Saturday, December 10, 2016

10 Tips for Freshman in College

1. Schedule, schedule, schedule

It is absolutely necessary to have some type of planner or agenda to write down homework and other assignments. Chances are, you will forget something during the year. A great idea is to write down all of your final dates and times as soon as they become available to you. If any finals conflict make sure talk to your professor about it, because some can get a bit touchy about rescheduling.


2. Time Management


If you are living in the dorms, time management is arguably the most difficult object to overcome. There is no one there to tell you to do your work, wake up, go to class, study, etc. Procrastination is usually the hardest lesson to learn: it does not pay off, and it only leads to a very stressful all-nighter before a test. Instead, paying attention during class (staying awake is sometimes a feat in itself) will be much more productive.


3. Balance your classes


Generally, watch out for math and foreign language classes. Now if these are your favorite subjects/intended majors completely disregard this, but these classes tend to be more difficult than usual for the average person. Do not load yourself too much with very hard classes (especially first semester). It takes time to adjust. Also, do not be afraid to drop classes, just watch out for the drop deadline. It is not some terrible travesty if you need to drop a class because you are overloaded, sometimes people drop classes just because they find the subject too boring.


4. Early mornings


In high school many people had to wake up very early, from 6am through 8am. Even if you have been able to do this well for the past four years (and especially those that could barely make it to school on time), try to schedule your classes later. If they are too early you will be more prone to skipping them in favor of sleep. Even if you feel that you will be fine, believe me, your sleeping patterns will most likely change. It is also no use for you to be there, if you are just sleeping in lecture, and not even retaining any information.


5. Look up professors/past grades before registering


I do not know how people would live without sites like ratemyprofessors.com. It is infinitely helpful to read reviews about professors, since often (although rather sadly) they will impact your grade more than the subject matter may. Some professors are extremely easy, while others are very difficult: all within the same subject. Also look to see if your school provides past grading percentages for certain classes; these are very helpful when deciding how challenging a class is.


6. Food issues


Food is definitely an issue on many college campuses. Hopefully your dining hall is good and the (usually required) meal plan is sensible. I have had very difficult experiences with dining hall food – believe me, no matter how good it might taste initially, it will get bland. This may be a different scenario if you are going to Cornell or another school with an excellent repute for high quality food.


At some point you will probably order takeout. Campusfood.com is a godsend, here. Check to see if your school is listed, and if it is: welcome to eating food at all hours of the day.


7. Freshman fifteen


Being a girl, the freshman fifteen was naturally a worrisome concept. However, I surprisingly lost roughly ten pounds my first semester. I was so accustomed to eating good food at home and having a structured schedule, that when I was thrown into college everything completely changed. I would often skip meals to go to class, sleep later, or shower. The food began to taste very bland after the first two months, and being a vegetarian I naturally had already limited options.


Now, second semester was a different story. I began to stay up very late every night and naturally would end up being hungry at 1am-2am. Partying more frequently also made me gain more weight. I am assuming my metabolism also became adjusted to all the walking I had to do everyday; together all these factors made me gain weight. This was the semester where I gained around fifteen pounds. I made the mistake of only going to the gym a few times: take advantage of it if the membership is included in your tuition.


8. Manage your money


You will never see money disappear faster than at college. Most of it will go towards food and other consumables. I suggest giving yourself a fixed amount of money to spend per a week, or it might get out of hand. Also keep in mind that the school probably charges a lot more for products found in on-campus shops because of their convenience. It might be worth your while, if transportation is cheap or free, to travel to your local downtown college area and see if the prices are worth the distance.


If you are interested in having a job, I would wait until second semester to apply. Why? Chances are you will have the time (you will never realize how many minutes are in a day until now), but sometimes your workload might be too intense to manage. Especially first semester, I personally feel it is more important to take care of your academic priorities before looking for more money. However, if you absolutely need extra cash, what can you do? I would suggest trying to juggle your schedule as best as you can.


9. Some tips for doing well in class


There are a few things you can do to be more successful in any class. First, make friends in each one. These people will help you out more than that TA that can barely speak English or your busy professor. Sure, you can visit office hours, but for some subjects it is not very helpful. Form study groups and find the people that know what they are doing in that class.


Always have a general idea what your current grade is, and how other people are doing. Curves are God’s gift in a difficult class, but it usually depends on how the entire class is doing.


Always check your school email. Always. Cancellations, assignments, etc. are sent at any time of day.


10. Don’t get too carried away


Lastly, there is not much to say besides try to make intelligent decisions. Be safe. Do not do things you might regret the next day. Try not to get caught up in everything that is going on. Have fun, and just remember these are the last four years of your life before serious employment (or grad school).


Labels: 10 Tips for Freshman in College

10 Tips to Help Your Cheerleading Arabesque

In the sport of cheerleading an Arabesque stunt is a beautiful stunt if it’s done correctly. Here are some tips to help you hit your arabesque:

1. Practice it on the ground – Start by practicing your stunt on the ground first. You can get a spotter to help hold your waist so that you can get a feel for the stunt and clean it up before it’s put up in the air.


2. Stretch often -Make sure you stretch prior to working on the stunt so that you have enough flexibility for the stunt, so that you avoid as much movement as possible, and so you avoid possible injury.


3. Lift your leg -For an arabesque your pulling leg needs to be parallel to the ground if it’s lower than parallel then you need to lift the leg up more.


4. Point your toe – For a clean look to the stunt, make sure that your toe is always pointed. An easy mistake to fix all you have to do is be aware of it.


5. Pinch in the back – If you don’t feel a pinch in your back while you are pulling your stunt, then you are probably doing it wrong.


6. Get your hip up – At times an arabesque will fall because the flyer’s weight is forward due to their hip being dropped. A flyer must open up their hip so that it will be easier to pull their leg up and so the flyer’s weight will be centered.


7. Chest up -Don’t drop your chest. Your chest needs to be straight up. It makes the stunt look better and it keeps the weight over the flyer’s foot.


8. Get your Chin up – Keeping your chin up will lift your head, will help keep your weight centered, will help keep your chest up, and will make your arabesque look better. Just try to focus on something just above visual parallel when trying to keep your chin up.


9. Hold your weight – When stand in the stunt, make sure you keep your weight on the inside of the foot you are standing. This will help keep your weight center and it will move less.


10. Hit your motion – Hit a perfect “T” motion. Make sure it’s slightly in front and not straight out to the sides. If it’s straight on then it’s going to look awkward (like it’s behind you) and it will be more difficult to keep balanced.


Labels: 10 Tips to Help Your Cheerleading Arabesque

10 Tips on Designing a Freshwater Nature Aquarium

Nature-themed aquariums are one of the most beautiful in the world. They are often densely planted and resemble breathtaking landscapes. Who doesn’t want to have one? Designing a nature aquarium sounds hard to do, but with a few pointers in mind, aquascaping will prove to be a fun and wonderful experience. Here a ten tips to guide you on creating a lush haven right inside your house!

Do note though that you should already have knowledge of how to properly manage an aquarium, particularly with the nitrogen cycle, weekly maintenance and lighting requirements. These are necessary for you to be able to keep a long-lived aquarium.


1. Draw a Plan


Before we all get excited to set up an aquarium, it’s always wise to create a plan first. Draw or write down the fish and plants you wish to keep, the filtration system and lighting of your tank, expenses, placement of plants, rocks, gravel and driftwood, etc. You can base these factors with the following tips below. Have in mind though that in designing your aquarium, you’re not trying to imitate nature seen underwater, but the ones on land (like mountains, hills and forests).


2. Have a Focal Point


A focal point is the main subject and point-of-interest of the aquarium, and is an important concept in art. Having one is necessary to provide the viewer’s eyes an object of focus/rest on. A focal point can be anything stationary that will stand out in the tank – a piece of driftwood, a rock, a bunch of plants, etc. To find the best place for your focal point in the tank, we’ll have to do some math. First, measure the length of your aquarium, then divide it by 1.618. Measure the resulting number on your tank, mark that section, and there you have a place for your focal point. Studies show that people find it most comfortable to look at focal points at this spot. Though it’s possible to use two or more focal points, it’s best to have only one to prevent confusion. You know what they say – less is more.


3. Choose a layout


Layouts are the basis of the placement of your plants, rocks and other decorations in the aquarium, and there are several to choose from. One of the most commonly used is the triangular or sloped setup, where plants/décor are tall on one side of the tank and are getting smaller towards the other side. Another type of layout is the concave setup, where plants and décor are high on both sides and getting lower towards the middle(resembling a V-shape). Other layouts include the convex/island setup(low on both sides and getting higher towards the middle) and the Iwagumi style(composed of three well-textured rocks and a grassy landscape, may be difficult to create for beginners). There is one layout you should avoid though – the rectangular setup, where plants and décor are tall everywhere and it almost fills up the entire tank. This isn’t good because it doesn’t provide an open space not only for the benefit of the fish, but for the viewer’s eyes as well(will be discussed later). There is no “best” layout – you can select what you like most and it’s your creativity that really adds the spark.


4. Use black, brown or gray gravel


White gravel is commonly sold in pet stores, but there are much better colors for a nature aquarium – black, brown or gray. They give a deeper and more natural “river” feel to the tank, and can really enhance the colors of your fish and plants. You can choose any one of these colors, or you can even combine them in your aquarium. Sand of the same color can also be used. Medium-small sized gravel is recommended as it is better suited to anchor plants. Also make the gravel sloped to make the tank look deeper.


5. Provide an open space


Though having lots of plants is great for visual appeal, it’s also necessary to provide an open space somewhere in your tank. It provides the viewer’s eyes a place to rest after he’s seen all the décor and gives him a relaxing feel. It also serves as a stage for the fishes to show their beautiful poses. The open space can be bare but you can cover it with low-growing/carpet plants.


