Little Known Exercises To Prevent Low Back Pain

Low back pain can be regarded as a pandemic, as it strikes people from all walks of life. The lower back, or lumbar spine serves as the “keel”, if you will, of the human frame. It is comprised of five (5) lumbar vertebrae– the largest of the 25 bones that make up the spinal column. It is surrounded by several layers of muscles that work synergistically to allow proper spinal movement and responsiveness to dynamic loads. When everything is functioning as designed, the lumbar spine is a work of art. But, when something goes wrong– it can quickly put you out of commission for days or weeks.

Some of the most common causes of low back pain are:

1) Disc degeneration

2) Facet syndrome

3) Spondylosis; spinal stenosis

4) Arthritis– osteoarthritis and rheumatoid

5) Sprains/ strains

A smaller percentage of low back pain cases are caused by diseases such as cancer or rheumatism.

Treatment for low back pain varies, depending on the source of pain. Most primary care physicians will prescribe muscle relaxants and pain medications for non-specific low back pain. If an inflamed disc or facet joint is suspected, a cortisone injection or epidural injection may be attempted. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can reduce pain quite quickly, if inflammation is involved. In some cases, the patient is referred to a physical therapist or chiropractor for spinal manipulation and exercise therapy.

A lesser known treatment for lumbar pain due to disc herniations is non-surgical spinal decompression, a procedure that literally pumps the injured disc so that healing is accelerated.

But the absolute best way to deal with low back pain is to not get it in the first place! This is the preventive approach, and is highly recommended. The keys to low back pain prevention include:

1. Lose the weight! If you are heavy in the abdomen, it will put a huge strain on your low back over time. The result is disc degeneration and facet syndrome, and possibly arthritis.

2. Practice proper posture. Head up, shoulders back, chest out, slight extension of the lower back (hips rotated forward).

3. Use your legs when lifting things, not your back muscles. Your leg muscles are twice as strong as your back muscles, so use them! Keep the object you are lifting as close as possible to your center of gravity; brace your back, and transfer the weight to your legs. Move the object (raise or lower) by bending your knees. This includes lifting small children.

4. Practice proper ergonomics. If your job involves a lot of hours sitting, place a lumbar wedge on your seat. Stand up every couple of minutes to take the pressure off your back. Don’t slouch in your chair; keep your head over your spine.

5. Engage in exercises and stretching. There are many books and other references on this subject.

One overlooked exercise for preventing low back pain is proprioceptive exercises. Proprioception is a technical term that describes the feedback loop that muscles use to know when to contract and relax. It is a highly complex neurological event that involves the spinal cord and brain. Some researches believe that a breakdown in this system leads to poor joint movement and accelerated spinal degeneration. So, its best to exercise this feedback system; very much like doing brain exercises to improve memory.

In proprioceptive exercises, you create an unstable foundation and let the various muscle groups of the spine coordinate and contract to keep you balanced. This involves using an inflatable disc, bonsu ball, or a wobble board. You basically stand on top of the disc and do various movements like knee bends. You can also add handweights and do curls, flys while balancing yourself on the disc. Exercising in this fashion will help improve muscle responsiveness, reducing the chance of injury. Muscle responsiveness refers to how the quickly the back muscles respond when subjected to changing loads, such as picking up a piece of heavy luggage.

So, make sure you incorporate all of the above techniques in your exercise regimen and daily life. It will pay huge dividends, in the form of a healthy, pain-free back!

Healthy Healing Moves

It is not often that you can spend $10 or $11 and get potentially life-changing value in return. That is certainly the case with the paperback book “Healing Moves: How To Cure, Relieve And Prevent Common Ailments With Exercise” by Carol Krucoff and Mitchell Krucoff. This easy-reading paperback is available online at Amazon if it is not in stock at your local book store.

“Physical activity can help some diabetics come off insulin and some hypertensives quit their high-blood-pressure medication,” write the authors (Carol Krucoff is a science writer and health columnist for the Washington Post; husband Mitchell Krucoff is a senior staff cardiologist and director of the Ischemia Monitoring Laboratory at Duke University Medical Center). “It can lower cholesterol, ease arthritic pain, lift depression, relieve anxiety, and help asthmatics breathe more easily.” Moreover, the authors believe that exercise helps slow the aging process, improves heart and lung function, increases metabolism, and strengthens the immune system.

Healing Moves is a readable resource for people who want to improve their health with exercise but do not know what exercises to do or how to do them. Carol and Mitchell Krucoff have poured over the available research material from Western and Eastern medical professionals and have created a series of practical exercises to incorporate “healing moves” into your lifestyle.

Individual chapters target metabolic disorders (such as diabetes and obesity); mental health conditions (stress, depression, anxiety); orthopedic disorders (back pain, repetitive stress disorder, osteoporosis); immunological conditions (colds, cancer, HIV); cardiovascular disorders; men’s health; women’s health; and respiratory disorders. For each medical condition, the authors explain the condition, the risk factors for that condition, and how it is affected by lifestyle and how exercise can help to cure, relieve or prevent that ailment. Each chapter offers specific “healing moves” that include specific aerobic, strength, relaxation, mind-body, breathing, stretching, and daily-life recommendations. There are copious illustrations and clear instructions for each set of exercises. The book is targeted at the desk job and sedentary crew who are the least likely to join a health club or participate with the dawn jogging crowd.

