Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stamps Collecting

Collecting stamps has been a popular pastime ever since there were stamps to collect. Collecting stamps has never been easier and collecting isn’t just for the gray-haired gentleman who spends his days poring over his stamps.

When collecting stamps, it’s important to have at least some definition of what you’re hoping to achieve. Some people collect only historical stamps. That is, they’re only looking for the old, rare stamps that are highly sought and prized by collectors. This is a noble goal, but probably not much fun for those without the finances to make those rare purchases. If you’re simply looking for a great hobby, start searching for unusual stamps or collect stamps postmarked in other states and/or countries.

Take a look at some ideas that can help you get your stamp collection off to a good start, or give your current collection a real boost.

Don’t keep your stamp collection a secret. While Great-Aunt Margie isn’t likely to want to sit down and hear the history of every stamp in your collection, letting her know that you’re a stamp collector could be the best move you’ve ever made. She may have a stash of letters in her attic from that special beau who wrote to her from Europe during World War I! Or she may have the letters her grandmother sent back home during her trek across the country in a covered wagon. And she just may remember to mail you a postcard from her next trip to a foreign country. The most unlikely people may be the ones to help you expand your collection, so let family and friends know that you’re collecting stamps.

The Internet can be a very useful tool for those collecting stamps. All you really need to do is find an online forum for stamp collecting and start trading stamps with others creating collections similar to yours. In most cases, you’ll be able to send a letter and the recipient will send one back to you – instantly adding stamps to your collection. Because this is a relatively inexpensive request, you may also get people to send you stamps who aren’t looking for a return letter.

Another idea for collecting stamps that works well for youngsters is to simply be looking for those unusual, strange or “cool” stamps. Your post office will likely have a good selection and you can let your child help you choose each time you need a new book of stamps. Take one off to add to the collection and see how many great stamps are available. Don’t forget that the postal service will also let you create your own stamps with photos you upload to their website!

Collecting stamps can be a great way to connect with your child, and can create a hobby that will span a lifetime.

Stamp Collecting Tips

Stamp collecting is an age-old hobby that holds the interest of millions of people the world over. Stamp collecting began in the 1840’s when the first stamps were issued. “Stamp madness,” or “timbromania” swept through Europe and spread worldwide. Stamp collecting is not as popular as it once was, but there are still an estimated 25 million people in the US alone and over 200 million around the world who still collect.

It is not hard to get started in the infamous art of stamp collecting, nor is it overly expensive. There are a few must have items needed to begin: tweezer-like tongs to handle stamps, a magnifying glass, a stamp album, and of course, the stamps.

The first thing to decide is what type of stamps you wish to collect. Many people collect new stamps and just as many collect used ones; it is all a matter of personal preference. If collecting new stamps, there are thousands of Internet sites selling stamps, there are dealers all over the world that sell them, and there are even stamp auctions. If collecting used stamps, most people will save stamps off of their mail and also save the stamps off of all their friends and families mail. One of the cheapest ways to start a large collection is buying a roll of used stamps from a collector. You can get 1000 mixed stamps for as low as $12.00.

Many people only collect stamps from their respective countries, then there are some that collect worldwide stamps. If you like a specific theme of stamp you can collect just that one type, such as birds, ships, planes, animals, or even celebrities. The types of stamps are as different as the people that collect them. It is often a good idea to start with a general collection until you decide exactly what type of stamp interests you.

After there are a good number of stamps in your collection they need to be sorted. Most people will sort their stamps by countries and or themes. Then go another step further and arrange them alphabetically. This will make stamps much easier to find.

When stamps have been accumulated, it is essential that you know the proper ways to care for stamps so as not to ruin them. In order to remove the stamp from the envelope, first cut around the stamp carefully. Place the stamp face-up in a bowl of luke-warm water and let it soak for about 20 minutes. When the stamp comes off carefully put the stamp on a dry towel then use the special stamp tweezers to put it into an album.

If looking for more information on stamps and stamp collecting, the local post office is a good place to start. They usually have separate philatelic counters. Some larger post offices also sell a Stamp Collecting Start-up Kit. As a source for more information there are also stamp clubs, magazines and stamp catalogues, or experienced stamp dealers.

Collecting Stamps for fun

Stamp collecting is great for all ages.  Not only is it great for the older generations, but for the kids as well.  You can learn and enjoy different kinds of information from every stamp.  You can also profit a lot from stamps, if you know what you're doing or just happen to stumble upon a rare, expensive stamp.

Many consider stamp collecting as a fun activity not only for older people but also for kids. It provides a person the pleasure of collecting different types of stamps that he may find in ordinary binders or through his received mail. Some people consider it an exciting hobby. For a beginner, he may be fond of compiling different kind of stamps from his album until he realizes that he could specialize in collecting the these stamps.

It is indeed a fun hobby because a person may enjoy and learn different kinds of information from collecting stamps. A stamp features everything that may come into every person’s mind from places, persons, sports, historical events, cars, and many more. He may find it rewarding in the future for having enough compilations and albums where he may display and exhibit his collection.

He may also realize that he may profit from these items. There are special stamps that may feature an important event or a person. The price value of these special stamps can be expensive depending on their rarity and the limited versions of the releases. They can be similar to other commodities where a collector may find a dealer that can provide the possible price value of a particular stamp.

A better option for him to profit more from his collection is to find stamp collectors that may show interest in some stamps that he may also be possibly collecting. He may advertise his collection in newspapers and magazines that conduct special advertisements for rare and special stamps. He may also make use of the Internet in joining auction sales for his stamps. He may also be ensured of an updated value of the stamp by comparing the offered value from current advertisements from the Internet.

The price value can vary depending on the production and supply of the item. The increasing number of collectors that specializes from those rare stamps and limited edition stamps may motivate him to be more competitive in finding these items. There is also an increase on the price value because of this high demand.

Nevertheless, they are more than just earning and profiting. Most stamp collectors consider it as a fun hobby. He may never compare the pleasure he feels every time he find those stamps that interested him. There could be many reasons why people collect stamps. In addition, one good reason they may answer is that it is fun and can give satisfaction of accomplishing something.

It is also helps a person to be informed on different things. Most of these items feature insights about the landmarks and history of a country. This is one reason why it very popular and famous among other collections. A person can never get over the enthusiasm of learning and discovering new things. If he would like to pursue this hobby of being a stamp collector, here are some few things to keep in mind.

1.  He should know what things that interest him. He may start finding for collections that can have special meanings or importance to him. He may have the option of choosing from simple stamps that he may receive from mail and postcards from binders.

2.  He may join clubs and gatherings to interact with people. He might be able to meet people that are collecting items as well. He may ask the person that may have some collections related to these stamps. In this case, he may be able to trade some of his stamps in replace of that particular stamp.

3.  He needs to make sure that he knows how to maximize his time in places where he travels. He may find places that he can possibly find stamps with the theme that he collects.

4.  He may access some sites in the Internet that can provide information on where and how to look for rare and special stamps.

5.  He may continue doing this hobby for as long as he is having fun. There are many topics and themes to choose from. A collector will not be limited on a certain topic.

A stamp collector should always remember to take importance of the things that makes him fulfilled and pleased. He should take proper care to these kinds of items. Stamps are very sensitive. They are only pieces of paper but they have significant value and importance.

Stamp collectors should be careful with everything involving this hobby.  They should be extremely delicate with all the stamps themselves as well as when dealing with other people in trading, selling, or buying stamps.  They can easily get scammed, but you can also get really good deals.

Stamp Collecting Basics

Stamp collecting is the most popular hobby in the world.Philately is a broader term for the study of stamps, and it is frequently - but wrongly - equated to stamp collecting.

Through stamp collecting, people find information about history,currency, science,politics,arts,architecture and customs of different nations and countries of the world. All stamp collectors have fun with their stamps because no collection is ever complete, and there is always a challenge.

First, decide whether you would like to collect unused (mint) or used (canceled) stamps.If starting a mint stamp collection,purchase unused stamps from the post office.And if you see interesting stamps coming in the mail - collect them.

Many collectors prefer used stamps because they are less expensive or they may cost you nothing.

Some collectors save stamps by "topic": for instance, if you are interested in ships, you may want to collect stamps of ships and boats.Car fans often collect stamps with cars on them.You can disregard the countries and only collect stamps that have pictures that you like. Some people like to collect stamps of one or several countries,but which are all of the same subject. Popular topical themes are birds,cats, butterflies,flowers, sports, space,art,chess,famous people and other.

Specialized collecting means that you can collect all the varieties of a single stamp or collect stamps used for a special purpose.

Country collecting is usually done chronologically by date of issue, sub-divided into reigns or political periods.

Some collectors specialize in collecting only the first stamps, one for each country that has ever issued a postage stamp, or collecting first-day covers,which carry a stamp on the first day it was sold with that day's postmark.

Some areas of collecting cost less than ten cents a stamp, while others can cost thousands of dollars.

A lot of people collect "Cinderellas" - stamps that are not official stamps issued by a country's postal administration.Cinderella collectors include in their collections local postage issues,telegraph stamps,tax stamps,forgeries and counterfeits.

