Sunday, December 4, 2016

10 Top Tips for College Freshmen at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ)

So you’ve been accepted as a college freshman to The College of New Jersey, decided to go, & now have no clue what life will be like or even what meal plan to choose. Have no fear; these hot TCNJ tips are here to assuage all your worries. You’ll look & feel like a returning soph in no time if you keep the following in mind:

1. When given your meal plan options, choose the one with the highest amount of points. You’ll be surprised how many times you find yourself eating in places other than Eickhoff, simultaneously the main cafeteria & the only place where the pre-paid Carte Blanche part of your meal plan works. Other eat-y places on campus that only accept points include: The Rat, T/W (Travers-Wolfe), the Student Center, the 1855 Room (a slightly fancy restaurant), & anything you buy from the Convenience Store (the C-Store). You don’t want to run out of points too long before the end of the semester, otherwise you can’t eat in these places with friends or conveniently & quickly before class without paying out of pocket, which sucks.


2. Walk up the stairs in the New Library (yep, that’s its name – creative, huh?) instead of taking the elevators. It’s healthier for you, and sometimes the elevators take forever. If you have to go to the 5th floor, though, it’s your call. Remember: America has the highest per capita obesity in the world!!! (Does it? I might’ve just made that up. But it definitely has a problem. So Heed My Words of Wisdom or Get Treacherously Fat).


3. Speaking of elevators, the ones in Travers & Wolfe (where you’ll be living if you’re not one of the minority who get placed in Cromwell) can sometimes take a while too, considering they’re servicing ten floors. Of course you have the option of taking the stairs then, too, but if you live above floor five, it can be a hassle. Leave plenty of time when making plans or trying to get to a class for slow elevators. The last thing you need is to be late to class because . It’s considered common courtesy to walk if it’s within your power & you live on the first three or four floors (actual level dependent upon your personal discretion). Also, watch out for certain substances on elevator floors on the weekends.Certain party-hard people think any enclosed space is a bathroom.


4. You know the shpiel about never walking alone on campus at night, & so do I, but honestly, just between you & me, sometimes there’s no getting around it. Most areas of the TCNJ campus are well-lit and open at night, but in the event that you have to take a side-path or there’s just no one around, carry your dorm key between the third & fourth fingers of your dominant hand. This way it’s pretty much hidden from you, & you have the advantage of being able to PUNCTURE/wound a would-be attacker quickly.


5. Bored during the week & on the weekends without a car? Public transportation is the way to go – find an updated schedule for the 601 bus at the Help desk in the Student Center, & plan a trip to Philadelphia or New York. The bus comes right to The College of New Jersey & takes you all the way to the Trenton Train Station, at which point you can take a train or the Light Rail system to Philadelphia. If you take a train to New York, be prepared to pay approximately $20 roundtrip. There’s also a Loop bus (for students at The College to ride for free!, as well as servicing only them), that changes the days & times it runs (or at least has so far fairly frequently). Check the TCNJ website or the Help desk for information about its current schedule and route. It takes you pretty much everywhere you need to go, on weekends & certain weekdays – Halo (amazing ice cream), the mall, movies, convenience stores, shops, etc.


6. Dorm room lonely? Missing the family pet? Get one at Precious Pets, just a few miles down the road from TCNJ. Just make sure you have the right kind of cage, your roommate is accepting of the deal, & you have the time & energy to take care of it properly & clean its cage whenever you need to. Smell is a big factor if you don’t. I bought a guinea pig freshman year, but had to give it away soph year due to allergies. My friend at school has a hedgehog. I know quite a few people who have fish & hamsters.


7. The Rat (an intimate restaurant-type place in the Student Center) often has shows, live music, & other events going on at night. Some of them are 21+ (the Rat serves beer). Check out the stuff you can, & also pay attention to the What’s Going On At TCNJ weekly emails to find out about more shows you can go to during the day – maybe even sign up to play yourself. PS: If you eat at the Rat between classes, make sure to leave plenty of time – at least an hour. Sometimes service can be fairly slow if a lot of people are there at the same time.


8. If you’re housed in one of the top floors of Travers/Wolfe, BRING FANS, & lots of them. There’s no air conditioning, & heat rises. In fact, wherever you’re housed, bring a fan or two. You won’t regret it. Also, bring duct tape. Sometimes the rubber around the pull-out sections of the windows in T/W (usually used to describe the cafeteria in the basement between the two, but also sometimes the two buildings themselves, for convenience) doesn’t keep out all of the howling wind. Easy solution: just duct tape the areas that are colder than the rest or letting the wind in. Instant way to make your room warm & cozy (or at least warmer & cozier than before) in the dead of winter. There’s also heating that you control (duh).