The Krucoffs report that less than 25 percent of all adults (and an alarmingly low percentage of children) exercise regularly, and only 30 percent of physicians prescribe physical activity for preventative and therapeutic purposes. Mitchell Krucoff, a practicing cardiologist, could see the harmful result of this inactivity in his patients and set out with his health columnist wife to show not only that exercise was truly beneficial for your health, but also that exercise does not have to be hard work and time-consuming.

Summer’s Here – Are Your ‘Toys’ Protected?

With the weather turning warm, people everywhere are breaking out their favorite summer “toys,” including recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Unfortunately, you can’t assume that your part-time vehicles are properly insured under an existing auto and/or homeowners’ insurance policy. And rather than simply tacking these substantial investments onto another policy, it’s best to look into policies designed specifically for each.

RV Insurance

Insurance coverage for RVs such as travel trailers, motor homes, fifth wheels, and truck campers offer protection that ordinary auto insurance doesn’t offer. Here are a few reasons to consider RV insurance in addition to your auto insurance policy:

  • Roadside Assistance: Even if your auto policy covers some roadside expenses, it may not cover towing that big, heavy RV – leaving you to pay the bill.
  • Financial Protection: Insurers that offer RV coverage often have claims representatives who know how to look for damage specific to RVs, including specialized RV parts like awnings, slide-out stairs and appliances.
  • Personal Property Protection: Your “home away from home” probably houses things you wouldn’t keep in your car such as camcorders, laptops and jewelry, which may not be covered under an auto policy.
  • Protect Your Investment: RVs are expensive! It’s best to carry “full replacement cost coverage” to ensure payment in full if the vehicle is irreparable, rather than reimbursement based on current market value.

Boat Insurance

Don’t assume that your shiny new boat is covered under your homeowners’ policy. A boat is, for all intents and purposes, a moving vehicle. As such, you need coverage similar to an auto policy, including protection for:

  • Bodily injury that your boat inflicts on others.
  • Property damage your boat inflicts on docks and other boats.
  • Physical damage to your boat, should you hit something or run aground.

You’ll also want to consider comprehensive coverage against theft, vandalism, fire and flooding; personal property coverage for fishing gear and other items; uninsured boater insurance (like uninsured motorist insurance) and even “boatside assistance” in case you need a tow.

Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance is essential – and like car insurance, can vary in price depending on the type of bike you ride. In other words, insuring a high-performance sport bike usually costs more than covering a lower-powered bike, scooter or moped.

The components of a comprehensive motorcycle policy are also similar to auto coverage, including collision insurance (to cover damage to your bike resulting from an accident), comprehensive coverage, bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, uninsured motorist insurance, and roadside assistance.

The Benefits Of Wheelchair Lifts

Wheelchair lifts, as the name suggests, are devices to lift people in wheelchair up a flight of steps or even a single step. In the latter case the wheelchair ramp is the less expensive and more feasible solution. Also called platform lifts, wheelchair lifts are also used in wheelchair accessible vans and other vehicles. Here again the wheelchair ramp would suffice. The benefits of wheelchair lifts enable them to be adapted for varied purposes for the disabled, including climbing truck cabs to operate heavy equipment.

The benefits of wheelchair lifts are clear in that they eliminate the need to lift the wheelchair and place it into a vehicle or onto a higher or lower plane. The cumbersome procedure can be eliminated with the wheelchair lift with the individual just having to pull up his wheelchair to the platform of the lift and be lifted up or down. Then he just needs to pull away! Individuals with disability can not possibly think of anything more convenient. It's a big shot of confidence for them, provided the places they wish to go and the vehicles they travel in are equipped with the wheelchair lift.

Here's another of the benefits of wheelchair lifts. There is just about a wheelchair lift for every purpose. Platform wheelchair lifts are of the solid and folding platform kind and also come in automatic and semi-automatic versions. In an automatic lift a switch takes care of the lift's folding, unfolding, lowering and raising, while in a semi-automatic wheelchair platform lift one needs to manually fold and unfold the platform. Electric wheelchair lifts are easier to maintain than hydraulic ones. The former can be custom-fitted with telephone jacks and automatic door opens. The benefits of wheelchair lifts can be best felt with the electric ones that include home stair lifts, automobile lifts and van ramps.

The advantage of home stair lifts is that they can be installed inside or outside the house, and are not cumbersome at all. They do not take much space and are quite and comfortable. They can generally rise 23 feet and carry up to 350 pounds though they can be designed to carry more weight. The benefits of wheelchair lifts are that they come as auto lifts as well, as said before. These can be fitted to vans and cars. Van ramps are not actually lifts but are spring-loaded and can be folded and stored.

As more and more disabled Americans are getting increasingly mobile thanks to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990, the benefits of wheelchair lifts will be felt more and more.

