Holiday Decorating on a Budget – 6 Tips to Wow Your Friends and Family Without Breaking the Bank

Do you NEED to know the top six tips that you can use today to wow your friends and family without having to max out your credit cards or break the bank? By the time you finish reading this short article, you'll have all the information you need right at your fingertips!

1) Go Green.

Use natural decorations and start a family "treasure hunt" tradition in the process.

Pine cone Collecting – String pine cones together with wire to create a beautiful garland that can be hung on your staircase or banister. You can accent the pine cone garland with red velvet or gingham ribbon. For an added holiday touch, you can sprinkle the garland with cinnamon scent or spray with a light misting of fake snow.

Gather Leaves – Your children will love collecting different leaves in beautiful autumn colors. Re-purpose them by adding them to centerpieces, table arrangements or holiday wreaths.

Fallen Tree Branches – What about a decorative window swag? Bundle the branches up and tie them with a pretty decorative bow and trailing ribbons. You can even add some of the delicate fall leaves for a "pop" of color.

2) Use your holiday cards to create a great display.

Hang your holiday cards from your staircase banister or on the molding around a door or in between rooms to add a bit of festive cheer.

Make a wreath. Punch a hole in the corner of your holiday cards and attach them to a green pine wreath with decorative ribbon or wire for an adorable display.

Punch out decorative shapes. Find the most colorful holiday cards and cut or punch decorative holiday shapes out of them. You can use cookie cutters to create your shapes or you can get decorative hole punches at the craft store. These decorative shapes can be used to add accents to your holiday tree or for unique custom gift tags.

3) Fill a glass or decorative bowl . (Clear works best)

Fill your glass vase or decorative bowl with colorful holiday ornaments and sprigs of greenery to create a beautiful table centerpiece. For additional color, you can add ribbon spilling over the edges of your decorative bowl or tie an accent bow around your vase.

4) Create your own tree skirt.

You can purchase a few yards of fabric very inexpensively at a craft store to create a custom look at a fraction of the cost. Or, for a really quick and easy alternative, you can drape a super soft plush blanket around the base of your tree stand.

5) Sponge seasonal shapes on your windows with window paint.

You can purchase cheap holiday sponge stamps at your craft store for next to nothing. (If your local craft store does not have what you are looking for, you can create your own sponge stamps by cutting the desired shape out of cheap foam. Holiday cookie cutters make great templates for your stamps!) Need window paint? Simply add a teaspoon of liquid dish soap to your craft paint to create a medium that is easy to remove once the holidays are over. Use regular window cleaner to remove your window stamps. (If you have a few stubborn spots, try a non-scratching dish scrubber).

6) Get nostalgic and decorate with food .

Bring back a timeless tradition and decorate your tree with strings of ruby ​​red cranberries and crisp white popcorn. For a coordinating colorful accent you can add some traditional red and white candy canes. If you are feeling ambitious, some homemade gingerbread cookies make a lovely addition and lend that soothing holiday scent that reminds us all of "home".

Any of these six tips, or even all of them, would be great cost effective alternatives to your holiday decorating this season.

American Distance Running Legends

When people prioritize sports in the United States the top three are usually football, basketball and baseball. These sports receive a lot of media attention making the athletes superstars and heroes to many kids. Sports such as distance running do not receive attention and it's heroes are not known as well.

Distance running in the United States has had many athletes that have achieved legendary greatness. One such person is Jim Ryun from Kansas. While in high school he was the first prep miler to break four minutes in the mile. He also won three State mile run titles and set the high school record for the mile of 3: 55.3, which stood for 36 years.

When Jim finished high school he continued to set records on the track. He held five world records during his career and was named the youngest Sportsman of the Year in 1966. Jim Ryun was also a three-time US Olympian in the 1500 meters and earned the silver medal in the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. Jim Ryun has been a four term congressman since retiring from the sport.

Billy Mills is another hero in our sport. Billy is a native Indian who came from an impoverished background and defied many odds to be successful. He is best well known for one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan a virtually unknown American athlete stunned the world by winning the Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 meter race.

With a lap to go Billy Mills was one of three runners that were competing for the Olympic gold medal, when he was pushed out to lane three. Billy kept his composure and work his way back up methodically to the other known runners. In the final 100 meters he sprinted past the other two runners to win the gold medal. After retiring from the sport, Billy Mills became a successful life insurance salesman and also is a professional motivational speaker.