6. Use only one type of rock


A common beginner’s mistake is having more than one type of rock in the tank. Having assorted types of rocks creates confusion in the aquarium and really shatters the nature theme. Only have one type of rock in the tank – if you use a lava rock, use only lava rock. Rocks with dark colors and good texture are excellent for the natural aquarium. Also remember to have more than one piece of rock in an aquarium as it will be unnatural if you only have a single rock.


7. Plant real dense


Plants speak for themselves in the aquarium – their beauty is unmatched even by fake plants. They also have many benefits to the tank so it’s a good thing to plant as dense as possible. Cover at least 80% of the tank floor with plants. When planting stem plants, plant together in bundles of two to three stems so that later on they will grow very dense, but still be sure that every plant is getting enough space. Fill some empty spaces with carpet plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Java moss. Remember always to place tall/large plants at the background, medium-sized plants at the middle and small plants at the foreground to create an illusion of depth. You can also attach some moss to rocks or driftwood for an aged effect. While you can still use fake plants to design your nature aquarium, there’s no really beating the beauty of live plants.


8. Hide tank equipment


Aquarium equipment, especially filters and tubes, can ruin the nature effect of your aquarium. To help hide these, attach a wallpaper at the back(colors black, blue or white are the best for this) to prevent the viewers’ eyes from being distracted by hoses and all. You can also use plants and décor to hide equipment. It’s difficult to completely hide all of these but as long as they’re not immediately noticeable or catching attention your tank should do fine.


9. Select only a few species of flora and fauna


The phrase “less is more” also applies when choosing plants, fishes and/or invertebrates for your tank. It’s not always good to have a large variety of species in your aquarium, as their assorted colors and shapes will create chaos instead of harmony in your tank and may look unpleasant to the eyes. If your local pet store don’t have the species you need, don’t be afraid to order some. It’s best to only have a few species of flora and fauna, say, two or three, to allow a more simplistic and harmonious design.


10. Take good care of the tank glass


Cleaning the tank glass is important to maximize your aquarium’s design. It may not seem all that big but when droplets of water are left on the exterior of the glass, they will form hard water stains, which are unpleasing to look at and are a nightmare to clean. Great care should be practiced when handling the glass as it might cause permanent scratches. Algae on walls should also be given solutions. Wet newspaper is the best for cleaning the exterior of the glass(never use glass scrapers of any kind). Algae pads or scrubbers are great for cleaning the inside of the aquarium and are available in local pet stores. Always take good care of the tanks’ glass as it has a large impact on your aquariums’ overall look.


That’s the last of the tips I can share with you about natural aquascaping. It isn’t a must that you follow all of these, as some of the most beautiful tanks are made by breaking them, but remember- patience is a key. I hope you have fun with your aquascaping adventure and always remember that your imagination is the only limit!


Source: www.freshwateraquariumplants.com


Labels: 10 Tips on Designing a Freshwater Nature Aquarium

10 Tips for Growing Better Tomatoes

Most gardeners give growing tomatoes a try, even new gardeners. I’ve been growing tomatoes every year that I’ve put in a garden, and I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way. Here are 10 tips for improving productivity and growing better tomatoes.

Tomato Tip #1: Give Tomatoes What They Like


Tomatoes do best when you give them what they like. They like warm, fertile, slightly moist soil that drains well, 6-8 hours of full sun per day, good air-circulation, proper support, and no chance of frost. If you handle these basics, you should get a nice crop of tomatoes to eat.


Tomato Tip #2: Don’t Over-water or Under-Water


Poke your finger into the soil around the tomato plant. The plant needs water when the top couple of inches of soil are dry. Tomato plants don’t like to be over-watered, because it invites disease or rot, but they also don’t like to be under-watered. If you see the leaves wilting, you best water. Water only the soil around the stem–not the leaves, as this invites disease. Give your tomato plant about an inch of water per week or about 10 minutes every other day–depending upon soil type and weather conditions. Your goal should be a slightly moist soil on a consistent basis.


Tomato Tip #3: Trim Tomato Leaves


Trimming any leaves that become yellow or brown or appear diseases is important. Get the leaves far away from the garden or container pot. You want only healthy leaves growing on the tomato branches. Some gardeners suggest removing much of the leaves of the tomato plant to put the focus on root development, but I tend to only remove suckers. Suckers are those branches that won’t bear fruit and sap the nutrients and strength. They grow between the branch and stem. I also remove most of the lower leaves at planting in order to encourage more root development.


Tomato Tip #4: Encourage Root Development


Commonly, gardeners plant tomato plants deeper than most other plants would be planted–sticking the stem about 6 inches down into the soil. Tomatoes will develop stronger root structure by doing this, and that means stronger, taller, and more productive tomato plants. Although I’ve not tried the trench method, some gardeners plant tomatoes in a trench–placing the plant in horizontally and leaving the upper leaves and stem above ground. They believe it really encourages a strong root system.


Some gardeners also remove non-fruiting branches and the first blossoms of the year in order to encourage more root development and ensure that more nutrients go to productive branches. They thin fruit to no more than 3 tomatoes per branch for larger fruit development and remove the fruit farthest from the stem, first. I tend to make certain that branches aren’t crowded and non-fruiting branches don’t sap the nutrients, but I have a little difficulty removing flowers and thinning tomatoes.


Tomato Tip #5: Rotate Crop and Repel Pests


Rotate where you grow your tomatoes each year, even if it’s only by several feet. I have a small garden, but I do pick new spots for tomatoes each year. This helps discourage disease. Tradition says to plant marigolds near tomatoes to repel white fly and to plant tomatoes near basil, chives, garlic, carrots, and parsley to discourage pests. But tomatoes shouldn’t be planted where potatoes and cabbage have grown or are growing. They share some of the same diseases. And, nothing much grows near a black walnut tree.


Tomato Tip #6: Try Tomato Tricks


This year, I plan to try a few new tricks to encourage greater tomato productivity. In the hole, I plan to place crumbled, baked eggshells and hairbrush-hair or dog hair. The eggshells provide needed calcium that discourages end rot, and the hair provides a slow release fertilizer. They both also discourage slugs.


I may try using Epson salt in the hole, covered by an inch or so of compost before I plant the tomato plant. Epson salt provides desirable nutrients. In addition, I may try using soap spray to stop aphids.


Tomato Tip #7: Stake Your Tomato Plants


The best way to discourage disease and pests is to stake tomato plants and get branches and fruit off the ground. Give tomato plants the support of a trellis or wire cage, and if a branch becomes heavy with fruit, you can always use a nylon stocking to help support that branch.


Tomato Tip #8: Mulch Properly


Mulching helps cut down on weeds and helps hold in soil moisture, but mulch should be used only after the ground is warm. I’ve tried black plastic to help warm soils, but there’s a new mulch out that I’ve not tried. It’s a red mulch with numerous benefits. The red mulch reflects sun up into the tomato plant. See resource link for more on red mulch.


Tomato Tip #9: Pick When Fully Ripe


Your best tasting tomatoes are picked when vine ripe, but not over-ripe. However, if you wait until tomatoes are vine ripe, you sometimes have competition. I usually pick tomatoes just under-ripe and let them ripen on my window sill. One trick I’ve heard about ripening tomatoes is to put the tomato stem into a small glass of water, put the tomato on top, and let it ripen there. It’s supposed to keep it from drying out. I’ve also learned that placing a paper towel below the tomato can keep it from rotting against the counter or sill.


Tomato Tip #10: Pick Before Frost


Sometimes you have no choice but to pick tomatoes while they are still green. When this happens, there are ripening options. Tomatoes can be put in a brown paper bag and the ripening gasses from the whole bunch can be of help to ripen each one.


Ripening can be spread over a few months with this trick. Ripen tomatoes in a cooler place, such as the garage. Wrap tomatoes individually in newspaper. The print is soy-based, so it’s safe. The reason for this is to keep the ripening gasses from affected all the fruit at once. What could be better than a fresh garden tomato in October?


Whatever tomato variety you plan to grow, you can achieve greater productivity by following these 10 gardening tips. Make this the year you grow a bumper crop of beautiful, luscious tomatoes.


Labels: 10 Tips for Growing Better Tomatoes

10 Tips for Buying Jewelry from Online Stores

There used to be only a few options when buying jewelry gift items: shopping mall jewelry store chain, stand alone retailers or catalog’s, to name a few. If you preferred handcrafted jewelry and meeting the person who created your piece before you buy, there were arts and craft events. Many discount stores offered a wide array of jewelry in varying qualities. These ways of shopping required driving around, running in and out of stores, burning up lots of gas and the possibility of still coming home empty handed.


For the average shopper, gas, time and money are in limited supply these days; they no longer wish to indulge in that kind of run around shopping. If you fall in this category, online shopping is the option for you. Buying jewelry items on line has moved from the experimental stages a few years ago to a modern, fast and easy way of getting your shopping done. All it takes is a shopping list, a bit of browsing, and a few mouse clicks to shop without leaving your house.


Whether you seek finished jewelry-store quality items, artsy hand-crafted, one of a kind pieces, or you are a jewelry maker yourself and looking for materials and supplies, it doesn’t hurt to have a few rules to follow before you set out on your online shopping experience. I have been creating jewelry for years and taught many women about stones, jewelry and various terms used by traditional retailers and auction sites where you might be buying from a total stranger. I offer these ten tips for you to keep in mind when buying finished jewelry or component parts.


