Kitchen Installation – Things To Consider – Part Two

There is a big choice of kitchen flooring options to choose from: bamboo floor, walnut floor, birch floor, oak floor. For comfortable kitchen floor installation you may choose engineered wood or solid wood.

Such floors are durable and the hardwood floors are more resistant to weather and stains, which will make them perfect for the new kitchen floor installation.

Laminate, although sometimes looks like wood, in fact is a synthetic material. Laminate flooring is more water resistant than natural wood. But the main advantages are that this flooring is very easy to install and the material is reliably inexpensive compared to real hardwood flooring.

Ceramic tile is also a good material for a kitchen flooring, it's hygienic and easy to clean. But it has also a disadvantage: with time the surface may get covered with small cracks as it is not the strongest material.

Walls decoration.

The most common materials for the kitchen walls are tiles, wallpaper and paint.
Paint is the cheapest and fastest way to renovate a kitchen, wallpaper is more expensive, but can give just a little more character with its large variety of patterns. Wallpaper requires special attention. The first hit of any kitchen accident – fat splashes or steam from a boiling kettle – comes to the wall paper. The optimal solution here is vinyl and washable wallpaper that can end wet cleaning. Choosing wallpapers and paintings for your kitchen walls decoration, make sure the materials are made especially for kitchen use as these will be more resistant against humidity and will be easy to clean.

Ceiling options.

And finally, the top is the ceiling. Naturally it should be easy to clean and waterproof. The suspended ceiling of tiles and rails is assembled quickly and easily, it allows hiding the communications and setting up the spot lights. Although, the room will lose 7-10 cm in height.

Another version of the suspended ceiling is plasterboard. It requires a little more effort: after the sheets are installed, they must be plastered and painted. But this material perfectly traps sounds and allows creating any multi-level decor, as well as allows a necessary space for spotlights installation.

Kitchen furniture is also an important component of comfort. Not only the looks of the kitchen cabinets but the material they made of are of great significance. The frame is usually made of

Why Folding and Sliding Doors Are the Best Kinds of Doors

Have you ever noticed how much space gets taken up by solid hinged doors? Plus you always have to consider that someone is on the other side and that you might hit them in the face accidentally. There is a solution for this problem.

Folding doors don’t need a lot of space. They open sideways similar to a sliding door except that sliding doors are used for the public rooms and areas. Folding doors work great with solid wood because it is a durable and elegant material.

Folding doors can be custom made to suit your style. Whether you prefer the frosted glass or just the solid wood option, these doors are a great idea for anyone. The best place to have them installed is on the inside of your home in a passage or at the kitchen entrance. They add decoration and practicality to your everyday living. These doors also work perfectly for the private areas of your house such as the bedroom and bathroom.

You can have these folding doors spread over a large space as well. This could make life more practical for you. Although you can also use a sliding door for these larger openings a folding door can add style to the room. Plus they are quiet when they close and open. No squeaking or scraping.

Sliding doors made of glass allow for the maximum amount of natural light to come into the house during the day and keep the rooms cool once opened. On a lighter note, you also won’t need to worry about wind shutting them and giving you a fright.

If wanted to, you could add curtains in front of the glass sliding doors as they work similarly to a window. Curtain rails are generally placed at a standard distance away from the wall so you won’t have to worry about them getting caught in the track.

You can have sliding doors altered and customised to fit the style you prefer. For interior rooms it’s best to get solid or frosted glass finishes. For the one leading to the backyard, a transparent or normal frosted glass window should suffice and it will allow the light to enter your house.

In this modern era we are trying to save as much space as possible or create the illusion of space. These doors can be found at most door manufacturers. If you prefer, you can conveniently get a custom made door to fit the design of your home.

Lessons Learned From the Women in the 1930's

I went for a walk the other morning. Not a brisk walk, not a 90-minute walk, not a hill interval walk, a 15 min walk around the block to enjoy the sunshine. It got me thinking about the women from our past. For some reason the 30's struck a chord with me. I will preface this by saying that I obviously did not live in the 30's nor did I do extensive research on women from the 30's but my intuition tells me that those women did not go kill themselves in the gym and run 5 miles a day .

Really think about it … what did these women do for movement? I am assuming it would be mostly housework and walking to and from places. My client mentioned some bike riding maybe. For the most part however these women were not revving up their heart rates and sweating through their knickers in order to maintain their ideal bodies.

So I ask you women this question; What makes you believe that you need to "effort" the weight off? Think about it … the men were the hunters, women were the gatherers. Is it such a surprise that the methods out there to lose weight are not serving the women population? And for you men that are not having success with these methods, is it possible that your testosterone levels might be slightly lower keeping you from identifying with this masculine approach to weight loss too?

I am going on a limb here and saying that we need to stick to our roots. It's not to say that you can not go to the gym or run if you love it. I am simply saying that if you are like me, you do not particularly love working your butt off to lose weight and you're not lazy but definitely enjoy a slow stroll down the street, can that be enough?

I want you to get clear about what you actually like. How do you want to live? If you just want to go for a stroll a few times a week and clean your house, that's perfectly fine. If you love pounding the pavement and sweat dripping down your temples, do it. Only do what you love, and never make excuses for why you need or have to do any type of movement.

When you feel like you just have to "effort" the weight off, picture yourself in your home churning butter and then ask yourself, can life really be that simple?

The Creativity Behind the Sakura Binoculars

Sakura binoculars works best for outdoor expeditions. These Japanese made binoculars from Sakura Company are designed for optimum performance; These binoculars are fairly economic which costs relatively less in comparison with the other binoculars of the same class made accessible by leading brands.

Sakura binoculars are also recognized as maintenance free models. The features come in pack enabling the Sakura to outclass the competitions in the market with ease. The wide range of binoculars offered by the company will give every user the option in selecting the right model that will suit the needs and requirements of a particular consumer.

