Preserving Dignity in the Elderly

It has been a little over six years since my mother had her first stroke. Two years later a subsequent stroke took her life. After that my (then 93 year-old) year old father moved into an assisted living facility and respiratory failure hypoxia has become his terminal diagnosis recently placing him in hospice care. My mother-in-law is struggling with advanced dementia and my father-in-law has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

This chapter of my life has been the most difficult of any chapters already written. This is not only because of the illnesses my parents and my husband’s parents have/are facing, but also because of my constant vigil to preserve their dignity during the final days/years of their lives.

By nature I am not a very patient person. I am a type A personality with a desire to do everything as quickly as possible and get on to the next thing. I also tend to interrupt people and finish their sentences for them when I feel like they are taking too long to speak.

Add to that the fact that I am also a perfectionist, so I really wants things done right. Not particularly “my way” but at least in a way that I am comfortable with.

Obviously then, preserving another person’s dignity is not something that comes naturally to me… AND, preserving the dignity of the elderly is even harder because of their decreasing ability to do things/think quickly and thoroughly.

However, I have found an ability to deal with many of the situations/conversations that inevitably come about in some rather creative ways, with the hope that I do indeed preserve their dignity.

The first reason for this is simply God’s ability in my inability. I have prayed often that my shortcomings in this area will not affect my family members that I care so much about. I can attest to the fact that often I am astounded at the amount of patience I have during testing times. There is no other explanation than God is doing this despite me.

The second reason for this is that I have been in management in several businesses along with owning a few businesses. This has required me to learn how to mediate during hard conversations in order to get everyone to work together so that collectively they can problem-solve.

The final reason is I have found I have the ability to laugh and direct conversations away from a problem in order to diffuse potential battles.

Let’s face it… working with elderly parents is often a battlefield whether you want it to be or not. They have their way of thinking and doing… AND they have done things their way for a lifetime. When we come along with new ideas and suggestions, no matter how good these ideas and suggestions might be, it is a natural response for them to have a negative reaction. So here are specifics on how you can make these conversations easier, and hopefully more successful.

1. Explain things thoroughly along with an explanation of why you feel something is a good idea.

2. Use “I” statements when having hard conversations versus using “you” statements (figuratively pointing your finger).

3. Sometime it helps to diffuse an uncomfortable situation if you start a conversation with “There really is no easy way to work my way into this conversation. (smile) So, I am going to jump right in”. That way you are not trying to walk on eggshells, they know something difficult is going to be discussed and they really do not get a choice in whether they want to talk about it or not. However, since you are the one who made the decision to jump right in, their dignity is preserved because they have the ability to respond as they wish to what you have to say.

4. Always be prepared to hear things you have heard over and over and practice responding with either new comments or facial expressions (or both) that don’t give away that they have said it before. If they ask whether they have told you something previously be honest and let them know if they have.

5. Engage them with simple comments or even ask some questions when you are on slow walks to the car, into the store or wherever. Examples would be commenting on birds flying overheard or a dog barking or asking them if they know what kind of bush you are walking by – if you don’t know. It will help keep your mind engaged thus making you less inpatient… in addition to making them a part of the situation.

6. When they begin to say things that are mixed-up, respond with questions that do not validate what they are saying but don’t argue with them either. An example of this would be when my father told me that his brother had worked for a time somewhere that I knew he hadn’t. My response was, “Really? I didn’t know he had ever been here for anything else than to visit. Well maybe he lived and worked here before I was born.” Sometimes this will spark reality and they will realize what they said isn’t right. Even if it doesn’t you have not made them feel silly and small by arguing with what them or correcting them.

Each of us who find ourselves in situations with elderly parents that threaten their dignity want to do everything possible to not strip that from them. The role of prayer in these situations cannot be minimized. I believe prayer to the God of the Bible can enable us to do things we are unable to do in our own strength. I have personally seen it over and over.

So, pray A LOT and implement these concepts and ideas as you have opportunity to.

Tips on How to Find Quality Chinese Suppliers

Chinese suppliers are abundant due to low production costs in China. If you're interested in finding a Chinese supplier, they're easy to find. Just visit a search engine and do a search by simply entering the name of the product that you want to sell in the retail market. The search engine will bring up long lists of Chinese suppliers with what you can get in touch. However, if you are wary about their reliability, and want to find someone who is not only capable, but also legitimate, caters to your requirements, and has an eagerness to work with you, you need guidance. Many dealers who interact with Chinese suppliers often find themselves getting extremely frustrated because their business is not very successful. It is very likely they did not find the right Chinese supplier from the start of their business. To ensure that you find the right supplier in China, you need to have a strategy. You need to be constantly vigilant, have thorough knowledge of the field, and do your homework. Here are a few tips to help you.

Understand your requirements
Your primary task in finding a reliable Chinese supplier is to clearly know and understand your requirements. You need to understand exactly what kind of supplier you are looking for.

Research: The first step to understanding your needs is carrying out research. You need to research the following:

Category: Prior to selecting a category, you need to first do some research to develop a category system. You can use the Internet for your research, and record your findings in a data table. The table must compose columns such as name of the company, contact information, scale and scope of the business, check boxes for each category, and notes, among others.

Product: You should also carry out research on the product that you want to sell. Use search engines for this. The first hundred results that show up are websites that have the most relevancy to your product. It is imperative that you also find information regarding your competitors to gain a better understanding of the market as well as the various marketing strategies that they are using to boost their business.

Select a category: Once you have created your list of categories, you can make your choice.Here's a list of categories that you can choose from:

– A manufacturer versus a third-party supplier
– A large corporation versus small family-owned business
– A third-party supplier who has the capability of developing products in-house versus a third-party supplier who simply purchases-in and sells-out
– A manufacturer who is vertically integrated versus a manufacturer who is assembly-based

Once you categorize your suppliers correctly, you will be able to understand your needs. For instance, if your business entails importing products that do not have much variety, you may choose a manufacturer instead of a third-party supplier. If, however, you have a small business and require special attention, your objective is to establish a good relationship with a small business that is family-owned.

Identify suppliers
Having understood the type of supplier you need to find, the next step involves finding that supplier to cater to your needs. Here's how you can do this.

Search the Internet: Two decades ago you would have delved into trade magazines to find manufacturers or suppliers. However, today you begin your search online.

Business directories: There are many business directory sites you can visit to find information on Chinese suppliers. These websites also help you to gain in-depth knowledge of the business world.You can visit supplier directories like "Global Sources" that provide lists of innumerable Chinese suppliers with their products. Another option is to visit the website of China Sourcing Reports. Here you'll find reports of suppliers in China based on expanded research.

Supplier websites: It is recommended that you do not visit a supplier's English website, as the interpretation could be incorrect. Beside, if you find a site having a higher rank in one of the search engines, it does not complicate that it is involved in more business. There are many Chinese suppliers who are not well-versed with the concept of rankings in search engines. However, they do better business than others who may have good knowledge of how to get their website a high ranking in a search engine. So, you need to use your discretion and industrial jurisdiction to select a supplier.

Read magazines: If you are looking for an overall perspective, Global Sources Trade Magazines are your best option. These magazines give free sample copies. If you like what you see, you can choose to subscribe to the magazine. What's more, readers are now given the option of reading the free samples online, that is, in e-magazine format.

Attend trade shows: This is the best way to interact with suppliers face to face. In the US and Europe, only a few China manufacturers attend trade shows that are organized locally. You'll find a larger number of Chinese suppliers in the shows that are held in China and Hong Kong. The China Sourcing Fairs and Canton Trade Show are two trade shows that are organized in Hong Kong and China, respectively. Both take place bi-annually. The former also includes an Electronics show, Gifts & Home show, Fashion Accessories and Underwear & Swimwear show. You will get updates on trade shows that have take place recently, as well as those that will take place in the future at the Trade Show Center.

Seek advice: Another way of learning about Chinese suppliers is by seeking advice from Chinese professionals. They will give you an insight on the culture and business practices of the country, as well as the Chinese mentality.

Select suppliers

Select your supplier: After you have done your research on Chinese suppliers that you are interested in working with, but are still unsure who you want to actually do business with, it is time to make contact.After interacting and developing a relationship with them, You'll be able to decide who you want to do business with. You'll find the entire process both fun and insightful.

Explain your business: Once you have decided on which supplier you want to do business with, get in touch with them. Begin by explaining the business you are involved in.

Ask for samples: Put forward a request for samples of the product which interests you. You may have to incur the costs of shipping as well as the product via wire transfer. When you receive the samples, make sure to inspect the product and its packaging, including reading the instructions.

