Saturday, June 4, 2016

4 Medicinal Herbs to Grow at Home

Gardeners are beginning to realize they can grow all kinds of wonderful fruits and vegetables themselves, and not only that, they can grow their own herbal remedies as well. Here’s a look at four easy-to-grow medicinal herbs – echineacea, chamomile, St. John’s wort and mint – and what their uses are as home treatments.

All these herbs prefer full sun, good soil and adequate drainage. Echinacea, chamomile and St. John’s wort can be grown from seed, although some nurseries may have starter plants available. Mint is grown from cuttings and is often available at nurseries.

Drying herbs thoroughly allows you to store them for future use. Make sure the leaves and/or flowers are very dry before you put them in a closed container, and store in a cool, dry place.

A tea can be made from any of these four herbs, or you can add the leaves to other types of tea to create a blend. To make a tea, simply use 1 tablespoon of dried leaves (or flowers, in the case of chamomile) and steep in 1 cup boiling water.

Echinacea – If you’ve ever taken an herbal cold remedy, there’s a good chance that it contained echinacea (eck-ah-nay-see-ah). This perennial is native in the Midwest and South, and besides being a useful herb, is attractive growing wild in fields – it’s also known as purple coneflower and blooms from July to October. Butterflies love it and it’s a lovely addition to any garden. It can easily be grown from seed.

Native Americans first discovered the health-giving qualities of echinacea, and used it to treat everything from snakebites to syphilis. These days, alternative practitioners prescribe it as a blood purifier, cold remedy and immune system booster. The plant can be used as a poultice for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema and also to heal sores and wounds.

Chamomile – Another easy-to-grow herb, chamomile (cam-o-meel) is popular as an herbal tea and also is a fragrant addition to a home garden. It is available either as an annual or a perennial, depending on the variety. The low-growing plants spread out and form a carpet topped with white and yellow daisy-like blossoms.

Chamomile was prized by our European ancestors to quiet nerves and as a cure for stomach ache and toothache, as well as a rinse to make hair shine. Flowers can be harvested and dried for future use.

St. John’s wort – Known as “herbal Prozac,” St. John’s wort has a mild antidepressant effect on those who take it, which has been proved in clinical studies. It also appears to alleviate symptoms of menopause.

There are more than 300 varieties of St. John’s wort; native to Europe and Asia, it has spread to the United States, where it can often be found growing wild. The perennial herb displays bright yellow flowers from July through August. It’s not fussy about soil and can tolerate some shade, and can be grown either from cuttings or from seed.

In addition to its uses in treating anxiety and depression, St. John’s wort has also been used for kidney ailments, incontinence, and lung problems.

Mint – This fragrant herb is a favorite for making tea, and is probably the easiest of all herbs to grow. In fact, mint can rapidly spread and become a pest plant, so if you don’t want it growing throughout your yard, you may want to keep it as a potted plant and clip what you need.

Mint can be grown from cuttings and is usually available at nurseries as a starter plant. It’s a reliable remedy for nausea and stomach upsets, and children will like it better than other teas because of its sweet aroma.

Sources:

Personal experience

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4 Makeup Tips for a Square Face

Square faces have serious definition but with the wrong makeup application you could give your face a harder, overly-chiseled look. A few adjustments can soften those lines perfectly. Show off your beautiful bone structure and bring some attention to your lips and eyes with these seven makeup tips for a square face.

Soften the jawline. Swish a light touch of bronzing powder or a mineral facial powder (slightly darker than your normal makeup) along the jaw. Touch a kabuki or powder brush across the powder and then tap the powder against your wrist to remove any excess. Sweep the color along the jawline to create the illusion of softer lines.

Highlight your chin and forehead. You need a highlighting powder one shade lighter than your skin tone and a highlighting brush. Draw some attention away from your square jaw by touching the highlighter to your chin and forehead.

Blush those apples! Wherever you add color, that’s where the eye is drawn to. That’s not just the rule for eye makeup; it applies to blush too. Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks but not your cheekbones.

Create a fuller lip look. This makeup tip takes a few steps to achieve unless you have good genes; however it’s worth it. Soften that square face by creating plump, fuller lips using lip liner and a nude lip gloss.

Get soft on the eyes. Bold colors make a statement but if your goal is soften your square face you should go with a soft eye color. Swirl on skin-toned eye colors like sand, beige, taupe or copper eyeshadows. Steer clear of hard black eyeliner. If you do go with black, smudge and soften the eyeliner.

