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  • Over 50 Years of Deals: History of Black Friday

    Door busting, money saving mayhem.

    shopping-makes-me-tired-and-grumpy

    Black Friday: History of the Mayhem

    Black Friday has fallen on the day after Thanksgiving now for over 50 years. In the world of retail this is the Holy Grail of shopping days. The term "Black Friday" was coined in the 1960's to mark the kickoff of the Christmas shopping season. It is referred to as "Black Friday" now because it was the moment when retailers moved from being in the "red" (operating at a loss), to the "black" (starting to make a profit). The term actually originated in Philadelphia where the term was used to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the day after Thanksgiving. For millions of us, Black Friday is a day where you can get some serious holiday shopping done, at some serious discounts. Even before the 1960's, since 1924 and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the day after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Every year it seems that retailers have been opening earlier and earlier to help with the massive crowds these promotions draw. Many retailers this year are even opening early Thanksgiving evening. Excitement for these deep discounts reaches a fever pitch at times and violence has actually occurred.

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    Deadly Deals

    Huge groups of ravenous deal hunters don't always play nice. Throughout the years a lot of violence and even deaths have occurred as a result of these massive discounts. In 2011 a woman pepper sprayed a crowd at a Walmart while trying to get a Nintendo Wii for 60% off. In 2012, again at a Walmart, two people were shot after there was an altercation over a parking space. Not to mention in 2008 when a man was trampled to death just trying to do his job. There is definitely a negative connotation to the term "Black Friday" for a great deal of people.

    BLACK-FRIDAYz

    Black Friday Deals and Urgency

    The number one takeaway from Black Friday and the associated advertising is the term "urgency". As upsetting as it is to admit, Black Friday and commercialism has been ingrained in our shopping culture. The hype around "Black Friday" is ridiculous, limited quantity deals, door busters, and other sales sometimes up to 80% off are carefully crafted to show a sense of urgency. Some techniques used this include:

    • Advertising crazy low prices on select items, some even selling at a loss to the retailer.
    • Offering special deals during limited hours of the day.
    • Limiting the quantity of items available throughout the day.

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    The idea behind this is that most shoppers will buy full priced merchandise along with the highly discounted stuff. The internet has truly taken Black Friday to a whole new level allowing to help customer better plan out their shopping day.

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    The Consequences of Black Friday

    Deep discounts, holiday cheer, and hassle-free shopping. That's what Black Friday is all about right? Not exactly, there is a cost for all of this. Is this consumer excess and addiction to consumer goods healthy? As humans, does this primal behavior that comes out in shoppers including, shoving, rude comments, and overall indecency makes us look good? Many people believe that this costumer culture is making us forget about what is really important during the holiday season. If you have never visited a retail store after Black Friday it is a sight to behold. The carnage left in its wake can be hellish at times.

    cybermon Cyber-Monday-2012 cm konfeti

    Internet Joins the Party

    The internet was not happy to sit by and let retail stores have all the fun. The term Cyber Monday entered our vocabulary around the year 2005. However, in this short time it has seen some of the largest volume of online sales ever. The day was officially named by the N.R.F (National Retail Federation). This additional sales day was added due to the fact that researchers found that online sales for that day spiked about 75% that day, so they figured they might as well take advantage of that fact. In fact the first year it was nationally mentioned, online sales rose over 25% to around $490 million. It rose every year, now predicted to be over 1 billion. Competition for online retailers on this day is fierce and discounts can be found almost anywhere. Here are some tips to score the best possible deals.

    1. Research- knowing what is out there can help you maximize your savings.
    2. Knowing time constraints-when a sale starts and ends so you don't miss time sensitive deals.
    3. You should create online accounts for the stores you are looking to buy from before actually shopping on Cyber Monday.
    4. Make breakfast in bed, leave your pajamas on all day and shop from the comfort of your own home with no doors to bust, no craziness, just low prices.

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    Best Cyber Monday Deals

    A big portion of Cyber Monday is technology deals, things like televisions, cell phones, tablets, computers, audio and more will be heavily discounted.

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    Fun Fact: According to a recent report (not sure how accurate the reporting is) over 35 million people have shopped online from the toilet.

  • So Much Snow, So Little Time: Ski and Snowboarding Guide

    Snow season is here, grab your gear, grab a lift ticket and let's go.

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    2014-2015 Snow Season is Here

    The most glorious part of the year is now finally upon us...ski and snowboarding season. There is only so much time to take advantage of that majestic white powdery goodness. We are putting together this guide to help you find the best gear, the best slopes, and easy places to purchase lift tickets. I know from personal experience that skiing and snowboarding can be a pretty expensive hobby, so saving money while tearing up powder is a great added bonus.