Ask questions: As an importer, you will need to follow certain regulations for importing your product. You need to know what these regulations are. Ask your supplier whether the products they are supplying you have been exported to your area before and what certificates are needed. Another option is to visit your local retailer to find out the certificates that are required for similar items.

Interact frequently: It is crucial to frequently interact with your supplier. Talk to your supplier regarding the product, transaction, lead times, and dates of completion of a manufactured product.

When selecting a supplier, be sure to take note of the following:

Information: Do not trust any information that you get. For instance, sometimes an email address can provide a lot of useful information about suppliers in China who are relevant to your business. However, you need to be careful and ensure that the source of the information is genuine.


Language: The person who makes the decisions in the company may not have knowledge of English. However, make it your job to speak to the top management that does know English and develop a long-term relationship with them. If you do not speak Chinese, a good idea would be to hire a third-party to act as an interim and find out information about the supplier.

Correspondence: When it comes to finding out product specifications, price list, and catalogs, an exchange of emails is always recommended.

Understanding: If you want to cement a good relationship with your supplier, you should meet with him or her. If a meeting is difficult to organize, a phone call is your next best option. This gives you the opportunity to get to know your supplier, bringing your relationship to a more friendly level rather than keeping it strictly formal.

Experience: It is always better to do business with those Chinese suppliers who have previously exported their products to the US and Europe. You'll find many suppliers who use third-party suppliers to export their goods to the US without even having an exclusive supply contract. This in turn gives you the opportunity to do more business.

Verification: To verify whether the supplier that you are about to deal with is genuine or not, consider:

Looking at the US customs records: Here you'll find a list of the products that they have shipped to the country. You'll be able to know the customers they are doing business with, the loyalty of their customers and how capable the factory is in producing volumes.

Hiring a third party: There are numerous companies in China which are owned by westerners and act as third parties. They can provide you with information regarding the supplier you are interested in doing business with. In other words, they bridge the gap between you and your supplier.

Visiting your supplier's production site: The only way to really know your supplier's capabilities is to make a visit to their production site in China. Verify if the information you have researched is exactly what you see at the site. Check if the supplier has applied ISO and Quality principles. Look into the organization of the factory, the process of manufacturing, maintenance of equipment, and working conditions as well, to determine if it meets quality standards. This will tell you if the company is managed well or not. Try to have a face-to-face interaction with the management team. This not only reaffirms your decision on dealing with the supplier, but also creates a friendly relationship.

Pay suppliers

Shipping: The first time you communicate with your China supplier, make sure to discuss the terms of trade. You can choose "FOB Hong Kong," which suggests that your supplier will pay for shipping the merchandise to the port of Hong Kong and you will incur the costs of shipping them from Hong Kong to your warehouse.

Payment procedure: You are welcome to negotiate the payment terms with your supplier. However, the common trend is that you pay 30% at the time the order is placed and 70% when the merchandize is shipped. When you pay the 30%, you are giving the manufacturer enough money to buy raw materials essential for your order. Some buyers negotiate terms such as 30% when an order is placed, 55% with the goods are shipped and 15% when they receive the goods. The best way to pay is via wire transfers. The international wire transversers that take place worldwide vary from bank to bank.

Contract : Ensure that your contract or purchase order clearly states the penalties that your supplier will face if any problems arise.

Quality control
After you have done the research to find a supplier, then finally selected one, placed an order with him or her and paidfor it, you now have to decide on the quality control methods you will use. Usually quality control starts well before manufacturing begins. So, after you've seen the sample of the product, question your supplier about what steps he or she takes to keep quality under check. The quality of a product depends on the raw materials that a manufacturer uses as well as steps taken continuously during the process of manufacturing. The moment your order is ready, you are faced with three options to keep the quality of the products in check. They are:

Depend solely on the steps taken by your supplier for quality control: If the order you are placing is a small one, it is recommended that you rely on your supplier's methods to keep the quality of the product in control. If it is a large order, this is not your best choice.

Hire someone in your company to manage quality control: You have your resources in China. Use them to keep a watch on the quality of the product, right from the time the raw materials are purchased, to when the products are finally ready, and even during the intermediate stage.

Hire a third party to manage quality control: If the order you are placing is extremely large, you should hire a third party inspection company to do the job.

Warnings: You should beware of the following:

Sending out inquiries is a way of contacting suppliers. When you do that, you are sure to receive many replies. In fact, there are some who will continuously send you information on their products for years. What's more, they will not show up as spam. So, when registering as these websites, it is recommended that you not use your primary email account.

There are some Chinese suppliers who sub-contract your order. In other words, if they have a backlog of deliveries, they sub-contract them, either partially or completely without informing their clients. Fraudulent sellers have flooded the markets in China. This pertains especially to those selling cheap electronic items. In fact, now you'll find such sellers online waiting to pounce on inexperienced and naïve retailers. When you purchase in bulk, the products that are shipped have to pass through customs. If they do not, it suggests that your wholesaler or retailer does not have an export license and the product is probably a fake. A famous brand will never allow its suppliers to sell below the actual selling cost. So, if you find a supplier selling product dirt cheap, you can rest assured that the product is either being sold illegally or is an imitation.

If your order only takes up 1% of a factory's volume, be prepared to face delays in delivery. This is because those customers who have larger orders will push for their deliveries. Also note that some suppliers in China grow rapidly. If you combine 15% of its capacity in one year, after three years it might just be a meager 5%.

You should avoid a Chinese supplier's busiest time of production. This will result in delays in delivery and poor quality of products.

If you have a small business and is interested in only purchasing a few units of a particular product, you may not be entertained by domestic or international manufacturers. However, if you have had success in your business so far and are seen as someone who has potential to further increase sales, you may just get the attention of a manufacturer.

Painters Ripping You Off? 5 Ways How to Avoid It

1. Get at least three estimates from three different painters. When you meet with the painters representative let them know that other painters are bidding on the job also. This will help you to get a better price because they know that they have competition for the job.

2. Whoever you chose make it clear to them that you will only pay them once a week (Thursday or Friday) for the work done. Some painters try to use customers as their own personal cash machine. Remember it comes out your pocket once a week (Thursday or Friday) and that is it.

3. Purchase all the supplies needed for the job yourself and you will save money. You or a family member can accompany the painters to pick up supplies. If you decide to go it along HOME DEPOT is a great place to get supplies at a good price. Just ask the painters for their list of supplies needed for the job.

4. Deadline must be met or their can be penalies. If they finish on time or ahead of schedule you can offer a bonus. Placing penalties and bonuses in dealing with painters give you another tool to use to make a fair contract.

5. Put everything in writing this way Everyone knows what is expected of them. They are a lot of great painting companies to chose from. They will not have a problem with putting things into writing and anyone who does DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM.

What it Was Like to Be a 49er in the California Gold Rush

In the early days of the pioneer miners of California, searching for gold was a tough occupation. Even in those days gold was not easy to find. Lets consider a little of what life was like:

A "prospector" goes out with a pick and shovel, and a wash-pan; And to test the richness of a place he digs down till he reaches the dirt in which it may be expected that the gold will be found; And washing out a pan full of this, he can easily calculate, from the amount of gold which he finds in it, how much could have taken out in a day's work. An old miner, looking at the few specks of gold in the bottom of his pan, can tell them value within a few cents; Calling it a twelve or a twenty cent (per pan) "prospect," as it may be. If, on washing out a pan full of dirt, a mere speck of gold remained, just enough to swear by, such dirt was said to have only "the color," and was not worth digging. A twelve-cent prospect was considered a pretty good one; But in estimating the probable result of a day's work, allow had to be made for the time and labor to be expended in removal top-dirt, and in otherwise preparing the claim for being worked (all these prices being represented at a value of $ 20 Per ounce for the gold they recovered).

To establish one's claim to a piece of ground, all that was requisite was to leave upon it a pick or shovel, or other mining tool. The amount of ground allowed to individual individual varied in different diggings from ten to thirty feet square, and the local law was fixed by the miners themselves, who also made their own laws, defending the rights and obligations of those holding claims; And any dispute on such subjects was settled by calling together a few of the neighboring miners, who would enforce the due observation of the laws of the diggings.