The "hobbies" section of your local library may have basic books about stamp collecting, and the reference department may have a set of stamp-collecting catalogs.To find the value of a specific stamp, visit some good stamp-collecting web sites.

If looking for more information on stamps and stamp collecting, the local post office is the best place to start.

Hiding In Your Pocket

When talking about coin collecting, rare coins are some of the first things to spring to mind. After all, coin collecting is often considered to be an investment and rare coins are the most valuable coins out there. They are highly sought after and coveted and, because they are in so much demand, they tend to be worth a great deal. However, because they are worth a great deal, they tend to be much more in demand, which increases their value. So if you want to look into rare coins, remember that you have some heavy competition.

One of the best places to find rare coins is, of course, in your pockets. No, you are not going to find any coins that are worth thousands. But you can find an occasional needle in the haystack that will be worth much more than you might expect. This is because there are a lot of coins in circulation and some rare coins just float along and get lost in the shuffle because nobody bothered to see what was in their hands. However, as a coin collector, you should take a look at the change that passes into your hands so that you can be sure to catch the occasionally unusual coin that comes your way. Of course, it is difficult to keep your eyes out all the time for that coin that slips through the cracks for years on end, but the rewards are well worth the effort of checking your change routinely.

In order to ensure that you find the rare coins that pass your way, you need to be well informed. Which means that you need to do your research so that you know what to look for. You could have fistfuls of rare coins in your hands, but they are only worth something if you notice that they are rare. So you should keep on top of coin collecting and have the research handy when you look through your change for rare coins. Plus, by doing the research now, you can avoid kicking yourself later for overlooking a rare coin that was right in the palm of your hand.

Though your own pockets may hold a good supply of rare coins, a more reliable place to hunt for rare coins in at your local coin dealer or online. The coin dealer is often superior in this instance, as you will be able to look at the coins directly, rather than relying on photography and description to figure out if the rare coin you desire is the one you are attempting to buy. However, there are reputable coin dealers on the Internet and they have excellent selections of rare coins. But do your research before you buy so that you know the person you are dealing with can be trusted.

Rare coins are not only good investments, they can be fun too. After all, having something unusual that everyone else wants is rather enjoyable on its own. Not only does it provide you with a sense of satisfaction for having found something others overlooked, it gives you the chance to take some pride in your own process of discovery. And, with coin collecting, the fun is not only in having a good collection, it is in building it. So get to building an excellent collection by including some rare coins.

Rare Coins

Who would have thought that the gift of a coin would end up being the best gift I've ever received?

I have many fond memories of my grandmother, but one such memory will stay with me for the rest of my life. When I was 10 years old, my grandmother gave me a silver dollar for Christmas.

To this day, I still have that coin. And from that little memento, I gained a lot. I gained the passion to collect coins, leading me to becoming a professional numismatist (coin expert).

Collecting coins has taught me the value of holding on to those special tokens that most people take for granted. And that Carson City, Nev. minted silver dollar ended up gaining a significant value.

Today, people collect coins for numerous reasons. Some accumulate coins as family heirlooms, some simply because they love owning miniature pieces of art sculpted by famous artists. But whatever the reason, they see the gift that coins can bring.

Besides the fact that rare-coin collecting is a fun hobby, here is a list of some other reasons you should start a collection of your own:

* Protect your assets. Hard assets offer you safety and

security in the event of a world currency crisis or stock market crash.

* Maximize your investment in metals. We can't go back in history and create more historic coins. Only a finite number of rare coins are available.

* Inflation. Gold and silver investments follow a long-term cycle. When undervalued, they gain tremendous upside potential when the value of paper money declines.

* Liquidity. Rare coins gain liquidity as millions of dollars are traded for them weekly on the Internet and through other networks.

* No tax consequences until liquidation. Rare coins that have increased in value are not taxed until you sell them. And if you trade coins for coins of equal or greater value, you won't be taxed.

* You'll own a piece of history. You'll learn about American values and history simply by collecting coins.

Turning Your Hobby Into Profits

Everyone has a hobby of some kind - most people have several.  There are people who collect stamps; people who make scrapbooks or create graphic designs with their digital photos; people who love horseback riding, hiking or bicycling.  Maybe you do something that you don't even know is considered a “hobby”.  Technically, anything that you engage in for fun that is outside of your occupational activities is considered a hobby- so chances are you have lots of hobbies!

Have you ever considered turning one of your hobbies into a business?   You may be surprised at how virtually any hobby can be converted to profits, and without tremendous overhead or ridiculously high start up costs.  What's even better, you aren't required to have a specific product to sell!  In fact, you can make your knowledge your product to sell.

If you participate regularly in some sort of hobby, you are bound to know quite a bit about it.  If you make scrapbooks of your family and friends, then you probably have extensive knowledge about where to get the best deals on your scrapbooking supplies, and how to create special effects on your photo album pages.  Maybe you have magazines and websites that you refer to all the time for inspiration.  You have the personal knowledge of what it took to get started in the hobby.  For example, scrapbooking requires that you have access to supplies like paper, stickers, glue, photo albums and scrapbooking tools.  Someone who has just learned about scrapbooking and thinks they want to start the hobby will need to figure out what they need to get started.  You could offer this knowledge as your product to sell.  Think people won't buy it?  Think again.

If you've ever used a search engine to look up information, you know that it's time consuming to sort through all the data to find exactly what you're looking for.  Often, you're given tons of information that doesn't seem all that reliable, and you have to determine what you can use and what you need to avoid!  When you make your personal knowledge of a hobby your product to sell- you're helping everyone who wants to find that information without spending hours searching for it! 

You do not need to have a physical product to sell in order to make a profit.  In fact, having an inventory or having to create physical items from materials offers a lower profit margin than selling information.

Information products are among the top items to sell for a variety of reasons.  They offer a low cost to get started, meaning you start earning a profit after just a couple sales.  Informational products include eBooks, online courses or email courses, software, audio files, web sites- basically anything that can be downloaded from the internet.  You aren't required to have an inventory and you can set up your business model to allow you to earn money by the work other people do for you.

So now, maybe you're thinking that this is all well and good- but you still don't have a product to sell!  You haven't written an eBook, and maybe your writing skills leave little to be desired.  Creating online or email courses are time consuming, and to create software you need special training.  You can still sell your knowledge.  Create a “package” of items that someone would need in order to get started in a particular hobby, and promote it as the “everything you need to know” about starting the hobby.   Contact someone who has written an informative eBook on the topic; find someone else who has made an online video or radio show regarding it, and request permission to sell the items in your package.  If they have affiliate programs, you can probably sign up for the affiliate programs and earn commission that way.  Include your list of great providers for supplies or information that you refer to regularly, and anything else you know a person needs in order to get started in the hobby.  This is a product to sell: selling your knowledge.

Once you've earned money from this type of information product business, you can invest in the creation of your own products if you want, or start offering more informational products that allow you to sell your knowledge!

Hobby Helping

Ask a room full of people what hobby they have and you will get as many answers as there are people. Others will confess that they don’t have a hobby. They probably do; but just don’t label it as such. By definition, a hobby is an activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

Whether stamp collecting, chat rooms, trains, soft ball, scrapbooking, golf, reading, painting, tap dancing, yard work, crafts, auto mechanics, music, hunting down garage sales, sewing, fishing, cooking, boating, furniture refinishing, javelin tossing or a plethora of other activities or interests the key element is balance. You must find balance between your family life and your extracurricular activities.

Too much of a good thing turns bad. Everyone should have an outlet and a special interest that they enjoy doing for themselves. Self indulgence, to a point, is quite healthy. Escaping from day to day grinds to take some time to devote to your special hobby or concentration is therapeutic. You’ve all heard, “if Mamma ain’t happy, no one’s happy.” It doesn’t matter if your role is father, mother, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, son, daughter, brother or sister, if you’re just going to work or school and have no real outside activities, you’re probably not always the most friendly person to be around.

Conversely, if you bury yourself and it seems to others that all you care about or all you ever want to do is bang on the drums all day, you’re setting yourself up or prolonging discontent. People deal with depression in many ways. Some sleep all the time. Others want to do nothing but read, read, read. Still others will spend hours upon hours downstairs building a bigger, faster widget, just to avoid the real cause of their frustrations. Hobbies are supposed to be a healthy outlet, not a catalyst to ignore issues that need addressing.

Likewise, hobbies can get very expensive. Sure snow mobiles, motorcycles and ski equipment are obviously expensive. But sometimes those seemingly low cost activities can add up. You start out with trying to budget for the monthly karate lessons. Then you need (or want) the gi, the uniform. Don’t forget about the protective sparring equipment. Perhaps you think you need to have a heavy bag or some shields to help you practice. Figure on $30-$50 per tournament that you enter. Of course there’s the uninsured medical and orthodontia costs to be calculated in as well. “Let’s see, do we pay the mortgage this month, so get that new helmet that you just have to have?”