What made the Sakura binoculars different from the rest? It is due primarily with the important features integrated in the binoculars. The optical vision delivered by these binoculars is of high class and quality. It serves clear images in any given light conditions and is lightweight allowing a user to carry on and use these binoculars for extended hours. It also comes in handy and compact outer layer requiring less space. The anti-slip rubber covering ensures security when using without losing grip in any weather conditions. Most of the Sakura binoculars are tripod equipped and so mounting the binoculars on this accessory can be easily executed.

The design of Sakura binoculars naturally blended with nature with the ability of balancing with an array of hues and parts of nature unnoticeable with the object at hand. There are various binoculars that cater and promises great features over others with tagged prices that come along with them however, these binoculars should have been seen and tested initially in order to gauge its quality and performance.

This is quite evident with the Sakura 90x Magnification Professional Binoculars which is designed to generate desired results. To weigh against other highly priced binoculars, the Sakura 90 x Magnification pair of binoculars coming from Steiner which delivers all the high quality performance at a moderately low price label. The image quality is superb projecting an amazing brightness, clarity and resolution which gives every user complete satisfaction in any given setting.

This new generation binoculars can be used by entry level users, novice, amateurs, enthusiast and as well as professionals. The concept of this binocular is suitable for use on an extended period of time. Its excellent magnification level is one of the most highlighted features that this binocular is equipped with. It has a 10-90x magnification levels along with the optimum. The high magnification level of this binocular will certainly make users capture each defining action. Also, the inclusion of BCI optics gives a clean and vivid image quality at higher magnification levels. On the other hand, there are also wide ranges of Zoom Binoculars where a user can get a view of great color and an up close detail on both objects and animals.

The Sakura binoculars would definitely be the best buy for outdoor actions giving great views and settings. This Japanese owned company provides long distance vision of objects making every action attainable at a close range.

Tiger VS Sherman Solved Once And For All

I saw this issue been discussed on several forums online but with little perfection, so let us analyze and find a solution once and for all. OK let’s get started, when it comes to any match up or show down one must know the details on both the sides. So let’s first look into both the tanks before we match them up. Let’s look some detailed and important facts and information rather than common stats and numbers that can be found everywhere.

A brief look into Sherman tanks:

When talking about Shermans we can’t forget that they won the day for the western allies after D-day landings. But what are the real facts and details of these famous tanks?

What made Shermans so powerful?

Shermans were simple but highly reliable tank in terms of manufacturing and repairing furthermore they were easy to use. For instance, they could move comfortably on most surfaces where Tigers will either fail or require special attention like building special bridges and so on. Moreover Shermans are highly simplified tanking solution when compared to most other World War 2 tanks (expect T-34s). And they are far easy to mass produce compared to any German ww2 tank. In fact they shared some spare parts with cars including engines from Ford cars. This interchangeability of parts and a massive automobile industry behind it was a great plus for Shermans. This was not all about the greatness and versatility of Shermans they could perform different tasks in their various versions. Take for an example, they can spray fire (flames), clear mines and even lay bridges in different versions. And above all they had the massive American Automobile industry and economy behind. But once on the battlefield, Sherman’s light weight and simplicity proved fatal.

Serious drawbacks in Sherman:

As we had already seen ‘Shermans’ were much simpler tanks focused primarily on quantity (mass production) and not the Quality (crew comfort or protection). The armor was so light which provided a high speed but little protection, as a result it was easily destroyed by enemy fire. Little importance was given to crew comfort and protection. Furthermore the gasoline engine which powered it was highly inflammable and burned badly upon impact, earning it the nickname “Tommy-cooker“. To make things worse Sherman needs to get in 100 meters range to take down any German heavy tanks, while most German tanks(either Panther or Tiger) was capable of taking down a Sherman at a staggering 1000 or in the case of tiger more than 2000 meters.

A short sight on Tigers:

To say in one word, Tiger Tanks were the best and by far the most powerful tank of ww2. They were far advanced and much more deadly to anything that stood in their way.

What made Tigers such so strong?

The German doctrine for tanks during ww2 was “Quality over Quantity” where else the allies believed “Quantity has its own Quality“. Thus German tanks were far superior in quality compared to any of their counterparts. For instance the tigers were far advanced and most feared tank during ww2. Tigers were indeed monsters of destruction they were well armored and armed to tooth. Unlike most of us think, tigers were not strong due to their thick armor, in-fact they were armored in an ingenious way. Rather than placing the armor plates vertically, the armor was placed in a sloped manner, some historians’ say this tactic was copied from the Russians. But indeed the Germans copied and upgraded the idea of slope armor. In theory, the Russians sloped their armor to 30 degree which increased the frontal armor’s thickness effectively without increasing the tanks weight. However, the Germans found that if the armor plate was sloped to a staggering 60 degree, then there will be no grip for the incoming shells to penetrate the armor instead they just bounced off the thick armor. That’s the reason why allied tank shells bounced of the Tiger’s armor as there was not enough grip to penetrate. This gave the Tiger crews a feeling of invincibility and confidence as there were no weapons to destroy them on the battle field. While the slope armor gave it invincibility its main gun, the 88 mm (originally an antiaircraft gun) gave it a supreme firepower compared to anything the allies had imagined. It was the desert corps under “Erwin Rommel” (desert fox) who first created the idea to use these massive and reliable 88mm anti-aircraft guns in anti tank roles. Later these 88mm cannons were placed on a heavily armored tank resulting in the production of TIGERS. As a result, the Tiger could fire and destroy most allied tanks at a staggering range where the allied tanks can’t even see the tiger. Tiger can penetrate the frontal armor of most allied tanks from a massive 1000 — 2000 meters while almost all allied tanks (except a few later Tanks) must be within a 100 meter range to penetrate the Tiger, that too mostly its rear or side not the frontal armor. With these records and stats there is no surprise when the history says some allied tank crew preferred to run when faced by the overwhelming odds of the Tiger’s destructiveness. This caused a psychological fear factor and gave rise to the term “Tiger-phobia“. But even the toughest Tigers had some serious issues and draw backs (mostly due to political and economical state).