Our next sports hero is Bill Rodgers. Bill Rodgers is known as the most celebrated men's distance runner of all time. Bill was a four-time winner of the Boston and New York City marathon. Track and field News ranked Rodgers # 1 in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979. He was also a member of the 1976 US Olympic marathon team.

Bill Rodgers has won many awards including Tiffany's Man of the Year (1989), the New York Runners Club Abebe Biklla Award (1989), and the Ct. sports writers Alliance Gold Key award (1994). Rodgers still holds five American records and one current world record. Bill Rodgers currently is a spokesperson for Etonic shoe company and is the owner of the Bill Rodgers Running Center. He still runs and has many speaking engagements he attends.

One of the most popular and greatest running legends of American distance running is Steve Prefontaine. Pre was born in Coos Bay, Oregon and attended Marshfield High School. He was undefeated in Track and Cross Country his junior and senior year. As a senior at Marshfield he broke the American record for the two mile run. His outstanding performances got the attention of Bill Bowerman a legendary coach at the University of Oregon.

Steve Prefontaine attended the University of Oregon in 1969 and became an instant celebrity. He would fill the University's Hayward Field to capacity with fans that would cheer for him when he entered the stadium. Pre won seven NCAA titles: three in cross country and four on the track. He held eight collegiate records and his 3 mile and 6 mile records are still standing. Prefontaine also broke his own and other American records 14 different times.

After college Steve Prefontaine continued to train and was in the 1972 Olympic Games held in Munich, Germany. During that race he was content to stay with the pack of runners for the first two miles. With a mile to go he took the lead and start picking up the pace. With 600 meters to run Pre was passed by Finland's Lasse Viren. Prefontaine gave it everything he had to stay with Viren, but fell short of the gold medal and finished fourth.

Steve Prefontaine was the epitome of toughness. His confident personality and gutsy performances was what people were attracted to. Steve Prefontaine was killed in a car accident on May 30, 1975. It shocked the distance running community world wide. He was 24 years old and was cut down in the prime of his running life. Prefontaine till this day has an impact on distance running. Many high school and collegiate runners have quotes from Pre on the back of their shirts. There is also a track meet in his honor every year at Hayward Field called the Prefontaine Classic.

Six Recommendations to Reduce Medical Insurance Premiums

As health care costs continue to rise, everyone is looking for recommendations to reduce medical insurance premiums. Read on for six ways you can lower your health care costs now.

1. Switch to an HMO or PPO Policy

If you currently have a traditional indemnity policy, switch to a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) policy. You'll have to choose your health care providers from an approved list, but in return, you'll pay much lower monthly premiums. HMOs and PPOs often include plans that offer dental and vision coverage too.

2. Raise Your Co-Pay and Deductible

The co-pay is the amount you pay for office visits, while the deductible is the amount you pay toward medical bills before the insurance company begins paying. Increasing your co-pay and deductible will decrease your premium. Just make sure you can afford the co-pay at every visit and that you will be able to cover the deductible.

3. Improve Your Health

Your insurer may require you to undergo a physical or answer a questionnaire about your health. Non-smokers who maintain a healthy weight, limit their alcohol consumption, and exercise regularly will pay far lower premiums than someone without these healthy habits. So incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle and watch your medical insurance premiums go down.

4. Find a Group Policy

Individual insurance always costs more than group insurance. See if you can find a group insurance policy you can join. Possibilities include credit unions, professional organizations, and service clubs.

5. Consider Catastrophic Coverage

If you're young and healthy, consider a catastrophic coverage policy. Such a policy has a very high deductible, which means you'll pay for your everyday health expenses. However, the catastrophic policy will protect you in case of an accident or serious illness.

6. Shop Around For the Lowest Prices

Medical insurance premiums can vary by hundreds of dollars from one company to another. To ensure that you get the best rate, take time to comparison shop. Insurance comparison websites are a great way to get quotes from multiple A-rated insurance companies quickly and easily.

