Saturday, February 18, 2017

After Death: Sorting & Disposing of Personal Financial Information

Like many people of their generation, my folks weren’t very good at gleaning through their personal financial records on a regular basis. Everything was just so darned important that their basement eventually developed into a catchall for 70 years worth of ephemera, personal memorabilia and financial records.

When parents pass away, the job of dealing with all this financial information falls on the shoulder of the heirs. These tips will help you sort through their personal effects and financial records, and determining what must be kept and what can be thrown away.

Don’t be in a hurry. After my neighbor, Jack died some years ago, his son took a coal shovel to his Dad’s personal records and threw everything into the back of a dump truck. While this method of removing personal financial information is fast, haste also means that you may be throwing out something you’ll need later. Working slowly means you won’t accidentally throw out important documents such as stock certificates, deeds, savings bonds, wills, and financial information related to a property or business.

Sort before you toss . When my sis and I dug into our parent’s personal financial information after their deaths, we sorted before making any kind of decision. The information was then grouped into stacks of related information which were much easier to tackle. A sorting system doesn’t have to be complicated. You might group those records like my sis and I did with our parents’ financial records :
1. Tax Returns and Supporting Documents
2. Personal property records.
3. Legal documents such as wills, warranty deeds, birth & marriage certificates, business & real estate contracts.
4. Canceled checks and Bank statements
5. Personal financial information such as insurance policies, warranties, savings pass books, credit cards statements, and utility bills.

Once the records are sorted, you can then begin the process of disposing what is no longer needed and relocating what must be saved. The saved items should then be arranged by date.

What financial records must be kept. According to our family attorney, anything that proves ownership of valuable personal property or real estate should be kept until the estate is settled. These include:
certificates of water right,
vehicle and boat titles,
stock certificates and savings bonds,
certificates of art ownership,
branding papers,
and cancelled checks.

Our accountant also advised us to hold onto the folk’s tax returns for a least the next 3 years, just in case of a posthumous audit.

What you CAN get rid of includes bank statements, expired insurance policies or warranties, old utility bills, pay stubs, EOBs, gas and grocery receipts, and else anything that isn’t needed to establish ownership of property, personal or real. Be sure that this sensitive information is either burned or properly shredded to prevent misuse by identity thieves.

Before throwing anything away, it’s always best to contact your parent’s attorney first and ask what he would recommend in your particular situation. He may advise you like our family attorney did, to hang onto everything until the estate has been settled. In the case of a clouded title or questionable ownership, your parent’s old financial records may be all there is to establish proof of ownership.

Labels: After Death: Sorting & Disposing of Personal Financial Information

'50s Style One-Piece Swimsuit

Yes, it’s still cold weather season – even in Southern California. However, just like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and every other holiday in fall of 2008, every season is coming a little earlier for retailers desperate for consumers to spend money.

This is why you may have noticed that swimsuit season is now upon as – at least, that’s what the stores are telling us. And if you want to go for a classic look, retro one-piece swimsuits seem to be everywhere. So, if you look at the beach or pool sides as just another way for you to strut your fashion sense, you may want to try this more grown-up look.

Here’s a list of possible retailers to go to for updated versions of the style. No need to go thrift shopping – that is, unless you wanted to.

Retro One-Piece from Delias: Delias is selling a one-piece, strapless swimsuit with a boy-short style bottom cut. It comes in fun, solid colors like sky blue and hot pink. There’s also a floral hibiscus print that comes in blue/black or pink/black. Delias also sells what it calls a “Poppy Belt,” which can be paired with the suit for a cinched in waist look – not the most functional though if you are actually going to do some major swimming. Still, it’s a youthful look, and the bonus is that Delias sells matching cardigans in the same floral prints.

Price: $38.50

Sizes: XS-XL, plus long torso cut


Retro Halter Swimsuit by Pinup Couture: If you want the authentic look, check out The Bettie One-Piece swimsuit by Pinup Couture. This is a classic halter style top with a skirted bottom in a red polka dot pattern. It’s really cute and covers up your lower half if that’s your problem area. The suit has a built-in shelf bra and adjustable tie halter straps. This may not offer the most support though for bustier girls. This also comes in a cherry print.