Here’s another tip–arch your brows slightly. Okay this one is a bonus since it’s not actually a makeup tip. Take the time to arch your brow with tweezers or a good wax job.

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4 Little Known Facts About Hard Drives

In your home, there are probably several hard drives–in the computer you’re reading this on, your iPod, your Tivo, and other places you may not even be aware of. The hard drive is an amazing invention that allows for the storage of a practically limitless amount of information, and hard drives are everywhere, yet many people are completely unaware of how they work. Here are a few facts that you may not have known about hard drives, that might actually help you if you ever have a problem with any of the hard drives that you own.


1. When you delete data, it isn’t gone.
It simply gets marked by your computer’s operating system for deletion (this process differs depending on whether you’re using a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine). That is, the computer tells the hard drive that the next time data is written, the drive should write the data over the old data. Until this occurs, the data’s still there, and some data recovery companies have even been able to recover data that was overwritten once or twice.


2.
The heads of a hard drive operate in extremely close proximity to the platters. And when I say close, I mean close– if the heads of the hard drive were the size of a skyscraper, and the Earth was the platters of a hard drive (bad analogy, I know, but bear with it), the skyscraper would be travel about an inch from the ground to read data. Data is so densely packed onto drive platters that the heads simply have to be this close–and if they’re offset in the wrong direction, even slightly, data becomes completely inaccessible.


3. Any contaminant on the platter of a hard drive will permanently damage it.
Hard drives have special filters that prevent dust and other contaminants from infiltrating the area of the drive that contains the platters, since the heads operate so closely to those disks that any contaminant, even a micrometer in size, will break off the heads or cause them to touch down on the platters, scratching them–and removing the magnetic material that they store, which is your data. Hard drives are only worked on in class 100 clean rooms, the same rooms used in hospitals to prevent infection, for this reason.


4. Hard drives have extremely precise electronics.
Many manufactures use a process that writes the electronics board (or PCB) of a hard drive slightly differently, enabling the drives to store more data, but preventing two PCBs, even from the same model drive, from being switched. Attempting to do so will cause permanent damage to many drives.

Do you have more hard drive facts to add to this list? Post in our comments section below.

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4 Least Offensive Ways to Deal with Business Networking

Even though I have written several articles now about the evils of business networking, some people feel that forming relationships for business purposes is a necessary part of their job. For example, sales people simply have to persuade people to buy.

My best advice still is to avoid business networking at all costs. But if you have to do it, here are the four least offensive ways to do it:

Method 1: Keep Business Relationships Separate From Social Relationships

This first strategy aims to avoid creating a social relationship with business associates. By keeping your business relationships separate from your social relationships, you avoid the possibility of using a social connection to manipulate someone’s behavior in a business setting.

Granted, most effective business relationships have some minor social element to them (e.g., you probably small talk for a couple of minutes before you start talking business). The strategy here is to keep that aspect of the relationship to a minimum and neither state nor imply that a failure to comply with your business desires will damage the social relationship in any way.

While this strategy is workable for short-duration, low-contact business relationships (e.g., a relationship that results in a one-time sale to the contact), it would be difficult to implement with coworkers, repeat customers, and other high-contact associates.

Method 2: Issue A Disclaimer

If you have a closer social relationship with someone, you need to issue a disclaimer of some type before conducting business. It does not have to be formal, but it does have to be believable.

Basically, you want to communicate to the other person: “This is just business. If you don’t want to buy, don’t – it will not affect our relationship.”

You have to convey that message in a sincere and believable manner because the goal is to make the other person truly feel like he/she can act purely on the business decision without worrying about damage to the social relationship.

Method 3: Make The Business Transaction Consistent With Your Social Relationship

While this third strategy might seem a little paternalistic, it is important when doing business with close friends. The principle is this: If on a social level you watch out for this person’s well-being, then you must do so in business, too.

If, for example, you want to make a sale to a close friend, only sell that friend something that you reasonably believe will increase his/her satisfaction. In other words, only involve friends in transactions that are friendly to them.

Method 4: Make The Business Transaction A Means Of Strengthening The Social Relationship

You can do even better than making a business transaction consistent with a social relationship – a well-thought-out transaction can strengthen the social relationship. For example, you might recruit a golf buddy of yours to invest in a golf course. As long as the business transaction itself is sound, this arrangement can actually strengthen your social relationship. In this golf example, the relationship can grow as you spend time together at the golf course.

