Six Wardrobe Staples Every Woman Should Own

Many of us have stood in our closets agonizing over what to wear at some point in our lives. Some of us experience that feeling on a regular basis, even though our closet may be packed with trendy pieces. It may be this focus on trendy items only that makes us have this feeling since these pieces can quickly feel outdated. By investing in these six timeless wardrobe staples, we promise you will always have something to wear.

1. Basic Black Pumps

This shoe made the list because of its extreme versatility. They can be worn with dresses, skirts, and jeans. They look equally great day or night, at both casual and formal events. Be sure to get a high-quality leather pair, in a heel height you can manage. If the heels are too high and uncomfortable, you will be less likely to wear them.

2. Black Evening Dress

There’s a reason why the little black dress has always been a wardrobe staple: it can flatter every figure and can be worn to almost any event. Choose a dress in a flattering fit that you like, but avoid anything too trendy style-wise. The best thing about the LBD is that it can be accessorized in a way to make it work for almost any evening occasion. You can dress it up with jewelry and exquisite heels for a black tie event or dress it down with ballet flats and casual accessories.

3. Black Pants

The right pair of black trousers can be your hardest working piece of clothing. Invest in a good pair in a fit that fits well, and you will have a piece of clothing you can wear with just about anything else. Black is a neutral color, so it goes well with many colors, as far as tops, blazers, and shoes go. This closet staple is also versatile, as it can go from the office to a night on the town with a simple change of top and accessories.

4. Blazer

Whether you work in an office or not, every woman still needs a blazer. A well-fitting blazer in a neutral color can pull many outfits together and add polish to more casual items like jeans. The fit is very important when buying a blazer. If you can’t find one that fits, buy one that is a little too big and have it tailored.

5. Silk Blouse

Almost nothing feels better against your skin than pure silk. Few blouses are as flattering and versatile either, as they look great tucked into jeans or worn with a sophisticated skirt. Choose one in a color that you love, or pick several in many different colors. You can’t go wrong with the timeless silk blouse. Just be sure to follow the care directions carefully so that you don’t ruin these beautiful items.

6. Pencil Skirt

This is another item you should have in your closet, even if you don’t work in an office. They look flattering on just about every body type and can be dressed up or down with the right top, shoes, and accessories. They can be worn from anything to a job interview to a PTA meeting, to nice dinner, too. Choose one in a dark neutral, like black or navy, and you will find yourself wearing it all the time.

How To Impress With Your Body Language

How we impress with our body language is not only important, but necessary … to make a good impression, do not you think so? Within the very first moment of meeting with someone, we can not help wondering about the intentions and too often – the credibility of the other person, whether we decide to strike a business deal or a relationship – or not at all! Here, the way we present ourselves, particularly the manner we communicate non-verbally in those first cruel moment of meeting someone new … could make or break, a potential business relationship.

Let it be known that there are some people who use it – not to communicate only, but also to entice and possibly seduce the objects of their dreams and desires. To be able to get the people they fancy, into their world and hold them within – never to let them go, is so challenging! Such seducers certainly know the art of body language! Am I one of them? Let me use your imagination.

Interestingly, here are some positive ways to use your body language to communicate your intentions and credibility – to your advantage, which can set you up for success any time.

  • Hold your posture – To begin with, have your back straight, but not rigid and your shoulders relaxed, so as not to look so upight.
  • Remember to greet the person you are meeting, with a firm handshake. Probably, this is one of the most important body language moves, as it sets the tone for your entire conversation.
  • Be knowledgeable of the different cultural greetings and closures, prior to your meeting.
  • Align your body with the one you are speaking to, in order to show that you are engaged and not easily distracted.
  • Lean forward to give an impression that you are focused and are really attentive.
  • Maintain good eye contact, by looking at the other person in the eye when communicating. This will show that you are interested in the conversation.
  • Monitor your voice – Do keep the tone of your voice low and do not you end every sentence as if it was a question. Learn how to pronounce your words well and clear.
  • Use your hands to gesture when the need arise whenever you are speaking, to improve your credibility with the listener. Gesturing with your hands while talking, can improve your thoughts.
  • Keep a positive head with appropriate nods and genuine smiles, to let the other person know that you do understand, agree and are listening to his or her opinions.
  • Observe the body language of the other person, as he or she may be communicating with you through it and perhaps he or she intends to conclude the conversation finally.

Enjoy Sydney's Festivals, Arts And Culture All Year Round

From its spectacular New Year's fireworks to its stunning harbor setting, Sydney is truly one of the world's most attractive cities and it's no wonder that Sydney has long been a popular destination for travelers in Australasia and beyond. Whether you're keen to enjoy the warm weather 'down under' when it's winter in the UK, or if you simply want to make a getaway during your summer holidays, Sydney offers a variety of arts, entertainment and sports events to cater for every Tourist's taste.

As Australia's largest city, Sydney offers a wide range of cultural attractions. The most visited parts of the city are, of course, its most iconic landmarks: the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. However, Sydney holds an array of other popular attractions that should not be overlooked if you're visiting the city. Sydney Tower, for example, is the city's tallest free-standing structure at 305 meters high, and its observation deck offers visitors staggering views across the city.

Furthermore, Sydney has a dedicated artistic tradition; A range of Australia's best artistic companies hail from the city, including Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Dance Company and Sydney Theater Company. Sydney is also famous for its distinct gay community, which centers on Oxford Street and plays host to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras every year.

In fact, the Mardi Gras is only one of Sydney's numerous annual festivals. Every January, the city stages the Sydney Festival, which has been Australia's largest and most popular cultural festival since its inception in 1976. Its annual program includes over 50 free events which span across a range of genres: from classical and contemporary music to dance, Drama, circus events and public lectures. Attracting around 1.5 million people every year, the Sydney Festival truly captures the spirit of what makes Sydney such a great city to visit.

Sydney is also home to the Sydney Film Festival; Moreover, since the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney in 1998, the city has become steadily more prevalent on cinema screens around the world. Famous movies that have been filmed in the city include Mission Impossible II, The Matrix, Moulin Rouge and the last two installments of the Star Wars franchise.

Travelers hoping to see something of Australia's history while in Sydney will not be disappointed with the variety of museums in the city. The largest are the Australian Museum (a center for natural history and anthropology), the Powerhouse Museum, which shows exhibits on science, technology and design, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

If you live in Britain, you're sure to be able to find plenty of flights to Sydney on a daily basis throughout the year. So if you're keen to enjoy the warm weather 'down under' when its winter in the UK, or simply want to take a break to the Emerald City during your summer holidays, you'll always be able to find a suitable way to Travel to Sydney.

How to Handle a Behavioral Interview

What is a Behavioral Interview?

Behaviorally based interviewing is also known as situation based interviewing or the “STAR” method (Situation, Task, Activity, Result). Basically, it means the interviewer will ask you to describe examples of things you’ve done on the job, and most of the interview questions will begin with something like, “Tell me about a time when you… “. The interviewer then listens and probes for details about the who, what, when, where, how, etc. in the examples you provide.