1- Know the correct name of the precious metal you want-


If you are buying Silver, look for Sterling Silver or 925, Fine Silver or 999; for Gold, 14k, 18k or 24k designations are the correct precious metal terms. Look for these terms if you want precious metals and not just a coating that may wear away with the first cleaning. Except for some handcrafted pieces, these items carry stamped-on marks to verify the metal.


Be particularly cautious if the seller refers to an item as simply ‘Gold’ or ‘Silver.’ If your online retailer doesn’t define the metal further, there’s a good chance the metal you are purchasing could be ‘Silver-Toned’ or ‘Gold-toned,’ a composite metal with little or no precious metal content at all. The name might be an honest description of the color of the metal and not the content.


If you want purest versions of Silver, avoid metals called ‘Silver Washed,’ ‘Silver-Plated’ or ‘Silver Filled.’ If you are seeking pure Gold, avoid buying ‘Gold-Plated,’ ‘Gold Washed’ or ‘Gold-Filled.’ These items contain layers of precious metal over a base metal. There is nothing wrong with these products, the ‘filled’ process is held to a legal definition of weight to gold ration and holds up particularly well; but if you want purer versions of the metal, look for the right terms to make sure you are getting what you want and not paying more than you should.


2- Know the names of the stones you want-


If you are a frequent stone buyer or an artisan, you may know enough to purchase a stone by name; but if you don’t buy stones on a regular basis, you should find an online resource such as http://gemologyonline.com/ who has a color guide to help you identify the name and look of the stone you are seeking buy.


For jewelry makers, major catalog houses such as http://RioGrande.comhttp://firemountaingems.com and Indian Jewelry Supply at http://www.ijsinc.com/ offer online catalogs with a wide variety of beads, cabochons and jewelry making supplies.


3- Know Stone Grading-


Like diamonds, other semiprecious stones have quality ratings. The system is letter-based, A, B, C, etc. Triple A (AAA), for example, means you have a stone of extremely high quality. An E rating means your stone is at the lower range of quality.


While you may find these ratings on store sites that specialize in selling stones for jewelry makers, you will rarely see this grading used on an online website that sells jewelry alone. If you are interested in knowing the alphabetic rating of a stone for sale, ask; but they may not know. Often it is the use of lower rated stones that enable a seller to offer their items at a lower price.


4- Know that there are lots of retailers selling simulated gemstones-


Scientists have perfected the process of creating lab-grown gemstones with properties similar to the natural kind. Since some supplies of natural stones are running out or difficult to fine, the man made varieties are everywhere. There are man made diamonds also. One called Moissanite has a composition so close to the real thing, jewelers had to create a special tester to tell the difference. What does that mean to you?


Since these man-made stones are so close in composition, it is hard for ordinary people, even experienced artisans to tell the difference in most cases. You must rely on the dealer who sells the stone originally to pass the information along to the person creating the jewelry and then rely on that person to pass it along to you, which doesn’t always happen.


As an artisan and teacher, I know large catalog houses advise the buyer when the stones they sell are imitation. But when other sellers do not carry the IMIT designation, it’s anybody’s guess. So I will tell you that IMIT means the stone is imitation, and should you see those letters next to the stone, or Lab Created, you will know what that means and decide to purchase or not.


5- Know the correct necklace, bracelet and ring size-


If you buy a beautiful size 7 ring at a great bargain price but later it needs to be sized up to a nine; that will cost you extra and that bargain price won’t look so great after all. Most on-line retailers do not include ring sizing in their bargain-ship-in-one-day price. If you need sizing, you’ll have to find someone to do the work then pay extra for it.


Know the size you need and buy it. Some retailers have a ring sizing guide to walk you through measuring your finger the right way. http://www.celtic-weddingrings.com/ringmeasure.asp has a pdf ring sizing guide you may download. http://www.onlineconversion.com/ring_size.htm has an online conversion chart to convert your size to measurement systems used in other countries. Don’t guess at it. It could cost you in the long run.


Size 7 is the average bracelet size; but many people have larger or smaller wrists. You need to know the proper bracelet or necklace size as well. The process of resizing these items can be less expensive than a ring resizing, but it will cost you nonetheless.


5-Make sure your ‘handcrafted’ jewelry is handcrafted by an artisan and not mass produced-


More and more people are seeking jewelry items made in America by an artisan they can meet at an art event or at least communicate with on line. But some importers take advantage of that desire for ‘Hand Made In America,’ and will list their items as handcrafted, leaving you to assume the rest.


I’ve sold handcrafted jewelry for years and it used to make me upset that some “Jewelry Artists” would sell pieces obviously mass produced overseas. Eventually I stopped letting that bother me; but some of those same people who used to sell imported goods at Art shows are now offering their wares on line as “Handcrafted.” So if you want handcrafted that for you means made in America, or at least made by an artisan and not manufactured or mass produced, ask questions like who? When? Where?


6- Know the shipping policies before you order-


Many jewelry sites sell items at a bargain price but have high shipping fees, sometimes higher than the cost of the item you’re purchasing. A popular on-line auction site has recently taken steps to make sure their independent sellers are not overcharging on shipping. They offer better search placements for those offering free shipping.


Before you buy, make sure you understand the shipping policies. If the on-line retailer has a customer feedback system, check to see what they say about shipping times.


7-Know your online payment system. consider Paypal.com or similar sites for buying security-


To keep your credit card numbers secure, consider using an on-line system like Paypal.com. When you sign up with their service, you list your credit card, bank account or other personal account with them; and instead of providing credit card numbers to retailers all over the Internet, you go through Paypal. When your Paypal balance is exhausted, they will automatically transfer the purchase amount from the back-up account you’ve listed.


Paypal also offers a customer guarantee policy that will guarantee the purchase up to a certain dollar amount. Because of the security features, more and more on line retailers are offering Paypal as a safer payment option. If that’s important to you, look for the Paypal logo before you buy.


8-Look for ‘VeriSign Secured’ check mark at the bottom of an on line retailers site- B


VeriSign means the site can secure your private information with SSL encryption which goes a long way toward preventing your personal information from being hijacked.


9- Before you buy from an Online retailer, check out their return policy-


If an item isn’t the right size, the right stone, the right color or just not right; you want the option of returning it for a refund or at least a credit. Make sure returning is an option before you click the pay button. All though many stores allow returns, some sites and individuals on auction sites have an ‘all sales final’ policy.


Labels: 10 Tips for Buying Jewelry from Online Stores

10 Tips to Create Your Own Time Management Plan

Sometimes I think that 24 hours in a day are just not enough. But you know what? If there were 26 hours in a day, I would still have a proportionally large amount of work. So it’s not the amount of time we have that seems to be the problem, it is what we choose to do with it. I reiterate here, the key word is ‘choose’. Time management is all about making choices such that you utilize the time you have, more efficiently. Here are a few tips to help you create your own time management plan.

1. Prioritize, prioritize and Oh yes! prioritize some more
Our days are filled with so many small and large tasks that need to be completed, that we get overwhelmed and overworked way too often. So to overcome this problem, prioritize your activities. Create a ‘To-Do’ list and then, assign a priority to all the tasks. Then re-write the list with the items having the highest priority at the top. This way, your focus will automatically drift to the first item on the list. You might get tempted to do things that are of low priority, just because they are easy to do. Don’t succumb to this temptation and stick to your priorities.


2. Plan out your day
It is important to plan your day, to make the most of your time. So have a schedule in place, and jot it down if you must. Stick to the schedule as far as possible.


3. Shop with a grocery list
When you are grocery shopping week after week, it becomes second nature. But there may be so many things running in your mind that you might miss out on a few products. What does that mean? Another trip to the super-market sooner than required. So go grocery shopping equipped with a list, so that you don’t miss out on crucial items.


4. Too much TV ?
How much TV do you watch on a daily basis? A few hours, several hours, none at all? Remember that TV is not bad, what you watch on it can be good or bad. TV can help you relax, but don’t overdo it. Stick to an hour or two of TV, and no more. Even while watching TV, you can use the time during commercials to plan your kids’ lunches for the next day, the menu for dinner and so on.


5. Run errands during early hours of the day
Run errands during morning hours, so that you can avoid crowds and hence, waiting. If you have work at the Post Office, go there when it opens. If you need to get your driver’s license, go when the office opens in the morning. In fact, try to shop in super-markets when the crowd is less. This will help you save a lot of time.


6. Plan for the next day in advance
It is always a good practice to plan activities for the next day, on the previous day. This way, when you wake up in the morning, you can start tackling the tasks, rather than wasting time wondering what to do next.


7. While traveling, carry some work
When you are traveling long distances, or waiting for someone, carry along some light work. You don’t know how long the journey or the wait might take. So use the time in reading a project report or writing an article. This will leave you more time at home, so that you can take care of other important things.


8. Clear out the clutter
Keep things clutter-free. This is very critical when it comes to your work space and even your PC! God alone knows how much time you spend searching for things, when there is too much clutter.


9. Is multi-tasking a good idea?
This depends from one individual to the next. Some people are great at multi-tasking, while others are really bad at it. If you are trying to juggle 5 things claiming that you are multi-tasking, and then realize that you have been at these tasks for a long time, then stop. Multi-tasking is not for you. Focus on a task, complete it and then move on.


10. Delegate work, if possible
If you can get help, be it hired, your family, friends and so on, take the help you can get. This does not mean running away from your duties. But by delegating some of your work and proving that you are not a wonder-woman or super-man, you can definitely save some valuable time.


Keep these 10 tips in mind, and create the time management strategy that suits your lifestyle.


