recipes while sticking with seasonal ingredients for dessert. Try this Apple Crostata with Cheddar Crust, or how about Pumpkin Fudge? Of course, you can’t go wrong with a perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe – and it’s always a good idea to have one on hand.

Have fun with these Thanksgiving Recipes and don’t forget that sending a quick Thanksgiving Ecard is a great way to connect during the holiday season – let your friends and loved ones know you’re thinking about them today!




Happy Sammie Day

Today we celebrate the humble beginnings of one of our culinary staples – the sandwich.  Where would we be without delicious sammies like the BLT, the Dagwood, the Hoagie, the Reuben or the infamous breakfast sandwich? Ok, maybe a little thinner, but definitely not as satisfied.  The Fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu (1719-1792) was the man given credit for inventing the sandwich, even though the first sandwich probably originated a thousand years earlier. Montagu was First Lord of the Admiralty and an influential sponsor to Captain James Cook’s vast exploration efforts.  In fact, Captain Cook named a series of small South Pacific islands after the Earl, calling them The Sandwich Islands. These islands are now known as Hawaii.

According to legend, John Montagu, was a gambling addict and introduced the concept of two slices of bread with a piece of salted meat in between them so that he could play through his card games.  Supposedly Montagu did this frequently enough that the other men gambling with him began to order “the same as Sandwich!”

Soon after, the British began baking a fine white loaf in a tin which created uniformity and slices that could be evenly cut. The sandwich was introduced to America in 1840 by Englishwoman, Elizabeth Leslie who included a recipe for the still beloved ham sandwich in her cookbook, Directions for Cookery. By the 1900’s, pre-sliced bread became available and the sandwich increased in popularity.  It became an easy, portable meal for workers and school children alike.

 Especially fun is how some of our more popular sandwiches received their names. For instance, the dagwood took its name from the cartoon character in the comic strip Blondie.  The taco is based on the Spanish word referring to a long narrow shape. The club sandwich was so named, because it was elegant and decadent enough to be served to the financially privileged at resorts and country clubs.  Finally, America’s most popular sandwich, the hamburger, was believed to have been introduced at the world’s fair in St. Louis in 1904. Derived from the entrée Hamburger Steak, it was named after the German city of Hamburg.

With over 65 types of sandwiches to choose from, it is estimated that America consumes more than 300 million sandwiches a day – that’s a lot of folks saying “same as Sandwich!”  To celebrate this great invention, try making a Super-Stuffed Monte-Cristo Sandwich, how about a California Grilled Veggie Sandwich, or if you’re a Pioneer Woman fan try the The Marlboro Man Sandwich. Or, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, create your own signature sandwich and take some time to enjoy it!