Saturday, April 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

10 Easy Steps To An Organized Home Office
Without the structure of an office outside of our homes, it is easy to scatter anything work related all over the house. We still need to complete our work in a timely and efficient manner. After all, the less time we spend working, the more time we have with our family. An organized home office will make for a faster and more pleasant workday. Here are a few ideas to get you and your home office organized.

1) Do you have a home office? You don’t necessarily need an entire room, but you should have a well-defined space to contain all your office essentials and files.

A desk in your bedroom that will hold your files, paper, pens, calculator and of course computer will do fine, especially in the beginning.

If your “office” consists of the dining room table, some of the drawers in your kitchen, a file cabinet in the basement and the computer in the bedroom, you may want to think about organizing everything in one spot.

Are you spending a lot of time searching for a particular document, running from room to room to find it? Consider moving all your files and papers to one central location, preferably close to the computer if that’s where you are doing the bulk of your work.

2) Keep your personal files and papers separate from your business things.

You will eventually have enough paperwork to deal with without having your personal bills, magazines and the kids’ after-school schedule mixed in there. Create a separate spot for those somewhere outside of your home office space.

3) Create a file system that works for you. Remember, you may be working for someone else, but when it comes to your home office, you are your own boss.

Think about how you look for a particular file or piece of paper. What will be the easiest way for you to find it? Then create a file system that works for you. Don’t worry, if you don’t get it right the first time, you can always resort and try again. Sooner or later you will come up with a system that is “just right” for you.

4) Take a good look at your work area. Do you have piles of papers, files, mail, floppy discs and CDs lying around? Do you notice anything else piling up? Set aside a few hours and put everything away. Use your new file system and find “homes” for anything else.

5) Now that you have your office organized, set aside a few minutes at the end of your workday to keep it that way. Try to “leave work” for the day with a clean, empty desk. You will appreciate it the next morning. This will also prevent you from ever coming across a huge pile of papers again.

6) Add a personal touch to your office. Bring in some pictures of the kids; add some pretty plants, inspirational quotes, or anything else you can think of that will make your office a pleasant place to work in. In addition to getting and keeping you in a good mood whenever you step in your office, you are more likely to keep it clean and organized if it is a place you treasure. So splurge a little on some special office d├ęcor.

7) Let’s talk about the files on your computer. You can waist just as much time searching for an online document as for a piece of paper. If your computer is used for work as well as for personal use, create a work folder and use subfolders for particular employers, projects etc.

Again, come up with a file system that works for you and keep your work files separate from your personal files. This is particularly important if other family members access the computer as well. If that’s the case, and you are using Windows XP, I strongly recommend setting up a separate user account just for work and password protecting it. This will prevent other family members from accidentally changing or deleting your work files.

8) In addition to your regular files, you also want to keep your emails organized. Let’s be honest, we have all wasted time searching for a particular email that contained some vital information we needed fast. Setting up folders for different clients and projects has worked well for me, but again find a system that works for you and stick with it. Sort the email as soon as you read it. It only takes a second or two to drop it in the appropriate folder, but will save you a lot of time if you have to find it later.

9) Now that you have a good filing system (both physical and digital) in place, set aside a little time every few months (or weeks if appropriate) to purge your files. We can quickly accumulate a lot of documents both in our file cabinet and on our hard drive that we no longer need. At the very least, try to purge your files twice a year.

10) Now that your office is organized, you may also want to take a look at organizing your time. Again, come up with a system that works well for you.

I encourage you to start with a few of these ideas to get your office and yourself more organized. You will be surprised by how much time you will save not searching for files, papers or the stapler. Before long, you won’t know how you ever functioned without an organized home office.



10 ways to cut your electric bill
One of the major concerns in the world today is depletion of energy. As concerned citizens all of us must make a concerted effort to be conscious citizens and save electricity. Electricity has become integral to life but imagine having to live without power.

Conservation of electricity benefits you personally as you will pay lower bills. Consider:

1. Doing an energy audit. This will tell you how and when you use energy and where the wastage lies. You will be able to make an “energy savings plan” by pinpointing exactly how you can cut back on energy consumption. Some ideas may be as simple as don’t leave the coffee machine on at all times.

2. Think about resetting the thermostat ten degrees lower during the night. If you can do this for say approximately eight hours a day you will save 10% on electricity without sacrificing comfort. Insulate the home in winter by drawing shut the drapes.

3. Check all insulation in the house. If you increase attic insulation to around 12 inches the electricity consumption will reduce by 20 percent.

4. Plant more trees around the house these will cool the house in summer and insulate the house in winter. Studies show that a green cover benefits in many ways.

5. Have all electricity wires and outlets checked for leakage. Check all fuses and appliances.

6. Fluorescent light bulbs are energy efficient. They use 75% less energy than ordinary light bulbs. These have a longer life and contribute to great savings.

7. Use energy efficient appliances. These use less energy and believe it or not a high efficiency refrigerator uses less electricity than a light bulb.

8. When you are away even for a few hours or days you should turn off and unplug all electrical appliances and turn settings on the thermostat, water heater, and refrigerator to the lowest setting.

9. Ensure that you use a water-saving shower head. Water heating costs for a family can be lowered by at least US$ 250 a year.

10. Weatherize your home. This helps reduce heating bills by 20% and cooling by at least 10 percent. Even when building a home or decorating it use weather friendly materials—those that are not good conductors of heat and cold. Install windows and glass panes in the roof in such away that you use sunlight to light up the rooms during day light hours. Make an effort to switch off lights and fans when leaving a room. Ensure that the filters in air conditioners and heaters are always cleaned and free of clog and dust.

If you live an energy efficient lifestyle you will see the numbers on the energy bill actually reducing. The power to cut energy costs is well within your control. It is as simple as only washing full loads and that to in cold water. Use the hot wash option only for very dirty clothes. Cook food only just before you are ready to eat that way you can save reheating costs as well as refrigerating costs of storing the food. Turn the thermostat of the refrigerator to minimum in cold or cool weather. Switch off freezers if they are not in use. Small contributions can all add up to significant amounts of power saved. And, power saved means money in the bank.

7 Kitchen Design Ideas
Kitchens have evolved a lot over the years. Once found only in the rear of the house, today's kitchen design takes the kitchen out the background. The challenge for kitchen design is in creating a more open-faced kitchen, that is part of a dining area, a family room or a great room.

In deciding on how to design your kitchen, you must take into consideration such things as: will your kitchen have an island? Will it be of a modern or traditional design? What kinds of appliances will you need for your new kitchen design? What kind of lighting design?

1. Kitchen as 'Great Room'
Whether you are redesigning an existing kitchen or planning a new kitchen in a new home there are some design considerations to keep in mind, such as including in an island or peninsula as part of the kitchen design. These can be used to connect the kitchen to a nearby dining area or family room thereby creating a 'great room'. A kitchen island or peninsula will allow the cook to keep in visual and conversational contact with family members or guests in the adjoining family or dining room.

2. Create a Kitchen Canopy
To give the kitchen some visible borders without blocking views create a kitchen canopy. Also a high ceiling in the kitchen can create the perception of spaciousness.

3. Using Kitchen Cabinet Color to Set Tone of Kitchen Design
Kitchen cabinets will help set the tone for the whole room. The choice of wood will influence the overall look of your cabinets. To create a light look, use a light wood such as ash, beech, birch, oak, maple, or chestnut. For medium range, select cherry. To darker kitchens, choose wood that has some color to it.

4. Plan Out Use of Cabinets and Drawers in The New Kitchen Design
Plan out in the kitchen design blueprint just how your cabinets and drawers will be used and how much space and storage you will need before you start your new kitchen design. The first thing to examine is the counter surface area. Look at where you put everything in your existing kitchen and where in your new kitchen design will these things will go in the new space. Will there be more than one person cooking at a time. If so, will there be enough room for two cooks in the kitchen to work together?

5. Use The Galley-Type Kitchen Design
As for counter arrangements, many kitchen designers agree the galley-type design to be the best in terms of efficiency with it's single aisle and counters to either side, making it easy to turn around to go from sink to cooking range.

6. Under-Cabinet Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lighting can be an overlooked area of kitchen design. Even if the kitchen has generally good lighting, the counter areas can be somewhat dark. For these areas under-cabinet lighting can help provide more light to work in. By using simple spots or fluorescent lights a smaller kitchen can be made to look larger.

7. Looking at Countertops
Granite, marble, and limestone are all popular natural materials for use in countertops are available in many colors. Ceramic tile kitchen countertops are versatile, practical, and also available in many colors, as well as many shapes, patterns, and finishes. Solid surface countertops provide seamless acrylic faces. Solid surfaces also come in almost limitless colors, patterns, and styles, and are stain and heat resistant. Laminate countertops are more affordable but not built to last. Concrete countertops are known for versatility, as well as strength. Wood countertops are long lasting and easy to clean and repair but the wood will not withstand exposure to water and household chemicals. Stainless steel countertops lack the elegance of granite or tile. These countertops do not absorb stains, but tends to scratch easily.

