Senseless Acts of Beauty

This is how beauty can grow. In 1982, Peace Activist Anne Herbert had a thought. She was in a restaurant and had nothing to write on so she wrote her thought on a napkin - Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

You can always to turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper and read ugly details of a random act of violence or senseless act of cruelty. Like a bomb on an airplane, a hit and run driver or someone's shop window smashed. Things smashed up, hatred spewed. Maybe Anne had read one of those stories that make your heart sink. Maybe she wanted to put something back, to turn things around. Here is what she started with that napkin according to Wikipedia -

A random act of kindness is a purportedly selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases even an animal. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier. Either spontaneous or planned in advance, random acts of kindness are encouraged by various communities.

It's something that you, yes you reading this article today, probably do without even knowing it. Listening when you don't have to. Helping when you are too tired to. Making someone laugh when you don't feel like laughing. Checking in with the girl on the check out to find out how her day is going. Little things that no one will probably know you did or maybe even care. But you do them anyway, because you have beauty inside of you just waiting to get out.

Quiet kindness. A small act of beauty. So how does beauty grow? From that napkin came several movements and a critically acclaimed movie called 'Pay it Forward'. The movie, released in October 2000, charts the ideas and actions of an 11 year old boy whose social studies teacher gives the class an assignment - to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better.

On October 26, 2006 Oprah Winfrey gave her audience a challenge to Pay it Forward, giving 300 audience guests $1,000 USD on a debit card and a camcorder to record the acts of kindness they did. The rules of the challenge were very specific, the money had to be spent within one week and could only be used to help charitable organizations or an individual person but not a relative.

In April 2009 Pay it Forward made its way to Craigslist and YouTube. A simple Craigslist posting said "I can help you with groceries, give you a ride if you need one..."

So from a mustard seed came a mighty tree. So be encouraged, celebrate small beginnings. And thank you. Thank you for all the random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty you have performed over the years. All the times you put more beauty back into the world than someone else had taken out. Thank you.

Personalized Wedding Receptions Ideas - Go With the Flow

Planning a wedding reception is a tricky task from the outset, the main task being picking the ideal venue to showcase the perfect San Diego wedding, and then follow the other decisions such as the entertainment, table arrangements and of course, catering. With so many guests to please, a bride-to-be has to be conscious not to lose sight of what is right for her, and with so many options to choose from combined with a multitude of possible dietary requirements, the catering is a potential planning minefield.

One option which is fast becoming the popular choice with brides all over San Diego is a less formal use of food stations, rather than the traditional idea of a seated and set menu. This allows guests more freedom throughout the reception both in the food they select, and also how and with whom they interact. This idea of a 'flow' rather than timed segments means the traditional favorites such as the toasts and the cutting of the cake can still be a main feature without feeling regimented or stale. The table settings and food options are designed to perfectly fit the brides preferences whilst ensuring that everyone at the reception has their needs met in a fresh and memorable way.

The food stations can host a variety of foods which match or contrast with the layout of the room. The plates and cutlery are also distributed at a station meaning the tables can be radically redesigned from what the guests would expect. Going large with bold designs and bright linens creates stunning open spaces in place of the usual catering set-up and add to the uniqueness of the celebration.

Small detail in the planning can compliment the style of a flow reception. Think about having the caterers present to serve already-seated guests or re-fill drinks, or set up a candy bar with a selection of fun and exciting treats for the guests. The beauty of having a relaxed catering style is in the ability to eliminate the parts which seem mandatory but boring. Predetermined seating arrangements can be scrapped, or even embellished to add more fun to the occasion. One couple's radical idea which proved a success was to provide guests with their table names at the beginning of the night and allow them to choose their own seating, meaning groups and, subsequently conversation, formed more organically.

However the planning manifests itself, the bride should feel like she has the freedom to express herself. Think about having a flow reception at your wedding to illustrate your personality and fun side and really wow your friends and family. The Abbey Catering is San Diego's top choice for wedding catering and can help you plan a reception which will be unforgettable and totally unique to you.

Gifts For the Greatest Dad in the World

What can you give to your dad during father's day to show him that you appreciate all his efforts and love for you? Giving gifts during special occasions is already part of the tradition. Father's day celebration, like all other special occasions, will not commence without gifts and cards. What can you really give to your dad on this special day? I'll tell you the secret in making your dad happy on Father's day.

Giving gifts like necktie, cards, and flowers are the traditional way of making your dad feel special during Father's day. Yes you do make him glad but after how many years of receiving neckties, cards, and flowers, will your gift really make a difference?

Preparing special gifts that your dad didn't expect is the best way to show him how much you really appreciate having a father like him. The amount of time that you allotted in making your gift plus your efforts in perfecting it is enough to make your dad feel special on this special day. Handicrafts will speak for your feelings and your desire to give the best to your dad and to share your time in every step of the way in making the gift.

Giving shirts which turns out to be exactly the same with the shirt that your brother gave to him is just embarrassing so instead of entertaining this possibility you can start making your own personalized items for your dad. You can make personalized cards with your picture in it and a poem of appreciation for raising you and for making you ready to face the world. Your dad will surely be glad and will surely be proud of you.

You can also gather dedications and letter of appreciation from your dad's friends and from your mother and siblings as well. These letters will make your dad remember how special he is to his peers and to his family. You will remind your dad how he became a blessing to all of these people. Your dad will surely treasure these letters and dedications.

Another thing that you can do is to shop for your dad's old time favourites and personalize it. You can buy retro sweets for him and chose the combinations that you think will make him hug you after receiving it. The combinations will then be delivered to him with a special dedication and poem just for him. Your dad will never expect this gift since he is the one who gives you sweets as a gift. You do it for him for a change.

Detox and Stay Healthy

Detox is surely one of the adopted mechanisms to stay healthy. The process of detoxification involves cleaning the body and getting out all the harmful substances associated with it. When your body has too much of harmful substances accumulated inside, it has a negative impact on your health. One of the arguments which is associated with Detox is that it is not a scientific process. But why is Detox or Detoxification really necessary? You need to Detox particularly after a hangover, when too many toxins get collected in your body system.

Since Detox is an important process, you need to know a few Detox Tips, which will keep you healthy. When you have been to a party and you have consumed too much of alcohol, you surely need to Detox. Alcohol consists of lot of toxins and there are too many symptoms which can be associated with its intake. You feel like vomiting the next day and your head spins.

This is one of the basic symptoms, but other complications may arrive as well. This is where Detox or Detoxification becomes important, because the toxins need to be released from your body system. There are various stages of Detox methods which can be applied. It can be applied before, during or just after you have consumed alcohol. One of the good ways to Detox is to take the diet of a milk thistle, before you drink. You can just take 500 gm of milk thistle, before you decide to binge. The thistle will help you to Detox and during the morning hours, two more can be taken as well. The secret behind the success of the milk thistle is that more alcohol can be produced with the help of it.

When you want to apply the Detox process during the course of drinking, a few Detox Tips may just help you. When you are drinking alcohol, you should drink it with water. If during the course of drinking, you vomit at any stage, you should stop then and there. If you continue to drink, it will act as an impediment in the Detox process. You should also avoid any kind of sugary drink, while you take alcohol in your body system.