Asking what a person did do in certain job situations is different from traditional interviewing methods that ask people what they would do. The behavioral method is used because what a person did do tends to be more predictive of what they will do in the future, in comparison to what they say they would do. For example, if a candidate was asked what he would do if he had a conflict with a colleague, he might say that he would confront his coworker to discuss the matter. However, when asked to describe what he did do during a recent time he had a conflict with a colleague, the same candidate might share an example in which he ignored the conflict in hopes it would fade with time.

How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interview questions are usually designed to match the competencies needed for success in a role (e.g., problem-solving skills, project management skills, relationship building skills, etc.). For instance, if a job requires a person to think strategically, an interviewer might ask them to describe a recent time when they had to define a business strategy.

With that in mind, it’s useful to identify what competencies a job requires so you can prepare accordingly for related interview questions:

• Sometimes formal job descriptions will list the competencies required for a position. If not, Human Resources or the hiring manager for the role will likely share the competencies if asked. It’s certainly OK to ask about the competencies required for success in a role when applying for a position.

• You may also be able to discern the required competencies by closely reviewing the job description and “reading between the lines”, so to speak. In my experience, most job competencies fall into the three broad categories: Thinking (e.g., problem-solving, innovating, etc.), Results (e.g., accountability, time management, etc.), and People (e.g., networking, influencing, etc.). Those categories can be used as a guide for deciphering the competencies underpinning a job description. For example, while reading the job description, you could ask yourself, “What thinking-related competencies seem needed for this role?”, “What results-related competencies seem needed for this role?”, and so on.

Once you’ve identified the competencies required for a job, the next step is to recall instances from your work experience when you evidenced those competencies:

• Recall examples that occurred within the last year or less (the more recent, the better). They’ll be easier to remember and share details about. Further, behavioral interviewers usually require examples to be relatively recent.

• Avoid getting caught-up in trying to identify the biggest, best, or most elaborate example you can think of. I’ve interviewed many people who had difficulty giving examples because they didn’t feel the example was sophisticated or spectacular enough to share. Behavioral interviewers tend to focus more on the how than the what in the examples you provide. For instance, you probably take a similar approach to delegating work whether a project is large or small, but it’d be easier to convey the details of the smaller project when the interviewer asks.

• Don’t let an undesired outcome keep you from sharing what would otherwise be a good example. I see this often, for example, when asking people to describe a time when they had to influence upward (e.g., gain buy-in from senior leadership, change their boss’s opinion, etc.). They hesitate to share an example because they were unsuccessful at influencing upward. However, once they share the example it’s clear (to me as a behavioral interviewer) that their approach to influencing was sound, despite senior leadership choosing not to buy-in.

How to Respond to Behavioral Interview Questions

Now that you’ve identified the competencies required for a job and some examples from your work experience that illustrate those skills, the final step is to refine how you’ll communicate those examples:

• Answer the question the interviewer asks. Seems intuitive, but I still come across candidates who give examples they believe will make them look good, rather than examples that fit the questions asked. The behavioral interview method requires clear examples from candidates that match specific competency areas, and so it’s not the time to respond like a politician. For instance, if the interviewer asks you for an example of how you dealt with a customer complaint, you won’t be able to get by with an example of how you exceeded your sales goals for the year. Similarly, if you find yourself falling back into the traditional interview habit of responding to questions with guesses about what you would do in a hypothetical scenario, be prepared to be asked again about what you did do in an actual situation.

• Center your responses on describing your actions and involvement in the examples you provide. Remember, in most instances, the interviewer is seeking to understand what you did so they can draw conclusions about your skills, abilities, and fit for a job. For instances when you were part of a team, you can start your example with, “As part of a team I… (and then talk specifically about what you did or the role you played on the team)”.

• Be concise. Interview time is limited, and interviewers typically have several competency areas to cover. Communicating only the essentials of each example (e.g., the who, what, where, when, and how) will help ensure you don’t run short on time. Keep in mind that interviewers can ask you for more detail if they need it, but in contrast, it’s difficult to make up for time lost on longwinded examples. Moreover, interviewers are likely to be gauging how well you communicate, as many jobs require strong verbal communication skills.

• Practice to ensure examples are fresh in your mind, but do not over-rehearse or read from your notes during an interview. Behaviorally based interviews are not like school exams that can be “passed” by giving certain “right” answers. As alluded to previously, interviewers will likely be evaluating how you communicate, think on your feet, handle pressure, etc., while you are responding. Having a few notes (such as bullet points to jog your memory) is usually fine, but coming across as scripted, robotic, or rigid during an interview is not.

• Finally, don’t be shy about taking time to think before responding (especially if you’re asked a question you weren’t expecting). It’s much better to take a few moments to recall an example that is fitting and straightforward than it is to respond quickly with an example that’s mismatched or convoluted.

Bedroom Furniture and Mattresses: Your Mattress Makes the Bed

Choosing bedroom furniture is usually a matter of deciding what storage space you need. That is until you come to the bed. Your mattress makes the bed, and a well chosen mattress has no need for a bed where comfort is concerned. You can lay a good mattress on a concrete floor and will make no difference to your comfort. Choosing a bed therefore comes down to a matter of fashion, décor and more storage.

Beds are available with spring bases, but only really to keep your mind at rest. They are also available with slatted bases and are just as comfortable – since, as has been emphasized, comfort comes from the mattress. When choosing a bed, you should therefore choose your mattress first.

The reason for that is that the bed should fit the mattress – not the other way around. You should never be restricted in your mattress choice by the dimensions or design of your bed. This is not about how to choose the right mattress, however, but about choosing bedroom furniture in general. However, a few words about mattress selection will not hurt.

Choosing a Mattress

You have a choice of mattress types available, and if you are seeking advice the most comfortable type of spring mattress uses pocketed springs. Each spring is individually contained within a fabric pocket. That means that the movements of individual springs are not affected by its neighboring springs. You are less likely to be disturbed by the movement of your partner.

Some prefer memory foam, but others feel restricted by it since it conforms to the contours of your body. It can hold you in the same position all night and some feel stiff in the morning due to this. A good compromise would be a pocked spring construction, with comfort layers of regular foam and a light memory foam top. It conforms to your body shape, but not enough to hold you in position.

It's your choice. Most tend to use a box spring construction where each spring is attached to its neighbor. The comfort comes from the batting or foam layers used. If you sleep alone this will not give you a problem, although if not then when your partner moves you will also move. Some do not mind that. If you do, then choose pocket springs. The extra cost may be worth it to you.

Choosing a Bed

When choosing a bed keep in mind that the comfort comes from the mattress – unless you buy a budget mattress for a few dollars that has small springs and almost no comfort layers. It is better to spend the bulk of your budget on the mattress, and then less on the bed itself.

There are three aspects of a bed that will affect your choice: its size, the headboard and storage. Regarding size, before choosing your mattress you should have decided on its size: Single, Queen, King or California King Size or something else. Having selected your mattress, you should now buy a bed with dimensions to suit.