If your hobby is doing more harm than good, if it’s dipping into the family budget and time allocation, more than you can or should be spending, it’s time to reevaluate. If you’re not doing something outside your standard occupation that you enjoy, it’s time to find something, for your and your family’s sake!

Profit From Your Hobby

With over 70% of people who responded to a recent survey revealing that they were thinking about starting a business of some sort, working from home is becoming more the norm than ever before.

The problem for many people is that they don’t really know where to start and how to turn their dream into something tangible.

3 critical things you'll need in order to turn your hobby into a profitable business are -

#1 – A Positive Attitude

By far your biggest asset in turning your favorite hobby into a thriving business is a positive attitude. I think it was Harry F. Banks who said, “Attitude determines your altitude”.

If you are going to pursue your dream and make it a reality, you must have a positive attitude and the willingness to commit to what it takes to make it happen.

So many people start out on the road to turning their hobby into a business, and then at the first sign of an obstacle, they give up, often just before they start to see results.

A positive attitude will help you to break through the barriers and temporary setbacks and reach your desired goal.

#2 – The Determination To Succeed

Many people who fall in love with the idea of turning their hobby into a business are looking for an easy way out and at the first problem, they give up and let circumstances crush their dreams.

By developing a fierce determination to succeed, your chances of creating a profitable business are infinitely higher and you are virtually setting yourself up for success.

While there are not guarantees that you will eventually make it, having the determination to push on regardless of minor problems and find solutions is the mark of a true winner.

Determination and a positive attitude can work together to help a dedicated person succeed where others have failed

#3 – A Proven System

The final and some would say most important thing you’ll need is a proven system for marketing your products and/or services.

You need a step by step process that you can follow to ensure your success; something that other’s have used successfully to achieve the same goal you have.

It’s no use having an incredibly positive attitude and loads of determination if you choose a system that’s flawed and never had a chance of working in the first place.

Look for proof that other people have followed any system you are considering and become successful.

Unfortunately, many people waste money, and more importantly, valuable time, chasing the latest fad or scheme offered by unscrupulous promoters. Most of these schemes haven't agot  hope of succeeding, but people fall for them every day.

Don’t ever take the promoter’s word that it will work for you…demand unquestionable PROOF that many people, from all walks of life, have been able to use what he or she is offering to turn their hobby or passion into a profitable business.

When it comes to the system, results are the only thing that matters…

Perfect Garden Pond

One of the biggest privileges in my life is the ability to own my own home and property. My family and I have been blessed to be able to purchase land and create the home of our dreams on it. When I am not busy writing, there are few things you can find me doing as often as tending to my ever- messy home and overwhelming lawn and garden. I have a love and hate relationship with these chores. One the one hand, I love caring for the things I own because I feel a sense of pride about them. Yet, on the other hand, it is frustrating how much time and energy it takes to keep your home and lawn looking presentable. Recently I added to my chores by putting a garden pond in my backyard.

Frankly, I had always thought that garden ponds or really decorative pieces like them were a bit too much in most yards. They looked a bit too perfect and made the property feel less homey and inviting. I had a change of heart about garden ponds when I toured the home of a friend and discovered the most quaint and brilliant garden pond situated in a corner of her backyard. The garden pond brought an extra touch to her landscaping that became irreplacable as soon as she began.

What I now love about garden ponds is that they bring a sense of nature and of wildness into the backyard of a home that is built almost anywhere. I have seen garden ponds in the backyards of homes in urban subdivisions and in the backyards of the most quaint country cabins. And I love them. I simply love what a garden pond does for the look and feel of a piece of property.

If you are thinking of adding a garden pond to your landscape, think carefully about it and do not proceed without caution. One of the worst things can be to rush into a project like a garden pond and then regret a half-done job. Take your time and get the opinions and advice of friends and fellow landscapers before you break ground on your garden pond project. Think carefully about the perfect location of your garden-pond-to-be. Does the area you've chosen get enough sunshine? Do you want it to be centrally located as the center piece of your landscape or off to the side and hidden more? Think about the ideal yard you want to create and then proceed carefully into making a great garden pond.

Grab a few books or get online and find hints on making a garden pond a reality on your property. It won't be easy, but if done well, the results will be worth it.

About tree seeds

About Basic Care of Seeds

It is important to maintain the freshness of the seeds in order to facilitate proper germination. This is why we store all of our seeds in a refrigerator dedicated for this purpose. Therefore, in order to preserve their freshness until you are ready to begin the germination process, you can store the purchased seeds in the plastic bag we have provided. You can place the seeds in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

About Germination Instructions

Once you are ready to germinate your seeds, you have two (2) germination methods: natural germination or forced germination.

Natural germination: Sow seeds outside in autumn. Overwintering the seeds will accomplish all the necessary natural processes seeds require to germinate. Next spring, you should have sprouted seeds.

With forced germination, you are accomplishing the germination process artificially. Therefore, you will need to follow the steps listed below. Each seed is different. However most of them require three (3) steps. Some may require more while others may require less. These steps are: the scarification, the stratification and sowing.

1 - Scarification

Each seed has a shell around the live inner part. Some are harder than others. The goal of the scarification process is to soften the shell and allow water to reach the inner part of the seed. You will scarify the seeds by placing them in water, usually a glass or a bowl, for a period of twenty four (24) to forty eight (48) hours. The norm appears to be the use of warm water. Some seeds require boiling water while others require water at room temperature. Normally, the viable seeds will drown after the twenty four (24) hour period while others will float on top. If there are still seeds floating after the forty eight (48) hour period, you can discard them as they are empty seeds. Once completed, you are ready to begin the next step ( please note that some seeds require you to proceed directly to the third step).

2 - Cold Stratification

The next step is the cold stratification period. This step is where all the magic of nature occurs. In nature, most of the seeds fall from the trees in autumn. Consequently, seeds spend the winter period under colder temperature permitting the chemical in the seeds to develop and trigger the germination process once the ideal temperature is reached in spring. In the forced germination process, you attempt to recreate the winter period. In order to accomplish this process, use the following materials:

Plastic Ziplock bag
Paper towel

Fold the paper towel in two and moisten with water. It should not be dripping wet but humid. Place your seeds on the humid paper towel and fold it over the seeds. Place the paper towel with the seeds in the ziplock plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator for a period varying from thirty (30) to one hundred and twenty (120) days. We suggest that you check your seeds every thirty (30) days in order to prevent rot and allow for proper air circulation. You will also check for germinated seeds. If this is the case, take the germinated seeds and proceed to the next step. If not, wait the required period and then proceed to the next step.

3 - Sowing

Sowing can be accomplished in the ground or in a pot. You can use any soil suitable for planting and growing. Make a small opening in the soil (approximately half (1/2) an inch deep), place the seed in the opening and cover it with a few millimetres of soil. Keep the soil moist.

Extra steps for certain species

If you choose to germinate your seeds via the forced germination process, you may be required to follow this extra step. This step takes place prior to the cold stratification. All you have to do is expose the seeds to ambient room temperature for thirty (30) to ninety (90) days. This is called heat stratification and is accomplished by leaving the seeds exposed in a plate on your desk. After you have achieved this step, you resume with cold stratification.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Refresh Your Space

It's the time of the season, friends!

1.Time to paint those bland winter walls! Neutral tones are just fine, but add in some of the cool blues and greens that are making a statement this Spring. Pastels and Ultra Brights are the spring and summer trend for this year.

2. Clear the clutter! Time for spring cleaning. Get to those scary spots (under the bed, closets, storage) and throw away all that old junk that you don't need. A good philosophy to follow is 'The things you truly need will come to you'. This will reassure you when you come across that shoebox of old trinkets that you would probably be too embarrassed to put on display anyway.

3. Splurge on some new artwork. Whether it's a light hearted oil painting, a sleek sculpture, or a Monet piece you've been eyeing for a year, reinvent your space!

4. New accessories! Reframe your photos with more interesting casings. The heavy woods and metals are out for the spring. Change up that china vase, try blown glass, recycled glass cobalt, or topaz! There are a variety of colors and shapes to choose from. Throw pillows can bring any color into your room or out of your artwork.

5. Change your window treatments. Lighter fabrics such as satin, chiffon, hand painted or dyed silks, are all in this spring. The colors are zesty and the look is fresh!

6. New rugs can change the entire look of your space! Move away from the heavy traditional patterns and textures and look for stripes, polka dots, and Kandinsky-esque styles.

7. Love your furniture but looking for a change? Slipcovers are still the way to go! Solids are always safe, but if you want to branch out, a lot of the light colored damasks are coming back in. Again, if you want to be trendy, go with greens and blues--light to bright colors. If you know your taste, then just be creative with it!

8. If you can manage to swing it, change out a few of your side tables with lighter colored woods or glass tops. If not, cover up the winter table tops with some light colored scarves or placemats. Work with what you've got, it brings out your most creative self!

9. Change your dishware for the season! Use fun, bright colors and chic designs on pottery or glass. Tangerines, ocean tones, hot pinks and purples! Check out Issac Mizrahi's line.