The apparatus generally used for washing out the gold was a "long tom," which was nothing more than a wooden trough from twelve to twenty-five feet long, and about a foot wide. At the lower end it widens considerably, and on the floor there is a sheet of iron pierced with holes half an inch in diameter, under which is placed a flat box a couple of inches deep. The long tom is set at a slight inclining over the place which is to be worked, and a stream of water is kept running through it by means of a hose, the mouth of which is inserted in a dam built for the purpose high enough up The stream to gain the requisite elevation; And while some of the party shovel the dirt into the tom as fast as they can dig it up, one man stands at the lower end stirring up the dirt as it is washed down, separating the stones and throwing them out, while the earth and Small gravel falls with the water through the sieve into the "ripple-box." This box is about five feet long, and is crossed by two partitions. It is also placed at an inclining, so that the water falling into it keeps the dirt loose, allowing the gold and heavy particles to settle to the bottom and be eaten, while all the lighter things washes over the end of the box along with the Water. When the day's work is over, the dirt is taken from the "riffle-box" and is '' washed out "in a" gold pan, "which is a round tin dish, eighteen inches in diameter, with shelving sides three or In inches deep. In washing out a pan full of dirt, it has to be placed in water deep enough to cover it over; the dirt is stirred up with the hands, and the gravel thrown out; the pan is then taken in both hands , And by an indescribable series of maneuvers all the dirt is typically washed out of it, leaving nothing but the gold and a small quantity of black sand. This black sand is mineral (some oxide of iron), and is so heavy that it is Not possible to wash it all out; it has to be blown out of the gold afterwards when dry.

Another mode of washing dirt, but much more tedious, and probably only returned to where a sufficient supply of water for a long tom could not be obtained, was by means of an apparatus called a "rocker" or "cradle." This was merely a wooden cradle, on the top of which was a sieve. The dirt was put into this, and a miner, sitting alongside it, rocked the cradle with one hand, while with a dipper in the other he kept baling water on to the dirt. This acted on the same principle as the "tom," and had previously been the only contrivance in use; But it was now seldom seen, as the long tom effected such a saving of time and labor. The latter was set immediately over the claim, and the dirt was shoveled into it at once, while a rocker had to be set alongside the water, and the dirt was transported to it in buckets from the place that was being worked. Three men working together with a rocker one digging, another carrying the dirt in buckets, and the third rocking the cradle would wash on an average a hundred bucketfuls of dirt to the man in the course of the day. With a "long tom" the dirt was so easily washed that parties of six or eight could work together to advantage, and four or five hundred bucketfuls of dirt a day to each one of the party was a usual day's work.

Broken Blood Vessels Cause Dark Circles Under Eyes

Millions of people have dark circles under eyes. Most have inherited the color and characteristics of their lower eyelid from their parents. Dark circles under eyes often appear during childhood, many people telling me they first noticed their dark circles when they were 9 or 10 years old.

There are many causes of dark circles under eyes, but in this article I am going to focus on broken blood vessels, small vascular (blood vessel) structures in the lower eyelid skin. Broken blood vessels are the easiest cause of dark circles under eyes to treat and correct.

How Broken Blood Vessels Cause Dark Circles under Eyes?

Actually what most people call broken blood vessels are not really broken blood vessels. What most people see are visible blood vessels (vascular structures) on the skin in areas that they do not expect to see blood vessels. These small vessels are arterioles, venules, and capillaries. Arterioles carry fresh blood to the skin and venules take old blood away from the skin, back to the heart and lungs to be refreshed with oxygen. Capillaries connect the arterioles and venules.

Normally blood vessels are deeper in the skin and not visible. Visible or broken blood vessels become noticeable in the following situations:

o Thin Skin– The eyelid skin is the thinnest skin in the body. The eyelid skin is only 1/6 the thickness of the skin on the rest of the face. The skin is so thin that you can see through it. You can actually see the small arterioles and venules in the skin of the eyelid. These same structures are present in all skin but are not visible in thicker skin elsewhere in the body. The lower eyelid muscle is purple, and this color is visible through the eyelid skin. That is why all lower eyelids have a darker color. This color is what most people refer to as dark circles under eyes.

o Telangiectasias or Spider Veins– The arterioles, venules and capillaries in dark circles under the eyes can be dilated or enlarged a condition called telangiectasia or often referred to as spider veins. Telangiectasias are most often caused by heredity. However, aging, pregnancy, use of topical steroid cream, excessive exertion such as weight lifting, and Rosacea also can cause telangiectasia.

o Aging and Inflammation– Ultraviolet radiation and other skin aging factors produce inflammation or irritation of the skin, especially the thin skin around the eyes. When eyelid skin is inflamed, new arterioles, venules and capillaries vessels grow into the skin to repair the damage. These new structures stay in the skin and are visible. The presence of these vascular structures darkens the color of the lower eyelid skin and can appear as dark circles under eyes.

How to Remove Dark Circles under Eyes Caused by Broken Blood Vessels

Lasers can remove Telangiectasias, and small vascular structures under the eyes, but newer light based treatments are safer and better. The newer technique called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or photo facial is a much gentler procedure that is very effective and does not leave marks or white areas under the eye, a major problem with older laser techniques.

o IPL- Photo Facial-Intense pulsed light (IPL) is not a laser. IPL uses a bright flash of visible light which is tuned to be absorbed by the specific color of blood. The light passes through the skin without injuring the skin and is preferentially absorbed by the blood in the small Telangiectasias, venules, arterioles and capillaries. The light energy causes the blood to boil and the heat causes the wall of the structure to shrink and close. The process takes about 6 weeks.

Usually 3 IPL treatments scheduled 6 weeks apart are required to lighten the color of the skin causing the dark circle under the eye. Eye shields must be placed on the eye to protect the eye from the light. IPL is the best treatment for Rosacea.

o Laser– Two laser wavelengths are specifically absorbed by blood -the 532nm and 1064nm laser wavelengths. The 1064nm laser is usually too strong to be used on the eyelids. The 532nm laser is the one more commonly used on the lower eyelids. However, because the laser is so strong, the eyelid skin is often damaged and a scar or white area on the eyelid skin can occur.

Since IPL has been developed, the laser is no longer the choice for treating the eyelids. Eye shields must be placed on the eye to protect the eye from the laser.

o Vein Injections– Very large and noticeable veins on the lower eyelid can be closed by injecting a sclerosing solution that is most commonly used on the lower legs to treat spider veins. This is a very tricky procedure and should only be done by an expert experienced in this technique.

o Fractional laser resurfacing to thicken skin– New fractional laser resurfacing techniques are safe to use on the eyelids with eye protective shields in place. These new fractional laser techniques plump or thicken the lower eyelid skin and lighten the color. Thicker lower eyelid skin helps camouflage the vessels and Telangiectasias.


Inherited eyelid skin color cannot be prevented. However there are things we can do to prevent new telangiectasia and vascular structures from forming and making the skin color darker. Since Ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes inflammation and new vascular growth, sun protection is the most important.

o Sun block– Always make sure that you apply sun block to the eyelids when you apply sun block to your face.

o Eye protection-Always wear protective sunglasses that cover the crow’s feet areas as well as the eyes.

o Anti-inflammatory-Medical grade topical Vitamin C Serum is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Its use on the face and eyelids can help reduce inflammation which can cause telangiectasia and new vascular growth on the facial and eyelid skin.

If you are not happy with the color of your lower eyelids, IPL may be the answer you are looking for.

Crafting Your 30-Second Pitch

As a parent-entrepreneur, I have many different roles: wife, mom, coach, boss, speaker, author, writer, coach, volunteer, mentor, homework checker, chauffeur, cheerleader, short-order cook … the list goes on . As a parent-entrepreneur, you understand. Really, what do not you do, right?

However, a month or so ago, and someone asked me, "What do you do?" And, usually I can roll a short, sweet pitch, but, oh-no, I bumbled and rambled until this person's eyes glazed over. It was awful. It really made me realize the power of the 30-second pitch.

Really, what would you do if you were riding on an elevator and Oprah walked in? You have her undivided attention for 30-seconds or less. What would you say? Now, hold that thought for a few minutes before answering.

Let's take a step back … What do you say When anyone asks you, "What do you do?" Are you completely tongue tied and stumped? Or worse, you rattle off a five-minute explanation including your services or products from AZ, your credentials, your education, your clients, etc? By the time you've finished, that other person's eyes are glassy and they are mentally writing their grocery list in their head. Why? Because, they do not understand what you have said, do not need what you have, or are just not interested. So, what do you do? You need an effective 30-second pitch that it distinguishes you in a busy, overcrowded, and at times, indistinguishable marketplace. It must set you apart!

Following are seven tips to crafting your 30-second pitch:

1. Make it about them: I think it was Stephen Covey who said, "Be interested to be interesting." Apply this philosophy be making your pitch about them – it focus on what you can do for them not just what you can do.

