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Monday two-fer: Feed your brain with art and music

From the Cheapskate: An exclusive deal on the seriously cool Meural Digital Art Frame and a dirt-cheap deal on a lifetime subscription. Plus: The Amazon Echo is on sale!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

I don't know about you, but my brain needs a break. I'm appalled by what this election has revealed about our country, sad to find myself at deep-rooted odds with people I care about, tired of non-stop stories of people behaving badly. Wednesday can't get here soon enough.

In the meantime, I've got two deals that can help soothe the stressed-out brain. One's for the eyes, one's for the ears. (Pro tip: Want to bring your nose into the mix? Bake some bread. You simply can't be stressed when the smell of fresh bread is in the air.)

Turn your home into an art gallery


Regular readers know that I'm a big fan of digital picture frames, the kind that deliver a running slideshow of your precious family photos. (Got a deal on one coming soon, too.)

Ah, but what about a frame that delivers great works of art? That's the idea behind the Meural, a 27-inch framed screen that effectively turns any wall or shelf into an art gallery.

It's not an inexpensive product. But at least there's a deal to be had: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Wellbots has the Meural digital art frame for $495 shipped when you apply promo code PICASSO at checkout. Regular price: $595.

This is a Cheapskate exclusive, folks! But let me mention straight away that Wellbots has only 100 of these available, and it'll be at least a month until the item ships -- something to consider if this is a gift item. And, yes, even $495 is probably a stretch for most readers. I just think this is a really cool product, something I'd love to own (though it'll probably have to stay on my wish-list for now).

The frame gives you access to some 20,000 works of art and photography (including your own, should you care to upload them). It's available with a black, white or wood frame. It connects to Meural's library via Wi-Fi. And, oh, yeah, you can sift through images just by waving your hand in front of the frame.

Head to Meural's site if you want to learn more about the product (but remember that the deal is available exclusively through Wellbots, above).

Improve your focus, relaxation and sleep

Okay, on to something a little more affordable. Studies have shown that music -- the right kind of music -- can help the brain focus, relax and drift off to sleep. This last is particularly important for a lot of folks, as insomnia is pretty much the worst. relies on original, AI-generated music designed to help you work, relax or sleep. Pop a pair of headphones into your phone, PC or tablet, choose a category and duration, then just go about your business. says "noticeable results" should occur within 15 minutes.

Before I get to the deal, you can try 10 sessions for free -- which I definitely recommend. Assuming you like what you hear, StackSocial has a lifetime subscription for $39. Regular price: $149.99.

You can access the service via just about any browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) or the iOS app. An Android version is coming soon (but, again, you can just use Chrome in the meantime), as are desktop apps.

I'm getting this for Mrs. Cheapskate, who struggles with insomnia, and for myself, who struggles with focus and relaxation (see above). At this price it's a no-brainer...or maybe that should be yes-brainer?

Bonus deal: For a limited time, Amazon, B&H Photo, Bed Bath & Beyond and probably some other stores have the Amazon Echo for $140.39 -- mostly with free shipping, possibly with sales tax depending on where you live. Regular price: $179.99.

I really love the Echo; my family uses it pretty much daily to check the weather, set timers and alarms, play music and so on. That said, I think you're better off getting a $50 Echo Dot and pairing it with an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker.

Also, I find Amazon's timing a little odd. Surely there will be Echo deals on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. My guess is there's a permanent price cut coming, if not a second-gen Echo (which is overdue). I'm not saying you shouldn't jump at the chance to save $40, merely that waiting a bit longer might be the smart move.