9. In the warmer months, go study or chat with friends on the benches around the lake. (Look on a map to find it if you’re unsure – it’s to the left of the main entrance, & behind ABE). Bring towels if you want, & spread out on the grass to have a scenic picnic. Another hotspot are the huge stretches of grass in front of Travers & Wolfe – everyone camps out there with towels & blankets in summer to relax/study/tan/play guitar/what have you. It pretty much becomes a moderately sized grass beach.


10. Finally, you’ll receive a date and time to bring your stuff up to your room depending on what floor you’re on. This is so the elevators aren’t choked with people. Get there a bit before your scheduled time, since elevator lines can be long, & you don’t want to have to wait forever just to get the heavy stuff up there. Bring all your stuff up, hang up the posters, kiss the ‘rents goodbye, & go have fun!


Labels: 10 Top Tips for College Freshmen at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ)

10 Unconventional Horror Movie Recommendations for This Halloween

As Halloween quickly approaches families are preparing by stocking up on candy, buying costumes and completing the search for that elusive perfect pumpkin. Many families will also be planning out the perfect horror movies to watch over the week. The list will no doubt always include such Halloween favorites as “The Exorcist,” “The Blair Witch Project,” “The Shining,” and any of the “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare On Elm Street” films, not to mention the classic “Halloween.”

I have compiled a list of 10 movies that the casual movie fan may not be aware of to recommend for this Halloween season. These are lesser known but no less scary and entertaining and would be a great companion piece to any of the classic standards. The films are listed in alphabetical order with guidelines as to how scary they may be for children. When you curl up on the couch alone or with a loved one to watch a good scary movie, I hope that one of these films will be discovered by you and enjoyed enough to become a staple in your Halloween movie must-see list.


THE CHANGELING (1980) – Perhaps the best haunted house movie that few people have seen stars George C. Scott as a recently widowed composer who moves away and finds the perfect house that happens to be inhabited by the spirit of a dead child. Soon Scott starts hearing strange noises and a music box plays a piece of music Scott composed only the night before. Scott begins investigating which leads to a séance scene that is one of the film’s highlights.


Director Peter Medak wisely chooses to infer the ghost with sounds and actions without ever seeing a thing, which only punctuates the scares. The casting of Scott is a real coup here as he represents the everyman perfectly adding credibility to what could have been just another haunted house movie. Originally R rated but likely would be PG-13 today so it is recommended for teenagers and above who don’t scare easily.


THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN (1966) – The perfect Halloween film for the entire family to enjoy. Don Knotts plays a small time reporter on a small town newspaper that finds he may have the scoop of his life when he chooses to spend a night in the town’s haunted house. There are plenty of laughs and a few chills for young kids but thoroughly entertaining enough for everyone.


THE HAUNTING (1963) – One of the truly scary movies of all time is this chiller based on Shirley Jackson’s novel “The Haunting of Hill House.” Three people are invited to the eerie Hill House by an investigator to explore the deepest realms of the supernatural with bone chilling, hair-raising results. Much like “The Changeling,” director Robert Wise chooses to never show the evil haunting the house but implying through terrifying noises, written messages and spooky voices. Many people are more familiar with the inferior 1999 remake that foolishly showed the spirits and removed all tension and suspense. This is one film you definitely don’t want to watch alone. Not recommended for anyone under the age of 10 or those who scare easily.


LADY IN WHITE (1988) – Nostalgia and the supernatural are blended together beautifully in this thriller, set in the 60’s, about two brothers and what happens to them one Halloween. The younger brother encounters the spirit of a murdered girl and sets out with his older brother to solve the mystery, which leads to the lady in white who resides in a haunted house. A sometimes funny and sometimes very spooky little film that was overlooked at the time of its release despite mostly positive reviews. Recommended for teenagers and older.


MAGIC (1977) – Anthony Hopkins stars as a small time ventriloquist who, as his star rises, becomes convinced his dummy is alive. Retreating to a cabin in the woods he encounters an old high school girlfriend and attempts to rekindle the romance, much to the chagrin of the jealous dummy. Hopkins delivers a strong performance that was sadly overlooked by the Academy Awards as a man fighting to save his sanity and, later, his life. Ann-Margret co-stars in this creepy thriller directed by Richard Attenborough. Not recommended for kids under 16.


SISTERS (1972) – Brian De Palma directs this shocking thriller with Margot Kidder as separated Siamese twins – one of whom is a homicidal maniac. Jennifer Salt co-stars as an inquisitive reporter who swears she has witnessed a murder from her apartment window but can’t provide any proof to the authorities, so she goes it alone in her investigation. De Palma ventured into Hitchcock territory for the first time and successfully pulls it off with thrills and tension that builds up throughout the film by showing a brutally violent murder early on and then keeping further threats alive the rest of the film. This film is not for the squeamish and definitely recommended for adults only.


SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983) – Based on the short story by acclaimed author Ray Bradbury, who also wrote the script, “Wicked” tells the story of a carnival that plants its stakes outside of a small town set in the early part of the 20th century. Soon after people’s deepest fantasies and wishes are being fulfilled such as the homely old woman becoming young and beautiful and the athlete who lost his legs and soon is walking again. Two young boys notice the strange happenings and begin to investigate and come to realize that these fantasies are fulfilled at a steep price.


British actor Jonathan Pryce stars as Mr. Dark, the owner of the carnival with Jason Robards as the older, unhealthy father of one of the boys. A highlight is when Mr. Dark visits the older father with an offer of health and youth. Robards, sitting in his library in the dead of night, intones the film’s title when he realizes he is no longer alone and says “Through the prickling of my thumbs – something wicked this way comes.” Much like “Lady in White” this film mixes nostalgia and thrills with entertaining results. Recommended for all but the smallest of children.


THEATER OF BLOOD (1972) – Vincent Price made a career of starring in horror films and while he may be best remembered as Dr. Phibes, “Theater of Blood” is easily his best film. Price plays a Shakespearean actor who fakes his suicide after critics overlook him for an important acting prize. Then, one by one, Price starts killing the critics in the style of deaths as written by the Bard himself. Though scary this film mixes a strong amount of black comedy into it and the result is shockingly funny. The murders may be a bit too gory for some people but the end result is a terrific film. Not recommended for anyone under 16.


THE UNINVITED (1944) – One of the earliest and most frightening ghost stories stars Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey as a young couple who move into a house they soon discover is haunted and try to aide a woman whose mother’s ghost is terrifying her to death. This is a straightforward thriller with no twists and turns that has some chilling moments and the interesting inclusion of visually seeing the ghosts. This is probably the film on this list that few people have seen but it’s one not to be missed. Only the youngest of children who scare easily will be bothered by it.


WOLFEN (1981) – Albert Finney stars as a New York detective trying to solve a rash of brutal, violent murders that could be the result of werewolf attacks. Gregory Hines delivers a nice performance as a coroner aiding Finney in his investigation. The film is filled with imaginative ideas involving spirituality and historic elements and is not just a straightforward horror film though there are a few scenes of brutal violence. A box office flop at the time of its release possibly due to the fact that “The Howling” and “An American Werewolf in London” were released at the same time and audiences weren’t up for yet another werewolf movie.


This is easily the best of the three films though fans of the other two expecting the same will be disappointed. “Wolfen” is beautifully photographed and well directed by Michael Wadleigh, making his first movie after “Woodstock” eleven years earlier. For whatever reasons Wadleigh has not directed a movie since even though his talent is obvious from his two credits. Not recommended for anyone under 16.


Hopefully you will discover a few of the films on this list and enjoy them enough to pass along the word to others so they can discover these films that deserve to be seen.


Labels: 10 Unconventional Horror Movie Recommendations for This Halloween

10 Tips for Urban Cycling

When it comes to riding a bicycle in an urban environment, it can be a huge challenge and overwhelming if you don’t have the tools and knowledge to get you to and from your destination safely.

The following are ten tips for urban cycling:


1. Always wear your helmet.


I really don’t feel like I should have to say this, but I see to many cyclists on the road without helmets. Just like motorcyclists, your helmet can be the difference between walking away from an accident, or lying in a persistent vegetative state. Helmets are not expensive, so there is no reason not to have one. You can purchase one at any bike shop. You can even get one from Target or Wal-Mart. Just make sure the one you get is rated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.


2. Stay to the right of the road, going with the flow of traffic.


Staying with the flow of traffic establishes your space on the road. And, since in the United States, we drive on the right side of the road, go with the flow. Also, this makes you more visible to overcoming traffic.


3. Give yourself about 3 feet of space between you and the curb.


When there is no bike lane, establishing 3 feet of space between you and curb gives you enough room to react to drivers and to keep you from being pinned to the curb. When there are parked cars, be sure to give yourself a few feet from the parked cars in case someone opens a door without seeing you.


4. Always signal your turns.


Just as you would signal a turn in your vehicle (if you own one), it is just as important and safety-minded to signal your turns while on your bicycle. Pedestrians and vehicles need to know when you are turning and changing lanes.


5. Assume drivers do not see you.


Never assume a driver can see you and your bicycle. Sometimes drivers are distracted by things going on in their vehicles. Sometimes drivers are distracted by making a right turn on red and they are looking for other cars, not bikes. For reasons like this, be aware of your surroundings and be extra vigilant when you proceed through an intersection.