2. Be clear on your niche and specialty. Niche is the who and specialty is the what. Often entrepreneurs think, well, everyone is my customer. Yes and no. Yes, because, technically, you can sell to anyone. But, no because, you will not effectively reach your ideal clients if you are trying to market to everyone.

3. Focus on purpose rather than skills – what will the person gain (or in some cases, lose). Too often, an elevator pitch definitely describes your skills, as in "Hi, I'm Julie, a coach, speaker and author." Yes, this is all true info, but, well, ick. It does not set me apart from the thousands of other coaches, speakers and columnists. It is useless info. What's your purpose for what you do and who you serve – basically, how do you add value. For example, I could say, "Hi, I'm Julie Smith. I inspire solopreneur-parents to align family and business while also designing their million-dollar lifestyle through inspired success .: Better, right

4. Start with a hook-an intriguing story or question to capture their interest. My good friend and colleague, Kelly Paull, owner of Slumber Parties by Kelly, has a great hook. Here it is: "Picture your husband eagerly taking your children out of the house for the evening, your girlfriends arriving giddy with excitation for ninety minutes of side-splitting laughter and adult entertainment with a lady-like twist." At this point, the listener is intrigued and wants to know more. She's hooked 'em. This listener is either her ideal customer or knows her ideal customer (think referrals!) You can also use a question that addresses your target markets challenge and the outcome of that challenge as your hook. "Have you ever noticed the amount of frustration and guilt is placed on juggling the needs of both a family and home-based business?" (This is where you want heads nodding in agreement, maybe someone says, "Oh yeah that's me or my sister, or my friend" … you get the picture). "I support these parent-entrepreneurs by providing them with 7 fundamental tools to give guilt the boot by aligning family and business."

5. Share a resource. I love sharing resources. I have so many fabulous resources that I share in my Million Dollar Connections and Contacts. Individually or in a group, share a favorite resource and how it helped you. One of my favorite is Vista Print. I think they have impeccable service, quality and pricing. So, I often share this resource with the added reinforcement of a business card or flyer. It shows the quality of the work from the resource and provides a visual pitch.

6. Prepare and practice. The big secret to your pitch here is persistent preparation and practice. Consider your audience and how you can help them (remember, it's all about them), and what they can gain. Next, write it down, practice it out loud in front of the mirror and with others.

7. Practice more! Nothing sounds worse than a poorly prepared or canned pitch that sounds like you do not know what you do or are not confident in what you do. Keep practicing it!

Your 30-second pitch is your one of your most valuable marketing tools for distinguishing and branding yourself and your business. So, keep practicing and perfecting it so the next time, you are on an elevator and Oprah walks on, you'll know exactly what to say!

Square Dinner Plates

Look around you at meal times, at the breakfast table, at lunch time, whether at home or in a restaurant, and at dinner time. What do you notice? Yes, flat dishes all around. Notice that these items are concave or rectangular in shape, they are made of different kinds of ceramic materials and are of different types like dinner plates, soup bowls, salad dishes, bread plate bowls, dessert bowls, saucers, platters and salvers. If you happen to be out in the recreation parks, you will be likely to even notice another category of dishes; Disposable paper ones.

Classic dinner plates are made in different shapes. We have round, oval and square ones which are either made of plastic, wood, porcelain or glass. They come in sets of six, eight, twelve or even large sets. The market provides similar designed sets of cups, forks, dessert plates, bowls and rice plates which makes it easy to match them. They come in different sizes and colors, this makes it easy to match your table arrangement to the occasion.

Square dinner dishes are recent in the market and very popular nowdays. Their design show corners and angles, giving a good impression. They can be matched well with relevant decorations, for example napkins, flowers and silver cutlery with a classical design. They should be arranged in a way to portray aesthetic values.

When purchasing square dinner plates, you should consider the color, quality, material and your budget. Porcelain dinner ones remain the best, they are durable and are classic. Having that in mind, you can compare options from several manufacturers to get the best. There are online services that help to answer your questions. Square dinner sets are the best design to use when serving your meals, be they formal or informal.

The Baker’s Dozen Items You Should Carry in Your Basic Survival Kit!

Everyone, and we do mean everyone needs to have their own personal survival kit. Your kit needs to be economical, so don’t waste your money, but get what you can use and what you like. Whatever you carry be sure that your kit carries only the necessities. You know how things just seem to happen at the most inconvenient time? For average persons’ purposes, a personal back pack should be created for every person in your family or business.

Sounds extravagant? Not when you need it!

Remember you might not be home when something happens or you as a key member of your family might not be able to get to your other family members to help them. Never-the-less, your personal pre-stocked survival kit should be quickly accessible to you at all times. If you drive to work, have it available to you stowed in your vehicle at all times. If you are at home, have it located near your most likely exit from your home. This is so that if you must leave your home it is immediately available although your vehicle might not be. Once you stock the most important necessities in your personal survival kit, you can expand into other less important items and place them in your home or vehicle, items more bulky and heavy. This concept is called layering your survival kits, keeping the most important items on your body.

Okey the basics you need are very straight forward. Lets put together a no-nonsense list:

1. You need a container to carry the items of your personal kit. We recommend a medium size sturdy back pack, two 5 gallon and two 1 gallon plastic pails and a large metal pot. These can be stacked inside of one another with the garbage bags and hand carried while the rest is on your back. The back pack case should be; Water repellent or waterproof, easy to carry or attach to your body, suitable to accept varisized components, and durable.

2. A basic survival manual. We recommend the US Army Survival Manual FM21-76 and a First Aid Kit Booklet or Manual

3. A basic First Aid kit. We recommend You can get a good head start by purchasing a preassembled first aid kit. You will find that most preassembled kits have been put together through much feedback given by those who have experienced injury during a crisis. Some basic first aid essentials include gauze, tape, adhesive strips, scissors, antibiotic ointment, bandages, burn treatment bandages or lotions, rash or itching creams, thermometer, arm splint, tweezers, safety pins, pain reliever, prescription medications, antiseptic towelettes, ammonia inhalant, instant ice packs, sponges, eye washes, rubbing alcohol, etc.

Although pre-assembled kits contain the most common items needed during emergencies, it is important to gather items that fit your particular needs. Prescriptions such as medications for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression etc. are crucial for first aid kits. Also be sure to include special items needed by small children or the elderly. It is useless to have a professional kit that contains items you do not know how to use, or to have a kit that is to basic to treat emergency needs. Basically, remember that first aid items can help save lives during a crisis. It is easier to invest the time and money in first aid supplies once you understand what a difference this kind of preparation can make during an emergency. Once you have purchased supplies, begin learning more about first aid relief and learn how to properly use your supplies.


* Oxytetracycline tablets (for diarrhea or infection).

* Surgical blades.

* Butterfly sutures.

oBurn gel and dressing

oSnake bite kit

oInsect repellent

oSun block

oSpecial medications

4. Compact lightweight food for at least 72 hours. We recommend you use food you are familiar and like stored in your kit, you will be better prepared to use it during times of emergency. So when it comes to economical acquisition of Food: Get two manual can openers. Then buy plenty of oatmeal, and canned food that’s ready to eat from the can with heating. You can get Dinty Moore products and others. Soups, Chili, Chicken and Dumplings, Stews, etc., are all in cans. Cookies and saltine crackers are also great only if you can store them in cans, jars or plastic containers with airtight lids. Perhaps if you can afford and have tried for taste, acquire MRE’s (ready to eat meals) these generally are less bulky and can be carried in a kit easier.

* Minimum amount of food – ie emergency MREs or energy bars

* A small metal container to cook in.

5. Water and some water purification means. We recommend that you get water purification tablets and that you learn to treat water, first filtering it through material like a sheet, then with bleach before you prepare to drink any source of water you are unsure of during an emergency. The amount of regular unscented bleach that is recommended to use, is 4 drops of bleach per quart of water. Then it also is recommended that you boil the water, and then let it cool prior to drinking it. You’ll need at least two gallons per person, per-day at a minimum for drinking, cooking and sanitation. Using one of your 5 gallon pails for treatment and storage. Remember to boil your water in the metal pot and then transfer it to the covered plastic pail or a Collapsible Container for water storage.

6. Matches or some means of starting a fire. We recommend a standard lighter with a small can of lighter fluid, a metal match, or waterproof matches and for Cooking: A single burner Coleman propane camp stove is the best with a couple propane cylinders. This can also be stowed in one of the plastic containers.

7. Some compact versatile tools.

We recommend

* Snare wire.

* Signaling mirror.

* Wrist compass.

* Fish and snare line.

* Fishhooks.

* Candles.

* Small hand lens (magnifying glass)

* Solar blankets.