Sinus Pain – How to Diagnose it – How to Relieve It

How can you tell if you have sinus pain or migraine? In general terms, with migraines you have a long history, a history of repeated headaches, an aura before the headache starts and a sore neck when it ends. A migraine is a specific kind of headache. Generally, a migraine comes from the blood vessels becoming twitchy or spastic. Migraines start with an aura of flashing lights, feeling light-headed, a need to urinate, or knowing that the headache is coming.

This is called the “prodromata.” The aura comes when the blood vessels constrict. Then the blood vessels slam open, often causing leakage through the blood vessel walls. This is the cause of the headache pain, and it is described as throbbing. The pain is more severe than a tension headache, and the patient feels better lying down in a dark room with a cold compress. The cold compress helps to constrict the swollen vessels.. Some patients awaken in the middle of the night with this headache. This is usually diagnostic of migraine. Headaches are usually on one side of the head.

There is a hormonal relationship in headaches of a migraine nature. In families where one sister started birth control pills and got migraine, other sisters get, migraine when they start birth control pills. But the condition is highly variable. Migraines may stop or increase in pregnancy or menopause Children can get this, too. Throughout history many persons became addicted to drugs because of their migraine. Napoleon is said to have had a migraine attack during the battle of Waterloo.

Migraine is often one sided. It can be brought on by weather changes and by certain foods, particularly red wine and smelly cheeses. Although any alcohol may bring on the migraine, some patients are able to take vodka without getting a headache. Migraine is usually a pounding headache, often the vision is distorted. The author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, actually “saw” the giant rabbit and the other characters during his migraine attacks..

In sinus pain, the headache is usually fairly well localized to a sinus area. If it is in the cheek and the teeth ache too, it is due to the maxillary sinus. If it’s on both sides of the nose, between the eyes with a stuffy nose and colored nasal discharge and it hurts to wear glasses, that is the ethmoid sinuses. Sinus headache is associated with nasal congestion and colored discharge from the nose. With sinus pain, one feels sick most of the time; with migraine the patient feels Okay before the headache and afterward.

Frontal sinus headache is diagnosed by pain at the roof of the orbit of the eye. Pressing on the roof of the eye, which is the floor of the frontal sinus is painful. The sphenoid sinus is difficult to diagnose. This sinus is in back of the nose above and behind the throat. Pain can be referred almost anywhere.

In sinus inflammation, despite infection and drainage of pus, this type of pain is often not very severe- Motrin or Aleve may relieve the pain. In migraine it is always quite severe and is not relieved by an aspirin.

There are other types of sinus headaches that can be confused with migraine. One is due to the nasal septum being crooked and pressing on a nerve. Another is due to the sinus being blocked and a vacuum forming inside the sinus. Here the X ray may be normal and the nose may not be congested. You may get this upon landing from a flight.

Comparison of Migraine and Sinus Pain:

Nature of the pain: Migraine is pounding. Sinus pain is steady. Pressure on the sinus makes it worse.

Nausea: Present in migraine, not present in sinusitis.

Family history: In migraine there is usually a family history.

Aura: Migraine has an aura, sinus pain does not.

For my patients with migraine, I have them focus a hot shower stream to the back of the neck for several minutes, while slowly rotating the head from side to side, gently. This may train the blood vessels not to be so “twitchy.”

Most sinus pain involves failure of nasal cilia to beat to remove toxins and bacteria. Use of Hydro Pulse Nasal/Sinus pulsatile irrigation to restore cilia movement is indicated. Sometimes the mucus thickens and impairs cilia action. Use of the pulsatile irrigator to remove this mucus is therapeutic. Persons who have recurrent sinus headaches do so because inflammation remains in the sinus cavity. They may have taken the correct antibiotic treatment, but because the nasal cilia still are not moving bacteria out of the nose, they get another infection. When you use pulsatile irrigation the bacteria, phlegm and inflammatory factors are removed, and cilia function is restored. With fewer bacteria in the nose and sinus, then the body can heal by natural means without antibiotics.

Sinus pain may be present in the Frontal Sinus area due to referred pain from the cervical or neck area. Usually this is on both right and left side frontal areas about the eyes. Pressing on the Frontal sinus is not painful, but pressing on the posterior neck gives you pain in the Frontal Sinus. Sinus pain can also be referred from the TMJ., the eye itself, and the teeth. The nerve that goes to the upper teeth also goes to the maxillary sinus so it may be difficult to tell which is causing the pain- checking the teeth and an X Ray of the sinus may be needed.