The dimensions should include the ability of the bed to hold the mattress, generally by means of side rails or a box construction. You do not want the mattress moving about the bed! You should also decide on the style of headboard you want: a sleigh bed, slatted or paneled headboard and footboard, or even something fancy with lights, integral radio and bookshelves.

You can have underbed storage in the form of drawers either at the sides or at the foot of the bed. The ultimate would be two drawers each side of the bed, and a remote controlled flat-screen TV lift at the end. Simply raise the TV using the remote when you need it. You can also use footboards with such systems.

Other Bedroom Furniture

Once you have chosen your mattress and bed, you can furnish your room with other bedroom furniture. This will mostly be storage: chests, dressers, storage ottomans and cabinets and sometimes an armoire. All of this will be a matter of personal preference, and no advice is needed.

The important factor is that you take care when choosing the most important piece of bedroom furniture. That is the bed – that is why the room is given its name! If you choose wisely you will sleep well. If not, then you will not. The other furniture in your bedroom will make no difference to these two factors.

10 Outrageous Tips For Marketing a Mental Health Or Psychotherapy Private Practice

No introduction, you want the tips:

TIP #1: Put All Clients on Your E-mail List

Keep an e-mail list of your clients, both current and former. Get permission to send them a dead-simple newsletter from your private practice–one page! NOT TWO! And, heavens to murgatroid–not four.

Encourage clients or patients to print, forward, and distribute your newsletter to friends and family. Make this simple newsletter nothing more than mental health tips, seasonal stories, common sense right thinking, and articles so good that readers hesitate not to fold it up into their pocket.

If you e-mail your clients, send the newsletter to yourself and “blind copy” clients. Only your e-mail address will show to avoid violation of patient confidentiality. Don’t make a mistake in doing this procedural step.

A safer and better way is to print and mail a copy of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to your clients. Studies have shown that postal mail in an envelope is read 15 times more often than e-mail! Consider doing both.

TIP #2: Send Your Simple Dimple, Yet Powerfully Punchy Newsletter to the top 50 (and 50 only) Recreation, Mental Health, and Community Centers.

Send it to half-way houses, adult protective services, and other social service agencies. Only 50. Forget massive coverage. 50 will cost is $.44 x 50 in postage plus envelopes. The key is do this each month–no breaks. You are building powerful top-of-mind visibility and newsletter is going viral. Viral marketing is the passing along of sale information from human to the next. Recreation and community centers frequently post health and wellness information on their lobby bulletin boards, and may be happy to post your newsletter.

TIP #3: Ditto A Few Other Places

Grocery stores — try them too. Many small businesses with customer waiting areas like Jiffy Lubes, etc also post on visible bulletin boards. These include oil change and car repair centers, hardware stores, coffee shops, and more. Keep copies of your newsletter with you in your car for sudden insights and posting ideas. (Don’t forget to keep a mini-stapler in your glove compartment — one of those little red jobbers.)

TIP #4: Promote Presentation Topics That People Want And Will Eat Up

At the bottom of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter, give visibility to the topics that you are willing to speak on for FREE. Get a boost by mentioning your expertise in specific terms and offering presentations with yourself as the speaker, especially on seasonal or hot topics.

Read that again. Season, or HOT TOPICS.

Do this: Go to “Google AdWords”. Find the “Key Word Tool”. Google “Google AdWords Key Word Tool”. Now, type in “Problem with” and see what comes up. Or, to the same thing with Twitter. You will find what the world is worried about. You will discover the most common searches that begin with these few words. (Writing this article for you, I just did this exercise. Problem with – brought up “men” “women” “money” “teenager” “food” etc. Now do it again, and expand. You will discover what people want hear from you. Put together five presentations that last 25 minutes each. You will promote these 25 minute presentations (not 30, but 25 minutes) at the bottom of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter.

TIP #5: Keep Copies in Your Waiting Room.

Keep copies of simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter in your waiting room. Clients will pick it up, stuff them in a purses and pockets, give them to friends, and pass them around at work. This will put your newsletter in motion with leverage. This is called viral marketing.

TIP #6: Distribute Copies to Your Doctor, Dentist, and Other Medical Practices That You Patronize.

Ask if you can place your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter in the waiting rooms of your doctor. (A few copies on a coffee table, for example.) Put one copy in a clear plastic, top-loading sheet protector. This shouts “DESK COPY” even without those words written on it. When clients and patients see this copy, they almost never walk off with it, thereby leaving it for scores of other people to see in the course of a month. These medical professionals who you patronize owe you. Don’t ask the nurse or the front desk secretary for permission. Ask the doctor or medical professional in the middle of the anatomical procedure you’re paying for. No, I am not kidding.

TIP #7: Cooperate and Make Money While Increasing Referrals

Offer the bottom section of your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to allied professionals as advertising space that includes one line of text. These should be professionals with whom you do not compete. These professionals would love to pay you for the exposure. Trade with them so you get exposure to all of their clients and patients. You have just formed your own “linked-in” group. One or two lines of text will do the trick. Have enough space for five to six advertising lines, and widen your distribution. Everyone wins, especially you. We suggest holistic health professionals, therapeutic massage professionals, chiropractors, even vitamin stores! Your local Walgreens may buy advertising space. It will improve the “stature” of your newsletter and you can make money to cover your newsletter’s cost.

TIP #8: Send Hard Copies to Media Outlets Locally.

Your local community has media outlets-radio, television, and newspapers. The reporters of these outlets scramble in desperation to find any warm-bodied mental health professional that they can interview when a crisis occurs or a national news event affects the psyche of the nation. The crisis at Fort Hood is a good example. It is happening as I write this article.

Other topics include stress, downsizing and survivor syndrome, or depression and the current 2009 economy crisis are good examples. They need experts. That’s you. Send your newsletter to a reporter or “news desk” contact every month. When a pertinent news event hits, phone your contacts I-M-M-E-D-I-A-T-E-L-Y! Say, “I am expert on ____. I am available for an interview if you need it.” You may be on TV or the radio within hours. I’ve done this–believe me, it works. (You will be happy you read this article for this tip alone.) If you do a good job, and it is an a.m. radio station, ask if you can have your own hour once a month to answer mental health questions from the audience.

Keep phone numbers of media outlets in your cell phone or taped to the dashboard of your car because that is where you will be when you hear a news story you will want to crash. Call this “crashing a news story”. You’ve heard of crashing a party?

TIP #9: Send Copies to Your Competitors.

Am I nuts? No. Every mental health professional in private practice refers clients or patients to other therapists. Whom do they choose? Most of the time the choice is made based on familiarity, as much as expertise. Reputation as well. And where does a reputation come from? One place – familiarity. Don’t kid yourself. You know this is true. The name you hear the most is the best guy. Everybody thinks like this to some degree. So, exploit reality. Your name and face must come to mind. These professionals will enjoy the newsletter and you will achieve “top-of-mind” visibility. It will take six months to achieve this effect. Then, Katie bar the door.