Cheap Family Recipes – Dinners Under $8

One way to plan some cheap family recipes when you are just starting out and don’t really know how to go about it, is to make a list of staples that are inexpensive in your area. The reason this works well is that the whole meal can be planned around that staple, and small bits of more expensive foods can be added to it to create interest, add nutrition, and round out the meal.

In general, the following staples can be purchased fairly cheaply in most areas and are filling and healthy.

* Legumes- dry beans, peas, lentils

* Grains- barley, rice, millet, cracked wheat or bulgur, oats, flour

* Pasta

* Vegetables- potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots

Try a rich, tasty split pea soup. You could combine this with discount or homemade buns and serve canned peaches for dessert. The cost for this soup is $4.00 and it serves 6 people.

Rich Split Pea Soup

2 tbsp oil, 1 chopped onion, 1 cup red lentils, 5 cups water, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 (11oz) can condensed split pea soup, 1 (11oz) can condensed cream of potato soup, 1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk.

In large pot, combine oil and onion. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until onion is browned. Stir in water, bouillon cubes and lentils. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes.

Add soups to pot and stir well. Bring back to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk and turn off heat.

Serve immediately.

Pesto Pasta Salad

This recipe serves 8 and costs $6.40 to make. Serve with deli ham and orange wedges on the side.

1/2 cup Spinach Pesto, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup salad dressing, 2 Tbsp milk, 1 (16 oz) bag bow tie pasta, 2 cups frozen peas, 1 chopped green pepper, 3 stalks celery chopped, 1/4 cup chopped green onions.

Bring to boil a large pot of salted water. Meanwhile, combine in large bowl the pesto, mayo, salad dressing, and milk. Mix well. Cook pasta until al dente. Place frozen peas in strainer and drain pasta over peas to warm them. Add pasta and peas to pesto mixture and stir in pepper, celery, and green onions. Cover and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

Cheap Family Recipes can be made with beans and rice. These 2 ingredients together make a complete protein, so no need for meat. Cost of this dish is $6.55; serve with carrot sticks on the side for a great color combination.

Red Beans and Rice

1 1/2 cups long grain rice, 3 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp butter- divided, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, 3 stalks chopped celery, 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans drained, 1 (4 oz) can green chilies with juice, 1/2 cup chili sauce, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.

Cook rice according to directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in large skillet; add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add pepper and celery; cook 4 more minutes. Add beans, chilies, chili sauce and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

When rice is cooked, add 2 Tbsp butter. Put rice on serving plate and make an indentation in the center. Pour bean mixture into center and serve immediately.

Kitchen Decorating Ideas

More and more today, the kitchen is the most popular room in the house. No longer just the place where food is stored and prepared, it has become the focal point of home life. Kitchens used to be closed off from the rest of the house with walls and doors. Today, however, both in new homes and in remodeled older style homes, you can see into the kitchen from the living room, the family room, or both. Since the kitchen is constantly on view, kitchen decorating is an important part of home decor.

Some kitchens are treated as completely separate areas in plain view. Others are carefully decorated to blend in with adjoining spaces. In both cases, kitchen wall treatments are key to decorating this busy room. Paint continues to be a popular choice, but the range of "kitchen" colors has exploded. Cornflower blue, butter yellow, bright reds and vivid greens are commonly used as a base for French country or Tuscan kitchen decorating themes. Wallpaper options run the gamut from contemporary designs to Americana. In addition, slate, saltillo and ceramic tiles once used exclusively on floors are being used on walls to add texture and visual interest.

Part of decorating a kitchen is creating an organized space. Whether you have a specific decorating theme or not, you'll want to give some thought to which kitchen accessories stay on the countertop and which are hidden in cupboards and drawers. Many cooks find a tall cylindrical container to hold frequently used cooking utensils that keeps them from frantically rummaging through drawers. Appliances that get regular use, such as toasters and electric can openers are a good choice for countertop position, although most can be mounted under high cupboards.

Major appliance manufacturers recognize that their merchandise is a major visual element in any kitchen. Instead of just offering a choice between white, black, harvest gold or green, they produce an amazing range of "looks." From gleaming stainless steel, to retro 1950's look to standard white, you can choose refrigerators and stoves that blend with your kitchen decor. Some manufacturers can even help you match your appliances to your countertops for a seamless look.

As in any room in the house, it's the little touches that pull your kitchen's look together. Choose a "punch" color (usually contrasting to your walls) for window treatments and a throw rug. A tiled sink backsplash in this shade will add an extra bit of pizazz. Do not be afraid to add ornaments to the walls of your kitchen. Framed family photos, or even a collection of cookie cutters will add personality and warmth.

Chili’s Recipe – Asian Lettuce Wraps – Chili’s Recipe Variation With Peanut Sauce

This simple variation of a popular Chili’s recipe, will wow your guests every time. It makes a delicious first course and can be served with the peanut sauce or any sauce of your choice.

Quick Lettuce Wraps

8 ounces boneless lean pork or chicken

1/2 cup drained sliced bamboo shoots

6 green onions

1/2 cup drained water chestnuts

1 can (6 1/2 ounce) crab meat

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

9 Iceberg lettuce leaves

Chop (finely) the pork (or chicken), mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and onions. Drain and flake the crab meat.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Stir fry the pork in the oil (6 to 8 minutes) until golden brown. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, onions and crab meat. Stir fry 1 minute.