With sinus pain, the membranes are swollen which is painful. Or the sinuses are blocked, with a vacuum which causes the pain. Anti inflammatory products such as Aleve or Prednisone work. Proteolytic enzymes such as papain or bromelain reduce swelling and thin the mucus, which improves cilia movement. The product, “Clear.ease” is a lozonge that melts in the mouth between the cheek and the gums. It contains papain and bromelain, but melts in the mouth so it is not inactivated by stomach acid.

Summary of Sinus Pain:

If your sinus pain comes on with red wine it is migraine.

If your pain wakes you up in the middle of the night, with throbbing it is migraine.

If one Tylenol stops your sinus pain it is NOT migraine

If your sinus pain has other symptoms such as local tenderness, stuffy nose, yellow discharge it is from the sinus.

There is no fever with migraine.

Sinus pain can hang on for many days; migraine usually is shorter.

Top Ten Florence Attractions

A Roundup of Florence Must Sees

A city of art and historical home of high culture has many architectural treasures. However, those stunned by the exterior will be awestruck by their contents. For art fans there's little better reason to book a stay at one of the many excellent cheap youth hostels in Florence.

Galleria degli Uffizi

One of the world's most pre-eminent art museums justly deserves its reputation. Filled with a stunning collection of Renaissance art.

Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)

This beautiful cathedral epitomises the nuance of exquisite Renaissance engineering and delicate design. The Giotto's Bell Tower is of particular note and should be the first stop off after dropping ones luggage off at a cheap hostel in Florence.

Palazzo Vecchio

It may be a replica of Michelangelo's David that sits outside, but do not be alarmed, Florence's old city palace is very much the real thing, as is most of the rest of the fine art that makes up its stunning historical collection.

Ponte Vecchio

In a true sign that love and beauty conquer all, this is the only Florentine bridge that survived the Second World War. It crosses the River Arno at its narrowest point, connecting the Uffizi with the Medici Palace.

Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens are filled with weather torn sculptures that provide excellent accompaniments to lunchtime picnics. The gardens themselves boast an interesting layout and offer stunning views of the city.

Pitti Palace

The extravagant frontage for the aforementioned Boboli Gardens, this vast palace houses generations' worth of artifacts and possessions.

Michelangelo's David

Florence's most famous resident has no more an appropriate home than in the Accademia museum's magnificent collection of sculpture. A rarely bettered piece of art.

San Miniato al Monte

Elegantly placed atop one of Florence's highest points, this 11th century church more than deserves its grand location. Widely touted by locals and other Italians as the most beautiful church in Italy – which is no mean feat!

Cappella Brancacci

It may not look much from the outside, but the plain exterior hides one of the most celebrated pieces of art in the world – rivalling even David himself. The frescoes of the chapel were too great even to be completed by one person and were started by Masolino da Panicale and finished by Filippo Lippi.


This museum is yet another of Florence's fantastic testaments to some of the great Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Donatello and Ammannati.

The 4 Levels of Human Reality: Better Relationships & Bridging Intimacy With Both Sexes!

For many, many centuries the Eastern Mystics (and others) have identified four of seven levels of human reality as:

THE PHYSICAL LEVEL OF REALITY – "might makes right" – whose essence is STRENGTH;

THE EMOTIONAL LEVEL OF REALITY – emotional attachment and relationships with other humans – whose essence is BEAUTY;

THE MENTAL LEVEL OF REALITY – the persistent search for TRUTH – whose essence is TRUTH;


THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL OF REALITY – the search for justice and the essence of which is JUSTiCE.

THERE are said to be three more – even higher levels – that most of us humans can not yet at this time in
our evolution understand.

After many years of closely studying bisexuals on many, many levels – bisexuals seem to
me to have a better ability to bridge HUMAN INTIMACY on one or more such levels with both sexes.

AS – physical intimacy – easy to do with another MAN – as Jay Leno jokes: "SEX:
women need a REASON to have sex; men just need a place! "

Bisexual men can easily get an erection and bond with another man – with or
without a place. MOST women need a reason (emotional or mental or even
spiritual to couple with another man or with a woman).

Ask yourself – have you had the ability to relate – to be intimate – with both men
and women – and on how many of these four levels of human reality?