Flaws within the claws of Tigers:

Perhaps the biggest setback for tigers was its production status, as they were always outnumbered by most allied tanks. As discussed earlier, German doctrine by that time was “Quality over Quantity” unlike the American and Russian “Quantity has its own Quality” as a result the Tigers were always outnumbered. This is because both Sherman and T34 were far cheap and easy to make while the Tiger was a high-tech, Complex and Over Engineered Tank which was far tougher to manufacture let alone mass produce. Manufactured in a very few numbers they always lacked the numbers and were very tough to be replaced. Furthermore tigers were prone to mechanical issues and were very tough to repair (although this issue was fixed soon). Even worse was its bulk size, weighing around 62 tons they were too slow on most terrain. Although for their size they were reasonably fast yet not fast enough to match its counterparts. Their weight restricted them from crossing most small bridges and so forced to either wait till special bridges to be built or cross rivers directly. But as said their worst problem was being Over- Engineered tank they were far ahead of their time and was tough to make and cost more time and materials than any other tank built during the war. Most of these draw backs were to be blamed on Nazis not on German Engineers or army. For it was Hitler’s direct wish to make a tank that was stronger than any before while ignoring practicality of mass production.

Sherman Vs Tiger on battle field:

By now there must be no issue to decide which tank will win when faced head on. Even the Sherman crew will agree that it will be hands down to Tiger Tanks. OK if so how was it possible for the allied commanders to deal with Tigers and win the war? Well it was so simple.. as I told already, there was always a Sherman to replace destroyed Shermans while replacing a Tiger was almost impossible. In this showdown it was just a number game and the Shermans were able to win it. In fact the allied commanders made a pathetic strategy to deal with the Tigers; the idea was to sacrifice 4 Sherman tanks to take down a Tiger for Shermans can always be replaced with a massive American automobile industry behind. But here one must not forget that it was not just the mere metal tank that was sacrificed but also the American crew to take down a Tiger. As a result despite a victory here the allies cant claim any show of strength they used Shermans almost in a similar role against the Tigers as the Japanese used their Zeros during the later day of war(Kamikaze).

The final outcome:

Its one of the toughest question to answer but one cant consider a pure number victory as a reason to declare a tank as stronger tank.. I will do that I you could agree that millions of ants capable of killing man can mean that ants are stronger than Humans. Here the answer is simple it was the Shermans who won the war (not the war between the tanks but the ww2) while the Tigers won the Tank vs. tank battle hands down..

Hot Stove League for Bargain Hunters

As I write this article it is 28 degrees outside and winter’s grip is fully upon us in the early days of this new year 2017. With that in mind I have for you today my version of baseball’s Hot Stove League.

I’m not talking sport however, unless you consider the hunting of curiosities and antiquities to be sport – and many people do. In New England where I live, specifically on a 64 mile long sand bar called Cape Cod, antique and oddity hunting is great sport during the summer months.

In January all we bargain hunters can do is talk about past ‘steals’ and ‘deals’ that we’ve made while looking forward to May or June when yard sales, flea markets, and curiosity/antique shops will be as common as beach sand.

For veteran seekers of cast off treasures much of what follows will be old hat, but perhaps I’ll give you a few new thoughts that might help you in next summer’s transactions.

Many people have the misconception that antiques cost more than they can afford. Shopping for antiques is a great way to spend a free afternoon and you may be surprised at how many good bargains you come across. The hardest thing is many people don’t know the true value of the particular item they are looking at in an antique shop.

It may have caught their attention because of the style of it or it brings back happy memories. You never really know if the shop owner is trying to up the price or if you are already getting a good deal. Since you can’t quickly go to another store and compare the price you pretty much have to decide the maximum you are willing to pay for an item and then walk away if the negations don’t work in your favor.

It is a good idea to do some checking into the reputation of a given antique dealer before you even step foot into their store. You will find you are able to get good deals on antiques when you get to know the owner of the store. If you are a frequent shopper in the store you can build a good relationship. Bringing in other customers to the store is something that will get noticed as well. The owners of the antique store will want to work with you on items so that you keep generating more business for them.

You will be able to negotiate the price for what you want if the antique shop is operated by the owner and not several different employees. Even though you will find more selection at antique malls, you won’t be able to negotiate the prices as much. Small antique shops can generally offer you some history on the pieces you are the most interested in.

On Cape Cod and I expect just about everywhere else you will do much better at flea markets, garage sales, and in the shops with cash. Money talks – the folding kind – not the plastic variety. Cash does indeed speak and its voice is very loud.

Frequently you will get a far better price if you approach the seller with cash in hand, partly because the credit card fees cut into the vendor’s profit. Many of antique stores, as well as the flea markets and yard sales people are hesitant to take personal checks, especially if you are from out of town. Showing that you do have the cash with you in an unobvious way is also helpful. For example, you can count it and then say, “will you take $50 for it? That’s all I have with me today.

It is important to remember that you will be buying antiques in the condition they are in. Make sure you take the time to thoroughly examine what you are purchasing. You don’t want to get home and discover what you thought was a great bargain is nothing but junk. Most antique dealers take pride in offering quality items but you still need to check. You will be disappointed if you think you are going to take home an antique in mint condition for a very low price though.

If you are looking for certain antiques, take a look around online to get a good idea of what the going price is for them. Try to negotiate something that is about 25% less than the rates you find online. Don’t be afraid to ask the antique shop owner to cut you a better price. It helps if you say something along the lines of “would you accept $100 for this?” Instead of “can you lower the price”? It definitely helps you get what you want if you are assertive but not going overboard.

Do not be afraid to ask for a better price, especially at flea markets. On slow days at flea markets and swap meets some vendors don’t even make enough sales to cover the cost of their space. If you happen to be the sale that will allow him to at least meet his rental fee, you may be able to negotiate a steep discount.

If you are planning to visit Cape Cod this summer you’ll find more antique shops per square mile than just about any other place in New England. Another source for vintage and new items as well, are the sidewalks of the fifteen towns of the Cape. Many seasonal cottage owners frequently upgrade their furnishings. Instead of selling off the old items, they put them out on the sidewalks with a big “Free” sign on them. You can find everything from televisions, to couches, beds, bureaus, and even the kitchen sink! Beginning in May the sidewalks of the Cape could be paved with ‘gold’ for you.

