Entrepreneurship and Project Management – The Missing Link

There has been a great deal of emphasis on entrepreneurship and the need for more and more entrepreneurs in the region to help create jobs for the future of the region. There is also a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement for new entrepreneurs – but are we forgetting something? It is great to have the “spirit” but is spirit enough? Do our prospective entrepreneurs know how to take their dreams from the idea into effective operation? Is business planning over emphasized or is it enough? This article will offer an opinion and try to answer these questions and offer a suggestion on what is missing. It is the author’s opinion that Project Management is the missing link that could make the crucial difference between success, challenge, and even failure.

The Need for Entrepreneurs

Various sources and global studies show that small & medium organizations/enterprises (SMO/SME) have huge contributions to economies around the world in term of gross national product and employment. Studies in the Middle East show that SME contributions in our region are lower than developed countries. However, many in government and private sector leadership recognize the need to change this in order to deal with the tremendous challenge of the needs for job creation across the Arab World.

All of private or government initiatives share in playing a role to promote the “spirit of entrepreneurship,” but is spirit the only thing that we need? What is missing? Let us say someone quit his/her job to become an entrepreneur, then what?

There are too many challenges facing an entrepreneur today – some of it is legal structure and regulations. Other challenges are related to the fear of failure and the stigma associated with that. Even if we overcome the fear of failure we will encounter the challenge of availability of capital. With capital resolved or at least somewhat resolved, do we have the right infrastructure to help the entrepreneur launch the business? Do we have the necessary support? How about beyond the launch? The support that is available (business / cash / logistics / management / etc.) is available for someone following a dream, but only to realize that realizing the dream is much more challenging than expected. How do we help the entrepreneur or the small business owner sustain and grow?

Business Planning

Most, if not all, venture capital, foundation, and other sources for funds — in addition to business schools and MBA programs focus on a business plan as an essential deliverable / requirement to seek funds or start a business. Here we ask once again: Is the business plan enough? It is our view that a ‘traditional’ business plan is not enough. Quite a few business plans, that we call ‘traditional’, focus on the business aspects with a heavier focus on operation of the business. The question is: Do these traditional business plans provide a proper focus on the venture (most call a “project”) from idea to launch of the business?

The Missing Link

It is interesting to point out that many call a new venture a “project”, as we mentioned in the earlier section. We like the word “project,” but most definitions of the word “project” mean something that is temporary. So is the venture temporary? We hope not! So is the word ‘project’ the wrong one to use? Yes and No. The business is not a project; it is a business, a venture. So to be academic, the word “project” is not the proper one to use for the new business. Let us call it venture or business. Yet to launch the business is exactly what we call a project – the launch project is to take the venture from the idea to operations. Our objective here is not to get into an English lesson; rather we aim to define the proper use of words in order to have the proper context and fully understand the missing link. So what is this missing link? Well if launching the business is a project, then how do we manage it? Where is Project Management in managing the launch? The next section will provide a methodology to follow in launching the business.

A Proposed Sequence

Our proposed model will focus on the venture launch from idea to initial operation, using the missing link – Project Management. Future articles could focus on the use of Organizational Project Management to help build and sustain a small business and grow it.

The proposed model, which is derived from Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects™ it isa project life span model that divides the project life span into three distinct phases; which we explain here.

Business Concept

The business concept is a crucial phase of the project that spans a period from the idea for the venture until an initial decision to go ahead and encompass a feasibility study. The idea owner is likely to be the entrepreneur who has an idea for a business that could be a passion, an income opportunity, filling a need, fixing a problem, among other drivers for the business.

This is the time for dreaming, but one has to be careful that the dream is realistic and it is possible to achieve. It is highly risky for someone to launch a new venture without proper understanding of the challenges and opportunities, although one could argue in rare cases that spontaneous action could also result in good profit.

Therefore, the entrepreneur (small business owner to be) has to study the feasibility of his idea, and for this we think that existing business planning techniques are very important to use at this stage. However, in addition to the focus on the financials, competition, market demand, operation and other factors, the entrepreneur needs to also think about Project Management including proper Project Management planning. Proper Project

Management planning includes understanding of the stakeholders and their expectations and requirements, setting realistic time and cost targets, have a fair understanding of the project and venture risks (threats and opportunities), in addition to other factors.

Development of the Business Concept

The earlier phase emphasizes the feasibility study and the requirement for business planning. With the business basics in place, Project Management will become more important and the entrepreneur becomes a project manager.

So what do we do now? The project manager/entrepreneur needs to think and act per two aspects, two sides of the same coin. On one side he needs to think about the project from idea to initial operations, but he cannot ignore post project completion, which would be leading and sustaining the business (operations).

For the project aspect, the project manager needs to put in place all of the requirements in details for launching the business, including defining the success factors, time line, required resources, licensing, legal, financial/funding requirements and alternatives, regulations, budget for the launch, time line, communication with stakeholders, procurement strategy, in addition to risks identification, assessment, and management. All of these activities focus on planning to taking us from the idea through project completion but primarily to produce a detailed plan that would give us the necessary information to make the final decision on whether we should continue with the venture or not. This detailed plan is used extensively in the next phase.

For the business aspects, the project manager needs to start planning for operation readiness; which means identifying all of the things needed once the business is operating; such as financial control, human resources, policies, operational processes, in addition to marketing and business development. If the venture is not for profit, it would still require most of these activities but may be with the addition of the needs for volunteers and volunteer management or the need for sponsors.

Project Delivery (Launching the Business)

With a plan for the project and a plan for operation readiness, it is time to start implementing the project leading to initial operations. In this phase we implement the activities that we identified in the detailed plan. For example, in the plan we specified we need a permit, then it is time to do the activities necessary to obtain the permit. In the plan we defined the need for a marketing plan, it is time to define the marketing plan and develop the necessary collateral, whether print or online.

Therefore, the primary purpose of Project Delivery is to perform all of the activities necessary to produce the required deliverables that would be critical for the successful launch of the new business and start initial operations.

Throughout this document we discussed “initial operations” and “operations” as two independent terms and this is intentional. We use initial operations to define the period of time that starts with opening our doors as a business or a not for profit organization. We call it initial operations because as we start to offer services we might recognize that forms need to be adjusted, some documents might be missing something, among other things that might not go as well as we planned.

Therefore, initial operations will allow us to make the necessary refinements before we go into steady and normal operations. In some situations, we might eliminate initial operations and go straight into normal operations. In other scenarios we might have a “soft start” as an initial operations period, which we might call also as a pilot period / trial period. Which approach to take, it all depends on the nature of the business and if it allows a trial period / initial operations or not.

How To Get Protein From Plants

If you’re like most people, you may think that the best place to get protein is in meat and other animal products. That’s the question every vegetarian/vegan gets… “but where do you get your protein?” It’s certain that many people may not know of non-meat protein options, so I’m here to share some alternative options.

Plant-based protein is just that – protein found in plant-based foods. So, where does this protein come from? What foods contain it?

Here are a few plant-based foods that are excellent protein sources:

Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons, and this comes with plenty of healthy fat to help the protein absorb. Hemp seeds also contain more fiber than their hulled version called hemp hearts. You can add hemp seeds to your smoothies, use it on top of a salad or oatmeal, add it to any dessert or you can even use it to make hemp seed milk.

Lentils. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein, which can already be enough for an entire meal! You can eat lentils on its own, you can add it to salads, you can even turn it into vegetarian or vegan burgers.

Quinoa. Per cup quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, which makes it perfect to add to your meals. Use it as a substitute for rice, add into your salads, or make a vegetable quinoa bowl with scrambled egg for breakfast. Quinoa has a slight nutty taste but be sure to rinse it before cooking to remove the saponins that make it taste bitter. It is also very versatile so you can find a place to pop it into nearly any meal.