Combine sherry, sesame oil, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir into the pork mixture. Remove from heat.

Place about 1/3 cup of the pork mixture onto the center of each lettuce leaf. Fold ends and sides of the lettuce leaves over the filling and roll up. Transfer to a serving plate. If preferred, the pork mixture and the lettuce leaves may be served separately and rolled up at the table.

Makes 9 rolls (note: the popular Chili’s recipe is served with a sauce similar to this peanut sauce).

Peanut Sauce: Stir together; 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup regular strength chicken or beef broth, 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (or tart jam), and 2 teaspoons sugar.

Be A Rock Star Panelist

Being invited to speak on a panel is a golden opportunity, a wonderful way to demonstrate your expertise and ability to think on your feet. Being on a panel is an excellent marketing technique and it can also be fun. There is an art to it, though, and if you want to be invited to participate a second time, make sure that you look good the first time.

1. Know the subject

You’ve been invited to join the panel to share your deep knowledge and experience and/or your intriguing and compelling perspectives regarding the subject matter. You are there to inform and enlighten the audience. Do not disappoint. If you do not possess the expertise, then you must decline the invitation, regardless of how wonderful the opportunity is.

2. Control your introduction

One week before your appearance, confirm details with the program organizer and send a three sentence bio that should be forwarded to the panel moderator. As a precaution, print out a copy and hand it to the moderator before taking your seat.

3. Speak up and speak clearly

Veteran speakers say that the optimal distance between your lips and the microphone is one inch. Lean in (but don’t hunch over) and speak clearly.

4. Entertain and inform

As with a program keynote speaker, a panelist is there not only to inform, but also entertain. A bored audience tunes out. Witty sound-bytes work wonders. Sprinkling in a few makes you look smart and you will be remembered by those in the audience.

5. Tell the outrageous truth

Prepare yourself for a tough, possibly embarrassing, question from the moderator. Fear not, because this is a good thing. You will then have the opportunity to be gutsy and funny, and show the audience that you are a straight shooter. Tell the outrageous truth, especially when it’s obvious. If the question is that scary, plead the fifth amendment and let the audience laugh with you.

6. KISS—Keep it short and simple

Real experts know how to boil complex issues down to their essence and give answers and explanations that can be readily understood by non-experts. Avoid tossing around technical jargon and you’ll look like the smartest person in the room and win the admiration of the audience.

7. Answer the question that you want to answer

Unless you feel that you must take the fifth, answer the question that was asked, but do not hesitate to take the discussion in a direction that lets you express your unique perspective, or demonstrate your expertise and experience. Give your answer and segue with “… but the real issue is… “

8. Face the audience and not the moderator

It is tempting to face the person who asks the questions, but be mindful that s/he is not the audience, but the vehicle for posing questions that tease out information that audience members are presumed to want.

9. Never look bored

Active listening will help with this one. Looking engaged while another panelist is droning on, or resisting the reflexive action of making a face if someone says something that you find inaccurate or ridiculous, is perhaps the hardest part of being a panelist.

10. Listen to the other panelists

Being able to refer to something said by another panelist adds to the value of the information shared. If you want to politely refute a previous panelist, or add more information to a point that has been made (“… I think the real issue is… “), you’ll need to listen carefully. Jotting down a couple of notes is a good idea as well, to help you remember what was said and/or formulate your rebuttal.

11. Never agree with the other panelists (much)

Moderators frequently put the same question to every panelist, so that different perspectives on the question can be brought forth. The last speaker often will have nothing to add. Rather than stating that you agree with the previous panelists, with a smile, say “I believe the question has been answered.”

12. Know the other panelists

The organizer should tell you who else is on the panel. Internet search and find out their areas of expertise and what they may have written or said about the subject. You do not want any surprises and honestly, you want information that will help you look smarter.

Thanks for reading,


How to Plan a Cruise Vacation

A cruise vacation can be exciting as it offers a range of things like enjoying luxury services, enjoying gourmet meals, and shopping, all aboard a ship, while you are travelling from one place to another. However, if this is the first time you will be taking a cruise, then it’s always preferable to do some planning to so that nothing can go wrong with your vacation. Here are some ways to plan your first cruise vacation effectively.

Decide Where You Want to Go

It’s very important to choose your destination because certain parts of the world might not be feasible for cruising at particular times of the year. Also, deciding the route will help you adjust your budget. For instance, you can fly into a certain place, enjoy the stay there, and then get aboard the cruise. This way, you might be able to save some money on your travel. So, if you are booking cheap flights or any other part of the world, you will be able to spend the saved money on a cruise.

Get in Touch with a Travel Agent

If you are unsure of the route to take or the cruise to choose, get in touch with a travel agent. They will be able to help you out. In fact, they might even be able to guide on the best cruises in the world, while also keeping your budget in mind.