* Chap Stick.

* Knife.

o50 Feet of Nylon Rope

oRolls of Duct Tape

oFoldable Shovel

oHatchet or axe

oSewing Kit

an all purpose combination utility tool, as well as a Candle with windproof/waterproof matches (remember, in some cases it is not wise to light a match in case of a gas leak)

8. A flashlight, preferably one that doesn’t need batteries.

You can also use alternate light sources



oLantern and fuel

oRoad Flare(s)

9. Extra incliment weather headgear, shoes & clothing. We recommend EXTRA CLOTHING

oA complete outfit of appropriate durable clothing; including extra socks, underwear, hat, sturdy shoes, and gloves.

10. Personal hygiene items, soap for washing, toilet supplies. We recommend using the sturdy 5 gallon plastic pail for a toilet, portable outhouse. Use your heavy trash bags that will fit down inside the bucket and the top will fold over the outside of the bowl toward the floor. Have a supply of bleach water in the bathroom made from one part laundry bleach to five parts water. This can be kept in a plastic 1 gallon pail. Add some of this when needed to handle scent as the bag fills up. Some folks double-bag to be sure for easy removal. When the bags are 1/2 full you can tie them off and put them in the back yard where you can dig holes to dispose of them. A bathing solution can be made of one part rubbing alcohol to ten parts of water and sloshed on the body with washcloths and rinse with clean water. Here’s where another 1 gallon pail comes in handy. Have plenty of generic mouth wash and also body rinse like “Sea Breeze”, Witch Hazel or a generic brand in your cabinet. Plan on one bottle per week per person of each.

11. Don’t forget your medications.

Ask you doctor for an extra prescription for emergencies. He or she will gladly do it and they understand and may hand you some free samples. Also don’t be afraid to ask for freebies including some antibiotics or other stuff they might hand out to you.

12. Your Personal identification, credit cards, financial papers, titles, etc.


oAt least $20 in your kit — be sure to include quarters for phone calls IMPORTANT PAPERS

oEmergency Instructions

oCopies of documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, insurance forms, phone numbers, credit card info, etc., Copies of the following: Marriage certificate Social Security cards Wills Inventory of household goods Immunization records Stocks and bonds Map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go

13. Maps, compass and AM/FM radio. We recommend having a radio with more than one source of power. Chemical lightsticks are recommended because of their safety, Road flares can be used but are not as safe as the lightsticks. Jumper cables. Car repair kit, Flat Tire Fixer Try to always maintain at least one-half tank of gas Cell phone to report any emergencies (many disconnected cell phones may still be able to call “911” when charged) Emergency Cell phone charger, Fire extinguisher, Paper and pencil for leaving notes or recording any thoughts, Toys and other special consideration items for children, Books and games for entertainment, Short rubber hose for siphoning.

In preparing your survival kit, select items you can use for more than one purpose. If you have two items that will serve the same function, pick the one you can use for another function. Do not duplicate items, as this increases your kit’s size and weight. Your survival kit need not be elaborate. You need only functional items that will meet your needs and a case to hold the items. Now that you thought about it, what do you think you should carry in your kit? Now that you have the idea, it’s up to you to follow through. The better prepared you are, the better your chances you will survive.

Thank you for your attention. We hope it helps.

Outdoor Kitchen Design – Swimming Pool and Landscape Designer Gives Several Tips on Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens and grills have become an essential component of outdoor gatherings by providing tremendous style and increased practicality. Here are some tips for constructing a functional outdoor kitchen and grill with durability, value, and style.

1. Pick a Countertop

When choosing the type of stone you would like to use for your outdoor kitchen countertop, many people choose granite for their appearance and durability, but they fail to realize that local stone can achieve the same durability and save up to 50 percent on the cost of The countertop. Bluestone countertops are certainly durable enough to handle the outdoors, especially considering a bluestone countertop may match your dining patio. In style, bluestone countertops bring a formal to the look of the outdoor kitchen. Other countertop options include concrete, slate, tile, marble, and soapstone. In the end, local stone such as bluestone seem to hold the best balance between cost, durability, and beauty. (Also, 2-inch bluestone should be used instead of typical 1and a quarter-inch. This will provide the countertop with necessary strength and durability for transport.)

2. Choose a Finish

Next you must choose the type of finish for your stone countertop. First of all, never use polished stone for an outdoor kitchen countertop. The surface will blind you with reflected sunlight and always look dirty. Allow the natural stone to look natural and it will enhance the style of the outdoor kitchen. Some possible finishes for a natural stone countertop include honed, flamed, and brushed. A honed natural stone finish features a smooth surface without the horrible reflection of a polished finish. Honed finishes, being completely flat, do not collect spills because the surface can just be wiped clean, as opposed to the rough, grittier finishes. Honed countertops also benefit greatly if they are sealed. Flamed countertops feature this rough, gritty surface as it is heated to extremely high temperatures and cooled rapidly. The flamed countertop achieves a rugged, natural look. The rough surface can be somewhat random as a result of the unpredictability of extreme heat, making this finish the most natural. Brushed stone moderately rough, brushed surface with a certain ruggedness to it. The natural stone countertop will have a wispy texture that will not become slippery when wet. A brushed stone countertop balances the formal honed finish and the natural flamed finish. The brushed finish has a natural texture but presents this texture in a consistent, formal way.

3. Light up the Grill with Low Voltage Lighting

Use low voltage lighting on the backsplash and under the countertop of your outdoor kitchen. Do not assume that you will only use your outdoor kitchen and grill during the day. Including low voltage lighting in an outdoor kitchen will safely create a usable cooking space after the sun goes down and highlight the bold features of the structure, therefore increasing the overall value of your outdoor kitchen and grill. After all, not even the greatest chefs can cook in the dark. For added style to the well-lit backsplash, glass tile can be used for color and design. Glass tile also meets the backsplash criteria of being non-porous and heat-resistant, both necessary qualities for a backsplash that will have to withstand extreme heat and splashing in the kitchen.

4. Always Put Vent in Outdoor BBQ Structures

For safety purposes, always put a vent in the back of your outdoor BBQ structures. Every gas line historically leaks. Including a vent will allow the gas to escape. If not, the gas will sit in the grill until someone comes to turn it on, and everyone knows what happens when uncontrolled gas and fire meet. A subtlet vent in the back of the grill will allow excess gas, in case of a leak, to escape into the yard rather than sit in the limited space of the grill waiting for you to blow it up by simply lighting up the grill. Be safe and make sure you have some sort of vent in your outdoor BBQ structure. In other words, do not blow up your house.

5. Use Slab-On-Grade Foundations for Natural Stone BBQ's and Outdoor Kitchens

This technique, unfamiliar to the average homeowner, incorporates a on grade foundation that will cut your structural costs in half. Your outdoor kitchen and grill can be set on a slab-on-grade foundation, as opposed to a typical footing. Slab-on-grade means the shape is dug into the ground, gravel is set at the bottom, and concrete is beloved level with the hole and reinforced by steel. This technique works in conjunction with metal framed structures, metal framed structures weigh significantly less than masonry structures and are designed to handle the countertop weight. This simple system removes the need for a deeply dough footing and concrete block, cutting back structural costs by 50 percent.

6. Use 2-inch Natural Thin-Stone Veneer for Outdoor Kitchens and Grills

Another great cost-saver for natural stone outdoor kitchens and grills is the use of 2-inch Thin-Stone Veneer. Thin-Stone veneer covers the outer perimeters of a structure with a thin layer of natural stone, giving the outdoor kitchen or grill the appearance of being made entirely of natural stone. For those looking to save money, thin-stone veneer creates the perfect appearance of a full 4 "natural stone veneer but cost half as much because it requires significantly less labor. You, your friends, and your family will not know the difference between full Depth stone and thin-stone veneer. Why not use this material and save money for essential costs of an outdoor living space? Or, give the low cost, thin-stone veneer can be used on your outdoor kitchen and grill, as well as your Cabana or home for a uniformed style.

7. Always Include Electrical Outlets In the Structure and On the Backsplash

Not everything can be included within the outdoor kitchen itself. Just like an indoor kitchen, you will definitely need your typical household appliances. Electrical outlets conveniently located on the kitchen backsplash allow hotplates, blenders, and rotisserie cookers to be plugged in right at your outdoor cooking station. Electrical outlets can also be placed inside the structure for refrigerators, warm drawing, and even for low voltage transformers. Electrical outlets in your outdoor kitchen can be a perfect place to set-up your dream outdoor living environment with every cooking and entertainment appliance you could imagine. You could even bring a TV outside to watch the game while you cook on the grill.