Nuts. Some of my favorites are walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews. One fourth of a cup already contains about 8 grams of protein. They’re also rich in minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. You can eat a handful as a snack or incorporate them into all sorts of dishes. Be sure to watch your portion sizes though as a small handful of nuts can add up those calories very quickly.

It’s important to note that if you’ve switch to a vegan diet (no animal products at all) that you combine various sources of protein throughout the day. This will ensure you get all of the important and essential amino acids for optimal health.

Whether you eat meat or not, adding these plant-based protein sources into your meals is something you can do easily. Try experimenting with a few different options to boost your protein intake.

What on Earth Was Wrong With Retro Game Makers "Flying Edge"? Quite a Lot As It Turns Out

Something troubles me, and it's been troubling me since the early nineties. I sometimes wake in the middle of the night, skin cold and damp, screaming. Badly colored, badly animated sprites, collision detection non existent, arrrggggggh! I compose myself and reach for the paracetamol. Surely it was all a dream?

NO! Flying Edge really did happen!

The Mega Drive and Master System were both supported at their fullest from around 1991 to 1994 – since why later MD games are so rare (except Ballz, please, please go away …). The list of third party contributors to both consoles is lengthy and many still exist today, albeit in a different form (Domark are now Eidos for example). One that you think would not exist is Flying Edge. Even in my late Primary School / early High School years I knew that if I saw that logo it meant trouble.

It actually did not start off too badly. The first FE (as I'm going to refer to them from now on as) game was Arch Rivals, which at the time seemed a stupid idea, a 2 v 2 basketball game where you could only play as one of the "characters" . Although it does not play great, the reduced number of sprites on the screen and slightly violent dynamics made it a reliably fluent and pleasant experience compared to the dross Basketball games about at the time. It also laid the foundations for something truly special, which you've probably already guessed.

So, FE were on the cusp of being pioneers … not quite. The games that came after readings reads like a who's who complete and utter tosh. If you ever have the opportunity to play George Foreman's KO Boxing on the MS run, run as fast as you can. It looks like someone screw up over it and is actually less fun than staring at one of Mr Foreman's grills. It's rushed, plain and simple. This theme continues with Smash TV. Smash TV was an immensely popular arcade machine which main draw was the two-joystick system where you could shoot in an opposite direction to which you were running. The SNES version works pretty well (the 4-button acting as the second joystick) but the graphics and collision detection are horrendous, on both 16-bit and 8-bit versions. Do not get me started on the sound and control systems on the Sega versions, we'll be here all day … The laughable Crash Dummies, RoboCop 3 and Double Dragon 3 are just a few more games that no respectable developer would ever Be associated with.

FE were just another bad developer with no one else to blame but themselves. Wrong! Now here's the twist in the story, FE were actually a subsidiary of Acclaim. Apologies to those who already know this, but I bloody did not! There is a clue in the aforementioned SNES version of Smash TV, Acclaim are there quite proudly in the opening sequence but they left FE to the Mega Drive version … How can a company responsible for making gems such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam ( See what I did there) have any part of Flying Edge? I just simply had to find out.

Acclaim itself had been established since 1987 with much of its focus on games based on licenses it acquires from comics (Spider-Man games aplenty), TV / Sports (WWF) and movies (Alien 3). It also forged a strong "partnership" with Nintendo durable titles such as Rambo on the NES being pretty poor, Star Voyager on the other hand was considered revolutionary. You will never see Flying Edge on any Nintendo game (if you do, it's dodgy, throw it out) as they were created specifically to "produce" Sega games. Apologies for the many speech marks already used in this article.

Information on the contractual wrangle between Nintendo, Acclaim and Sega is so sparse I'm left clutching at straws as to how Nintendo persuaded them to do this. In fact, the only conclusion I can come to is that Acclaim was happy for FE to be the suspicious lamb in order to reserve their relationship with Nintendo. This appears logical given Nintendo's dominance in the home entertainment sector and the gradual decline of arcades. Looking at FE's back catalog it's easy to assume that the developers / programmers in this division were not very good in comparison to Acclaim's. The reality is that for every Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam there were several stinkers. Forget what you know about Acclaim, the reality of it is that they really were not that good, period. If it was not for Midway, Mortal Kombat would not have experienced. Acclaim's back catalog around the same time reads: Double Dragon 2; Krusty's Fun House; NFL Quarterback Club; The Addams Family etc etc … It is not good!

Flying Edge was dissolved in 1994, which clearly must have provided Acclaim with a get out clause for all those bad titles. What did they back it up with? Again, mainly hit and miss. The Turok titles proved popular on later consoles and some of the Spider-Man games were good. They were also Virtua Tennis 2 which is still a joy. However, rubbish … sticks. The poor licensed games continued – Batman Forever, Paris-Dakar, Gladiator, Fantastic Four. Acclaim were made bankrupt and defunct as of September 2004, ten years after the demise of Flying Edge.

There is a reason that the big guns (Sega, Nintendo) and some of the smaller guns (Domark as Eidos) still exist. Evolution. Acclaim, in amidst all glory, never deviated from their primary aims – buy licenses, tack on games around them, seek the assistance of other willing developers.

Acclaim (or the name) was purchased by Acclaim Games who were one of a few companies in the early 2000s who focused on online gaming. Sadly, their games were unpopular and they were previously bought and dissected by Playdom games in 2010. The Acclaim name now only appears in the footnotes under "What Could Have Been".

Employee Ownership: The Solution to the Productivity Gap in Business?

With income inequality at record high levels, employee ownership is a potential solution to spreading wealth more broadly. However, despite strong growth in employee owned businesses, it is still a rare way to operate.

There are various reasons. Contrary to what some might expect, greed is a very minor one. For the most part it is ignorance of the benefits that employee ownership can offer to founders, employees, the community and the economy as a whole.

Employee owned businesses tend to have shown stronger growth, higher valuations and are more resilient in difficult economic conditions. From a founder or owner’s perspective, it can be a route to exit the business. However, it can also be a way to stay in the business, create more wealth for themselves and share the wealth created by the business more widely with those people who help create it. It comes down to that age-old question in business: “would you prefer to earn £100 from your own work or £1 each from the work of 100 people?”

Another barrier to becoming employee owned is the investment to get the ball rolling. If the employees can’t afford to buy the shares directly (or the aim is to put the shares in trust), then finance may be required. The options are limited. Few investment funds specialise in employee ownership because their aim is generally to get the highest return possible, whereas an employee buyout is looking for the fairest return possible for all.

Businesses and Governments worldwide are struggling with how to reverse the decline in productivity in this country. Results from employee owned companies suggests they strongly outperform their non-employee owned counterparts. However, employee ownership is not a panacea. It will not turn around the fortunes of a business if it is done for the wrong reasons (tax benefits, for example) or in a business with the wrong culture.

Similarly, giving employees shares without helping them to understand how they can increase the value of those shares and benefit from it, will not result in increased engagement and productivity. The attitude of ownership comes when they are committed to the goals of the organisation, know how they can affect them and know how they will benefit as a result.

Positive cultural engagement, ongoing financial education and an annual planning cycle that widely involves employees are cornerstone leadership initiatives required to support the company of owners.

In the right culture and with the right support to develop the company of owners, employee owned companies thrive, increasing wealth throughout the company, their community and the country as a whole.

Cash For Clunkers Pros and Cons

I’ve done some research across the Internet and gathered a list of Pros and Cons regarding the “Cash For Clunkers” program. I made a list for the individual who’s considering buying a car through the program, and also a list for the “Collective Soul”, for us to consider the overall impact in the universe, as described in this article.

So far the Pros and Cons add up to this: Individual: 4-Pro, 6-Con. Collective Soul: 6-Pro, 12-Con.