6. Obey all traffic laws.


Too many cyclists do not obey basic traffic laws. This is one of the reasons car drivers are very hostile to cyclists. You must also stop at stop signs, yield, and follow traffic signals. Failure to do so could cause an accident and you can still get a ticket.


7. Make your bike look ugly.


This tip is purely to help prevent theft. Thieves love to steal things that are easy to steal and that look good so that the goods can be resold. But if your bike looks older, has stickers all over it, or looks like you bought it at a garage sale, it is less attractive to a thief. If your bike is brand new, I would go the sticker route. For example, stickers from bananas, bike companies, bands you like, etc.


8. Use a combination cable and U-lock.


You can get a combination cable and U-lock for your bike at any sporting goods or bike shop. By using both, you potentially double your lock security. Cables can be cut and U-locks can be picked. But a thief who has to go through both will be less likely to steal your bike. After all, thieves like it when things are easy. You will also want to make sure your cable and U-lock pass through both wheels and the bike frame (especially if you have a newer bike where both of these wheels are removable).


9. Don’t ride in weather you’re not equipped for.


There are lots of accessories you can add to your bike: different inner tubes, fenders, etc, that can help keep you riding safely and comfortably in bad weather. If you choose to ride in conditions such as rain, cold, or extreme heat, be sure that you and the bike are equipped for the conditions. Otherwise, leave the bike at home.


10. Know the bicycle and vehicle laws.


If you also drive then you are pretty familiar with the vehicle laws of your state. But how many of you know the bicycle laws for your state. If you search the Internet, these laws can usually be found with your state’s highway administration. Sometimes your local police officers do not know these laws, so this will help you in the case of a legal dispute in the event you must go to court over a ticket or accident.


There is no reason to ride unsafely in an urban environment. Regardless of the existence of bike lanes and increased awareness of cyclists on the road, it is up to the cyclist to adhere to the rules of the road, be safe, and show others that cyclists and cars can co-exist on the roads.


Sources:


REI.com, Choosing a Bike Helment


REI.com, Bicycle Commuter Checklist


REI.com, Riding Your Bike in Traffic


League of American Bicyclists


One Less Car


Labels: 10 Tips for Urban Cycling

10 Top Disney Songs

Walt Disney’s movies are well known throughout the world. These favorite Disney songs add charm and appeal to the Disney movies they represent.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. An extremely long name that quickly caught on in popularity. From Mary Poppins. Written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.


Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. . “My, oh my what a beautiful day.” Very cheerful song from Song of the South. Gilbert and Wrubell.


When You Wish Upon A Star. From Pinocchio (Cliff Edwards). This Disney song has remained popular through the years. A song of hope and inspiration: “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are.”


You’ve Got a Friend in Me, sung by Robert Goulet in Toy Story. An excellent song choice as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, who start out as enemies, gradually become friends.


The Circle of Life in Disney’s Lion King. Absolutely beautiful music by Elton John and deeply felt lyrics written by Tim Rice.


A great song to put pep in your step and to help pass the work day, Whistle While You Work easily brings to mind Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, singing this joyful tune while they worked (Morey and Churchill).


Another upbeat song, A Spoon Full of Sugar (Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman), from Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins. Just makes you want to sing!


Walt Disney’s Jungle Book wouldn’t be the same without the happy tune, The Bare Necessities (Words and music by Terry Gilkyson). Listening to this song quickly brings images of Mowgli and Baloo from this popular Disney movie.


Another favorite from the Jungle Book movie is That’s What Friends Are For (Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman). The title says it all.


Winnie-the-Pooh from an older Disney movie, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. A great sing along song about one of Disney’s most popular characters.


Labels: 10 Top Disney Songs

10 Tips to Unschooling Your Special Needs Child

I try to structure unschooling with my son on the autism spectrum. Then he develops this obsession over the neighborhood trucks, centering around his television shows. It does not matter what time we need to go to the store, eat a meal, or even have school. Because he is ASD, his schedule is more important than mine, or anyone else’s. I push frequently against his grain to schedule the house around his obsessions, but it is obvious that his brain does not always go there.

Here are some things that I have learned about unschooling a special needs child.


1) Try to have a back-up plan that fits your child’s interests, and skill abilities. Choose a topical interest such as insects, dolls, cars, trucks or animals. Let them obsess on the skill they have a need to master, such as tracing pages or cutting pages.


2) Buy a workbook that contains curriculum for a grade level. It is worth having on-level worksheets on hand.


3) Set a general schedule that allows you to accomplish your own tasks, but flexes with your child’s inabilities to be flexible at times.