10 Tips to Save Petrol / Gas : Go Green!


How to Put Together a Chocolate Gift Basket at Home


10 Tips to Lower Your Phone Bill


Labels: 10 Tips to Create Your Own Time Management Plan

10 Tips to Decorate Your Pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Fall is the season for pumpkins! Pumpkins are among of the most commonly used accessories for decoration from Halloween through Thanksgiving. A pumpkin’s color gives a vibrant feeling to an otherwise start of a “depressing” season as the leaves start to fall from trees making way for the winter season.

Although putting a group of plain pumpkins on your front porch is oftentimes enough to give your home a “fall look”, it would be a good idea to add decorations to a plain pumpkin to add whimsy and life and give it a more festive look.


1) Carve out shapes on your pumpkins: Probably the most common way to decorate your pumpkins is to carve out shapes, especially if you are putting candles inside the pumpkin so that the holes will show the glow. During Halloween, people would carve out eyes, nose and crooked smile giving a face which is traditionally known as a “Jack-O-Lantern”. Aside from this carved out face; you can carve out different shapes on your pumpkins. For example, a large pumpkin full of small star-shaped cut outs can be very festive when you line them up in a row along your pathway, with the candle glowing in the dark of the night; it looks like the stars are dancing along your pavement. Carve out shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and swirls on one big pumpkin for a playful effect that children will love to look at.


2) Paint your pumpkins with caricatures: A great project for the whole family, especially children, is to create caricatures. Bring out your left over paint that you used for your home, or use acrylic or craft paint. You can paint eyes, nose, and mouth in different colors and shapes. Give your pumpkins characters, one can be painted to look like a boy and another can be painted to look like a girl. Another idea is to paint a representation of each member of the family- this can make for good conversational pieces for visitors and neighbors passing by.


3) Stencil your pumpkins: Add whimsy using acrylic paint or different shades of crayons and markers to stencil your pumpkins. Use paper doilies to stencil the lace patterns. Use stencils of birds, bugs, bats, and spiders for Halloween. You can stencil pretty much any shapes using any color on your pumpkins.


4) Decorate pumpkins using words: Using thick colored markers you can write the words: “BOO”, “Happy Thanksgiving”, “Trick or Treat”, or “Happy Halloween” to convey the season and festivities.


5) Decorate your pumpkins with ribbons: You can use a hot glue gun to attach different colored ribbons along the lines of the pumpkins. Use vibrant colors like red, deep purple, dark green to pop against the orange color of your pumpkins. Group several sizes of pumpkins together with different colored ribbons each for a colorful effect.


6) Embellish your pumpkins with craft materials: If you have a collection of buttons of different colors, shapes, and sizes, why not use them to embellish your pumpkins? Another idea is to use two big buttons to be used as the eyes, and then add a spool of thread to be used as the nose, then add a zipper to be used as the mouth- you will have a crafty version of a “Jack-O-Lantern”. These pumpkins would surely show the personality of a crafter living in the house. Another idea is to use pins around the top areas on small pumpkins then line them up on your mantle.


7) Add candles to your pumpkins: Candles can be added to decorate your pumpkins, not only outside but inside your home. You can carve out a hole on top of the pumpkins with a size enough to put a candle on. Smaller pumpkins can be used to hold long taper candles for your dinner table center pieces or can be placed one on each side of the fireplace mantle. The bigger pumpkins can hold wider candles that can be arranged inside an unused fireplace or can be added to your tablescape.


8) Add potted plants and flowers to your pumpkins: A nifty idea is to carve out the inside of the pumpkins then cut out the top and put potted plants and flowers inside. You can use the pumpkins as your planter for the fall season. Make sure to puncture holes at the bottom to let the water out when watering. Use them to decorate your front porch or entrance. You can use the smaller pumpkins inside your house to be used as a flower vase.


9) Add sweets on your pumpkins: A great idea to greet guests is to embellish your medium sized pumpkins with candies. Put a pumpkin on your console table by the foyer or entrance of your home. Then keeping the wrappers on, stick each candy on the pumpkin using scotch tapes. Each time your guests leave, offer them the candies, have them pull as many as they like. Kids would surely enjoy picking out their favorite candies while visiting you. This is not only good during Halloween but during Thanksgiving dinner as well.


10) Make a pumpkin wreath: This is for smaller sized pumpkins, whereby they become the focal point of the wreath. You can make a wreath using branches with fall colored leaves that you can pick from your backyard or during nature walks, and then add a number or small sized pumpkins. This would look great hanging on your front door or above your fireplace mantle.


Hopefully these ideas can spark your imagination in giving more life to your fall decorations by using pumpkins.


Labels: 10 Tips to Decorate Your Pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving

10 Tips for Celebrating Christmas Away from Home

No wonder Christmas Day is the most widely celebrated holiday. Christians around the world celebrate December twenty-fifth in honor of Christ’s birth; many non-Christians also celebrate Christmas, but as a strictly secular holiday. Christmas is a joyous time of year, but can be stressful and lonely for those away from their homes and families. If circumstances prevent you from being home and spending Christmas with your family these tips for celebrating Christmas away from home might help make your Christmas a little bit merrier this year.

Tip #1–Remember the real “spirit of Christmas” is one of giving and sharing.


Nothing gets you in the “Christmas spirit” more than being able to help someone else and make their day a little brighter. Just because you can’t share Christmas Day with loved ones doesn’t mean you can’t send cards, letters and packages that let them know you care.


Tip #2–Call home.


Yes, it isn’t the same as eating a piece of mom’s Christmas pie, but calling and visiting over the phone, or on-line, is the next best thing to being there.


Tip #3– Attend a Christmas church service.


If you are away from home at Christmas, you may enjoy attending a Christmas church service. Use the local phone directory to find churches in the area, or ask someone for recommendations.


Non-Catholics may even enjoy attending a traditional mid-night mass on Christmas Eve. Most Christian churches of all denominations have special services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It serves as a time to celebrate Christ’s birth, the true purpose for the Christmas holiday.


Tip #4–Contact the United Way and volunteer for community service.


If you are in the United States, there are local United Way Agencies that can provide you with information on non-profit groups in your area needing Christmas volunteers. Many non-profit groups will gladly welcome you to help with various Christmas activities. They might even find a family to “adopt” you and invite you for a traditional Christmas dinner.


Tip #5–Visit a local nursing home or assisted living center.


Many elderly residents in these facilities are lonely and alone at Christmas time. It can be extremely hard for them to watch other residents being picked up and taken home by their families for the holiday, while they are left behind. From personal experience, I know many would love to have you visit and warmly welcome a little conversation and company.


Ask a nurse or the facility’s activities director who could use a little one-on-one attention. If the facility is having a Christmas party, volunteer to help with the festivities. It will help you, and the residents, both feel less lonely making Christmas more joyous for all concerned. If you are going to be in the same area for awhile, you might even choose to “adopt” a foster grandparent to regularly visit during your stay.


Tip #6–Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter or Soup Kitchen


Many non-profit groups need extra help with serving Christmas dinner to the homeless. It would give you an opportunity to stay busy, spending the holiday with others doing a community service that is much appreciated. It also will make you a little more thankful for the blessings you do have.


Tip#7–Postpone traditional Christmas celebrations until you can return home.


This might be an option for those working away from home, but returning soon. Just because the calendar says December 25th doesn’t mean you can’t wait and practice your own family traditions and celebrations later.


We once postponed Christmas until my husband, who was working and going to an out of state training program could return home. I made a video tape Christmas morning of the boys opening presents in front of the tree and we each recorded a message for him. We sent him the tape to watch, but left the Christmas tree up for two more months until he returned home. Then we had a second celebration when he returned home.


Tip#8–Visit shut-ins.


One of my more memorable Christmas Days was spend four hour’s drive from home. My sister-in-law belonged to a community service organization that cooked and delivered free Christmas dinners to the community’s shut-ins. The “Meals-on-Wheels” Christmas made us feel better knowing we spent the holiday helping make others’ Christmas just a little brighter.


Tip #9–Adopt a child or family for the holiday


If you can afford the added expensive, a wonderful Christmas gesture is to provide Christmas dinner fixings and gifts for a struggling family, especially a single parent with young children.


The Salvation Army and other community service organizations often provide this community service from their donations, but might still need help packaging and delivering these items and might welcome your assistance.


#10–This Christmas, reflect on your blessings


Rather than feel sorry for yourself because you are away from your home and family this holiday, stay busy and count your blessings. You’ll feel less blue if you have something constructive to do.


It really doesn’t matter where you are or how you choose to celebrate Christmas. It’s really a celebration of love and sharing. Its personal significance depends a lot on the traditions you grew up with or practice in your home; they aren’t set in stone. Build your own traditions and make Christmas a holiday of love celebrated in your heart no matter where you may be this Christmas Day.


Labels: 10 Tips for Celebrating Christmas Away from Home

10 Tips for Your College Laptop

There is so much involved in getting a child ready to go to college. Between sending in college applications, applying for financial aid, and buying essentials, there seems to be no time left. It is important not to forget about the lap top that will be going to college. Make sure your student’s lap top is college ready.

1) First make sure your lap top can handle the duties that will be required of it. An old lap top that is old, or one without enough memory will not do the job. A new laptop might be in order.


2) Check to make sure all Microsoft programs are installed. Your child will need Microsoft word, Power Point, and Excel. They should already be on the computer, but if not, should be installed.


3) Make sure the laptop has the latest versions of all Microsoft programs. If the program is outdated, it may not open files that a professor sends. An updated version of Microsoft programs will open any program, regardless of the date


4) Ensure that the lap top has the latest and best anti virus programs installed. Also, sometimes a college will have additional virus programs for the student to use if they are connecting to the university’s computer system for any class assignments.