Set a Budget Aside

When you are travelling on a cruise, there will be many avenues where you can spend money. Which is why it is important to make sure you have budget and stick within that. Don’t go overboard with your expenses and spend your money wisely. Also, take most of your essentials with you so that you don’t have to spend money on buying them on the ship.

Get a Medical Checkup Done

A lot of people catch sea fever when they are travelling by the sea. If you have motion sickness, you have higher chances of falling sick on board. So, before you embark on your trip, get a full check up done and take necessary medications with you. Also, if you are suffering from any illnesses at the moment, take the prescribed medicines with you so that you don’t face any problem on board.

These are some of the ways in which you can book your first cruise holiday. Just remember to book flights to places that want to visit but aren’t covered by the cruise. Keep a close eye on your budget and make sure you have everything you need with you when finally set sail for our destination.

Is Your Heart Committed? Is His?

Women, in particular, are looking for commitment. Hollywood, the media, and dating websites all focus on getting a marriage proposal. The art of seduction pre-dates expert Cleopatra. Dozens of books have been written about getting an unavailable man to say, "I do." For six years, Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex in the City" tried to get Mr. Big to commit.

But is there a commitment of the heart? It's one thing to get married, it's another to have a deep emotional connection. Both men and women often create obstacles to getting the love they want. They may avoid inconvenience with time spent at work, watching television, engaging in hobbies or sports. Addiction by either spouse blocks intimacy. Women complain their husbands spend too much time on the computer or watching sports. Yet, women may spend time cleaning, volunteering, or criticizing their husbands or boyfriends or be over-emotionally involved with their children. To be clear, I'm not talking about the demands of raising young children or the necessity of working two jobs to pay the bills. Stress makes intimate harder, but does not need to eliminate it, unless it's an excuse.

Fear of discomfort may show up in the bedroom. One man complained about his wife's coldness. He had an affair, only to discover that he was now impotent with his new lover. As walls build, the lack of communication usually will ever affect sexual intrusion.

Not infrequently, one spouse is unconsciously married to someone else. In one marriage, the husband's heart was still committed to his late wife. It was as if her ghost slept between them. In another, the husband cheated, but it was not the lovers who had stolen his heart – it was his mother! In another case, the husband was unfaithful, but the real cause of their marital problems lay in the wife's emotional marriage to her older brother, who died when she was a child. It sometimes happens with twins who are so close that no one else can share that intimate. It also can be a problem in step-families. One single mom found fault with every boyfriend, but she was not ready for romance. She did not realize her overly-involvement with her son was the problem. Similarly, in a marriage one parent may avoid intimacy by using a child of the opposite sex as an emotional surrogate. In these cases the unavailable partner is unconscious of their contribution to the very maritime problem about which they complain and think it's their mate's fault. Frequently, they must grieve and let go before they can open to their spouse.

People rarely believe that getting the love that they seek might be a problem. Connie finally overcame her pattern of loving abusers, and found Mark, a kind and gentle man. Being loved proved to be more terrifying to Connie than the familiar abuse. Her entire life and personality had been built around the belief that she was unlovable. She was sure that Mark would leave when he discovered the "truth" about her that she imagined was bad. Mark had his own self-esteem issues, and before Connie, he had always dated overweight women, in whom he ever lost sexual interest. He worried Connie would leave. Sharing their fears, not only helped them to heal their wounds, but moved them closer to a commitment of the heart.

What makes intimate so difficult? It requires vulnerability – risking openness. Everyone's been hurt before, and I mean everyone. From childhood onwards, people get hurt even by well-intentioned parents, by friends, teachers, and lovers, and by losses due to death, illness, rejection, and divorce. Animals, including humans, are programmed to avoid pain. It's hard-wired into your brain in order to survive. It requires awareness, intention, and courage to feel everything that may arise once the heart is open. If it's been wounded before, no one wants to re-open an old wound. Opening your heart to love will open those wounds. But it's also an an opportunity to heal, rather than seal them it over.

Copyright © Darlene Lancer 2010

Pros And Cons About Incorporating A Unity Candle

Most people spend long hours and put endless effort into the planning of their wedding day. When you are planning your wedding, be sure to keep in mind the great advice offered in the article below.

Religion is possibly the most influential aspect of any wedding and married life.

The most important thing to consider when you have to think about is the person you are marrying. There is no need to hurry things–you have an entire lifetime with this person! Think hard about this person and what things in your life you can’t do without, along with what you can’t live without.

Brides should de-stress their skin care routine that offers a glowing complexion without causing irritation or breakouts. Look for facial treatments that soothe and brighten with ingredients like sea salts, rose, rose, and oatmeal proteins.

Make sure your husband-to-be what type of music won’t be played.

Instead of spending so much for a multi-layered wedding cake, consider a multi-tier design with mini-tarts or cupcakes. These arrangements are typically much cheaper and affordable. Guests can serve themselves or even take one home wonderful treats as a party favor of sorts.

Include items that will be useful, like a tourist map, tourist maps, disposable cameras, hats, and pamphlets from fun places to visit in the area. You may want to include flyers and coupons for local restaurants.

Midday is your best time to have wedding reception. You can cut down on bar costs when you have a reception during the day, which will cut back on the costs of an open bar.