Price: $68

Size: Medium, Large


Retro Halter by Popina: I like the red and white polka dot pattern on the retro halter, but it also comes in black, heart detail, poppies print and blue polka dot prints as well. The top of this suit is a halter and the bottom has a boy short cut. This provides good versatility for someone who will actually be doing a lot of swimming since it isn’t skirted like a traditional 50s style swimsuit.

Price: $75



Retro Bustier One-Piece from Victoria’s Secret: Strapless one-piece with demi-cup style top. This suit has underwire cups for support along with a removable halter strap. The suit comes with a buck belt in red or black. The design is simple, overall, and the color options are pretty basic. If you look at the lower half of the suit, it looks like a more modern cut one-piece, so not as “retro” as others out there. However, if you need support, this is a much more structured swimsuit than other swim suits.

Price: $88

Sizes: 6 (A-B), 8-10 (A-D), 12 (B-D)


Kimchi Blue Skirted Retro One-Piece: Halter top style suit with skirted bottom. The suit has an interior shelf bra and simple front gathering at the bust area. I like this suit for its simplicity, but it still is able to capture the retro look. Plus, it comes in a really nice coral, lavender or black.

Price: $98

Size: Small, Medium, Large


Shoshanna: This is a halter style with ruching detail on the body. The plus on this suit is its underwire cups for support. Plus, I like the thick fabric material. Again, this is another simple style. The only downside is that it’s only available in black.

Price: $165

Size: Small, Medium, Large


Labels: '50s Style One-Piece Swimsuit

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident to Protect Yourself

Review this list of steps you need to take after a car accident, to prepare yourself should the unthinkable occur. Immediately after an accident, you may be shook up or in a slight state of shock, and having a printed checklist may help you move through the process smoothly, while protecting yourself from future lawsuits or erroneous clams in the future.

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Immediately after any car accident, turn off your car. This may seem obvious right now, however, it is not the first thing you may think about after your vehicle collides with another vehicle or object.

Check for Injuries
First, check yourself for injury. You won’t be able to help anyone else if you are injured. Check passengers in your car for injury. Also verify that nobody in the other vehicle or vehicles is injured. If anyone is injured, call 911. Use blankets and basic first aid to help any car crash victims, but do not move anyone who is unconscious or seriously injured, unless there are smoke and flames coming from the car.

Call the Police
Some people do not want to involve the police or their insurance companies when they are involved in a car accident. Your best protection against inflated or erroneous claims by another party in the future is to have the police document the scene. When the damage to your car is going to cost more than your deductible, it makes sense to have a police report filed.

By calling the police you will also have the other driver’s name, license plate and insurance information, which you will need when filing a claim. Having the police there will also remove the hassles involved with you trying to get information from an uncooperative (at best), or inebriated (at worst) driver. If the accident occurred on a turnpike or state highway, call the State Police.

Document the Scene
Use a digital camera, camera phone or disposable camera to photograph the scene. When possible, move cars involved in fender benders or minor accidents from busy roadways or intersections. Use emergency road flares to warn other drivers of the disabled cars. Do this before moving the cars only when it is safe to do so. Although there will be a police report available later, you will still need information for your insurance company.

Exchange driver’s licenses and insurance cards with the other driver. Write down the name and address of the driver, insurance company name and the policy number. Also write down the names of the other car’s passengers. Also note the license plate information and state and make and model of the other driver’s car.

Make a note of the name of the police officer and badge number, as well as the location where you can retrieve a copy of the police report.

Call the Tow Truck
If your car needs to be towed, call a tow truck. Use the emergency roadside assistance service of your car insurance company, or another roadside assistance company. When you don’t have either, the police will help arrange a tow. Also make arrangements for you and your passengers to get home or continue to your destination.

Call Your Insurance Company
As soon as you are home or at work and settled in, call your insurance company to report the accident. Provide the insurance company with the information they need and make your own note of when you called, the agent’s name and a claim number if one is provided.