A Guide To Outdoor Lighting
With the evolution of lighting technology, outdoor lighting has seen its share of breakthroughs. Outdoor lighting is as important as indoor lighting. Lighting up the spaces immediately outside or surrounding our living areas is extremely vital for visual orientation, safety while navigating, and security, as well as for balancing out the indoor ambience. The outdoor milieu prepares and provides a preview to the life and living style within the four walls. Outdoor lighting is equally important in reflecting the external persona of a structure and its surrounding area. It sets a particular mood and provides a visual treat.

Outdoor lighting presents enormous scope for experimentation. It’s a virgin canvas waiting to be colored by unique lighting approaches, ideas and techniques. Outdoor lighting spaces comprise the areas surrounding the structure, pathways, swimming pools or fountains, landscape surrounding the structure, patios, balconies, decks, porches, etc.

There are a variety of options on the market, including low-voltage lighting, flood lights, tree lights, post lights, lanterns, string bulbs for festive occasions, recessed lighting, scoops, pagoda-style louvered faced lights which granite finish that easily blend without door environs, and even solar lights devoid of wires and operating on NiCad batteries.

Various techniques of lighting can be used in outdoor lighting. Spot lighting, which focuses light on architectural features, may be positioned to minimize glare and focus fully on the focal point. Silhouetting is placing the light sources behind the object to bring out the shape of the object rather than the exact color and texture. Key light or shadowing requires placing the light source directly in front of the object of interest to create a light and shadow effect. Moonlighting requires a fixture to be placed on the trees and aiming it down to provide a natural peaceful moonlit effect. Deck lighting, grazing (light focuses on the object at a sharp angle) and washing the surface (light focuses on objects at a wider or blunt angle), step lighting, walkway lighting, pond and fountain lighting, and sign lighting are some of the various techniques used for outdoor lighting.

In outdoor lighting, a basic thing that has to be kept in mind is that the lighting fixtures are exposed to all the elements outside. In case of lighting water features, the light source is sometimes from the inside to create a magical glittering and rippling effect. Therefore, appropriate lighting fixtures and lights should be chosen. Self-lighting kits of low voltage are also available for those who wish to try out their creative lighting talents.

A Luxury Featherbed Delivers The Ultimate Sleep Experience .
Today's luxury featherbeds are not your Grandma's featherbed. In her day it literally was a bag of feathers. There are many featherbeds available, the majority are made of 95% duck feather 5% duck down (not considered luxury). Feathers are flat with a hard quill, down is the soft undercoating from the bird's breast. Goose down is better than duck down, the down clusters are larger, and at least 50/50 down/feather is better than mostly feathers, which are hard and "crunchy", and they tend to leak out of the best featherproof casing over time.


There are some truly luxury featherbeds available using white goose down and feather, with larger percentages of high fill-power goose down, and even all down. The fill-power is the measurement of the down cluster's ability to loft up after compression. The higher lofting downs make puffier featherbeds. 650 fill-power or higher goose down for a featherbed is luxury quality. More down in your featherbed means a more luxurious look and an incomparable level of comfort. A down bed with all white goose down would be softer and the puffiest. More luxury to sink into.

The most common styles are baffle box, 3 compartment, or channel . It is better to have a baffle box to keep the filling from unwanted shifting, and at least a 3" - 4" baffle.

Always use a featherbed cover to protect your featherbed or down bed. Choose one that will accommodate the baffle construction to allow the filling (especially if it is a high percentage of down or all down) to loft up, and with zippers on 3 sides for easy removal. Fluff up, and turn over your featherbed weekly when you wash the cover. Send your featherbed to a down bedding specialist for cleaning every 3 or 4 years and for renovation after 7 - 10 years. Another good idea is to invest in some extra deep fitted sheets so that you get the full loft of your featherbed. A too tight fitted sheet will pull the featherbed down making it flatter. This would defeat the purpose of having a high down content luxury featherbed.

An investment in a quality featherbed or down bed is well worth it since it will deliver an unparalleled level of comfort for life with proper cleaning and renovation. Purchasing from a down specialist ensures a wide selection to choose from and knowledgeable staff. Choose a specialist that offers expert cleaning/renovation services so you will have your luxury featherbed for life.

A Wealth Of Window Design Solutions
The style, shape and function of a home's windows can underscore a home's elegance, coziness or cutting-edge style. The following are some of today's most exciting formats and treatments:

Adding Elegance

Palladian or arched windows are graceful and elegant, but hard to cover. Fortunately, Hunter Douglas offers a variety of styles to cover unusually shaped windows. For instance, Duette® honeycomb shades come in an arch shape, designed to lift and lower smoothly from top to bottom on "perfect" and "imperfect" arches, allowing for privacy, light control and easy window cleaning.

Lighten and Brighten

Skylights can lighten a room, make a space feel larger and bring a quirky element to an otherwise dull area. When left bare, skylights often allow in too much light and sun that can fade furniture and overheat a room. Duette with Skyrise® is the perfect solution, softening the light and providing energy efficiency. Hardware with rails on all four sides keeps the shade in place safely and securely. What's more, this option is offered with an easy, affordable, battery-operated remote-control system to open and close hard-to-reach shades.

Cutting-edge Sliders

Floor-to-ceiling windows add a dimension of excitement to any structure, while sliding glass doors are modeled after Japan's rice paper shoji screens. Homeowners love the extra light but often get flustered when it comes to how to dress them. Duette with Vertiglide defeats that design problem with honeycomb fabric that is oriented vertically with the shade operating sideways. When open, it folds back to a mere six inches no matter how wide the treatment. It can be manually operated or motorized.

Bay Views

A bay window is typically a center window and two angled side windows. It offers lots of light for a book nook or dining alcove. Ideal for trio windows is a Top-Down/Bottom-Up design where the shade opens from the top or the bottom or both ways for privacy as well as a view.

European Allure

French doors have been popular for decades and slim, trim Duette honeycomb shades don't add a lot of bulk or noisy rattling when these European imports are opened and closed.

Sidelight Windows

Those ubiquitous narrow windows found on one or both sides of a door beg for a window fashion solution such as the new Duette Operable Sidelight.

From the tiniest sliver of a window to arches, angles, octagons and trapezoids, virtually all window shapes and types can be beautifully dressed with Duette honeycomb shades.

An Introduction to Futons
Futons have been a fixture of college students’ dorm rooms and other urban living settings for decades. Futons are stylish, functional, and versatile; they can be integrated into nearly any setting. Futon beds are lightweight and simple, providing sleepers with a comfortable place to rest.

What most people don’t know is that futon beds originated in Japan. For hundreds of years, Japanese people have slept on thin futon mattresses placed directly on the floor. They saw no need to have an elaborate bed with a frame and box spring and headboard. All that these early futons involved was the thin mattress, small pillows, and a blanket. In the morning, the futon bed could be rolled up and put in a closet. Over time, the concept of sleeping on futon beds spread to America.

Modern futons often have adjustable frames and can be used as either a couch or a bed, depending on how the frame is arranged. The frames are usually made of colored metal, but can be wooden as well. Futon beds do not needed to be folded out like couch beds, all the sleeper needs to do is push the back of the frame from the upright couch position to a horizontal bed position. These setups are comfortable in either the couch or bed position and are great for accommodating overnight guests.

Current models of futon mattresses are thicker than the original Japanese models. They are often filled with wool, polyester, cotton, or soft man made fibers. They do not have the springs that conventional beds have. A normal mattress can become uncomfortable over time if the springs do not hold up well to pressure. This is not a problem with futons because most of them have no springs.

Futon beds have evolved greatly over time. From their simple beginnings as space saving Japanese beds to their modern multi use models, they are a great alternative to conventional beds.

Create a Green Baby Nursery
In our attempt to revert back to a Green lifestyle, it's only fitting to use Green principles when designing a baby's room. After all, a newborn will spend an average of 17 hours a day in their nursery, and it should be an environment filtered from toxins.

Here are some of the key points to consider when setting up a Green baby nursery.

Paint: Use one of the new water-based, low-volatile organic compound paints and take your friends or family up on their request to help. If you're pregnant, you shouldn't be doing the painting. Try and complete the paint job at least a month before baby arrives to give it time to cure.

Flooring: Carpets are nice and soft for babies to crawl on, but they can harbor toxic material and bacteria. VOC's can be found in the fibers, backing and glue as well as any stain resistant treatments that may have been applied. If you must go that route, choose an all-natural, biodegradable carpet made from wool fibers and no toxic adhesives. A better choice is a solid floor such as linoleum, cork or wood. Use natural fiber throw rugs with a non slip backing.

Crib: Choose real wood with natural finishes since the press wood versions can emit formaldehyde. The bedding should be an organic untreated material made from cotton or wool.