    The Gear

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    Ski and Snow Essentials

    Nothing beats the feeling of brand new gear for a brand new season. Brand new gear actually isn't that expensive as long as you know where to shop. The first ingredient of a killer winter wardrobe is a ski face mask.

    Essential #1: Ski/Face Mask

    When it comes to choosing the perfect face mask, there are three basic options that you will come across:

    balaclava face mask

    Balaclava Ski Mask: These masks cover your entire head and usually are available in either three-hole or one-hole designs based on your personal preferences.

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    Full Face Neoprene Mask: The second option you have available to you is a full face neoprene mask. These do not cover your entire head like a traditional ski mask or balaclava. The material might look thin but these face masks pack a warm punch.

     

    half face mask

    Half Face Ski Mask: The last option you have is the half face mask. These masks only cover up the lower half of your face up to your nose. Wearing this in conjunction with a great pair of goggles is my personal preference.

    Each type of face mask has it's own pros and cons based on the individual and based on personal tastes. There are hundreds of great styles and designs out there, you should have no problem finding the perfect accessory.

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    Winter Essential #2: Ski Gloves

    It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that snow is cold, really cold, everyone knows that. However, what many people are not aware of is that much on your body's warmth escapes via your head, as well as you appendages like hands and feet. A great pair of ski gloves not only looks great but can keep your body heat up. The gloves also protect you from physical contact with the ice and snow which can actually cause burns if you are not careful. For more casual winter excursions off the slopes you will find flip top gloves which can change from mittens to fingerless gloves and back again.

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    Winter Essential #3: Beanie/Trooper Hat

        The last winter essential is a beanie or trooper hat. Most people know what a beanie is, it is probably the second most popular hat type aside from a baseball cap. What some are unaware of, is a little hat called a trooper hat. In my opinion a trooper hat is one of the most comfortable hats I have ever worn. It is basically a super comfortable beanie that has ear flaps as well as soft fur lining. Another variation of this hat I also love is a trapper hat. This hat combines the versatility of a ball cap with the comfort of a beanie or ear muffs.

    Top 5 Mountains You Must Ride

     

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    Ski Colorado

    Colorado is known as one of the premier locales for skiing and snowboarding. Colorado is just a beautiful place to begin with. The fantastic snow is just an added bonus. Check out the website below for information about season passes, travel packages, and other slope information.

    http://www.coloradoski.com/

     

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    Ski Utah

    Utah has a reputation of being the land of the Mormon's. However, there is actually some great downhill action to be had here. This is a great place for beginners, experts, and even families. There are so many runs to choose from and while I have not had the opportunity to experience all that Utah snow season has to offer, it remains one of the premier winter destinations. Visit the Ski Utah website below for more information.

    http://www.skiutah.com/

     

    802016_trailmapSki Vermont

    Vermont...I never knew Vermont was a top tier ski and snowboard locale. However, after a little research, I am dangerously close to booking a flight. With three big mountains to explore, there is truly something sweet for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and experience levels. Click the link below for more information.

    http://skivermont.com/

     

    Snow-Summit

    Ski Snow Summit

    Being a Californian for my entire life, Snow Summit has been the go-to spot for most of Southern California. Featuring both natural and man-made snow, a great day on the slopes is more affordable than you might think. Check out the link below for season start times, life tickets, and season passes.

    http://www.snowsummit.com/ski/

     

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    Ski Mammoth Mountain

    What I might consider, the Holy Grail of snowboard and ski hotspots is Mammoth Mountain. This mountain offers some of the most fantastic sights, and some of the smoothest rides. Check out the Mammoth website for more information about season times, lift tickets, and 3 month passes.

    http://www.mammothmountain.com/

     

  • Combat the Cold: Winter Beanies

    There is no wrong way to wear a beanie.

    Beanie Season is upon Us

    When you start to think about picking up a new beanie for the winter, you would think you would only have a few to choose from. A beanie is a beanie right? You would be wrong, there are actually several different style of beanies all suited for different people, hairstyles, activities, personal styles, and weather. This guide will briefly explain each type of beanie available and you can more easily find the type of beanie that is right for you.

    The most important thing to remember is that while there are suggestions on how to wear a beanie, there is no wrong way to wear a beanie.