10. If nothing else, open up your space and add a splash of color with fresh flowers. They are at their best now and the colors are the inspiration for modern color trends. House plants and foliage of any kind (even if it's faux) are a must in your spring space!

Selecting A Good Contractor

When it comes to home repairs or improvements, many people find themselves at a loss because they are either unable to complete the needed repairs or they simply do not have the time. In either situation, the best thing to do is to hire a professional contractor. But, what qualities should one look for in a contractor and how can you be sure that he/she will be the best person for the job? These are common questions and should be answered prior to hiring a professional contractor.

Below are 9 tips that will help guide you through the process of selecting the best man, or woman, for the job.

1) Before hiring a contractor, find out how long they have been in business. It’s best to look for an established company and make sure to check out their reputation with the local Better Business Bureau for any outstanding or unresolved complaints.

2) Always make sure that a contractor is licensed to work in the state in which the work is to be done. The best way to find out about your state’s licensing procedure is to contact your local building department and/or consumer protection agency. If your state requires that a contractor be licensed, always ask to see a contractor’s license prior to hiring him/her for the job.

3) When considering potential contractors, ask for a list of recently completed projects that are similar to the one you are in need of help with. Hiring a contractor that is experienced in projects similar to yours will help to ensure that all goes smoothly and that the job will be done correctly.

4) Be sure to ask your contractor, prior to the commencement of work, whether or not the job will require any type of permit. All permits must be obtained before the actual work begins, when required, or the homeowner may face a fine. It is best to discuss who will be responsible for obtaining permits, either you or the contractor, in the beginning.

5) Always ask for the name of the individual who will be in charge of the project, often called a supervisor, and the names of those who will be working on the construction crew.

6) Once you are familiar with the supervisor, ask him/her about their crew. You will need to know whether or not they are trustworthy and make the decision as to whether you want them working on/in your home. Will they need keys? If so, you need to know that they are honest and can be trusted near your family and/or children.

7) Every professional contractor should carry a certain amount of insurance coverage, including personal liability, property damage and worker’s compensation. You will need to request copies of all insurance certificates and confirm that they are current before work begins. Do not do business with a contractor who cannot provide this documentation as this may result in your being held liable for any injuries and/or damages that occur during the project.

8) Always check with the contractor’s references before deciding to hire him/her for your project. This is important for all of the obvious reasons and will give you an idea as to their work ethics and end results.

9) When you and your contractor come to an agreement on payment terms, get everything in writing and have the agreement signed and notarized. All parties involved should have a copy of the agreement for future reference.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gifts for Men

Here come the holidays and you need to find gifts for men, be they family or friends. Don’t worry, I’ve already blown hours snooping around on the Internet to find the gifts.

Gifts for Men

First things first. No sweaters. Not this year! Instead, give some thought to these gifts for men.

1. Orange County Choppers – The hit television show has spawned a revival of the real man image. If you haven’t seen the show, the Teutul family builds choppers and more or less argue with each other. From a 9-ll memorial chopper for the New York Fire Department to specialized themes, men love this show. You can buy a chopper for $50,000 or so, but should probably stick to hats, shirts and the like for $20 on up.

2. The Sopranos 5th Season on DVD – Perhaps you’ve heard of the show? Apparently they are going to make new episodes, but it may be a few years before we see any of them. To tide the man in your life over, the 5th season of the show is out on DVD and is sure to be a winning hit with him. Expect to pay $60 or so at online retailers.

3. The Sling Box – There is that one new gadget that comes out every year and is a must have. Welcome to Sling Box, the 2005 must have gadget. Sling box is a device that lets you hook a television up to any media matter and watch it from anywhere. It can be used to feed your laptop computer so you can watch news, the markets or sports in coffee shops, work and so on. The device is simple to use and the ultimate gadget for men this year. Expect to pay in the low $200s with rebates.

4. Peet Shoe Dryer – Whether snow, slush or rain, nothing is worse than putting on wet shoes. The Peet Shoe Dryer takes care of this. You simply mount boots and shoes upside down on two posts. Warm air is pumped up through the posts to dry out the shoes. Safe for leather, canvas and any material. Expect to pay $35 or so online through December.

5. Nomad Adventure Journals – If you’re buying for a person that loves the outdoors or to travel, Nomad Writing Journals make great gifts. These journals are tailored to activities such as travel, fly fishing, bird watching, backpacking, camping, rock climbing and so on. They come with or without a case and provide writing space as well as cues for writing down important information. A great keepsake to preserve their travel and outdoor experiences. The journals cost as low as $9 without waterproof case and $25 with case.

Any of these gifts for men will be hit. You can find them all online through search engines.

Gift Card

I enjoy giving gift cards, especially to those hard to shop for people on my list. I, like nearly everyone else, have at least one person on my shopping list that I either don’t know what to buy or I can’t find what I think they would like. When that happens I consider their likes and then purchase a gift card I think they will enjoy using.

For example, I give my restaurant loving friends gift cards to their favorite restaurants; gas station gift cards to my teenage nieces and nephews who drive; shopping mall gift cards to my daughter; and massage gift certificates to my sister-in-law because I know she loves getting massages.

Although gift cards are great and I buy them frequently, there are a few things to be aware of. The main thing is to make sure the recipient knows the gift card is like carrying cash and needs to be safeguarded in the same way cash is. For the most part, lost or stolen gift cards cannot be replaced.

Another thing to be aware of is hidden fees, well not really hidden fees, but fees detailed in very small print – that size “one” font that’s nearly impossible to read!

One charge that will be apparent right away is a possible upfront processing fee to defray the cost of producing and distributing the gift cards. Most companies try to avoid charging an upfront fee. But some, like my local mall charges a small fee to purchase a gift card. It’s nominal, $1.50 per card.

Some companies and stores charge a non-use or dormancy fee on their gift cards. If a card is not used for a specified period of time, a small amount is deducted from the value of the card every month. For example, $1 or $2 may be deducted from the balance of a gift card every month if that gift card is not used within six months of purchase.

Another type of charge some gift cards have is a balance fee. If a gift card has a balance on it after a certain amount of time, typically six months after purchase, a small fee is deducted each month. The fee is small, not usually more than $1.50 or $2. This is similar to a dormancy fee, but the difference with a balance fee is that even if the card was used within the first 6 months (or whatever time frame is specified) a fee will be assessed each month for still having a balance on it. This is to encourage people to use their gift cards in a reasonable amount of time and not leave them sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust.

If you purchase a gift card that has a balance or dormancy fee, try to purchase it as close to the time you are going to be giving it away as possible.

Also be aware that the gift card could have an expiration date. Most of the gift cards from large companies don’t have an expiration date or allow a lengthy amount of time before the card expires, such as five years. Shorter time periods to use gift cards and gift certificates, usually not less than 12 months but occasionally as little as 6 months, are more likely to be found with smaller companies and independent business owners.

I think it’s perfectly fine to give gift cards and gift certificates with an expiration date. Just make sure the recipient is aware of the expiration date. An expiration date shouldn’t cause you to not buy a gift card. After all, you don’t want people to hang on to the gift card and not use it.

And, remember that although gift cards may carry some fees, the majority of them will never be a problem if the card is used within six months, which most gift cards are. So feel free to give gift cards whenever you think it is an appropriate gift.

One interesting note: even though some gift cards have started adding fees to their gift cards such as dormancy fees, balance fees, or maintenance fees, some states are starting to pass legislation banning those fees as well as banning expiration dates. This is good news for consumers.

Gift Ideas For Teenage

If you're struggling to find the perfect gift for the teenage boy on your Christmas list, here are some gift ideas to get you started.


What is the natural instinct that drives teenage boys to want to hunt each other down? Whatever it is, you can feed this instinct safely by giving a gift of paintball guns and equipment. There are complete kits you can purchase at retail stores for reasonable prices. .

Car Accessories

A gift of car accessories is a sure win if the teenage boy on your list is old enough to drive and has his own car. Even for the teenage boy who is not driving yet, this could be a great gift. Young guys dream of owning their first set of wheels. A gift of car wax and other cleaning supplies allow him to pamper his new toy. Seat covers or other decorative accessories let him give his car a personal touch.

Black Light Lamp

Black light lamps are back, and any teenage boy on your list is likely to want one. Get him one for his room and find out what glows in the dark. Many posters and other decorative accessories are available now that spring to life under a black light.

Consumer Electronics Gift Certificate

Gadgets and entertainment equipment are always a hit with teenage boys.  A gift certificate to a consumer electronics store will give him an excuse to check out all of the latest TVs, stereo equipment, and computers. This is also the place where he can find his favorite music and video games. If you don't have a suitable store in your area, the young guy on your list can do all his shopping there online. 

Team Jersey

The majority of teenage boys are into some sort of sport. Whether it is basketball, football, baseball, or NASCAR racing, he most likely has a favorite team or sports hero. Buy him a jersey from his team. Even better, find a jersey with the number of his favorite player.