Also in May, the new season starts at one of the best venues in New England- the Wellfleet Flea Market on Route Six, just over the Eastham line. There are hundreds of dealers and thousands of bargains every weekend from mid may to Columbus Day. When the sun goes down, the market takes off its salesman’s apron and reveals its true identity as a delightful old time Drive-in Movie Theater. Every night, rain or clear, Wellfleet shows two first run feature films – an old fashioned double feature! They even still have the vintage drive-in food available from the snack bar. Sooner or later everyone who visits Cape Cod goes to Wellfleet for the flea and the show.

Essential Equipments That You Need For Your Kitchen

1. The equipments for grill.
For seafood lovers, any kind of seafood such as shrimps, crabs or squids, etc. There are some thing that you should know about grilling equipments, that is, the materials that they made from has ability to absorb and keep the heat, then affects to the time of cooking become faster. Also, if the coating material of equipment can absorb the heat easily, this will help to reduce the time of cooking.

Nowadays, there are 2 types of grilling equipments or what we generally called "Grill" available.

1) The type that uses charcoal and

2) The type that uses electricity.

The important thing to considering choosing the good grill is both type have to be made from the materials that be able to absorb and maintain heat consistently.

2. The equipments for baking
Almost kind of sweets either bread or cakes are all the food that baked from oven. What makes different between oven and microwave is that microwave are normally used to cook or warm dried food rather than cooking a new dish, but oven is suitable for cooking various kind foods such as meals, dessert, meat, fish or even cake!

3. Is there any different between kitchen equipments used in house and equipment used in condominium.
Typically, there are not much different between cooking in house and cooking in condominium in terms of usage. Some of the equipment are very similar and can be used in both conditions, such as electric rice cooker, electric frying pan, spoons, forks, ladles, etc.
Many people have changed to use electric frying pan increasingly. New innovation of frying pan has emerged in what we can see in its coating material, which allow the food never be buried to the pan surface and the coating material itself has capacity to absorb and maintain heat.

The easy way to clean your kitchen equipment
Each of the equipment are different in terms of usage and characteristics, therefore the way that use to clean and maintain them should be also different.
For example, frying pan that made from iron material, this type of equipment must be kept and maintain very carefully, especially in proper humidity, in order to protect the equipment from rust because after we cook, there will be slough of food and oil stick At the pan's surface. Therefore, cleaning method must be done extensively. The method applied in order to get rid of those sloughs, try to burn the pan by using high degree of fire or heat before clean it by dish washing liquid

Advice about cleaning your kitchen equipment
Before cleaning, try to soak all of the equipment into the washer liquid for about 10-15 minutes, because the washer liquid generally has ability to wiping fat and all of slough and this will help get rid of those that buried easily.

Common Household Signs That Your Child May Be On Drugs

Do you ever find your ballpoint pens missing? What happened to those large plastic pop bottles that you thought you threw into the recycling bin? Why are so many spoons missing from your cutlery drawer in the kitchen?

Have any of your kitchen or bathroom faucets lost their filters? What about your window screens? Do they have any missing chunks? Do you ever walk into the bathroom and become overwhelmed by the scent of heavily-sprayed perfume?

Kids are amazingly resourceful when it comes to creating methods of ingesting drugs. They don’t need to go to a “head shop” to find these tools. Everything they need can be found in the home. As parents, you really need to be aware of these signs.

Have you ever gone to the fridge to find an entire cake gutted from the inside? Have you ever found incredible amounts of junk food missing from your pantry?

Has money ever gone missing from your wallet or purse? Do your other children ever complain that stuff is missing from their rooms? Do you ever walk around your home and notice certain things that just make you go, “Huh?”

Chances are that you are NOT losing your mind. If you have any concern that your child may be abusing drugs, please pay attention to these very common household signs.

Everyday household stuff can easily be used for making drug paraphernalia. More expensive items like bicycles, musical instruments and iPods can be sold or hawked to pay their dealers.

What is my son or daughter using the pens, pop bottles and mesh filters for?

Kids frequently use these items to make bongs. Bongs are pipes used as a method to inhale marijuana and/or hashish through a water filter. Some kids think this is a purer way to filter out the harmful carcinogens that marijuana and hashish contain. Some of them consider this to be a healthier “high.”

There are hundreds of thousands of places via a Google search on the internet where they can learn how to build these homemade pipes.

As a substitute for pop bottles, they will use the glass from hurricane lamps, large jars, soda cans and just about anything else that can provide a “chamber.”

What happened to all of my spoons and candles?

Spoons and candles can be used in a variety of different ways to ingest drugs. Sometimes, hashish oil is heated in an everyday teaspoon over a lit candle and inhaled (through the hollow tube of a pen.) Spoons are also used for mixing and injecting stronger drugs like methamphetamine (meth, ice), but sadly, by the time your child reaches that stage, you will likely be aware of it already.

I could have sworn I had a pair of diamond earrings in my jewellery box.

Nothing in your house is sacred when you have a child heavily influenced by drugs. Yes, they will steal from their own mother. Check your valuables every once in a while. If stuff starts to disappear, start asking questions.

What happened to that cake I had in the fridge? It looks like a pack of animals got at it.

No, that wasn’t a pack of animals. It was likely your son or daughter coming down from a high, desperately needing a fix of sugar. They didn’t use a fork. They used their hands. They also prepared and consumed three packages of Kraft macaroni and cheese all at once.

I left my purse on the kitchen counter and now $50 is missing.

You’re not imagining this. Even in your own household, you are vulnerable to theft from the child who is addicted to drugs. Your other children are also extremely vulnerable. They may not want to tell you, but they may suspect their brother or sister is stealing from them.

Often, there are no obvious red flags to alert us that our children have already started down the path to drug hell. As parents, we have to look at the subtleties.