Conclusions

These methods should at least give you food for thought. Ultimately, though, the best technique is to avoid business networking. Don’t create social relationships for business purposes. In a future piece, I will address how to succeed in business without networking at all.

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4 iPhone Applications to Help You Learn Guitar

Great guitarists know that the guitar requires many hours of daily practice to master. For many, it’s hard to find the time, as you’re not likely to have a guitar sitting around you at work or at school. However, there are some fantastic programs on the iPhone that can help guitarists of any skill level perfect their playing. Here are four iPhone applications that can help you learn the guitar, or help you keep your skills fresh and strong.

1. Fretsurfer – This game was developed as an iPhone application by a guitarist, for the purpose of helping guitar players learn to instantly identify the note that any guitar fret produces, and vice versa, the corresponding frets to any notes. It operates very simply; you’re presented with the image of a guitar fretboard, and the game quizzes you, with several difficulty levels and custom game options to let you zone in on a particular area of the fretboard. Great for refreshing your knowledge of the fretboard, or relearning it completely.


2. Karajan Beginner –
There’s no such thing as a great musician with a terrible ear. This free program provides ear training, allowing you to learn what different chords, notes, intervals, and scales sound like. You get five different instruments to listen to and several different modes of play. There’s a pay version of the program with more options, but beginning and novice guitarists will appreciate the ear training provided in Karajan.


3. Guitar Toolkit –
While the Guitar Toolkit app doesn’t actually have a mode that teaches you guitar, it will prove invaluable as a practice assistant, with a very accurate built in microphone, a large chord library, and a metronome–as any great guitarist will tell you, it’s absolutely crucial to spend at least some of your practice time with a metronome. It’s about $10, but consider that even a low-grade tuner would likely cost more than that, not to mention a chord library and metronome. A steal for the price.


4. Guitar –
From Frontier Design Group, this application simulates a guitar, quite simply and more intuitively than other “virtual” guitars on iTunes. What’s more, it has a built in chord library, allowing new and intermediate guitarists to learn chord voicings on the go. You can save chord combinations as songs, allowing songwriters to write songs on the go. A great learning tool that you’ll continue to use, no matter what your skill level is.

Do you know of other guitar-teaching applications on iTunes? Post your thoughts in our comments section below.

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4 Most Essential Auto Features for Child Safety

Car safety features are of the essence when making a buying decision. Do not fool yourself into thinking that only new car buyers have the luxury of opting for secure vehicles. Find the four most essential auto features for safety also on the used car lot.

1. Emergency trunk release

One of the best car features to look for is the emergency trunk release. Auto World announced a while back that Ford decided to pioneer in the field of car safety features and include them to be standard. There are retrofit kits available; negotiate with the car dealer to only show you cars that have the emergency release handle — or throw in a kit for free as part of the purchase.

2. Shift interlock

One of the most essential auto features — and also frequently taken for granted — is the shift interlock. Until the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was signed by President George W. Bush, the brake transmission shift interlock was largely a voluntary feature by manufacturers — even though it had been around for a good long time.

Now mandated, there are still some cars on the road that lack this function. It prevents a car from being put in gear without the brake pedal simultaneously being pressed. If you notice — while test driving a used car — that shifting is a snap with or without the brake pedal pushed down, pass on the car.

3. Automatic power window reversal

Moms driving around the kids already know that locking the rear power windows is a must for safe driving enjoyment. Of course, when adult passengers demand open windows, mom might disengage the window lock. Forget to re-engage it, and children are at risk of opening the windows, letting arms hang out or getting fingers pinched when closing the power windows.

The aforementioned piece of legislation also instructed car makers to include an automatic window reversal if there is resistance to its closing. Needless to say, only few cars made before 2010 actually have this most essential of auto features. If you have the option of buying a later model used car, it may be very advantageous to do so.

4. Blind spot reducers

Car safety features that fall into this category include the oversized rearview mirror, the backup camera and also Volvo’s blind spot information system. Car and Driver shows that the latter is only available in select new Volvo models, but if there is a chance to make this investment, go for it. In the absence of an inexpensive used 2010 model Volvo, opt for the other car features that help to take the guesswork out of lane changing and backing up.

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4 Misconceptions About Entrepreneurship: Side-jobs, Motivation, Getting Started, and More!