4) Go to the library as much as you can. Even if it means spending a few minutes each trip, getting five books on the same topic every time; it is a worthwhile experience.


5) Use a homeschool toolbar, such as the Homeschool Lounge or the Homeschool Gadget on your Internet browser. This will provide links to quickie ideas and projects you can use in a pinch.


6) Try to find a home school group, or other homeschoolers, to share in extracurricular activities. Some groups have field trips, park days, or other projects that fit your child’s interest, with other local families.


7) Planet CDRom is a great website for inexpensive computer games and programs. You only pay the shipping cost, and can choose from a variety of popular programs.


8) Search through the educational apps on Apple for iPad, iPhone, or iTouch. Your child’s fingers can usually navigate the keys with ease, since their find motor skills are usually behind their peers.


9) Have a decent printer with regular paper and white card stock. This will allow you to print a variety of projects. I found some inexpensive file folders at Goodwill, and I always keep some handy for lapbooks or organizing.


10) Have plenty of art supplies available. When school supplies go on sale, I buy markers, crayons, construction paper and glue in large quantities. The Dollar Tree store has plenty of back-up stickers and other supplies as well.


Unschooling a special needs child need not cost a lot, make everyone frustrated, or end in tantrums and stonewalling. It can be an enjoyable experience if we prepare to be a little flexible with what and how we teach our children. Having the right tools readily available, is the best ingredient to a successful home school experience.


 


 


 


 


 


Labels: 10 Tips to Unschooling Your Special Needs Child

10 Top Diets You Really Must Try

The key to successful weight loss is to make it interesting! The best way to keep your interest in this fast paced society of constant change is to use change as power. Constantly vary your diet to keep yourself interested and motivated – not to mention – you will learn more about your body, what you like and dislike, and what works for you. That’s more valuable information than any book you could read.

The modern style of living that we have thrust upon us is responsible for several booms, as well as several busts. While it has given us many modes of entertainment, quick and easy access to information, wonderful modes of travel, and so on, it has also given us a number of diseases and ailments. One of the most important problems that we face in the current times is that of obesity. While obesity is not an ailment in itself, it definitely leads to several ailments.


In order to face the problem of obesity, several weight loss techniques have come up. However, it was good old dieting which became immensely popular. Over the years, a number of dieting schedules have come up, and many of them became extremely popular.


The 10 top diets include South Beach Diet Supercharged, Weight Watchers Momentum, Cabbage Soup Diet, Biggest Loser, 50 Million Pound Challenge, NutriSystem diet, Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, Rachael Ray Diet, Weight Watchers diet and Jillian Michaels diet.


While most of these diets do not have much in common, they inherently aim towards a common objective, i.e. weight loss. Irrespective of whichever diet schedule you follow, you must follow it with due diligence, in case you want it to work for you.


The twist here is to try all these diets – don’t they sound fun? All these diets are designed for a public fueled by new and catchy things. So what? That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you take advantage. Use your nature which desires new things constantly, and lose weight successfully!


You should also think about adding weight loss supplements for an even greater chance of success!


Labels: 10 Top Diets You Really Must Try

10 Tips for Winter Wedding Decorating on a Budget

You want your wedding to be fabulous but your budget is less than fabulous? Not to worry. A wedding to remember does not have to cost a fortune if you follow these decorating guidelines.

1. Don’t look at Bridal Magazines. Spend your money on the actual wedding. Use the internet, borrow your neighbors Martha Stewart magazine and ask friends to see pictures of their wedding for great ideas. Glossy Bridal Magazines are all about convincing you to spend.


2. Avoid “Wedding” products. Brides are suckers for specialty items and marketing companies know it. The price can double just because it’s in the wedding section. If you must buy from the wedding section try Wal-Mart near the craft area.


3. Look for a wedding location that stands alone. At first the best budget option may seem like looking for the cheapest location you can find but before you sign the contract or say you will have the wedding in the back yard weigh the cost of the location, the convenience of the location and think about how look without any decorations. The less you have to do the better!


4. Use things you already have. Everyone has special things and what a great time to get them out of the curio cabinet. Instead of spending money on votive candles and little bags of glass rocks decorate tables with memories. One wedding I attended used teacups and glitter as the table decorations another made bunting for the head table out of a silk scaft collection. Both were splendid!


5. Do your own flowers. You will appreciate the money spent on the bridal bouquet, buttoners and corsages but a little creativity will go a long way for all the other floral decorations. Buy a few bunches of baby’s breathe and purchase potted flowers or plants from a local garden store. Cut flowers will wilt and die but live plants will decorate your home as well as your wedding.