During the morning, when you are having the hangover, you should drink lots of water as well. You should also include fruits and vegetables in your diet the following morning. A hot bath may also work wonders for you, when you want to Detox. Apart from these useful Detox Tips, you can opt for the Quantum Eating Detox Diet as well. This diet has been used by many celebrities and they have considerably benefited from it.

Hockey Music - The Zamboni's

Clearly a cult band developed from a cult sport is a case of two wrongs making a right because The Zamboni's, a band that performs songs primarily about - you guessed it - hockey, has been enjoying success for a long, long time now.

The band has found its niche as an enjoyable rock/punk/humorous sort of gig. They produce great sounding, catchy tunes that just so happen to be about hockey. In fact, they're probably one of the few bands to ever be reviewed in both Billboard Magazine as well as ESPN Magazine:

"On paper, it sounds like a novelty: an album of songs that celebrate hockey. But in the hands of The Zambonis (a pop-rock quartet named after the ice-grooming machine), the concept is elevated to an art form that won't melt under the heat of critics or music fans. Despite the specificity of the album's theme, The Zambonis rock out like the best power pop units. What's more, they have a sense of humor about themselves...A timely and surprisingly appealing release." -Billboard

"Their new record is as goofy, poppy and puck-obsessed as their previous two...Hockey heads and indie rock fans, you'll love these guys!" -ESPN Magazine

The band is made up of Dave Schneider (guitarist,singer), Jon Aley (guitar, bass), Steve Tanski (guitar, bass), Mat Orefice (drums) Tarquin Katis (hardcore vocalist), Peter Katis (Producer) and Matt Gonzales (Hockey Monkey). They've toured all across the world and are a truly hard working band that you just can't help not loving - especially when they're such big hockey fans. You've probably heard some of their songs before, whether it be on a hockey video game, during any hockey airings on the Versus Network, or, for that matter, during a re-airing of Nickelodeon's Kablam! program.

I could drag on about how awesome these guys are but really I'd just be boring you with some pretty impressive details. So check out their Web site, or their Facebook page, or their MySpace page for that matter and enjoy.

Make Them Green With Envy With Your Green Contact Lenses

Sometimes you just want to be very different. Blue and brown eyes are the two most common so why not go for something more unique? How can you do this? Well, it's pretty simple. Non-prescription green contact lenses can completely change the way you look, make things a bit more lively and best of all, make your friends green with envy. Quite a powerful combination!

Great for natural look

Contact lenses are now another accessory that you can choose to augment the way you look. No longer are they just for medical/vision purposes. Non-prescription coloured contact lenses are now being used more and more by every day people to change their look and green contact lenses really help you stand out from the crowd. In fact, many different types and designs of green lenses are available. From the regal emerald to the wild green with black, you can find them all and deliver whatever message you want to give to others.

Just think about those celebrities that have green eyes and how unique they are? Clint Eastwood is known for his great eyes and they have served his career well over the years. Ann Coulter has the same impact with her piercing green eyes. Green contact lenses can take you from the normal to the extraordinary and that is exactly what you are trying to accomplish. When you have people looking right into your eyes and you can see them thinking to themselves "what a unique eye colour they have", you will have attained exactly what you were hoping to accomplish.

Non-prescription green coloured contact lenses are very easy to put into your eyes. Not only that, they are very easy to purchase and have delivered to you. Think about what you will be doing in the next few months and plan your contact lens colours in coordination with the outfits you will be wearing. Go ahead and get those green contact lenses but don't stop there! Green, blue, brown, purple, name it, you can find them and wear them at your next big outing.

Have some fun, add some variety and make those around you green with envy!!!

How to French Braid Hair - The Sophisticated Look

French Braiding the hair is a classical way to add sophistication to your every day look, or it can be made extra special with hair accessories for occasions such as weddings and the anticipated celebrations of Christmas parties.

In actual fact, the French Braid is not only to add sophistication for parties and the like - but it works well for casual days or when you simply need an attractive up-do to keep the hair from falling into your eyes. On taking the hair down, you are left with a head of waves for another interesting look - especially for girls whose hair is usually poker straight.

If you haven't already mastered this style for yourself, the following guidelines will show you the way with ease and perfection. The best time to French braid your hair is after washing and the hair is still a little bit damp. If your hair length doesn't fall at least shoulder length, French braiding will be very difficult to accomplish - this style definitely works better on longer styles and the less layers the better.

Before you begin, make sure you have the appropriate equipment, namely a comb, hair bobble, a handful of bobby pins and perhaps some hair products to secure the finished look - such as a hairspray.

1. From the top of your head, gather the center section of hair and divide it equally into three sections. Take in one hand one section of hair and the other two sections in the other hand.

2. Now, the following might at first sound a little complicated - but you will get it! Start with the hand that holds one section of hair and take this hair over the center section and into the other hand. The third hair section will now be pulled over the center section and in to the free hand. In other words - you start from the left piece and pull it over the center piece, then from the right piece and once again pull it over the center piece. If this still sounds like a foreign language - have a peep at a diagram.

3. Now the braid should begin to take form. As you move further down the head, start to incorporate the hairs from the side of your head - pulling them into your existing braid. The hair from the left side of your head will be added to the left section of hair and the right to the right section of hair. Continue the braid to the full length of your hair.

4. Once you near the end, tie the hair with a bobble and then tuck the hair underneath, securing with the bobby pins.

5. Lastly, spray all over with a little hairspray for French Braid staying power.

Remember to keep each section of hair fairly tight as you are maneuvering them around - this style may take a few attempts to perfect, but once you do you have a classic style to wear day or night. Good luck.

Life Cycles - Gordon Brown and David Cameron - A Tale of Two Pollies

I want to interrupt my showbiz profiles for a moment to comment on recent developments in UK politics. The intent is to show that evidence for my significant years (i.e.'Year of Revolution' and 'Year of Broken Pathways') is all around us and that each day I check out the latest news another story appears. This is also by way of showing my appreciation of the team at EzineArticles, who sent me a kit to celebrate my expert author status. It was very much appreciated.

OK, now to Gordon Brown. Gordon's life in politics has been dominated by his long quest for power. In 1994, when he was aged 43 and thus at the mid-life 'Year of Broken Pathways', the former Party Leader John Smith died, leaving the question of succession between Brown and Blair. The two met at Granita restaurant in Islington and it is alleged that Brown agreed to stand aside, in exchange for a promise that Blair would one day stand down in favour of him. Brown's biographer Anthony Selden says this outcome left him: "seething with resentment believing the leadership crown, which he had hankered for all his life, had been unjustly stolen from him". This clearly meets the definition of 'Year of Broken Pathways,' as it is a fateful turn of events and presents a challenge that will take years to deal with. It is also very well known. He had to watch on as Blair became a very popular PM after the 1997 elections.

Now we move forward to his next 'Year of Broken Pathways' aged 55 and this time the tables are well and truly turned. Blair's commitment to the Iraq War and the Bush administration has left him highly unpopular in some quarters. However he did win the 2005 election, with the intent to serve a full term. Brown was now openly hostile to him and left him feeling like, in his own words: "a bullied wife". Still Blair was obstinate. In August 2006, he returned from a Caribbean holiday saying he would not give a date or timetable to leave office. On Sept 6th, Brown and Blair had an acrimonious meeting followed by the resignation of a Minister and 7 government aides. Blair then reluctantly said he would quit within the year. Later in November of that year there is speculation, that other challengers may come forward who are pro-Blair (an "anyone but Gordon" bloc). This drama again qualifies on all counts for a 'Year of Broken Pathways' example. The road to eventual leadership was anything but smooth and fateful events did occur. It would leave Brown with a challenge to cement his place in history. Again I quote the words of his biographer: "his indecisiveness manifested in his failure to call an election in autumn of 2007, which would have given him the personal mandate he never had".