Look around you. Look around your house. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Keep track of your stuff. Don’t listen to the “dog ate my homework” story.

For the sake of your beloved child and yourself, don’t ignore these common household signs of possible drug abuse. Your child may already be feeling out of control.

Use these early opportunities to take a stand. If you really don’t feel right about something that’s going on right under your roof, trust your gut instinct and address it now.

Your son’s or daughter’s life may depend on it.

A Guide to Planning Wedding Music For Your Ceremony

Planning The Wedding Music Program

Organising your wedding music for the ceremony is easy once you understand how it all works. Chances are you will have no previous experience in doing this, so the following tips should make your job a lot easier.

Wedding Music – Have It Live

When planning your wedding music, keep in mind that nothing compares with having music performed live in order to create a unique, romantic ambiance. Your wedding is your very special day, so it deserves the best. If however, you cannot afford a wedding entertainer, then you can still use my suggestions to play music on CDs.

Positioning Your Wedding Entertainer

You should place your wedding entertainer in a prominent position at the front, but out of the way of the wedding party. This will ensure that the sound is not blocked, and therefore muffled by people or objects. Also, it is nice for your wedding guests to actually see the musician play.

Planning Your Wedding Prelude

Music during the prelude should be soft and soothing so that it sets a delightful ambience while your guests arrive. It can also help the groom to relax, as well as function as additional wedding entertainment for everyone in the event that the bride arrives late.

Planning Your Wedding Procession

Just before the processional i.e. the Wedding March, it works better if the musician stops playing a few minutes before the bride arrives. If your wedding music program does not include the traditional “Here Comes The Bride” piece for the wedding march then Read More.

Achieving Goals – The Power of Focus

We all love to achieve our goals, and I suppose most of us experience some twinge of envy when someone gets something that we want too.  What have they done that we didn’t?  Why should they have all the luck?

It’s lovely to blame luck because then we can absolve ourselves of responsibility for not achieving our goals.  Unfortunately, “responsibility” has become synonymous with “blame” and they are not the same at all!  “Response-ability” is our ability to respond, as you can now see from my deliberate mis-spelling of the word, and that response is our ability to shift our focus.

Do not underestimate the power of focus.  The human facility for being able to consider things from many different angles can and will shape your destiny.  Your entire life will be shaped by how you choose to look at things.  I seriously urge you to take responsibility for what happens to you, and your goal achievement prowess will be instantly magnified a thousand fold!

Focus has two meanings in this context.  It means being clear – really clear – about what you actually want.  Clarity in the same sense that you might focus a camera lens.  It may sound daft to talk about being clear on what you want, but if you want to achieve your goals, take heed!  In my experience most people do two things that are significantly different from that.  First, they harp on endlessly about what they don’t want.  They will tell you how situation X or circumstance Y is no longer going to be there when they get such-and-such a goal.  What are they focussing on?  Like an endless loop tape, they are focussed on all the negatives in their life all of the time.

The second meaning of focus has to do with where you “shine the spotlight.”  When things don’t work out as planned, many people have a tendency to talk and think it terms of their “failure.”  Then, before long, they give up on the goal.  What makes this worse is that they can easily and quickly find a couple of dozen drinking buddies who will clap them on the back and yell, “Join the club!  Now you know it doesn’t work too!  Another beer?”

It is imperative that you focus on the fact that success is possible.  Barriers have been broken throughout history.  Roger Bannister’s four minute mile – considered impossible until he did it, is now a relatively common achievement.  Edison’s electric light bulb, which, according to legend, had Edison discovering almost a thousand substances that would not produce a light bulb, provoked someone to ask him how he felt about having so many failures.  Edison’s now famous, and we presume, slightly astonished reply was:

“I didn’t have any failures.  I simply found nine hundred and ninety nine ways that didn’t work.”

Edison never focused on anything other than his successful outcome.  Now you can decide which is his greater legacy: the light by which you may well be reading this, or the lesson he taught us that can change your life now.

Wok this Way! (Part 4 of 5) Cleaning and Caring for Your Wok

Non-stick woks do not require seasoning, and come with simple cleaning instructions from the manufacturers, while steel carbon and iron woks require seasoning. Cleaning a seasoned wok is a lot different than a non-stick wok, and this is what we will cover here.

We will start with an important reminder: Do NOT use a steel wool scouring pad (or any abrasive product) on a seasoned wok, EVER! It will waste all the effort you put forth in seasoning your wok, and will require you to re-season it again.

A freshly seasoned wok will need some extra tender-loving-care. Immediately after cooking each dish, rinse the wok with plain hot water only. It is important to not use any other cleaning product to avoid damaging the seasoning. Often, there will be some bits and pieces of food particles stuck on the surface of a freshly seasoned wok. To remove them, gently lift them off with a bamboo brush (highly recommended), or a non-metallic scrubber. Then rinse the wok once more with plain hot water. To dry the wok, instead of wiping it dry, put the wet wok on the stove and set it on high heat. Heat the wok until a faint smoke arises from the bottom, then either let it cool and store it away, or continue to cook another dish. It is a common practice for chefs in Chinese restaurants to immediately put the wok back on the stove, pour hot water into the wok, scrub it quickly with a bamboo brush, dump out the water, and then place the wok back on the hot stove while he/she prepares another dish. By the time he/she is ready to cook the next dish, the wok is already hot, dry, and primed to go. It takes literally seconds to go through the drill once you get some practice. This process allows the traces of grease from the last dish to settle into the carbon steel’s pores, further seasoning the wok.

After you are finished cooking a meal, cleaning the wok, and ready to put the wok away, it is always a good practice to apply another thin coat of cooking oil. Store it in a dry, airy spot until you use it again (hopefully, very soon). Once the wok is well-seasoned, it becomes self-sufficient, and will not require re-coating again. As mentioned before, It takes time, care, and regular use before a wok develops a patina, where the wok becomes virtually non-stick, and the dishes impart that elusive “wok hay”. In addition, clean-up and care will be easy, requiring little time and effort, often only involves rinsing it with plain hot water and little scrubbing, as none of the food should stick to the wok.