6. Think Ivy. There is nothing better at a winter wedding that the lush green viberance that ivy provides. Ivy grows all year long, can be picked several days ahead of time and makes a great runner along tables or decoration for everything from the aisle to the altar. The green color brings any room to life and will match any color scheme.


7. Less is more and bigger is better. The number one decorating mistake people make is putting a bunch of little things all around. Little things get lost and aren’t worth the effort. Make everything bigger than your instincts tell you but have fewer of them. Instead of 3 votive candles have 1 substantial one. Instead of 20 little bows have 5 bows that make a statement.


8. Use the talents of the people around you. When coordinating a recent wedding the bride’s mother told me about self contained terrariums that she made as a hobby. Excellent! We used them to decorate and it was a smashing success. Another bride I worked with had an uncle that made copper wind chimes. They were magnificent decorations and didn’t cost a penny to borrow!


9. Take advantage of holiday sales but remember to think big. Christmas and Valentine red can be interchangeable. Silver and gold decorations are plentiful and on sale January 26th and spray snow can be used. Be sure to pick up several boxes of ornament hooks to use for hanging decorations, white lights if they are on sale and bell garland if you like. For a winter ball theme you can make use of glittery snowflake decorations or snowmen. When you are picking things out remember to go for the large items and leave the little stuff in the bargain bin.


10. Decorate with wedding presents. This is my favorite wedding decorating idea. We always wonder what is in those pretty boxes and many of those gifts make great decorations! Register at your local department store or Target and explain your unique decorating plan when you talk to people. If you are interested in home party products such as Princess Crystal or Home and Garden Party consider holding a bridal shower where guests order pieces of a set and use it to serve a buffet at the wedding. This is also a great way for guests who can’t attend to be a part of the ceremony and reception. A great way to honor these gifts is to include a list of names in the wedding program of friends and family who gave their gifts early so that they could be enjoyed by all!


Labels: 10 Tips for Winter Wedding Decorating on a Budget

10 Tips to Write an Expository Paragraph

1) Use simple language
Use simple language to convey the message straight.
2) Main idea and supporting details
Focus on your main idea and choose appropriate supporting details.
3) Subject verb agreement
Check for subject verb agreement in the sentences.
4) Parallel structure
Parallelism error can spoil the flow of the language. Write everything in present tense.
5) Run-on sentences
Too many ideas in a single sentence create run-ons. Every idea must be written in a separate sentence.
6) Fragments
Fragments lead to incomplete sentences. Check if the sentences have proper subject or verb to avoid fragments
7) Punctuation and capitalization
Use appropriate punctuation and capitalization.
8) Use ‘such as,’ and ‘including’ in the place of ‘like.’
An expository paragraph provides information. It is better to use ‘such as’ and ‘including’ to convey the appropriate information.
9) Most important to least important
The ideas are arranged in the order of most important to least important or least important to most important
10) Heading
Write an apt heading that reflects the topic sentence. The heading must tell what the paragraph is about.


Labels: 10 Tips to Write an Expository Paragraph

10 Traits Present in a Healthy Family Dynamic

Whether your family is healthy or not is rather subjective, but there are certain traits that are present in all healthy family units. There are also some factors that can lend to a solid family dynamic. Knowing what these are and ensuring that they are incorporated will help to make your family stronger than ever.


1. Open Communication


Families with open communication are able to easily overcome disagreements and are able to solve issues without any lasting resentment. It is important to create a home atmosphere that promotes communication. Some topics are harder to talk about than others, but nothing is off limits when all family members feel confident and secure.


2. Constant Acceptance


Even within family units, each member has their own unique values and beliefs. It is critical that these are respected regardless of how different these values or beliefs are. It is also important to accept mistakes and work to turn these into a learning opportunity.


3. Get a Pet


Having a family pet helps to learn responsibility and a pet is something that the entire family can go to for togetherness. For example, feeding, bathing and playing with a pet is something that the family can do together. Culture can play a strong role in how pets are viewed within the family dynamic, but it appears that pets are always seen as a good thing.


4. Trust


Trust can be a very difficult thing to do, even within a strong family. Adult partners may have doubts from time to time, and parents may have difficulty trusting their children. These trust issues are very common, but it is important to work toward building complete trust in a family unit, as this ensures harmony.


5. Know When to Step Up


Some people are really good at holding feelings and a depressed mood inside. However, it is important for families to be able to recognize when one is distressed. It is also important to know how to help the distressed member. Some people just need a hug, while others need to be alone and come out to talk on their own time.


6. Goals


All healthy families have goals. These goals could be as simple as each member keeping up his or her chores, or something more complex like working toward moving to a new area. It is important that all family members have a role in reaching family goals. When each member contributes, each member will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when the goal is met, further strengthening the family bond. Goals involving a pet can also be helpful. For example, the family creates a goal to spend 20 minutes a day together talking and walking or playing with the family pet.