TIP #10: Send simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter to EAPs.

EAPs are great referral sources, but it can be hard to get an appointment with them to discuss your services. And you need more than one touch to get noticed. Let your newsletter do the talking for you. Contact the Employee Assistance Professionals Association at 703-387-1000 and discover where the local chapter in your area meets. Collect business cards and send your newsletter to these folks. If you join EAPA, you will find their addresses online. After a few issues to these folks, it will be easier to obtain a face-to-face appointment. Recipients will feel like they already know you. They will think you are a celebrity. That’s because of repetition and seeing your name and your simple-dimple, yet punchy and powerful newsletter.

Really Crabby Cakes

Ingredients:

1-tablespoon Butter

⅓-cup Onion, finely chopped

⅓-cup Celery, finely chopped

⅓-cup Yellow squash, finely chopped

1-cup Bread crumbs, soft

–Cup Bisquick

1-teaspoon Pepper

1-teaspoon Season salt

2-large Eggs, slightly beaten

14-ounces Crabmeat, chopped

1-cup Cocktail sauce

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 °; Spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, and yellow squash in butter about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Mix vegetable mixture with soft bread crumbs, bisquick, pepper, season salt, slightly beaten eggs, chopped crabmeat. Shape mixture into small patties and place on cookie sheets. Bake about 12 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and serve with or without cocktail sauce.

Makes about 24

Note: If you do not have Bisquick just replace it with all purpose flour. Sometimes I use bell pepper instead of yellow squash or if you want to spice it up use green chili's or jalapenos instead of the squash or bell pepper.

You can find these and much more at Cristie's Cookin. Do not forget to submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a free "Gotcha Covered" apron. Check out Cristie's unique spices, Bling It, Ring It, and Zing It. For you thriller seeking novels check out Cristie's new thriller "11.11.11" by TJ stokes.

Breast Augmentation: Check Out Plastic Surgery Simulators Before the Operation

If you are unsure if breast augmentation is a good surgery for you, there is a fun tool online that you can use to help make your decision. There are a few websites that allow you to upload a picture of yourself, specify the chest size that you are considering, and receive a photo of how you would look with the new breasts. Find out how this tool may be useful, or at least fun to use while you dream about getting surgical improvements made to your body.

This type of site is particularly useful for those who have not decided for sure whether they should get implants. If you are not sure whether you would like your new look, and are having a hard time imagining it, check out the photo you get from the site. Perhaps, on the other hand, you already know that you want breast augmentation, but are not sure what size implants to get. In this case, you can check out a few different sizes on your body without having the displeasure of realizing after the surgery that you went too big or small.

If you are satisfied with the photo, you can print it out and place it on your fridge or desk as motivation to get started on the process for breast augmentation. This may include finding a surgeon near you, or it might involve getting the money together for the operation. Either way, a good picture of you with implants may speed up the process, as you may work harder and save more money in order to afford it, or get started looking for a good doctor.

Of course, if you have already chosen your surgeon and saved up the cash, you can still use this type of site. In fact, if you are particularly happy with the photo, you can print it out and give it to your surgeon to let him or her know the size you want. This may make the process even simpler, although of course you will still need to discuss the pros and cons of the chosen size with your doctor to ensure it is right for you.

A site like this is typically free, and is meant mostly for fun. But clearly, you can get some use out of it, while you are seriously considering breastfeeding augmentation or just wishing that you could one day get it done. Consider making use of this tool before you make some of the most basic decisions about the surgery, although be sure not to take it more seriously than advice from your surgeon.

Bookcase Plans – How to Build a Bookcase With 3 Tools

Before committing myself to a set of bookcase plans, I first decided to shop around for a pre-fab bookshelf, both online and at a few discount furniture stores in town. My plan was to look at a wide range of styles and prices before deciding what to buy. It didn’t take me long to discover that I really had only two choices in the matter; buy somewhat expensive crappy particle board bookcases with fake wood laminate, or buy very expensive wood bookcases that will stay in my family for the next 100 years. The good stuff would be nice, but since I can’t afford to spend $800 at Ethan Allen right now, I’m really left with just one option: the somewhat expensive crappy bookcases. It’s disappointing to think this is my only choice.

So now I’m looking at some bookcase plans, which means I’d have to take on the job of building something from scratch. I’m starting to like the idea, though. First, it’s the only other option I can find to buying expensive crappy bookcases, and second, I like the idea of deciding for myself what level of quality (and expense) I want to put into the project. I don’t want a bookcase made from the cheapest materials around, but I don’t need the most expensive either. Building my own bookcase will let me create something between these two extremes.

I’ve done a fair amount of researching on the Web, and I’ve come up with some pretty simple guidelines for approaching this kind of wood project. Overall, the good news is that you don’t have to be a hard-core woodworker to pull this thing off. In fact, a bookcase is a perfect starter project for someone just getting into building stuff from wood. Maybe it’s a little more challenging than making a sawhorse (which is also a good plan to start with), but I think it’s important for beginners to make something they can be excited about when it’s all said and done. So let’s get started with some of the basics of building a bookcase.

Three Tools – I assume that most people attempting their first bookcase project will not have a complete set of woodworking power tools in their shop – things like a table saw, drill press, router table, planer, and all that. What I do think first-time builders might (and should) have is a circular saw, a router, and a power drill. It’s pretty amazing what you can build with just a few reasonably-priced tools.

#1 Circular Saw – A circular saw will cut just about anything you can throw at it, and with a few accessories, some fairly complicated joinery. Even if you decide later to upgrade to more expensive tools, your circular saw will always get used in the shop. For a simple bookcase, you’ll be using the circular saw to cut all the boards to length, and to help make the dado cuts that hold your bookcase shelves. You’ll also use the saw to cut down a 4×8 sheet of plywood for the bookcase back.

#2 Router – I’m sure there are plenty of wood projects being built without the help of a router, but my question is, why go to the trouble? Sometimes you can pick up a decent router for under $100, and considering the extra work you’ll save yourself in the long run, that’s a good investment. A router will make easy work of cutting the dadoes for your bookcase shelves, and with a few accessories, let you try out a whole load of professional-style woodworking techniques.

#3 Power Drill – Everybody has a power drill of some sort sitting around in the basement or garage. You already know how much use (and abuse) this tool gets for literally hundreds of jobs around the house. Although it’s possible to build a simple bookcase without ever picking up a power drill, the no-screws approach to building a bookcase requires that you own an insanely large number of clamps to hold everything together while the glue dries. Really, we’re talking about 20 clamps or more at about $20 each. Ouch. At a fraction of the cost, you can unleash the same clamping power on wood joints by using wood screws (or even nails) to hold pieces together while the glue sets up. Of course, you’ll have holes all over everywhere, but most people just fill them in with putty and they look fine.

Plywood vs Solid Wood Shelves – Choosing the right wood for a bookcase plan can be a big topic to get your arms around, especially if you start reading the zillions of articles online about wood species and wood grades, plywood construction, shelving span calculators, etc., etc. This is all good stuff, but for now, let me narrow down the choices for a first-time bookcase project.