Most teenage boys wear jeans most of the time, which means they always need new ones. Just make sure you buy the style he likes. Some teenage boys like snug-fitting jeans, while others like their jeans baggy. Carpenter or painter jeans are also popular. Whatever the style, this is the "can't miss" gift, because there is no such thing as too many jeans.


Yes -- jewelry! Jewelry is becoming increasingly popular, in one form or another, among teenage guys. For rockers, tribal or beaded necklaces will be a hit. They might also like a stud or hoop earring. Preppy guys often like to wear fashionable rings or bracelets. If you aren't too sure about jewelry, try a watch. With such a wide variety of watch styles available, you'll be certain to find one to fit any teenage boy's taste.


Christmas is a great time for winter sports. This year might be the perfect opportunity for your teenager to get into snowboarding, and simple snowboards can be purchased at a relatively low price. The thrill of conquering a new challenge motivates many a teenage boy, and snowboarding will give him a way to release some energy and add excitement to the winter months.

Video Game Magazine Subscription

Generally speaking, teenage boys are suckers for video games. If the guy on your list has a game system, such as X-Box, PlayStation, or Nintendo, you can get him a subscription to the corresponding magazine. He'll get inside information and screen shots from upcoming games, ratings of current games, and, best of all -- demo discs. These demo discs let him play portions of games before they even come out, which helps him decide what games he really likes and wants to buy.

Portable CD Player

Boys love noise -- and their favorite kind is music. Whatever his music preferences, the teenage boy on your list is most likely to be passionate about his bands. With a portable CD player he can listen to his music anytime, anywhere, and you won't have to hear it.

Mission Accomplished

Head out to the mall armed with the above list and a little shopping savvy, and you have a way better chance of finding the ideal gift. Soon he will be saying, "DUDE, that is so cool!"

Gift Guide for Women

Use this online Gift Guide for women to help you avoid scrambling through the mall buying presents the day before they’re unwrapped. Of course, it helps to know what that special woman in your life wants, or has hinted at wanting for the holidays, so you don’t have to walk around aimlessly as another zombie in the fellowship cult of holiday mall shoppers. Why not shop from the convenience of your own home online at This way, finding all the ideal gifts for the most important women in your life is easy, and we know guys like shopping when it’s easy. At you have the luxury of free shipping, free returns, no sales tax, 110% price guarantee, secure purchasing, and live customer service. Here are some suggestions of the hottest items during this time of year from

Giddy Up
Lasso a pair of cowboy boots for your special lady with a pair of
Born Shavano’s.  These boots will give you that on the ranch impression while keeping your feet feeling great. These sensible but supremely stylish boots look as good as they work and also protect against the elements and the fashion police alike. For those knee-high occasions, treat her with a pair of Naturalizer Vander boots. This tailored casual Naturalizer boot has a 2" heel with a shaft that is 11" and the circumference is 14”, and the inside zipper allows her easy on/off access.

Slip Into Something More Comfortable
For those relaxing days around the house when it’s just too frigid to venture outside, help her relax and feel warm and comfortable with a pair of Women’s Daniel Green Dormie. These beautiful, elegant and imported slippers are combined with extreme comfort and slip on slides with stitched insole. These slippers also happen to come in 6 different colors for her choice. 

Give Her a Hand
For those special romantic evenings together, provide her with a gift that will compliment her dress. The Women’s SAK Fiona Top Zip can do just that, with its leather shoulder bag and layered leather accents, it also provides her with lining features cell phone and multifunction and zippered pockets so she can always answer your calls.

Cherish the Time
Don’t let time pass you by when it comes to celebrating the holidays with her. Make sure you let her know how much you value your time together with EOS Watches Techno. The Techno is a sleek, stylish model featuring a shiny polished oversized case with a wide genuine black leather strap so she can count down the minutes until you see each other again.

Take Her Away
Ready for your winter vacation to a warm and exotic climate? Help her pack everything she needs for the beach and sun with McKlein Addiction travel luggage. The McKlein Addison features separate compartments to pack clothing for overnight trips, laptop and documents, and a separate compartment for shoes, because we all know how women love their shoes.

The holiday season is upon us and there’s no reason to get caught up in all the madness that is mall shopping. has everything you need for the women in your life from the convenience of your own home. Check out the Gift Guide and see for yourself.

Luxury Gifts

It's possible to treat everyone on your list to a luxury gift without spending a fortune. You just have to know where to find great deals on luxury gifts and how to fit luxury gifts into your budget. If you can’t afford to give an entire designer ensemble, opt for a less expensive accessory. Instead of a mink coat, try mink fur-trimmed gloves. A trip to a day spa, instead of an all-out spa vacation. You get the idea.

How do you define a luxury gift? Webster defines a luxury as (1) something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary (2) an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction, or ease. So you see, it isn’t always about the price. A luxury gift can be anything that a person doesn’t find absolutely necessary and probably wouldn't buy for himself/herself but would love to receive. It’s a special treat.

Here are several affordable luxury gifts that are sure to please:

Jewelry and Watches

A piece of fine jewelry or a designer watch are always welcome gifts but may not be in your budget; especially if you have a long gift list. There’s still a way to get the glitz for much less than retail. Swarovski crystal is a great alternative to diamonds. Or, you could always visit online discount sites if you prefer the real thing. I recently found a Raymond Weil ladies watch for 35% off retail. I’ve also seen substantial discounts on premium designer jewelry and watches on auction sites.

Soothe Mind and Body

Is someone on your gift list stressed out? Treat him or her to a spa service such as a massage, manicure, pedicure or facial by giving a gift certificate. These services cost much less than a full spa day and the recipient will still feel pampered.

Bath and Fragrant Products

This happens to be my absolute favorite when it comes to indulgences. High end soaps, shower gels and bubble bath are richer and more luxuriant than the lower end versions. They also last longer and smell better. I love Bath and Body Works products (especially the new Tutti Dolci Apple Torta line).


There’s just something about cashmere that says luxury. Maybe it’s the feeling of having this ultra-soft wool next to your skin. If your budget won’t allow for a sweater or robe, try less expensive items like scarves, gloves and hats.


You can find affordable gifts in this luxurious fabric at online discount sites as well. The prices at these sites are so reasonable, that you could spring for silk pajamas without breaking the bank. You could always opt for silk scarves, pashminas or ties.

Fine Foods

Gourmet gifts are great for the person who has everything because they’re consumable. Gourmet foods are generally made of the finest and rarest ingredients and run the gamut from caviar, and lobster to Belgian chocolates. Although some of your recipients wouldn’t dream of paying for these gourmet delicacies, they’ll be glad you did (or at least they’ll think you did). You can impress for less by visiting

High-End Cookware and Utensils

If someone on your gift list would rather prepare their own gourmet meals, why not arm them with state-of-the-art cookware or utensils. It’s not difficult to find top brands such as All-Clad, Cuisinart, KitchenAid and Le Creuset at savings of up to 70%.

Luxury Bedding

Someone who thinks that all sheets are created equal hasn’t slept on sheets with a thread count above 400. If you want to give someone a luxurious night’s sleep, try sheets with a thread count of 600 or higher. I’ve found a 1,000 thread-count queen sheet set for $179.00 online – 62% off the retail price.

Maid Service

Wouldn't you feel pampered if someone else handled the house cleaning for you? Give your friend or family member a gift certificate from Merry Maids or Maid Brigade and relieve the recipient of the burden of house cleaning. Service can be scheduled through the companies' local offices. House cleaning gift certificates are available in amounts of $100 and higher.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Barbie Doll

Who knew that almost 50 years onwards that people will still look for collectible Barbie dolls? Chances are nobody but as history has shown, there are people who are willing to pay thousands of dollars just to have this in their collection.

In the Beginning, Barbie was just a fashion model. She had her own life and a body that many said is unrealistic to achieve which is in fact, true.

She worked a variety of jobs that people could relate and a few examples are a teacher, an artist, a nurse, a medic and a cheerleader. Accessories such as cars, houses and clothes were made and she was soon paired with her boyfriend then husband namely Ken with 6 kids. The Barbie series was such a big hit that no other toy ever came to close to it.

But in the 1970’s, Mattel changed its approach. If you were to compare the Barbie dolls made until the year 1967, you will notice a big difference and that dolls were not made of anymore of high quality.

Why? For the simple reason that they were made of plastic and the clothes she had were not that different anymore. Some say that Mattel focused more on making a profit instead of continuing what they started.

It wasn’t until the mid 80’s that they began to refocus and designed a new Barbie doll called Porcelain Rhapsody in Blue Barbie. This was soon followed afterwards with Happy Holiday Barbie two years later. To mark Mattel’s 35th year anniversary, they reproduced again the original Barbie doll that came out in 1959. Given that were only a handful made, it was very difficult to find one and its market value today is a little over $600.

Given that Barbie could fetch for hundreds of dollars, a lot of consumers bought off the shelves everything they could find and people were making a lot of money. In order to calm things down, the company increased the production and things began to normalize.

As a result, only a handful of Barbie collectible dolls and accessories are worth a lot of money. What was worth $10,000 like the 1959 Barbie doll isn’t worth that much but people are still willing to spend money in order to add this to their collection.