INDIVIDUAL:

Pros

1. $4,500 + other incentives you may be able to save a lot of money on a new car purchase, if you push for more incentives besides just the $4,500.

2. Less Gas. You could save a lot of money at the pump.

3. Cut down on repair costs.

4. Environment – your driving will cause less pollution.

Cons

1. Insurance – it usually costs more to insure a new car.

2. New Debt – it is wise to go into more debt in your financial situation?

3. Wasted parts – your old car will be destroyed. It’s questionable whether or not some of the parts will be recycled.

4. Value added to your old clunker. The used car market may heat up due to decreased supply. It’s possible that your used car may be worth more than the voucher after the trickle-down of this Cash for Clunkers program.

5. More gas. You might be inclined to drive more knowing that your car gets better gas mileage.

6. Comfort Zone. You KNOW your old car. And you know what repairs you’ve done to it and what’s likely to go wrong.

FOR THE COLLECTIVE SOUL:

Pros

1. Increases sales at auto dealers.

2. Surge in new-car sales to consumers who would not otherwise purchase at this time. For the upper and middle income people with good enough credit to get a car loan, gives them a down payment.

3. Old vehicles are typically less fuel-efficient than their modern counterparts, so removing them from the road and replacing them with newer cars would likely decrease individual owners’ and the nation’s consumption of oil.

4. Old vehicles typically do not run as clean as new vehicles, so removing and replacing them on our roads would likely decrease vehicle exhaust emissions, lessening the impact on the environment.

5. Old vehicles were not held to the same crash and safety standards as new cars are held to and tend to be less safe in an accident. Replacing them with newer vehicles could lead to fewer injuries and fatalities in automobile accidents.

6. Automakers are struggling right now, especially domestic automakers. Providing a financial incentive to buy new cars would likely lead to increased car sales, which would generate revenue for the automakers and help them weather the economic downturn, while stimulating the economy at the same time.

Cons

1. Artificial, unsustainable boom in auto sales.

2. Crushing those older running autos makes those parts and vehicles harder to get, and consequently more expensive.

3. Many companies build parts and upgrades for older vehicles. A reduced supply of older vehicles would adversely affect their sales.

4. The automotive restoration and customization industry relies on old cars as the basis of their products. A reduced supply of older vehicles would adversely affect their sales.

5. For lower income people, makes it harder to find and maintain an older vehicle.

6. Convincing low income people, those who drive “clunkers”, to go out and finance a new car when we are still in the midst of the consequences of easy credit in the housing market.

7. Drop in vehicle donations to charities. Some charities that rely on vehicle donations for funding say they’re receiving fewer cars and trucks, because donors change their minds and decide to trade the vehicles in on the Cash for Clunkers program.

8. Some older vehicles actually get better gas mileage than some newer ones. Replacing them would then negate any benefit to the environment or the U.S.’ oil consumption problem.

9. Encouraging consumers to scrap working vehicles could shorten the lives of cars and encourage the production of new cars, which would have a larger adverse affect on the environment that keeping the older car.

10. This proposal would not necessarily benefit the automakers that are in the worst financial shape, as there is no guarantee that consumers would use their incentive to purchase a vehicle from one of those manufacturers and not another company.

11. The program is not restricted to AMERICANS, and not restricted to AMERICAN made vehicles, but it is coming from AMERICAN taxpayer money.

12. It is costing more than $4,500 per trade-in. It is costing approximately $6,000 per vehicle, when factoring in the cost of the extra government staffing, office space rent, equipment, employees, web development, printing of forms, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_Allowance_Rebate_System

Caring For a Pregnant Akita

Caring for an Akita bitch during pregnancy is basically commonsense. She should be watched carefully and made as comfortable and happy as possible. You should ensure that she has a dry bed, ample clean drinking water and regular feeds of good quality. For the first five weeks she will probably behave quite normally. She may have her “off” days. She may be extra hungry. She may display a slight change in temperament and be more careful how she carries herself, but so long as she is obviously healthy and happy, that is all that matters.

As soon as you suspect that she is pregnant, it is a good idea to contact your vet so he can enter the date of the expected birth in his diary and monitor the bitch’s progress. Akitas do not carry much water with their puppies, nevertheless a considerable amount of weight will have to be carried as the weeks progress. It is generally not advisable to give lots of extra food in the early weeks. Experience has taught us that overloading a bitch with food will put weight on her puppies, and she will also put on extra weight. This causes two problems. Firstly, she will not exercise so well, and so she will not be keeping her muscles toned up. Secondly, the puppies will be fat, which means they will be larger and will experience a more difficult passage down the birth canal. And when they are born, they will be fat and lazy.

It is far better to have an active mother and lean, vigorous puppies, who will fight to get to the teats to fill themselves with that all-important mother’s first milk. We have found the best policy is to feed a balanced diet with an increase in food after about five weeks. Naturally the future mum will be hungrier, but rest assured that whatever food you give to her she will pass on to her unborn babies before she takes it herself. She is a natural in parental care. Additives in the form of calcium and perhaps iron are a good idea, again after the five-week deadline. These days most foods are carefully balanced and numerous additives should not be needed. Indeed, the general view is that they can do more harm than good. But if the bitch suggests that she may have a deficiency, you should take her to the vet so that proper tests and analysis can be undertaken.

Akita bitches “hide” their puppies very well until at least five weeks, more often six. They may show no signs at all that they are pregnant, and this can be extremely annoying to the owners, who obviously want to know if they are to expect a litter so they can make the necessary preparations. Probably the best indication is a swelling of the bitch’s teats. From as early as three weeks these can “pop”, or enlarge slightly and become pinker in appearance. In our experience this is the only “sure” sign. Ultra-sound scanning can also give a definite diagnosis, but this is costly and sometimes the hair on the bitch’s side or underside has to be removed.

Your bitch may show signs of thickening in the rib or loin earlier, but it is most unlikely. Akita Inu bitches do not generally carry their babies across their loin like most breeds. They hide them under their ribs and then later “drop” them and carry them in the belly, rather like a cow carries its calf. Whether you observe positive signs or not, it is wise to contact your vet and book the expected date of birth into his diary so he will be available if necessary.

Seven weeks into the pregnancy, introduce the bitch to her whelping place. A suitably sized box should be prepared and the absolute minimum measurements for this would be about 4ft 6ins by 3ft. This will allow the bitch to lie fully stretched on her side. The box can certainly be larger, but not so big as to allow the puppies to crawl away from their mother and so get lost. Make sure the bitch is happy with the box and its position. After a few days she will welcome the peace, quiet and solitude of this area and so will accept it as the natural place when the time comes to give birth. If she is at all unhappy you must give in to her and make other arrangements. She probably has a good reason for not wanting things the way you do. So listen to her and adjust. She may accept the box, and then on the day of whelping, she changes her mind and wants to go somewhere else. Again, you must give in to her request. She may return to the box after she has had her first puppy, but let her decide. It is worth all the upheaval to have a happy, contented bitch who comes through her pregnancy successfully and delivers her puppies safely, without causing you – – or herself – – any undue anxiety.

Entry Level Jobs – How to Find in the United States

Because of the current US economy, many American companies are laying off workers. But also, it is a fact that many companies prefer to hire recent college graduates. Our research has shown that job availability for the recent college grad may not be exactly the doom and gloom that the mainstream media has presented. Lets take a look at what you need to do in order to find an entry level job.

1) You need to make sure you are in the proper mind set for finding an entry level job. You must realize that the old cliche of “finding a job is a full time job” is true, and be prepared to be focused and persistent in your job search. Our research has shown that the jobs are there, and you will find the right fit if you are persistent. But it is also very important that you contact the right potential employer.