Even though he gave sound leadership on the world stage in the period of the financial crisis and a range of good foreign policy initiatives, he failed to see that the party would have been in much better shape under a totally new leader. Here we see the several years of struggle, that often follows the 'Year of Broken Pathways'. He recently lost around 90 seats in the election and after several days handed in his resignation. This is not the legacy he would have wished. However he gives way to a most unlikely coalition of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, with David Cameron as the youngest PM in 200 years. I was interested to see newspaper reports saying Cameron: "faced an uphill struggle to make this union work and deal with a difficult economic situation etc." This fateful moment of challenge has arrived for 43 year old David Cameron, who is now in his own mid-life 'Year of Broken Pathways'. The story will repeat itself over the next few years I'm sure. A different name, a different script but the same overall theme.

You may think that I make too much of these events or that they are conveniently isolated to stories I want to feature. Keep reading because I will gradually prove otherwise. This is not the mysterious and questionable power of planets and constellations, or numbers, or anything else that is forever unprovable. It is the analysis of everyday life. It is brand new and it is different. It will one day change the course of history. At the very least it will continue to be entertaining and fascinating.

Bahamas Beaches

If you are looking for the best family beach vacation, Bahamas beaches are some of the best in the world. This island group may be best known for the tourist destination islands of Grand Bahamas and Nassau/Paradise Island, but the outlying islands offer a variety of remote villages and some of the best white sand beaches you'll find.

Not only is this a great family vacation, but the crystal clear waters are known for all kinds of water activities such as glass bottom boat rides, snorkeling and diving or fishing. Of course, Bahamas beaches are great for collecting shells and coral or just lounging in the sun and playing in the waves.

If you are looking for a luxury vacation, then Grand Bahamas or Nassau and Paradise Islands are a good place to start. Nassau is the capital city located on Providence Island, which neighbors Paradise Island. With a combination of international flair and tropical breezes, some of the most luxurious resort accommodations can be found on these islands, and there are so many things to do on land and water that swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat or going down a 120 foot tower water slide is just the beginning of the day.

You can stroll through the marketplace and shops, observe sea creatures, or visit a native turtle sanctuary. At nightfall, there are a wide array of beachfront restaurants, nightclubs and casinos for the parents. It's not unusual to end up gourmet dining with celebrity chefs. You can view Bahamas beaches from the air in a private charter plane, play golf, go birding or take a guided tour of the islands.

When you're ready to spend the day at the beach, Paradise beach has portions open to the public, although parts of it are limited to guests of the Atlantis resort. There are little huts to change, eat and get out of the sun. Cabbage Beach has restaurants where you can eat and use the restroom, but you might opt for Western Esplanade, which is a short walk from downtown Nassau.

Caves and Cable beaches are great for vacations because Caves is away from the tourists and it is a beautiful beach, but Cable is closer to the shops, bars and gambling, but good for families because of restrooms, restaurants and it is 4 miles long. On Grand Bahamas Island, Xanadu Beach is a great place for families because of its convenience to facilities and restaurants, and the water is calmer.

No matter what kind of family vacation you are interested in, the Bahamas offers a variety of activities and some of the most beautiful beaches in the World. It has become a tourist destination for many families because of the diversity of the things to do at affordable prices. Whether you are looking for a luxury vacation, a relaxing beach vacation or an entertaining, fun-filled vacation, you can find something to suit the entire family and enjoy the tropical ocean breezes and island atmosphere of the white sand beaches of the Bahamas

Visit New York City's World-Class Museums

New York has a bounty of world-class attractions in many categories. The city's museums are at the top of that list in terms of quality and diversity. When I lived in Manhattan in the 1980's, I was on a mission to visit every museum in town.

My favorite New York museums are:

Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the greatest museums in the world. It's mammoth-32 acres-and features a huge variety of art-3.5 million pieces in all. You will have time to see but a fraction of what's here so you might want to pick a style, a country or a century and start there. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Rembrandt paintings, Roman statues, Tiffany glass and the reconstructed Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian wing. You'll quickly realize why the "Met" attracts 5 million visitors a year.

American Museum of Natural History sits across the park from the Met on Central Park West. Dinosaur fossils are a big attraction here, with such stars as Tyrannosaurus Rex, Apatosaurus (formerly Brontosaurus), Stegosaurus and Triceratops. The dazzling Rose Center for Earth and Space is the new home of the famous Hayden Planetarium. The Center is a glass cube, and the Planetarium is in a sphere within the cube. The Rose Center is an interactive resource encompassing all things pertaining to galaxies, stars and planets.

Museum of Modern Art is a fun place, right in the heart of Midtown. The building itself is dramatic, with a breathtaking 6-story glass atrium that looks out over a sculpture garden. The modern art featured here exists in many media forms-paintings, photographs, sculptures, films, drawing, architecture and design. A lot of familiar 20th-century works hang on MOMA's walls.

Ellis Island Museum is sometimes off the radar of tourists, but it's a great one. The museum chronicles the role of Ellis Island in immigration history; the island was where 12 million immigrants were processed-examined, quarantined and sometimes even renamed-from 1892 to 1954. Probably the museum's most popular exhibit is the American Immigrant Wall of Honor, which recognizes America's immigrants and is inscribed with over 700,000 names.

Guggenheim Museum is more known for its architecture than for its art, which is actually well worth seeing. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the museum has an upward-spiraling ramp that winds 6 floors high. Art pieces hang from the walls surrounding the ramp, and each set of pieces leads an exhibit that continues in an adjacent chamber. Celebrated European artists who include Picasso, Kandinsky, Chagall, Renoir and others are prevalent in the Guggenheim's permanent collections.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum offers a rare look at a New York City tenement, or multiple-family building, that was the first home to U.S. immigrants. Most of these tenements had no water, heat or toilets until 1905. The building was rediscovered in 1988 by historian Ruth Abram, who wanted to build a museum to honor America's immigrants. The first restored apartment, that had been the 1878 home of the German-Jewish Gumpertz family, opened in 1992. The museum can be seen by guided tour only.

Picnic Tables Work Magic on Outdoor Decor

Although summer doesn't officially arrive until June 21st, at the end of May, we'll be marking its unofficial beginning. Of course, Memorial Day is just the first of the "Big Three" holidays of the upcoming season. With Independence Day in the middle, Labor Day at the (once again, unofficial) end, and countless celebrations and parties in between, our picnic tables, outdoor furniture, and grills will be getting lots of use.

While the furniture basically just has to sit there, the grills are appliances, which will be used constantly and mercilessly, functioning under great temperature extremes, and fueled by flammable substances. Therefore, it's important for those who are using them to know how to operate them safely, and cook the food to perfection.