Window Coverings: Aluminum mini-blinds or wooden shutters are easy to keep clean and do a great job of adjusting the light levels.

Toys: Most toys are made of plastic, which is a major contributor to indoor air pollution. Try to purchase natural cloth or wood toys wherever possible.

Airflow: Make certain there is adequate ventilation in the nursery that allows for fresh air, but no drafts. An Air filter is also very effective, but use one that has both a HEPA filter and activated military carbon cloth. Change your furnace filters every three months to reduce dust and pollen.

Cleaning: Use 100 percent biodegradable nontoxic cleaning products.

Decorate Your Home With Unique Bamboo Curtains
Have you recently found yourself getting bored with your home’s current interior? Have you been looking for a unique conversation starter that is sure to keep people talking? Have you ever wanted to take a mini-vacation without ever leaving the house? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, a bamboo curtain might be just the thing you have been searching for. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can decorate your home with unique bamboo curtains.

A quality bamboo curtain is made from natural bamboo beads that are strung together with wire. These strands (varying from 100 – 150) are then hung from a frame and hand-painted on both sides to create a unique curtain. These curtains can be used in doorways or as wall hangings, but either way they help to give any room in the house a whole new personality. Now, let’s turn our attention towards the many different types of bamboo curtains available.

There are hundreds of different designs available when looking for a unique bamboo curtain. This makes finding a bamboo curtain that fits your personality a very easy project. For example, say you have one room of the house that serves as your personal sanctuary, a place you can go to escape the world. You may find that a bamboo curtain featuring a beach scene or a sunset might work beautifully in such a room. On the other hand, you may have a passion for classic artists and paintings. If this is the case, you may want to consider a bamboo curtain portraying the Mona Lisa or Michelangelo’s David. The options are limited only by your imagination. In fact, there are many companies who will hand-make a unique bamboo curtain according to your personal request!

You are probably thinking that bamboo curtains sound great, but are sure to cost a fortune. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Bamboo curtains are very affordable, and can be shipped right to your home ready to hang. They are also very durable, as most bamboo curtains require very little maintenance and will last for many years. What about installing a bamboo curtain? It is as simple as placing two screws in the wall. You can then hang and start enjoying your unique bamboo curtain.

We’ve spent some time discussing how a unique bamboo curtain can be perfect for you, but let’s not forget about the kids! If you have children in your house, a bamboo curtain makes a great alternative to posters. A unique bamboo curtain will instantly change the whole feel of your child’s bedroom, while impressing even the harshest critics. Your kids (and their friends) will definitely think a bamboo curtain is “cool”, and you will be sure to score some hip parent points. Right on!

As you can see, there are several different ways in which you can decorate your home with unique bamboo curtains. These affordable pieces will add personality to any room in the house, while also serving as an instant escape day or night. Enjoy!

Door Knob Hangers
A doorknob hanger is an excellent way to convey a temporary message. It is ideal for patient rooms, guest rooms, offices, baby’s rooms and conference rooms. Some of these hangers are specially designed to convey a message of “privacy wanted”. Children love to use knob hangers to send messages to their parents, siblings and friends. For a library or a reading room, door knob hangers are a funny and creative way to promote a library referendum and encourage reading. They are also used by companies to announce their deals and new products. Additionally, these hangers work as a marketing pieces in canvassing programs. Making doorknob hangers is a fast and simple craft for kids.

Doorknob hangers are pieces of materials with different messages printed on them, making them an economical and convenient way to advertise. They are brightly colored and approximately 12 by 24 cm in size. For advertising requirements, double-sided full color hangers are available. Door knob hangers are made of heavy plastic and are designed to fit on any door knob. Today’s door knob hangers are professional and classy-looking. They are available in as homemade products and can be purchased in shops or at craft shows.

Door knob hangers made of fiber board make great reminders. Hangers with removable magnets are also commonly used. These are decorated with stickers, markers and crayons. With the growing number of manufacturers, an extensive collection of doorknob hangers in different color and design are available with prices varying on the basis of design and quality of the material.

>Women's Career Tips: How to Land a Great Magazine Job

>New media jobs are opening every day for women of all ages and backgrounds such as media sales jobs, media relations jobs, and many others. Magazine jobs are especially popular among women. Career women often enjoy the thrill of working on a busy magazine editing staff, photography staff, or working as a writer.

Magazine employment offers many advantages for women. Magazines often provide a good, upscale office environment with great career pay and benefits. Also, many magazines (especially online publications) allow women workers to telecommute so they can work flexible hours and stay home with their children.

Choose a Magazine Career

There are many magazine jobs for women requiring a variety of skills such as typing, editing, photography, graphic design, newsletter layout, writing, management, advertising, printing, and computer skills. One large magazine might employ hundreds of people on staff or as freelancers. Women can select a magazine career based on their special skills and what type of work they enjoy. They should consider what's required for the job and if they have had proper training in that area. Some magazine editor jobs or magazine writer jobs might require college training.

Next, women can sift through jobs with magazines that cover subjects of interest to them. Every magazine has a theme such as business, finance, home decor, travel, fashion, working women, parenting, or gardening. Fashion magazine jobs, for instance, would be perfect for a woman who loves working in fashion and wants to have a magazine career as well.

Job Resume Tips for Women

Before applying for a magazine job, women should create a very professional, detailed resume. Two formats should be used - one for online applications and one to print for applying in person or by postal mail. The resume should be detailed with all high school, college, and other special training. Any skills or experience working in an office environment should be listed, even if they're not directly related to magazine work. Also, the resume should detail personal accomplishments such as musical skills, honors, awards, sports, and so forth. The layout should be professional and easy to read with no grammatical errors.

Research Magazines before Applying

Media jobs for women aren't always what they seem to be. Applicants should do some legwork to find out what the job entails as far as tasks, hours, and pay before applying. Also, there should be the opportunity to move up the career ladder later on. To do research, applicants might be able to call or email to ask questions. Otherwise, they can have a list of questions ready for the job interview.

Career Success Tips

Women's jobs can easily be found these days, but aren't always easy to keep. Once a great career has been secured, this is just the beginning. To be successful, women must work hard, be dependable, and meet deadlines. Magazine editors, writers, designers, and printers must complete their tasks before the print date or the magazine will not stay afloat for very long. Women who are new to the field can secure their position by showing diligence with even the smallest of tasks and by being willing to go the extra mile.

Another way to secure long-term magazine work is to be willing to start at the bottom. A woman might start out as an editor's assistant, but the opportunity to become an editor could be just around the corner. Or, she might start as a freelance writer or photographer before getting hired on as a staff employee.

Magazine jobs for women provide exciting opportunities in a variety of fields. Women of all ages are realizing their career dreams through magazine jobs and are enjoying a healthy salary and great benefits in the process. Use these magazine job hunting tips to discover your dream career!

Friday, April 29, 2011

>You Can Never Go Wrong With White

>When you are decorating your bedroom you should go
white. White can give you many different looks you are
trying to achieve like the eclectic bedroom,
minimalist, modern, and more. In addition, for a very
low cost, you can have an amazing look in your
bedroom.

If you are looking for an eclectic look in your
bedroom then you can use the white to accent and
create an airy expanse with touches of earth tones
throughout the room.

Keep the walls white and maybe use a white comforter
with earth toned bed skirts, pillows, floors, rug, and
headboard.

The minimalist bedroom is easy to create and looks
fantastic in a room with dark wood flooring. Go for
the solid white walls, white bedding, and a white rug.
Use paintings with dark frames and white edges to
bring out the look.

The white will bring out the dark tones of the
flooring and the dark furniture and look absolutely
fabulous. In addition, the bedroom will remain light
and bright which is very nice.

Small bedrooms look very good with a modern look when
you take advantage of the use of white. You can create
a small focus point on the wall with a painting or a
picture, white bedding, and a colorful rug.

You want to warm up the room with browns and greens in
the furniture or the fabrics you use for the modern
look. This will make the room look much bigger and you
will be pleased with the outcome.

White in the bedroom can give you many different looks
you are hoping for. You don’t need to worry about
using many patterns and colors to have an elegant
looking bedroom because white really works for all
styles.

>You Can Decorate On A Budget

>You don’t have to have a lot of money to decorate your
home with style. Decorating can be expensive so there
are several things you should think about to keep your
budget as low as possible.

The first thing you should do when you are budgeting
your decorating and design for inside your home is
know how much money you have to spend.

You need to determine a payment plan or how much money
you have for the room or space you want to decorate.
Be sure to include the costs for accessories in the
room also.

When you are decorating on a budget you need to focus
on one room at a time. It is hard to complete the
entire home at once so your best option is to decorate
each room separately. You can prioritize which rooms
you would like to focus on first and begin with them.

Before you make any purchases on the interior design
and schemes you have decided upon you should view the
colors in your home with the different light schemes
in the room.

Be sure to view the colors you choose with natural
light coming into the room and with lamps or the bulbs
you will choose to light the room with.