2) Although by definition, entry level means that you do not need work experience, this is far from the truth. You absolutely need to have some work experience if you want to obtain an entry level position. It is desirable that you have some experience in the field you are trying to enter. But how can you gain experience if you can not enter the field in the first place.

3) During your college years, and even your high school years, in preparation for an entry level position, you should have been gaining some work experience by doing some volunteer work in your field of interest. If you can show your potential employer that you indeed have a passion for your area of interest, you will be in a much more competitive position to gain an entry level job. So hopefully at this point, you have gained some work experience during your high school and or college years, and although it may not be much, even a small amount of work experience can be helpful.

What if you could not find volunteer work in your area of interest. You need some documentation, other then the degree you earned, that shows a potential employer that you have a passion for your area. You can write online articles, put up a website, use sites like LinkedIn, ZoomInfo or Google Profile. Facebook is probably not a good option, since Facebook is like a diary, something to be opened only by people with authorization. The point is, you need to have some online presence or documentation which displays your passion for your area of interest.

For those who do have work experience, make sure that your previous supervisor or supervisors can provide a good employment reference for you. If you have been a competent, reliable worker with a good attitude, then a previous supervisor should not have any problem in terms of providing a good employment reference.

4) The next step is to write a resume, or Curriculum Vitae, that stands out from all the others. The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a detailed listing of your educational achievements, publications, presentations, professional activities, and honors. The Curriculum Vitae is longer than the typical resume, and may consist of two pages or more. A CV is usually necessary only if you are seeking a faculty, research, clinical or scientific position. For other positions, you can use a resume.

But whether you use a CV or a resume, it should clearly show to the potential employer some work experience which is directly or remotely related to the job you are seeking. Include both volunteer and non volunteer work on your resume or CV. You do not need to have a professional write up a resume or CV for you. Today, you can use online utilities which produce a nice looking resume or CV, and there is a lot of information online about how to write one.

In terms of the resume, a couple important points need to be made. Research shows that only one interview is granted for every 200 resumes received by the average employer. This data is for all levels of employment, not just entry level. Research also shows that your resume will be quickly scanned, rather than read. Ten to 20 seconds is all the time you have to persuade a prospective employer to read further. What does this mean? It is essential to have the most important features about you, such as your related volunteer or non-volunteer work experience, on the upper half of your resume.

5) When looking for companies to send your resume to, you need to use a list which is made up of companies which prefer to hire a large number of recent college grads. Go to top Top Entry Level Employers for 2011 for such a list. This list covers companies of all sizes and industries and speaks to the need for fresh talent in spite of a challenging economy. This list provides a very good starting point for college grads who are seeking employment.

The key is to find those companies on the list which are in your field of interest. There are companies out there who prefer to hire college grads, and the doom and gloom that the main stream media presents to the general public about job availability for college grads, may not be as realistic as you are lead to believe.

6) After you put together an excellent resume, and you send it off to the companies you would like to work at, you should immediately start to prepare thoroughly for your interview. While you may not know the exact company that may give you a call for an interview, almost all interviews consist of a large part which is made up of common questions, which are found at almost all interviews. These are the questions you can prepare for when waiting for the phone to ring. Do a Google query, “how to prepare for the job interview” and you can easily find a list of job interview questions.

When it comes to interview preparation, you should treat the entry level job that you are trying to obtain, as if it is a higher level job. Prepare for your interview the same way you would prepare for an oral exam. During the interview, be yourself, but try to present the best of who you are.

7) One more very important point needs to made when it comes to the job interview for an entry level job. Because you are a recent college grad, and therefore you do not have a lot of work experience to talk about, it is very important that you present to the interviewer, an enthusiastic attitude. Specifically, present yourself as someone who is hungry to learn and has a strong desire to advance within the company.

To conclude, the basic elements of finding an entry level job are proper job seeking attitude, work experience, resume, and interview. Optimizing these elements will result in you finding the entry level job of choice. While today, the use of the Internet and networking results in a more efficient means to finding an entry level job, the need for optimizing these basic elements has never changed, and most likely never will, when seeking a job. The good news is, there are many companies today which prefer to hire the recent college graduate. But given the current economy, competition for the entry level jobs is intense, and therefore optimization of these elements becomes even more important.

How Can I Make Him Afraid of Losing Me

Many women who are in relationships often give too much to their partner. Often too late, they realize that their romantic partner is not afraid of losing them. No, he is not. If your guy is not afraid of losing you, you need to sit back and ask yourself why. The quick and easy answer to this is because they have no fear that you would ever leave them. You have made it to easy for them. After all, they have seen you tolerate their countless nonsense, bad behavior and bad manners, so what’s one more time going to hurt? You are the one getting hurt, not him. So why should he stop for fear of losing you? Since you haven’t left yet, he doubts you ever will. When you make abnormal behavior acceptable in a relationship, it becomes the norm in your relationship. This is the fastest, quickest and easiest route to a dysfunctional relationship.

If you want him to fear losing you, you will have to stand up for yourself. No one is afraid of a weakling. A strong, empowered woman knows that she has to back up her words (or ultimatums) with actions and her punishment with actions. If you don’t mean it, he will not believe you. If he knows you are terrified of losing him, no matter what he does to you, how could you possibly expect him to have any fear of losing you whatsoever? When you show him you will stay with him, compromising your own self-respect, dignity, and happiness, why should he be afraid of losing you? He shouldn’t and he won’t!

You want him, or any other man you date or have a relationship with, to have a natural, normal fear that if they screw up badly, they will lose you. But in order for that to happen, the first time he screws up so badly you have to end things, end them in a believable way, even if you are just making a point and hoping he will beg your forgiveness. If it is not believable, the fear goes out the window and you are scary as a puppy. Think about all the things we fear. We are afraid of these things because they will either cause us to lose something, hurt us or kill us? That’s where most fears come from, fear of death, loss or pain, don’t they? If you are the only one feeling any pain or loss, then why should you expect him to be afraid? Do you think he will be afraid of your tears, your pain or your broken heart? He won’t!

A good place to start working on healthy fears in a relationship is to examine your own fears first. If your fear of losing him is so great it allows you to tolerate his bad behavior without taking a stand you will never get the relationship to have proper balance or mutual respect. If you are afraid to risk losing a relationship that is not working, you need to realize why you allow yourself to stay in a relationship where you are under valued and not respected. Remember, once they lose respect for you their feelings will change anyway, it is just a matter of time. Why? Because you cannot really love what you do not respect. By putting up with intolerable behavior you may hold on to him longer. But expect the bad treatment to continue, or get worse, because you have taught him he can do terrible things to you and won’t lose you. Don’t expect him to feel too guilty either. If your hurt feelings are not enough for you to put yourself first, you can’t expect him to put your feelings first either.

If you want him to be afraid of losing you because he won’t tell you how he feels, then stop telling him your feelings as a first step. If you want him to be afraid of losing you because he has no time for you, stop making time for him. If he hasn’t already made a commitment to you, then certainly don’t act and behave like you are already committed to him. If you want him to be afraid of losing you if he cheats, then if he does, end the relationship immediately and go quiet for a while. If you want him to be afraid of losing you, then you have to act like he is losing you when he does the things you consider deal breakers.

If the man you love disappears on you out of the blue and then shows back up in your life out of the blue you should realize there is a good chance he does this because you showed him that he can and that he can get away with it. He is not afraid of losing you because he has done this so many times and you never moved on, found someone else, or turned him away. Sure, you may have bitched at him about it, but he is not afraid of your words. He would only be afraid of you moving on or turning him away when he comes back. Have you done either of those things? If you have not, don’t sit around dumbfounded that he did it again and again. You have to see how he is not afraid of losing you. Every time you allowed it to happen you proved to him that he can do it again and should fear losing you when he does. So your choices are to either to find the courage to address this situation head-on or accept the fact that he will never be afraid of losing you.