Aside from the safety issues, some of the biggest, and most common, problems arise when people are unfamiliar with proper cooking techniques, correct temperatures for the food they are making, or even the characteristics of their own grills. Naturally, a lot of these mistakes are made by those with little or no grilling experience; however, even veteran outdoor chefs can slip up when they get new grills, but don't bother to become acquainted with all of their features.

So, the first thing to remember is that not all grills are the same. When you get a new one, whether it's your first, or your fifth, take the time to read the manual that comes with it, and follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations for its use. Of course, it will still take some time cooking on your grill to really get to know certain things about it, such as whether or not it has hot spots, where they are, and how long it takes to reach the necessary cooking temperature.

Even then, you'll have to find out what other, outside factors, can affect your grill. Inclement weather, for example, can increase heating and cooking times. On charcoal grills, food will cook faster on warm, calm days, than it will on windy, chilly, or damp days; not only will the coals take longer to heat up, but you will have to use more of them as well. Gas grills can also heat up more slowly, so you may have to use higher heat settings.

Weather conditions can even have an impact on charcoal when it's still in the bag; and if it gets damp, it can take an eternity to light, and will not burn evenly. Therefore, especially in humid climates, it should be stored in a tightly-closed plastic bag.

A little bit of charcoal goes a long way, because it produces a lot of heat. There are 15-20 briquettes in a pound, and it takes approximately 30 of them to cook one pound of meat. They should be arranged under the rack, in a solid bed that's a bit larger than the area that the food will cover. If it's going to take more than 60 minutes to cook your food, you will have to add about ten more briquettes per hour. Place them around the edges, in contact with the coals that are already burning, or get them going ahead of time, by lighting them in a can, or a charcoal chimney starter, first.

The Meaning Behind Wedding Favors

Special Parting Gifts

Weddings impart a good feeling to anyone attending these celebratory events. If you're a guest at one of these occasions, you'll be sure to come home with a memento from the happy couple that will be unique as well as memorable. If you're in the process of planning a wedding yourself, it's important to choose your wedding favors for your guests and order them early as you'll have a lot of other arrangements to make as well.

Where it All Began

Take a look online and you'll be amazed at the number of offerings. It makes one wonder where the tradition of offering a wedding favor to guests started. Well, to obtain your answer, you'd have to travel back in time a few centuries to France and Italy. At that time, the aristocrats in those countries offered small presents, known as bonbonnieres (in France) or bombonieres (in Italy) to the guests at weddings. Such gifts were also presented to guests at other happy occasions as well, such as birthday parties.

A Gift of Influence

A bonbonniere or bomboniere was a porcelain, crystal or metal box. Some were made with fine gems or precious stones. Inside the boxes, one generally found five small candies, or sometimes sugared almonds. Each piece represented health, fertility, wealth, longevity and happiness. As a result, the tradition prevailed and that's why we offer favors at weddings and bridal showers today.

A Large Selection Online

Of course, today we have a much larger selection with respect to favors for weddings or bridal showers. On the Internet, you'll find a wide array of unique wedding favors that you can use as gifts for your guests. Pick from flowers, candies, candles, bottle stoppers, measuring spoons, tea bags, and personalized boxes, just to name a few.

Do Some Virtual Window Shopping

Naturally, practical favors are always appreciated. For example, give your guests picture frames that can be used as place card holders. Using favors in this way can save you a lot with respect gift wrapping. What's nice about shopping on the Internet for your favors is that you can match the favor to the type of wedding you are planning. Take your time and browse over the selections; however, make sure you do it far in advance of your actual wedding date as the gifts will need to be personalized. Sites that offer favors usually provide information and ideas on wedding invitations and decorations as well as accessories. Use the time to choose unique wedding favors and related items for your special day.

Unique Candy Apples

For example, you may want to give your guests a sweet treat, such as a brownie ball, which is available in a bride or groom motif. Pick the chocolate-covered candy apple bride, accented which white chocolate pearls or the candy apple groom, with a white and dark chocolate tuxedo.
A Vintage Selection
On the other hand, you may prefer to give your guests a birdcage holding a tea light. This type of favor is great for a vintage-type wedding. The metal cage holds a tea light and doubles for holding place cards as well.

A Little Bit of Tea or Jam Anyone?

Or, maybe you'd like to give guests a teapot and infuser for a party favor. What a perfect way to depict sharing. A chrome spreader with a heart-shaped handle is a good present for your guests to take home too.

Favors are a nice tradition and an excellent way to celebrate the "union" and family and friends. Maintain the tradition by looking at all the offerings online.The

IREO Victory Valley Gurgaon

If you are searching for high-end residential comfort and your personal living space, arrive at the situation of Gurgaon. Yes, this residential township will proffer all that you require for a nifty and an indulging living. All your residential aspirations will find their final destination at IREO Victory Valley Gurgaon making residents proud of their decision to live here.

Every alcove and angle of IREO Victory Valley Gurgaon is grand than all contemporary residential townships. A truly inspiring infrastructure and a classy lifestyle await all those who have a nifty taste. Buy lovely apartment at this high-end destination and experience exotic life style day and night.

Once the opulence and comfort of IREO is felt, no other situate will seem suitable for a classy residence. This architectural marvel is all set to become a pointer of Gurgaon's residential options. Enjoy and celebrate your life at IREO Victory Valley Gurgaon and see your family smiling every day in and day out.

This project is strategically located in sector 67 of Gurgaon and is merely 1 km away from Golf Course Extension Road. The impressive residential venture of Gurgaon IREO Victory Valley has world class construction to its credit. The fascia of apartments here are very attractive having colossal balconies. The residents do not have to worry at all for the power supply as it is going to be uninterrupted round the clock. There are sophisticated elevators that would be functional day and night. All these facilities come with extra topping of 24x7 security surveillance and also solid waste management

Let us also know something about the planners of impressive residential venture named IREO Victory Valley. IREO is a credible and a worthy conglomerate of Indian real estate sector. This real estate company has made its presence felt all over India by the means of its accomplished and successfully proven ventures. There are numerous projects of IREO that are in the pipeline of states of Delhi NCR, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and Maharashtra. IREO is not just real estate planners but also an incorporated real estate organization that plays multiple roles of real estate developer as well as financer. After delivering successful projects one after other, yet again it has proven its expertise in the form of IREO Victory Valley. This project has been designed and devised by proficient minds and experienced hands thus making it one of their best initiatives.

Starting a Conversation With a Man

How can you fight those nervous feelings to help you speak up and talk to him? You don't know him well or at all so how can you keep confident and try conversation with a stranger? Do you struggle for icebreakers and what to say to him? These are all common fears but there are some helpful hints you should try.

Starting conversation with a man can be a little frightening when you are trying to make the best impression but remember he is still just a person. Think of him as an old friend or someone you haven't seen in a long while, what would you say then? You might ask what he's doing as a career, how life is going, any kids, and if he's out celebrating tonight with friends or he just came in to have some fun. If he's watching the game, ask whom he's rooting for, if the game has been a good one so far, and cheer with him. Talk to him during commercials to get his name and something else out of him besides sports talk. Starting conversation with a man is pretty easy with sports and his favorite team.