Now that you have your Barbie collectible doll, how do you take care of it? Collector’s are advised to leave it inside the original packaging and placed face down if this will not be displayed. If this is going to be place on a shelf, this should be dusted regularly.

If you are able to dust regularly, you can put your Barbie collectible doll in a plastic container. Just put some holes so moisture will not accumulate and instead evaporate. Also, do not expose this to direct sunlight as may affect the color of her clothing and skin.

For those hoping to find Barbie collectible dolls, the best place to find them is in a convention, specialty store, garage sales, pawnshops and online. You just have to search high and low but most importantly exercise patience because good things come to those who wait.

Barbie’s 50th birthday is coming next year. What does the company plan for her? We will just have to see. Who knows, this could be another Barbie collectible doll worth selling to the highest bidder 20 or 30 years from now.

Collectible Antique Dolls

There are a lot of people interested in collectible antique dolls. Aside from the ones that are still being produced, the ones that really go for a lot of money are the limited edition collections and some of the first which are no longer being sold.

If you are business minded, you can make money by buying them from someone and then selling it to interested buyers. To help you along, here are a few things to help you out.

First, you have to ask yourself whether you are selling what you have meaning your own collection or starting from scratch which means you will outsource for these goods in order to make a profit. The first one is easy but if you run out, then you have to go to option 2 which is to acquire these from a distributor or wholesaler.

The nice thing about dealing with a distributor or wholesaler is that they will sell these to you at a low price and sometimes give a discount but only you have in large quantities.

Another option is for you to attend trade shows or estate auctions that although will cost a little more, has a sure chance of fetching a higher price from an interested buyer.

So how do you sell it? Well, since we are living in the digital age, why not use the Internet. You can create your own website to sell these products but if you don’t know how, this can still be sold by uploading it into an auction site.

A good example is eBay because it is one of the more popular ones around. But when you do sell your collectible antique doll, make sure you have some photos so people will be able to see. It is best to take a few shots from various angles since they are unable to hold like you could when you are in a store.

You should also provide a description of the collectible antique doll you are selling. A brief history of the item, what materials were used, when and where it was made. You should also mention the doll’s condition so they know if this is brand new or pre owned.

For those who will order, make sure you select the payment option. A lot of auction sites use Paypal aside from the credit card. You don’t have to worry about shipping policies because this is already controlled by the web provider but again if this is your own, you better be sure that the item they selected will be delivered in good condition and on time.

The biggest challenge of having your own website selling collectible antique dolls or any other product for that matter is after sales service. What if the customer is not happy with what was delivered? If you want these people to purchase from you again, you have to be true to your word. This can be achieved by responding to any queries they may have or offering a money back guarantee if they are not satisfied. 

If you are able to make this work out, you can make a lot of money buying and selling collectible antique dolls. The question you have to ask yourself is whether you have what it takes to run a successful online business.

American Girl Dolls

Collectible American Girl Dolls have been sold and traded very well among hobbyists for many years. Although produced in countries like China, the concept comes from those back in the States who were inspired by one thing or another which makes these toys worth a lot of money. Here are some of America’s favorites here and abroad.

The first is the Cabbage Patch Kids that entered the market in the late 80’s. What makes this doll so unique is the fact the people do not buy them but rather adopt them. Just to prove how popular it was, there was a time that almost every woman brought this around wherever they went while going shopping or just having lunch.

Precious Moments which opened a few years earlier is also different because these Collectible American Girl Dolls were made of ceramic material. You can’t play with it but they served as ideal gifts to friends and family because of the teardrop eye design in each figurine.

Madame Alexander dolls are another favorite. This is just one of many Collectible American Girl Dolls that your child can play with especially with the various interchangeable costumes available so you can dress it up like someone from the king’s court or a famous Hollywood celebrity.

Lee Middleton dolls are the most realistic Collectible American Girl Dolls because they appear so life like. From a distance, you could think that it is the real thing which is why some have gone to great extents to save it from a fiery building or catch it before this falls into the ground. The company releases new dolls every month in various eye colors, skin tones, hair colors and sizes that continues to this day.

American Girl dolls are a popular among children and adults alike because the collection is from different time periods and places in American history making it very ethnically diverse. You can choose the doll based on the story of the character or you make this up on your own.   

One of the biggest toy companies in the US remains to be Hasbro. They make board games and action figures alike so if you want a blast from the past, you can choose from Charlie’s Angels Dolls, Jem Dolls and Little Miss No Name that were some of their best sellers back in the 60’s and 80’s.

The newest contender in the doll market that is the Bratz dolls. The company is quite new but given their record sales performance during the Christmas of 2003, this is something that collectors should look out for in the future.

Lastly, the best selling doll for almost 50 years and is considered to be the symbol of Collectible American Girl Dolls is Barbie. Although the later models do not sell as much as the earlier ones, there are still people who will do anything to buy one in 1959 when this was first released. This was again reproduced in 1994 to mark its 35th year anniversary and with its 50th birthday next year, who knows what this company will do to commemorate this special day.

You can look for Collectible American Girl Dolls almost everywhere these days but the best venue to find antique or unique items is the Internet. Keep in mind that you may have to participate in an auction in order to get it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Criminal Justice

Recently, this country has experienced an increased need for criminal justice and homeland security professionals. After September 11, 2001 heightened security at federal buildings, and state and local government agencies has created a massive increase in criminal justice and homeland security job opportunities. The job of homeland security professionals is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States. Conceived after the September 11, attacks and established in early 2003, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for border and transportation security, emergency preparedness and information analysis and infrastructure Security. In response to the need for more qualified personnel, online and campus college degree programs have addressed this need and now offer criminal justice degrees and homeland security degrees. The market is right for those looking to make a career change to the exciting field of criminal justice. Criminal justice careers offer a broad spectrum of job opportunities and the field is growing every day. The job opportunities in these fields have risen, as have their salaries.

There are several jobs to consider with a criminal justice degree. Transportation Security Administration is a fast growing sector whose needs are growing at a great pace. The jobs do not require a degree, but it helps for job placement. The only way to advance your position in this field however, is to have an associate’s degree or higher. According to the bureau of labor statistics ( average starting salary is just below $40,000. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security hires agents for federal law enforcement. These jobs do require a college degree. The starting salaries start at $32,000 and can be as high as $46,000. It varies according to education, what kind of assignment you are given, and how much experience you have. You will find that the income in these jobs rises as you advance in your career. Law enforcement officials at the state and federal level usually need a bachelor’s degree. The average pay in this sector of criminal justice was over $51,000. Local law enforcement agencies do not often call for degrees, but only give promotions to degree holders.

The advancement of technology used in criminal justice and homeland security has even created a niche for a specially trained staff. Trained personnel are need to combat computer and bio threats to our country. In this case of specialization, a college degree isn’t always enough. You will need specific training on top of your degree to fill requirements in these fields. Continuing education is necessary to gaining promotions in criminal justice as well as other disciplines. Potential threats against the United States will continue to keep the growth rate of criminal justice careers and homeland security steady. With the right education for your desired job, you will be able to serve your community and the country in a career in criminal justice.

Resume Sample

Any good sample resume will have the following sections. This section is devoted to giving various ideas for great resume writing.

    Clearly stat job objectives
    Highlight qualifications
    Directly relevant skills and experience.
    Work history.
    Relevant education and training.

Choosing The Right Resume Format:
There are different types of resume formats available.  Choose the best format that suits the job you are applying for.
Chronological Format:
The primary organizing principle of this format is your employment record advancing in a particular career direction. Choose this format when you have clear cut qualifications and you are opting for a new job position in the same field.
Functional Format:
This format is suitable for candidates who are starting or changing their career. Your key skills, knowledge and related accomplishments are the primary organizing principle of this format with proof and prediction of your ability to contribute in your future job.  You can also have a combinational format by combining the features of both formats.

In our website you can find some of the most important information that should be included in your resume. These are elements that an employer will look for, regardless of the number of years of experience you have. Advice for Computer Software Engineers, Architects, Sales Executives, Administrator, Pharmacists, Nurses, Teachers, Construction workers etc are given for your benefit. This information will help you to prepare an original and unique resume. Be sure that you are not simply copying a resume format that you happen to find appealing.

Instead of copying, consider your sample resume choice very carefully.  Pick and choose the concepts and information or parts of any of these sample resumes that best fits your unique resume. Select the format that most emphasizes your strengths and achievements and excludes or reduces your weaknesses. Your resume needs to impress the recruiter or hiring manager enough to get you an interview.

Medical Transcriptionist

A Medical Transcriptionist in short MT positions, require a certification with training, specific skills like fast type writing, listening skills, and a specific field like Radiology, Operations report OR emergency reports handling etc.

Do make sure your mention your knowledge on industry standards like HIPPA requirements etc.

Below is a list of things that should appear in your resume.

Your knowledge history like training, certifications etc have to be highlighted.

The quality you can deliver in terms of % accuracy.
mention your type writing speed.