As the black patina develops from frequent repeated use, it will also appear on the bottom exterior. It is also a layer of carbon from cooking at a high heat. In a household kitchen, where the stove does not reach as high a temperature as it does in a restaurant, this is actually a good thing. It helps conduct the heat faster, concentrates the heat to the bottom of the wok, and brings the wok to an even higher temperature. A nice bonus is that it also enhances the flavor of the dish. So, there is no need to scrub the exterior of the wok, either. Just a simple hot water rinse after cooking should be enough.

In Part 5, we’ll talk about all the nice little friends that you can get along with your wok, the accessories.

The Method of Using a Steam Vacuum Cleaner

Having an idea on using a steam vacuum cleaner will save you money on getting expert service providers to clean your carpets. Now it is the time to discover novel techniques on how you can use your steam vacuum cleaner.

You can utilize a steam vacuum cleaner to tidy all kinds of household areas, including your flooring to the furnishings and even the cooking range. You should be curious about the novel techniques of how you can use the vacuum so just continue reading to acquire the novel techniques.

Ensure that the equipment is clean from any substance, which may block the vacuum’s filter. Verify that the belt connecting the wheel and the nozzle are in working order. Plenty of trouble is the cause of a blocking in the belt or clogging of the filter.

Next fill up the container with a cleansing agent and then pour warm water. Ensure that you do not input boiling water as it may cause damage to the plastic components. For cleaners having dual containers implies that the cleansing agent and the water have to be poured in separate containers. Look at the filler stripes and pour adequate water and cleansing agent keeping in mind the total area that you are going to clean.

In case you detach the container at the time of pouring the fluid ensure to insert it in the same way as it originally was. Choosing the correct setting for cleaning the floor, standard tidying, cleaning the tiles or cleaning big stains ensure that you have the correct setting for the type of area.

Plug in the vacuum steam cleaner in the electric socket. Switch on the button located on the lever and push the cleaner towards the front and the back releasing the water. Leave the button and replicate the same technique (arid air to suction in the liquid that you released initially). Here you should be seeing filthy mud fluid getting suctioned in to the clean translucent plastic casement.

Continue this process till you are able to see the fluid cleaning up the carpet. Ensure that the wetness does not remain on the same place for long as it may take a while to get dried.

Once you are satisfied with the tidying process take out any elements that may be creating the filter clog up and if possible clean the filter. If you are able to execute this without any hindrance then you should be awarded the title of being the fastest expert steam vacuum cleaner individual.

Opening a Brokerage Account

Being informed can make the process of opening a brokerage account easier. Before opening a brokerage account, it is a good idea to know a little bit about the different types of accounts, how the brokerage firms are paid, and what will be expected of the investor as to the procedure of opening an account.

For buying and selling securities, three types of accounts exist: cash accounts, margin accounts, and option accounts.

1. A cash account, sometimes called the type one account, is when the investor has to pay for his purchase up front. To be able to oversee the purchase in the fastest manner possible, the brokers usually require a large amount of cash deposit when the account is first opened. In addition, investment accounts like IRA and Custody have to be cash accounts.

2. A margin account, also called cash and margin account or a type two account, is when the investor can take out loans from the brokerage firm to buy stocks against his existing securities. To have a margin account, an investor must also have a cash account. For stock trading, the margin is fifty percent. That is, an investor with $ 25,000 in his cash account can purchase up to $ 50,000 of stocks.

One caveat with the margin accounts is that, the stocks suddenly fall way down and in the investor's cash account there is not enough money, he has to pay the loan all at once, or the brokerage has the right to sell all the securities The investor has in his account. If the stock prices have stayed low and the sale has not met the loan, the investor may end up owed money to the brokerage firm. In addition, the brokerage has the right to charge interest on the money owed.

To be fair, when the stock prices drop, the brokerage will warn the investor with notice called a margin call to let him deposit more money in his account.

3. An option account has the same conditions of a margin account, except with the addition of allowing an investor to trade options on stocks and stock indexes. For a novice investor, playing with options can be dangerous; Therefore, brokers have their clients sign a statement indicating that they are familiar with the risks involved.

As to the fees the brokerages cover, most trades have been commission-based per trade and non-discretionary. A discretionary account is when the investor lets the brokerage firm decide which stocks to buy and sell on his behalf, without the broker needing to inform the client of each step. In a non-discretionary account, brokerage has to buy or sell stocks with the approval of the client.

Because of the concerns for account handling by the brokerage firms, additions and corrections were made to the way the fees were applied to the non-discretionary accounts. As of October 2007, advice may be given by the brokers to non-discretionary accounts holders, but it is up to the client to accept or deny it, and instead of commission-based fee, a yearly flat fee may be asked. Commission-based accounts still exist, but the investor is given more choices. For the financial advisors, if the client's portfolio grows, compensation is based on the overall value of the portfolio.

When an investor applies to open a brokerage account, he has to present his name, address, social security or employer identification numbers, home and work phones, date of birth, employment information, and salary disclosure so that the brokerage agency can determine what type Of trading the investor needs. The investor, also, has to sign the "Payer's Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification" form, which guarantees the authenticity of the investor's federal social security number.

Then, the broker will ask the investor's financial and citizenship status, tax bracket, investment experience, net worth, risk tolerance, investment objectives, and if an immediate family member is a director or a major shareholder in a publicly traded company. At this time, since stock trading fees may differ among firms, the investor should ask the broker about the fee system in the firm.

The brokerage firm, then, presents the investor the Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 14B-1 (c). This rule makes for the brokerage firm provide the investor's name, address and the required information to the companies the investor will purchase securities from, but without for communicating with the investor, the rule bars the publicly traded companies to use the investor's information for other purposes .

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Sources:

Opdyke, Jeff D. The Wall Street Journal – Complete Personal Finance Guidebook
Three Rivers Press, 2006.

Financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Brokerage+Account

Http://www.finweb.com/investing/types-of-brokerage-accounts.html

Invest-faq.com/cbc/trade-broker-accts.html

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Benefits of Exterior Home Lighting

Whether your home is older or recently built new, finding outdoor lighting to that will make you happy should not be too difficult. The manufacturers have made sure that the consumer has numerous styles to select from.

There are several reasons to consider the use of exterior lighting. It accents the landscape and provides you with lights by your front door for safety. Most will feel more secure with outside lights on. Also, decorative exterior lights are eye catching and provide aesthetic appeal to your home.

There is lighting designed to illuminate a specific area, or dim lighting for a pathway or around landscaping. There are spot lights for extra safety or if you just want a particular outside item to be bright.

It is important to first decide on the size you will need. Most experts will influence you to buy front lights that are 25% the height of your front doorway so that they will appear professional.

Some individuals prefer to match their lighting with their home’s style. For instance, if you have a home that is built with logs, outdoor lighting with a natural look probably would look best. A Victorian home is very detailed in style. Exterior lighting with fancy scrolls and details would probably look best.

Many homes are built in a traditional style. You can find many outdoor light fixtures that will enhance these type houses. For a contemporary home, concentrate on a clean and simple shape. A fixture made of earth tones is a good match.

Of course there are many other designs available, such as Oriental, Tropical, and Country. You can decide to change your outdoor lighting by switching to one of these styles. It can be fun to pick out tropical designs with palm trees and the like. You do not have to reside in a tropical area to select this theme. Some just like to spruce up their home and go for this style. There is also nautical if you are a lover of the seas. Again, you can use this theme no matter where you live.

Decoding The Depression Puzzle

Are We Overusing Antidepressants?

Eleven percent of Americans over 12 years old take antidepressants, which is the second most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S., after cholesterol-lowering drugs. Many more women than men use them. About 21 percent of women aged 20 and over take them; among women aged 40-59, the rate is 25 percent.

Antidepressants are psychiatric medications used to treat mood disorders including depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The most widely used antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of drugs that includes medications such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro. Less used but a popular alternative to SSRIs are serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs); some of the commonly used medications in this drug class include Effexor and Cymbalta.

With such a high preponderance of usage, some may wonder whether we have become a Prozac nation. Others question if these medications are handed out to patients too casually.

Who Is Prescribing Antidepressants?

In the U.S. nearly 80 percent of antidepressant prescriptions are written by primary care physicians, not psychiatrists. Many depressed patients seen in general practice have not been thoroughly evaluated and may not even meet the full, formal criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Instead, they are given the medications for symptoms of mild depression, likely caused by everyday stress, sadness, and sorrow, which may be alleviated by psychotherapy alone. Pediatric use for depression and anxiety has also skyrocketed but it peaked in 2004 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a black box warning for SSRIs due to evidence that they may be linked to increased risk of suicidal thinking, feeling, and behavior in young people.

Low Serotonin Levels Don’t Necessarily Cause Depression

SSRIs and SNRIs were developed to treat depression and other mental health conditions caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitter chemicals, particularly serotonin and norepinephrine. This chemical imbalance theory purports that low levels of these chemicals in the brain cause depression. For over two decades, this theory continues to be the dominant paradigm for treating depression.

However, the chemical imbalance hypothesis has its problems and numerous scientific studies conducted in the last 20 years have examined it and rejected it. They found that:

  • Not all depressed patients have low serotonin and norepinephrine levels.
  • In fact, some have abnormally high levels, while others with no history of depression have low levels of these chemicals.

The significance of this finding is huge, yet it is rarely publicized or taught in medical schools. There are probably various reasons for this but financial is likely to be one of them – antidepressants are a $10 billion industry!

Antidepressants Don’t Always Work

If depression is not caused by an imbalance of serotonin and norepinephrine, then it will explain why antidepressants don’t always work on people who have depression. Countless studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of these medications.

A massive meta-study compiled by the U.S. government that incorporated findings of over 100,000 research studies over a 15-year period concluded that:

  • Antidepressants are only effective in around one-third of cases, and partially effective in another third, and have no benefit at all in the remaining third.
  • High rate of relapse when depression is treated with drugs alone.
  • For many patients, the side effects are more unpleasant than the depression itself, so they discontinue usage.

Likewise, a number of double-blind, randomized controlled studies have come to similar conclusions. They found that:

  • The superiority of antidepressants over placebo is clinically significant only for patients who are very severely depressed.
  • For those with mild, moderate, and even severe depression, placebos work nearly as well as the medications.

Plus They Have Side Effects

Like most medications, antidepressants have side effects, including nausea, weight gain, loss of sexual desire, fatigue, insomnia, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, agitation, irritability, and anxiety.

They are not addictive the same way substances like heroin or alcohol are, but people can still develop a physical dependence if they stop taking the drugs abruptly and may experience rather unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia or vivid dreams
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Flu-like symptoms, including achy muscles and chills
  • Nausea
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Return of depressive symptoms

Compelling Evidence: Inflammation As A Contributing Factor To Depression

There is a huge body of research connecting depression and inflammation. In one of the most conclusive findings, a study in JAMA Psychiatry determined that brain inflammation was 30 percent higher in clinically depressed patients. The research team pointed out that previous studies have only looked at biomarkers of inflammation in the blood; this is the first to find definitive evidence in the brain.

Scientists have long known that inflammation is at the root of nearly every modern disease, including allergies, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. So it is not a huge surprise that depression is also linked to inflammation.

Researchers found that people with clinical depression have elevated levels of inflammatory biomarkers such as cytokines in the blood. Cytokines cruise through the bloodstream, damaging tissue, causing plaque buildup in the arteries, and sometimes even promoting the growth of tumors.

Cytokines can also travel to the brain, possibly via the vagus nerve which connects the gut and the brain. Specialized immune cells in the brain called microglia become activated in inflammatory states and they too, secrete cytokines.

Neuroinflammation alters neurotransmitter pathways and brain circuits. In the early 1980s, researchers have already discovered that inflammatory cytokines produce a wide variety of psychiatric and neurological symptoms mirroring characteristic signs and symptoms of depression.