    Military Beanie

    Cuff less Beanie

    A cuff less beanie, also known as a short beanie doesn’t have the added material of a cuff beanie and fits directly on top of the wearer’s head. The edge of the beanie usually reached the top of the forehead. Some of these beanies are on the thinner side so these are best worn in more temperate weather and not in extreme cold. This beanie style is a more casual beanie style that can be worn all year round. Some of these types of beanies are embroidered with designs, logos, text, and seasonal images. See some cuff less beanies for yourself.

    Cuffed Beanie

    A cuffed beanie, also known as a long beanie, is a more versatile, warmer version of a cuff less beanie. The added cuff is there to cover the forehead and your ears. This cuffed can be pulled up or worn down depending on the wearer. The extra warmth is perfect for the more harsh winter months and can give your head total warmth coverage. If you are more sensitive to cold then this is the beanie option for you. Take a look some cuffed beanie styles here.

     Ear Flap Beanie

    Ear Flap Beanie

    For even more additional warmth you can wear an ear flap beanie. These beanies feature extra ear flaps that full cover your ears. The flaps can be found in a variety of different sizes and lengths.  Some of the flap beanies even have straps that can be adjusted to ensure the perfect fit. These beanies are worn mostly by children but can be worn by adults as well. Take a look at this fun and unique beanie style.

    Brimmed Beanie

    Visor Beanie

    A visor beanie, also referred to as a brimmed beanie combines the bill of a ball cap with comfort of a beanie. These are perfect for snowboarders and skiers because the bill keeps the sun out of their eyes on the slopes. This beanie type is also versatile and can be worn all year round due to the light breathable fabric typically used. You can even find slouch beanies with a brim. They offer more space in the crown to wear with dreads, longer hair or just to offer the wearer a unique sense of style.

    Ski Face Mask

    Ski Mask

    A ski mask can be worn for more than just robberies. There are several styles of ski mask out there all with its own style and function. Whether you are looking for a traditional three-hole ski mask, one-hole or hunting style ski mask, there are options available to you. See for yourself truly how many types of ski masks there are on the market today here.

    Animal Hats

    Animal Beanies

    A new fun style of beanie available is the animal beanie. These beanies feature several fun animal designs. These beanies have long extended ears for added warmth as well as gloves on the end of the ears to keep your hands warm too. There are bears, giraffe, alligators, bunnies, elephants, cats and many more animals to choose from. This is a great option for children and even for adults looking for a lighthearted approach to winter warmth.

    Winter Beanies

    Knitted Beanies

    The last beanie style is the knitted beanie. These are also known as homemade beanies because they give that homemade loose knit look that people love. They are usually constructed of wool, fleece, yarn and other thread types. These are usually thick beanies and are a great addition to your winter arsenal. These are just like the ones that Grandma made, except with a slightly more modern styling. Many knit beanies feature unique patterns and design perfect for ski and snowboard season. If I had to pick my favorite beanie style, this would be it.

    balbas_balbasshrunkWhile going to these lengths might be overkill winter protection is super important.

    Stay Safe this Winter

    An awesome winter beanie is not only worn for style, not wearing the proper cold protective gear can put your health at risk. There is actually a science to body heat loss. It is so important to make sure to keep your children, your family, and yourself protected from extreme weather conditions.

    The Science of Warmth

    Staying warm on a cold winter day sounds simple right? Put on a jacket, throw on some winter gloves, and you are ready to face the elements. There actually is a science to why your body becomes cold. There are four ways that your body loses warmth. The first is called radiative heat loss. This is when your body loses warmth due to a lack of insulation, or the lack of a jacket or sweatshirt. The second way your body loses heat is through convective heat loss, in this method wind draws heat away from your body via exposed skin. The third way is conductive heat loss. This happens when you make direct contact with cold surfaces or liquids. The last way your body loses heat is due to evaporative cooling. When your perspiration evaporates this takes body heat with it, making your feel cooler. The proper outerwear including women's scarves can combat these types of heat loss. A properly insulated jacket, thick comfortable ski gloves, and a warm beanie can make a huge difference in keeping you protected from cold weather.

    HeatTransferModes heatloss

    Talk nerdy to me: These are a few ways heat can leave your body in winter.

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    Wind Chill is not Chill

    There are three very important cold winter dangers that most often overlook. The first is wind chill factor. Wind chill factor can sometimes add up to 15-20 degrees in cooling and can be very dangerous if you are not wearing the proper outerwear, or winter beanie. The second danger is of course hypothermia. The human body is a wonderful resilient thing. However, it cannot reach low temperatures without shutting down.

    hypothermiaFast action can save someone's life.