“At the Scene of an Accident,” Insurance Information Institute,
Insurance Information Institute,

Labels: 5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident to Protect Yourself

Analysis of Virginia Woolf's Essay, How Should One Read a Book

In Virginia Woolf’s essay “How Should One Read a Book”, she outlines six key elements, that one should ensue to apprehend the highest highs of reading. Apart from the six, three particular elements intrigued me the most. The prominent three elements, how to follow your instincts, interpretations of reading, and expanding your repertoire, will be clearly emphasized in this essay.

After reading Virginia Woolf’s essay, “How Should One Read a Book”, I came to grasp an abundance of essential points in which Virginia Woolf emphasizes. Nevertheless, the most prominent one being that “the only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusion”. Immediately following the reading of the essay, I came to grasp and clearly understood what Virginia Woolf was emphasizing. Her theory is that, one is not best suited to accept advice from another on how literature should or should not be read, because the best advice originates within your instincts. This component of Virginia Woolf’s essay is very appealing to me as a student and as a reader considering the years of ‘advice’ that had been administered to me.

Novelists, most frequently achieve their goal in bringing a reader into a state of mind in which they are taken into the world of that novel. Interpretations of readers derive from their personal history. The ethnicity, gender, age, and life experiences are few of the innumerable characteristics that contribute to the overall interpretations of a reader. This is another concept Virginia Woolf placed into her essay. When one manages to “banish all such preconceptions” before and when they read, is when one receives the fullest possible value from literature. If you “open our mind as widely as possible” and become the author of the novel, you will then be in “the presence of a human being unlike any other” and only then… will you be taken into the novel.

In modern day culture, people judge books upon their appearance and not the value contained within the covers. We should not “refuse to read books because they are not ‘art’?” on the contrary, we should “read them in a different way, with a different aim?” This is Virginia Woolf’s emphasis on how one should expand their repertoire, be curious and “satisfy that curiosity which possesses” them. To give “rubbish-reading” a chance, to find the “beautiful humor and pathos” contained within it. Essentially, Virginia Woolf is saying, “you should not judge a book by its cover”.

Virginia Woolf spoke about many essential components to aid a reader into wreaking the fullest value from literature. From reading her essay I have came to grasp how literature should and should not be read. Reading is a lifelong process. One shouldn’t read for the sake reading, but they should read for the love of reading.

Labels: Analysis of Virginia Woolf's Essay, How Should One Read a Book

Affordable Proofreading & Critique Service for Screenplays & Query Letters

The goal of writers of screenplays and scripts is to have their work made into a movie. To get to that stage writers must first have their work prepared according to industry standards. If a script is not in industry standard format it will not be considered by agents and producers. Everyday movie agents and producers are flooded with query letters and scripts. Instead of reading them all they only read the ones that are written in accordance to the standard formats for query letters and scripts.

Before contacting an agent or producer writers should have their query letters and scripts proofread and critiqued. A professional critique and proofreading service can be costly. Following are some suggested services that I found to provide good service for a reasonable cost.

This service offers critiques and proofreading for film scripts and query letters for film scripts.

For Screenplays:
Scripts are read to make sure they are correctly formatted to the movie industry standards. It is also proofread for grammar, spelling, typos, etc…

The critiques are based on (1) script length, (2) character development (3)plot development

For Query Letters:
Because there is an industry standard format for screenplay query letters, the writer is simply sent a format outline for a standard query letter showing what it should contain. A list of questions about the script is also sent. The answers to the questions are used the form the actual letter. This makes writing the query letter very simple.

The service fees are:

Proofreading $10.00
Critique $10.00
Query letter (critique & proofreading) $5.00

Because of the high volume of work, service is limited to the scripts written for family, children, fantasy, and drama films. The scripts must be 90 to 115 pages long.

There are no phone discussions and consultations with the writers, which is why the fee is so low. Instead all communication is done entirely by email. Writers are sent a copy of their scripts and/or letters high lighting correction that need to be made and a copy showing the corrections.