8. Use Glass Tile On the Backsplash For Added Style and Easy Cleaning

Glass tile kitchen backsplashes not only give outdoor kitchens an extra kick of style and design, but they are also easy to clean. The smooth surface can be wiped down shortly after cooking to preserve the beauty of the masonry structure. Stone or other types of backsplashes can stain easily and be a pain to clean. Make your life easier after cooking a delicious meal. Use glass tile on the backsplash for a quick and easy cleanup.

9. Include an Umbrella Sleeve In Your Cooking Structure

Remember standing in front of the grill this summer? The heat was sometimes unbearable. The inclusion of an umbrella sleeve on your outdoor kitchen and grill provides a simple solution to the hot sun. Relax in the shade as you cook a nice meal on a summer afternoon. If that's not enough, plug a portable fan into the electrical outlets suggested in Number 8. Either way, you will be able to comfortably cook on your outdoor kitchen and grill all through the summer, regardless of the heat.

10. Install the New Toe-Kick Heater

Sooner or later, summer comes to an end. I do not know about you, but I love to grill in the winter too! Try a toe kick heater. A toe kick heater is built into the bottom of the grill structure to keep your feet warm in the winter. Just as an umbrella sleeve will keep you comfortable in the summer, a toe kick heater will let you cook outside all winter long. The minority, innovative design will allow you to stand by the grill until the food is well done. (Remember, heat rises. Toe kick heaters will not only keep your feet warm but also make sure you do not freeze anything else off either.)

In summary, pick a countertop. Choose a finish, as long as it's not polished. Use low voltage lighting and electrical outlets to make the outdoor kitchen as functional as the one inside. Stay cool with an umbrella sleeve. Stay warn with a toe-kick heater. Use 2-inch thin-stone veneer and a slab-on-grade foundation to cut costs. Include a glass tile backsplash for a stylish, easy-to-clean surface. Finally, always include a vent in the back of your grill so it does not blow up. Otherwise, you may need these tips all over again.

All You Need to Know About Tooth Sensitivity

There is nothing worse than looking forward to your favorite treat, only to find that eating it causes pain to your teeth. A bite of ice cream, a sip of hot coffee, or even a healthy snack of citrus fruit can be painful.

Unfortunately for those with extremely sensitive teeth, this happens all too often.

Teeth are comprised of many layers, the strongest of which is the enamel. When the enamel has worn away and dentin that coats the nerve of each tooth is left exposed, painful tooth sensitivity is experienced.

Teeth sensitivity- also known as dentin hypersensitivity or root sensitivity- can be caused by a number of things, including age, vicious brushing, and injuries, among other causes. Dentin hypersensitivity affects more than 40 percent of the adult population world wide, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

Certain foods can lead to tooth sensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as sodas, citrus juices, and pickles can cause enamel to wear out and expose sensitive areas of the tooth. Bodily acids can damage teeth as well. Those who suffer from bulimia or gastroesophageal reflux disease must pay special attention to their dental care routines, as bodily acids can cause tooth erosion and sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by facial injuries and chipped teeth. Weaving a mouthguard can help avoid this by keeping teeth from smashing together and causing major oral injuries. Protecting teeth with a mouthguard during sports and physical activity can also lower the risk of concussion.

Sometimes tooth sensitivity can not be avoided. The aging process comes with receding gum lines and years of vivid brushing, which can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Those who have undergone orthodontic treatment such as dental braces, have had routine teeth cleansings through their lives, or had cavities filled may also experience tooth sensitivity during and after their procedures.

Braces are made to guide teeth into alignment, which will naturally cause discomfort to patients. Those with braces must take great care to thoroughly clean their teeth and braces because trapped food can create acid that can lead to cavities, decalcification and increased tooth sensitivity.

Patients who have sensitive teeth and are undergoing orthodontic treatment may fear the day their braces come off. While the procedure of removing braces simply toes like intense pressure on the teeth to most people, those with sensitive teeth may have a harder time enduring it. However, orthodontists are highly trained to reduce discomfort to all patients.

Once braces have been removed, patients can finally treat tooth sensitivity on the entire tooth surface, focusing on what was covered by the braces.

There are a number of home remedies and in-office procedures that can help alleviate tooth sensitivity.

At Home

Simple configurations to your everyday oral hygiene routine can help tremendously. First, a soft bristle toothbrush is recommended, as well as gentler brushing strokes. We also recommend patients double check the proper way to brush teeth, as improper brushing can cause unnecessary scratching of the enamel.

Second, special toothpastes exist to protect teeth from tooth sensitivity. You do not need to sacrifice fluoride or whitening, because several toothpastes made for tooth sensitivity come with whitening and fluoride capabilities. There are special rinses and mouthwashes that also come made for sensitive teeth.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends using products that have their seal of approval to ensure the product you use has passed the ADA criteria for effectiveness.

At the Office

Dentists can offer a fluoride gel to strengthen enamel. They can also offer to "seal" sensitive teeth with a plastic material. Covering teeth mends the exposed dentin and worn enamel and reduces sensitivity.

No matter the level of sensitivity, make sure to bring it up at your next visit to your dentist or orthodontist so they can advise the best solution for your oral health.

Breathe Your Way to a Flatter Stomach

Next to a weak posture, a person's breathing pattern is the next dead give away to their fitness level. Fit people tend to breathe slower and easier. Unfit people tend to gasp and pant. When you watch animals or children playing, they will run themselves to exhaustion, stop, catch their breath and then run around some more. The average adult acts terrified of taking in a healthy lungful of air. It is as if they have forgotten how to breathe. This really is a tragedy since when you run out of breath you run out of performance, period. You can pick out most of the unfit people during an exercise class. They are the ones who are choking and gasping in the back of the room. People with low stamina typically hold their breath or pant when they exercise. Fitter people tend to take longer, calmer breaths. Watch professional athletes in action and you will often see them breathing calmly and deeply.

Controlling my breathing helped me win a welterweight kick-boxing championship against a younger, fitter opponent. By the fourth round, he was out of breath – and out of gas – at which point his coach thread in the towel.

Proper breathing increases the absorption of oxygen into the blood. The co-regulation of breathing with exercise helps relax muscles and release tension, especially in the neck, shoulders and mid-back. Strong exhalation can draw strength from the deep support muscles. That is why weightlifters and martial artists often yell or shout as they exhale. This allows them to bring muscles into play that they do not normally use.

To make the most of your effort, during most abdominal exercises, BREATHE OUT WHILE CONTRACTING YOUR ABDOMINALS. This will give you deeper contracts and harder, more defined muscles. You will also be getting better results for your efforts than the red-faced beginner who grunts through a basic routine.

To understand what I'm talking about, try the following experiment: take a deep breath and then hold it while performing a crunch or sit up. Not much fun is it? Now try letting your breath out as you do a crunch or sit up. It may feel strange, but it should be easier.

Note: It is too much carbon dioxide rather than not enough oxygen that causes fatigue. This is why it is essential to breathe out stale air during exercise.

When you breathe out hard, you are making more lung space for more oxygen. More oxygen burns more fuel. More fuel burning, means more fat burning.

For those who would like a little more formal breath training, consider the following techniques that can be practiced just about anywhere. However, do not be fooled by the simplicity of these exercises; They are simple, but effective. Try them and reap the benefits.


1. Take a deep breath and then force all of the air out of your lungs. When you think that you can not exhale any more, tighten your abdominals and force out a little more air (do this three times). Repeat this exercise three or four times through the day with a few hours break in between. At first it will feel like you are running out of air and you might start coughing and feel a bit dizzy. If performed correctly, you should feel this deep in the lower abdominals. Usually it takes about five to ten sessions to learn to do this properly and then it becomes a habit.

2. Next, repeat the first exercise, but exhale while pressing your lips against your teeth allowing only a small slit for the air to escape. This will force your transverse abdominal muscles to contract. Some yoga textbooks claim that this also helps remove toxins from the blood.

3. The next exercise, called the Complete Breath is a bit more advanced. First, inhale into your lower lungs (this will make your abdominal wall actually swell a bit). Next, expand your ribcage and lastly, raise your collarbone. By contracting the abdominals, THEN the ribcage and FINALLY the upper chest, you can achieve a wave-like motion. Although it may feel awkward at first, the Complete Breath can be learned within a week and has been used to treat serious breathing conditions such as asthma. In one variation, asthmatic children are taught this technique by having them lie on their back with a rubber duck on their stomach. They are then encouraged to perform the Complete Breath by making a wave with their abdominals. If you want to try this at home and are missing a rubber duck, a paperback book will do the trick. Occasionally, you will find that you can do this exercise sitting at your desk or in your car.