Known Causes Of Inflammation

If inflammation is a contributing factor to depression, it is critical to understand how we get inflammation in the first place. This correlation has the potential to suggest both therapeutic and preventative approaches to combating depression.

Stress and traumatic life events

Researchers reported that acute negative life events, chronic psychological trauma, and exposure to childhood trauma hugely increase the risk of developing clinical depression and mood symptoms. There is very strong evidence that different types of psychosocial stressors may stimulate the pro-inflammatory cytokine network in the brain.

Diet

There have been substantial changes to dietary patterns over the last 50 years. We have swapped a diet high in fiber, nutrient-dense foods, and omega-3 fats (all anti-inflammatory) to one that is high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy refined vegetable oils (all highly pro-inflammatory). Since 2009, there have been numerous studies reporting inverse associations between diet quality and common mental disorders in children and adults across cultures.

Exercise

Many studies found that exercise is an effective treatment strategy for depression. Regular exercise protects against the development of new depressive and anxiety disorders while physical inactivity during childhood is associated with an increased risk of depression in adulthood.

Obesity

Without doubt, obesity is an inflammatory state. Inflammatory cytokines are found in abundance in fat cells.

With the prevalence of obesity increasing to epidemic proportions, studies have demonstrated a close relationship between obesity and depression. Obesity predisposes one to depression, while depression also predisposes one to obesity. A recent meta-analysis found obesity to increase the risk of later depression by 55%, whereas depression increased the risk of developing obesity by 58%.

Gut permeability

Another diet-related cause of inflammation is gut permeability or “leaky gut”. Under normal circumstances, immune cells are geographically separated from gram negative bacteria in the gut, which are part of the normal gut flora. However, if there is a loosening of the tight junction barrier in the gut wall, toxins produced by gram negative bacteria called lipopolysaccharides (LPS) may get into the bloodstream, causing immune cells to respond and produce pro-inflammatory cytokines. Since the gut and brain are connected by the vagus nerve, mental disorders are highly associated with gut permeability.

The most common causes of leaky gut are:

  • Food sensitivity, such as gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) and dairy.
  • Chronic gut infections, such as parasites, Cryptosporidium, Clostridium difficile, Blastocystis hominis, and Helicobacter pylori.

Smoking

Cigarette smoke contains many thousands of chemicals, many of which induce inflammatory responses in the body and direct damage to cell tissues in the brain. Studies showed that smoking may increase one’s susceptibility to developing depression.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that involves infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gum, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. Periodontal disease is associated with high levels of systemic inflammatory cytokines. It is a significant predictor of other inflammatory illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, and may also increase the risk of depression as well.

Sleep deprivation

Research has demonstrated that chronic sleep deprivation results in impairments in immune functioning, characterized by increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It is estimated that up to 80-90 percent of individuals who suffer from a major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances. Studies have suggested that sleep disturbances may also predispose individuals to subsequent development of mood disorders.

Vitamin D

There is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in developed countries. Low vitamin D is linked to many diseases including osteoporosis and cancer. Vitamin D receptors are present in key brain areas and vitamin D plays a major role in circadian rhythms and sleep. Vitamin D has a regulatory effect on immunity too. In human studies, supplementation greatly reduces inflammatory markers associated with depression.

Strategies To Overcome And Prevent Depression

Check for inflammation

Depression can be a devastating illness. For very severe depression, studies show that antidepressants appear to be rather helpful in alleviating symptoms. But if your depression is milder, antidepressants may only be just as good as placebos. Therefore, it is worthwhile to check your inflammation level by getting a blood test forC-reactive protein (CRP), which is made by the body in response to high levels of inflammatory cytokines.

Address stress

Depression is a sign that your body and your life are out of balance. Unless you address your stress, it is difficult to return your life to balance. Both mindful meditation and cognitive therapy have been proven to be extremely helpful in combating depression.

Change your diet and lifestyle

  • Trade in the processed and sugary foods for an anti-inflammatory diet that consists of fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, leafy greens, fermented vegetables, cultured foods such as unsweetened yogurt and kefir, berries, garlic, and green tea.
  • Make sure you have at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday.
  • Get a minimum 7-8 hours of quality sleep daily.

Take supplements to lower inflammation

  • High quality animal-based omega-3 fish oil (3 g daily if you have depression)
  • Vitamin D3 (5,000 I.U. daily) with vitamin K2 (for bone and heart health)
  • Probiotics (for gut health)
  • Curcumin (active component of turmeric)

Other supplements to lessen depressive symptoms

  • Vitamin B12 and folate (vitamin B9)

Studies found a link between deficiencies in these B vitamins and depression. Vitamin B12 is found mainly in animal proteins; hence, vegans are more susceptible to B12 deficiency. Folate is found in abundance in dark leafy greens and beans. If you have symptoms of depression and you know that you are not eating enough of these foods, you should consider incorporating them in your daily diet. If you are a vegan, you need to take a B12 supplement.

The following amino acid supplements should only be taken after consultation with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner and a completed neurotransmitter test. For some individuals, these amino acids may help to alleviate the symptoms of depression by balancing the body’s neurotransmitter levels. However, it is still critical to address the underlying causes of depression (as mentioned above).

  • 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) or L-tryptophan

L-tryptophan is first converted to 5-HTP, which is then converted to serotonin in the brain. Some people cannot tolerate 5-HTP, they will have to use L-tryptophan instead. For those who have low serotonin levels and are either negative, obsessive, worried, irritable, sleepless, or have low self-esteem, 5-HTP and L-tryptophan have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, and carbohydrate cravings.

  • L-Tyrosine and DLPA (D,L-Phenylalanine)

For those who have low norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine, and have a flat-tired type of depression and crave stimulants like caffeine and sugar, L-tyrosine and DLPA will help you feel more energized, improve mood and drive, and increase mental focus.

  • GABA (Gamma amino-butyric acid)

For those who feel wired, stressed, and overwhelmed, GABA will help with anxiety and stress, reduce excess stimulation, and improve sleep.