Contact Information:
Affordable Proofreading & Critiques For Screenplays & Query Letters


This proofreading service is offered to book Authors and screen writers. The services offered are for:

1) Formatting: Convert a manuscript or screenplay into the correct industry standard format. There is no proofreading or editing
2) Proofreading: Check and correct all spelling, grammar, syntax, and typos. (No formatting or editing)
3) Light Editing: Correct common tense and flow errors plus polish sentence structure and selection. Includes proofreading, but not formatting
4) Full Service: Includes light editing, proofreading, and formatting to industry standards

No critique service is offered.

The cost of the services are based on a per word rate.
1) The Formatting Service is $0.003/per word
2) Proofreading Service is $0.01/per word
3) Light Editing service is $0.04/per word
4) Full Service is $0.0043/per word

An advantage of the per word rate is that the writer knows up front what exactly will be charged. Writers can calculate the service charges. The charges can be costly if a writers work is lengthy. I found the service offered here to be very good, especially the formatting service. The scripts formatted by them can be used as good guides and references when writing.

Contact Information:
Andrew Randall
Phone: (817) 806-6446 Fax: (916) 384-3796


SCRIPTPROOF offers a variety of services to help writers with about every detail in preparing a script, proofreading, a script, and critiquing a script. The service are:

1. Proofreading: which includes formatting according to industry standards, spelling, grammar, structure, etc…
2. Script critique Service includes Coverage, a detail evaluation of the script which offers suggestions and specifies strengths and weaknesses.

Story Research service researches the stories genre to see if there is an industry demand, which is very helpful. This service can prevent a writer from wasting time and energy working on a story that has no future in the movie and literary market.

The services offered to prepare a script for pitching are:
1. Treatment: The writing of a 3-45 summary of the script.
2. Character Biographies: a list of characters in scripts and books, their role& relationships
3. Log Line: Two to three sentence description of a script

The services costs are:
1. Proofreading $0.85/per page
2. Coverage $65.00
3. Treatment $75.00
4. Character Biographies $45.00
5. Log Line $ 35.00
6. Story Research $100.00
7. Unscripted pitch $55.00

Services are also offered in discount bundles.
1. Full Service Bundle $275.00 (proofreading, coverage, treatment, synopsis, logline)
2. Reader proofing $175.00 (proofreading, coverage, loglines)
3. Pitchproofing $155.00 (treatment, synopsis, logline, query letter)

Contact Information:
Web site:

SCRIPTS: AFFORDABLE PROOFREADING & CRITIQUE SERVICE, PROFESSIONAL & AFFORDABLE PROOFREADING EDITING& WRITING SERVICE BY ANDREW RANDALL, and SCRIPTPROOF are all good services that I would recommend. The services they provide are of good quality for the prices.

Cost Comparison
1. Proofreading $10.00
2. Critique $10.00
3. Query Letter help $5.00

1) The Formatting Service is $0.003/per word
2) Proofreading Service is $0.01/per word
3) Light Editing service is $0.04/per word
4) Full Service is $0.0043/per word

1. Proofreading $0.85/per page
2. Coverage $65.00
3. Treatment $75.00
4. Character Biographies $45.00
5. Log Line $ 35.00
6. Story Research $100.00
7. Unscripted pitch $55.00

Services discount bundles.
1. Full Service Bundle $275.00 (proofreading, coverage, treatment, synopsis, logline)
2. Reader proofing $175.00 (proofreading, coverage, loglines)
3. Pitchproofing $155.00 (treatment, synopsis, logline, query letter)

I found that services offered by SCRIPTS: AFFORDABLE PROOFREADING & CRITIQUE SERVICE is good quality. The time it takes to have a script done is a little long(3 to 4 weeks). However this is due to work load.

What I like about SCRIPTS: AFFORDABLE PROOFREADING & CRITIQUE SERVICE, and PROFESSIONAL & AFFORDABLE PROOFREADING EDITING& WRITING SERVICE BY ANDREW RANDALL, and SCRIPTPROOF is you get the name and phone number of actual personal contact. Whichever one you choice, you will receive quality proofreading service.

A good tip for a writer is to keep all the critiques and edited materials and use them as references when writing future scripts. This can save money in the future.


