Warm Outerwear School Uniforms Fashion and Compassion Write to Santa What's Hot? What's Not? Footwear Safety Backpack Overload Corporate Gifts

Snow Fun: Cool Ideas For Winter Play And Warmth

 (NAPSI)-When cold turns to snow, playing outdoors is a great way for kids and adults to stay fit and have fun for free. In 30 minutes, a 150-pound person burns about 143 calories building a snowman and about 159 calories having a snow fight.

To help you get energized and excited for snow season, author Birgitta Ralston offers projects for wintertime fun in her new book “Snow Play” (Artisan Books), plus a few ideas on how to stay warm and dry.

• Grab some drinking straws and head outside to make frozen critters. If the snow isn’t sticky, slowly mix some water into snow to give it the right consistency. Flatten a small patch of ground with your hands. Sink four straws into the ground to create the legs of the animal. Compress the snow around each straw to keep them securely in place. Shape snow into a round or oblong ball for the body of your animal. Add a shortened straw for a tail and carefully push the body into the legs. Create a small head from compressed snow and carefully push it onto the body. Take photographs to record your work so you can reflect back on it when the snow’s all melted away.

For such extended outdoor activities, you may appreciate waterproof Sport Squall Gloves from Lands’ End that keep hands toasty and fingers flexible, with an interior sheath that holds hand warmer packets for up to seven hours of heat.

• Make an ice slide. Start on a hillside or large pile of snow. Plan where the slide will start and where it will reach level ground. On one side, create steps by carving notches into the snow. Press a shovel into the snow horizontally, then vertically to create 90-degree−angled steps. Use a shovel to carve out a slide on the opposite side of the mound; it should be about a foot deep. Add curves, but not too sharp, as that will slow down the sliding. Pat down the sides of the slide from the top. Let it freeze overnight. The slide should be ready to use the next day.

Consider snow pants that feature Cordura nylon reinforcements at the knees and seats. Features such as SnowGuard cuffs and waterproof, windproof fabrics in the Expedition Down coats and jackets keep the chill out while using one of nature’s lightest insulators.

• Engage your neighborhood in a snowball challenge. Find a fresh field of sticky snow and pick your team. Determine how long the contest will last. With your team members, start rolling a small snowball along the ground, patting down the snow that sticks. Continue to roll it, adding more snow until it’s too big to move. Smooth out the surface of the snowball and measure each snowball with a measuring tape to determine a winner.

Having waterproof boots with good traction makes pushing a giant snowball seem a snap. Snow Plow Boots for adults and kids at Lands’ End feature high-traction soles and a cinch at the top to lock out snow.

• Stay warm and dry by dressing in layers that you can shed as outdoor activity increases. Consider fleece as a base layer. ThermaCheck fleece offers softness, lightweight warmth and wind resistance. Pay special attention to extremities such as ears, fingers and toes, where heat loss is quick and common. Seek out waterproof and windproof garments with features such as sealed seams. Choosing brightly colored coats, hats and scarves makes kids easier to see in the snow.

• Learn more. For more information, to order online or to find stores, visit or call (800) 800-5800.

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How To Dress Your Kids For School For Less

(NAPSI)-Dressing your children in clothes that help build confidence is always a sound investment, but in tough economic times, many parents look for ways to save on everything, including school clothes.

Here are some tips to help you save when shopping:

• Measure carefully. Get each child's measurements and sizes and make a list before you go shopping.

• Shop as early as possible to take advantage of larger style and size selections. Retailers run sales often on uniforms; keep your eyes open for specials.

According to the National Schoolwear Database, as many as 25 percent of schools nationwide have a dress code that specifies color and/or style. School wear--such as uniforms and clothes for dress codes and spirit days--can cost less as well as improve in-school behavior and help students take school more seriously.

School wear can promote a sense of equality and unity among students both during the school day and when attending after-school activities.

According to the Afterschool Alliance, as many as 15 million American children are alone and unsupervised after school until their parents come home from work.

Many children do not have access to after-school activities. To address this issue, JCPenney, which sells IZOD Approved School Wear, created the JCPenney Afterschool Fund, which has donated more than $80 million to local after-school programs.

The fund supports the after-school cause nationwide, giving many children the opportunity to participate in essential after-school programs.

Fortunately, economical school wear for uniforms, dress codes or spirit days can be fashionable, easy to care for and comfortable. IZOD school wear is available in many styles in both regular and special sizes.

The line is available in many stores and online, 24/7, at

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Combining Fashion And Compassion

(NAPSI)—An increasing number of Americans have discovered an ingenious way to look stylish, feel comfortable and help others all at the same time.

What You Can Do

How? By wearing cool and casual hospital scrubs for sleep-wear, exercise clothes or just about any informal occasion, that let you help cancer patients with every purchase.

To encourage cancer patients to feel good about themselves, the clothing’s creators provide patients with a fashion-forward way to cover the most outward sign of sickness: hair loss.

Approximately 12 million people are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. Millions of those will require chemotherapy. Some say that they fear chemotherapy as much as they fear the mortality from their cancer.

Now, however, as one recipient, Margaret Moore, put it, “After undergoing chemotherapy at MD Anderson in Houston, I finally got to wear a Blue Sky Scrubs hat. I feel so much better now. This is a big ego booster.”