Hold off on plywood shelves… this time around – Sure, plywood is nice for bookcase shelves because it doesn’t have the warping problems that plague solid wood. But plywood comes in 4×8 sheets, which means you’ll be doing a LOT of cutting to make all the pieces for a simple bookcase. For experienced woodworkers, this isn’t really a problem. They’ll first cut down the sheet into more manageable pieces (usually with a circular saw) and then head over to an $800 table saw to get things perfectly square and perfectly sized for the bookcase plan they’re following. Not that you can’t do all this with another tool (like a circular saw or jigsaw), but at some point it just becomes too much work to make a zillion cuts in plywood without the bigger, beefy tools.

Solid Pine Shelves – For first-time projects, I like to use off-the-shelf dimensional lumber from the big box stores like Home Depot. Pine is relatively cheap (compared to hardwood) and is precut to standard-size widths and lengths. That means a LOT less cutting for me to get the basic pieces of my bookcase ready for assembly. Woodworkers might point out that dimensional lumber is inconsistent in width and thickness, which makes less-than-perfect woodworking joints without first planning and/or squaring the boards on a table saw. They’re right. Dimensional lumber is not perfectly square and consistent from one board to the next. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a decent-looking bookcase otherwise. Sure, you might have some small gaps in the joinery, and maybe the case isn’t absolutely square and plumb. But more often than not, you’ll be the only one who knows any different. Save the more exacting work for nicer bookcase you’ll build next year.

Setting up to Cut Boards – It’s a little frightening to think about how precarious and unorganized a workspace can be when we start cutting boards. No one wants to spend time moving around tables, setting up sawhorses, adjusting work clamps… just to cut off the end of a board. Unfortunately, any less preparation than what I just mentioned will put you in a dangerous situation. Power tools can be evil… and I mean really evil. And it’s not about how much experience you have. Go online and search woodworking accidents. The most horrific stuff happens to people who have been building for 20-30 years without a scratch. Then out of nowhere things suddenly go wrong… boards go flying across the room, arms and fingers get cut, and worse.

Cutting Dadoes for Bookcase Shelves – By far the trickiest step in following bookcase plans is cutting the dadoes (that hold the book shelf ends). No need to be intimidated with this part of the project, though. If you’re really careful about setting up for the cut (that means using the right clamps and cutting guides for your router) this can be the most fun you’ll have with bookcase plans. I like to cut my dadoes assembly-line style. That is, I clamp down both sides of the bookcase side by side… so that each pass with my circular saw (and router) cuts both boards at the same time. This not only saves you tons of time and headache, it also makes sure that your shelves are perfectly aligned when you glue everything together.

Fueling Your Body For Peak Performance and Optimal Health

Peak physical performance is the goal of every athlete. Proper training is of vital importance to achieve this goal. But keep in mind that while exercise moves the body, food not only fuels the body but actually makes the body.

We’ve all heard the analogy about needing to eat good food for high-energy fuel just as our cars need good gasoline. But a living organism is quite different from a car. Our fuel literally makes and remakes our bodies as we grow, metabolize, tear down, and ultimately rebuild our bodies on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly cycle. After several year’s time, you will have replaced virtually every cell and other component that makes up your body! And what are those made up of? Everything you eat. So the adage is true: “You are what you eat!”

Nutritional Components of Peak Performance

Why is this significant? Because to achieve peak physical performance, you need “high-octane” fuel for peak energy and high-quality fuel for building and maintaining your physical “machine.”

“High-octane” refers to the amount of energy that can be derived from the food eaten. We know that carbohydrates are important in creating short-term energy or fuel, while fats create a more sustained long-term energy source. Proteins work more in the area of building and rebuilding. So how do we go about getting the highest quality carbohydrates, fats, and proteins available?

The Search for the Best Foods for the Human Body

Flashback: When I was growing up, my grandmother Louise was a “health nut.” She read Prevention magazine, talked about foods that were “poisons,” such as sugar, and touted “miracle foods,” such as brewer’s yeast and blackstrap molasses (which she added to her cereal every morning). Everyone in our family thought she was a fanatic–except me, because Grandma Louise was the most positive, energetic person I knew, and I wanted to be just like her! Grandma loved life so much that she wanted to live forever (or at least to be 100!).

So I would constantly ask Grandma about different foods and whether they were “good for you” or “bad for you.” She would then explain to me the virtues and pitfalls of all the foods I asked about. I was so relentless with my questions that one day, frustrated, she gave up and said, “Roy, if it’s food, it’s good–don’t worry about it, just eat it!”

As I grew up, my interest in health and nutrition grew and eventually became my profession. The questions I had asked my grandmother were now being asked of me by my patients and clients. Life had come around full circle, and I could see that it was my destiny to help people answer this question once and for all: “How do you figure out which foods are the best (and the worst) for peak performance and for preventing disease?”

Creating the System to Identify the Best Foods

What I came up with is a new twist on a concept called “nutrient density.” Nutrient density is the critical analysis that determines the quality of any food. How does it work? Well, nutrient density is the amount of nutrition per calorie. The more nutrition in the fewer calories, the better a food really is.

Here are some examples: Orange juice has a lot of vitamin C, as well as some vitamin A, folic acid, thiamin, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. It has only 80 calories per serving. A McDonald’s Big Mac has some B vitamins, vitamin A, and protein–and 700 calories. See the difference? It’s the ratio of calories to nutrients that’s particularly important. At the end of the day, you want to have packed as much nutrition into your calories as possible.

My twist is this: Not only does the Big Mac have less nutrition per calorie, it also has unhealthful things in it such as cholesterol, saturated fat, and total fat, which over time will have negative effects on the body. For that reason, the ideal system should measure how much “good” AND “bad” are in each food per calorie. Nutrient density measures only the good. Over a 10-year period of refinements and working with specialists, we created the best overall food-rating system.

The food analysis tracks 18 positive factors, or “essentials,” and eight negative factors, or “excessives,” in any given food to yield one number that tells you how good or bad that food is. The higher that number, the better the food. Eat at least 100 of these “nutritional points” from six food groups each day, and you will get all the nutrients you need while limiting the “negatives.”

Essentials

Protein

Calcium

Dietary fiber

Iron

Vitamin A

Vitamin C

Thiamine (B1)

Riboflavin (B2)

Pyridoxine (B6)

Niacin

Potassium

Magnesium

Phosphorus

Pantothenic acid

Zinc

Vitamin B12

Folic acid

Complex Carbohydrates

Excessives

Calories

Cholesterol

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Sodium

Sugar

Caffiene

Alcohol

When I applied the analysis to a host of foods, there were some big surprises. Would you have guessed that a quarter of a cantaloupe scores 29 points, while an apple gets only 4.5? The simple explanation is that an apple is not packed with high nutrition; it’s a good food, but the quarter of a cantaloupe has 50 times the vitamin A, 10 times the vitamin C, and more of virtually every other significant nutrient than the apple. Maybe the motto should be “a cantaloupe a day!”