Make sure the lights at your wedding reception venue can be dimmed. This might seem a tad bit trivial, having the option to lower your lighting during the first dance will be nice, and then you can brighten it for the remainder of your event. Check with the lighting available at different venues before booking anything for certain.

Having a friend or relative become ordained online allows them to preside over your wedding. This can make your ceremony more personal, while also saving you money as you now do not have to hire an officiant. Make sure this is a legal practice in the area.

Ask your close friend if you could borrow which would match your hairstyle and dress.

Dress children attending your ceremony in comfortable clothes if they are in your ceremony.Choose soft fabrics that fit loose enough to prevent discomfort. New shoes should be worn enough to ensure they don’t cause pain on the big day.Attention to this detail will give the children focus on their role in the wedding instead of fussing with their outfit.

If you are going to be giving one of the wedding speeches, write out and practice what you will say beforehand. If you fail to plan your wedding speech, it’s easy to forget what you want to say, making an offensive joke, or losing the audience.

If you are not serving dinner during your reception, you can use that free space for renting various furniture to ensure a comfortable evening among the crowd. Comfortable seating will make your guests feel relaxed and at home, which creates a nice atmosphere at your wedding.

For many people, some people will want fresh flowers, or the venue is more important than the guest list. If you make your budget in accordance with your preferences, you’ll have a much easier time picking out what you can afford and what you’re happy to live without.

Add flowers of different heights. Then, place flowers such as sweet peas, such as peonies or hydrangeas. The shorter and full flowers should be a few shades lighter than the main flowers.

To be totally ready for your first couple’s dance at the wedding reception, you should practice dancing in a long skirt a few days before your wedding. You may already be comfortable moving about in long skirts, so that your first dance is not a disaster. This will reduce any feeling of wearing a long and puffy dress.

Make sure you check with your bridesmaids on the subject of gowns before they are wearing. Many friendships have been strained by simple disagreement on a bridesmaid’s gown. Pick out something that doesn’t cost too much, matches any theme you have for your wedding, and it will work well for the bridesmaids. This is part of your wedding making everyone feel important and misunderstandings.

When you decide on decorations for your wedding, especially the flowers, remember to take into account the location of your wedding. Delicate floral arrangements may not be suitable for a hot or bad weather. You may need special equipment for securing decor at places like parks and parks.

Always be aware of Mother nature and how she can cause the weather.Even if you’re convinced the weather won’t be foul, it is a good idea to have another site prepared.

Ask vendors you’re using for more recommendations. If you found the perfect photographer already, see if they can give you the name of a band. Ask the band to recommend a caterer for you. You can find great team of professionals this way.

If you have always wanted to get married in Vegas, do it! However, if you’re hoping for something a little more special or traditional, then the suggestions you’ve just read should help you put together the wedding of your dreams. Hopefully, you’ll be able to look back on you wedding, proudly, forever.

Quick and Easy Window Treatments

Window treatments are fabulous.

Why? For one, well-dressed windows add wow to any room in the house. And they’re functional too-they can be used to block light, create privacy, soften sounds, draw attention to great views (or conceal less pleasing ones), and more. And they look darn good doing it.

To help you figure out which window treatment styles are right for your home and tastes, here’s a rundown on the basic types. Don’t want to spend a fortune? I’ll throw in some easy DIY ideas for dressing up your existing curtains and shades too.


Curtains typically hang on rods from rings, tabs, or ties and are pulled open or closed by hand. This type of window treatment is made in a variety of styles and fabrics to fit windows large and small, in settings formal or informal.

Drapery panels tend to look more formal than curtains. Drapes are attached to a rod with hooks that allow for opening and closing simply by pulling a cord. They usually hang from the top of a window or even the ceiling to the floor.

Blinds help control light and privacy and may be used with other window treatments or alone. All sorts of materials-including vinyl, wood, and faux wood-are available to match the style of your spaces.

Shades are used to block out light and provide privacy too. Styles include simple roller shades; top-down shades; Roman shades with sleek, defined folds; and balloon shades that billow when they are pulled up.

Cornices are affixed to the wall at the top of the window. Typically made of plywood and dressed up with paint, fabric, wallpaper, molding, or other embellishments, cornices are used to add architectural detail to windows.

Valances, much like cornices, are hung across the top of windows, cover curtain rods and add structural interest. Fabric valances may be tailored to create a distinctive shape or draped loosely across the top of the window.


The tricky part about window treatments is deciding which ones to use and in what combination. A few questions to ask yourself:

What is the style of my windows and the room they’re in?

Formal, floral-print window treatments may look absolutely ridiculous in a contemporary home, while inexpensive blinds probably won’t do justice to a bank of windows in a formal setting. I prefer simpler shades and curtains over gaudy layers of fabric in my own home, but there’s something to be said for a well-designed, formal living or dining room with exquisite folds of fabric framing a window.

What is the function of the room?

This may guide the materials you select for your window treatments. For instance, it’s smart to pick fabrics that stand up to moisture for bathroom windows and ones that are easy to clean for windows near heavy-use areas of the kitchen.

What size are my windows?