Your years of experience in the MT field, and if you could explain in detail which field you were transcribing: opthology, nephrology etc.

Give a brief description about the employer: what they are doing, if they are not well known.

Whether you prefer to work from home. If so, you have the required computer and other MT hardware at your home.

List your merit details like name of the institution, city, state, degree, major, year awarded and GPA.

Mention your entire job related skills, computer proficiency and language skills to make your resume stand out.

Use some technical jargon to convince the employer. Experience in
Coordinated and requisitioned all patient diagnostics, Maintained census and dietary records, operating room reports, autopsy reports and maintenance in physical examination documentation.

Mention any technical or computer qualifications and personality development, diploma in medical transcription etc done as a course with its content in brief, the duration, institute and also its result.

Mention your current and recent clients with specialties like internal medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, and ENT/head & neck surgery etc.

Mention how you have reduced the costs and saved money in your department or the organization in general by any means.

Highlight any other achievements that have benefited to your department and obviously your organization in general.

job hunt

Do you stick only to the top name job boards or portals? If yes, you are denying your chances of getting into specialized positions. Specialized groups or non-enterprise companies often steer clear of top names. Choose your resume posting based on the kind of recruiters that visit a given job boards.

If you are getting a peer or a consultant to do your job hunt to the level of making contact with a prospective employer - stop doing this now. You can get help to the level of someone gathering job order description or information for you. You make connect - use the opportunity to create an impression.

Do you treat your resume like a promotional mailer? Distribute it all over the place or get a group email ID and broadcast? This means (1) Your cover letter or your resume is not customized for the job order in hand - Resume customization in lieu of arranging the skill sets for the given job order. (2) You do not follow up; there are employers who seek to measure your interest with the follow up method that you adopt. Plus your prospective employer or their job consultant knows that you are hunting around, which will reduce your market value.

Another aspect of mindless blasting is clicking the APPLY FOR THIS JOB button wherever you see it. When you submit your resume to a job where you do not have minimum qualifications - and you have a reason to doing so - make an offline connect.

75% of email traffic received by a generic ID such as is junk. If you rely only on email to get your next job - forget it. Your resume is probably in the junk folder.

Do not write a tell tale resume with private information. We’ve heard enough and more about misuse of private information. Another aspect of privacy - using Internet at work to coordinate your job hunt. Wake up - Even a mom & pop street corner store can afford a network and a firewall in it.

You do not want to rely entirely on the internet for your job search. You do not want to deny the abundance of information that is available on the internet either. Depending on your skills and where you want to be working next, see if your target employers and their head hunters are hanging out in Print Classifieds or Job boards.

Email is new age - it has been for over 15 years now :), but an email ID such as is not a great identification. Also see what your social networking page is saying about you - from the eyes of a headhunter, hiring manager or recruiter. Please blogpost here about ‘Big Brother is watching‘. Also your resume or your job hunt webpage is a business document; it is not your platform to express political views.

Balance 994 things you do not want in your job hunt come under ‘common sense application’. We do not want to question your CSA quotient by putting down all of those 994. (Actually, 6 things as a title did not sound grandiose enough to attract your attention)

Prospect Of Redundancy

It used to be the case that people could get a job and expect to stay there for as long as they wished. That is no longer the case and we should realistically anticipate 3 or 4 job changes in our working lives.

When we are faced with redundancy, we often feel as though we are out of control. Something is happening to us that we don’t want and we feel hurt, sad, anxious and resistant to that change.No matter what our thoughts about it are, we have to deal with it.

I often speak to people who are faced with this issue .What makes it much worse is when people feel that they have given their work  and I quote “their all” ,”the best years of their lives”. There are those amongst us who focus too much on work related aspects and neglect personal areas of their life .In these situations, the void that redundancy creates will be so much greater.


1.Ensure that there is balance between your work and personal life.

2.It can be useful even when you are employed to periodically check out what other employment is available. Send off for job specifications as this may indicate to you what prospective employees are looking for. You will also become clearer about how marketable you are.

3.Have some contingency plan.

4.After the shock has worn off, try to look at your situation as an opportunity for positive change rather than as a problem.

5.Take control by taking action, rather than ruminating and worrying which tends to exacerbate situations.

6.Do some brainstorming exercises to generate ideas about what else you may be able to do.

7.Explore whether your skills and experience to date are transferable to other areas.

8.If you can afford to, it can sometimes be helpful to go away for a few days where you are removed from the situation and may be able to see things more clearly.

9.Sometimes sharing your concerns with others is useful as they may have had similar experiences and will be able to empathise with you and perhaps share ideas about how to manage this change.

10.Optimise your ability to cope with this change by paying attention to your general health .Ensure you eat properly, take regular exercise and have adequate sleep.

Unusual Jobs

By the year 2014 – just eight years away – there will be 3.6 million new jobs available in the medical profession, and the bulk of those jobs – about 60% of them – will be open to those with nursing degrees of one kind or another. The demand for registered nurses is highest – the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of jobs available for registered nurses will rise by 27% by 2014 – but there will also be increased opportunities for certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants and those in medical technical fields like phlebotomy and pulmonology.

And if you thought that the only jobs available for nurses were in hospitals and medical facilities, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has more news for you. Less than 60% of registered nurses work in a hospital. A nursing degree opens doors of opportunity into so many fields that it’s easily one of the most versatile and useful degrees that you can acquire. Not only that – a nursing degree appeals to a wide range of people. According to the BLS, about 20% of those entering the nursing workforce are older workers starting on a second career. Many of them have been attracted by rising salaries triggered by the nursing shortage, but for many of them, a nursing degree is a chance to do something that makes them feel good.

Whether you’ve just started your nursing career, are returning to work after a hiatus, or are switching to a career in nursing as a second career, take a look at some of the opportunities that are open to you with a nursing degree.

Pediatric Home Health Care is one of the growing fields for those with nursing degrees. Every state in the Union now has some sort of Early Intervention program that identifies children under the age of three years with special needs. Pediatric home health care gives you the opportunity to work with children and parents and make a real difference in their lives.

Elder Home Health Care is the other end of the spectrum. The ‘aging of America’ means that more and more people require a little bit of help to remain in their homes. Nursing assistants, registered nurses and licensed nurses can provide that little bit extra that will allow a senior citizen to maintain a higher quality of life and remain at home when all they need is a few hours of medical care a day or week.

Working in a Blood Donor Center is an option that makes you part of the life-saving network. There’s more to blood donor centers than just starting IVs. Nurses who specialize in pharesis can command high salaries, and a nurse working in the blood collection field can be a valuable community organizer as well as a medical practitioner.

A Critical Care Transport nurse requires multiple nursing degrees, but it can be one of the most interesting and fascinating nursing jobs available. A CCT nurse accompanies patients being transported from home or a nursing facility to another nursing facility. The nurse is responsible for maintaining continuity of care for every patient – in the back of an ambulance. It’s a challenging and fun job that commands a salary commensurate with the experience required.

On Site Nursing is a wide open field for medical workers with nursing degrees. You can work at an amusement park or zoo, or in the medical office at a state or national park, or provide medical backup for the emergency workers at a beach or other recreational setting. If you choose to work on site at a camp or other facility, your benefits may include free tuition for your own family.

Save Money

Candle making can be a great past time, hobby, or business venture. While the supplies for candling making are remarkably inexpensive, the cost does start to add up over time. There are many ways you can cut back the cost of the candle making supplies, but I caution you not to sacrifice the quality of the products you purchase just to save a few dollars. This is especially important for those who sell their candles. If the quality of the product goes down because you are buying wax and other supplies that are of less quality, you will end up costing your business money over the long haul.

Keep a list of the candle making supplies you use. Include the brand, the price, and the amount of the item you get for that price. This will help you compare the prices with sales you run across and know if you are getting a better deal or not. Many craft stores run sales on candle making items before and right after the holidays. This can be a great time to stock up.

Checking online auction sites including Ebay and Yahoo Auctions can often be an excellent way to find the same candle making products you use at a discounted price. It could be that the seller of the items doesn’t have the time to make candles anymore or they simply have moved on to other things.

If you use a large volume of candle making supplies on a regular basis, consider buying them wholesale. You will pay more up front for your supplies, yet overall you will save a considerable amount of money. You can search such wholesalers on the internet and compare prices. Many online wholesalers offer free shipping as well so that is another area where you can save money if you normally purchase your candle making supplies online. If you know other people who make candles as well consider buying in bulk and sharing the cost as well as the supplies. This is an easy way for everyone to get a discount as well as reduce the cost at the time of purchase.

Some of the discount candle making products on the market are very comparable to the quality products you already use. A good way to tell is to compare the ingredients. You can research the necessary ingredients of each item on the internet. If the discount products contain all the major ingredients as the candle making supplies you already use, then give it a try. It is recommended that you only purchase one or two items at first to test the quality. Keep track of where you purchased the discounted items so you can return to that retailer or online store if you are happy with the quality of the products.