7. Respect for Family and Others


We see media reports everyday that showcase profound acts of disrespect. Knowing the importance of respecting others begins in the family unit. It is also commonly said that being handed respect leads to the person striving to respect others. Talking about respect and how to give and receive it is critical to a family unit.


8. Motivate Each Other


Every family member will have his or her own projects and goals and it is important that each member supports each other and motivates each other to succeed. Having a family that has each other’s back is critical in maintaining the motivation necessary to complete goals.


9. Playing Together


As was mentioned above, a family pet can help with this. Taking time to just get together and do something fun will help to build relationships within the family unit. Even simple things like heading to a movie or the beach for a few hours will allow the family to laugh and have fun together.


10. Creating Traditions


All families have unique traditions, be it for holidays or when celebrating a milestone. Some families have lavish parties and others go out to eat at a favorite family restaurant. It is important to have traditions and to stick to these because it helps to keep things constant and to strengthen family bond.


Labels: 10 Traits Present in a Healthy Family Dynamic

10 Tips for Wilderness Survival Cooking

Wilderness survival camping is a skill that is useful to know and is even fun to practice. Here are 10 tips to provide you with information on cooking when in a wilderness survival setting.

Obviously the most important wilderness survival skill is to be able to make a fire. A small magnesium sparker can be carried on a keychain or placed into a pocket. Practice with it in comfort before relying on it in a wilderness survival situation.


Both fairly stiff, thick wire and thinner, more flexible wire is always a good thing to have in your survival kit. The stiffer wire can be used to impale an object to be placed over the fire, such as a fish. The stiff wire can also be used for kabobs. The more flexible wire can be used to wrap and dangle less secure items over the fire, such as a piece of deer meat. Both types of wire can be utilized for other wilderness survival skills other than cooking.


In a wilderness survival setting, always be certain to properly cook any meat that you are going to eat. Minor illness such as diarrhea can quickly dehydrate you in a wilderness setting, while more serious illnesses can be deadly. Overcooking meat is much better than undercooking.


If you have ingredients to make bread, pancakes, or anything like them here is a wilderness survival tip. With bread dough, roll it into a strip and wrap it around a stick to cook. Pancakes can be made in the same way with a little less efficiency. Try to thicken the batter as much as possible. Dip in a stick and place it over the fire while rolling it fairly quickly to keep as much as possible from dripping off. A heated rock could also be used to make pancakes or bread. Scavenging a piece of metal to cook on is best if possible.


Use you fire to clean your wilderness survival cooking utensils. Clean water may be at a premium but fire will kill germs well.


Learn about edible plants that exist in your area. Just eating what other animals eat will not work as their digestive system is different than ours. This is knowledge that you must gain in the field (with a proper guide!).


Canned food can be warmed up (though not necessary) simply by ripping off the label and placing it beside the fire. Stir the contents often to avoid scorching.


While it is best to cook them in aluminum foil, potatoes and other vegetables can be cooked by placing them directly on or near hot coals. Honestly, I think that the potatoes cooked in its skin and not foil tastes better. The skin is not fit to eat if cooked bare (unless you are starving!).


If you are lucky enough to find corn to eat, do not remove the husk. Throw the entire ear, husk and all, and place as close as possible to the coals. You can also suspend it above the coals. Try to avoid catching the husk on fire. Field corn (raised for livestock) is edible as well.


An important skill in cooking in the wild is being able to dry meat. Dried meat can be carried in pockets for a quick and easy meal.


Remember, practice these skills now and hope to never have to use them. But if you ever find yourself in a wilderness survival situation you will be ready.


Labels: 10 Tips for Wilderness Survival Cooking

10 Top Restaurants to Try in Charlotte, North Carolina

The following are the top ten restaurants that are on my list of favorite places to go when eating in Charlotte.

1. The Melting Pot


The Melting Pot is one of those restaurants that you go when you are celebrating something special. The restaurant is very upscale, and it is a four-course fondue dining experience. The menu includes creamy cheese fondues, salads, wine and chocolate fondue desserts. It usually costs about $42 per person to eat and drink there, but the experience is certainly worth the price.


2. Carrabbas


Carrabbas is a wonderful friendly Italian restaurant. It is even kid friendly, where kids have their own special menu which includes chicken fingers, pasta, and kid-size pizzas. The best part is that they actually give the pizza dough to the kids to make on their own. Their chicken parmesan is a crowd pleaser for the adults, and it is only $15 which includes either soup or salad.