You may completely disagree with the color schemes
once you have decorated and then have to spend more
money to change what you have decided upon.

You should also think about the decorating and design
you are going to do in the rooms of your home if you
don’t plan to be there for a long time.

You don’t want to spend a lot of money for major
changes to the rooms. You should buy items that will
spruce up the room and give you the look and feel you
enjoy but that you can take with you when you go. You
don’t want to be decorating each room every time you
move.

>Maximizing Space When Decorating

>You might have a lot of things that you would like to
display but you are aware the clutter makes your place
look terrible. There are many ways you can fix
problems with clutter and still display your favorite
collections.

If you have a smaller kitchen with a lot of items
piled up all around you because you don’t have the
space for everything then you should consider kitchen
hang-ups.

You can find mounts to install in your ceiling that
you can hang your pots and pans from. This actually
looks really good above an island or along the wall.

There are wired hang-ups with hooks you can stylishly
hang coffee mugs and extras. This gives you the
opportunity to decorate your kitchen while you are
making the most use of your space in the kitchen.

If you have collections of things that you would like
to display and the items are cluttered all over the
place, then you must look into floating shelves and
display cases.

You might not have room for a display case, but your
walls have the room you are hoping for. You can line
your walls with stylish and affordable shelving which
will allow you to display your collectables neatly and
organized giving your room a new look.

It also makes your room look much bigger when you make
the most of your space with shelving because items are
not spread throughout the place but neatly organized
on the walls.

If you are short for space and you have many items
throughout your home you would like to display then
get them up off of the floor and put shelving and
hang-ups throughout your home.

You will be surprised how much more space you have in
your home and how nice it looks to display your things
rather than have them piled up.

>Making Small Spaces Grand

>If you live in a small apartment or home and you want
to create a feeling of a bigger room there are several
things you can do. Two of the biggest things you can
do is create focal points and take advantage of
reflecting. These two things will give you a bigger
look and feel of the smaller rooms.

Creating a focal point in a small room is key when you
don’t want people noticing how small the room really
is. When you have a specific focus point the room
might be more interesting and seem a little bit
bigger.

You can do this by painting one wall in the room a
different or darker color giving your room an
uncluttered gallery effect by the use of a low hanging
light fixture and assembling artwork on the wall. This
has an opening effect on the room.

When you use reflecting to make a room bigger, you
will use things in your home that reflect such as
mirrors, furniture, metallic pieces, and things that
have a shimmer.

When these items are strategically placed throughout
the home or the room they give a feeling of light and
more space. A mirror can be placed strategically in a
room to reflect the outdoors or even a window or a
doorway which makes the room appear much larger than
it is and it brings in more light.

If you are trying to take the focus from the small
size of a room and make it look bigger then you can
take advantage of the use of reflections and creating
focal points. Mastering these two techniques can make
your home look much bigger.

>Decorating with Flowers and Plants

>If you feel like your room is missing something and
you want to add a little extra then you should think
about adding fresh flowers and plants. You will be
amazed at the difference a tree, plants and flowers
can do for your room.

You might not be a big flower lover but if you are,
then you might want to look at decorating your room
with fresh plants that bloom flowers.

There are hundreds of different indoor flowers you can
choose from that will brighten up your room and look
absolutely fantastic. You don’t have to decorate with
flowers.

You can find indoor trees and tall standing plants
that will make a big difference in your home also.
Vines and hanging plants are an excellent way to
spruce up a room too.

When you decorate with flowers, plants, and trees it
also changes the mood of the room. Plants are known to
provide a calming effect on you and make you feel
great.

In addition, you are adding additional oxygen into
your home and removing toxins when you add plants
throughout your home. So, not only are you decorating
your home by making the rooms beautiful with nature
but you are taking advantage of the natural benefits
plants have to offer.

When you decorate your home or you are just looking
for accessories for something additional you cannot
forget to use plants, flowers, and trees. Your rooms
will look amazing with the difference you can make by
adding nature to your home.

>Decorating in Small Spaces

>When you live in a very small area like a studio
apartment it might seem impossible to decorate and
make livable.

You might have issues with where you are going to put
all of your stuff and you also might want the look and
feel of different rooms although you are living in one
big room. You can achieve these things with a few
simple things.

First, when you live in a studio that is one big room
for everything you don’t want the place to look the
same throughout.

You want the feeling of being in different rooms and
you want to decorate each of them differently. You can
separate rooms by using dividers.

You can find hand carved and decorated dividers that
look fantastic in your home. Dividers perfectly
separate the rooms the way you want them.

Some people like to use hanging beads or fabric to
create a wall to separate the rooms by creating a
wall. This can look good also and give you the look of
having different rooms in the area although it really
is one big room.

When you are in a studio apartment it is also for the
place to look nice because you are in such a small
space and you need to hide your things.

You can find containers that are decorated that allow
you to hide your clothes and things in style so the
place looks nice and not in disarray.

Many people prefer the designer wicker containers
because they are stackable providing for more space
and they are reasonably priced.

>Creating the Boutique Style in your Bedroom

>If you love the style of a boutique or a lavish hotel
room and you want to create the same look in your
home, it is easy to do. Several things to keep in mind
are plumping up the bed, sophistication, lighting, and
simplicity.

The bed is the most important thing when you want to
go for the comfort and the exquisite look. You need to
remember that you need to go for the 400-thread count
or higher sheets for the bed.

Use extra pillows that are fluffy and add an extra
padding to the bed for extra comfort. The colors you
use in your room for the elegant look need to remain
sophisticated.

Simplicity is key and it is sophisticated. You don’t
need to worry about fancy designs because plain
actually looks much nicer than designs.

The windows should remain simple also. You don’t need
to have a valance across the window if you don’t want
to and one is not needed to achieve the look you are
trying to accomplish.

Be sure to have a sheer curtain which allows the light
to come in and a heavier curtain that matches the
bedding and the style you have chosen for the room.

These curtains should be able to pull back to allow
the light in when you want it and to keep the light
out when you prefer the dark.

If you love the elegance of a hotel suite and you want
to bring it home then you can. Remember to be simple
with the colors and go plush and fluffy. It is not
expensive to be simple and you can achieve the look
you desire for very little money.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

>Candle Making Basics

>The use of candles for light and heat is known to have existed in ancient times. The remains of candles have been found in the caves of France. It is believed that cavemen used them while painting and etching on the walls. It is believed those candles where made out of animal fat. The Egyptians used candles as well by dripping beeswax onto leave stems. The burning process of a candle involves the four basic elements of matter which are solids, liquids, gas, and plasma.

Today candle making is a fun hobby or craft. For some, it is a very profitable business venture. Candle making provides you with they ability to create wonderful designs and crafts out of your candles. There is no limit to the shapes, sizes, and colors you can make your candles in. A candle is a device to provide light or fragrance. Candles have become very popular for the wonderful aromas more than for their ability to produce light. Some candles give off a popular smell such as vanilla or jasmine. Others smell like a chocolate cake or cinnamon rolls.

The body of a candle is generally made of paraffin wax. It can also be made out of beeswax. Paraffin wax is a natural wax that comes from plants. This wax can be purchased from Petroleum Refinery or the Specialty Wax Processor. Beeswax is also considered a natural wax, and is taken from honeybees. This is the substance the bees use to construct their honeycombs. A wick is placed in the center of the wax before it dries. The wick is made of cotton fibers that have been braided together. The wick is very thin, but also very powerful. Sometimes candle makers will use a wick that is wider than normal to increase the size of the flame.

Safety is a very important part of candle making. The temperature of the hot wax can result in severe burns. There is also the risk of fire. Make sure your candle making area is set up properly and that you have a fire extinguisher in the area. Clean up spills quickly as they will become very slick, leading to falls if you walk across them.

To make candle making fun instead of frustrating, start will making simple candles. This is a great opportunity for you to discover what works well with your set up and gives you the chance to make necessary changes. Initially, work at implementing good safety habits and melting your wax at the proper temperatures. You will also want to experiment with your cooling process. Once you have these areas down, you will start to relax and the process will become more natural to you. This is the right time to start experimenting with dyes, scents, and shapes for your candles.

The candle making process is easy to follow if you take your time and learn from your mistakes. Those who are impatient and take multitasking to an extreme will most likely not enjoy the art of candle making. However, it is very enjoyable by those who have plenty of time to take with the process and who enjoy creating things. Candle making supplies aren’t expensive so use the best you can. This will also help ensure your candles form well and burn properly.

>Making Hand Dipped Candles

>Making candles is a great hobby or business endeavor. Once you get the hang of it, the process is quite simple. For those who have the basics down cold, consider experimenting with the art of making hand dipped candles. While these lovely creations take more time, they are stunning. You can use several colors on each candle giving it a unique color scheme.

