Impulse Buying – Study Says Blame Your Brain

Hartford York Hats - M. Miller Persian Lambs Wool Hat - The AmbassadorWhat a way to ring out the old! Great breaking end-of-year news: you never have to feel guilty again about indulging in your impulse-buying gotta-have-it lifestyle.

I was doing a little easy reading (The Journal of Neuroscience), my way of resting up for the festivities tonight, and came across this startling bit of research: that activity in the ventral striatum, a core component of the brain’s reward circuitry, correlated with individuals’ impulsiveness.

Whaddya mean, so? Read the translation – this “new imaging study shows that our brains react with varying sensitivity to reward and suggests that people most susceptible to impulse – those who need to buy it, eat it, or have it, now – show the greatest activity in a reward center of the brain.”

Reseachers say the findings have far-reaching implications for our current and future well-being (yada yada yada), but – as usual – I’m cutting to the meat of the matter. Go ahead. Impulse shop til ya drop. There’s nothin’ you can do about it – you’re hard-wired, baby.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 31, 2006 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Out With the Old

Hartford York Hats and Accessories - Men's Silk Ties - Lee Allison's 'Hats without Men' TieThat infallible research source of mine, GullibleInfo, states that 93 percent of men over 25 own at least one tie.

That’s a lot of ties. And most of them aren’t being worn any more. Too wide, too embarrassing – they’re simply serving time as dust collectors.

Dive into your closet today. Donate any tie you haven’t worn in the past year to fund-raising flea markets or local charity, and get yourself updated.

It’s less painful than making those horrid little New Year’s Resolutions (“I resolve to be a better person” – yeah, right) – and the improvement is immediate and noticeable. Tie one on for 2007!

Trust me.
he he he
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 29, 2006 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Best 2006 Tech Accessory – Video-Playing Belt Buckles

Hartford York Hats & Accessories - Men's Tommy Bahama Leather Belt - The Buck and Weave BeltTechnology amazes me. Here I am, an electronic hat retailer, congratulating myself on leaping into the blogosphere and thinking myself to be very 21st century, when a phrase catches my eye: a belt buckle that plays videos.

It’s a pretty jaw-dropping concept, and nearly as hard to figure out the why behind the invention is the how. . . exactly HOW does the user watch the video? I mean, I’m doing fairly well with the lotus position, but still.

It just can’t be comfortable to lock into the necessary contortion to see a very intimate version of Dreamgirls.

Call me low-tech, but I’m more of the roomy-seat-and-popcorn mentality when it comes to movies and tend to put belts in a hold-your-pants-up category.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, Traditionalist
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 28, 2006 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

No Trans Fat – 2007 New Year’s Resolution

Hartford York Hats - Men's Wigens Shearling Trooper Cap - The BjornHave you jumped on the scientifically sound BAN TRANS FATS bandwagon yet?

Since fat weights for no man (sorry, it’s the eggnog), I have taken the extraordinary step of guaranteeing that

every hat from Hartford York Hats is trans fat free.

Extraordinary, I know. Forerunner of fashion that you know me as, you’ll also find me scientifically astute when it comes to matters of health (as long as it’s not really hard stuff) – yes, you can call me the Renassiance Man.

Long life,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 27, 2006 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Will the One Man Good at Christmas Shopping Please Stand Up?

Hartford York Hats - Men's Wigens Shearling Ivy Cap - The GustavAccording to Jasper Gerard of the UK’s Telegraph, there is no hope that any man, anywhere, will ever be any good at Christmas shopping. He holds up some pretty good examples of just how truly bad some guys are:

A psychologist from Berkeley…knew that his girlfriend adored scented candles – so he bought a fire extinguisher.

Mr. Gerard finds the bad-shopper generalization to be true (for himself at least) – and somewhat depressing. He says “what really saps male morale is that, despite so little being expected of us, we still fail.”

Take heart, sir. You just need to tap into your feminine side, and you’ll be a shopper extraordinaire in no time. Get a facial and manicure to jump start the process (if you think you might be subconciously blocking, a bikini wax usually takes care of that), and pretty soon you’ll be buying like that inner girl you really are.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
Sublime Shopper and
Sensitive CEO
of Hartford York

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Published in: on December 23, 2006 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Why Giving Hats As Gifts Is Good For You

Hartford York Hats - Women's Scala Rabbit Fur Trooper - The KatarinaWhen you’ve messed up at the office again (hey, I thought dry ink for photocopiers was a joke, okay?), and your co-workers have taken up yet another collection to save your sorry skin, you offer up heartfelt thanks, right?