It is time to accept certain facts. If you truly believe he can change and that he loves you, then it is time to put your foot down. If he really can’t change, why keep waiting for change that may never come? Most people only change when they have to, so shouldn’t you make him HAVE TO? If you are hanging in there because you believe he doesn’t love you enough to change or that he doesn’t have it in him, then what are you doing with him anyway? How long should you be unhappy before it dawns on you that being in this relationship makes you unhappy? You deserve happiness, either with him or without him? If being with him makes you totally miserable,, it is time you faced your fears of losing him!

Why should you let your fear drive YOU? Why are you so afraid to demand respect? Why do you fear telling him how you want him to treat you? Are you like that with everyone in your life or just with him? If it is just with him, then you need to ask yourself why you changed for the worse for someone who treats you worse than anyone else in your life does. Why would you want to be with someone who does not bring out the best in you and instead brings out the worst in you? Until you are strong enough to admit you may lose him, you are only going to continue to lose yourself to the point where you no longer even recognize the woman you have become.

Not every man will fear losing you. Many men withdraw and mistreat women as a way to get rid of them. The problem is many woman simply won’t let go and instead will hang on tighter than ever. Sometimes we simply are not valued by the people we love the most, but either way, don’t you want to know the truth or do you just want to waste more and more of your time living in fantasy land? Just because you believe in fairytales or miracles does not mean they will come true for you.

Keep in mind that by standing your ground and creating and enforcing healthy boundaries does not insure he will step up to the plate. Each relationship is unique, and he may simply not be afraid of losing you because he doesn’t care enough or love you enough to do what is right. He may enjoy the unhealthy dysfunctional relationship that you have and resist any change. We can tell you if he will regret losing you and will step up to the plate or if he will let you go and find someone else to treat like dirt. What you do with that information is entirely up to you.

Fear can keep us from taking the one we love for granted, keep us from stepping out of line, or doing something to risk losing the one we love. If only one person in a relationship has that fear, the relationship will forever be one-sided. It will never grow, mature, or last. It is time to face your fear of losing a relationship that is going no where. It is time to create a little fear for the one you love, or it is simply time to let go and move on to something better.

If he does not value you, or the relationship he shares with you, how can you value yourself? You can’t. You won’t. Because if you did, you would get away from this idiot who places so little value on you.. So why do you continue to place value on the relationship? Why are you so afraid of letting it go? It wont bother him if you did let it go anyway, so why are you still holding on to him?

What it all boils down to is that a little fear in a relationship is actually healthy for the relationship. When both parties have a natural fear of losing each other they respect the relationship and each other. When you are the only one with fear in the relationship, the fear grows, and so does the neglect and mistreatment. There is a chance to get healthy fear back into your relationship before it is too late. You owe it to yourself to discover if it is really possible, and how to go about making your relationship better.

Roaming Fingers – A Story of A Childhood Sexual Molestation

We have all had our “stories” to tell about our lives growing up. Some have had fun loving childhoods in which they had a stay-at-home mom, who had home baked cookies ready for them as soon as they walked in from school, clean clothes ready for the next day, and dinner simmering on the stove. Dads arrived home, everyone sat at the table and enjoyed the delicious meal that mom had prepared, and then while dinner dishes were being cleaned up, the kids could tell their dad about their day. Some had parents that encouraged them, helped them with their homework after supper, and enjoyed spending time with their kids before the next day started. You know, one of those “Leave It To Beaver” type of families. Then there were those who were minus one parents for one reason or another…usually divorce or death. Or what about those that lived with alcoholic or drug addicted parents who weren’t really “parents” at all. Their kids were basically were on their own, raising themselves, fending for themselves, and making the most of bad situations.

I don’t know why I am sharing this right now. I just feel led to let someone out there know that you are not alone! That you can live a normal life. I have been molested by 4 different men between the ages of 8 – 14. But, the LORD GOD Himself, brought me through this all. I have been been redeemed and washed clean by the blood of the Lord. I no longer have to live in life of my molestation taking charge over me any longer.

I was one of those kids who had my own “unique” circumstances when growing up. My parents divorced when I was 7, though my dad moved out when I was 5 ½. I was the oldest of the three of us. We moved to a small town to live closer to my grandparents, my mom’s parents. We moved from the bigger metropolis of Denver, CO, to the small town of Julesburg, CO. At first, when I was younger, I’d made my lifelong friend with the girl who lived across the street from my grandparent’s house. This was the summer before our 2nd grade school year. During the time, our lives seemed somewhat “normal” playing babies, or pretending to be teachers at school, or building ant farms…

But during my lifetime, many things happened that made me who I am today. I cannot begin to tell you what my life was like and do it justice! There are so many more stories I could tell you! For one, we moved and lived in 27 different places from the time I turned 7 – 18. I went to 11 schools in 12 years time. I think that that with us moving so often, I took with me idea that “I better make friends quickly, because sure enough we’d be moving and I’d have to leave.” I believe my sister took the theory that “why bother making friends because we were going to move anyway.” And my brother, well, being a boy, keeping a friend wasn’t that big of a deal, and he made friends fairly easy, but it wasn’t as big an issue for him as it was us girls.

When I was 8, my mom began dating a Japanese farmer in our area, quickly becoming engaged, with the last name of Kinoshita. As you can imagine, the 3 of us kids made quite fun of that name at the time by intentionally pronouncing it, Kin-O-Shit-A. Mean, weren’t we? Well this is the first time that I consider myself being sexually molested. After suppers, my mom would go to the kitchen to wash dishes at his house, and the 3 of us kids and her boyfriend would lie on the floor to watch some TV. Well her fiance’ would use this time to “rub my tummy.” Now I was 8, so needing my tubby rubbed after dinner seemed really weird to me, but I thought, okay, I suppose if this is normal? It made me uncomfortable, but my mom said he was only trying to be nice. Okay, so nice it was…I guess?? But then those tummy rubs, turned into “roaming fingers,” and climbed a little higher and a little higher. Soon my tummy rubs became chest rubs. Now mind you, I had barely started developing, but still had just enough that this made me incredibly uncomfortable! My mom had said that she really wanted this marriage because he was financially well off, and so each night that this went on, I tried to keep myself busy with homework so we didn’t have to lie on the floor and watch TV, but one way or another, he coaxed me in to it, and my mom had told us several times that she didn’t want this relationship messed up by us kids. So, I kept my mouth shut, until one day, on the way home from school, I let it all out to my friend. She went home and talked to her mom. I didn’t know what they were talking about, because her parents only spoke Spanish, so I didn’t think much of it. However, her mom, having heard what was going on, assured me that they were there for me, and that this was something that I had to talk to my mom about right away. So with my friend and her mom both sitting there, I called my mom and told her what had been happening. I don’t know much how was actually said between my mom to her new fiance’, but I do know that she broke up with him. However, my friend’s mom suggested that he be turned in to the police, but my mom said that it was pointless to call the police because “he was so rich that he can own the town, so no one will believe you anyway. It would be his word against yours,” she said. So, life went on as “normal.” Okay, normal as normal could be.