Myself – I tend to bond with women on the "higher" levels of human reality –
and easily bond with men on the base PHYSICAL LEVEL. How about you?

If you have read the science fiction classic "Stranger in a Strange Land"
bisexuality is very likely the wave of that future. In that future reality – people are "nesting"
in group households of say two men and one woman or five men and three gals or
five gals and four men. They couple with one or more on and as need and as feels
good basis. ONE on ONE monogomous couples are accepted but are not the "norm".

I have observed in the last two decades that BISEXUALITY seems to be on the
rise. As taboos are lifted humans seem to accept that relating PHYSICALLY (on
that level of reality) with the same sex is DO-able and even being intimate on
other levels of reality is possible.

MANY of us have had the SOUL MATE (or intense best friend) experience with
a same sex pal – and perhaps it was consummated with sex and maybe not. In
MY OWN EXPERIENCE – those often HIGH spiritual and mental relationships
were NOT always helped or preserved by trying to add sex to the mix.

This is often the situation when straight or bi MEN encounter a very SPIRITUAL female as
a Nun or the like. They are highly drawn to her (the spiritual LIGHT there) but it
is likely not best to try to consummate the matter in a purely physical fashion. Also
why many women become GROUPIES to spiritual male leaders (ie Elmer Gantry stereo types).

TO wrap it up – it is very important as human beings and / or bisexuals that we DO NOT think that we
are special or unique. That can become a spiritual handicap to your own personal growth (ie a sense
of being "special" can be that of so very deadly sin of pride.

Bisexuals may or may not be the cutting edge – and we may or may not be the advance movement of all
HUMAN BEINGS – but do not please think of it in terms of being "special" or "unique".

So what do you think? Have you bonded with both sexes and on what levels of reality? Do you think this is
the wave of the future? Do you think as I do that this is in fact a GREAT GIFT – that you can explore both sexes
on many, many levels of reality?

As Woody Allen has so often joked: "Being bisexual has the unique quality of doubling the
chances that you will have a HOT DATE every Saturday Night for the rest of your entire life! "

So just hoow are you doing in life relating to friends and lovers on the four levels of reality?

Best Wishes & Big Hugs,

"Weep!" (Soldier Boys of the 21st Century)

She was weeping, her mouth trembling, trying to talk, but her body was shutting down, she reached across the kitchen table, her hand moving slowly, her hand, other hand, pulled back the reaching hand that was trembling, trying to serve her younger boy some greens, her hand seemingly locked onto the ladle (with its masculine handle), she looked up, caught his eye-gazed at the photograph beyond and above the boy's head, on the refrigerator, both boys looked similar-although the boy in the photograph was three years older, the American flag behind him, three colored ribbons on his chest, a heap of people saw it, neighbors, visitors-a heap of people she knew, but he died in the war for those who never had seen him, for those who would never have recognized him-anywhere, anyplace, at any given time, and her voice sounded unfamiliar, unlike her real voice, like it never had sounded before to her younger boy; then her husband thought- 'That voice ought not to have sounding like that, it's a dying voice, one that is giving up.'

"I know," said the husband, "for our country, he died for our country!"

"This country, your country, his country (pointing at the boy) -mine, it's all wrecked, impure, cracked, shattered, damaged by all those godforsaken war-worms, long before he was even born (looking at the husband and then turning to look at the boy), "she savagely remarked. "Oh yes, the forefathers (she continued) I have not forgotten them, those heroes we read about in grandchild, who fought and died for it, us, this country, you and me, so we could produce a litter for the next generation to fight and die for the following generation to do the same, now all they can say in their dirt hole is that they fought for an illusion, it was an illusion, we lost, I lost my boy, he never had time to form a dream, so he died for their illusion, in the interest of oil, glory of his comrades, for organized labor, foreign trade-he died for all the things he never knew about. "

"Yes, dear!" said her husband, "weep if you must." and tears rolled down her cheeks as she poured the coffee for him.

"Yes, oh yes I weep for a mislead country, for the politicians and demagogues that have mislead us all, who mislead our soldiers boys, I pray for them all that know no shame, or grief, or guilt. You men are incapable of guilt or shame in war; you call it bravery, principle and sacrifice. "

"It will take time," said her husband.

"When?" she answered, "and what is worth saving?"