4 Misguided perceptions about Entrepreneurship

Ever since the release of “The Social Network”, the google search for the word entrepreneur has multiplied. Rags to riches stories are always our favorite on TV and other media. But what are the most common misguided perceptions among those beginning in the world of entrepreneurship, or thinking to pursue the path of the entrepreneurs?

Misguided perception #1: All I need to do to become rich, is quit my job and be a full-time entrepreneur.

1- Let’s be real: We’re all doing it for the money.

Yes, it’s true, no one likes to be bossed around, have a 9-5, see it all go away in bills, and in the end of the week, always be tired and broke. That’s why we love the stories of people such as Mark Zuckerberg, especially now that the recession has taken a toll and there aren’t many job openings aroung. But earning enough to compensate for a stable salary is not really a sudden thing. It takes months, if not years, to build a stable brand, product and name that will not only support itself, but also you and your other endeavors. As the saying goes: Don’t quit your day job..

Misguided perception #2, It’s all about the money!

2- Money might pay the bills, but it doesn’t buy happiness.

We’ve all heard the old “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but I’d rather cry in my Ferrari” and many of us will certainly agree. However, authentic happiness can never be substituted by a high income. Developing a business and actually being successful at it, means having true, honest, home-grown passion… and money cannot buy it. Your energy and satisfaction will reflect on your productivity, your attention to detail and your knowledge in your field. Love what you do, and do what you love!

Misguided perception #3, Good riddance, Big Cheese!

3- Hating your job won’t get you far… but not having a job certainly won’t free you.

A popular misconception is thinking that entrepreneurs make all the money magically, and have their entire time to themselves, for partying, traveling and enjoying life full-time. However, Jack Canfield, Robert Kiyosaki, and many other famous and wealthy entrepreneurs, will tell you that becoming an entrepreneur is actually tougher than working for others. Why? Because you are your boss, your assistant, your secretary, and you get to wear all the hats at the same time. This means keeping in mind all the details of your business, being up to date with trends and client communication, income and expenses, and the entire creative process. It isn’t easy.

Misguided perception #4, the glamorous life is waiting for me.

4- Waiting around for success to happen will not get you anywhere. You must stand where opportunities can see you.

Succesful organizations, brands and companies made from scratch, such as Google, Yahoo, Myspace, Facebook and Paypal, may seem glamorous, popular and fun on the outside, but it’s often the very opposite from what’s happening on the drawing desk. There are internal politics, business proposals, plenty of failed attempts and constant thoughts of quitting, plenty of paperwork and much competition to any one given business. You must develop a strategy, set short term doable goals for yourself, and create a working routine that will steadily, but definitely, bring positive results.

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4 New Neighborhood Safety Tips

When you’re moving, things can be a little scary for your kids. The whole idea of a new house, school and neighborhood can seem so large for children. Along with talking to your child about their new home you also need to step in and teach your children a few tips to help ensure they will remain safe in their new home. This will ease the children’s minds as well as the parent’s minds.

Memory

Practice memory games with your children. They should know their full name and your full name. Depending on their age, you also want them to learn their phone number as well as their address. For the smaller kids though, just practice on the names. If a police officer has your full name, he’s likely to find you. Make flash cards if needed or create a fun game. Kids will learn anything if you make it fun.

School

Before they head to a new school, you should do a trial run a few times. Again this will depend on their age. If they are smaller, you will want to do it a few different times, where older ones will only need you to do this one time. Ride to the school and then back home. Stop at the bus stop a few different times just as the bus would do. This way they can learn the routine and won’t be as frightened. Once they start school, stand at the bud stop with them the first day or two. Take note of the bus number and help your children memorize this number. Introduce yourself to the bus driver and don’t forget to ask their name. This way you will be a little at ease with your children taking the bus.

Neighbors

Make a point to meet your neighbors. Let your children met them as well and ask the neighbors about the neighborhood. Some things you might want to ask them would be about the neighbor security, who has children on the street and anything else that you would like to know. You might make a few new friends and you might find some friends for your kids as well.

List on Fridge

You should create a list of emergency numbers that hang on the fridge at all times. If you don’t want them on the fridge, then you can also place them near the phone. You should have your cell phone number on it, poison control, your local police department and a few backup numbers. Backup numbers could be grandparents, neighbors or close friends. This way if something happens all the numbers are in one spot making it easy to making a phone call.