Then my mom found a younger guy who could come over in the mornings and stay with us, when she went to work at 6:00 AM at the truck stop, and he got off at 6:00 AM from working the all night shift there, and would come stay with the three of us kids for the day, as our “babysitter.” Oh he was fun, would make us breakfast, take us to the school or the park to play on the playground, and chase us around the house playing tickle monster. However, when he first got to the house each morning, instead of climbing in to my mom’s empty bed to sleep for a while, he would climb in to my bed with me. Why? Well there were those “roaming fingers” again. Except this time, these fingers roamed up, and then down. I was 9, and he was 21. What did I have at that age that was so enticing anyway?! I hadn’t even started physically developing yet for goodness sake!!! At any rate, this went on for weeks. I told my mom, but she she thought that since I had been through this with her ex-fiance’, then “it must me something I was doing to encourage these guys.” So, though he stopped watching us, I remember wishing him dead. I did. I couldn’t help myself. I just wanted him dead so he could never do something like this again! A couple of months later, while he was working at the electric company, and his partner decided to start drinking some beer on their lunch break. Well Curtis had climbed the pole to work on a specific wire that was causing them trouble, and was electrocuted. He fell from the pole, and his partner, having been drinking, wasn’t functional enough to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I knew it was all my doing! I had prayed and asked for him to die, and he had. You see, it was all my fault…I had wished it, and prayed for that. I just knew it was my fault. I held on to that guilt for many, many years after that. Someone was dead and it was all my fault.

Then, we had a family friend, who we’d been friends with he and his wife for years. In fact, most times, we loved going over to their house. She was like an adopted mom to us kids, and we could convince her husband to come play games with us, read us stories, etc. You should have heard him read one of the Dr. Seuss books backwards! It was a riot! And it was a tongue twister reading it from front to back, let alone reading it back to front! And we used to love tricking him in to asking for Big Macs at Burger King! So, needless to say, we would go over to their house quite often. Usually though, I got the big bed with his wife because we always went to bed much earlier than he did, and he slept on the couch when we stayed, or in the spare bedroom. His wife would usually send me in to wake him when it was time for us all to get up each morning. That’s when those infamous “roaming fingers” would start roaming again. I was between the ages of 10 – 12 during most of this time. But, without telling my mom, (remember how she had decided the last time that I must be the one to enticing these “men,”) that sure enough, it must be something about me, and once again, I was at fault.

Well over time, we’d moved again like we had done numerous other times before, and so we didn’t see them as often as we had before. It was in the beginning of our 8th grade year, so I was in one school there in Jr. High, and suddenly we left CO and headed to good ole’ IA. My mom had broken up with a trucker guy she was dating, a real nutty guy who used to set up candles in a circle in our basement, and call on the spirits from the Mojave Dessert. So, we packed up as soon as we got home from school that day, took only our few very important possessions (and I do mean very few), and our cats, and loaded up a small little U-haul trailer, and off we headed out with no where specific in mind. My mom suggested IA, so off we headed West. We ended up in Council Bluffs and out of money. So, this is where we decided to stay.

Of course, we’d switched schools again, for the umpteenth time, and we started yet another school in Council Bluffs, while we lived in a one room cabin with 2 double beds, one bathroom, a crock pot to cook in and three cats. We started one school, but were the “poor kids” and didn’t fit in well. But, once again, we moved. This time it was a good thing. I was starting in the 9th grade, but at a completely different school. This school was much better, much more acceptable, much less judgmental, and critical, and we weren’t treated as “low class scum” here.

I was finally 14 at this time. My last year before I got to start high school. I was so excited! I was finally growing up, started wearing makeup, fixing my hair, and thinking about the big “B” word…BOYS!!! We were living in a house fairly near the school, so it was in walking distance. My mom was once again working at one of the truck stops nearby. But money was tight, so my mom brought a truck driver home to live with us to help pay the bills. Well this guy was 28. My mom worked the all night shift at the truck stop, and Terry would be home most nights, and on runs during the days for the most part. Well Terry took quite a liking to me immediately. Now mind you, I had just turned 14. My sister and I shared a bedroom, my brother had one to the left of us, and across the hall was Sue’s room (a girl/lady in her early 20s from Indiana), someone that Terry had found hitch hiking one day on his trip out-of-town, and brought to our house to stay with us too. So, that was one more person to help pay the bills. But, to get to the bathroom, we had to walk through a little hallway, and we had to go through Sue’s room to get there. Then to the left was the bathroom, and then to the right was Terry’s bedroom. My mom’s room was on the main floor. In between the bathroom and Terry’s bedroom was a second door. The door locked from Terry’s side of the room, but not from his room into the bathroom. Well at night, once Terry thought all of us kids were asleep in bed, he would come into my room, and once again, night after night, those infamous “roaming fingers” of yet another guy, would start their traveling. He would come in, with a condom on, already ready for whatever I guess he had hopes for. He would ask me to put on something “sexy.” I didn’t have anything “sexy” because I was 14-years-old, and “sexy” was not something I was thinking about at that point in my life. Heck, just getting my makeup to look good in the morning, and curling my hair before school was as “sexy” as it got. His fingers roamed places that I didn’t know existed. I used to pray, “Please Lord, let him think that I’m really asleep and go away tonight.” Or I’d pray, “Please Lord, let my sister wake up so that she’ll make enough noise or something that he’d go away and leave me alone.” He never got to the stage where we actually forced full fledged sex on me, but night after night, we went through this ritual. Night after night he would go back to his room, and I would disgustedly cry myself to sleep. Night after night I wished my sister would please just WAKE UP, just this once. But, she never seemed to, or so I thought, until many years later when I found out that she said that she was afraid to let us know that she was awake, because she was afraid he would come to her next. I can’t blame her for that. I wished I could pretend so he’d leave me alone too, but, that wasn’t the case.

Well one day Sue had asked me to go for a walk with her to talk. So, I did. She started telling me that Terry would come in to her room almost every night and do these “things” to her, ask her to “put on something “sexy,” and his “roaming fingers” would start roaming with her too. That’s when it all came out…I spilled what he had been doing to me as well. I pleaded and pleaded with her not to tell my mom because my mom would say, yet once again, that “it must be something I was doing to entice guys like this.” My fault again. Well Sue, knowing how young I was, ended up telling my mom after all. So, my mom went and confronted Terry. He told her that he did it to me because “He loved me soooooo much that he couldn’t resist wanting to make love to me.” Well my mom told him to pack up and get out of our house. We went to my mom’s friend’s house for a few days while he moved out and because they were one vacation and needed someone to house sit and care for their pets. So, we stayed there 3 nights and 4 days. Once we got back home, Terry was gone, and life seemed to go back to “normal” again. Sue and I felt such great peace having him gone. Then one day, about a week later, my mom said that she had to go to the truck stop because Terry wanted to talk to her about something. So, she left and was gone for several hours. When she came back, she said that Terry had convinced her that he really did do what he had done “because he loved me,” and she said that it was a small price to pay since he offered to help pay even more of the bills we had. So, she let him move back in to our house with us. For the first week or two, he was very polite, pulled out the chairs for me when we would sit down at the table, and insisted on driving me to school so that he could kiss me good-bye each day to “let people know that I was his.” At this point, I tried to convince myself that okay, maybe he did really love me, and that I should be proud and flattered that someone the age of 28 would like me, a 14-year-old teenage girl.

Well a few more weeks went by and things had gone back to the way they were. My mom would go to work all night, and Terry would once again come back in to my room at nights, with condom in hand, and his roaming fingers would once again, starting roaming up and down, up and down. The words he spoke made me sick. And every night, it was was same, I would sickeningly cry myself to sleep because I could no longer deal with this at my age, and I was supposed to be having fun in school, looking forward to my high school years, dances, proms, sports events, etc. But instead, I wouldn’t see a future at all. One day, I had had enough, and could no longer take it! I know my mom wanted and needed the money, but I couldn’t pretend that I was okay anymore. I wasn’t. I wanted to die. Yes, truly die! If it had not been for the Lord putting in my path a certain girl at school, who I quickly became best friends with, and my Science Teacher, whom I will never forget and always be grateful for, I might have ended it there. But, God obviously had other plans for me. Just when I thought that He had left me all alone, He provided me with a friend, and a man who not only was my teacher, but one who genuinely cared about me, who knew that I was going through something terrible at home, who gave me compassion, extra time when I just couldn’t concentrate on my assignments, and someone who could make me laugh. I needed that. It brought back hope to me that ALL men did not just want me for sex. That older men were not all perverts, and that God had put him in my life, as my teacher, just in the nick of time.