There are basic tools you will need to make hand dipped candles. Most of them you already use if you have experience in making candles. You will need a large amount of paraffin wax, wick, and a double boiler to melt it in. Other utensils include wooden spoons, bowls, and a good quality thermometer. The colors available for hand dipped candles are too many to name. These colors come in various forms including cakes, chips, powder, or liquid. If you choose to add scents to your hand dipped candles you need to make sure it is pure oil that does not have a water or alcohol base to it.

You will prepare your wax for hand dipped candles that same as you do for regular candles. Let it continue to heat until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it does, turn the heat down very low to keep the wax in liquid form. Add the color to the wax, using a small amount at a time until your reach the color you want. Add a small amount of scent the mix at this time if you desire. Use scents moderately as you don’t want to have too powerful of a smell. Using too much fragrance can also result in the candle not burning properly.

Next, cut the wick for your candles, keeping it just a bit longer than the candle length you want. If you are making sets of the candles, it is important to cut the wicks exactly the same length. You will want to dip the wicks into the candle wax making sure to coat it properly. This is how you will “build” your candle. After the wicks cool, dip them again. Each time you do, the candle will grow in size. If you want different areas of the candles to be different colors, you will be able to do so by simply having more than one color of wax ready to use. Once your candle is close to the desired thickness you want, shave it with a soft blade, giving the top a pointed look. Dip your candles a few more times to give them a smooth finish.

Creating hand dipped candles is a great hobby or business venture. The process is time consuming, but the creations are beautiful. Learning to make hand dipped candles can be tricky. This is not a good type of candle for beginners to try to learn with. They will quickly become frustrated. To practice without wasting supplies, melt down the wax from the candles you are building and use it over and over again until you have the process perfected.

To make particular designs on hand dipped candles, consider purchasing a book. Most will offer you great color photos with step by step directions for making each hand dipped candle. You will also be able to obtain great color charts for obtaining the best color for your candles. The internet is also a great place to get ideas for the colors of your hand dipped candles.

>Ajello Candles

>The motto of the Ajello Candle Company is “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. This candle making company has been in business since 1775. The business has been family owned for seven generations. The candles from Ajello’s are well known for their beauty and quality. While they make more candles now than in 1775, their dedication to quality and to customers has never changed.

The Ajello Candle Company was founded by Rafael Ajello, an Italian painter. He was also a beekeeper, so he tried his hand at using bees wax to create candles. He worked hard to create a formula that worked well. The formula, combined with his outstanding artistic ability, lead to the birth of the Ajello Candle Company. In 1785, the company earned the honor of creating all the candles for the Vatican. He and his wife ran the business, keeping their children involved in the processes from an early age. As time went on, their children and grandchildren kept the business running as well as passed the family business on to their children.

By 1862, the company had established itself as a leader among the candle making industry. They had also added perfumes and many colors to their line of outstanding candles. The decided to extend the business to Manhattan, New York. In both places, the business prospered. Kings and aristocrats in Italy wanted the services of the Ajello Candle Company. They designed candles for weddings, funerals, and ceremonies. They made the candles for the inauguration of the King of Spain in 1876, Pope Pius IX in 1878, and Pope Leo in 1902. Hollywood stars and rich people in Beverly Hills California wanted the candles from the Ajello Candle Company as well. Candles were also ordered by President Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, and Rudolph Valentino.

In 1922, the Ajello Candle Company made a memorial candle for their deceased friend Enrico Caruso. This candle was 18 feet tall and weighed more than a ton. It is estimated this candle could burn 24 hours a day for 1,800 years before running out of wax. This enormous memorial candle remains the largest one ever made in the world. Each year it is lit twice to honor the day Enrico Caruso was born and the day he died.

The Ajello Candle Company continued to grow and sells were well beyond anticipated both in Italy and the United States. In 1953 the company was asked to create 2,200 candles for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. The company was honored to meet the request, and had all the candles ready in six months. The Ajello Candle Company was approached to be bought out, but refused. The family wanted their candle business to remain just that, not a major corporation.

Despite the creative efforts of the Ajello Candle Company, they were not able to meet the demand for their candles in 1965 during the blackout in New York City. The age of computers has found the Ajello Candle Company offering candles via the internet. Ironically, as Rafael Ajello worked around the clock to make candles for this need, his wife was giving birth to their child at a hospital scrambling to find candles for her room.

The Ajello Candle Company is still going strong today, offering quality candles that are beautiful as well as made of the best quality products. These candles can be purchased in many specialty stores throughout the world as well as on the internet in the comfort of our homes. This candle making business has spanned many generations, yet continues to hold the traditions and values of Rafael Ajello who started this business more than two centuries ago.

>Lighting In The Bedroom

>Lighting in the bedroom is extremely important when
you are decorating. Many people often forget about the
lighting and it really makes a big difference when you
are decorating your bedroom.

The first thing you must think about when you are
designing the lighting in your bedroom is layering.
You must layer the lighting.

When you layer the lighting in the bedroom it gives
you the opportunity to create the different moods you
are hoping for. You should always have lamps on
bedside tables and another light across the room
diagonal from the bed.

This allows the lighting to be balanced in the room.
You also might consider light sources on a dimmer
switch that allow you to select the balance of light
that is emitted into the room.

One thing you do not want to do in your bedroom is
have a ceiling fan with a light on it. If you must
have a ceiling fan in the room then it is fine.

You should not have a light drooping from a ceiling
fan because it looks tacky. Your bedroom needs to have
the sexy look and a light from a ceiling fan will ruin
the look.

It is also a good idea to use different bulbs for the
lighting in the room to give a different look. Using
recessed bulbs with floor and table lamps can give the
look of washing the room with a soft light.

However, you also are layering the room with different
lighting and it gives the look of pure elegance that
you need to accomplish a nicely decorated bedroom.

>Adding Style To Your Home On A Budget

>There are many ways you can decorate your home when
you are on a budget. You don’t have to have a lot of
money to make your home look nice and stylish.

Many of the things you can do is shop second hand, use
family members, finding less than perfect items, and
more.

If you are hoping to redecorate your home but you are
on a tight budget then don’t worry about hiring
someone to come in and help you. This is where your
family and friends can come in and assist.

You can even hold a party to help you with the efforts
of painting, laying tile, or anything else you have in
mind. Friends and family are always willing to come
and help with a decoration project and if you provide
the food and drinks then they usually will never say
no.

When you are on a budget it is hard to find the best
and you have to be flexible. You can shop at second
hand stores and find really nice furniture, paintings,
rugs, and more.

If you are willing to shop used it will surprise you
some of the neat items you can find at these places
that you can use that will make your home look
fabulous. You might also want to think about finding
less than perfect merchandise.

You can go to furniture stores and find defective
furniture that is still brand new for very low prices.
Some of the furniture might have a scratch that is
barely noticeable at an excellent price. Some of the
furniture you cannot even see the defect and it is
brand new.

When you are on a budget you have to think cheap. Use
your friends and family members to help you and find
low cost items that are not so perfect or second hand.

>Adding Color To Rooms When You Don’t Have A Lot Of Money

>You can spruce up any room at a low cost. There are
many things you can do without having to spend a lot
of money. Many of the items you can purchase to liven
up a room include paint, paintings, and rugs.

White walls can be very boring in a new apartment or
home. You might not have a lot of money to spend for
decorating or design but you need to do something.

Painting the walls can make a really big difference in
a room. Some people favor sponge painting because it
looks as if the paint changes the texture in the
walls.

However, finding the right paint can create a mood in
the room you are looking for that is pleasurable and
calming.

Adding a painting to a wall makes a statement. You can
find cheap artwork for your wall that you enjoy and it
will say something about you. Some people like to add
a painting to a wall to create a focal point in a room
and it does work well. It will surprise you the
difference a picture or a painting will make in a
room.

Adding a colorful rug to a drab room will make an
amazing difference with the look and feel. A rug can
brighten up and make the room look brand new.

Depending on the style of your furniture, you might
consider an area rug as your center point in the room.
You will be surprised with the difference you can make
by laying out an area rug.

>9 Reasons Why You Should Be Nice To Your Event Suppliers

>Your event suppliers are everything to a party. You need to have the best, never second best. However, you need to keep good relationships with event supplies or they will never work for you ever. You can be ruined in a matter of minutes when you do something to hurt your relationship with a supplier.

One of the most important reasons why you need to be nice when dealing with your supplies is because they make or break you. If you disrespect the supplier, they will not only work for you, but they will tell everyone about you. You will end up loosing your business or reputation based on the fact that you weren't worth working for.

Again, your suppliers can make and break you, if you mess with the best; you then have to look at second-rate suppliers. Not only will your guests notice the change, but also they aren't as worth the money. You may find that they show up late or they don't deliver quality, and then your friends and associates are looking at your like what happened. You will lose cliental, you will lose friends, and you will lose associates because who wants to go to a party that is way below the normal standard?