     

    Hypothermia

    Hypothermia is a very serious and very dangerous situation. When diagnosing hypothermia look for these symptoms and warning signs:

    • Person is experiencing confusion or memory loss.
    • The person is experiencing a drop in body temperature down to 95 degrees.
    • Experiencing exhaustion or drowsiness.
    • Loss of consciousness.
    • The individual has numb hands and feet.
    • Exhibiting shallow breathing patterns.
    • Visible shivering.

    Quick treatment can make a difference:

    • Restore warmth slowly, not rapidly.
    • Get the person indoors.
    • Remove wet clothing if needed.
    • Do not warm hands and feet first. Doing so can result in shock.
    • Blankets work best to slowly warm the body.
    • Do not submerge the person in warm water, this can cause arrhythmia.
    • Feed the person a warm drink but not caffeine or alcohol.
    • Once body heat is up keep it up until you can take the person to the hospital for further treatment.

    The last danger is frostbite. Frostbite can cause permanent damage and hypothermia can lead to frostbite if you are not careful. Frostbite photos can be quite graphic so I won’t post any here but you can look up pictures for yourself.

    You can find these winter items and more by clicking this link.

  • Ultimate Guide to Winter: Savings, Survival, Style

    Don't get stuck to the flag pole this winter.

     

    108985B3-CA72-5E3F-65136E2BBE31351EDon't get stuck to the flagpole this winter. The winter is upon us, and all of the kicking and screaming is not going to change the fact that summer is over. The temperature is dropping, snow is beginning to fall, stores are decorated for the holidays, and TBS is queuing up "A Christmas Story. The winter, especially the holiday season, can be a stressful time for everyone. There are gifts to buy, deadlines at work, family time anxiety, and a hundred other stresses. We have put together this guide to help you not only survive the winter, but to thrive. Whether you are looking for simple Do-it-yourself tips for the winter, a guide to holiday shopping and helping you find the best deals, and even a guide to winter fashion. This 2014 Guide to Winter will be a life saver. You'll even find tips for cold weather emergencies.

     

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    Winter Life Hacks

    • Use an ice pop to trick your thermostat into turning on the heat faster.

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    • Use an electric blanket to pre-warm your bed and your clothes.

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    • Use pipe insulation to quickly fill in door gaps.

     

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    • Women’s knee high socks make great toddler leggings.

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    • Cut out insoles made of wool for added warmth in your shoes over the winter.

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    Do-it Yourself Snuggie

    • Make a homemade “Snuggie” see the tutorial here.
    • DIY Fingerless gloves.

    DIY statement fingerless gloves by Xenia Kuhn for fashionrolla-4

    • Kitty Litter works great for getting your car out of the snow when it is stuck.

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    • Easily prevent an icy windshield by simply using vinegar.

    Vinegar

     

    • Cut pool noodles into small chunks to keep your boots straight.

    enhanced-buzz-23318-1383329716-7During the winter, reverse the direction of your ceiling fan which will recirculate the warm air trapped above.

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    The ultimate cold remedy is quite simple, lemon, ginger, and Siracha.enhanced-buzz-6866-1358378340-6

    • Make your socks waterproof by simply adding plastic sandwich bags to create custom waterproof socks.

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    • Using a shaving razor on old sweatshirts can clear it of frayed threads and make them new.

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    Beanies and Winter HatsHoliday shopping can sometimes feel like you are inside of a kaleidoscope.

    Winter Shopping Guide

    Best time to shop for clothing and accessories:

    • End of the season
    • Boxing Day December 26th (Similar to Black Friday)
    • Black Friday
    • Cyber Monday
    • January-April

    Top Winter Products

     

    Additional Savvy Shopper Tips

    • Coupon code websites: With a quick Google search you can find coupon codes for most online retailers posted on thousands of different coupon code websites.
    • Visit sites like Groupon for time sensitive savings. There are also Shopping rebate sites like Ebates that give you cash back on purchases.

    10-Free-Credit-Card-Benefits-You-Might-Not-Know-AboutShow those credit card companies who's boss.

    • Many people also forget about credit card perks. Find out about the perks of your credit cards. Buy the things you would normally buy and then pay it off at the end of the month and reap the rewards without the interest. Some rewards include travel miles, cash back, theme park tickets, rewards points and more.

     

    Winter hats and apparelThis might be a funny scene from a classic movie but staying warm is no laughing matter.

     

     

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    The Perfect Winter Jacket

    For most guys, finding a winter jacket is easy. You simply see it, buy it, and wear it. For women it is a little more complicated. There are several steps you should take in order to find that perfect winter jacket or coat.