Today, by God’s grace, forgiveness, and compassion, I have been forgiven my the blood of the lamb, the Lord Jesus Himself. The person who died on that cross many, many years ago so that I might have life everlasting. The one who pulled me out of the darkness and back in to the light. The one who took away all my hurts and distrusts in men. I thank God that though I had to suffer through those awful times, that I came to learn that it was not my fault that the one guy had been electrocuted and died. That NONE of the things that these four men did to me as a child, were my fault.

To this day, my mother still says, “IF those thing really happened to Kelly, then I guess I should have protected her more.” IF those things happened? IF?!?! There is no question that they happened me! My sister once told her that she knows it to be fact because most times she was in the same bed with me, as we almost always shared a bedroom while growing up. I no longer expect that my mother will ever take any responsibility for what I went through. I know that now. I know that I have to forgive her so that Christ can forgive me for my sins. But it is truly, and only by the Grace of God Himself, that I am still here today. It is my prayer that maybe, just maybe, this testimony will help someone else who has been through something similar, or worse, that there IS hope in Jesus Christ. You are not alone. It is NOT your fault. Give it to HIM, as His shoulders are strong enough to take it from you and let you now walk freely in His love.

*Names of people have been changed to protect those others who were involved.

Neon Signs – The Pros and Cons

Neon signs are still a popular choice when it comes to advertising your business. To many people they may seem old fashioned, now that modern LED signs have become more cost-effective, but those looking for something different to make their business stand out from the crowd, still opt for neon.

Pros

One of neon’s big advantages is that custom made neon signs can be created in almost any shape or form. They are made by hand and there is an art to the process. The glass tubes are heated and bent into the desired shape and the fluidity of the curves is part of the appeal.

There is an almost old-fashioned nostalgia to neon that makes them a great choice for businesses looking to promote an image of solid worth or retro cool. But neon can also be shaped to look cutting edge and modern, it’s all in the design.

When a business is looking to establish a unique brand a custom made neon sign could be an important part of the branding process, giving an immediately recognisable identity to a store. When you have a neon sign designed especially for you, you can be sure that it is unique, as the hand-made element comes into play.

Quality neon signs are long lasting and need little maintenance. Eventually the gases may need refilling but this can be done relatively inexpensively and give your sign a new lease of life.

Cons

Neon signs are bulkier than the slimline LED signs that are now on the market. If space is an issue this may be a problem, but if not then it makes little difference.

The glass tubes used means that these signs tend to weigh more than lighter plastic signs. This is only a problem if the sign has to be shipped to any distance, to if there isn’t a sturdy enough an infrastructure where it will be mounted.

Neon does use comparatively more electricity to run than LED signs. If you are running just one medium sized sign that might not be too much of a consideration, but if you plan a whole array of signage, the difference in running costs can mount up.

Neon does come in many more colours than it used to in the old days, but if you have a particular shade of colour that you want to match to your business branding this is not always possible with neon.

Planning Ideas For Patio Garden Design

Flower Garden Designs for Everyone

Design garden is perfect for those who live in the city but still want to consider creating a garden for their patio. There are different designs for your patio garden and it’s up to you to think of the color combinations, the pots, how they are arranged or aligned, etc. You can release your creativity in designing your own patio garden, after all, it’s yours and it’s going to be your pride and joy. These are mainly guidelines because in designing, you have no rules. You can choose from many varieties regarding patio garden design from modern to classic, whatever suits you, really.

When you do your garden design, you don’t limit yourself to space; you limit yourself to time and interest. If you don’t see yourself working on your flower garden designs, then this isn’t for you. Designing your garden requires time and effort and of course, your interest in engaging yourself with such activity. You have to have a lot of time on your hands to create a personal touch to your patio garden design. Once you’ve set your mind into designing your garden, you can now pick your place where you like to build a garden.

You can choose from different themes like, modern, classic, chic, or whatever suits your personality. There are different materials from stores that could fit your theme, for sure. As mentioned, time and interest is needed in designing your patio garden. If you did everything in a hurry, it would be noticed with the lack of alignment and organization. Before you start designing your patio garden, always think of a concept so that when you execute your design, you won’t take a long time deciding on how to fix everything and stuff. Organize everything and have your materials all set so you could start your flower garden designs already.

Uneven edges are dangerous for children, and adults, too. Safety is part of your garden design and it’s not something you should miss out. Your lives and safety are in your hands. Always take precautionary measures before setting up your patio garden. If you’re guests consist mostly of kids, you should be sure to check if everything in your garden would be safe for them. Make sure that the floor isn’t too slippery or that there aren’t too many sharp edges for kids tend to play roughly with other kids.

If you have the time, space, interest and budget, then you’re ready to start designing your patio garden. Always set aside some time for planning and organizing before going all hands-on on your patio garden. It’s not all about fixing and hard work, you really need time to plan everything out before getting dirty and excited. Always consider the place where you live in and always keep in mind that landscaping is important in your design. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on your budget. Always make a list so that you wouldn’t be caught short in the middle of designing your patio garden. Remember that you should have fun because it’s your patio, anyway.

Different Types of Materials Used To Make Furniture

Furniture has been in use since the ancient times. That only difference that you notice in them is in shape and size, colour and pattern. Are you feeling confused among the many furniture available of different materials? If you are not having an idea about which one to choose then we recommend that you should continue reading our article so that you can get an idea about what they are all about. In this article, you will get an idea of the materials that are used to make and what are their advantages?

When you select a furniture you have to keep in mind your lifestyle. The design of the furniture will depend on the on the size, design of the room. Do have an idea where you want to place the furniture in like in the garden, room, and office. You also have to see that the price of the furniture fits your budget. The materials that you will get are as follows-

Wood

All the ancient furniture that you see is made of wood. It was often used to place in the outdoors or add a classic look to the interiors of your room. The advantage of using wooden furniture is that they are very strong. They are also very reliable to use. The two types [of wood that are found are -soft and hard wood. The soft woods are extracted from the trees that are generally evergreen like pine, cedar, Scots Pine, Spruce and Piranha Wood. The hard wood is of the trees that dry up in the winter season like oak, mahogany, maple, cherry, ash, beech, and walnut.

Other materials that are used are-

Plastic

Plastic chairs were most common in the office area in the earlier days. Because it has proved to be durable and portable, they are used for making various furniture. The advantage of using plastic furniture is that they can be used in any place and at any time.

Metals

Metals have high densities. The metals can be given the form of different structures. The types of metals that can be used to make different types of furniture are steel, wrought iron, and aluminium. The advantages of using these metal furniture are that they do not rust away, do not need maintenance. If you place them in your room it will give your room a traditional look without hampering the comfort that you expect to get from them.

These are all the types of furniture that you would find in a place. So, before you go to buy a furniture read this article so that you can find the best furniture according to your needs.

Hyaluronic Acid Benefits: Learn How Topical Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Skin

Buzzword skincare ingredients come and go, but hyaluronic acid is one whose fame is well-earned. It offers multiple benefits for any skin type and comes packed with anti-aging properties.

How Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Skin

The magic of this ingredient lies in its ability to retain moisture. This is important with regard to aging because one of the hallmarks of youthful skin is its moisture content. As we age, our skin loses moisture, resulting in a loss of firmness and elasticity.

This does not mean that everyone’s skin becomes dry with age; it simply means that skin lacks the amount of moisture it had in its youth due to sun damage and/or other factors. This ingredient can improve your skin’s moisture content and at the same time strengthen skin’s barrier, which is the outer layers of your skin. A healthy barrier looks and feels softer, smoother, and plumper-all hallmarks of younger-looking skin.