5) Check the lap tops modem. Nothing like an outdated modem when trying to do college work.


6) If the laptop does not have an internal modem. provide your student with a wireless network such as Verizon wireless Internet .


7) Check the lap tops USB ports. Make sure there are at least three. Your child may need a USB port for a mouse, a printer, and a flash drive.


8) Don’t forget to buy a good printer for the lap top. Many students think they can just download their work on a flash drive, and print it on a college computer somewhere on campus. While this might be the case, it is simpler to have a printer in the dorm room.


9) Purchase extra computer supplies just in case. An extra mouse, flash drive, and cables might be needed. Also don’t forget to send plenty of printer paper and ink cartridges with your student.


10) Make sure your child’s computer lap top bag is large enough to carry all computer parts, except of course for the printer. Some bags are somewhat small, while others have compartments and extra room for essentials.


By making a list of what your lap top needs, having extra supplies, and checking hardware and software, your child’s lap top can be as ready for college as she is.


Labels: 10 Tips for Your College Laptop

10 Tips for Carving an Artificial Pumpkin

Tips for Carving an Artificial Pumpkin – The artificial pumpkins found at Halloween time are located at many of the hobby and retail stores, they are made from a type of foam and can easily be carved to look just like a real pumpkin. Pumpkin carving is in a way a type of art form and with a little preparation and the correct tools and materials you too can carve the professional looking pumpkin that you have always wished for! Here are 10 tips for artificial pumpkin carving at its finest!

Research Pumpkin Carving Ideas


Look for pictures and photographs of pumpkins that inspire you, you can even cut out the pictures from such place as magazines and keep all the resources in one spot, possibly a folder. Looking at photographs and pictures will make your pumpkin carving a much easier task as a lot of time can be taken up trying to figure out what to carve!


Well prepared Pumpkin Carving Area


Although you are carving artificial pumpkins, you will still want to have your pumpkin carving area well prepared with newspapers placed on the work area and all your tools laid out in an orderly fashion.


Lighted Area


Seeing what you are doing is one of the most important aspects of Pumpkin Carving, make sure that you are in a well lit area so you can easily see your pattern outlines and where you are cutting on the artificial pumpkin.


Pumpkin Patterns


If you are not an excellent free hand drawer, I would recommend purchasing pumpkin pattern faces or any type of pattern that you would like to make on your artificial pumpkin. The patterns make for very professional looking designs and for the most part, they are easy to use.


Poke Holes


When you are tracing the pattern on the pumpkin, a trick that makes pumpkin carving easier is to poke holes as close together when you are going around the pattern outline. Once the holes are poked through, it makes cutting the pumpkin a lot easier.


Pumpkin Saw


Artificial Pumpkins are easier to cut when using the tools that are specifically made for artificial pumpkins. In stores, typically near the artificial pumpkins you will find little pumpkin saws that are sold to carve the pumpkin. The little saws are well worth the money as they make the job of artificial pumpkin carving a lot easier.


Light Bulb


Only use artificial light sources in artificial pumpkins, they are highly flammable so you will never want to put a lit candle of any kind in an artificial pumpkin.


Anchor the Pumpkin


If you are placing your pumpkin outside, you will definitely want to anchor it down by either placing a heavy object inside at the bottom of the pumpkin or somehow holding it down with tacky tape. Artificial pumpkins are very light and can easily be blown away.


Small Vacuum


I would suggest having a small hand held vacuum readily available, there is quite a bit of foam particles that end up in and around the artificial pumpkin when you are cutting through it. It is a great idea to vacuum in between the pumpkin carving process and also at the end of the pumpkin carving process.


Store Pumpkin Properly


Storing an artificial pumpkin properly can be a little tricky. Make sure you cover the artificial pumpkin well so no dust is able to come in contact with it. Also, do not store the artificial pumpkin in an extremely hot area, foam can warp and the last thing you want to happen to your masterpiece is for it to get damaged.


Pumpkin Carving is great fun and one of the best parts of carving an artificial pumpkin is that it can be saved and used again year after year!


Labels: 10 Tips for Carving an Artificial Pumpkin

10 Tips on How to Choose the Best Retail Location

It may be a difficult process sometimes to know how to choose the best retail location for your business. You may be wondering how to tell which is the right best retail location for your business. Here are ten tips on how to choose the best retail location.

1. How many of your competitors in the same area as the retail location that you are interested in? If there is any competitors around the local area location then you don’t want to move there. You want a retail location that isn’t near any of your competitors.


2. Is the retail location the right area for your company? Depending upon what type of company it is and what products that you sell or services that you offer. You need to have your company in a retail location that does surround other companies that would attract customers that would also be interested in visiting your company too.


3. Is the retail location large enough for the company? This is important since you don’t want to run out of space for products. You want enough room for your inventory. You want to make sure to get a location space bigger than what you usually need so the company has room to expand the inventory.


4. Does the retail location has any issues with the landlord? Does the location always needs new renters every few months? Make sure that the place that you decide to have a lease at for retail location does manage to keep enough other companies around in the complex long enough. You don’t want to rent a place where companies are always moving out constantly.


5. Does the landlord require the every business in the complex to have a certain hours of operation each day? Be careful about this. You don’t want to get stuck in a shopping mall or other complex outlet that requires each business to stay open a certain amount of hours each week. Don’t move into a location that requires your business to stay open a certain amount of hours each week since it will cost your company more money.


6. Is the price reasonable for the location? Is it price affordable each month? Take this into consideration. You don’t want your company to end up paying more money each month for a retail location when you might not be able to afford it. Be careful and make sure to stay in a price range that is affordable.


7. Do you like the terms of the lease? Is the lease reasonable? Make sure to read the lease carefully. Always have a lawyer look at a lease before you sign it. Make sure that the deposit amounts are reasonable. You don’t want to get stuck in a long term lease just in case the complex building has major issues such as health codes violations.


8. Do you like the color of the walls? It is important that you like the color of the walls and the outside of the building that you would signing a lease to move into. You want to be impressed with the place that you having your business move into.


9. Is the location in a good part of the city? Make sure that your business location is in a good part of the city. You will generate more sales when your business is located in a good part of the city. You will generate more traffic from customers in the higher income range in the good part of the city.


10. Is there enough parking for customers? Take this into consideration. Is the building easy to drive to? Make sure your business is in a easy location for everyone to drive to without having to deal with a ton of traffic. Is the parking lot in good condition? This is important since you want customers to have a happy time when visiting your company.


Labels: 10 Tips on How to Choose the Best Retail Location

10 Tips for Better Grouse Hunting

Grouse hunting is a sport that seems to have fallen in popularity, and that is quite a shame. There are few moments in hunting that can compare with the helicopter like thundering beat of a grouse’s wings firing into the sky seemingly from under the hunter’s foot. While grouse aren’t as common as they once were (and therefore hunters should limit how many they take) they still exist in huntable numbers and grouse hunting can easily be combined with rabbit hunting trips, especially if you rabbit hunt without a dog. Here are 10 tips to improve your grouse hunting.

First you need to hunt where there are grouse. Areas of the woods that are regrowing after being cleared by logging, oil and gas well drilling, and forest fires are great places to focus. Abandoned farms also provide great habitat.


When hunting likely grouse habitat, look for things that are green. In the brown of winter, those green plants will attract grouse seeking food.


If the weather is quite dry, hunt in areas near water. You don’t have to hunt creeks, rivers, or ponds, but look for marshy areas near springs.


While wind and grouse hunting aren’t a good mix, if it is windy hunt the sheltered side of brush, ridges, and other places that grouse may be protected from the wind.


Remember to stop often when walking through good cover. As with rabbits, it appears that the grouse think that have been spotted and may flush when a hunter stops. When you stop, be ready to shoot.


As the sun begins to go down, focus your energy on the edges of brush, instead of the middle. Walk along thick brush and poke into the brush at intervals.


Be ready for the grouse to flush to cover. When in likely grouse cover try to picture which way the grouse will flush and be ready to shoot in that direction.


If your grouse hunting area has late producing fruits or other food sources concentrate your hunting there. Look for late season food sources by watching for sign of turkey and deer tearing up the ground and brush while foraging for food.


Hunt with a friend. Two people double the chances of a flush and often the other hunter will get a god shot. Two hunters in small brushy ravines and other thin strips of cover will hunt it more effectively than a lone hunter.


If you don’t get a shot or miss, follow the grouse. They rarely fly far away from where they were flushed. They will be more aware of the hunters however after the flush and probably will flush more quickly.


Give grouse hunting a try!


Labels: 10 Tips for Better Grouse Hunting

10 Tips for Buying the Perfect Athletic Shoes

You’re a very active person who loves to play sports, exercise, jog or walk. You’ve been doing all of this in your $20.00 K-mart tennis shoes. Now your feet not only ache, but they may have blisters as well. Do you know why? No, it’s not because you need another pair of tennis shoes. You need a new pair of shoes, definitely, but when you buy a pair it should be athletic shoes.

Why do you have to have athletic shoes? Because athletic shoes are made specifically for active people like yourself. They are designed to to be durable and to take some of the impact off of your feet that normally occurs when exercising, while still being comfortable and stylish. Yes, they may cost as much as $80.00 or more but it’s well worth the extra price in the long run. If you keep wearing tennis shoes while being active, you could end up injuring your feet which leads to a trip to the doctor. You’re not only in pain, but if you don’t have insurance, or if you have a large deductible, you’re going to have to shell out some big bucks. Now that extra $60.00 or so isn’t looking that bad after all, is it?