If you are still feeling that you can not get the breathing right, we can solve your problem right here and now by reuniting you with your natural born ability to breathe deeply with one of two surefire methods. The first method is to have you sprint up a hill multiple times in succession. The second, and more immediate method, is to have you jump into cold water (a cold shower will fit the bill nicely). If you care to try either of these methods, I guarantee that your heart and lungs will immediately kick into high gear and you will have no trouble whatever, drawing in long, deep breaths. In fact, you probably will not be thinking of much else except your next lungful of air!

I myself have rediscovered this cold water treatment several times over the years. I first read about it in a book called Zen Combat (by Jay Gluck) and later in Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods (by Robert W. Smith). It also comes highly recommended by naturopathic doctors and old time fitness pioneers like Paul C. Bragg and Jack Lalanne. Champion grappler Matt Furey also advocates cold showers.

Another take on the cold shower is the polar bear plunge. For several years, some friends and I would go Polar Bear swimming on New Year's Day, in Vancouver, Canada. It was always good for a laugh, not to mention the fact that it was a great way to clear a hangover and, I must add, contrary to popular belief, no one ever got sick from doing it. For me, there is nothing quite like bringing in the New Year with a plunge into cold water. Also, as masochistic as it may seem to some people, it is also a great way to kick-start the day and it reminds us in less than a couple of heartbeats about the importance of deep breathing.

By now, I'm sure that most of you have found several excuses not to try this little breathing experiment. "Wait-a-minute!" You're saying. "I can not believe this guy is telling me to go jump in freezing cold water." Well, here is where we can separate the doers from the talkers. So you can either start practicing those breathing exercises right now or, alternately, go hop into some cold water. It's nice to have options, is not it?

For more tips, read the download: Stomach Flattening

Paint Spraying Lawn Furniture Gets the Job Done Quickly

When spring is just around the corner, it is time to consider hauling out your lawn furniture to give these items a fresh new look for the new season. Sanding, polishing, and repainting can take some effort and can be a demanding task, but the task is also a reward one and can save you money when you do it yourself. Using a paint spraying device will help to make the job an easier one once the sanding and polishing of the lawn furniture is completed.

Not all furniture will require sanding and polishing; This is typically reserved for weathered wooden furniture that has been battered by the elements over a few summers. Plastic lawn furniture has been a type of furniture that many people have found difficult to paint successfully. A paint sprayer, once you learn how to use one correctly, can help you to spray an even coat over the furniture and your plastic lawn furniture will have an updated new appearance for the start of the spring and summer season.

More homeowners are using designs on their plastic lawn furniture to add a stylish flair to furniture that is otherwise plain and ordinary. Professional stencils can be purchased and applied in an appliqué method to the lawn furniture. You then simply use a rented or purchased paint spraying hose and nozzle to add a fresh coat of paint. After the second coat or the protector layer has been applied and dried, you simply peel off the stencils to produce a creative new design for your ordinary lawn furniture.

Because many furniture pieces have many hard crooks and places to get to a standard paint brush, paint spraying has been deemed an ideal way to quickly and efficiently get lawn furniture painted by numerous homeowners. Wrought iron tables, benches, and chairs are known for being notoriously difficult to paint. Wooden slat benches also can prove to be a major challenge to get between each thin slat to ensure that the paint is fully coated around the entire bench. Using a paint spraying nozzle will help you to even coat the entire piece of furniture, no matter how many crevices and carved designs the furniture may have on it.

In the time of one afternoon, all of your old furniture can be hauled out of the shed, cleaned, and painted to boast a new and clean appearance just in time for spring. Paint sprays can be rented from local hardware and home improvement stores and they can also be purchased online and in local home improvement stores. If you are considering paint spraying outdoor buildings, home interiors, patios, steps, and children's swing sets, the investment of purchasing one will be worth your time and effort and each spring and summer season you can improve the look of your home and lawn furniture With this product. Paints are available in hundreds of thousands of color options to give you the most selection possible.

How To Become A Christian Recording Artist

I have been asked by a few friends to compile a list of things that you need to do in order to make a living at Christian music. So, below you will find my personal opinions on what you need to do to succeed. I will warn you that these are my opinions and not the only way to succeed. There are always exceptions to the rule. However, these things have worked for me and thus I will share what I know. I am not going to sugar-coat anything so if you are easily offended, my apologies already. Before I start, let me dispel a few myths.

Myth #1 If I had a record label to support me, I could be full-time

So, So, So Wrong. I have a better idea, go max out all your credit cards, take out a huge loan, borrow money from your family and live off that while you build your career in music. What? No takers? Why not? In effect, that is exactly what you are doing with the label. You are living off of money that isn’t yours. When you are out busting your butt touring to support your new CD, guess where the income goes? It goes to pay back that money they gave you to live on. I am going to say this once, STOP CHASING A DEAL! I did it for years. When I finally stopped and focused on making my music my business, the record deal found me. What you would be offered as a no-name/no-momentum band will be crap anyways. Go out and sell 10,000 copies of your self-produced demo and then we can talk about record deals and if they make sense. Until then, shut up and play.

Myth #2 I can just play churches/Christian events and survive

How can I put this? Christians are cheap! For the most part, Christians are not going to give you the financial support you need to survive. This will vary by region but all-in-all people think that ministry = free. Be careful how you present yourself to not get pigeon-holed here. You can be an artist that is Christian as well as a Christian artist. Let the music speak for itself, and when the opportunity presents itself, share what’s on your heart. If you try to bill yourself as only a Christian artist, you will not be able to play enough to survive.

The fact is I can go play 3 hours of cover songs at a bar and make more money than taking a love offering from 200 people. Shocked? Don’t be. It is sad but true. Be open to playing where you are needed, where your message is needed. If churches can’t sustain themselves financially, how can they sustain you? The research tells us that 2% of people who attend church actually tithe (the full 10%). Those are not the kind of odds I want to bet my family’s well being on.

On to the Top 5 list:

1) Be Competent

I heard Billy Joel once say that the reason he has been successful for so long is that he is competent. Most musicians are not as competent as they can be and thus fizzle out faster. If singing is your thing, take lessons, improve, study, practice! The same can be said for your respective instrument. If you are only OK at playing, OK isn’t good enough for full-time. There are plenty of mediocre musicians doing gigs for free that make it harder for you to make a living. So, be better! Be much better. The back half of this is to accept the Truth. If your parents tell you that you are great, get a second opinion. If strangers come up to you after hearing you play and fawn over your music, now you are talking!

2) Be Unique

There are many good performers out there. What will separate you from the pack? Is it your vocal style? Your guitar playing? There needs to be something that makes you, you! Whether it be using loops, a different tuning, a particular look or whatever; keep people watching and wanting to see what you are going to do next. A great resource for creating memorable moments is Tom Jackson seminars. I have had Tom’s home course for 4 years and refer to it often. I build my set lists around his formulas. Guess what, it works! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just research and study wisely. Find yourself before others find you.

3) Have a Great Recording

So, you have practiced hard, prepared a good show and created moments to remember, now what? If you do these things well enough, others will want to remember as well. You need a recording of yourself. This is the first true key to Full-Time. A good recording will get you gigs, a bad recording will not. Should you record in your home studio or go to a larger one? Good question. My experience is that most of us do not have the talent to create a good recording at home. Please note, good equipment does not equal good recording. You can have all the bells and whistles, but if you don’t know how to use them, you are wasting money.

I used to have great equipment at home but I didn’t know crap about using it to its full potential. I sold all of it and used that money to record with professionals. The results were fantastic and enabled me to have a quality product that was a true representation of what I sounded like. I used that CD to send to venues and book gigs. There is no doubt that it helped me to go full-time. A quick word about recording budgets, if you have a $1000 to record as your budget, do fewer songs with better production. A great 3-song demo is much more valuable than an average 12 song LP. You will sell many more at $5 each if they are great quality. The great quality will also get you attention of industry folks as well. Any prayer of radio play, etc. will only happen if the quality is great!