Many things can lead to a damaged skin barrier including, sun damage, acne, sensitive skin, and rosacea. So repairing skin’s barrier with skin-identical ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, can go a long way toward fixing those issues, which means it’s helpful for all skin types. It also provides antioxidant defense against free-radical damage, and reduces inflammation.

Sodium Hyaluronate — a Novel Derivative

In addition to seeing hyaluronic acid listed as an ingredient in skincare products, you’ve probably also seen the similarly named sodium hyaluronate, a derivative, which also has unique advantages for skin.

Sodium hyaluronate is an asset in skincare because of its small molecular size which allows it to penetrate the skin more easily. For hyaluronic acid to penetrate beneath skin’s surface, it must be bioengineered to have a much lower molecular weight. Some brands do this; others don’t; and still others won’t tell you if they do or not.

Adding Hyaluronic Acid to Your Routine

Now that you know how hyaluronic acid benefits skin, as well as sodium hyaluronate, you might be wondering how to add these ingredients to your skincare routine. The great part is that doing so is very simple.

More and more brands are using this ingredient and its derivatives in their products. Checking out the ingredients on the label to see what’s included-and making sure they’re not listed near the very end of the list, in which case it means the product doesn’t contain much, and so you may not see much benefit. Keep in mind that even if a product does contain one or both of these ingredients, you must pay attention to the other ingredients as well. Steer clear of irritating fragrance ingredients, and drying alcohols that could undo the hyaluronic acid benefits for your skin.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to skincare, hyaluronic acid benefits your skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines, promoting younger-looking skin, and helping create a healthier barrier. When these ingredients are combined with an anti-aging routine that includes gentle products and daily broad-spectrum sun protection, you’re stacking the deck in your favor for younger, supple looking skin.

How To Cook A Tender Juicy Steak

You invest a lot of time and money into the steaks for a special occasion and when dinner time comes, they are tough. What happened? How can you cook steaks as tender as your favorite restaurant?

The first step to cooking a good steak is to choose the right grade of steak. The top quality beef is graduated USDA Prime and commands top prices. USDA Prime grade meats are sold to the restaurant industry and specialty markets and are not as likely to be found at your local grocery chain. The next grade of beef is USDA Choice. USDA Choice is tender, flavorful and only slightly lower in quality than USDA Prime. The meat is well marbled with fat and will be tender and juicy when properly prepared. USDA Choice makes up about 70% of all graduated beef and is readily available in your supermarket. USDA Good graded beef is an acceptable grade of beef that has only minimal marbling of fat. It is leaner, but may not be as tender as USDA Prime or Choice.

Next, look at the color and texture of the meat. A good steak should be firm to the touch, moist, and bright in color. It should be well marbled with thin streaks of white fat through and a thin crust of steak on the outside. In our fat conscious society, we tend to look for lean cuts of meat, but the thin streaks of white fat marbled through the meat are the key to a tender juicy steak.

The most tender and juicy steaks come from the sirloin, the short loin, and the rib. These steaks include the sirloin steaks, porterhouse steaks, t-bone steaks, rib steaks, delmonico steaks, and the filet mignons. Steaks containing bone will weigh more than those without, but the bone adds flavor to the steak.

Aging is a desirable process that intensifies the flavors and makes the meat more tender. Aged steaks are more expensive and usually only found in high end supermarkets and specialty markets. An aged steak is recognizable by its darker color.

Once you have purchased your steak, you can further increase the tenderness and juiciness by marinating it. Try a marinade made of c cup each good wine and olive oil mixed 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or herb vinegar. Add any seasonings that you like such as garlic, freshly ground pepper, onion, or herbs. Place the steak in a ziplock bag, pour in sufficient marinade to just cover it, and refrigerate overnight. Marinating a steak like this will add flavor and tenderness. If you routinely store steak in the freezer before cooking, try pouring the marinade over the steak before freezing. The steak will marinate when thawing and be ready to cook.

There are meat tenderizers available to sprinkle onto your steak, and they certainly do tenderize the meat; However, meat tenderizers can sometimes over tenderize the meat, changing the texture of the meat into mush. If you should choose to go this route, do it carefully.

When ready to cook, slash through the outside fat layer on the steak in a few places to prevent curling, but do not cut into the meat. The more tender steak cuts can be broiled, grilled, or pan fried. Less tender cuts should be pan fried or slow braised. Steak should never be cooked in liquid. When pan broiling, use a very heavy skillet such as an iron skillet or griddle and heat the pan before adding the meat. The heavy metal will hold the heat for proper heat distribution and not cool down when the steak is added. A hot pan will quickly sear the outside, trapping the moisture inside.

When cooking, try to turn the steak only once. Cook the meat until browned on one side and half done, then turn and finish the other side. Turning too often will stew the meat rather than searing it and produce a less juicy steak. When the steak is done, remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

While the meat rests you can make a sauce with the pan drippings if desired. Use your favorite sauce, or fry mushrooms and onions in the pan. When almost done, add a tablespoon each of butter and flour and cook until lightly browned. Add a splash of wine and loosen any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until thick, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve over the steak. Enjoy!

Optical Fiber Raceways: Effective Products for Cable Infrastructure Protection

Botched-up network connections, latency, interruptible inflows and outflows and similar problems in a network infrastructure would probably dismantle a business that relies on such systems. Definitely, people look for smart and performance-oriented solutions, but if they aren’t sustainable, there is no need of it. Given such conditions, a business would only have to think of its survival, instead of profiteering.

Increasing demands of lower latency, greater bandwidth and capacity mounts inexplicable pressure on the network managers. Hence, managing of growing cable infrastructure is a prominent task ahead for those managers. If they don’t do it, it’s tough to achieve business goals. Knowing that optical fiber raceway can protect cable infrastructure, many network managers have employed effective fiber management systems, so that it’s easy to identify, access and resolve fiber issues individually.

What matters for cable protection?

For effective protection, several factors contribute altogether and here, we will elucidate those points in the following:

1. Design – “Design is how it works” – Steve Jobs. What could be more antagonizing for a network manager when he/she detects an issue of identifying the cables because they weren’t put properly? If the raceway offers flexibility and speed for cable arrangement, then it’s worth it for a long-term solution. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably time to think of another cable infrastructure.

2. Construction – If we were to look into the details, there are several aspects that couldn’t be covered in this article alone. Routing fiber optic patch cords, cable assemblies through enclosures, frames and devices needs a comprehensive solution in a raceway. Similarly, the modular components like fiber duct, vertical run and elbow, junction, exit kit, etc. need to be properly designed for ultimate cable protection.

3. Engineering – The idea of engineering shouldn’t limit itself to only once concept, but it demands continuously evolving nature, so that effective solutions don’t stop at one point. Carrying out the engineering using the software tools of CAD and with the help of 2D and 3D designs, the manufacturers can come up with impeccable solutions regarding cable infrastructure.

What are the benefits?

Installing server rack and cabinets, network rack and cabinets, raceways, etc. provides an overall benefit in a network infrastructure. Since we are discussing about raceways now, the following benefits can be enlisted:

Networking costs would come down for a company as fast and efficient infrastructure prevails. As it offers more space through better organization of cables, the airflow on the floor eases off, which eventually leads to reduction in cooling and power costs.

For a company, growing network revenue is always cheerful and that only comes when the pathways offers a well-organized cable infrastructure with easy-to-access equipment in the whole arrangement. Therefore, profitable returns.

Extension of cable network is not a problem for a network manager once they install best pathways to manage lane speeds, latency and I/O capacity. These systems are developed while keeping the future in mind.

The professionals can offer suitable solutions pertaining to the existing problem in a cable infrastructure.