A free hat goes to either a cancer patient at the hospital or to the customer. The hats are made from the highest-quality cotton fabrics and offered in literally hundreds of designs.

What Else You Can Do

  •        Other ways you can help people with cancer include:
  •         If you have a friend or relative with the disease, ask specifically when you can help and what jobs you can do.
  •         Find events and volunteer opportunities—runs, bake sales, other fundraisers—that are run by cancer research organizations or patient-support groups.
  •         Engage with elected and appointed officials to keep cancer a top government priority.
  •         Stay healthy yourself with a balanced diet, regular exercise and no smoking.

What Others Can Do

The clothing company, Blue Sky Scrubs, hopes that in addition to helping people with cancer, its actions will inspire other firms to channel their giving efforts toward a specific population of people in need.

How To Get In On It

The hats, clothes, jewelry and other accessories are available online at

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Make Wishes Come True

(NAPSI)-This holiday season, you can help Santa grant special wishes just by writing him a letter.

To bring a smile to the face of a child with a life-threatening medical condition, simply go into any Macy’s store before December 25th and write a letter to Santa at the Believe Station or drop off a stamped letter, already addressed to Santa. For each letter mailed at Macy’s, the famous department store will donate a dollar, up to $1 million, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. You can download a letter template at or write one of your own.

Macy’s Believe Campaign is inspired by The New York Sun’s famous “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” editorial from 1897, in reply to a little girl’s question about Santa’s existence. An animated television special about this heartwarming holiday story, called “Yes, Virginia,” is newly available as a DVD and children’s book, with 10 percent of the purchase price of those sold at Macy’s donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, too.

To find the nearest store, visit

Santa says helping others this holiday season can be easy for those who believe.

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The Latest Trend Fix

(NAPSI)-Being busy does not have to rule out looking your stylish best.

Busy style aficionados can now get their latest fix at the new Trend Shop, a special section of the award-winning site. The section is dedicated to showcasing the hottest products from a variety of top-tier retailers.

Currently, over 50 edited sets represent some of the most popular fashion and style themes such as “Mad Men and Women,” “Vintage Vixen” and “A Tribute to Audrey.”

Shoppers can both visualize the look with the aid of a collage graphic and shop the trend by scrolling down each trend’s page to see the assortment of items that make up the trend, as well as additional similar picks hand chosen by the site’s editorial and merchandising teams.

Shoppers are also encouraged to leave comments, share the trends via e-mail or Facebook, and post the trend pages on their blogs and other social media networks.

For more information, visit

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Footwear Can Increase Safety

(NAPSI)-While home improvement projects can fix what ails your home, doing these jobs without the right footwear can result in personal injuries.

More than 160,000 people land in the emergency room after falling off ladders annually, some with fatal or debilitating injuries. And more than 70 percent of slip-and-fall accidents happen while on level ground. Being properly outfitted for the job can help you avoid being a statistic.

While people frequently take precautions such as wearing goggles, buying protective gloves, checking power cords and testing ladders, they often overlook footwear. Home-improvement projects mean slippery or uneven floors, potential electrical dangers, and heavy items that can break a toe or ankle. Old gym shoes or boots might be good for getting dirty, but not for avoiding injury.

Protective and supportive footwear that provides maximum traction can reduce accident risk. In fact, expertise from the company that maximizes road traction has been used to develop comfortable, durable and slip-resistant footwear.

Michelin Footwear CEO Thomas Costin explains why their developers look to Michelin tire experts for design and development help. “Grip on the ground is a key performance for tires. It was logical to transfer Michelin’s grip know-how to footwear, applying leading technology to footwear tread and outsole design to improve traction.”

For more information, see

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Backpack Overload

(NAPSI)-Could that textbook your child just crammed into his backpack be one item too many? Every day, millions of kids—along with countless working adults and hikers—carry those bags. But load them up too heavily or wear ones that don’t fit properly, doctors warn, and there’s a risk of injury.

“Backpacks that are slung over one shoulder, as well as heavier shoulder-strap bags, tend to shift the center of gravity of the body and can lead to neck and back fatigue and injury,” explains Dr. Gerard W. Clum of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. “The greater the weight and imbalance, the greater the potential for problems.”

Dr. Clum offers these tips:

• Avoid carrying more than 10 to 15 percent of your body weight.

• Distribute weight evenly.

• Select packs with padded shoulder straps and lumbar support.

• Bend your knees when lifting a heavy pack.

• Carry only what’s needed.

For more information, visit

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Corporate Gifts

(NAPSI)-There’s good news for those looking for ways to reward employees and give thanks to customers this holiday season. Quality company-branded items can be both useful and timeless.

Useful ideas include:

• Clothe me: How about something practical, like a warm fleece or a scarf with a subtle logo.

• Feed me: It’s said that people remember someone who sent them chocolate much more than someone who sent them a pen. Try sending a candy jar with your logo.

• Protect me: Tool kits, emergency kits and quality flashlights are all gifts that people remember.

• Carry me: One reusable bag will travel everywhere, from the supermarket to the beach to the library. And don’t forget everyone still needs a nice duffel bag.

A leading promotional items that you keep the logo subtle and the usefulness of the gift obvious.

For more ideas and information, visit or call (877) 272-6337.

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