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4 Myths About Using Daily Deal Sites

There’s a reason I (and plenty of my friends) have stopped using Daily Deal sites. What’s real, and what’s myth? I’ll lay it out for you below.

Myth 1: Your Item Will Always Be Shipped to You

As strange as it may sound, many sellers use a tactic called ‘wait and see’ when they run a deal through a daily deal site.

The wait and see model means that the seller has no actual inventory on hand at the start of the deal. They will only purchase/make items when consumers start ‘buying’ the items.

This means that if too many orders come in for an item, the seller will not have enough to get the product to everyone.

This problem isn’t as common as it once was because the daily deal sites themselves have started to catch on. But it still happens.

Myth 2: You Will Always Get Refunded No Matter What

As with any business that sells products, there are bound to be unsatisfactory items delivered to you. In most cases, a partial refund is typical.

Groupon for instance claims “if you use a Groupon voucher before its promotional value expires, .etc. etc. and are disappointed by your experience, we’ll work with you to make it right or give you a refund.”

The implication of a refund is there, but it’s not always the case. The only Daily Deal site that I know that has a 100% refund policy no matter what is Very Jane.

Another popular site, Fab.com, says this on their refund policy page: “Not all products are eligible for returns. In order to maintain our deep discounts, many items are “Final Sale.” Please make sure to note if your item is eligible for return prior to purchasing it”.

Myth 3: All Daily Deal Sites Are The Same

From terms and conditions, to actual purchase processes, no daily deal site is exactly the same. There are plenty of daily deal sites that make you join their site to even see the deals.

There are others that give out their daily deals freely to the world and then at checkout you get an account.

While there’s no right or wrong, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable buying from a site that doesn’t require you to login or join their mailing list first, and then ‘give you the goods’?

Additionally, there are categories of daily deal sites. From name brand daily deals to eco friendly, the selections run the gamut from classy to just plain weird.

Myth 4: There’s Really No Deal At All

Despite the wide acceptance of the daily deal model, there are still people today who think that if they wait long enough, they’ll be able to get the same ‘deal’ that they saw on Groupon, LivingSocial, Very Jane, Fab or the other 100+ daily deal sites online today.

While this may be true here and there, the vast majority of deals on a daily deal site are actually once in a lifetime type offers.

There are also some misconceptions that all daily deal sites are a scam out to get your credit card information.

Despite these myths, daily deal sites, as far as we consumers are concerned actually do provide a lot of value and convenience.

Typically, a daily deal site will find sellers to provide the products or services at a steep discount, sometimes up to 90%. An average percentage is 50%.

On top of these discounts, the sellers have to split the sale price of the item with the deal site. An average split is 50/50 for each party. So the seller really gets no profit other than a lot of new potential customers to follow-up on.

So if you’re planning on using a daily deal site to get a great deal on something, you can be pretty confident that the deal is real; however, the individual deal sites have their own rules and policies regarding shipping, inventory, and refunds so be sure to check the fine print. And if there isn’t any fine print, then don’t use that site.

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4 Must Have Mommy Applications for the IPhone

When you have a baby as a mother you start to track things you’d never think to track before. When your child eats, the last time she pooped, what breast you fed on last, growth, milestones and so much more. Keep all this information in one place is important because at your child’s well baby visits the doctor will ask questions about those subjects and if it’s all in one place you can give accurate answers quickly to the doctor.

In addition to tracking your babies development you’ll no doubt have questions about what is normal for your new child. Having applications at your fingertips to answer questions can ease fear and give information to help you better take care of your new child.

To help with keeping track of the important things your new infant does, if you have an iPhone, here are two applications that will help you stay organized.

BabyBix

BabyBix (babybix.com) is an website and application (you can link the two from within the iPhone application) that helps you track all aspects of your newborns life. The application is especially great for tracking feedings and it has a layout that is easy to read and see when you last fed and how much was fed. Also at the end of the day it will display how much was fed total and also calculate a weekly and monthly total for eating. The same applies to diapers (pee and poop) as well as tracking growth and other important information.

The application and website are both easy to use. It’s user friendly, so much so that even the most sleep deprived mother can use it during a night time feedings.

In addition to tracking your newborn the application and website have a blog where you can win prizes and also a section for mothers to post and answer questions.

The only thing lacking from the BabyBix application is information on development and what’s normal development for a baby. To gain this information you would have to post a question and depend on the answers of fellow mothers.