The best place to buy athletic shoes is in a specialty store, as they have a more diverse selection and the salespeople will know more about them. Also, there are many types of imitation athletic shoes, so buying your shoes from a reputable specialty store is your best bet. You can buy shoes online, however, it is best that you make the trip to the store yourself. The reason for this is so that you can try them on and see how they fit. You might think you know the exact size you need, however, your feet can grow. Even if they don’t, the shoe sizes in different brands of footwear are usually different.


There are many tips to make sure you go home with the best pair of shoes for your feet. When shopping for shoes, try to go later on in the day instead of in the morning. Everyone’s feet swell during the day if you’re on them, so shopping later in the day will afford a better fit. Also, make sure you wear, or at least take along, the kind of socks that you wear while exercising so that you can be sure they are comfortable. After all, who wants to exercise in shoes that aren’t comfortable or don’t fit properly? This only leads to blisters and loads of discomfort.


To find the proper support that you need, here is another tip. Take a good look at your old shoes. If your shoes are worn out on the inside edge, this means you have low arches or flat feet. When you walk or run, your feet tend to roll inward. This means the inside of your foot and your heel take the most impact and calls for a shoe with maximum support. If your shoes are more worn on the outside, this indicates that you have high arches and your feet tend to roll outward. This means you should look for a shoe that is cushioned and has a soft midsole. However, if your shoes are worn out equally in all places, you have a neutral arch which calls for a stable shoe that has the right mixture of support and cushioning.


The first thing that you will probably be searching for in your quest for a new pair of athletic shoes will be the design. Everyone wants to wear shoes that match their clothes or their own personal taste. Athletic shoes should be no different. After all, just because these shoes are doing the work of supporting your feet doesn’t mean they can’t look great while doing their job.


When you have found a pair that you like, make sure you check out the support on each shoe. If you are not sure, ask a salesman. If the pair you have chosen does not offer the support you need, the salesman will show you the selection of shoes that offer the support you need. From there, pick the design and color that you want, as well as the size.


Once this is accomplished, check the shoes out thoroughly. Do they appear durable? Most athletic shoes are, but it’s always a good idea to check out the soles and make sure the shoe is well made. No one likes soggy socks because they’re running after a rain and their shoes are leaking.


Try them on to make sure that they fit. You should have about 1/2 an inch between your big toe and the front of the shoe. The heel of the shoe should fit tightly so that it won’t slip when you walk, run or exercise. The upper part of the shoe that goes over the top of the foot should be snug and secure but not too tight. You should be able to wiggle your toes while the shoe is on. Try walking or running around the store to make sure that they feel comfortable.


Athletic shoes don’t have to be worn only when running or exercising. You can wear them like you wore your tennis shoes. Just make sure the style you pick out goes with your everyday clothes as well as your jogging outfits. It’s all about versatility, comfort and looking good while taking care of your feet.


Labels: 10 Tips for Buying the Perfect Athletic Shoes

10 Tips for Curing Bad Breath for Good

Curing bad breath is important for your career, self-esteem and intimacy with others. Luckily most often bad breath is caused by habits that you can remedy or counter. For example you can stop smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol, which will help in curing bad breath by removing the cause. You can take better care of your oral hygiene and heal any gum disease, which will cure bad breath by eliminating bacteria. You can also enrich the population of healthy bacteria in your body and keep yourself dehydrated, which will help in curing bad breath before it starts.

Here are 10 tips for curing bad breath for good, and a tip for recognizing if you have bad breath in the first place.


How to Tell If You Have Bad Breath


The problem with curing bad breath is that people who suffer from it often don’t realize it. Since bad breath is mostly caused by bacteria on the tongue, you can tell if you have bad breath by licking the back of your hand with your full tongue. Wait three seconds, then smell your hand. If it smells bad, you need to take a look at these tips for curing bad breath.


#1. Salt Rinse or Lemon Rinse


Curing bad breath with a salt rinse is a very old cure that has passed from generation to generation. The salt will kill bacteria in your mouth and help heal any gum disease. Just mix 1/2 tsp. of salt with half a cup of warm water, stir well and rinse your mouth with the solution before you go to sleep. Do this for a few days and you’ll see that your gums look more pink than red, and you have cured your bad breath.


Curing bad breath with a lemon rinse is another alternative, since the high acidic content in lemon prevents the growth of bacteria on the tongue and gums. You can even create a mixture of salt and lemon and rinse before bedtime to cure bad breath.


#2. Baking Soda


Baking soda has been found very effective in curing bad breath, because the high acidity of baking soda will prevent bacteria from growing on your tongue. Therefore, brush your teeth with a baking-soda rich toothpaste, or just follow with baking soda after your regular toothpaste. You can also gargle with baking soda dissolved in warm water.


#3. Chew on Mint Leaves and Sun Flower Seeds


These two home remedies for curing bad breath work on cleansing your mouth and spreading a fresh scent through it. Chew on sun flower seeds after meals and drink water to help cleanse your mouth and cure bad breath that may linger due to odor causing foods. And munch on mint leaves to spread a fresh scent through your mouth, which will prove effective in curing bad breath in consequence.


#4. Eat Probiotic Yogurt


Probiotics like acidophilus are very effective in curing bad breath when consumed regularly. Eating yogurt rich in healthy bacteria will help in curing bad breath completely with time, so long as you keep consuming probiotics to keep the population of odor causing bacteria in check.


#5. Avoid Sugar


Refined sugar is especially bad for your teeth and will result in cavities, which in turn will result in bad breath. One of the best tips for curing bad breath is to avoid refined sugars in cookies, candy, and even in your coffee. Use brown sugar instead and in small amounts as sugar will also increase the dryness of your mouth, which is a cause of bad breath.


#6. Drink Water, Tea or Pineapple Juice


Just as with anything else in life, curing bad breath by drinking water is easy and good for you. Water will keep your stomach and tongue hydrated and clean, preventing bacteria buildup and curing bad breath.


In addition, curing bad breath with hot, unsweetened tea has been found effective due to the antiseptic properties of tea. While for its high acidic content, Pineapple juice has been found effective in curing bad breath as well.


#7. Drink Fenugreek Tea


Fenugreek seeds ( methi seeds) have been proven effective in curing bad breath. Simmer 1 tsp. of seeds in 2 cups of water for a quarter of an hour, then strain the tea and drink it to cure bad breath.


#8. Prevent Constipation


Be sure to exercise regularly and eat a high-fiber diet that will keep your bowl movements regular and help in curing bad breath caused by constipation.


#9. Chew Cloves or Cardamom Seeds


Both cloves and cardamom seeds have been found effective in curing bad breath, especially if chewed after meal times.


#10. Oral Hygiene


It may seem obvious, but curing bad breath with proper oral hygiene is an essential starting point. Be sure to floss as well, which will assist in curing bad breath due to gum disease. And choose a toothpaste that does not dry your mouth.


Conclusion


Finally, though curing bad breath with alcohol rich mouthwashes may feel effective immediately after rinsing, this is a very superficial solution that solves nothing. Just as you can’t get clean by dousing yourself in perfume, so you can only cure bad breath for good if you target the root cause.


References


Natural Home Remedies: Bad Breath


Labels: 10 Tips for Curing Bad Breath for Good

10 Tips for Better Digital Photography

So you just bought your own brand new digital camera, and you cannot put it down. You see the beauty of the world, the uniqueness of the different humans and animals within it, and want to capture every amazing moment you can. However, sometimes, your pictures are less than perfect. If the above is a good explanation of where you stand with digital photography, these next 10 steps may take you from an amateur to a pro.

Step 1: Take MANY pictures


I know it may seem a little too simplistic, but sometimes no matter what you do in advance to prepare yourself for great picture-taking, pictures just do not come out right. Snap them quick and snap them often. In the age of digital photography, where you do not pay by the roll, there is no reason NOT to snap as many as you can. Later, you can weed out the bad, and keep the good.


Step 2: Get creative


There may be a reason why your pictures look dull and boring, and it may stem with your “point and click at anything and hope it comes out good” technique. Get creative!! Try different angles, different lighting, and many different styles of photo taking. The greater number of different ideas you include into your picture taking, the better the chances that something might work. Who knows, you may just “develop” a style of your own this way!!


Step 3: Use simple backgrounds


If you’re taking a picture of an item, inanimate or animate, and you wish for that item to be the center of attention, make sure you background is simple. Avoid taking such pictures on a cluttered background. One good example of a solid background would be a plain, dark black or dark blue sheet.


Step 4: Use the right camera


We are talking about digital photography, but even in our crazy age of cameras without the need of film development, certain cameras are not good for all situations. Assess your picture-taking scenario (formal, group, artsy, nature, etc) and do your research and find which camera will do the best job for your project. Check the “what kind of camera” link at http://www.photonhead.com/ for more information on choosing the right camera for the right situation.


Step 5: Move in a little bit!


Not every time, but many times, it is necessary to get extremely close to the subject of your picture, to ensure they are the focus of the shot. Sometimes, your background can overpower even a centered feature of your image if you take the photo from too far away.


Step 6: Shoot in “high quality”


Are you doing everything right, but everything still seems to look pix-elated and blurry? You may have your camera on a low-quality setting, in order to save space on your memory card. Obviously, for the highest-quality pictures available, you must set your camera to high quality. Cameras will very on how exactly you go about setting the quality standards, but most name-branders will explain the settings in the instructional manual.


Step 7: ALWAYS carry your camera!


I can not stress this point more. Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare, there are those magic moments that just happen. So many times, I have had the perfect opportunity to capture a moment, and like a dummy, I left my camera on my kitchen table, or in my bedroom. I understand that some cameras can be big and bulky… lol… So go ahead and buy yourself a smaller one to put in your pocket, just in case. Even cell-phones these days are taking better and better pictures, so if that’s all you got, snatch one with those.