The next reason why you should be nice to your even suppliers is because your guests will come accustom to a certain standard. If you lose your suppliers, your guests will notice. If you aren't finding better suppliers to replace the older ones, you may end up loosing your good reputation and have a fall from grace. You will notice that people will begin talking about you and you will feel ruined and be on the defense every time. Your supplies not only make the party, but they have a direct effect on your reputation and pull.

The fourth reason to be nice to your suppliers is because they sometimes will offer you things that you wouldn't normally get from them. If you have a strong relationship with your suppliers they will begin to give you better quality of things and offer you great discounts. You will be able to relay on them for anything. With that said, comes the fifth reason.

The fifth reason is tied with the benefits of having a strong and solid relationship. Basically, you can begin to lean on them. You can begin to plan a party within a week or two and they are willing to cancel any other contract to please you. If they overbook, they are more likely to choose you over the other. You begin to have a loyal relationship with them and they are more willing to go out of their way for you.

The next reason is based on their loyalty and trust for you. They may end up giving you or your clients extensions to pay the balance off. They will open a credit account with you so that you don't have to worry about quickly transferring the money. They will, in fact, give you a payment plan that they only offer to those who they have had long term connections with.

The seventh reason why you need to play nice with the supplies is the fact that they can back out at any time and then you are stuck to find another supplier for the event or party. It can be such a hassle to replace last minute quitters. It's also very expensive.

The eight reason to be nice is all the money that you can save. You will get discounts, extras, lower fees, and everything that concerns money once you have showed that you are worth the benefit. If they like you personally, you are more likely to save some money or get a kick back for the event.

The last reason why you need to be nice is the fact that you need to show people that you are a responsibly and respectable client. If you treat each other good, you will find that you are more likely to benefit each other. They will have a bigger client list from your friends and they will help you throw some of the best events that will shock and surprise your guests.

>6 Factors To Look Out For When Planning The Event Itinerary

>When it comes to planning an event, you need to do the even itinerary as well. You need to have everything timed to the T. You need to make sure that you stay on track and keep the event moving forward, or your guests will get bored and stop paying attention to all the events that are going around them. Here are a few things that you should think about when it comes to planning your event itinerary.

First, you need to make sure that you place everything in an order that makes sense. You will want to have the presentation move forwards with transistors so that the events plans make sense. You need to make sure that you take your time when it comes to the event itinerary. Everything needs to be related and mesh well together. If you truly want something that seems a little bit of an odd ball, then make an announcement of why it was so important to you to include the bit. That way everyone understands the program and event.

Secondly, you need to think about the time. You need to have enough time for the presenters to make a point, but not where they steal the show. Usually, you can give a speaker 10-15 minutes. Don't over load the program either. People do want some down time. If this event is going to be over dinner, let the people eat a little before you start. This way they are ready for the rest of the events.

Besides overloading, you need to look at the itinerary to see if you have enough things going on. You may need to add some speakers to the event to take up some time. You need to make sure that your program is not packed full or missing something. You don't want to give the audience a lot of down time, but two or so minutes here and there is a great idea.

Next, you need to be prepared when people go over their time. What will you do if someone takes 20 minutes instead of 15?  Well keep things flowing by shorting your parts and find other ways to take care of the time. Five minutes may not be a lot, but what if everyone takes extra time?  You will have to think about these things.

You should also consider taking people out of the program or introduce them to the program. Do not place them in the itinerary, but give them a big and warm introduction and tell the audience that they are a guest speaker. This way you can use up the extra time, but if you don't have any extra time then you don't have to use them.

Finally, you should get someone to review the itinerary before printing. Make sure that everything is spelled correctly and verify names. You need to make it look very professional without any errors. Then you can have them printed off for all the guests. You should make sure that it goes to the printer on time as well so that you don't panic in the end.

The itinerary will substitute for the program and it can be just a list of events. You don't have to get fancy with the itinerary. In fact, this is the cheap way to give out a program. You should stick with the itinerary during the event so that everyone knows that the program is going forward. Also, it can be a relief to see how much longer it is to some. Make sure that you have a perfect itinerary before sending them out to the speakers and guests because you don't want anyone to become offended.

>The 7 Keys To Your Creative Genius

>Here are 7 ways you can instantly access your natural creativity and create anything you like.

1. Think Like A Child. As adults we tend to think in a conditioned way aimed at showing how clever we are. Yet, as children, we were simply spontaneous and far more creative in our thinking. To re-capture your childhood curiosity, allow yourself to just wonder at things, to be completely present in the here and now, and to detach yourself from what you thought was real.

2. Make New Connections. To be innovative doesn't require a university degree; it simply requires making a connection between existing ideas. For instance, did you know that ice cream was invented in 2000 BC yet it took another 3900 years for someone to come up with the idea of a cone? It's when you take two seemingly unrelated items and use the spark of creativity that genius happens.

3. Be A Little Illogical. It is a peculiarly Western trait to want to tie things up in neat bundles. We prefer solutions to problems, and answers to questions. To be creative, you need to be comfortable with things that don't fit. The Eastern tradition is more in tune with incongruence. As in this Zen koan, or problem: what is the sound of one hand clapping?

4. Laugh More. Tom Peters says that the creativity of a workplace can be measured by a laughometer, ie how much it laughs. Humour is one of the greatest creative devices. It jolts us out of our normal patterns and puts ideas together that shouldn't go together. It has been found that after listening to comedy tapes, students’ ability to solve problems rises by 60%.

5. Think Outside Your Limits. Many of the products we take for granted today are the result of people thinking outside their limits. John Lynn recalls attending a computer conference in the 1980's at a hotel when someone joked that the next thing they'd be thinking of would be computerised doors. When he went back to the same hotel 20 years later, all the doors used computer-programmed key cards.

6. Adopt and Adapt. To be creative doesn't require blue-sky thinking. You can still be creative by adapting what works elsewhere. An American airline that wanted quicker turnarounds on their flights adopted the techniques of Formula One pit crews. Another source of ideas is nature. Georges de Mestral adapted the way certain seeds stick to clothing and invented Velcro.

7. Remember Your Dreams. Dreaming and day-dreaming can create a rich seam of ideas, because that's when we relax and let the subconscious mind work by itself. The Roffey Park Management Institute calls this "washing-up creativity" because most flashes of inspiration come when we are walking the dog, sitting Archimedes-like in the bath, or doing the washing up.

Apply these 7 creative thinking techniques and make them part of your daily thinking and I guarantee that new solutions to your problems will open up to you with ease and speed.

>Create Your Own Destiny

>We are constantly imitating others. When we copy other people, we can't reproduce their charisma, talent or success. Externally, we can imitate their life, their way of dressing and drive the same kind of car, but this does not bring us fulfilment.

We can take another's life as an example, but we must think hard before we follow them. Look at the virtues of others and ask yourself: "I have something valuable and worthwhile myself? How can I bring it out?" When you notice something bad in those around you, make a firm resolve: "Let me not nurture such vices".

There is much hidden potential in each one of us. What should we do to make this blossom? When you activate yourself, you bring out all the strengths and talents that God has given you, all that is inherent in you, that is natural in you, something genuine and original.

Create your own identity. When you do this other people gravitate towards you. Activation leads to gravitation. Then you don't imitate others. Instead others might want to be like you. We are used to paying more attention to the external world. We try to gain social approval by dressing ourselves in a certain manner.

We stand in front of the mirror and make sure that we are presentable before we leave the house. We trust the mirror implicitly. The mirror reflects our outward appearance, not our thoughts, feelings and relationships.

Does it reflect the love in your heart? You may go to your workplace dressed in your best clothes. When somebody provokes you there, you may retort in anger or sulk in silence. Either way your peace of mind is shattered. Now your beautiful dress does nothing to help you.

Only inner strength and equipoise can continue to keep you calm, cheerful and unruffled. For this you have to activate the divine core within, from which flows a perennial stream of peace and tranquillity.

Imitation cannot give you peace. So, watch your attitude, thoughts, words and desires. Be aware of the calmness in your inner core and try to retain it.

External beauty is temporary. Inner beauty is permanent and eternal. This is the beauty we need and this is what we gain when we activate ourselves. This is the beauty God recognises. So seek love, for you seek inner beauty. Direct your mind to a higher ideal.

When you see the divine beauty concealed in your own heart, you also see it in others. "Do not see, seek". Don't look merely at the external form, but also at the divinity within. Today when you see a beggar, you will give him alms.

You will not pat him on the back or shake his hand. If your child comes home, dirty from the playground and calls you "Mummy, Daddy ...", you hug him with love.

If a child in rags comes to you, you drive him away because you don't love him. For the realised soul a beggar and a king are equally divine and beautiful because he has activated his inner core.

When you imitate you only see. When you activate you seek. The difference between "see" and "seek" is the "k". That "k" is kindness or karuna.

When there is care, compassion and kindness, nothing else matters. So let us stop imitating. Let us evaluate ourselves and nurture the divine core within. Let us seek. Let us activate.