Ask each other some questions or make a game out of it. Come up with open-ended questions you both answer and discuss in a few sentences. Mention odd things such as having a black belt, you're SCUBA certified, favorite authors, or anything creative. Be honest. Lead the conversation somewhere besides boring and tedious. "What do you do for fun?' is the worst question ever and always has the same answer like "hang out with friends, go to the movies, that sort of thing". If you skydive or go horseback riding then bring that up because it's unique for most unless you live in Wyoming or any of those Midwestern states. Skydiving is impressive to most but don't lie because that bad karma will someday come back and your tall tales will be outed.

This introductory conversation is the perfect time to learn a lot about him. It's a fun conversation to get some information, be casual and laugh. You can easily talk for two hours about one another and find out some interesting facts. Starting conversation with a man is easier than you think with confidence to approach him, engage talk, and be yourself.

Arizona - Here We Go Again

Talk about the eyes of the world on you. Ever since the famous or should I say infamous Immigrant Bill passed in Arizona this state has had to endure the scrutiny of every piece of legislation they pass in the interest of the Arizonians. A new bill has been signed into law that prohibits a particular school district's ethnic study program. Now that sounds like something that may be unconstitutional. After researching the bill the reasons the law are sound but is this taking our right to freedom of speech away from us?

The law prohibits schools having classes that advocate ethnic solidarity. It seems these classes are developed for a particular race and are used somehow to advocate resentment against other ethnic groups. This new law doesn't prohibit teaching classes on the history of any ethnic group but does require that these classes be open to all students, no matter where or what their background. an this be true that in our modern advanced country there are public schools teaching ethnic hatred? Could there actually be classes held in the U.S. that advocates hatred for certain colors or creeds? From what we read and see in the news nowadays this is not only possible but I think its a reality of what's going in the world and in our country.

We should never take our freedoms for granted and never abuse these freedoms by twisting them into something they are not. Freedom of speech is an important freedom that separates us from most countries. Advocating hatred on any particular race, color or creed is not only an abuse of the freedom of speech its against the law. Our Declaration of Independence states "...all men are created equal..." It goes on to say,..."that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,...". These are words that we as Americans should be living by.

Arizona has taken on the task to defend themselves against illegal immigrants and now its taking the next step to stop the teaching and segregation of people based on race, color, or creed. What more can Arizona do to protect their citizens? Perhaps making it law to teach in school The Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States to all our students. It should be a required course for study in all our schools. How better to teach people to except one another as Americans and enjoy the freedoms we have in this country.

Celebrate our wonderful country and our freedoms, visit where you will find all styles of men's jewelry including military rings, military watches, sports watches, stainless steel jewelry and more. They also have a Gifts4Her department for convenient shopping for your loved ones. Quality products reasonably priced with most items featuring free shipping.

Gifts For Boss and Co-Employees

Giving gifts at the office comes several times each year. It is an age-old practice during special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, weddings, and holidays that both bosses and employees follow. Giving gifts has an endless options, yet quite challenging to deal with.

Giving gifts at the office supposed to be to be special, but not too personal or extravagant. When you give, make sure that you are following some company policies regarding giving gifts to your boss or colleagues. Both exorbitant and tight fisted can create an awkward feeling to you and your recipients.

Know who your recipient is and the budget for the gifts. You may have some ideas about him, but totally clueless on what he already has. You don't want to give him another token that he would simply keep together with some old ones. Try to be unique and creative when it comes to gifting your boss or co-employees to make sure that yours will proudly be displayed and cherish for years to come.

If you are the one assigned to purchase gifts for boss and colleagues, this task can be a big challenge for you. Not to mention you may need a group gift for everyone. If your assignment is to provide a group gift, then you should start soliciting from other groups. You don't have to shoulder it all; two heads are better than one. Together with your partner, you can brainstorm and fraction the expenses to know how much will each of you should contribute.

Office Supplies

Among the safest gifts you can present to your boss and co-workers are office supplies that they can use at work. These supplies can be anything from notepads, business pens, pen holders, business card holders, paper weights, bookends, desk clocks, desk organizers, desk frames, business folders, and many more. These are the most common yet useful items that sure to be used by your recipients. Office supplies can be engraved or printed, making them personalized gifts. You can have names, initials, a date, or even a message, poems, or even funny texts or quotes inscribed on the chosen supply.

Memory Books or Scrapbooks

If you want to give something sentimental or a sort of commemoration gift, well then memory books or scrapbooks are great options. Your boss or colleague will surely appreciate something that will reminds him of good times and success at work. On the book, all staff can write down their message for the boss, retiree, or for someone who got promoted. Pictures can also be pasted on the memory book.

Gifts Baskets

Another great gift option you can provide is a basket filled with gift items and treats. A gift basket is a perfect choice if you are looking for a group gift that will suffice a number of people. In the basket, you can have gourmet cookies, cheese, crackers, wine or fruits. Flowers can also be filler for the basket. Gift baskets are safe and easy options that can be given during any office celebration.

Office gifts such as desk accessories, memory books, and business gift baskets can be found and purchased online. Other business gifts that online stores offer include gifts for executives, clients and retirees.

Unwind - An Ancient Church at Lunchtime

The first thing I notice is the quietness. I step from the rush and bustle and hurly burly of cars and mobile phones and chatter into this still place. I sit down slowly and realise just how much of the buzz from outside is inside of me. That I have a semi circular ring road of busyness in my body. I sit in the quietness until my unwilling body starts to hush, like a small child unscrewing itself from a tantrum

Everything in here speaks with an ancient voice. The flagstones worn by centuries of feet, celebrating or mourning, Christmas and Easter, choirs and Girl Guides and tourists. The rudimentary stone Font that has baptised children since the 12th Century. The wooden rood screens crafted by Monks from trees that they knew, carved and painstakingly painted with pictures of their Saints. These screens that have survived five hundred years and two World Wars intact.

I breathe in the hushed voices, frankincense and the rich, honeyed smell of old oak. I breathe out the complicated mix of things I am not sure make this world an easy place to live in. Emails, text messages, to do lists, cash machines and oven ready meals encased in plastic.

Somehow this stillness and this oldness are comforting to me. It is reassuring to know that in this world of constant change and instant gratification, there is somewhere that remains the same, somewhere that is untouched. Where everything is as it has always been. My life is full of things I have to prioritise and plan, responsibilities and deadlines. When I come here I am reminded that, however busy I am, there is somewhere that is still and unbent. Like an old oak tree in a raging storm whose roots stretch to places unfathomable.

This place speaks of a peace such as the world cannot give. That is why I come. So that I can take that Ancient Voice back into my world. Like a child, calmed.

Working With Neonatal Nurses - A Bird's Eye View

Neonatal nurses are a difficult group to describe. I have a bird's eye view of them, working with them yet not being one of them.

I entered their world cautiously knowing they would eat me for lunch if I so much as looked the wrong way. Forget that I had any knowledge or even a personality. I knew that first I must just exist in their world and do no harm for a very long time, and if that plan worked out, maybe I could start treating some patients. I respected their protectiveness. I couldn't think of any group of patients in greater need of protection.

And slowly, they allowed me to be.

If you've never seen a NICU nurse work it's quite amazing. They can bundle a baby as tight as any burrito in 3 seconds flat, especially if showing a new resident how to properly perform this task. Seemingly regardless of their age and/or eyesight they can start an I.V. in a vein that's no wider than a thread or fishing line while blocking out all surrounding distractions.