Let’s look at some other comparisons. Two cups of spinach rate 75 points, but an equal amount of iceberg lettuce scores only 18! Two slices of whole-wheat bread outscore white bread by a 6 to 2.5 margin, and cooked broccoli chalks up 38.5 points compared to 8.5 in a baked potato.

Once you have been introduced to this concept, it becomes sort of a numbers game. The system even includes negative scores for those foods that contain more excessives than essentials–like that Big Mac, at -2.

Cellular Peak Performance

Why is my system’s twist on nutrient density so important? Because we will all eat a certain number of calories every day, and we need to pack in as much positive (the essentials) and the least negative (the excessives) per calorie as possible for optimal cell function.

Optimal function means peak performance. Peak performance of every cell means peak performance of your whole body. To operate at peak efficiency, your body needs the best nutrition at the cellular level. The best way to get this is through eating foods that are highly nutrient-dense and have a low density of harmful components.

Top-Rated Foods

Let’s look at some of the top-rated foods in a few of the major food groups, sports drinks, and snack bars:

High-Carb Fruits

1/4 Cantaloupe 34.0

1 Guava 29.0

1/2 Papaya 20.5

1 c Strawberries 19.0

1/2 Mango 17.5

High-Nutrient Vegetables

2 c Fresh Spinach 75.0

1 c Fresh Broccoli 53.5

2 c Romaine Lettuce 47.5

8 pc Fresh Asparagus 44.0

1 c Fresh Cauliflower 40.5

High-Carb Grains

1 c Whole Wheat Total(R) Cereal 64.5*

1 c Total(R) Corn Flakes 57.5*

1 c Product 19(R) Cereal 56.0*

2/3 c Just Right(R) Cereal 51.0*

1/2 c All-Bran(R) Extra Fiber Cereal 40.5*

* Fortified

High-Protein Foods

1 c Nonfat Yogurt 10.0

1 c Skim Milk 9.5

1/2 c Tuna 8.0

1 Vegetarian Burger 7.5

1/4 c Egg Whites 6.0

1/2 c Lowfat Cottage Cheese 4.5

Low-Fat Proteins

1 c Juice Plus+ Complete(R) Drink 31.0*

1 c MET-Rx(R) Total Nutrition Milk Drink 23.0*

1 c ZonePerfect(R) Shake Mix 22.5*

1 c Myoplex(R) Milk Drink 21.0*

2 c Fresh Bean Sprouts (mung) 18.0

1/2 c Egg Beaters(R) Egg Substitute 17.5*

* Fortified

Sports Drinks/Gels

Kul Fuel(R) 22.0*

Ultima Replenisher(R) 16.0*

AminoVital(R) Fast Charge Sports Powder 8.5*

GU(R) Energy Gel 5.5*

Accelerade(R) Sports Gel 4.5*

* Fortified

Snack/Energy Bars

DrSoy(R) Protein Bar 34.5*

Pounds Off(R) Bar 29.5*

Clif(R) Luna Bar 28.5*

Pure Protein(R) 25.5*

Tiger’s(R) Sports Bar 25.0*

* Fortified

The system is set up so the goal is to get at least 100 nutritional points per day from six food groups, which provides all the nutritional requirements of the American Dietetic Association, American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association simultaneously.

A study from the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, TX showed the following results of using this nutrient density-based system in a two-week total-wellness program:

Weight: 8 lbs. or 4% decrease

Cholesterol: 14% decrease

Chol/HDL Ratio: 16% decrease

Glucose: 10% decrease

Triglycerides: 40% decrease

Treadmill Time: 19% increase

Blood Pressure: 6% decrease

So you can see that the same diet that fuels the body for peak performance also helps the body function optimally for disease prevention. The study participants’ fitness levels increased, and their risk factors for chronic diseases decreased significantly.

Nutrient-density is critical to the body’s optimal performance and function, and it should be measured in the diet of anyone seeking a competitive advantage and increased health and longevity. Tracking nutrient density is a scientific way to monitor progress, and provide motivation for improvement.

LED Architectural Lighting Can Accent Your Best Design Elements

A big part of any major architectural project is drawing the eye both to and away from certain design elements. For example, if you have implemented remarkable wall designs, you may want to draw the eye away from the usual focal point, which is the door, and towards your ornate wall design or other adornments. While some design elements naturally draw the eye, you will find that LED architectural lighting can be a great way to ensure that your focal point receives the emphasis that you desire.

Turning the interior of any structure into an architectural masterpiece can take a lot of work, but lighting can prove to be a solid enhancement. In fact, many design features are implemented to make the most of light fixtures, utilizing them to create shadows or to give the feature an even more distinct look. The interior of any home will determine the comfort level of the people living and visiting it, and ensuring that you have the perfect aesthetic can turn any house into a home. Par lamps are a fantastic form of LED architectural lighting that can provide the illumination and accent that you are looking for.

One benefit to using Par lamps as part of your LED architectural lighting is that they can easily be retrofitted into existing light sockets. This is certainly welcome news for people who are remodeling an existing home or business, and it can be a great way to make use of traditional light fixtures and sockets. LED Par lights are fantastic energy savers, and like all LED bulbs, offer a significantly greater lifespan than traditional lights and bulbs.

While Par lights are the most common form of architectural lighting due to the fact that they act as the best spotlights, you will find that there are many other LED options available to you as well. Cove lights are a fantastic way to highlight a beautiful ceiling, while under cabinet and low profile lights can bring out the smaller details in a wall or backsplash. Under shelf lighting can also highlight unique shelf designs or even bring out the best in antiques and other décor that help give the room its unique aesthetic. Taking the time to look at all of your options in terms of LED architectural lighting can go a long way towards helping to inspire the perfect design for your space.

The bottom line is that LED architectural lighting is a great way to showcase the very best design elements in any space. LED lighting also offers the added benefit of being environmentally friendly, helping you to reduce not only your utility expenses, but your carbon footprint. Modern design takes great care to employ the highest lighting quality and to maintain a high level of energy efficiency, and you will discover that there is no option available on the market today that can accomplish this more effectively than top quality LED par and strip lighting.

What Equipment Do I Need To Open A Salon Or Barber Shop?

Opening a barbershop or even a salon can be a challenging job. There are many rules and regulations governing the industry usually set by the state boards and by the city codes and ordinances. Many cities have barbering educators who are licensed to teach in their shop or school and who have a wealth of knowledge of what’s required in your city to be able to run a violation free shop. They typically love the business and love talking about it. If you can seek out their support you will have an advantage in getting started.

Now lets talk about learning the old fashion way and researching it yourself by reading the rules and regulations. The best sources for finding information regarding specific requirements is from your State Boards or Regulatory Commission. But you still have to deal with your city or town building and occupancy codes to get a “C of O” approval (Certificate of Occupancy). We have compiled an alphabetical list by States and their web addresses related to the regulation of barbering and cosmetology. Remember each state requires different things but some important safety items have been a Sharps Container (used razor blade disposal), certificates / licenses displayed and have on file a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for every chemical you use.