Containers and holders for your candles are one area you should never spend a great deal of money on. I won’t recommend buying them for regular price unless they are for a wedding or other very special occasion. You can buy mason jars, extra glassware, votive holders, and many other containers to use candle making at thrift stores and garage sales for a very reasonable price. You might also check the online auctions to purchase large quantities of candle making container and holders at a very good price.

The supplies used in candle making can cost you a great deal of money over time. To save money on the quality supplies you use, take the time to compare prices both online and at local retailers. Take advantage of discounts and sales throughout the year at craft stores. Be cautious when looking at discount candle making supplies. You want to make sure they offer the same quality that you are already using. Finding supplies at online auctions and buying them in bulk are also great ways to save you money on candle making supplies.

Chunk Candles

Chunk candles add a great alternative to the standard pillar candle of yesterday. These colorful candles add a vibrancy and life to them. Looking at chunk candles, they appear to be very difficult to make. However, just the opposite is true. In fact, many candle makers claim they are easier to make than basic pillar candles. This is because pillar candles have to be perfectly smooth. If they aren’t, it is easy to see the visual defect. Such blemishes aren’t visible in chunk candles. While chunk candles aren’t recommended as a beginner project, they can be made once you know the basics of the candle making process.

There are two phases to making chunk candles. To make the process easier, it is recommended that you keep the two separate. Attempts to cut corners often result in chunk candles that are of poor quality and don’t burn well. The first phase of the project is making the chunks. The second is the process of turning those chunks into gorgeous candles. Some individuals choose to purchase pre-cut chunks at craft stores or online.

To make your candles their prettiest, select colors that compliment each other. To start making the color chunks, spray a cookie sheet with a non-stick cooking spray. You only want a thin film on the cooking sheet. After the wax you are using has completely melted, add a color to it as well as any fragrance you want. Pour the mix onto the cookies sheet. Fill the sheet to the level you want the depth of your candle chunks to be.

Keep an eye on the cooling color chunks. Once it is the consistency of cookie dough you will want to use a sharp utility knife to cut it into chunks. Allow the chunks to continue cooling. If you are making several colors of chunks you can mix them together or leave them separate. Some people choose to let the colors mix together on their own while others like to create a design by adding the amount of each color they want.

Using the same molds that are used for pillar candles, insert your candle wick through the bottom of the candle mold. Fill the mold loosely with color chunks. You can put one color on the bottom with another color on top or even layers of three colors. You can also use only one color. The choice is all yours. Do not stack as many chunks as you can in the mold or the candle won’t form properly. Just toss them in and let them lay where they end up.

You are now ready to pour the melted wax over the color chunks. It is recommended that you do leave the melted wax colorless, but some people choose to add a light color to tint it and add a uniqueness to their chunk candles. As the candle cools, the chunks will adhere to together with the hot wax. Once the molds cool the chunk candles should slide out with ease.

Making chunk candles is really quite simple if you have the basic candle making concepts under your belt. These candles add flare to any décor as well as make great gifts. They are a bit more time consuming to make since you will be making your color chunks, but well worth the results. Remember that you can purchase color chunks to save you time. That is a great option for someone who plans to make large quantities of chunk candles.

For those who want to get even more creative, consider using embeds on the sides. You can place them in the candle molds first. They will stay in place once you put the chunks in the mold. You can adjust the embeds as needed prior to adding the hot wax to the mold. There are excellent books available on the various patterns and embeds you can add to make specific chunk candles. There are also great pictures and step by step instructions available on the internet.

Bill Candles

If you are looking to purchase beautiful looking homemade candles, but you aren’t interested in the candle making process yourself, turn to Bill’s Candles. They offer an array of quality candles that you will love. This company started in 1999 after beginning to reprocess candles bought on the market. The candles were reprocessed because the scent had already disappeared. By melting the leftover wax, adding a fragrance, and pouring into a container, new candles were had that held their scent for a very long time.

From there, experimenting with various types of candle waxes and molds lead to the invention of Bill’s Candles. The candles you purchase are the result of many labor intense hours. Some of the experiments worked well while others were complete disasters. Finally, recipes for the perfect candles were done and written down.

Customers are very happy with the candles they receive from Bill’s Candle. They love that the process is still one done by hand rather than in a factory. Bill also gives his personal guarantee that if you are not satisfied with any candle you can exchange it or get a full refund. The only requirement is that you return in before you have used 10% or more of the candle.

Bill’s Candles uses two types of wax. There is the vegetable candle blend and the soy wax. Please note soy wax is only available on the container candle line. Soy candles burn clean without producing smoke. They also burn for a great deal of time. The scent of a candle stays for an amazing length of time with soy candles. The vegetable candle blend is used for pillars and votives. It is American made and gives the candle a very lustrous color.

All of the candles offered from Bill’s Candles are hand poured. It is important that you allow at least two weeks for your order because there is no automated process here. What you get are top of the line candles that are 100% homemade. Customers can be assured there is no shortage of selection at Bill’s Candles.

This company offers container candles that come in an apothecary jar. Choose from a 10 ounce, 16 ounce, 22 ounce, or 26 ounce candle. You can also choose a classic mason jar container candle. The mason jars come in either a pint or half pint. The lids for the mason jars are gold with a flower design on top.

Pillar candles are a very popular type. Bill’s Candles offers a wide range of pillar candles to choose from. Traditional pillar candles can be purchased in most any size. They are available in round and square shapes. Dome top pillar candles add a bit of design to this classic candle. The arch motif has a ridge design in it as well as an arc shape at the top. The fluted spiral has ridges, giving this pillar a very unique design.

Round votives are available in the traditional size of 1 ½ x 1 ½. Once you have decided which types of candles you want to purchase, select the color and fragrance you want. There are 30 great colors and over 200 scents to choose from. You will find a full list of colors and scents posted online and in the Bill’s Candles catalog.

Bill’s candles offers a wonder variety of homemade candles for you to choose from. The quality is guaranteed. Bill takes great pride in his candle making techniques. Each candle is made with care and customer service in mind. If you are considering purchasing candles from Bill’s Candles as gifts, look at their online store. They offer unique gift baskets and gift sets to choose from. They will also work with the customer to make a customized gift set or basket to meet your needs. This is a small business that still enjoys the candle making process as opposed to manufacturing large quantities to make profits. The love Bill has for his candle making shows in his products and satisfaction guarantee.

Aquarium Bath

Designing aquariums baths only takes a few bath accessories and you are on your way to creating a fabulous environment. Let’s face it, there is nothing like nature and if you can create a natural-based atmosphere, why not go for it, especially if you do not have to spend a fortune on the products. To get started consider the details below:

How to create an aquarium bath:
Creating an aquarium bath requires that you purchase or even handcraft a few of your own patterns, colors, fabrics, etc. You can use paper, fabrics, such as towels, rugs, etc to create your own design. In addition, you can create aquarium baths by using toothbrush holders, toilet seats, soap dishes, etc, which you can pick up at any local dollar store. The items are affordable, and you will have the opportunity to create a stylish environment that the entire family will enjoy.

How to choose bath accessories:
When choosing bath accessories, first you want to consider style, atmosphere, patterns, colors, etc. If you want a full aquarium effect, you will need designs with aquarium fish, such as gold fish, shark fish, stingrays, octopus, squids, seahorses, sea turtles, sea snakes, and so on. You can add any fish species you choose. In addition, you may want to add a few saltwater or freshwater plants to offset the environment. You can choose live plants if you like, yet you want to choose home plants, rather than plants that go in a live aquarium. The plants should coordinate with your patterns, colors, designs, etc.

How to choose throw rugs, wastepaper baskets, etc:
When choosing your patterns and colors, make sure that the items coordinate with your fish patterns. You might enjoy greenish colors, yellow tones, aquarium blue, and so on. You can purchase throw rugs with fish patterns already designed in the fabrics, otherwise you can create your own. At local craft, stores you can find iron-on patterns, or you can crochet the patterns, or even hand sew if you like. You have many choices and selections of bathroom accessories to select from a list of products.

How to choose toilet seats:
Choose the toilet seats, such as the aquarium seats. The patterns are saturated with fish species of all groups.

How to choose shower curtains:
You can make your own shower curtain by hand sewing the fabric, or else you can purchase affordable shower curtains at local stores or online. You can also buy curtain rings that have a variety of fish patterns. The colorful patterns will offset the atmosphere.

How to choose toothbrush holders, soap dishes, mirrors, etc:
Again, you want to keep coordinated when choosing these items. You can take old items from your home and create your own patterns, or you can visit local dollar stores to purchase affordable items. If you do not find what you want, perhaps you can go online to find a wide array of products suitable for you. You have options, which include the aquarium products. Pick your choice.

As for mirrors, try to choose aquarium colors, such as blue, wintry green, yellow tones, etc. Add a few stones in the pattern and you are on your way to a fish heaven aquarium. Add some ivy around the mirrors and you have a natural based atmosphere that will impress your guests.

You can purchase borders to offset your bathroom accessories as well. Borders make nice items, which can bring out your patterns, style, and colors. Borders are easy to install, you merely use tape, water, towel, etc. You are finished with your bath aquarium.

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