Overall though BabyBix does everything that a mother needs and organizes it in a manner so that a mother can easily access the information she needs.

Pregnancy & Baby Development

This application provided by modality.com is a very basic application that gives information on not only your baby’s development but also allows you to track pregnancy as well. This application is mainly for informative purposes but does have a section where you can write down your questions and information for the doctor.

This application is good because it’s covers what is missing from BabyBix, development and what’s appropriate. Of course it’s missing the great tracking features Babybix has. But if you’re into simple applications, this application is good for you.

Now that you are tracking your baby you’re bound to have questions about whether what you are seeing in the data is good or bad. The following two applications will help you find the answers to all your questions.

Parenting Ages & Stages

Parenting Ages & Stages is provided by zumobi.com and provides all the information you’d find on the Parenting website and the magazine. You can view information by stage, age or search for an answer to your question. The application does need a username and password for optimal usage but sign up is simple and fast.

This application is very detailed and provides answers to some of the many common questions new parents have.

The application is simple to use and navigate and is great for any new parent to have handy for answering those important questions you may have.

Baby411

Baby411 is provided by the website thebump.com. This site is different in that it doesn’t just provide informative articles with information but allows you to post to message boards to gain answers to questions you have. It allows for you to connect with other parents and get support for the many issues you may be facing as a new mother.

This application does sync with the website itself so it requires a login and password for use, but it’s easy to sign up for that and access the site.

With these applications becoming a mother should hopefully be a bit easier than without. At the very least these applications will allow you to stay organized and up to date on your babies developments. These are must haves for any mother who has an iPhone.

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4 Movies with Lame Vampires Besides Twilight

Since Twiliight rocked theaters with its mopey plot and mopey actors and mopey audience, a flurry of Internet articles have accused the movie of being too mopey.

Fine, I’ll stand up for Twilight. I mean, yeah, the movie sucks, and the vampires are all lame and half-goth and all concerned with love and what-not, but

Twilight’s only the most recent in a long line of movies that seem to be trying really hard to make vampires lame and less frightening than a bag of potato chips that loves you. Here are some of movies that have desecrated vampires’ good horror-movie name, other than Twilight.

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer –

Before Sarah Michelle Gellar snapped catchy one-liners while staking the undead, there was a movie where some other actress snapped catchy one liners while staking the undead. But instead of the vampires looking all demonic and exploding in a CGI swarm of dust that goes, “ploosh!” in that really satisfying way that lets you know that the vampire is friggin’ boned, the movie version of Buffy simply had them fall down and, you know, die. Also, the vampires were kind of blue and grey and stuff.


2. Van Helsing –

Speaking of CGI, nobody’s saying that you should use it for 100% of your non-Pixar movie. I’m looking at you, Van Helsing. The flying vampire-harpy-monster things from this movie looked so retarded and unreal that audiences cheered when Van Helsing’s coach mysteriously exploded, killing them. And there was like a wolf in this movie that fought vampires, and Frankenstein, and…well, dammit, it was all over the place. For a movie about a vampire hunter, the actual vampires were not only boring, but they were barely in the damned thing.


3. Interview With a Vampire –

Tom Cruise would be creepy on his own if he wasn’t so short, but putting a pair of fake fangs on him and paling up his complexion didn’t exactly make him a terrifying vampire. In Interview with a Vampire, Cruise eats a poodle, if I remember right, and loves watching movies of the sun coming up. And he’s all cry-happy when a little girl vampire dies. I’ll just say it, Vampires in Interview are kind of wussy, in the way that Gatorade is kind of a sports drink.

4. Gayracula –

This is a porno film about a gay Dracula. No, it’s not the sequel to Twilighht. It actually exists. While there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality, and while vampires definitely have sort of a homo-erotic thing going for them, do we really have to see Dracula taking it? Leave something to the imagination, gay vampire filmmakers. It’s sexier that way.

What movies do you think had lame vampires? Post in the comments.

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4 Mistakes to Avoid when Writing an Advertisement

Almost every successful internet marketer know how to write compelling ad and hose who don’t know how to do it hire a professional to write for them. Writing a good advertisement is an essential skill for anyone in the business world both online and offline.

Unfortunately, lots of people don’t know how to do it properly. Their ads are full of mistakes so they end up frustrated when no one is buying their products. In this article we will discuss some mistakes that many internet marketers do when writing their ads.