Lets start with the Basics or MUST have items:

· A shampoo sink / chair combo with hot and cold running water

· A styling chair, all purpose chair or barber chair, one per person

· One hand held or hood dryer with or without the chair

· One work station (wall mount, stationary), per person

· A disinfectant container with disinfectant or sterilizing solution

· Seating accommodations in reception area

· Cabinet for clean towels and supplies

· A receptacle for used towels

· Reception Desk

· Floor Mats

· Child Booster Seat

The best places to get the information you need on the equipment requirements for a Salon or Barbershop is your local Chamber of Commerce and your state board.

The following links are to all of the State Boards:

May I Or Can I Send You an Email?

There is a real difference between “May I send you an email?” and “Can I send you an email.” And I’m not just talking about which question to ask your prospective subscriber.

In case you’re wondering now that I’ve mentioned it, WordTask defines “may” as expressing permission or possibility, while “can” expresses ability.

In email marketing, the first question…”May I send you an email?” is the essential question you’re asking your prospective subscriber when getting permission to send her an email. This is where you need to be really clear about what you’re asking permission to send, and she needs to be really clear about what she’s giving you permission to send.

The “Can I send you an email” is an entirely different story. Your ability to actually deliver the email is, however, is still a bit of permission. Not so much the asking permission…the “May I?” because there’s really no one to ask permission of…but the finding out through testing whether you can actually get the email to move all the way from your “out basket” to your intended recipient’s “in basket.”

This is the more technical side of email marketing, and it can be much trickier.

The “can” for email marketing consists of whether your prospective subscriber has the right kind of software to receive your email in the format you’ve designed it…and…(the part about finding out if you got permission without saying “Mother may I?”) is whether you can (have the ability to) get your content and layout to pass through the permission police of the numerous spam filters currently used by Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) as well as any additional filters added by your prospective subscriber.

The first part of the “Can…” in terms of whether your subscriber can actually read what you send is getting somewhat easier, as computer operating systems and software upgrades now permit most email users to read HTML, PDF and text. However, it’s certainly not 100%, so part of your “May I send you emails?” questionnaire is “In what format would you like to receive your emails?” so you will know what she can read on her computer, as well as what she may prefer.

The second part of “Can I” (your ability to physically get the email delivered) also involves an action on her part and that is…she must “whitelist” you…or add you to her acceptable contacts list, as well as confirm the opt-in, so that your emails won’t automatically be sent to her “junk mail. “

Now that you’ve gotten that far, the last barrier on the “Can you get the email through” is the most difficult…and quite frankly, may best be left to the experts. Especially if you’re quickly developing a large email list. The experts at getting past the spam filters are email marketing services, who act as your agent, have developed a “relationship” with the ISP’s. They know and understand what words, phrases, graphics, and other testing criteria may cause your messages to be considered “spam, ” and cause them to be blocked before they can be received.

At Toptenreviews.com, you can see that the three highest ranked email marketing services are Icontact, Benchmark, and ConstantContact. They are not the only email marketing companies that you might consider, but using someone in this field can make a significant difference in whether your email message can get through to the intended recipient’s inbox.

There you have it. Once you have permission, you may send the email. And, once you understand the formats and filters, (and probably obtained a little professional assistance) you can get your emails into the proper inbox.

Getting Ready For Baby – A Newborn Checklist

Having everything you need for baby ready to go before you bring your newborn home is a wise thing for a new parent to do. But what to get for a newborn baby?

Keep in mind that you never really need as much as you think you will. Be realistic. Do you really need a bottle warmer? If you’re a parent who can afford it and you want it even if you don’t need it, then go for it. Just know that in a few months you’re probably going to be reselling it because you’ve realized that some things are more trouble than they’re worth.

I advise having the nursery set up, with supplies in place, clothes washed and ready to go, three to four weeks before your due date. That way, even if your baby comes early, you’ll be prepared. It’s so much easier to come home from the hospital when you know you’ve got everything you need on hand.

Below is a list of the essential must haves for your baby’s comfort and safety.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

• Bassinet, Co-Sleeper/Crib or a Pack and Play for your bedroom.

For the first 12 weeks, you’ll be feeding your baby every 2 to 4 hours so having him in your room will help keep you from having to shuffle back and forth to the nursery. It ‘s also nice for keeping your baby cuddled up and close by. Your newborn has just come from a compact space, so they like to feel snug. I recommend using the bassinet instead of the crib until your baby can turn over or there is no longer room for him to stretch. You’ll only need it in the early months, but you’ll be really happy to have it!

• Crib and Mattress

When your baby outgrows the bassinet it’s time for a crib. Be sure to buy one that meets current safety standards and make sure that the mattress fits snugly against the sides so that baby can’t wiggle or get wedged under.

• Baby sling

Every mom I know SWEARS by a sling or some type of carrier. It allows you to be mobile and still keep your baby physically connected to you. Be sure it provides proper neck and head support, and is made of a washable fabric. It should feel comfortable on you and permit you to carry your baby facing in or out. In the beginning, you’ll want to have her facing in. As she gets older, she’ll want to face out so she can see the world.

• Changing mat

This is a plastic pad that you put down in order to change your baby. You can put a towel on top or use a cover so your baby won’t feel the cold plastic. If you have the budget, you an also purchase a changing table, although it’s really not a necessity. The amount of time you will use it is very short.

• Infant Carrier/Car Seat/Stroller

I’m a big fan of the ‘system’. It’s a carrier that connects to the car and stroller attachments. They make it so much easier for you and the baby to go from home to car and to stroller. Be sure to get your car seat inspected or installed at the hospital where you will be delivering. You will not be able to leave the hospital with your newborn without a proper car seat so have this installed 1-week before your due date if you can.

• High Chair

You won’t need a high chair until your baby is at least 5-6 months old so you might want to hold off on this purchase for awhile.

• Baby Bumbo Sitter

Once your baby is about 3 months old and has some neck control, this is great! They can sit it in it for everything.

• Baby Bath Tub

It’s important to start off with a small bath tub because in a small space with just a little bit of water, you gain confidence in how to hold and handle your baby. I love those that have the sling because until about 3 or 4 months old they don’t have any neck control. The sling helps you keep them in place.

• Bouncy/vibrating seat and/or swing

Having somewhere safe to put your infant while you cook or get dressed is vital and babies love the motion they provide.

OTHER EQUIPMENT TO CONSIDER

• Large comfortable rocking chair

• Sound Machine – These are great for helping to soothe your baby. They play sounds from the mothers womb, water sounds, sounds from nature etc. They even come inside of soft stuffed animals.

• Baby Monitoring System – There are many options out there now including video monitoring systems so you can see the baby in his or her crib. Dual monitors or multiple monitors are a must if you have multiple levels in your home or your master bedroom is on a different level altogether. There are also remote pager systems so you can clip it on and listen as you go room to room.