    Consider the weather

    -Too much jacket and too little can affect your enjoyment.

    -Geographical area is an important factor is choosing the right piece of winter apparel.

    Good Fit

    -Do not treat the sizing chart as Gospel. Every woman is different and wants their clothing to fit a certain way. Trying on winter clothing is the only way to ensure this. This applies to women's hats, shoes, and other apparel types.

    -Also be sure to check the washing requirements to be sure the sizing will not change.

    Flattering Style

    -Probably the most important factor. The way you look and more importantly feel, is your best indication of the right coat for you.

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    Evaluating Body Types

    -Every woman is unique and has a different body type. There are several body type styles including Apple, Pear, Strawberry, Hourglass, and Rectangle. Check the graphic above to find your body type.

    -Knowing your body type can make shopping exponentially easier, so you can find exactly what you are looking for and it fits just right.

    assorted_colorsThat's only about 30% of the colors that are actually out there.

    Color

    -This is the last factor to consider and is the most subjective.

    -Believe it or not there are hundreds of colors out there, many are the slightest variance. Especially when shopping online, be sure it is the color you are looking for. Ivory, off-white, white, white cream, snow white, can be very different colors if you are not careful when shopping.

     

     

     

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

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    How to Donate or Support the Cause

    There are several ways for you to support this cause. Additionally, there are many places you can donate money to breast cancer research including donating on the Susan G. Komen Foundation website here. You can show your support for the cause with a breast cancer hat, embroidered pink ribbon beanie, pink ribbon headband, t-shirts, stickers and more. Most of the money made on these items retailers sell all October long is given back to support breast cancer research.

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    Breast Cancer History

    Breast cancer has been around since the dawn of modern civilization. It is characterized by small lumps and tumors on the body, more specifically the breast. Unlike other internal cancers the visible lumps and tumors led to early physicians ability to document and report on this disease. When cancer first began to be diagnosed, early detection was difficult because it was seen as a more taboo issue and was not publicly discussed. That drastically lowered the survival rate. The pink ribbon was adopted as the symbol of breast cancer in the early 1900's.  The first documented case of breast cancer was over 3500 years ago! Early physicians tried many forms of treatment to combat this disease, including opium, caster oil, licorice, sulfur, and other salves.

    Early on, doctors thought this cancer was caused by a number of reasons ranging from curdled milk and a sedentary lifestyle all the way to lack of sex, depressive disorders and even curdled milk. In 1757 the first breast cancer surgery was performed and by the 19th century advances in antiseptic and anesthesia made this the new number one treatment method. As the years have gone by physicians have been able to pinpoint preventative tips to lower your chance of developing breast cancer.

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    There are Breast Cancer support groups popping up all across the world.

    Prevention

    These are few preventative modern methods to decrease your chances of developing breast cancer.

    1. Maintain a healthy weight.
    2. Participate in daily exercise or another physical activity.
    3. Limiting consumption of alcohol.
    4. Eating nutritious food and maintaining a balanced diet.
    5. Don't smoke, or quit smoking if you do.

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    Treatments

    If you end up developing breast cancer there are three treatment methods that you will be presented with. With any surgery there are no guarantees, but survival rates have drastically increased over the last 30 years.

    1. Surgery
    2. Medication
    3. Radiation

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    Breast Cancer Awareness Groups

    In the early 1900's breast cancer awareness groups began to pop up, informing women about breast cancer, early detection, prevention, and causes of the disease. Groups like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Breast cancer Foundation, and websites like Breastcancer.org have really made a big difference in the survival rates in women with breast cancer.

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    The breast cancer awareness movement has actually had some great accomplishments over the past 30 years including:

    • Environmental toxins and other triggers of breast cancer are now closely studied and more regulated.
    • Breast conserving surgical treatments are now offered whenever possible.
    • There are hundreds of new support groups for women fighting against breast cancer.
    • Hospitals now have a breast cancer centers that allows patients to meet with their surgeon, plastic surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist in the same room at the same time.
    • As a country we raise millions for research each year.
    • We have changed our belief that the most aggressive treatment for cancer, is the best treatment.
    • Second opinions are more widely accepted than ever. Opening minds to alternative views and techniques.

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    Breast Cancer Organizations

    1. Susan G. Komen for the Cure
    2. American Breast Cancer Foundation
    3. Breast Cancer Research Foundation
    4. Avon Foundation
    5. American Cancer Society
    6. Breastcancer.org
    7. National Breast Cancer Foundation

    Whether you wear hats for breast cancer awareness month, or donate money online to your favorite foundation you will be supporting a great cause.

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