Step 8: “Rule of Thirds”


If you’ve taken a high school class on photography, I’m sure you’ve heard of the “rule of thirds”, if you haven’t, here-goes. Looking through your camera’s viewfinder, try to imagine there are lines dividing your picture into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, dividing your image into nine equally shaped blocks. Next, put your subject at one of the intersection points instead of in the center of the viewfinder. This gives your picture a much more “professional” and “interesting” look, than your normal “point and shoot” picture taken by so many armatures.


Step 9: Have fun, keep things natural and easy


Photography is an art, and just like with any art, if things are forced, they will generally come out wrong. Try your best to prepare yourself, but while in the moment, not take things too incredibly serious. Allow the people you are taking pictures of to have a good time. Do your best to create a positive, fun atmosphere. When a person is nervous, and does not want their picture taken, it shows. Do your best to keep things bright, and your photos will glimmer with cheer!


Step 10: When all else fails, get a great editing program!


Everyone these days, from the amateurs to magazine cover photographers, relies heavily on photo-editing software. From airbrushing, red-eye elimination, to brightening or darkening, or even adding crazy effects, one of the best benefits of digital photography is the use of good picture-editing programs.


Labels: 10 Tips for Better Digital Photography

10 Things Wrong with the American Adoption System

Just about anything that could go wrong with a child adoption system has gone wrong with the American adoption system. Although some people do not want to admit it, the main impetus for this system is “profit,” rather than getting children adopted by acceptable candidates in a timely manner. Beyond this, what we have is the entrenched racist, elitist, highly discriminatory and unrealistic agenda of these presumptuous individuals.

Without question, the American adoption system favors wealthy, healthy, white, background-perfect and heterosexual individuals, even though none of these things is necessarily an accurate indicator or predictor of suitability as a parent, as the following 10 gross deficiencies indicate.


1) It seeks to find the “perfect parents” for every child. Needless to say, there is no such a thing. Furthermore, the assumptions that go with this mentality unnecessarily hamper rather than facilitate adoptions. It is indeed ironic that many of the people who work for adoption agencies came from humble backgrounds, born into families that probably would not have been able to adopt them, had they depended on the American adoption system to have children.


Although the find-a-perfect-parent-adoption-mentality entrepreneurs do not want to hear it, people with criminal records (unless we are talking about child abuse or neglect), poor credit ratings, bad driving records, lack of former parenting experience, status of being single and lack of membership in the white race can be as good parental candidates as the people now obsessively favored.


2. It heavily favours rich people or people generally better-off financially. Favoring wealthy parents is a ridiculously flawed attitude, considering how maladjusted the children of many rich people (especially if they are celebrities) turn out to be. Financial stability or superiority is no guarantee that someone will be a good parent.


It should suffice that the applicant is able to provide food and shelter for a child and, to suggest that people need to have “X” number of dollars in the bank or be bringing “Y” number of dollars in income is, at best, a presumptuous demand. Isn’t the ulterior motive here that people be able to pay the exorbitant fees demanded by the adoption profiteers in charge of the adoption system?


For the record, poor people can often be much better parents than rich people, even if they do not have the ability to pamper their children into becoming spoiled, presumptuous brats.


3. It is unnecessarily complicated. Potential parents are, in fact, encouraged by advisors to apply at least a year in advance. Why? Is it so quality control can be maintained or so that the best possible scenarios are worked out? No, the main reason is (plain and simple) that the system is unnecessarily bogged down with the type of silly regulations, moronic guidelines and overwhelming bureaucracy that make the Pentagon look, by comparison, highly efficient.


It is easier, as a matter of fact, to put in an order for a nuclear power plant than it is to apply to become a parent. While this may be an exaggeration, the bottom line is that the process can and should be much simpler and the main reason why it is not is, again, tied to the profitability factor. The more steps involved, the more fees that potential parents are hit with, while children unnecessarily sit in adoption agency warehouses, waiting for the adoption entrepreneurs to practice (like insane magicians) their bureaucratic, profit-obsessed hocus-pocus.


4. It suffers from the wrong kind of government involvement and control. Federal and some state laws, for example, are supposed to discourage or stop discriminatory practices in the adoption process, but these laws are rarely enforced. Some of us would even argue that much of the discrimination that takes place is an offshoot of the U.S. government’s racist, bigoted agenda of former times, which would make the laws that have been passed simply window dressing, let’s-appear-to-be-politically-correct sideshows.


Beyond that, the government (both at the state and the federal level) takes a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to adoption, pretty much letting adoption entrepreneurs do whatever they want, intervening only when absolutely necessary and usually merely in a superficial capacity. What involvement they do have revolves around adding ridiculous, unnecessary bureaucracy to a system that is already too bureaucratic.


For the record, the American adoption system needs to be regulated more closely, but not for the sake of making it more bureaucratic than it already is (as if that were possible), but, rather, so the system can be forced, at last, to become more fair, efficient, quick-acting and accountable to everyone, especially the children waiting to be adopted, those who apply to become adoptive parents and tax payers – not just to wealthy, well-connected white Americans.


In league with the adoption entrepreneurs, many politicians, caring more for profits (in the form of financial support they get from adoption entrepreneurs) and for putting on an act that they actually want adoptive children to be safe (thus espousing the myth of the “perfect-parents-only” policy), have worked hard to create the messed-up system presently in place.


Never mind that many children that should be adopted fairly quickly often sit for years in adoption agency warehouses and that many would-be parents are kept waiting ridiculously long periods of time. Who cares? As long as those hefty adoption fees keep pouring in and the government and the adoption entrepreneurs maintain their highly racist and discriminatory control!


5. It takes too long to process applications. It is clear from the system in place that the profiteers who control the adoption process do not see anything wrong with the fact that, in any given year, there are literally thousands of Americans who want to adopt children but who are, nevertheless, kept waiting for a child to adopt, usually because of bureaucratic reasons. By the same token, there are thousands of children willing and ready to be adopted. What’s wrong with this grim and disgusting picture?


There is absolutely no reason why most adoptions cannot be worked out within weeks (six months at the latest). The main reason this does not happen is because of the entrenched attitudes of the irresponsible, racist tyrants in charge of the adoption process and because a long, drawn out process allows for more fees, including the storage fees paid by taxpayers for warehousing adoptable children. Why allow children to be adopted in six weeks when keeping said children at a child warehouse facility (i.e., an orphanage) is, simply put, a lot more profitable (for those who get regular government checks to warehouse children)?


6. It has too much of a “profit” motivation behind it. The focus of the adoption system should be finding, ASAP, suitable parents for children available for adoption. The “ASAP” is, unfortunately, though, one of the basic ingredients missing from the formula these days – preceded, of course, by profit concerns. Clearly, a number of key players in the adoption process benefit financially from adoptions. While this should not come as a surprise to anyone, since we live in a capitalistic society, the fact that the adoption process is deliberately delayed primarily because this results in higher profit. That is what we need to condemn and, if possible, change.


The more steps involved, the longer children are warehoused, the more people are given high-paying jobs within the industry. All of these things increase profit margins (to those who run the system), but they unfairly keep children from being adopted and parents from finding the children they so desperately want. Though some people may not want to admit it, adoptions can take place, in general, at a much lower cost than presently in place. In fact, there is nothing non-profit about most adoption agencies, though some of them have the gall to call themselves (shamefully, with the full blessing of the IRS) “nonprofits.”


7. It is very biased. Although we have come a long way in terms of race relations, we still live in a country that quite blatantly discriminates, especially when it comes to adoptions. While it is easy, for example, for a white family to qualify to get a black child, it is still very difficult (if at all possible) for a black family to qualify to get a white child.


The presumptuous “experts” (the same idiots that came up with the “perfect parent” facade) who work for adoption agencies give all kinds of reasons (including the ridiculous assertion that a white child would not adapt well if growing up in a black family). But let’s be frank, the real reasons go along with the white supremacy ideology and the perspective that a white child is too good for a black family.


As for a white child adapting well within a black family, there is no scientific, non-subjective evidence to condemn this, and plenty of actual instances proving that good parenting can occur regardless of race dynamics – arguments that cogently argue against the racist reasons given by the so-called “experts” working for these adoption agencies


The blatant discriminatory practices of the American adoption system, though, do not stop at racist agendas. People who are overweight, unhealthy, single, older, the disabled, homosexuals, transgendered, people who practice unpopular religions or who play non-traditional religious roles, and some foreigners, continue to have trouble qualifying as suitable adoptive parents. When will we have an adoption system that blindly looks at all parenting applicants equally, abandoning, at last, all these presumptuous, unfounded, racist and narrow-minded expectations and agendas?


8. It motivates and helps to encourage the black market adoption industry. Although not much is said about it, there is an underground black market that exists for those who want to adopt but who may not have the patience, money and time to deal with the American adoption system. Unfortunately, the “black” market also favors the wealthy, but at least it is not burdened by the same crazy bureaucracy and unnecessary delays. Anyone who can pay for a child gets a child, often under apparently legitimate “deals” (sometimes under the label of “surrogate birth” adoption arrangements).


9. It unforgivably encourages many Americans to go abroad for adoptions. This goes on even though thousands of American children stay warehoused in adoption agency facilities because of reasons other than there not being suitable parents available. What an incredible shame! If there were a shortage of adoptable children (although it is true that there are not enough healthy white babies for everyone that wants one), it would be a different matter.