• Breast Pump & Accessories

• Nursing Pillows – I like the Boppy. It can be used by the baby too, so it serves multiple purposes. The Brest Friend, however provides good support and leverage and has a strap you can tie around you if you need to be mobile. It also has a pouch that zips to put things in.

• CD Player with Head Phones and Audio Books – For you when you’re up in the night with the baby

• Baby Car Mirror – Since kids are rear-facing until they are about a year old and/or 20+ lbs., I love this. It allows you to see your baby through your rearview mirror. Some of them will even entertain your baby with lights and songs.

• Activity Mat or Baby Gym/ crib mobile – If you get a mobile for the crib or pack n play, make sure it’s colorful and musical. The same goes for activity mats. Be sure the toys include mirrors and sounds.

ESSENTIAL LINENS

I highly recommend all cotton. It’s soft and can be washed in hot water to sterilize. Everything should be washed with a mild detergent, like Dreft, before coming in contact with your baby. During the first six months, wash babies clothes separately from the other laundry. The baby’s bedding should keep your newborn comfortable and safe. Use only quality, breathable materials and avoid fluffy things until your baby is able to move items like blankets from his/her face.

• 3 stretch cotton-fitted sheets for the bassinet, and later for the crib

• 4 cotton blankets that can be used for swaddling

• 3 warmer blankets

• 2 mattress pads

• Lots of burp cloths (cloth diapers) that can be used for wiping up spit up and all kinds of messes

• 2 Hooded towels and washcloths

ESSENTIAL CLOTHING

When it comes to babies clothing, it’s all about layers. One key thing to know is that babies can’t regulate their temperature very well until they’re about six moths old. It’s very easy for them to get overheated or too cold. It’s up to you to keep the temperature right through layering of clothes and the use of blankets.

Think about the practicality and ease of dressing. Make sure the crotch opens easily for diaper changing. Soft and easy to change outfits are recommended since you will probably be changing your baby several times a day.

• 4-6 sleepers

• 5-7 one piece garments

• 3-4 gowns/kimonos

• 5-7 comfortable day outfits

• 8-10 undershirts

• 3-4 bibs

• 4-5 pairs of socks or booties

• 3 cotton caps/hats

• 2 sweaters if it’s winter

• 1 snowsuit or fleece if it’s winter

Optional – A sleep sack. These are making their way over from Europe — they’re a brilliant way to keep baby warm at night without blankets, which baby can kick off. It’s like a sleeping bag, but it has open arms for ventilation and a zippered bottom so diaper changes are still easy.

ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES

• Diapers – Your baby will go through roughly five thousand diapers before he’s potty trained! And in the early days you may be changing your baby up to 12 times a day. Whether you plan to use disposables, recycled, cloth or a diaper service, be sure to have plenty on hand.

• Diaper wipes – I like the unscented ones for the first several months

• Diaper Bag – Get a nice durable bag with large pockets and make sure that it always has:

• 4-5 Diapers

• Diaper wipes

• Cloth diaper/ burp cloths for cleaning up spit up and spills

• Diaper sacks for dirty diapers

• Diaper rash cream

• Antibacterial gel to clean your hands

• Changing pad

• One change of clothing from head to toe

• Spare pacifier

• 1 Bib

• A couple of soft toys and rattles

• 1 bottle of water that can be used for making a bottle

• 1 -2 bottles

• Formula

ESSENTIALS FOR BREAST FEEDING

• 2-4 nursing bras

• One box of disposable breast pads

• Nipple cream

• Either an electric breast pump or a hand pump

• Breast milk storage containers

• A kit or bag to put your milk bottles in and ice packs

• At least 2 bottles

• A Good Support Book – I like ‘The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding’ by The La Leche League

ESSENTIALS FOR BOTTLE FEEDING AND PUMPING

• 6-8 slow flow or bent-neck bottles with soft nipples

• Bottle Brush & Optional Sanitizing System- It’s important to thoroughly wash bottles after every use and then sanitize bottles at least every 2-3 months. You’ll also want to sterilize your breast pump parts if you are pumping.

OTHER ESSENTIALS

• Baby thermometer

• Baby soaps and lotions

• Tearless shampoo

• Bath toys

• Baby oil

• Diaper rash Ointment

• Vaseline

• Sterile cotton balls

• Baby nail scissors/clippers

• Baby brush/comb

• Rubbing alcohol

• Q-tips

• 3-4 pacifiers

• Nose Suction Bulb syringe – usually supplied by the hospital so be sure to take it

• Hypoallergenic (dye-free) laundry detergent which is mild.

• Night lite

• Several Good Parenting Books – I like ‘Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer’ By Tami Hoag and ‘The Happiest Baby On The Block’ by Harvey Karp

Being prepared for your newborn will help eliminate as much as possible those worries you may have about being a parent so you can enjoy the process. It’s so much easier to feel confident about coming home from the hospital when you know you’ve got everything you need on hand. Enjoy your new little baby!

Personal Magnetism The Art Of Attractive Presence

Have you ever noticed how some individuals seem to have an invisible aura that surrounds them and makes them irresistible? People want to be around them, do business with them, and even start romantic relationships with them. Invisible magnetic forces seem to give these certain individuals advantages in life. When this power has been developed properly the very presence of these magnetic people can have a calming and relaxing effect on others. There is no condemning the fact that personal magnetism exists, but how does one improve their magnetic qualities? The following is a list of what creates this personal magnetism, and how you can improve yours.

Physical Magnetism

Being Tall Helps: Even large statues with great height seem to have some kind of magnetic presence. Tall people seem to create this magnetic field because of sheer genetic characteristics.

Improve your Body: One of the most powerful and direct ways of generating irresistible personal magnetism is to get in shape. When both the male and female body types build lean muscle and shed fat, they take on their distinctive shapes creating a powerful attraction. Furthermore, being in great shape has been known to help self-confidence and create a powerful magnetic field.

Wardrobe Check: A person displays an image they want to portray to the world everyday when they choose what clothes to wear. Stylish clothes, jewelry, and other physical adornments can have a small effect on the overall magnetic field created by the individual.

Inner Magnetism

Send Out Positive Vibes: This is one of the most powerful tools in creating personal magnetism. Studies have shown that positive people live longer, healthier, and happier lives. When you walk in a room, or walk past another person, smile. Sending out positive vibes to others will project confidence and strength.

Find the Inner Game: Our true selves exist on a defect level then simply our personality, attributes, and habits. Truly understanding the full potential of our mind and soul is a journey that we must take through our life times. Understanding the cause of our magnetism can help us understand our full potential and essentially let that light shine for others to see.

It all Comes Down to Confidence: You may read things about eating certain kinds of fish oils will make you a more magnetic person (and it may). However, the over arcing principle behind all the steps in helping you create personal magnetism is increasing your confidence. Follow each aspect carefully, and think of ways to incorporate them into your life bringing you confidence as you improve on each one. Confidence is a fickle friend. Sometimes doing one small thing, such as wearing an outfit you really think looks good can sky rocket our confidence through the roof. Additionally, confidence compounds itself like interest in the bank. The more confidence you have, the easier it is to build.