1. Focusing more on yourself instead of your prospect.

Nobody cares about you. They only care about what you can do for them. Instead of saying you have been in business for ten long years tell them that you are here to stay. Convince them that you have enough knowledge to answer any of their questions and solve any of their problems. Tell them that you never turn your back on any of your customers and that’s why you’ve been in business for so long.


2. Writing your product features instead of benefits.

It’s hard for people to see the benefits of your product unless you tell them specifically what they are. Here’s an example:

“Acme acne gel is made from hundreds of natural-herbs-extract directly imported from the Amazon rain forest processed in our own high-tech facility in Acme city using sophisticated manufacturing process”.

That, in case you don’t know already, is explaining a feature. The focus on the benefit you can write it like this:

“Got a party to attend tomorrow? Relax, Acme acne gel will get rid of your acne in 12 hours flat. Your face will be so clean no one will know you ever had acne in the first place.”

Note that it does not mean you must not write about the features. It’s ok to write features as long as you remember to accompany it with the benefits.

3. Lame headline

Without a powerful headline you can’t expect people will read the rest of your ad copy. Craft a headline with your target market in mind. The headline does not have to appeal to everyone. As long as it can grab the attention of your target market then you have a winner. To do this just pick the biggest benefit of your product and use it in the headline.

4. Big block of text.

If your advertisement has no white space, breaks, sub-headings and it just look like one big lump of text you’re losing sales. You need to make the readers understand your message in the easiest way possible. Most people don’t read ad, they scan it. Use short sentences and paragraphs along with sub-headings, bulleted or numbered list to write your ad. Make it easy for the reader to scan and extract the main benefits of your product.

Writing good ad copy requires practice and continuous testing. Just remember that the more effort you put into the bigger it pays.

Tags:4 Mistakes to Avoid when Writing an Advertisement

4 No Cost Decorating Ideas for Living Rooms

Spare the piggy bank. These decorating ideas cost nothing. When a tight budget and the desire to do some decorating clash, consider items you already have that can be re-purposed or pulled from storage. These decorating ideas for living rooms not only cost nothing, they can be used in other rooms of the house.

Furniture Arrangement

Placing furniture around the walls of a living room creates lots of floor space if the room doubles as a dance room or doctor’s office. When it comes to your own living room, arrange the furniture close enough so people can converse without having to raise their voice to be heard. A common decorating theme for living rooms is to place two couches or one couch and two side chairs facing one another. The distance they are set apart depends on the size of the room, but allow enough space so people can cross their legs without hitting the person sitting opposite of them, which would be at least five feet. The setting may be perpendicular to a fireplace, large window, large wall mirror and console table combo, or doorway to another room or hall.

Books

Stack three to five hardcover books on a side table or entertainment center. Place a small object, like a music box, paperweight or birdhouse on top of the books. Expecting guests who love traveling, cooking or have another specific interest? Go to the library to borrow books on the subject to display in the living room. This no cost decorating idea can promote a learning opportunity too from the books you choose. Just remember to return the books to library.

Floral or Collectible Display

Fill a large vase with seasonal plants like hydrangea, forsythia, spirea or even leafless twigs. Pine cones, buttons or other small collectibles, unshelled nuts, marbles or river rocks can be placed in clear vases, pitchers or drinking glasses for display on side tables or shelves.

Accents

Place a decorative serving tray or large serving bowl on the coffee table or a side table. Plain serving trays or bowls can be enhanced by what you place on or in them, like two or more fancy cloth napkins on the tray or collectibles in the bowl, like children’s small wooden blocks. Sand in a large bowl can create a fun place to run your fingers while day dreaming.

If you have long curtains that have always hung straight down, try opening the curtains almost all the way, and then wrap a scarf, tie, old necklace, or Christmas gift ribbon around the curtains on each side of the window, at or above the window sill level. What you wrap around the curtains can standout, like using red Christmas ribbon on white curtains, or can complement the curtain in a go-together color choice, like wrapping a blue tie around green curtains.

Drape a quilt or small throw blanket over a table or across the back of chair to add color to the room. Line up an odd number of candle holders or decorative stemmed glassware on a table or shelf.

More from this contributor:
Authentic Country Decorating for the Living Room
Vintage Interior Design Ideas for a Farm House or Bungalow
Decorating Tips to Make Your Own Hanging Wall Artwork

Tags:4 No Cost Decorating Ideas for Living Rooms

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