Phone: (817) 806-6446 Fax: (916) 384-3796

Web site:

Labels: Affordable Proofreading & Critique Service for Screenplays & Query Letters

7 Great Frugal Living, Saving Money and Penny Pincher Websites

There are so many websites that can help you be frugal, save money, and be a penny pincher that we should all be able to find ways to really save money. I have been looking at sites such as these for a long time, and they can be rather helpful. I wanted to share a list of a few sites that have helped me in one way or another with living frugally, saving money, and being a penny pincher. These sites are not listed in any particular order of my preference, I have just found helpful information on each site.

Frugal Village

All Things Frugal

Better Budgeting

Penny Pinching Grandma

Penny Pinching Hints

Money Saving Mom

My Money

There are probably thousands of sites that have information about frugal living, saving money and penny pinching, but these are sites that I know have helpful information.

I have also started a money saving blog that I am hoping will become very helpful to many individuals. If you are interested please take a look. Saving Money and Home Finances

Labels: 7 Great Frugal Living, Saving Money and Penny Pincher Websites

A Review of Strategic Book Publishing Group

First let me say that I am always willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Anytime that I write an expose about a company, it is because I have first-hand experience in dealing with said company. I never jump to conclusions, and I always give the company a chance to prove me wrong. In the case of Strategic Book Publishing Group , which by the way has several other aliases as does the owner Robert Fletcher, there is clearly a scam being perpetuated. While the names may change, the behavior does not.

I first came across the name Strategic Book Publishing when looking for freelance gigs. Now keep in mind because I’ve been doing this for a few years now, I always get everything in writing before I believe anything the company or individual has to say, and before I do any work. It’s easy to pay lip service about how great your company is, but since I’ve been scammed before, I’ve found getting everything in writing is crucial. Incidentally, the similar or the same job ad is still posted that I originally responded to. Whatever you do, do not apply for work with this company. You’re about to see why.

So, I responded to an ad like this one titled Book Marketing & PR-Reviews on The Write Jobs job Board. Since I’m an author, and I’ve successfully marketed my own books, and the books of other authors, I thought this sounded like a very good gig for me. I responded with my resume as per the ad, and a few days later I heard from someone named Rob. We talked back and forth via e-mail, and I asked all the right questions about pay, when I would be paid, and what the work involved. I was told I would be paid weekly, and they even offered me a few dollars more an hour than they do most people just starting with them. I was asked to do an initial project that I would be pre-paid for just to show their good will, and the hiring paperwork was sent to me. Everything looked legitimate until the pre-payment didn’t arrive. Still I was still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, after all I was just starting and maybe the paperwork hadn’t reached the desk of the payroll person yet. By the time I finished the project, I still hadn’t been paid the pre-payment amount, and to top it all off, both Rob, and their payroll person kept requesting my paypal address. This wouldn’t have been so suspicious except that it was asked for repeatedly, and in one case as a response to an e-mail where I had given it! The money finally arrived when I pointed out, with a little snark I might add, that I had given it to them four times already and why was I continuing to be asked for something I’d given them in writing via e-mail four different times, and was in the payroll paperwork I had just turned in. Even after this I was still willing to give this company a chance. That was my mistake.

Not too long after this I was introduced via e-mail to the person who would be training me as a Marketing Coach. It turned out that what I would be doing basically was responding to author’s e-mails and pushing them through Strategic’s many departments so that Strategic could get them to spend more money in most cases. In their defense, they do offer a few free marketing options. However, we were trained not to give this information first, but rather later after encouraging the author to, you guessed it, spend money. Now keep in mind, some of these authors had already forked out $695 to have their book published, and just before I left, the price was raised to $895. What you got for this was the following, you got cover art for your book, you got your book on Amazon and B&N, you got an ISBN, you got a website, a video book trailer, and or depending on the type of contract you had, set up on all the social media websites. The fact of the matter is with a little effort, you can do most of these items for yourself for free. Still some people don’t want to make the effort, they’re looking for a quick fix to what they hope in some cases will be the top ten bestseller list. They want someone else to do the work for them. That’s what I figured when I started. I found over the month I was with this company that I was dead wrong. Many of these authors were very new, many were older and didn’t have computer skills, and as such they got sucked in by the big promises of what turned out to be a vanity publisher.