Then her hands calmed-so her young boy noticed, and he sat up, erect, with pistol like eyes, hanging-slack eyebrows, he was fifteen-years old, and for a minute looking at his brother's picture, his mother's face, he thought. She laid her hands on the table, leaned over to him-took her handkerchief from her breast, "That's right," she said to the boy, "This one's for you, I weep for you, not for the dead, I wept for your brother the day he left for war, and the day he died. I do not weep for your father and I, we are old-I weep for you! "

She was still holding the handkerchief, forgetting she was holding it, "You have a chance now to learn, to find out why, before you go to war. I can not tell you why because I do not know," she said . "Perhaps it's a man thing, because none of us women can figure it out. We just weep and grieve, then try to let go, but we never do, I think this is our job, and once done, the next one goes off to war. But your brother, he knew why-! Tell me before you go off and get yourself dead-why? "

No: 479 (9-26-2009)

Chess For Beginners – The Main Chess Opening Principles

Hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written on chess openings. In chess, for beginners the natural instinct will be to buy a chess openings book and commit specific openings to memory. When the chess beginner then tries to apply a specific opening in a real chess game they usually become unstuck as their opponent makes a non-book move. It is best to learn good opening principles first this will then allow you to adapt your openings based on your opponents moves.

1. Control the Center

The first principle is to control as much of the center of the chess board as possible. The key squares are d4, d5, e4 and e5. This will occur naturally for white with most openings, the two most common opening moves being the Queens pawn move to d4 or the Kings pawn move to e4.

2. Develop your Pieces

Moving your Queens or Kings pawn first then controls either d5 or e5, it also allows room for movement for the more major pieces. Bringing in to play the second principle of developing your major pieces, starting with your Knights followed by the Bishops. You may need to move another pawn to develop your Bishops fully.

Moving your Knights to either c3 or f3 will help protect your advanced pawn and also control more of the center of the board.

3. Castle Early

You should then Castle as soon as possible, preferably on the Kings side. This helps protect your King from attack and release the Rook into the center.

4. Connect your Rooks

Once you have Castled you should then move the Queen to allow your Rooks to connect and have free movement on the back rank. Move your Queen with caution though, as another principle in the opening is not to over expose your Queen.

5. Build a Solid Structure

Do not be tempted to attack until your pieces have been developed. Your aim in the chess opening is to build a solid structure from which you can then attack your opponent. By following these principles your chess pieces will have more freedom of movement and be less vulnerable to attack.

Once your are comfortable with these ideas you can then learn a chess opening or two and if your opponent does not follow the book moves you can fall back on these principles as a what to do next.

A chess opening I would recommend would be the Scotch Game ECO C44. This is a simple chess opening that leads to an open game. It derives it’s name from a correspondence chess match between Edinburgh and London in 1824. Though not as popular in the modern chess game it is used by chess Grandmasters as a surprise alternative to more common modern chess openings.

Hole In One Lapel Pins

A hole in one victory is one of the most precious moments a golfer can have in his life. They say that only one in about 8, 000 golfers is able to send the ball from the teeing ground into the hole with just a single stroke of the golf club. Someone who has done this truly deserves recognition. If you have a friend or a loved one who made a hole with one stroke, you can give him or her a hole in one lapel pin.

Hole in one lapel pins, placed on the lapel-the part of collar that folds back against the chest, are simple and inexpensive. Yet they are very symbolic gifts that a person can surely treasure. These pins are perfect gifts for friends who are golf enthusiasts as well as those aspiring for hole in one victory.

Lapel pins vary in design, material and price. If you want to add a personal touch to your gift, you can get a customized hole in one lapel pin.

A gold-finished lapel pin usually costs $ 2 around. The more pins you buy, the less you have to pay. This is a great deal if you are giving out pins to a group of people who share a love for the sport. One hundred pieces of gold-finished lapel pins will only cost you about $ 140.

Cloisonné lapel pins are costly to make so they are sold at a higher price. These pins are made from 'die' or an engraved metal piece with impressed parts that are injected with colors. The pin is baked and then polished. Once polished, these pins look like expensive jewelry, a feature which adds to their value.