4) Be a Publicity Hound

You need to take every opportunity to promote yourself. Even the smallest opportunities can birth bigger and better chances to play. I started playing anywhere I could, parties, churches, youth groups, restaurants, charity events, business functions, bars, prisons, you name it and I’ve been there. Have a nice handout to give to people. Places like Club Flyers can print you thousands of post cards and posters very inexpensively. Use these to give out to everyone at gigs. If there is another band playing in your area that has the same style as you, go to the gig and hand out your material as people leave the venue. What?! Commando style? Yes, a full frontal assault on your prospective audience. Don’t be an ass. Use your head, be enthusiastic and invite people to your next gig. Go visit your local radio station and offer to play for any events they might have coming up. Many times they have a charity event they would love entertainment for. You need to go looking for it. If you can afford it, hire someone like Ariel Hyatt at Ariel Publicity. She does an absolutely incredible job on a 3-month publicity campaign for about a thousand bucks. In the publicity world, that is dirt cheap. She can obtain press, reviews, radio play and is a wealth of knowledge to help you promote yourself. Heck, she even got us playing live on Sirius Satellite Radio! One thing is for sure, if you are going to wait around for the opportunities to come flooding in, you are not full-time material. Sorry.

5) Think out of the box

This phrase is overused but it does hold true. I have done several things that many would never have thought of to survive. For instance, I played a Holiday Inn once a month in their restaurant/bar. I played 40+ cover songs over 3 hours. My arrangement was that they pay me in Priority Points. These internal points are funny money for the hotels. Giving you 20-30,000 points is nothing to them. However, it is 2-3 free nights at any Holiday Inn for you. This is very valuable when you are on the road touring. Limiting expenses is the key to success. For the hotel, it is free entertainment. For you, it is free lodging.

A win-win situation for all. I also played many coffeehouses around the US. One of the coffeehouses I played also was a roaster, i.e. they roast their own beans and make their own brands. I offered to bring samples of their coffee to all the houses I play and drop them off. If the venue places an order for coffee, the roaster covers my lodging and meals for the trip. Pretty sweet right? Necessity is the mother of invention.

If you truly want to make your living performing, all of the above will help. However, if you are not willing to risk it all, don’t bother. I don’t want to rain on your parade and I understand we all have obligations. But if God has put a true calling in your life, there is nothing that should stand in your way. It is too easy to find excuses. I did it for years. And I was miserable playing part-time and experiencing small successes. Every second I wasn’t doing what God put on my heart, I felt disobedient. If you don’t feel the same way, that same indescribable pain that is in your heart, the pain that affects everything in your life, your work, marriage, relationships, etc.

Full-time isn’t for you. And you know what, that is ok. Accept the truth if God calls you to part time ministry. Make the most of it. You can not force God’s will. But for those of you who know that it is all or nothing. I salute you and pray that God gives you the courage to answer the call and leave all reason behind. I’ll see you on the road!

Cuba Is One Of Five Healthiest Countries in the World

"Healthy countries" is not the most popular information subject for mass media. Newspapers typically write about viruses, diseases or epidemics affecting the whole region at once. The American magazine "Foreign Policy" has published the rating of the five healthiest countries and explained its choice.


On the whole, the Japanese live longer than representatives of other nations – their average lifetime makes up 86 years. The secret of the Japanese health consists in bodily exercise and food products with a low content of cholesterol. The Japanese diet includes fish, rice and sea-weed which lower the risk of heart diseases and cancer.

Fitness clubs have come in fashion in Japan. Sound health of several generations of this nation is maintained and improved due to a special state program which provides exercising before and during the workday. This program is advanced by the Government.

The largest Japanese mobile operator already offers "Fitness Phone", a service of measuring daily physical exercise, to lovers of the advanced technologies.

Nowadays, population health is programmed by the "western" food with its traditionally high content of fat: 7 million of the Japanese are suffering from diabetes, which spreads in Asia that is faster in other parts of the world.


France has the lowest rate of heart diseases which are considered the main reason of mortality. Specialists explain this fact by slow eating and daily consumption of a glass of wine. The French cuisine is traditionally rich in fats and carbohydrates, but it is ateen slowly, a little at a time and washed down with a moderate amount of wine.

It is worth mentioning that in 2002 the World Health Organization declared France the healthiest country of the European Union. Despite the fact that many of the French die of cancer and other severe diseases, the average lifetime in France makes up 75 years for men and 83 years for women, and goes on increasing.

Nowadays, obesity is declared a major problem, and a high rate of mortality caused by cancer and cardiovascular diseases is registered in France. The leadership of this country relating to the low rate of cardiovascular diseases is running the risk of becoming a negative leadership.


Iceland has the lowest child mortality rate and the best antenatal care in the world. Figures speak for themselves: 2 deaths of children under five per one thousand of newborns. In the USA this rate makes up 7 children.

The Icelandic Government pays for a wide range of services of mother and child medical care. Beside, it assures maintenance of 80 per cent of the mother's salary during three months.

However, nowdays the Icelandic population also suffers from obesity. The country annually consumes an awful amount of sugar per capita, mainly due to an exaggerated passion for carbonated beverages.


Sweden may boast of the highest probability of survival in case of a cancer disease, as well as of an almost 100% rate of child immunization.

Almost 14% of the state expenses go to healthcare and make up 85% of expenses on medical care. Beside, the 9-million population is served in modern hospitals and clinics equipped with the latest medical equipment.

The Swedes believe that a comprehensive social assistance which provides everything from professional development support to street illumination lowers the population sickness rate.

There still is a problem of queuing: the Swedes have to wait for reception and operations. The attempts to transfer small medical institutions to private ownership do not result in any evident progress.


The island of freedom may rightly be proud of a low child mortality rate and a medium lifetime. The rate of six doctors per one thousand of Cubans is the highest rate in the world.

According to the experts, a big number of doctors can not guarantee the population health, however, in Cuba it contributes to efficiency of measures on disease prevention. Thousand of Cuban doctors annually go abroad on study tours. Due to professionalism and the state support of healthcare Cuba achieves results even Europe may be envious of.

On the other hand, the focus on prevention and early diagnosis leads to the lack of drugs in the country. Beside, it is expected that openness of the Cuban society and increase in purchasing capacity of big layers of population will stimulate the "import" of European and American diseases connected with dieting and food.

It is also worth mentioning that according to the Public Organization "March of Dimes" the healthiest countries from the genetic point of view are France, Austria, Australia, Switzerland and Russia.

8 million children with severe genetic defects are born every year. It makes up 6% of the total number of newborns. The number of newborns with severe genetic effects in the most developed countries makes up from 397 to 425 per 10.000 children.

The Russian rate makes up 429 per 10.000 newborns. The USA with its rate of 478 per 10.000 children occupations the 20th place, right after Cuba. The list is enclosed by Benin, Saudi Arabia and Sudan (from 779 to 820 per 10,000 newborns respectively). Among the post-Soviet countries the worst indicators are registered in Tajikistan (752), Kyrgyzstan (735) and Azerbaijan (631).

We should remember that our health is affected not only by environment, the level of medical and genetic consulting and the healthcare level on the whole. A great deal depends on every one of us: his / her culture, education and lifestyle.

Beautify Your Home With Venetian Blinds

A Venetian blind is a type of window blind that consists of horizontal slats which can be adjusted as per the light requirements of the room. There are numerous varieties of Venetian blinds available in the market and are able to serve a wide variety of your needs. Thus choosing a blind that suits your and your family’s requirements is a critical choice you got to make. Perhaps, not only your requirements you must also consider your room size, shape, and many other factors while choosing a Venetian blind. Hence for choosing a Venetian blind, it is quintessential to know the various types of blinds available in the market and which one would suit your room. Let’s have a look at the varieties and their suitability to different rooms.

• A light filtering window blind- As the name suggests this type of window blinds made especially for rooms like kitchens and dining rooms where you need perfect amount of light. These blinds allow you to adjust them as per your lighting requirements making the room perfect and beautiful.

• A blackout window blind – unlike the other one this kind of blinds blocks out the light and is meant for rooms such as bedrooms and drawing rooms where you need less light or probably no light.

• Cordless window blinds – These are such type of blinds which protects your home from excess light while keeping your privacy a priority. These types of blinds suitable for places such as bedroom, locker room where privacy and security are two major concerns.

Apart from the above-mentioned types, there are numerous varieties of window blinds available in the market. Choosing a Venetian blind that best fits your window shape and size is very important. You must know the size and shape of the window before placing an order for Venetian blinds. You may not be having uniform windows throughout the house; hence you must assess the size and shape of individual windows and then decide the type of blind needed for each window accordingly.

There are few default blinds that fit different shapes of windows which can be bought easily from the vendor. Apart from the regular ones the vendors also able to deliver the certain type of blinds that best fits your window but you must detail them about your needs and requirements. For large windows, you can choose wood blinds or cellular shades, for high windows you can go for a motorized window blind so that you don’t need to pull out the ladder every time. Likewise, there are numerous varieties that allow limited light into room and save your energy costs.