So the check for my first week of work arrived with no problem and I figured I’d made my point with the owner Rob, that I expected to be paid on the schedule that was on my contract. Remember, they were late paying me the pre-payment, and I made it clear fast that that was unacceptable. However, the second week did not arrive on schedule at all. I was nice, I let it go figuring that I would receive it the next week. But when the third week rolled around, I still had not been paid. I began getting nervous because I had been putting other paying projects aside to work on in the evenings, in order to work on this job as supposedly it was eventually going to be full-time. The idea of a guaranteed full-time income where I could put in 6 to 8 hours every day and get a weekly paycheck and do my other gigs in the evening, and on weekends was enticing. So, I e-mailed Rob again and made it clear that the delay was unacceptable, and if he wanted me to work, he had to pay me. When it became apparent to him and my boss that I would not work unless paid, I was paid, but only for the second week. By this time I was owed for two additional weeks, and the following week, no money arrived again. Does anyone see a pattern here? By this time I had about had it, because I was having to fight to get paid for every single week. When I would point out that I had a written contract that said I would be paid weekly that both they and I had signed, I was told by my boss on more than one occasion that it should say bi-weekly. Of course my response to that, and it degenerated into her trying to shout over me on more than one occasion, was that I didn’t care what it should say, it said I would be paid weekly, and that wasn’t happening. Also, my boss admitted to me on more than one occasion that she and others were five weeks behind in being paid. By this time I could see the writing on the wall, because when I again complained about not being paid to her since she basically forbade me to contact Rob, and she told me there was no money to pay me, I turned in my resignation. I was finally paid for one more of the weeks I was owed, but not the final week. Still I was fair, I waited a month before I said anything. On October 10, 2009, I sent an e-mail to Rob and told him in no uncertain terms that it had been a month and I was still owed for my final week of employment, and I expected to be paid ASAP. My boss had already told me before our final conversation had degenerated into a shouting match, and I blocked her number from my phone, that she had okay’d the final time card, so it was approved. There was no reason not to pay me what I was owed. Rob sent me a nasty e-mail back telling me that I was no longer one of his employees and that he paid his current employees first, it would only be after that that I would be paid. Yeah, right.

It was then I knew I would never be paid for the final week I worked for Strategic Book Publishing. Since I knew that he had employees that were at least five weeks, if not more behind, there was no way he was going to pay me what he owed me.

When I look back on it now, there were signs that I should have paid more attention to. For example, the not paying the pre-paid amount agreed upon until the project was done and I pushed for it. The having to fight every week to get paid, and having to force this company to adhere to the written contract they had with me. Also, being told that I needed to have other work, that I shouldn’t count on Strategic for my main income (even though they were offering full-time employment, and assured me I would have full-time employment after a few months if not sooner). Another sign was the fact that it became obvious that Rob was very litigious when I found out he sued someone for defamation of character for pointing out his shoddy business practices. When the judge told him that his lawsuit was frivolous and then told him he had to pay the people he was suing court costs, he in turn sent an e-mail around to employees about how he wasn’t going to pay those court costs, all the while offering more work via taking phone calls from prospects. Truthfully, I should have quit before it ever got this far, but jobs are hard to come by and I’m one of these people that believes in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. After all, they had paid me a few times, eventually they would get the point and start paying me on time, right? Wrong! That was my mistake, I kept believing there had to be some good in the company and the owner. After all we are all having tough times financially, or so I thought.

I discovered just before I quit that Robert Fletcher, and his top employees are being investigated by the State Attorney General of Florida for fraud. I was stunned at just how many scams this man and his top employees have been committing over the years when I read the paperwork for the investigation that the State of Florida Attorney General is doing. For those interested, you can read all 27 pages for yourself here.