Trick your eyes into thinking your small windows are larger by positioning the curtain rod above the top of the window. Are your windows too narrow? Extend the rod beyond the sides of the window frame. Or if you’re lucky enough to have large windows, but they’re out of scale with the size of your rooms and the furnishings in them, opt for simple treatments with minimal layers and patterned fabrics to downplay the expanse.

What functions should my window treatments fulfill?

If you love natural light as much as I do, you might want sheer fabric panels and nothing more. But consider issues such as: privacy (so the neighbors can’t see you making coffee right after you stumble out of bed in the morning), light control (if you want it as dark as possible when you sleep, window treatments with blackout lining may be the way to go), and temperature regulation (in drafty rooms, honeycomb shades are a good choice for providing a level of insulation).

Oh, and don’t forget to consider how your windows look from outside too!


Formal window treatments with their many layers and multiple fabrics and patterns require more sewing and decorating know-how than this Know-It-All is willing to jump into at the moment. But informal window treatments are a breeze to make over yourself. The key is to keep it simple, functional, and fun.

Add oomph to store-bought curtains (or panels you’ve sewn yourself) with ribbons, buttons, bows, beads, tassels, cording, or whatever other embellishments suit your style.

Paint wooden blinds a vibrant color.

Sew your own café curtains-they’re easy to make with funky fabrics or leftovers from other projects.

Create a custom roller shade by purchasing a DIY roller shade kit from a craft or fabric store. Or purchase plain roller shades and decorate them with acrylic paint-try stamped shapes, freehand flowers, polka dots, or stripes. Still feeling crafty? Hot-glue ribbon along the bottom edge of the shade, create a shade pull with leftover ribbon and a charm, and voila! you’re done.

Or if bare windows are calling your name, tear those drapes down like Scarlett O’Hara did in Gone With the Wind and make yourself a dress.

Dress Code for a Limo Chauffeur

A Chauffeur dress code is a set of rules controlling what garments may be worn by a limousine driver. These rules are determined by the limousine company that employs the driver. They may set preference colors for suits, provide some uniforms or specific clothes for the driver to wear. However, chauffeur dress code has some universal rules that must be followed if your employee does not say otherwise.

Let’s look at the chauffeur dress code and what items should be worn by a male chauffeur.

Neck: For corporate runs and night outs tie is optional. However, a tie is required for weddings, graduations and other formal occasions. Bow ties are acceptable but are unusual. The top button of the collar of the shirt must be done up.

Overcoat can be worn if weather requires. Do not put overcoat over a single shirt. Wear a suit or a dark jacket.

Suit Jacket: Plain black suits are the preferred option for most limo operators, but any good quality dark suit is suitable too. Your limo company may have a color preference for a suit.

Shirt: Collared dress shirt is a necessity. It must be clean and well pressed. White is the universally preferred color for weddings and graduations, and other special occasions. For night outs your chauffeur could be dressed in black elegant shirt too. Any good quality white / black shirt will look good and elegant. Avoid button down collars.

Pants: Suit Pants that must match the jacket. Of course, preference for black if not specified otherwise.

Socks: Black or the same color as your suit. If not, at least same darkness as the suit. No logos, images of prints should be visible.

Footwear: Dress Leather Pumps. Preferably black, laced up. Note: people sometimes judge you by your shoes. It is a good idea to invest in good leather shoes and clean them every day.

Rings: A wedding or engagement ring is always allowed. Other rings should be kept away.

Belt: Leather belt that match your suit. No big belt buckles with logos or symbols.

The purpose of chauffeur dress is to represent the company and to make your customers feel in good hands. By following this dress code you will look professional and trustworthy from the second you step out of the limousine. However, the chauffeur needs much more than only to follow the dress code to impress the customers. On the other hand, a good first impression always helps.

Sexy Body Language Tips for the First Date

You are on your first date with your dreamdate. Sexual body language signals to tell you they are hot for you. Tips on flirting for the successful dating game.

1: Gazing adoringly. When attracted to someone, we all have problems shifting our gaze. Even when the object of our lust has ceased speaking, the lustful stare is still happening. To be a little provocative, use this to your advantage, and during a pause in conversation, keep your eyes on your date to the silent count of five. Conversely, the more often your date blinks, the more nervous they are.

2: Hands. Clenched fists, tightly knitted hands or hands pressed against the mouth indicate nervousness and tension. Worse still, is if their hands are holding up their head as this shows total boredom, or they are about to collapse with fatigue or alcohol. Anxious people tend to

hold their own hands or fidget with objects on the table. Hands placed openly with palms facing upwards on the table indicate a more relaxed open person. If you are terribly nervous, try having your hands loosely clasped on the table, as this gives off better vibes than gripping your fingers together or folding your arms. Placing your hands on your chest while speaking makes you appear lively and truthful.

3: Volume of speech. If they consider you their equivalent, their tone won’t be too high or too low. Very loud voices tend to belong to dominant personalities and very soft veer to the meek.