>Connect with Your Body

>When we're in the creative flow, we can sometimes forget we even have a body, because our minds are exploding with color, sounds, words and images. But when unhealthy habits sap your body of its vitality and strength, your creativity and productivity will be sapped as well.

What could be more frustrating than the interruption of your creative flow by an uninvited headache, back spasm, dullness of mind or the "shakes"?

I once heard the expression that as a guitar player, I'm a "small muscle athlete" – meaning I need to warm up those muscles and treat them well. Perhaps as artists we're ALL small muscle athletes. After all, we do need a good measure of physical endurance to get through our creative tasks.

Whether it's sitting hunched over an easel, the repetitive movements of playing a musical instrument, the stamina to stand and walk on stage throughout an entire show or sitting at a computer keyboard for most of the day, our creative tools all require the use of the body.

To keep that body strong and resilient takes daily attention.

Day-to-day self-care practices such as getting enough sleep, eating three healthy and balanced meals that are evenly timed throughout the day (plus healthy snacks if you need them), moving your body actively and drinking enough water are all essential for taking care of your body.

Taking care of the body also affects the mind. Fatigue, malnutrition, inactivity and dehydration will all have adverse effects on the mind and the ability to problem solve, concentrate and connect ideas.

<b>The Creative Cycle and Self-Care</b>

Touring with a band, rehearsing for a show or burning the midnight oil to finish a painting before a gallery opening, are all examples of extraordinary circumstances where we might relax our self-care discipline and adopt a whole new set of rules.

Then, when the show or tour is over or the piece is finished, we sometimes sink into an anti-climactic "low" or a period of transition before we get back into the creative flow again.

The daily practices you keep when things are "normal" will build resilience for the times when these extraordinary circumstances come up. They also build habits and healthy living skills that you can draw on when life gets more challenging.

<b>Put it into play</b>

One of the best practices for a healthy body, mind and spirit is to get enough sleep and rest. Tonight, end your evening activities a half hour early and spend that time winding down. Release the worries of the day by writing or speaking about them. Calm yourself with a bath, tea, massage, music or a good read that doesn’t remind you of your work.

We can all come up with reasons why we can't exercise, we can't make different food choices and we can't focus more on our health.

You have a unique creative gift to share with the world, but your creativity relies on a sound mind and body.

So which of your reasons for not taking care of yourself are more important than that?

>Tips on Optimizing Job Listings

>Finding a job and looking for somebody to fill a position are no longer difficult. Thanks to the innovations that technology has introduced, people are now adept with job searches. Both the job seekers and employers have more choices when it comes to finding jobs, whether online or offline research.

In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics asserted that there is a probable increase of 21.3 million jobs in the coming years. This is because job seekers are finding more ways to search for the right jobs.

One of the most commonly used methods for job searches is the job listing. In fact, most employers contend that job listing is the most effective way of landing a job. Surveys show that 47% of inactive people looking for jobs rely so much on job listings as a means of getting some information about job openings.

This concept is based on studies and surveys that job seekers are more inclined to search for jobs in terms of the available positions and not on the possible employers or companies.

Hence, it is important for the employers to know how to get the most out of job listings in order to maximize their hiring endeavor.

Here’s how:

1. Employers should learn how to concentrate on rewards that they can give to the people rather than what the company’s mission and vision are.

In most cases, job seekers are more interested on what they can get from the position that they are applying for rather than the history of the company itself. Hence, it would be better if the employers emphasize more on their job listing the benefits that people can get once they are hired.

2. Employers should present job openings in their job listings in a simple manner.

The key point in making job listings is not to expound more on the highly technical business terms. It would be better to emphasize what their company can do and how the employees can benefit from them.

3. It is important for the employers to be straight to the point when describing job positions in job listings.

There are instances wherein employers tend to make the position more technically conceptualized wherein the job description is mainly different from what the position entails.

Hence, it is important for the employer to tell the exact position and job description as it is in the simplest terms.

Indeed, job listings can be very beneficial to everybody. It just needs the right principle in order to be successful in job hunting and employee searches.

>Tips for a Successful Local Job Search

>If you are seriously searching for a local job, but you have no idea where to look, you may be just one of the thousands of unemployed people in the country. However, finding a job is easy when you know where to search.

Where can you find employers? How can you find your desired local job?

Before anything else, you should determine your skills and abilities, update your resume and be ready to face the employment process. There are several options on where to find employment.

1) Job Center: Job centers provide numerous vacancies for different kinds of work. Majority of job centers update their employment board frequently.

Originally, these career centers cater to young jobseekers up to 21 years old. They arrange for appropriate job interviews, which they believe, would match your skills and abilities. Some job centers also process training vacancies and apprenticeships to young people. Today, these centers also cater adults’ need of employment.

2) Newspapers: Local and national newspapers, non-profit papers and job hunting newspapers provide advertisements on current job vacancies. You could find all the existing newspapers in libraries and check all the recent job postings.

Majority of newspapers today have their content available online. You could browse through them one by one and list all the jobs you prefer.

3) Journals and magazines: Every industry has their own periodicals, magazines or journals. Most employers go to these publications for employing professionals. Some could be bought in magazine stands and others come by subscription. Therefore, if you are hoping to establish your career based on your finished field of study, you could subscribe to a professional magazine and increase your local job prospects.

4) Agencies: Employment agencies handle most of vacant local work. Covering all kinds of work for various industries, these agencies are listed in local directories and Yellow pages.

5) Employer grounds: Many companies have job vacancies on their premises. Since these companies such as food retailers make use of internal notice boards, they do not advertise in newspapers and agencies. You could walk into these companies and ask the front desk for employment vacancies.

6) Internet: The most cost-effective way in finding local jobs is through the internet. Majority of employment agencies, newspapers, top companies, magazines and job centers have their own website. You could save time by searching through them one by one and apply for the job you prefer the most.

Making use of all these options could save you a lot of time searching for your desired local job. You could use all of these methods simultaneously to increase your chances of employment.

>Jumpstart Your CRM Strategies With These Tips

>For every executive, entrepreneur and those ubiquitous
managers, customer databases are priceless. They move
in ways that are primarily targeted on making their
current customers happy and bringing in new ones on a
regular basis.

If the number of clients climb to degrees that are
simply difficult to handle, a CRM application can aid
one on this. But what can this type of application do
to benefit managers? CRM stands for customer resource
management, a philosophy that every manager must build
into his/her company.

A basic characteristic of which is that it keeps
things organized in order to utilize efficiently
potential clients that are in queue. With this in
place, managers can, in increasing degrees, understand
their customers and build a lasting relationship with
them.

CRM software does this by helping the user collate
data, organize it and making it look as clean as
possible so as to help the manager find any flaws in
the sales process that hamper the firm’s profit goals.

How to maximize CRM First things first: a company must
understand that CRM is essential in improving customer
loyalty and adheres to the notion that a CRM
initiative is one of the most important and
influential action a firm will ensue.

If this is in place, one must make a commitment to
organizational development in order to follow the
principles CRM entails. In the future, different teams
in the organization will discover the wonderful
answers to the riddles CRM poses and also see that
these same answers also sheds light on where customer
touch points interact and which information (buying
patterns) is necessary or not.

Also, managers will also identify which business
practices work and which ones don’t. So to speak, an
organization must commit itself firstly to the CRM
philosophy and follow everything stipulated on its
invisible handbook in order to extract CRM’s
potential.

Second, the manager must know how to adjust their
operations and see valid connections within teams
depending on projects and workflows. This seems like a
total hassle, but it is the next and only step towards
building a solid corporate strategy that a company
must believe in.

CRM software helps this by creating a matrix of all
problems identified and solutions discussed. With
this, one can see and compare challenges across
different departments and identify potential changes
in the company’s strategies that will help solve these
issues.

With this done, the firm will be developing in the
long run a standardized sales process premised on
proven business practices which can integrate into
different departments like Marketing and Human
Resources.

Understand Trade-offs With a new philosophy and
business strategy in tow, basic principles in
economics will be clearer to the naked eye, guiding
the manager on how to maximize profits and pose an
excellent cost/efficiency ratio.

CRM solutions like SugarCRM help executives understand
these concepts, given that the whole application is
fully customizable, an Iron Man in disguise, with many
weapons and tricks potentially available in disguise.
With all these things set up, one can finally utilizes
the potential Customer Relationship Management offers
to the industry. One, it makes thing more organized.

Two, holes in the system will be found easily. Three,
opportunity costs and trade offs will be gleaned and
finally, costs shall be down and profit shall store
substantially, given that consumers truly enjoy the
firm’s product and it has an efficient Marketing
system that lures more clients.

>It’s The Little Things That Matter: Mobile CRM And Its Advantages

>Gone are the times when deals are closed with
face-to-face meetings, where service call reports and
proposals pile up in offices and those late hours
where people have to frantically rush over to offices
for deadlines. The modes of communication have now far
transcended the sweet nothings of lovers in opposite
areas of the world and sponsorship agreements of firms
across time zones in the 90’s tech boom.