Whatever you do, don’t publish your book with Strategic Book Publishing Group, AEG Publishing, or any of the other companies owned by Robert Fletcher. I would also strongly urge one and all to not answer the ad I linked to above, or any other ad he runs in the future. He can talk a good game, but in the end he is not going to keep his word, even when there is a written contract. Believe me, I read the contract to be sure there were no loopholes in it, and there aren’t. According to the paperwork previously referenced, at one point Rob was pulling in about 500 prospects every 6 months that paid him $600 for services. That’s $300,000 in 6 months, $600,000 a year. Now, if you do the math knowing that he was charging $695 (the raise to $895 was recent) per author and assuming he’s pulling in about the same number of prospects, he’s making approximately $695,000 per year. Where the heck is all this money going? Making that much, he should be able to pay his employees, and any other coporate expenses, and still be able to live well, and yet he isn’t paying his employees in a timely fashion crying a bad economy, and less people purchasing Strategic Book Publishing’s services. The fact is my personal experience with this company has proven that it does not pay its employees, so chances are, other people like the authors aren’t getting what they paid for either. However, that money has to be going somewhere, and I would guess it’s going into his pocket and the pockets of those helping him to perpetuate these scams.

My purpose in writing this as always is to help other writers, and freelancers by informing them about shady companies with shady business practices. Strategic Book Publishing Group and it’s many other associated companies are without a doubt practicing shady business practices. While a person is innocent until proven guilty, my personal experience with Strategic Book Publishing Group and Robert Fletcher indicates to me that he is running a scam to make money, and he does not care about the writers or the employees that work with him or his company. If he did, he would run a legitimate publishing business where the writers get what they pay for, and the employees get paid according to the contract that he signs with them.

Labels: A Review of Strategic Book Publishing Group

A Website that Helps Pick Jeans that Will Fit the Best?

Are you very tall? Are you very short? Is it hard to find jeans that fit you right? Do you sometimes wish that you could get jeans custom made for you for a low cost? Well, although that might not be practical, there is a website meant to make buying jeans that much easier.

The website is and their focus is fitting designer jeans to you based on measurements you input in and are then saved into your profile.

Step 1: You select your gender and whether you will be inputting information in inches or in centimeters.

Step 2: You can either measure yourself or estimate. If you measure yourself you will need a soft measuring tape. Personally if you are opting to use this website it really does not make sense to skip measuring yourself. For each measurement there is a diagram showing you exactly where to measure.

Measurements to be taken are natural waist (smallest part of your waist), high hip (where you want the waistband to fall), low hip (fullest part of waist and buttocks), thigh (largest part), inseam,

Step 3: Going over body shape. Here you answer questions such as height, weight, jean size, inseam, and then answer the following questions:

1) Do you ever fluctuate between sizes?

2) How do you typically like your jeans to fit?

3) Where do you typically like your jeans to sit on your waist?

4) What is your favorite brand?

Then using diagrams you select the picture that most resembles your hip shape, seat shape, stomach shape, and thigh shape.

Step 4: User registration. Just basic information so that your profile can be saved so the next time you log on you do not need to repeat anything.

Step 5: A list of suggested jeans will appear along with pictures and a “fit rating”. The “fit rating” is how closely the jeans would fit you. Five stars would be the most perfect fit. It also lists the recommended size you should order and tells you if hemming would be required.

If you opt to venture away from the recommended jeans, then you can always search and a fit rating will still appear provided you are logged in under your profile. With free standard shipping and an easy virtual way to determine how well hundreds of jeans will fit you cannot go wrong. The website also offers a wide variety of brands including 7 for all mankind, Joe’s Jeans, William Rast etc.

Labels: A Website that Helps Pick Jeans that Will Fit the Best?

A Parent's Guide to Apartment Hunting with Your College Student

For parents of new college students, back to school shopping doesn’t stop with school supplies. Part of the fun of preparing for college is finding an apartment that is affordable and works well for college life.

Shopping for an apartment for your college student is a lot different than shopping for a home for your family. If this is your first time apartment hunting with your college student, these question are ones to ask while hunting for that perfect college apartment.

1. Is the apartment centrally located? A college apartment should be close to essential services such as the school, laundromats, grocery stores, hair salons, and bus lines. While you could make the argument that living further away means cheaper rent, the money saved is usually gobbled up in additional fuel costs. Most college students discover that living close-in saves time, money, and a great deal of hassle.