And don't kid yourself if you're a friend of one of these nurses and you visit her with your new baby. You may think she's just admiring his adorable face when really she's trying to control her excitement about how good his scalp veins look in case he ever needs an I.V. in his noggin.

I'm telling you, they're just not right.

They are meticulous about the state of the baby's bedside and the baby himself, and are so anal that they typically revamp the entire area when they come on shift because the nurse before them wasn't quite anal enough. This is all in the best interest of the baby of course, and for that nurse's state of mind for the rest of the shift.

They have the ability to discern when a little 1-pound person just doesn't seem like herself from a mile away. They will do everything in their power to convince the docs of this and will likely not let them leave for the day unless they get what they want for that baby.

NICU nurses have known forever that these babies feel pain, even though it was difficult to 'prove'. They think about the babies on their days off, come in from home if they are dying. They provide a baby with lots of love one minute, and run to code another one the next.

They are expert at what they do.

Now that I've been working with them for well over a decade and they trust me not to do anything too stupid, I must say I understand them. This little world in the NICU is unique. It is at once a place of celebrating new life and the grasping for it. It has been noted to be a place of intense parental love or at times abandonment; parents sometimes lost in their own set of horrible circumstances. It is mostly happy. It is mostly positive. It can be devastating.

We tuck years of that pain into a place we pretend doesn't exist in healthcare. We go home and kiss our children.

I can't say enough about the dedication of this group of people. They make me laugh hysterically with the sarcasm and humor that comes with the territory. They stun me with the level of skill they take for granted and the patience with which they teach the unending line of new doctors, new nurses, and people like me.

It is an immense responsibility to dedicate your work to a place that never closes, which needs you for its smooth and competent running, where fragile babies living and dying can just be part of your day's work. All of that for a six figure salary............

Thank you to the NICU nurses, for your expertise, your example, and your friendship. May there be a place in heaven for you with a coffee pot, good Chinese food, and the perfect schedule!

General Omar Bradley "The Soldiers General"

Born on February 12, 1893 in Clark, Missouri, Omar Bradley came from a poor family. He was the son of a school teacher and at an early age it was stressed to him the importance of a good education. He was educated at the local public schools but upon graduating high school he applied and was excepted to West Point. He entered the academy in 1911 at the age of 18 and graduated in 1915. Besides himself, his class contained many future generals giving the West Point Academy class of 1915 the name "The class the stars fell upon.".

Upon leaving West Point he joined the 14th Regiment but never seen action in Europe during World War I. During this time he served on the Mexican border and it was here that he was promoted to captain. After the war he taught math at West Point from 1920 to 1924 and was promoted to major. As a major he briefly served in Hawaii then went on to school at Fort Leavenworth, Texas at the Command and General Staff School from 1928 to 1929. It wasn't until 1936 that Omar Bradley was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In February of 1941 he was promoted to Brigadier General and became commander of Fort Benning.

During World War II General Bradley was known as "The Soldiers General" because of his care and compassion for the soldiers under his command. During the war he served as one of the main field commanders in North Africa and Europe. General Omar Bradley commanded the 12th Army group that in 1945 included 4 field armies, 12 corps, and 48 divisions with a total of 1,300,000 men. This was by far the largest field command ever in America's history. Bradley served his country well during WWII and was a key factor in the Allied victory in Europe.

After the war General Bradley became head of Veterans' Affairs for a short time. It was in 1949 he became the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the government's new Department of Defense. His career in the service of his country continued for several years in different capacities till his retirement from active duty in August 1953. On April 8th 1981 retired army General Omar Bradley died at the age of 87 in New York city.

Celebrate this hero and honor all the heros of our armed forces. If you know anyone that served their country during war or is a member of the armed forces serving in the states show your appreciation for their devotion, their steadfast to stand with their country in defending its freedoms. Visit and check out their military jewelry, their military clocks, military watches and military rings they offer at reasonable prices. They also have a Gifts4Her department for that special lady in your life.

Choosing From Different Types of Quinceanera Invitations

Invitations speak a lot about a party or an occasion. There a number of different options available when it comes to choosing Quinceanera invitations. It just takes a bit of imagination and a lot of creativity to come up with wonderful and fabulous invitations for your big day. One of the best ways to create such invitations is by making them yourself.

DIY invitations are great especially if you are on a tight budget. You can not only add your own designs or patterns but even personalize them with photo of your choice. If in doubt, you can easily take the assistance of websites or blogs that provide you with excellent tips and ideas on how to go about creating sweet 15 invitations that will catch the eyes of the guests.

You can even choose from modern or traditional style of invitations for Quinceaneras that can be decorated with colorful borders or graphics. In addition to this, you can even choose from stylish or traditional fonts to make the invitations even more attractive to the guests. Make sure you mention the right venue, time and other essential details of the party.

Another option available for your sweet 15 invitations are downloading them in printable formats. You may come across many websites that offer themed invitations such as Disney, precious moments of your growing days or Cinderella that can be customized or personalized depending on your preferences and requirements. Once you have got your desired designs onto the invitations you can easily print them off and send to the guests.

If you have a computer at home, you can easily download certain software programs that help you in creating unique and beautiful Quinceanera invitations. Many of these software programs come with different types of illustrations, clip arts, fonts and many other features that will make a blank invitation look sophisticated and fabulous.

Your Quinceanera Anos invitations can also be made using different types of colored cardstocks such as jewel tones, pastel shades, creams, whites and many more. Different accessories can also be made use of such as beads, colorful laces, flowers, rubber stamps to give a more personal look to the invitations. You can even purchase paper punches or embossers and use them for your invitations.

You invitations for Quinceaneras will definitely be the talk of the town. What great way to celebrate your 15th birthday than by making unique invitations. For more special effect, you can even add sparkles, glitter or confetti inside the envelopes so that the guests can get into the festive mood right away. You can even purchase colored envelopes and add cute stickers of cartoon characters or themes.

Make sure you involve your friends and relatives since many minds work better than one. The above tips and ideas will make your Quinceanera invitations very popular among your guests and many of them would even ask you on how you created them. These special invites can also be kept as keepsakes and added to your scrapbook.

Great Marketing Ideas

For Retailers

Small business owners can easily get so involved in the day-to-day running of their retail stores that they neglect to spend any time brainstorming marketing ideas or promotional events. Some retailers worry that marketing is too expensive, others may find it too time consuming. Only by getting more people to become aware of you and what you sell, will you increase your sales and improve your business.

There are many ways to go about attracting more customers, but here are 50 great marketing ideas that retailers could use.

1. Create a calendar for customers with your shop's name and address on it.

2. Print the products you sell or services offered on the back of your business cards.

3. Always carry business cards with you. Give them freely and ask permission to leave them in places your target market may visit.

4. Join a trade association or organization related to your industry.

5. Have a drawing for a product or a gift certificate. Use the entry forms to collect customers' mailing addresses.

6. Develop a brochure of services your shop offers.

7. Conduct monthly clinics about a product or service you offer or schedule semi-annual seminars on related "how-to" information for your industry.

8. Learn how to market your Products on the Internet.

9. Develop a website to showcase your products, services and location. Use a memorable URL and include it on all marketing materials.

10. Include customer testimonials in your printed literature.

11. Promote yourself as an expert by writing articles or tips on topics related to your industry.

12. Submit to the local newspaper, trade journal or other publications.

13. Host an after-hours gathering for your employees and their friends/relatives.

14. Provide free t-shirts with your logo to your staff to wear.

15. Send newsworthy press releases as often as needed.

16. Create an annual award and publicize it.

17. Develop your own TV show on your specialty and present it to your local cable station or public broadcasting station.

18. Create a press kit and keep its contents current.

19. Use an answering machine or voice mail system to catch after-hours phone calls. Include basic information in your outgoing messages such as business hours, location, website, etc.

20. Join a Chamber of Commerce where you can network with area business owners.

21. Hold an open house. Invite prominent city officials and the press.

22. Get a memorable local or toll-free phone number.

23. Place ads in publications your market reads. Be sure to reach the non-English speaking market as well.

24. Distribute specialty products such as pens, mouse pads, or mugs with your store's logo.

25. Advertise in creative locations such as park benches, buses, and popular Web sites.

26. Improve your building signage.

27. Get a booth at a trade show or expo attended by your target market.

28. Give a speech or volunteer for a career day at a high school.

29. Sponsor an Adopt-a-Highway area in your community to keep roads litter-free.

30. Donate your product or service to a charity event or auction.

31. Have a Yellow Pages ad listed under your main industry and in related categories.

32. Volunteer your time to a charity or non-profit organization.

33. Create a loyalty program to reward existing customers.

34. Create an opt-in email or print newsletter for your customers. Fill each edition with specials, tips and other timely information.

35. Send hand-written thank you notes to important customers every chance you get.

36. Use brightly colored envelopes and unique stationary when sending direct mail pieces.

37. Show product demos or related videos on a television on the sales floors during store hours.

38. Book a celebrity guest for an event at your store. Use people in your industry or television news anchors or local authors.

39. Create window displays in locations away from your shop. Airports, hospitals, and large office buildings occasionally have display areas they rent to local businesses.

40. Team up with a non-competing business in your area to offer a package promotion.

41. Pick the slowest day of the week to hold a one-day sale.

42. Create a warm, welcoming waiting area for your customers.

43. Provide extra customer service training for your staff.

44. Sign up for a newsletter or join online discussion groups in your industry.

45. If possible, loan your facilities to other groups for a meeting place.

46. Create a unique lapel pin based on the products you sell to wear at meetings.

47. Choose a regular customer to spotlight as a Customer of the Month. Create a brief write up to submit to the local newspaper about the customer and be sure to give he or she a copy of the article as well as have one framed to hang in the store.

48. Pair up slow moving items with related products and repackage as a special buy.

49. Start a blog. Write about your industry or detail in-store happenings.

50. Offer your customers discounts for each referral they provide.

Marketing is most effective if done in coordination with other exposure, for example, Internet Exposure.

Picking the Right Name For Your Newborn

From the minute you first discover that you are having a baby, you begin to think of that perfect name. You want a name that your baby will grow into and be proud of when he or she grows into adulthood. Names have a way of affecting the personality, so be careful what you choose.

Write down every name that you think you might like to call the baby, both boys and girls, unless you know the sex of the baby in advance. Sit down with your husband and go over the list, deleting names that neither one of you are crazy about. As your list becomes shorter, your choices become limited, and you can both come to an agreement.

Choose a name that goes well with your last name, and has a good meaning. Don't rhyme the first name with the last. Children have a way of teasing each other, and it will make it hard on your child if anyone makes fun of their name. Check a baby book for the meanings of some of the names you have in mind. Remember, your child has to grow up and live out his or her life with the name you give them, so a well thought out name will save you explaining in the future why you named him or her what you did, especially if they grows up hating it!

Some families have a history of naming babies after an ancestor, and if this idea pleases you, go ahead and name your child after a favorite relative. Grandparents feel especially honored if a baby is named after them. Use their name as your child's middle name if the name isn't one you are particularly fond of.

Try not to name your child after a celebrity, or anyone in the entertainment field. This could get sticky later on in life. Nicknames are fine as long as they aren't something that is going to embarrass your child in later years. For example, Jack for John, Betty or Liz for Elizabeth, Kate for Katherine, are all perfectly acceptable nicknames. You want your child to have a good solid name that he or she will be proud to call their own. If you name your son after his father, try not to call him junior as he grows up. Give him a name he can call his own. Don't name your child something that he or she, or anyone else for that matter, can't pronounce or spell. Even adults have difficulty pronouncing some of the names kids have, and this includes their teachers. Nothing is as embarrassing to a child as having their name mispronounced at role call. This is the kind of thing that other children pick up on, and the teasing can go on forever, and your child will be stuck with the mispronounced name.

Once you have made your choice, don't let others try to influence you to change it. This is a personal matter between your husband and yourself, and whether or not your friends or family like it, in the end the choice is yours.

Novelty Sunglasses, Your Fashion Statement

Do you want to enhance the theme of the party? How can you look different in the party? Then do not hesitate to buy a pair novelty sunglass. With this fashion accessory make your look complete and spice up the festive spirit.

What are novelty sunglasses?

Novelty sunglasses are nothing other than eye wears that come in electrifying shades, shapes and sizes. These are specifically designed for some special occasions like the Halloween and St. Patrick's Day. These can be worn on birthdays and on other special occasions as well. There are innumerable occasions where you can show your fashion quotient with these types of accessories. Furthermore, you can also add zing to your wardrobe with these fashionable eye-wears.

Why use a sunglass?

Sun-specs are basically a type of protective eyewear, which protects your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. These rays can cause severe eye problems. Some people are not comfortable with the sunlight therefore healthcare professionals started recommending protective eyewear whenever they go outside.

At first the optical accessories were associated mainly with film actors and celebrities. However, with time these became a fashion accessory for every commoner. It is a common fashion accessory on the beach. Besides, it has also made its mark in the festivals, masquerades and theme parties. These eye shades are also used in sports.

When can you use these fashion accessories?

As aforementioned, these cool shades can be worn on birthdays and other festivals. Birthdays are regarded as one of the most special days in one's life. Therefore, on that day everyone wants to look their best. Kids love dressing. These fashion accessories are the best addition to any birthday party. Birthday sunglasses come in shutter shades, heart shaped, fruit shaped, and flower shaped. You can also avail of the glitter eye wears, which are attractive to kids.

Halloween is another such special occasion when you love to dress up and enjoy the festival with your near and dear ones. You might look for the just eyewear to boost your costume then do not hesitate to buy a pair of these fashion accessories to set free your cheerful spirit. Halloween fashion accessories for eyes come in the shape of pumpkins, witches, and ghosts.

St Patrick's Day is another such special occasion when people love to dress in different shades of green. Wearing a pair of shamrock sunglasses and enjoying a beer at a local pub will be a great idea.

Pilates Machine - Popular Pilates Machines Used to Achieve Core Stability

Exercising with a Pilates machine is now the latest craze to hit the fitness industry. Everyone from celebrities like Madonna and Julia Roberts to elite athletes like golfer Tiger Woods and basketball star Jason Kidd are incorporating Pilates in to their training program.

Designed to improve posture, balance and coordination, Pilates focuses on strengthening the body's core abdominal muscles. Joseph Pilates first introduced it in the early 20th Century to help rehabilitate First World War veterans returning from war. He created six principles to condition and rehabilitate the entire body - spinal alignment, body centering, breathing control, concentration, movement control, precision and flowing movement.

Specialized Pilates machines are used to challenge the body's core musculature. There are a few pieces equipment that use specifically designed spring resistance to adjust the difficulty of the exercise. The springs provide a progressive resistance as the springs are stretched.

The Reformer is the most common Pilates equipment used. Other popular pieces of apparatus include the Trapeze Table, the Wunda Chair, and the Ladder Barrel. Lesser used Pilates machines include the Step Barrel, the Guillotine Tower, the Arm Chair, the Pedi-Pole, and the Foot Corrector.

In the last few years, there have been other 'props' used by Pilates studios and gymnasiums that incorporate similar core stability principles. These include the Magic Circle, small weighted balls, foam rollers, Fit balls, rotating disks, and resistance bands.

Every Pilates machine or equipment is used in a series of controlled exercises to build core abdominal strength, develop proper spinal alignment and posture as well as muscle flexibility.

Getting Rid of Your Belly Fat - Why Doing Abdominal Crunches Alone Does Not Work

Have you been frustrated at the lack of results from the hundreds of abdominal crunches you have been doing lately? If you feel like there is just NO getting rid of your belly fat, perhaps your workout routine needs a bit of a tweak.

Doing abdominal crunches is definitely important to having your own personal "6-pack", so don't interpret this as a licence to quit your sit-ups. Far from it. But, did you know that even if you did hundreds and hundreds of sit-ups every day, you still would not get those "celebrity abs" you want if you neglect the rest of your body?

What you may need to add to your daily workout are more cardiovascular exercises. You will be amazed at how quickly the pounds drop off of your whole body INCLUDING your stomach area when you add a range of cardio exercises such as biking, jogging, rowing, or aerobics. Burning calories through cardio workouts burns off overall body fat to REVEAL those toned muscles for which you have been working so hard!

Cardio workouts also help boost your metabolism, which is great because a higher metabolism burns fat faster! And that fat that is sitting on your waist is something you really want gone, isn't it?

The best way to both get rid of your belly fat AND tone your muscles is to set up an exercise routine with intervals of cardio exercises and strength training exercises. For example, begin your workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, a quick walk, or a short bike ride. Then, focus for 10 minutes on your lower body, doing squats, leg lifts, and the like. Do another 10 minutes of cardio, then focus on strengthening your arms. Cardio again after that, and then focus on your upper body or midsection. Finish off with another 10 minute cardio set and a good stretch.

A work out such as the one described above will help you start seeing the results you want, and help you get rid of your belly fat for good. You may think that focusing on your legs or arms won't be helpful, but remember that all exercises require you to hold your core muscles firm, which is an exercise in itself.Just as your whole body is connected one muscle to the next, so your core will benefit from each part of your workout.

In a Rut Or Blocked? 9 Tips to Help You Get Back to the Business of Writing

You are sitting at your desk, staring at a blank sheet of paper or a blank word document on the computer screen. You actually want to write, but just can't bring yourself to it. You have no clue what to do with your characters next, and they don't seem eager to tell you.

Or perhaps you have a deadline, but you're aimlessly typing random letters on the page, none of which seem to make sense, and you're getting more and more frustrated as every minute passes. That deadline that you have in two weeks seems to be coming round very quickly and, at this rate there is no way you are going to make it!

Whether you are experiencing this for the first time or for the hundredth time and you're at a loss as to what you should do, don't despair. You can consider yourself as having a case of writer's block or being stuck in a rut; it can and does happen even if you haven't been neglecting your work. Other writers experience this too.

Your muse needs to be fed, her energy recharged! So how do you do it? Staring at the screen is not going to help. In fact, it will make your situation far worse because the day will have passed before you know it! Here are some tips:

1. If you're going through a rough period, take a vacation. Taking a few days off from writing is sometimes necessary. At the end of this period, you are most likely to feel much better and more inspired. For many writers, this is the perfect time when a story idea pops into their mind and they begin percolating.

2. If taking a few days off isn't an option for you, take a short break. Get out of the house or your office for a few hours. Take your mind off your work by doing something different - watch a movie, go to a cafe, meet up with a friend...just do anything that will take your mind off your writing for a while. This will give you a new perspective that you can take back to your computer later.

3. Write ten positive things about your writing skills on a piece of paper and put it on the wall above your computer. This will remind you just how good you are at what you do so it will give your confidence a boost.

4. Go on despite your mood. Don't let your feelings get in your way, but use them instead to help you in your work. If you are angry, perhaps it's time to write the fight scene you had in mind. Sad? It's probably a good idea to develop the break-up scene between your two main characters. You may never use this work, but at least you'll be writing.

5. Reread what you have already done. You may be stuck because you have lost your place in your writing so read what you've written and find your place again.

6. Accept the current difficulty as normal and necessary. You may not be able to feed your muse properly simply because you haven't accepted that stress is a normal part of your life, too. As a matter of fact, very often stress catalyzes our energies and pushes us towards the deadline.

7. Trust yourself. For many of us, the greatest enemy is the lack of confidence. You will not keep the momentum going unless you identify the negative source that causes your insecurity. You will feel much more inspired when you write without thinking of your insecurities.

8. Use your fear. Your fear will become your ally if you dare to face it. Endow your main character with the same fear you experience, and then let him or her deal with it. Only you can decide where fear is taking you. Just let go and write!

9. Celebrate yourself. You deserve all the self-respect you can take for your courage to commit to writing. There may be times when you may not feel like this at all, but remember that while you cannot control the respect you receive from others, you can influence the respect you feel for yourself.

Even the most seasoned and famous writers get stuck in a rut or get a bad case of writer's block at some point in their lives. If none of the suggestions work for you, just sleep on it. Getting a good night's sleep can rejuvenate your mind and give you a clean bill of mental productivity in the morning, as well as give you the ability to look for inspiration! That will soon cure your writer's block or get you out of the rut!

Great Summertime Snacks

Summer is almost here, which means that people all across the country are celebrating! Actually, in many areas of the country, summer has already arrived. In summer we relax more, have vacation time, take it easy, get some well-deserved rest.

We also tend to get really, really hot in summer. During the summer months, you may feel like you are going to melt into a puddle! There is no reason to suffer constant discomfort while trying to have your summer fun. Keep in mind that cooling is good, and you'll feel a lot better.

Snacks are important for grabbing on the go while having your summer fun. Why not grab snacks that do double-duty, getting rid of your hunger while also cooling you off?

Many cooling snacks are seasonal foods, and only available during the summer months. Don't miss out on these delicious treats, try some this season.

Frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt is a big trend this year. It's not surprising that this treat is so popular. It is not only cooling, it is also delicious and lower-calorie than ice cream. That makes it a popular and healthy snack for cooling you off!

Iced coffee. Coffee is a popular drink in winter, when its warmth is wanted. During the summer months, though, it tends to be less popular. How to get the buzz, without the heat?

Coffee lovers, don't despair. Try iced coffee instead! Coffee tastes just as good over ice as it does steaming in a mug. You might also try chai tea when you need caffeine that will be cooling.

Snow cones. Snow cones are great at an outdoor event like a music festival or a fair. You can usually get them inexpensively and they come in lots of different and tasty flavors. You really never see them offered for sale in winter though. If you want a snow cone, grab one while the weather is still hot or you'll have to wait for next year!