3. Ruth’s Chris Steak House


Ruth’s Chris Steak House in uptown Charlotte is great for a romantic evening, a night out with friends, or having a business meeting. The décor consists of granite floors, wood paneling, artwork, a distinctive chandelier, and wine displays. It is known for its meat selections, but it has various other entrees as well including seafood dishes.


4. Cheesecake Factory


The Cheesecake Factory is located at Southpark Mall. The restaurant is famous for its many varieties of delicious cheesecake. It also serves appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizza, pastas, seafood, steaks, egg dishes, and other specialties.


5. Sports Page


This really is a local favorite of mine. All the locals like to eat here. There are two sections of this restaurant here in Charlotte. There is the bar section which is great for nightlife entertainment, and then there is the main restaurant part. The restaurant is decorated in sports memorabilia, and has a very friendly laid-back atmosphere. The staff is very welcoming, and the there are many different foods on the menu. Many people are impressed with their delicious salads and their “Sports Page Sampler” which has buffalo wings, mozzarella triangles, beer battered onion rings & chicken Santa Fe dip or spinach artichoke dip for $10.95.


6. Davinici’s Pizza


This is honestly the best New York style pizza that I have tasted in Charlotte. It is located in the new shops at Davis Lake in Charlotte. Almost every employee is Italian, and the food that is served is truly genuine Italian. The best part is that the prices are a steal for the huge pizza pies that you get there, and the chances of you having to take some home with you is highly probable. The décor is very straightforward, but they have a lovely courtyard outside where you can sit.


7. Villa Antonio


This restaurant is known as one of Charlotte’s most romantic Italian restaurants. It has a nice romantic atmosphere where there is live entertainment seven nights a week. The Italian cuisine goes nicely with romantic candlelight.


8. Boardwalk Billy’s


Boardwalk Billy’s the University location is a beautiful location to eat. It sits right on the water next to the paddle boats. It is a very relaxed crowd that goes there. Their menu has many selections including appetizers, wings, soups, salads, baby back ribs, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and even has an oyster bar. One of the favorites there is their Jamaican Jerk Chicken which is served over Island rice with corn on the cob and chipotle mango salsa for $9.99.


9. Baoding Chinese Restaurant


Some people claim that Baoding Chinese Restaurant is the best Chinese restaurant in Charlotte. It has truly authentic Chinese food. It is known for its excellent food and service. The food is a little pricey, but definitely worth it.


10. Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill


Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill opened its doors in Charlotte in December of 2000. Diners enjoy sitting in a contemporary lodge atmosphere. It is set with vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, and aspen columns. There usually is a roaring fire in the stone fireplace also which adds to the ambiance. They have a large menu which includes salads, sandwiches, steaks, and seafood.


Labels: 10 Top Restaurants to Try in Charlotte, North Carolina

10 Tips on How to Write a Consignment Agreement

It is important to have a consignment agreement due to legal reasons to protect your company and to protect the person who is interested in consignment. Here are ten tips on how to write a consignment agreement.

1. Make sure to take a picture of each item that is going to be on consignment. You want to take a picture of every item due to legal reasons.


2. Write up an consignment agree that includes terms in it and releases your company from any liability due to theft, fire, or any damage due to weather. You want to have the terms spelled out clearly and make them easy to understand.


3. You also need to include the commission percentage on the form that your company will receive. You need to list the names of the items on there and include the pictures with the form too. You want to list the price on there that the consigner wants to sell the items for each. You also need to include the percentage of money that the consigner will receive each month.


4. You need to list the date on the form and include the date of when the items are on consignment and when the consignment is suppose to end. This is important so that you and the consigner doesn’t get confused about any dates of consignment later on.


5. You need to also include the consignment agreement some sort of detailed statement regarding picking up any unsold items within 90 days. You can include the agreement that if the consigner doesn’t pick up any of their unsold items within 90 days after the end of the consignment then legally your company would own the products now.


6. You need to state in the agreement details regarding the consigners getting paid for the items sold. You need to let them know when and how often they are going to get paid. If they are going to get paid by check in the middle of the month then please say it. If the consignment checks always pay for work that are from the previous month then please mention it in the agreement.


7. If the commission is different depending upon the size of the item and which category that it is in then make sure to state the different amounts of commission. This is important so that the consigner doesn’t get confused.


8. Make sure to have three copies of the agreement that the consigner signs. You want one copy to give to the consigner and you want another copy to keep in the company records. The extra copy is there just in case your company needs it for court.


9. You need to have a lawyer look at the consignment agreement before you let consigners sign it. The attorney will be able to tell you if you need to change it or reword anything.


10. You need to have the consigners information on the agreement such as their telephone number, address, and any other necessary information. This is important to have so that you can get in contact with the consigner to inform about any sales.


Labels: 10 Tips on How to Write a Consignment Agreement

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