2. Is the neighborhood sale? If you can’t get a straight answer from the landlord about crime trends for the area, check in with the local police department for area crime stats.

3. What security features does the apartment have? Don’t make the mistake of assuming that an apartment is intruder proof. As with your own house, a secure college apartment is one that has solid exterior doors, locking windows, adequate outside lighting, peepholes in the doors, and keyed dead bolts.

4. Is off street parking available? Many college apartments have minimal on-site parking which creates parking shortages during the school year. If your student has a car, then you don’t want an apartment that can’t provide onsite parking.

5. What services & appliances are included in the rent? What are average utility costs? Never make the mistake of comparing just the rental rates when apartment shopping. Utilities and other services should also factor into the total cost since cheap rent could mean hefty utility costs or no appliances.

6. Are roommates, subletting, or overnight guests allowed? When it comes to college housing, these are important issues to discuss with a landlord in case a roommate has to move out unexpectedly.

7. How available is the landlord? This is something that I would have never thought of myself to ask, though the parents of my college renters certainly do. Most parents prefer apartments where help is just a whistle away in case of a burst pipe or some other maintenance emergency.

8. What are the house rules or quiet hours? Not all college apartments come with house rules which addresses thing like quiet hours, loud parties, barking dogs, or criminal activity. Designated quiet hours means the apartment complex doesn’t permit loud, late night noise to interrupt sleep and study time.

Apartment hunting really is an exciting time for college students and parents, and a great way to learn your way around the campus area. Remembering to ask these eight important questions will help your college student find an apartment that will fit in her budget, while providing a safe and orderly place to live off campus.

Labels: A Parent's Guide to Apartment Hunting with Your College Student

Animal Science Career Options '" Dairy Nutrition Consultant

Young people interested in spending their lives working with animals often stay on the farm to try to make a living, especially if they have a small family and a large farm. Most often, though, kids graduating high school take a look at what everyone else is doing and they head off to college, usually with very little thought to what they will do once they get there. Students with a passion for animals see animal science as a logical major but then are stumped when someone asks them what they will do with such a degree in animal science. Will they become a vet? No. Will they farm? Maybe. But what other options are there? In this article, we will explore the career of dairy nutrition consultant.

What is the Job?

In the dairy industry there are two competing forces. The first is milk production and the price we get for the milk. The second is the feed the animals consume and the price we pay for the feed. We have to have good quality feed in order for the cows (or goats or sheep) to produce milk but we also need to get the feed at a price that will not be greater than the price we can get for the milk produced. One of the most important jobs on a farm is making sure that the animals are eating enough of the right things, but not too much. Most farmers feel adequate to the task but a smart farmer will consult with someone. That someone is a dairy nutrition consultant. Their job is to help the farmer balance the cows’ feed (the ration) with how much the farmer has to spend on feed. It is a delicate balance but a rewarding job when done well.

Required Courses

For a dairy nutrition consultant, a bachelor’s degree in animal science is almost always necessary. While it is possible to work your way up the ladder within a feed company, many farmers these days have degrees themselves and are starting to demand that their consultants have a bachelor’s degree as well, if not a master’s degree. In a bachelor’s degree you will find it necessary to have courses in animal nutrition but you can’t start those without at least one course in chemistry. In the dairy industry, you would be expected to have a course in ruminant nutrition, as well as a course in ration formulation.

Courses to Consider

Courses that would be immensely helpful would be in anatomy and physiology, lactation physiology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. You would also find it useful to have a course in the management of dairy cattle and even possibly beef cattle. The latter would help you diversify as many farms have a dairy and a beef part of their operations.

Other Activities

An internship would be incredibly helpful as you look for other activities to strengthen your education and your resume. There are a tremendous number of conferences, both practical and scientific, that would be helpful not only as you are preparing for a foray into the field but certainly after you start as a dairy nutrition consultant. One thing to remember is that consultants only get business and get paid if the farmers feel that their information and advice is worthwhile. Start networking now to build a good base of clients. Free advice to get them interested is always a good way to begin a relationship with a farmer.

Labels: Animal Science Career Options '" Dairy Nutrition Consultant

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