Today, immense amounts of data depict inventory
controls, consumer interactions and sales forecasting
bolt through the Communications & Media superhighway,
landing on the desks of managers, partners and the
like, perusing on those priceless data for that
competitive advantage in their industries.

A lean, quick and efficient workplace is crucial to an
enterprise’s success; and even though Mobile CRM takes
a lot out of the company’s funds, there is no better
opportunity to improve upon on the sales and marketing
weaknesses of the firm and build upon its strengths.
In the long run, Mobile CRM takes advantage of best
communications technology and actually gives the bang
for the firm’s buck.

Functionality

As corporations get larger, the importance of the
mobility of data through different areas in the world
also heightens in staggering degrees. Certain tastes
in the Chinese market may hamper with an American
corporation’s thrust towards globalizing its brand.

In order to tackle these kinds of problems, the firm
must dig for information, scouring the land for
snippets of culture to gain insight on these specific
consumers’ tastes and needs. Inventory reports must be
shown periodically to Brand managers, in order to
adjust their marketing strategies to adjust the tab of
market demand to adhere perfectly to the companies’
supplies.

Every little detail is integral for corporations,
especially multinationals, in order to discover common
consumer likes and finally think of "China’s
Coca-Cola". Such is the beauty of mobility in a
globalized economy, and Mobile CRM gives the companies
these agile strides for better efficiency and
functionality.

Fuel up sales

The primary reason Mobile CRM is very beneficial to a
company is how it tracks every facet of the firm’s
moves, from a sales consultant in London, a brand
strategist in Singapore, all reporting on demand
shifts, inventory surpluses and more to the
headquarters a thousand miles away. Again, this
regular updating of databases influential to a
company’s business decisions gets to where it heads
to, in record time, to the Project Manager, who makes
the necessary adjustments for the success of his team.
This in turn helps them avoid catastrophic mistakes,
which can potentially cost them millions of dollars.

Conclusion

A simple look at our industries tell everything about
the importance of mobility: tech companies concocting
ideas on what could be the next biggest trend, asking
themselves what is the next Motorola RAZR or Apple
iPod. It’s a race for innovation for these types of
companies where relentless focus group discussions,
surveys and interviews are held, drafted and given,
respectively. Mobile CRM helps them get to that level.
Everything from company image and sales reports are
written in intricate databases which are passed along
and discussed by different groups of the organization,
all focused to do one thing: hitting the market at the
sweet spot, and consequently getting the jackpot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

>The Top 3 Ways To Eat More Greens

>tral components of any healthy diet is eating a sufficient quantity of greens. Yet 95% of people who follow a health diet, do not consume enough green leafy vegetables.

I'll admit, I often have trouble (or sometimes even lack the desire) to eat my greens. There are days when I just don't eat enough of them. I know greens are good. I know I need to eat more greens but I just don't do it.

And then I discovered a fun way to get more greens into my diet. Here are my Top-3 Ways to get more greens into your diet.

1. Make Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are great and my favorite way to consume a large quantity of greens! When I first heard about green smoothies I was a little skeptical about blending fruit and greens and was surprised by the result.

Here are some recipes from my ebook Smoothies for Optimal Health.

Berry Roman Smoothie

1 cup strawberries
2 whole bananas
1/2 bunch romain
1/2 to 1 cup water

Blend fruit and water. Add romaine lettuce. Enjoy.

Being Green Smoothie

2 cups fresh spinach
1 whole grated cucumber or carrot
2 whole bananas
1 whole orange
3 whole apples, juiced

In a blender, whirl together all ingredients until thick and smooth.

2. Make Blended Salads

Once you've gotten used to the taste of greens in your smoothies, you can graduate to making blended salads. You can transition gradually by reducing the amount of fruit in your smoothie and increasing the quantity of greens. Gaspacho is a type of blended salad. Here is one of my favorite recipes (though I will admit it took me a while to get used to the taste and texture of blended salads).

Blended Salad

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 ribs of celery
4 leaves lettuce (big)
1 big handful spinach
1 green onion
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup parsley
2 Tbs. dulse flakes
1 Tbs. nori flakes (optional)
Water if needed

Blend the tomatoes together, and add the rest of the ingredients progressively. Use water only if you need to. A blended salad should be quite thick.

3. Find One Good Healthy Salad Dressing

A funny thing happened once I started consuming more greens in my diet. I started to dislike some of my favorite "healthy" dressings. My tastebuds lurched at the taste of olive oil. So I compiled a collection of healthy salad dressings in my ebook "The Top 70 Healthy Salad Dressings You Can Make in Less Than 2 Minutes"

Here's a recipe to get you started.

2 tomatoes or cucumbers
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup fresh dill
1 small avocado

Blend tomatoes and add other ingredients progressively. Blend until smoothie. Add other seasonings if desired. Use more water if necessary.

We know greens are good for us and we should all strive to get more greens in our diet but don't force yourself to eat more greens if you don't like them! You'll get sick easily. Instead, let your innate hunger for greens come back naturally, by slowly incorporating more greens in your diet in the form of green smoothies, blended salads, etc. You'll find that as your diet starts to become cleaner, you will naturally crave more greens and raw foods.

>Ingredient Profile: The Onion

>Believe it or not, I actually hate onions in my food. Whenever I detect the sharp and pungent flavor of an onion in my meal, I cringe to myself a little and slowly pick through my food, trying to avoid the onions at all costs. So why am I writing an article about them? Well as it turns out, I'm alone in my opinion on onions...and the rest of you Americans and world-class citizens love the bulby oddities. So who am I to deny you an onion education -we wouldn't want you crying over an onion, would we? Oh but you already have.

So here's my guide to the onion. I hope you find it helpful as we'll go through some of its history, some interesting facts, and of course - the best of the best onion recipes.

The National Onion Association classifies onions into two categories: spring/summer fresh onions and the fall/winter storage variety. These fresher onions are available April through August while the dryer storage onions turn up more often August through April. Both come in red, white and yellow forms, but the spring/summer onions are said to be sweeter, moister, and milder. Therefore used in sweeter dishes, the fall/winter kind is used for savory dishes.

The most common onion is the yellow onion. Not only is most of American onion production (for more information on domestic onion production, click here) focused on yellow onions, but their full flavor is suitable for a wide range of cooking, most notable French Onion Soup. Red onions are used more often in salads, and other fresh uses, or for grilling or broiling, according to the National Onion Association. White onions show up quite a bit in Mexican cuisine and have a sweet flavor when sauteed. Others argue All of these varieties range in size - from 1 inch to 4.5 inches in diameter. For a more specific guide to the different varieties of onions including vidalia, walla walla, and Texas, click here.

"Onions should be firm and heavy for their size. Avoid onions that have sprouted or that have an odor, or that have green or moldy blemishes," says Cooks Thesaurus, who offers up some helpful advice on purchasing and cooking onions.

Another way to classify an onion is by its type: bulb, multiplier (a derivation of the bulb onion) or tree onions. The most common form is bulb, which includes the sweet onions like vidalia, and all the colored varieties we've just discussed. But if you noticed,

The top onion producer in 2005, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, was China, followed by India, who was followed by the United States. The third top onion producer, Americans harvested 3.3 million tons of onions in 2005.

Celebrating the Onion
Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Festival

Why do onions make us cry?

You've probably noticed that when you cut up a raw onion, your eyes start to tear. A common problem for every onion chopper, this happens because of the enzymes in an onion. Since the onion is being chopped, the cells are being broken - allowing the enzymes to be released. The enzymes in an onion are called allianases and they react to the sulfides in the onion-chopping environment to create a sulfuric acid gas. This gas is immediately composed and released into the air, therefore reaching your eyes. Our eyes' nerve endings are irritated by sulfuric acid, therefore inducing uncontrollable "crying."

Cooks Thesauraus recommends chilling onions first to avoid tearing. "If you're prone to crying while cutting onions, try chilling them first, then peeling them under running water. Always cook onions over low or medium heat, since they become bitter at high temperatures."

Onion Recipes Worth Crying Over

Onions turn up in all sorts of dishes, from appetizers and soups even to desserts. They are one of the most widely used ingredient, not just across dishes but across cultural cuisine. Here are some recipes worth trying out:

Recipes that focus on onions:

Tandoori Onion Salad
Onions Au Gratin
Caramelized Red Bell Peppers and Onions
French Onion Soup
Brown-Braised Onions
Baked Onions
Onion Tart (Pissaladiere)
Onion Bhajis
Indian Pickled Onions
Tomato and Onion Salad with Tahini Dressing
Onion Rings

Recipes that use onion as a supplement:

Onion Meatball Supper
Braised Artichokes with Little Onions and Bacon
Grilled Sirloin and Red Onions with Blue Cheese Butter
Onion Chicken Breasts
Cranberry Onion Pork Roast
Grilled Bratwurst and Onion Sandwiches
Onion-Beef Fettucine
Corn and Onion Casserole

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