Why do Americans have to go abroad when there are, in any given month, thousands of children waiting to be adopted here? Some people say it is because there are more children available for adoption abroad, but, while that may be so, other, more prominent reasons abound. For one thing, even though adoption systems abroad are also heavily flawed (probably because they are learning to also put profit above children’s needs), they seem to be more eager to get children adopted quickly. By the way, even healthy white children are not given to qualified parents in the U.S. as quickly as possible.


10. It is mostly run and controlled by clueless individuals whose competence and motives need to be closely questioned and challenged. As someone who closely followed and reported on the adoption industry for three years (as a contributor for a consumer advocacy newsletter), I slowly and justifiably formed a cynical view of adoption industry entrepreneurs and bureaucrats. With the exception of a few people who are in the industry to actually help adoptive parents realize their dream or to help unadopted children find good parents, the industry is full of very sleazy individuals and people who, despite their outward good intentions, are part of an industry that creates more problems than it resolves, is too profit-oriented and simply takes too long to do its job.


The adoption system, in fact, can work a lot better and at a much lower cost but only if some of the people who now profit from the present inefficiencies and travesties are literally kicked out of the system. Maybe then children and parents can be allowed to connect in a relatively short time, for affordable fees and without adherence to the racist, discriminatory practices presently in place.


References and Resources


1. American for Open Records. “Abolish Adoption: Overcoming Adoption Sins and Secrecy.” (2001)


http://www.amfor.net/in/signers.html


2. AmFOR. “1000 Reasons to Abolish Adoption.” (2007-09)


http://www.amfor.net/abolishadoption/


3. Wikilaw3k. “How is the United States’ Adoption System Flawed?” (2009)


http://www.wikilaw3k.org/forum1/Law-Ethics/How-is-the-United-States-039-adoption-system-flawed-559404.htm


4. Maldonado, Solangel. “Discouraging Racial Preferences in Adoption.” (2000) http://www.law2.byu.edu/isfl/saltlakeconference/papers/isflpdfs/Maldonado.pdf


5. BBC. “Fighting the US Adoption System.” (2003).


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3054574.stm


6. N. Carolina DHHS. “Chapter VI: Adoption Service.” (2010).


http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/manuals/dss/csm-50/man/CSs1300-02.htm


Labels: 10 Things Wrong with the American Adoption System

10 Tips to Becoming a Better Team Leader

Here are 10 ways to help you become a better team leader for your crew or employees. Use these 10 tips to become a better team leader.


Being a Delegator


When you are able to delegate tasks on any job or project, this can lighten the load of the person in charge. It also gets the team involved on aspects of the position they were hired for they may not have realized was vital to the operation.


Being a Disciplinary


Disciplining people is often the hardest part of any supervisory or team leader role. I never liked doing this part of the job, but it needed to be done when those you leave tasks with don’t follow through, are late to work more often than on time, or any other situation that needs corrected when it happens. Deal with it promptly, privately, listen to why they are having whatever issue they are having, and look at the whole picture of their overall job performance before deciding on the consequences of their actions.


Personal Attention to the Job


Even as an employee, one thing you can do is give each task at hand your own personal attention until the extra task or main task is finished. Even if you run into a snag, talking it over with your boss may help both of you figure out a better and prompt resolution to make the job easier for all involved. Even if you think your part in the workplace is the only part that keeps things flowing, there are often people in the background you may not realize your task can help or include them.


Be Positive


When you are seen with a positive attitude, it will rub off onto your employees. When the boss is happy and positive, it makes the workplace a more product place to work. This type of management style should include acknowledging your employees with a smile on your face,


Consistency


Both employees and team leaders need to show consistency on any job. Without it, the cogs in the machine, the team, will start to break down and cause a total breakdown of working conditions.


Improve Yourself


This is another area both employees and team leaders can help improve on themselves. When you improve on skills you lack, this helps everyone involved and also conditions in the workplace. When you know which areas you need to improve upon, your boss or employees will follow your lead and work on improving the work skills.


Treat Workers as you want to be Treated


Being a ruthless leader, you can’t win people over by intimidating them into doing more than they may be able or willing to do. Not only that it kills the morale of the workers and they will lose respect for you and your position.


Playing Favorites Isn’t Always a Bad Thing


Keeping the favorite workers motivated through any situation can be the most beneficial thing to the team. Don’t deny it, you have a favorite employee or even a boss you would rather work with. When you keep them motivated and happy, they can in return help with other team members to keep them going.


Training Is Key


Training every employee can help them grow and become a better employee. This area of being a good team leader can help an employee grow their skills in areas they may have not realized is vital to the job they are doing. Everyone wants to learn something new. The new skill can be used over and over again to help others learn how to do their job efficiently too.


Communicate Clearly


Communicating clearly the instructions to any task is imperative to all jobs. When an employee understands what they are required to do with the job they are being given, they will be able to finish it without little to no problems.


Labels: 10 Tips to Becoming a Better Team Leader

10 Tips for Beginner Cyclists

Lance Armstrong’s record 7th win of the Tour de France amazed us all. Suddenly, those of us who never followed cycling became interested and even inspired to try this exhilarating sport.

And why not? Cycling welcomes all ability levels, it’s an excellent calorie burner and it can help you develop strong legs. As if your physical well-being weren’t enough reason to start, cycling is the ultimate stress reliever. Give your bike one hour, and in return you’ll receive an undeniable sense of freedom, and an invigorated body, mind and spirit. Who can’t use more of that these days? And here’s a bonus. Since cycling doesn’t require much planning (and may be as easy as opening your front door) it’s perfect for the tightest of schedules.


So kick back, as we demystify the sport of cycling. We promise you’ll enjoy the ride.


1. Bike basics.
Road bikes are designed to travel on paved roads for long distances, and move at a fast pace. They are made from steal, aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium. Usually, a combination of two or more of these materials is used. The professionals at your local bike shop will explain the differences and help you find a bike that fits your body, needs and budget. Some manufacturers now make “women’s bikes.” More than a marketing ploy, these bikes are designed with a female body structure in mind.


2. It’s like riding a bike…
They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but be patient. At first, a road bike’s skinny tires and lightweight frame may challenge your sense of balance a bit. Set yourself up for success by learning on level ground, in an area with minimal traffic. First, practice getting on and off the bike and using the brakes. Next, while pedaling, shift through all the gears. Don’t forget to practice making hand signals and turning. When you’re ready, start with rides of up to 30 minutes. Spend the
first five minutes with a warm up, keeping the gears in low resistance. Don’t pressure yourself to go fast and furious. There will be plenty of time for that down the road!


3. Take it to the next level.
Join a group ride organized by a cycling club. Group rides are super motivating, and you’ll meet cycling enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Want to keep it a girl thing? Women’s only cycling clubs and tour groups are increasing in popularity and offer a great mix of challenge and support. Keeping a cycling journal will help you track progress and set reasonable goals.


4. Get in gear, and get up that hill!
Use bike gears properly and you’ll become an efficient cyclist, conquering hills you never imagined possible. When tackling a hill, shift to an easier gear just as begin the climb. Keep shifting as pedaling becomes more difficult. The speed at which you pedal is called your “cadence” and it is measured as rotations per minute (RPM). Slowly build your cadence to 80 RPM to 100 RPM. To ward off tired legs, try to keep it there even on hills. To check your RPM, count the number of times your right leg extends in 30 seconds, then multiply by two.


5. Drink and be merry!
Proper hydration is critical for your safety and success. The wind whisks away sweat, making it easy to underestimate fluid loss. Poor hydration leads to poor performance, increased body temperature and an increased heart rate. It can also increase your perceived rate of exertion (how difficult the exercise feels to you) and lead to serious heat related injuries such as heat stroke. Always carry at least one water bottle, and identify places along your route to fill up. Last but not least, follow the golden rule. Strive for urine that is clear and odorless. Find you’re not drinking enough? Freeze one of your water bottles. Cool water goes down easier than warm.


6. Safety first.
Bicycles are recognized as vehicles in all 50 states. So, become familiar with the rules of the road for your safety, and because it’s the law. Keep these tips in mind. Always ride with your helmet, and mark the sticker inside with current emergency information. Ride with the flow of traffic, using a designated bike lane when possible. Don’t assume cars or pedestrians see you. Check the roadway for potholes, loose gravel, glass and other debris that may pose a danger. Looking at least 20 feet ahead will give you time to safely react to potential hazards. Carry your cell phone, and let someone know the route you plan to follow.


7. Relax and enjoy.
Keep your body relaxed while riding to help battle early fatigue and next day aches and pains. Make a mental relaxation checklist. Neck, shoulders and lower back are three areas that tend to tighten up. Even wiggle your fingers and toes occasionally. And don’t ignore your core. Developing a strong core will improve your form and your level of comfort on long rides.


8. Time for a check up.
Yes, even your bike needs a check up. Get committed to bike maintenance, and the result will be a safe, top performing and long lasting bicycle. A certified bike mechanic must perform a tune up after the initial break in period. Your bike needs periodic check ups too, so ask your mechanic about scheduled maintenance.


9. Be good to your mother.
Become a commuter. Save some money (and the environment) while kick-starting your day with a killer workout. While commuting to work isn’t possible for all of us, if you are one of the lucky ones, you’ll face those early morning meetings with endorphin levels flying high and without that double shot latte.


10. Shop a specialty bike shop.
The trained professionals you’ll find here will help you make sound choices on quality equipment and accessories. And, they’re trained on how to properly use and care for the items. Because they practice what they preach, staff can often offer insider information about local routes and possibly introduce you to a cycling partner. Many shops host basic maintenance clinics and special cycling events too.


From casual weekend rides, to racing, you decide how far to take the sport. Just grab your bike, open the door, and get going! Your ride is waiting.


Labels: 10 Tips for Beginner Cyclists

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