Accordingly to William Arthur Ward, American author, pastor and teacher (1921 – 1994), “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Likewise, when you see a hat like this gorgeous women’s trooper, and the face of a woman you love springs to mind, not giving it to her is just wrong.

Don’t suffer. Live right. Do like Ward. Give hats today.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, Philosopher
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 21, 2006 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Light Therapy for Dark Winter Moods

Hartford York Hats - Women's Faux Fur Coat - The Vintage Valley Hooded CoatMornings and early afternoons as dark as midnight – that’s what many northerners face when winter sets in. And more than the bitter cold, it’s the dark that’ll drive people into depression.

People in Stockholm have the Igloo Cafe for light therapy, where they bask in intense indirect light to counter the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). If you don’t have a coffee shop that serves up rays with your morning joe, try heading outside for a half-hour walk when the sun is shining.

Doctors also suggest treating yourself a little more gently during the dark days of winter – using candles in your home; splurging on a bit of chocolate – whatever elevates your mood.

Okay, that’s good advice – but I’ve gotta tell you that I’d opt for a light-colored hat, myself.

Yup, instead of risking burning my house down or getting all fat (and really depressed), I’d slap the ol’ Tomascio atop my head and start smiling.

Face it, it’s hard to be depressed when you look just so darn good.

Thanks for reading,
The Very Good Looking
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 20, 2006 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tips for Spreading Happiness at Work

Hartford York Hats - Scala Rabbit Fur Trooper Hat - The Winter ChillThere are ways to spread joy other than, apparently, just wearing a hat (who knew?).

Chief Happiness Officer, Alexander Kjerulf, author of Happy Hour is 9 to 5 – How to Love Your Job, Love your Life and Kick Butt at Work, has a column on his blog called Monday Tips.

In it, he posts ideas on how to spread happiness at work, such as:

  • – Make an apology if you’ve been a little cranky. (note: it’s usually too late if you’ve already fired them…)
  • – Seek out a new co-worker and see how he’s doing. If nobody’s new, spend a few minutes chatting with someone you’ve been meaning to get to know better. Like the guy down the hall who’s been there 20 years already – you know, what’s his name…
  • – Send an email to thank an employee for a job well done. Be specific.
  • – Send someone in your organization an anonymous present (like maybe a hat)

It works you know – ask anyone who works for me. They’ll tell ya how nice I am. I wear hats; I give ’em stuff; and I say thank you all the time. It’s killing me, but they love me. They really love me.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 19, 2006 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just What I Always Wanted!

Hartford York Hats - Men's Leather Trooper from Crown Cap - The Muskrat TrooperThe phrase you’d like to hear on Christmas morning isn’t:

Oh. . .
Interesting. . .

What you want to hear usually starts with a girly squeal (even from those of us with the manliest of hairy chests) and a fractured sentence that includes words like: exactly! thank you! perfect! I love it!

I say all of that (and more) every time I buy myself a hat.

I’m so excited about the presents I’m giving myself on Christmas, I can hardly stand it!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 18, 2006 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Little Gift For You, Kaizen

Hartford York Hats - Women's M. Miller Fur Muff - The Fox Barrel MuffThere’s a Japanese approach to problem solving called kaizen, where you implement simple small steps in order to realize your ultimate goal.

So, instead of attempting to create radical change that you won’t be able to keep up with and sustain over time, the kaizen method is to implement easy actions which lead, over time, toward continuous improvement.

For example, to control the amount you eat this holiday season, you might decide to eat one bite less of dessert each time you have a treat. To reduce stress levels, you can simply take 15 seconds in the bathroom every day to breathe deeply three times.

That’s all you have to do. Take one tiny step whether it’s a new thought, or a new action, and over time, the change will occur.

I’ve always advised people who feel funny wearing hats to do that – start small, with a baseball cap or newsboy, and move up slowly in stages to a fedora or cowboy hat. Course once they’re looking comfortable in a panama, they never give me any credit – just lie and say they always loved hats. But I’m a forgiving kind of guy–I hardly ever make prank calls to them anymore, pretending I’m Toby Keith, asking them for advice on how to wear a western hat.

Thanks for reading,
Steve (The Prankster) Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 15, 2006 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment