Practical Tips for Taking a Good Passport Photo

Getting a high-quality passport photo doesn’t need to be an arduous and time-consuming process. A simple solution is to take the photo yourself to avoid the time and expense of using the automatic machines at airports and train stations. Here are a few tips for taking a passport photo:

Daylight is best

The best time to take the passport photo is in the day when there is a lot of natural light. Stand somewhere that gives plenty of natural light to avoid shadows on the background or face. It is important to use flat lighting to minimize the risk of a photo being rejected due to shadows.

Facial expression

Take the photos while holding a natural, relaxed facial expression. Make sure to avoid blinking, smiling, or any other expressions. Use the camera’s self-timer and take several snaps and choose the one that is most appropriate.

Plan what to wear

It helps to keep it professional and wear a collared shirt or blouse. Try to avoid the loose-fitting clothes that don’t give the best look in photographs. A light-colored shirt is great for those with dark hair, while a dark top is practical for light hair. Also, it may be practical to groom yourself. Get the hair cut if necessary and wear neutral make up to stop a photo looking unflattering and garish.

Your surroundings

It is essential to have neutral surroundings when taking the passport photo. A light-colored background is the preferred option. Avoid dark or bright colors for your surroundings. For instance, a red background can create a luminescence effect that is likely to reflect back onto you. Try to recreate something similar to a photo booth with the clean and light background.

Use passport photo software

The passport photo software makes it really easy to click and select a preferred picture and have it printed out in a matter of minutes. The actual photo can be taken using a digital camera with a timer feature, or have a family member take the appropriate picture. The software gives the option to edit, crop or rotate the image to match the exact criteria of the passport. However, it is essential to avoid any post production that manipulates your appearance because this will likely mean the photo gets rejected.

Once the editing is done, use a high-quality photo paper with a decent resolution at the same onscreen size. The photo must be free of marks, creases and tears, so make sure to avoid using low-quality paper.

Classic TV Commercials – Diverse and Daring Advertising

The 1950s were arguably the golden age of television and many people of a certain age look back fondly at some of the shows of the time – "The Lone Ranger", "I Love Lucy" and "Gunsmoke". These shows were in black and white and were watched on a set that got its signal from a huge antenna on the roof, but they were loved just the same.

Almost as compelling as the TV shows themselves, there were some of the commercials of the time. TV was still a novelty during the 1950s and companies were angry to cash in on the new craze. Particularly popular commercials were for cigarettes, cars and state of the art kitchen appliances. And the average length of TV advertisements was around a minute – compared to the 30 seconds or less today.

Beer was also one of the products widely advertised on TV during the 1950s. At first, it was only late at night and never on a Sunday, so as not to offend anyone. During the early part of the decade, Blatz Beer became one of the beer industry's biggest advertisers, partly due to the company's sponsorship of the popular "Amos 'n' Andy" show.

One of the most instantly recognizable characters in television advertising at the time was Mabel. Mabel was a chirpy blond waitress who appeared on screen with a tray of Carling Black Label beer. Almost every Carling commercial featured the phrase that became famous – "Hey, Mabel, Black Label!"

Cigarette advertisements were commonplace during the 1950s – a big change from television today. Some of the largest tobacco manufacturers of the time spent a lot of money trying to convince us that smoking was sophisticated and fun, including Lucky Strike, Tareyton and Winston.

One famous Lucky Strike ad featured a clever combination of cartoon and live action, featuring the singer Gisele McKenzie. Tareytown had an ad that featured what appeared to be two children dancing around a huge pack of cigarettes. And who can possibly forget the Fontane Sisters singing the praises of Chesterfield cigarettes?

Car manufacturers went to great lengths to advertise the latest models on television during the 1950s despite the loss of aesthetic effect on a black and white screen. The Ford Edsel was advertised at great length as the most beautiful convertible in the world, complete with such wonderful and innovative features as "teletouch" driving and air suspension.

It was not all just cars, beer and tobacco. Some healthy products were advertised as well. One of the most well known ads of the era was for Pepsodent toothpaste. The TV ad featured a cute cartoon couple kissing after having brushed their teeth, and the catchy and unforgivable slogan – "You'll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!"

TV advertisements for kitchen appliances pointed out features that we now take for granted. A General Electric ad from the time for a new refrigerator consulted of a proud couple explaining the features of their sleek new fridge which included shelves that slid out, storage space behind the door and a separate freezer compartment.

And some things do not seem to have changed much over the years. Tupperware ran a series of TV ads during the 1950s which featured an exciting Tupperware evening at a typical suburban home, organized by a "hostess". Almost as much emphasis was placed on the social aspect, as on the actual features of the product.

One of the most prolific TV advertisers during the 1950s and subsequent decades was Pepsi. Their advertisements captured the feeling of the times like few others. One of the company's earliest featured actress and singer Polly Bergen enjoying a barn dance and a refreshing glass of Pepsi-Cola.

Not to be outdone, Coca-Cola was just as prolific with their ads and came up with several memorable slogans, such as "There's nothing like a Coke". Coca-Cola also went after the young crowd, with an ad featuring people at diners and drive-in movie theaters and a jingle that claimed "Zing! What a feeling!"

Many television viewers firmly maintain that the advertisements are just as good as the actual shows themselves! It seemed as though that was especially true back in the 1950s. And if you just can not get enough of those old commercials, you can enjoy some of them on DVD or online.

~ Ben Anton, 2008

Reconstruction Costs

Have you done a major renovation to your home lately? If you have, it will likely affect the reconstruction costs associated with rebuilding your home and it is a recommended time for a conversation with your insurance professional. Remembering to regularly review your home coverage with an insurance professional is a good step towards maintaining a level of insurance adequate to rebuild your home, in case of disaster.

So why else do reconstruction costs differ from a home’s market value or even the cost of new construction? Reconstruction costs can be affected by a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Economies of Scale – When houses are originally built, it is usually a case of many homes being constructed at the same time. This means that materials and fixtures required for the builds can be purchased by the contractor in one transaction, and often at a bulk rate. Just as buying 50 or 100 bathtubs at the same time will cost less per unit than buying just one, you can apply the same economic benefit to buying almost anything else required for home construction in quantity as well. This can add up to thousands of dollars in savings when compared to single home builds.
  • Reverse Reconstruction – New construction almost always follows the pattern of establishing a foundation and building up from there. When reconstruction is required, and you need to rebuild a home that isn’t a total loss, you need to start by pulling off the roof and working from the top down. As this process is labour-intensive, and takes more time to accomplish, it is generally more expensive as well.
  • Site Preparation – When a home needs to be reconstructed, the site it sits on needs to prepared before any new construction can proceed. This usually means additional costs for demolition of any remaining (unusable) structure and removal of the resulting debris. In cases of intense fire, soil remediation may be required as well. In new construction projects, site preparation is usually limited to costs for brush removal and grading.
  • Labour Costs – Having tradespeople such as carpenters, brick layers, drywallers, electricians, plumbers, roofers, and painters all onsite for an extended period of time can aid in scheduling and efficient usage. If a particular home isn’t ready for work requiring their specific expertise, they can probably be moved to work on a home that is. This flexibility in scheduling is not usually possible when working on a single home, and has a huge impact on overall costs when you consider that labour is one of the largest components of reconstruction costs.
  • Accessibility – Reconstruction of a destroyed home is often required in established neighbourhoods with mature trees, lawns, landscaping, and fences. These and other obstructions may limit access to the worksite and thereby increase costs in getting needed reconstruction materials to the worksite.
  • Older and Custom Homes – Reconstruction of older or custom homes generally must include the replacement of features and finishes which are considered unusual when compared to more conventional homes. Whether the reconstruction materials are scarce due to age or classified as “high-end,” the expectation is that they will be more expensive to replace. Some examples of expensive to replace home elements can include tile or slate roofs or floors; lath and plaster walls; wainscoting; ceilings covered in tin, with exposed beams, or custom-shaped; solid wood doors; ornamental fireplaces; leaded or stained glass windows; shaped staircases; and custom ironwork.
  • Updated Building Codes – In cases when houses are more than a few years old, it should be the normal expectation that building codes will have changed since the home was originally built. Adhering to newer codes may require rewiring, replumbing, use of safety glass, or working with fire-retardant roofing materials.
  • Natural Disasters – If your home was damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster, it is likely that other homes in your area similarly have to be repaired or rebuilt. In this case, it is not uncommon for material and labour costs to be higher due to shortages and increased demand for both.
  • Partial Damage – If your home was only damaged and not destroyed, the remaining structure must be protected from looting and the prospect of further damage. In usual cases, personal property must be placed in storage offsite until the home can be repaired. To prevent further damage, plastic sheeting material is usually used to temporarily cover parts of the remaining structure exposed to the elements.
  • Permits and Fees – Reconstruction may require permits, home inspection fees, and architecture/engineering fees.
  • Inflation – It’s no secret that costs for both materials and labour continue to rise due to inflation. Depending on when the reconstruction cost of your home was originally estimated, it may cost more to complete the project today.

For the reasons outlined above, reconstruction costs can differ significantly from market value and the cost of new construction. Be properly prepared for a disaster by regularly reviewing your coverage with an insurance professional. Remember, the adequacy of your home insurance coverage depends upon accurate information about your home’s size, location, age, unusual features, and finishes as well as specifics regarding any renovations or additions. The more fully you disclose the relevant information about your home, the more fully your coverage can protect you in case of a disaster.

Organization and Order – More Power to You

There it is again – the feeling like things are spinning out of control the moment you open your office door. Total chaos. Stacks of paper piling up on your desk, even on the floor. More stuff stacked up in the corners. The cabinets and drawers are overflowing. And along comes a sense of panic that makes you feel utterly helpless. Anxiety is creeping up on you and you feel completely overwhelmed. These negative sentiments go hand in hand and can become dangerous productivity and creativity killers when not deal with.

Many of my meeting planner friends struggle with this. They are experts in organizing people, but seem to have a hard time organizing their stuff! And they are not alone. One out of four surveyed Americans state that they would like to be more organized. If that's you, there is help coming your way! To conquer clutter and regain control – try organization and order.

To make this winning combination work for you, follow these three basic steps:

* 1. Get rid of everything you do not need Be serious in recycling, giving away, discarding, shredding everything that you do not really need any more or in the first place never really needed …

* 2. Create a place everything that you do need Every type of item should have a place where it lives. That way, when you need it, you know where to find it.

* 3. Always put everything back in its assigned place When you are done using an item, put it back in its assigned place.

Once you have organized your space this way, be tough on clutter flare-ups by applying the exact same three steps. It does require self-discipline, but sticking to this system is a worthwhile investment. With fresh energy flowing, you will feel on top of things again. Effectiveness and efficiency will increase. It will empower you, lift your mood, and may even affect your physical health positively. For an even greater power boost tackle your personal living space also and apply the above basic steps in your home, including kitchen and closets. There too, you can conquer clutter and regain control with organization and order.

Mediterranean Interior Design Spells Warmth

The hardware tends to be heavy and often burnished, and the florals and greenery abundant in Mediterranean interior design. Walls are usually textured and the delightful and colorful mosaic tiles are often used as flooring or as backsplashes. That same mosaic pattern can be stenciled on the flooring, walls or furniture. The furniture influence is a combination of Spanish, Greek, Italian and French Country. Furniture may range in style from an informal simple look, to a very formal effect. Because Mediterranean interior design is a soothing, comfortable style of interior design, it comes as no surprise that it is one of the more popular styles today.

Your Own Decorating Project

Many people who have visited the Mediterranean, have fallen in love with the region. It’s not difficult then to bring a little of the Mediterranean interior design back home with you. With this style being so prominent in the design world today, it is a simple job to find accessories, furniture, paint and fabric to help you achieve this look. While it may prove a challenge to mimic the textured walls of a Mediterranean home, with the paint colors available today, there is no reason why you cannot achieve a Mediterranean interior design feel in your living room.

To succeed with this theme in your own home, begin with the paint choices. Depending on the size of your room, you may want to choose a rich terra-cotta color. If this is too dark, go with a golden yellow or perhaps a French blue. After deciding on wall color, the next step is furniture arrangement. Will the sofa stay or go? Usually, it stays. That means the search is on for the perfect fabric. After furniture and fabric is decided upon, look for accent pieces, such as tables and lamps. Coffee tables with black wrought iron legs will work perfectly and matching table lamps can go well together.

Do not omit functionality when choosing the lighting and placing the furniture. If mosaic tiles are out of your price range, consider stenciling a mosaic design on the fireplace or on the walls around door openings. Having a touch of the mosaic tiles in your room will help to achieve your Mediterranean interior design look. Try using a beautiful flower arrangement to pull together all of the colors in the room and add plenty of greenery to finish your mediterranean interior design look. It really is not a difficult task to complete. If a new upholstery project is not in your budget; let the paint and accessories do the work for you. Mediterranean interior design is a beautiful, relaxing style and fairly easy to accomplish if you have the time and the patience.

Sell House – How to Sell Your House Profitably

Every home seller wants to sell the house fast for the maximum price. To achieve this it is important to know which repairs are absolutely necessary and how to price it competitively to sell the house in the shortest time. By planning carefully and sprucing up the house professionally to maximize first impressions you can ensure a quick sale. You must get marketing tips on how to find qualified buyers and attract many offers to sell the house.

Best time to sell

Real estate markets generally pick up in February and the wave usually lasts till the end of June. This period is considered to be the strongest selling season. Another strong period is from early September to late November. Late November sees the market slow down due to the holiday season.

Pricing

Avoid overpricing. The market situation also should be taken into account. The pricing should be in line with the prices of recently sold homes in the area as identified in the comparative market analysis report. Get purchase offers and make a counter offer and be prepared for multiple offers if you have priced the house right. After finding out what the house is worth by looking at the prices of other houses in the neighbourhood, you can price it 10% below them. This will help to sell your house in no time if it is the cheapest and newest in the market.

Marketing

The advertising to sell the house must have all the selling points. Quality photographs and virtual tour of the house online can increase the traffic and showings. Hiring a professional stager for staging your home is a good idea to impress the potential buyer.

Repairs to be carried out

Find out which repairs and home improvement projects can increase the value to sell a house. Patch the cracks in the walls and replace the cracked floors and tile of the kitchen counter. Repairing and touching up kitchen cabinets can enhance the overall look of the house. Repair or replace door knobs, drawers etc. Leaky taps and faucets should be replaced in the bathrooms. The creaky floors and jamming drawers should be fixed. Make sure that the toilet seats are to be replaced. Repairing and replacing the missing shingles or tiles from the roof is also very important. Paint the exterior fixtures like the door frame, window trims, fence and the mail box. Polish door handles and rust spots and make sure to repaint the areas with peeling paint. Paint the exterior fixtures like the door frame, window trims, fence and the mail box. Polish door handles and rust spots and make sure to repaint the areas with peeling paint. Repairing faulty doorbell and sprinkler system are a must.

Preparing the house for sale

Once you have made the decision to sell your house the first thing to do is to dissociate yourself from it. Family heirlooms and personal photographs should be removed from the house. Removing all clutter is essential before showing the house to prospective buyers. De-clutter and clean off and organize everything on the kitchen counters and storage racks. Buyers tend to open to check kitchen cabinets and closets. If a potential buyer sees everything well organized, it would create an impression that you take good care of the entire house. Neatly arranged spice jars and dishes in the kitchen and arranging the shirts facing the same direction in the wardrobes and lining up the shoes in the rack are sure to create a good first impression. It is a good idea to have beds made, putting large furniture away, lock pets away and remove personal possessions etc.

House should sparkle

After deciding to sell the house, make sure the house looks spic and span. Remove cobwebs, clean fan blades and wash the windows thoroughly. Side walks and exterior must be cleaned with pressure washer. Wax the floors; re-chalk the tubs and sinks and showers. The sinks and wash basins must be stain-free. Chrome faucets and mirrors should be polished. Dust all furniture and light fixtures. Clean out the refrigerator and vacuum the house daily. Fresh towels must be hung and make sure there is no smell or odour anywhere. Replace dirty and worn out rugs and curtains. Switch plates should be cleaned and sticky windows must be made to open easily. Trees should be pruned to allow natural light inside. Clean up the oily floor of garage and keep the walks, patio and derive ways clean. Mow the lawn and trim the bushes.

Act Like a Millionaire

Did you know that there are now 10.1 million households in the US with $ 1 million or more in investable assets, excluding the value of their primary residence? This is from a 2015 article by CNBC. What do these folks do and how do they act? Let's talk about money in a way that might shift your view of rappers, like 50 Cent, posing with stacks of movie prop cash to create the illusion of immunity wealth as it navigates our banking system. Heck, let's just talk about money.

I read an article recently, written by Dan Kennedy who is internationally recognized as the "Millionaire Maker," helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. His article was published in my business coach's newsletter. My coach, Richard James gets his coaching from Dan Kennedy, so by default, I receive the benefits from Dan Kennedy too. Since the primary focus of my law practice is to help my clients attain freedom from their debts, I focus much of my articles on money.

According to Dan's article, entitled, "the 5 'tools of the mind' you need to become a millionaire thinker," lays the universal foundation that most people think about money in a negative way like, "worrying, budget-wrestling, can ' T afford, and jealousy of others. " I'll add that we feel guilty when we can not pay our debts and feel an awful MORAL obligation to repay our debts. I believe that it is our thoughts about money that keep us perpetually stuck in a cycle of debt and poverty consciousness. I "m on a personal mission to wipe out the personal debts for my clients and partner with them to shift their perspectives about money, wealth and retirement through my bankruptcy practice.

What is Dan's secret? He says that your dominant thoughts are things and cited to Napoleon Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich. What this means is that if you're constantly seeing lack, you'll get more lack. If you're focused on thoughts that you can leverage, to initiate positive and right actions in your life, then you can kickstart your journey to a better financial life. It all starts with a decision; A choice.

Dan's five tools include planning, environment, reading, engaging in the right activities, and having the right associations. Have not you heard that you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with? I can tell you that I personally find that I grow in environments where I am not the smartest person in the room. I'm a student of life and soak up these environments like a sponge. Guess what? My business grew by 17% last year and is on target for a 40% growth in 2016. The bottom line is that we start with our thoughts and then take decent actions toward our goals.

This works by opening you up to opportunities you may have never considered, like bankruptcy to quickly eliminate your debts, which then frees up your monthly budget to focus on more important matters, like saving for a home, college, or retirement. Maybe that new business idea becomes your ticket into the 'Millionaire's Club.'

Acting like a millionaire requires first, a shift in your thoughts. Next, you must take action to implement your thoughts. I can tell you that millionaires do not always have like Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent) who poses with fake stacks of cash while in bankruptcy. Many millionaires drive a Prius and pack their own lunches for work. Millionaires save their money for retirement to the tune of 20% of their gross income. Millionaires act like they're broke. It's when people act like they have money, which creates the illusion of wealth. Look around and you'll be surprised to notice the millionaire next door who is wearing sweat pants to the grocery store.

Take a moment and think about how long you have been working. For some, it will be longer than others. Then, add up all the money you have earned so far during your lifetime. What do you have to show for all that money spent? Do you have a retirement plan? Do you own your home? Have you invested in your Self ?, through education and ongoing learning? Or, do you continuously find that you're a victim of circumstance? Make a decision today to no longer tolerate circumstances to take your money by taking control. Eliminating debt first is the single fastest way towards building wealth and acting like a millionaire.

Home Decor – Family With Dogs

We were finally ready for a dog in our home. We researched different breeds to match our lifestyle. We both wanted a big dog with a gentle disposition, and, as we looked through the pictures of the different breeds, one caught our attention. Bernese Mountain Dogs are beautiful, big and sweet-natured. This was what our new “baby” was to be! After meeting with the breeder, and a bit of a wait, we brought home our little fella, Dante.

We were very happy to have a vinyl kitchen floor during potty training. Although he was quick to learn, he was after all a puppy. Vinyl floors are durable and very easy to keep clean. This was also a blessing because Dante had no idea how to wipe his feet during the rainy summer days.

We also learned that baby gates were not just for human babies. Because the rest of the house had mostly carpeting, we felt a gate was just what was needed. This saved on a lot of extra carpet cleaning, which is not my favorite chore.

For the first several months I wondered why everyone talked so much about this breed shedding so much. I hadn’t noticed much at all. Well, as our cute little fluff ball grew, and he gained about ten pounds a month, I began to notice a little change in that situation. Little by little there began to be little fluffy tumbleweeds in the corners of his domain. Soon the little fluffy fur balls were requiring daily broom attention. Eventually it became obvious that a vacuum was the only way to keep those floating clouds of fur from outrunning my broom. First I tried a little cleaning upright vacuum. Just charge it up and go! Only I found that I could empty the canister several times before I was done and the charge was gone before the fur was.

Well, if that little upright was not working out for me, I decided to move on to my old faithful canister vacuum that had disposable bags and an electric cord. It was great! There was no recharging mid-job, the bag could hold all the fur that puppy of ours could shed. I still had to make use of it daily, but it worked like a charm. Dante didn’t mind the noise, and didn’t chew the cord. He didn’t even seem to wonder where his fur was going. I didn’t mind his shedding since I had figured out an effective remedy for the flying fur. Somewhere in the back of my mind I may have thought “What was it they said about going through a vacuum every year or two?”

Crush It on Amazon With Great Product Photography

Want to get more clicks & conversions on your Amazon listings? Upgrade your product photos with these guidelines.

Main Image

The main image is the first thing customers see. Since it appears as the thumbnail image when a shopper searches for a product, this picture will determine whether the customer even clicks on your listing. It’s important that it stands up to the competition!

Amazon has strict standards for the main image. Here’s a quick summary:

– Must be edited to have a pure white background (RGB 255, 255, 255).

– Must contain the full product, and ONLY the product. No confusing additional objects.

– Must be a professional-quality image: in focus, full color, and well-lit. No dark, grainy, or blurry images.

– Must fill 85% of frame or more.

– No additional text, graphics, or inset images.

All those rules can be hard to keep track of, but it’s necessary to do so. If the main photo is not up to Amazon’s standards, your listing could be suspended, costing you lots of time, stress, and money!

Beyond that, I suggest shooting the product from straight on-no weird angles. Make sure the lighting is natural looking and that the product appears true to color in the photo. Check out your competition, if possible. Imitate the photos that look and perform the best on Amazon. Also, pretend you are the customer. Which listings make you want to click? How can you arrange the product to make it look its best?

Supporting Images

The supporting images count, too! I suggest adding 5 to 8 photos that showcase the product in different ways. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your supporting images:

Show the Scale-Supporting images allow you to use backgrounds or other objects in order to showcase the size and scale of the product. Think everyday life and where/when/how your product will be used. If it requires snow – find snow! Does it go on a car? Head out to the garage. One of the easiest things to do is simply ask someone to hold it while you take a picture. Hands are a great way to demonstrate scale.

For example, I recently had to photograph a finger brace with lots of confusing straps and Velcro pieces. First of all, the product simply didn’t photograph well on its own-it just looked like a jumbled pile of Velcro. Plus, it was hard to figure out how the brace fit onto a hand. That photo shoot definitely required a hand model, both to make the product look good and to inform consumers on how to use it.

Use Informational Graphics-Though graphics of any kind are prohibited in the main image of an Amazon listing, you’re allowed to use them in your subsequent images. You can use text and arrows to point out the features and benefits of the product and show its exact dimensions. You can also add badges (such as “Quality Guaranteed” or “BPA Free”) which I highly suggest doing.

Get Some Close-ups-This is especially important if the product has lots of detail or an interesting surface finish. Texture, quality, and luxurious materials all benefit from clean, clear, close-ups!

Use a Model-Not every product requires a model, but in my opinion – 99.9% should have one. The .01% of listings I am letting off the hook involve clear poly bags, and even that is a stretch. It is my professional opinion that every product listing benefits from a model. Your model may be a child, adult, or animal. Consumers can put themselves into the model’s shoes and picture themselves using your product. This type of psychology immediately increases conversion. I suggest using realistic models because you want to showcase the product, not the person. So, don’t worry if you can’t afford a glamorous supermodel, your girlfriend, grandmother, husband, or neighbor down the street will do just fine.

How To Install Granite Countertops

Granite is a hard, igneous rock that can be cut into different shapes and makes a perfect material for making countertops. It is not only beautiful, but also durable and resistant to heat. Granite countertops are a luxurious addition to any kitchen or bathroom. They are available in a range of beautiful and unique designs to choose from.

In the past, it was advised to hire a professional for the installation of a granite countertop. Now, many companies offer DIY granite countertops kits that you can install yourself. Here are a few steps to install a granite countertop on your own:

– Once your cabinets are installed and securely anchored to the floor and walls, use craft paper to take exact measure for your countertop. It is important to include one to one a half inch overhang for the edges which will be facing the cabinets. Granite countertops are available in a range of styles and colors. You should choose one on the basis of the overall design and style of the kitchen and color of the cabinets and flooring. Buy a countertop either from a local retail store or you can also order one online.

– Cut plywood to fit on the top of the cabinets to support the weight of the granite. It is important to make sure that the plywood is square and level. Then, use pilot holes to screw the plywood in place to prevent it from cracking.

– Granite is a heavy stone and may break if not handled properly. You can get assistance in lifting the counter to set it on the top of the cabinet. Make sure that the countertop fits well in the cabinet.

– After that, remove the granite and create a pilot hole in the mark sink cutout using a drill. Use a jigsaw to create a hole for the sink. Install the sink properly and make sure that it fits properly.

– In the next step, level the seams for the slabs. It is important that the seams are absolutely leveled before gluing. Use screws beneath the plywood to make adjustments to the height of the granite.

– Apply silicone around the edges of the plywood every 6 to 12 inches. Seal the granite by laying a bead of caulk around the outer edge of the sink and the top of the sink. Fix the granite slab into place to make sure that the seams are tightly matched.

– Use blue masking tape to tape over the seam. Fill the seams using a dollop of polyester based resin and add small amount of color. After that, pull off the masking tape so that the mixture doesn’t dry on the tape. Once the color dry, smooth the countertop with a seam stone until it becomes smooth.

To clean the granite countertop, use only mild cleaning products and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures.

Liposuction-Trends And Safety Aspects

Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgery, where subcutaneous fat is aspirated by use of a blunt canula attached to a vacuum pump. It is also called lipo-sculpture, lipoplasty or suction assisted lipectomy.

Liposuction has become the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery procedure world – wide. There is a rising trend towards larger volume liposuction. Increasing number of "over weight" people, rising awareness levels, peer pressure to look good and increase in safety profile of liposuction have contributed to the rise in number of surgeries performed and larger volumes being aspirated.

Liposuction is not mean for weight loss, the primary aim is body contouring. When large volumes of fat get aspirated, amount of weight loss also happens. Liposuction works best for spot reductions and for areas resistant to diet and exercises. The more elastic the skin, the better liposuction results.

Liposuction is not a substitute for a poor lifestyle – maintaining the results requires regular exercises and calorie restricted diet. Liposuction removes most of the fat cells on the areas treated, since the chance of putting on weight in these areas get reduced.

Volume reduction of the subcutaneous fat is followed by healing and readjustment of the skin to the new contour. However, if you have flabby skin as a result of pregnancy or sudden weight loss, the skin will become more sagging after liposuction. Such cases require a "lift tuck" procedure in addition.

Safety aspects

Liposuction can be safely performed by an experienced surgeon and anesthetist. Standard risks of anesthesia exist when the procedure is done under General Anesthesia. As liposuction removals fat under the skin only, without damage to internal organs, there are no long term health risks.

As most of the large volume liposuction are performed under General Anesthesia. Monitored anesthesia is essential. General Anesthesia offers maximum comfort to the patient as circumferential contouring of back, front and sides can be performed without subjecting patients to inconvenient positions.

Bruising, swelling and soreness are to be expected post procedure. These are temporary effects of surgery and are expected to resolve in 3-4 weeks. Major risks include pulmonary edema, hemorrhage, and toxicity from local anesthetic. These are fortunately rare. Patients who are high – risk for pulmonary embolism need appropriate preventive measures.

Large volume liposuction

Aspiration of more than five liters of fat in one sitting is termed large volume liposuction. The proportion of large volume liposuctions being performed is increasing world – wide as more and more surgeons get convinced of its safety. Up to 20 liters can be aspirated in one sitting in well – selected cases and in a hospital setting with good infrastructure. Large volume liposuction is probably better done under GA as most of there cases require circumferential liposuction.

Finer Instruments

Small diameter canulas have improved results in liposuction. There is less chance of contour irregularities and of damage to blood vessels and nerves.
Also the size of access points can be reduced with finer canula. Ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) and power assisted liposuction (PAL) have reduced surgeons work effort. These new techniques are advantageous on scarred areas and in secondary liposuctions.

Although newer instruments have certain advantages to them, extremely the quality of result is dependent on the skills of the surgeon.

Benefits of Digital Currency

If you are a technology reader, you know about the new type of currency that has been created. You may have read about Bitcoin for instance. If you have not gone into the details, you may be asking yourself questions about the benefits of this digital currency. If you have no idea about it, you should read this article.

The Benefits of Digital Currency

Inexpensive transactions

The transaction fees with digital currency are a lot lower than the transactions made with PayPal or credit cards. At times, you don’t have to pay any transaction fee. So, this saves you plenty of money.

No fees for international transfers

Since digital money is used on the Net, no borders are involved. Typically, you have to pay fees should you want to send money abroad, which excludes the costs for currency conversion. On the other hand, sending digital currency to anywhere in the world costs nothing. You will pay nothing as long as you can wait for a while for the currency to be sent.

No Account fees

Today, most banks charge their clients a fee on a monthly basis. At times, some banks also charge hidden fees from time to time. As a matter of fact, anyone can sign up for a free digital wallet online without paying any fees or hidden charges.

Simple account creation

You know that opening an account with a bank is a laborious process since you have to provide a lot of personal details, such as address and identity proof. Aside from this, they carry out backgrounds checks as well.

On the other hand, you can create a currency account without providing personal details as long as you don’t want to benefit from a service that asks for personal details. And the beauty of the system is that it offers 100% acceptance rate. All you have to do is open the digital currency site on your computer or mobile phone and then create the account. You don’t have to go to the office of a company for account creation. Within a few minutes, the account will be created.

It’s an Investment

The conventional form of money tends to lose its value with the passage of time because of several factors, such as inflation. However, the digital currency is a form of investment. Most types of currency features a fixed period upon the creation of new coins.

When more and more people go for digital currency, the demand goes up. As a result, the value of your digital money goes up. This is kind of the return on your investment. So, you don’t have to go to a rich country just to see the value of your money go up. Since the digital currency is growing at a rapid pace, the number of users is increasing. So, it’s the right time to make the investment and reap the benefits.

The takeaway

So, if you have been looking forward to investing in digital currency, we suggest that you re-read this article again. Hopefully, you will be able to get the most out of your investment down the road.

Ecommerce Trends To Watch For In 2017

Many studies have shown a double-digit rise in worldwide ecommerce sales in 2016. Many analysts even predict that the worldwide ecommerce sales will increase consistently till 2020. However, the number of people accessing ecommerce websites on their mobile devices has been increasing rapidly. Likewise, a number of studies have shown a steady increase in mobile commerce sales driven by customers’ mobile engagement behavior.

Each enterprise needs to ensure that its ecommerce website keep users engaged by functioning like a mobile app. It must optimize its ecommerce website for mobile devices and allow users make payment through popular mobile wallets. At the same time, the business also needs to keep track of the emerging ecommerce trends to accomplish higher conversion rate and increase digital commerce revenue. There is a series of trends that will impact and shape ecommerce sales in 2017.

7 Trends that will Impact and Shape Ecommerce Business in 2017

1) Personalized Shopping Experience

Unlike mobile apps, websites lack the capability to personalize user experience by taking advantage of the features of underlying device and operating system. But many enterprises nowadays use analytics tools to gather a wide variety of customer data. The data collected through analytics tools help businesses to identify the preferences and understand the behavior of individual customers. Also, an ecommerce business can leverage the information to engage customers by showing the right product, content, ads, and deals to each customer. It can further personalize the shopping experience of each customer and boost ecommerce sales by delivering app-like user experience.

2) Social Selling

The data posted on various websites depict that people spend more time on social networking platforms than other websites. Many businesses promote their products or services on popular social networks to divert visitors to their ecommerce websites regularly. There are a number of social networking websites that allow users to buy products or services directly without visiting an ecommerce website. Many social networks are even planning to roll out new features to generate more revenue by facilitating social selling. The ecommerce business owners can take advantage of these social selling options to promote their products more effectively and boost sales.

3) Chat Bots

Many high-traffic websites nowadays interact with customers through chat bots. In addition to working as customer service executives, the chat bots also help users to perform commercial activities like shopping and booking. Many ecommerce website developers and owners will soon explore ways to keep visitors engaged by interacting with the machines efficiently. However, an enterprise has to deploy a variety of chat bots to meet the varying needs and preferences of customers. Some ecommerce companies have already used chat bots to provide personal shopping service and send messages. Many enterprises will soon use chat bots to make their ecommerce website more interactive and make shopping experience personalized.

4) Artificial Intelligence

The popular mobile platforms make people use artificial intelligence on a daily basis. A large number of people nowadays perform common tasks by talking to their machines through Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, or Microsoft’s Cortana. Large ecommerce companies like Amazon have already started using artificial intelligence to chat with customer. But the ecommerce websites will need a variety of personal assistant to optimize the end-to-end shopping experience. More and more ecommerce businesses will take advantage of artificial intelligence to interact with customers in a smarter way and without deploying additional staff.

5) Contactless Payment

The mobile commerce apps enable users to choose from many payment modes – debit/credit card, internet banking and mobile wallets. A large number of buyers nowadays prefer making payment through their mobile wallets to debit or credit cards. In USA, some companies like Starbucks are using contactless payment options successfully to generate more revenue. Hence, the customers will love to buy product from an ecommerce website that allows them to use contactless payment options. Hence, many enterprises have to redesign their ecommerce websites in 2017 to accommodate the emerging mobile and contactless payment options.

6) Same Day Delivery and Return

There are many people who still prefer brick-and-mortar stores to web stores due to instant delivery. The web store owners must focus on reducing the delivery time of online orders to make more people buy products online. A number of studies have also shown that many customers do not hesitate to pay extra for same-day delivery. Hence, the ecommerce businesses have to explore ways to reduce delivery time of orders. Some companies will even provide flexible delivery option to customers and set up local drop-off points to ensure faster delivery. Likewise, they also need to ensure that each customer has option to return orders without putting extra time, effort and money.

7) User Generated Content

Many people nowadays read the product review and comments posted by other buyers before buying a product. Likewise, many people even choose a web store based on the shopping experience posted by other customers. Hence, enterprises can easily boost ecommerce sales by providing additional information about the products through pictures, description, specifications, and user reviews. Many ecommerce businesses will encourage customers to write reviews and share their shopping experience. They will even explore ways to promote the product more effectively through the user generated content.

However, the ecommerce trends keep changing at regular intervals. Hence, an enterprise has to keep track of the emerging trends to generate more ecommerce revenue. At the same time, it must explore ways to attract and retain customers by improving discovery, logistics and delivery through latest technologies.

Outsourcing – Pros And Cons

Stripped of its technical terms, outsourcing is basically the practice of one company to contract another company to provide the services that could have been performed by their own staff. There are many reasons why companies now are on the bandwagon of having some of their services done by others. (It had been an old practice, really.) These outsourced services passed on to other companies are usually call center services, e-mail services, and payroll. These particular jobs are part of the outsourcing trend practiced by many companies these days.

Reasons

One of the main reasons why companies are into outsourcing is diminished company resources, both in financial terms and in manpower costs. When a company expands (which can be sudden), the growth can start to eat up on the companies resources.

Financially, the company might not be able to match the growth with the needed infusion of money to sustain the expansion. This holds true with their human resources as well.

With the growth, manpower might be sucked up with the new growth and diminish the company’s productivity in its core areas. The service-providing companies can do the work for less costs (thus not over-stretching most of the company’s resources), and has the manpower to do it.

Other Reasons

Efficiency sometimes suffers once there is a sudden expansion that cannot be absorbed by the company’s present staff setup and other resources. If, for instance, there is a huge demand for huge number of their products, other departments might not be up to it.

The purchasing department might need so many men to do the buying of raw materials, for instance. Outsourcing the purchasing department is a good move and costs less.

Other reasons could be that overhead costs might be disastrous to the company’s budget and current plans. Or, perhaps an offshoot to its growth is impossible to meet. If the company had grown to such an extent that it needs a bigger office, outsourcing the functions of the projected new additional staff is cheaper. (Transfer of the whole office to someplace bigger is definitely expensive in time, effort and money values.)

Companies are also bound to experience production demands that come and go in cycles within a year. Outsourcing additional resources during times of so much demand can ease up the company’s problems.

The good part of the deal is that the contracted periods of having these extra jobs outsourced can follow the cyclical production demands. (A toy company’s production department might need more manpower in the middle months of the year to produce the goods needed for, say, Christmas or some holidays.)

Cons

On the other hand, this new business model of parceling some important work aspects of a company to another had sparked a mini-controversy which had not been thoroughly resolved even until now. Definitely, there are those who are not fully convinced of the viability of such an arrangement.

The biggest argument against this deal is actually focused on the relationship of the company and its clients. In short, it may invite dissatisfaction from client side. Reasons could range from lower quality of work output, unnecessary dilution of company-client trade secrets, etc.

Control

Control is also put to the test. Some aspects of the company are in danger of spinning out of the company’s control since the outsourced company conducts the decisions that would have been better handled by the parent company.

Some clients are not fully convinced that the outsourced company can function as efficiently as the original contracted company. If they do (most companies can, in practice), clients feel it might be better to deal with the new company rather than their old supplier or contracted business partner.

Riding on this threat is the mounting danger of delayed communications that causes delayed implementation. Without proper management and apportioning of responsibilities, there is tendency that confusion might set in.

Outsourcing had also allowed a political issue to float around – social responsibility. It is said that with more and more companies allocating jobs to foreign countries, the people of the parent company will have reduced opportunities. While this debate and questions are still up in the air, more and more companies are outsourcing some of their work. Offhand, companies and their managers think the current trend is the result of the current situation in commerce and trade all over the world. At the moment, outsourcing looks like it will stay for a while.

Monsters Rise From the Grave in New Ways

In the 1910s to the 1950s, many classic movie monsters, such as Frankenstein (1910), Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), The Wolfman (1941), and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1953), made their first mainstream appearances. These monsters leapt from the literary pages of their respective novels to the big screen. Few would consider these fiends appropriate for children, but the shift from print to film did popularize them. The horror genre in general has always been adult oriented. However, over time and in a society of relative safety, fear can become alluring.

With the rise of slasher films in the 1970s and 1980s, and the subsequent gore-horror films, it seemed the final coffin nail was hammered in for classic horror monsters. Yet, they would rise from the grave from a new angle–as the good guys and friends to children. In fact, in the 1990s there was a resurgence of horror in a fun way with Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, Tales from the Crypt, The Addams Family movies and cartoons, and with Goosebumps books. The horror themes that used to terrify generations before now brought mostly nostalgia and delight. Now, this generation of viewers is beginning to raise children of their own. Most of these new parents seek out books, movies, and various other forms of children’s entertainment–including the more recent form of media that is the website–which invoke a sense of delighted dread in children while avoiding the true horror aspect of it.

Hotel Transylvania (2012), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009), and Monster High (2010Present) are prime mainstream examples of monsters evolving from the antagonists to the protagonists. These franchises borrow their themes from the horror genre, but keep the tone heartfelt and comedic. These features are echoed in children’s books, as well. On top of the book formats of the aforementioned movies, there are books such as Where the Wild Things Are, and Monster Trouble, I Need My Monster. Some of these new takes on monsters have grown beyond their original stories to accommodate the new connected world. For example, the Monster High and Teach Your Monster to Read websites utilize the World Wide Web to reach new audiences and utilize new tools to give a more interactive, educational, and engaging experience. With these fresh and inventive takes on werewolves, vampires, banshees, lagoon creatures, and other monsters, the new casts of creature characters are certainly unique and something that will tickle many-a-funny bone.

Overall, it seems the classic horror monster theme will not fully waste away. At worst it will remain undead for a few years, but given the new trend of monster-themed children’s books and media–a genre that expands by the day–the horror theme may soon creep more and more into mainstream children’s media and delight new generations. Perhaps, in time, even the popular idiom ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ will be changed to ‘Judge a monster by its manner.’ In any case, the kid-friendly horror theme is alive and well and nowhere close to an early grave.