4: Subconscious autoerotic touching. Sexy thinking leads us to subconsciously touch ourselves, for several reasons. Firstly, to gain attention to various body parts. Guys and girls will both stroke their lips and girls will rub their upper arms, thighs, hips and waists. Secondly, we touch ourselves to tease the other. Thirdly, when sexually excited, blood is rushing around engorging extremities, making everything supersensitive. Touching ourselves then feels good.

5: Mouth. A very strong sexual body language gesture is when your date starts to eat, drink or smoke faster. Thinking about sex gets you touching your mouth. Putting things in your mouth can imply that you are interested sexually. Girls lick ice cream cones, play with spoons and suck their fingers.

6: Her Hair. Interested girls will start playing with their hair. Fluffing her hair, stroking her hair, and the strongest of all, the flick of the hair, are all body language signals of availability or flirting. However, if she should start to hide behind her hair she is showing disinterest.

7: Fiddling Guys. As guys become more sexually excited they start to give off their own flirting signals. These can include rubbing his nose, playing with his tie, sliding rings over fingers, and fiddling with loose coins in his pocket. Adjusting his hair is a sign that he is wanting to look good for you.

8:Checking out your butt. If you catch your date checking out your butt when you leave the table to visit the bar or bathroom, then they are having lustful thoughts.

9: Symbolically stripping. Undoing buttons, loosening ties, removing jackets and pushing up sleeves are all strong sexual body language gestures. Publicly undressing without realizing it ,is mother nature’s way of getting us naked with someone we share sexual chemistry with.

10: Touching. Unsure where the date is going? Try the touch test. Touch their hand, arm or shoulder. Unless they are shy, they should return the touch within 10 minutes if they like you.

On a good first date , there should be three sets of touching for three seconds each time.

11: The wineglass. The date is a winner if he is rubbing the rim of his glass with his fingers. Likewise, if she is stroking her glass up and down. If she is also making direct eye contact and playing with her straw she is definitely flirting. However, wine glasses held at chest height or higher are a sign that there will not be a second date. Likewise, if your date wraps both their hands around their glass.

The wineglass test. This is a great subconscious body language test to gauge that first date. Start playing with an object from your side of the table eg: wineglass, spoon etc. Lean forward just slightly and subtly move it just onto your date’s side of the table. Remove your hands, lean back and keep talking. If your date absentmindedly pushes it back to you they are not interested. If they leave it where it is, or hold it, you are in luck. To take it further, push another object their way and leave your arms on the table. The keen date will now lean forward as well and push something from their side of the table over to you.

12: Kiss, kiss. All these are strong signals that your date is receptive to a kiss: touching their mouth, licking their lips, putting their head close to yours, eating and drinking seductively, and tilting their head while looking at you.

Start the kiss with a soft light brush against their lips. If they pull back, clench their lips or slap your face, you should stop! If they lean in, part their lips or touch the back of your neck they are happy to continue.

The art of flirting through nonverbal communication has never been easier! Use this dating advice for interpreting body language and sending out your own sexual signals. Flirt that first date into a second date!

Happy Flirting! Coco Swan.

Are You Scared of ‘De-clutter’?

If you’ve lost sight of your carpet, can’t find your clean clothes in the pile on the floor, and don’t remember if that basket holds trash or important paperwork, it’s time to de-clutter. If you need a hammer and nails but have to wade through old toys, paint cans, and things that have gathered dust in your garage to find them, it’s time to de-clutter.

Have you given up having family dinners because you’ve lost the dining room table under the accumulated mess?

Do you shudder when you open your refrigerator because it’s a constant reminder that you’ve neglected it? Are you afraid when you need something the kids borrowed and you are forced to search through the endless clutter in their rooms to find your belongings? Do you have to clean out your seat into an already overloaded trunk just to give a co-worker a ride home?

People continually add to their daily stress because of the clutter in many, if not all, areas of their lives. Then they finally get a day off work only to once more ignore de-cluttering in favor of going shopping, running errands, or taking the kids somewhere to have fun. So, the clutter continues to build. They may feel they sacrifice enough of their time already and work too hard to spend their precious off-time decluttering. Yet this may be the one area that could simplify their busy lives. Gaining control over clutter can relieve stress. Sometimes a person will attempt to de-clutter their homes by cleaning and clearing only what can be readily seen by any visitors. This is similar to the child who shoves everything under the bed or into the closet in an attempt to fool mom and dad, or at least to get them off their backs temporarily.

People become frustrated every day because they have lost something because of lack of organization. They have shoved so much junk into lockers, closets, and into their drawers that they feel the situation is hopeless.

Busy families will literally stuff a dresser so full it finally breaks the runners on the drawers, handles are pulled off from tugging open an overstuffed drawer, and the bottom will give way.

Kids lose athletic clothing, tennis shoes, and socks for lack of organization. Parents lose their ties or are late to work because their suit was wadded into a pile and wrinkled. They forget to clean their uniforms. They misplace important papers.

Clutter can affect grades at school, relationships, self-esteem, and careers. Have people stopped visiting because your home has become so cluttered that it’s unsafe, a germ haven, and smelly—all because you need to de-clutter?

You can learn to de-clutter. You must reprogram your thinking process and reassess your priorities. It will help you regain your sense of overall well-being. It’s never too late to learn better habits.