Less expensive versions of the cloisonné pins are called the Epola pins or semi-cloisonné lapel pins. These are made of hard enamel, thus, they are easier to make and are cheaper. Many manufacturers market these lapel pins as authentic cloisonné lapel pins, so beware of them. If the pins boast a wide variety of colors, they are most likely Epola pins and not the expensive cloisonné lapel pins.

Other kinds of hole in one lapel pins are 'die' struck lapel pins, soft enamel lapel pins, photo-etched lapel pins and screen-printed lapel pins. If you have captured that thrilling hole in one moment in a photograph, you can have it etched onto a brass lapel pin. This makes a perfect personalized gift.

LED Light Fixtures Add A Design Touch With Great Lighting

There are many different types of lighting on the market nowadays, and it can seem almost impossible to choose the right type, particularly if you want a system that can give you some great ambiance but also enough illumination to do work in places such as the kitchen where you need to prepare food.

A really great type of lighting that has become popular is the LED light, a style which is environmentally friendly and can also run for many hours without replacement, sometimes up to 35,000 hours or even more. They are also highly efficient when compared to traditional bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

The good thing about this type of system is that it can be very bright, and therefore extremely suitable for places where high illumination is needed, such as the kitchen and bathroom. However it is also a very cool system, and does not produce very much heat at all. Some LED lights are also weatherproof which means they can be placed in an outdoor location to give a real sense of style to your garden or patio.

They can also be used in places like display cases in order to give a design focus or simply to illuminate the interior of the cupboard in order to make it easy to find what you’re looking for.

Overall these are a highly flexible lighting style, which can be used in various locations and give a real feeling of ambiance to any room you choose. Take a look at what is available in this style and you will be amazed at the possibilities before you.

Home Lighting Tips – Buying The Right Light Fixtures For Your Home

Deciding what type of home lighting you need to buy can be tough if you do not have a rudimentary understanding of the three basic lighting categories in the home. Even though there are thousands of different light fixtures available they fall into one of the three task, accent, or ambient.

The first is task lighting. These fixtures are usually single lights that are directed at the work surface. You'll find this type of light best used in the kitchen or anywhere you need a specific type of light that illuminates your work. It also works great for reading purposes.

The second category is accent lighting. These types of light fixtures are primarily used to focus attention on a specific piece of art work, painting, or picture.

The third category is ambient lighting. This type of light fixture provides a general type of light that illuminates the whole room.

It is advised that choosing your bulb is often better done before you choose a light fixture. The type of light you choose is more a personal taste than a scientific one. You may want to consider trying to find something that is energy efficient. There are a lot of different types of bulbs to choose from. Some of them are more energy efficient than others. I suggest you do some research on bulbs before you decide to purchase any.

Lighting fixtures range from surface mounted to recess lights. You can even get ones that are suspended from a chain or cord. Task lights are usually not hard wired, but come with a cord you plug into a receptacle. You should find all the necessary hardware with your chosen fixture to be able mount it to any standard box. Though I would recommend adding a tougher attachment if your particular light fixture is too heavy.

Most recessed lighting comes pre-wired and grounded to its housing box. Make sure it has enough clearance above the ceiling to be able to easily install it. These types of fixtures work great if you are installing them below an attic.

When installing down lights be warned that they produce an exceptional amount of heat and need to be kept away from flammable material. You can find some that are rated for direct contact with the surrounding material. Shop around if you'd feel safer with these types, though you may need to pay more for them.

I recommend that you properly research all your home lighting needs before you purchase anything. With so many different types of light fixtures it is quite easy to get overwhelmed, but with knowledge of what each category represents you can make a much better choice.

Five Key Barriers to Good Strategic Planning

"Leave me alone! I do not want to change!"

"Just let me get through this pile in front of me. The future will come – however it does – without my help today."

You've probably felt this way – most of us have – at some point in our work or life about taking the time and making the effort to build a better future when faced by the problems of today.

Future-building brings many possibilities, but it also brings with it problems. And a major barrier to progress is always finding the time and energy to even try to think far beyond the pressures of the present day.

Thinking strategically takes a different kind of attention and energy than does getting products out the door and on their way to customers. It also takes very different perspectives and skills than does solving problems caused by decisions made and actions taken in the past, which may have caused problems which are just showing up, and must be solved at the moment.

Here are just five of possible barriers to building a better future through effective strategic planning, whatever organization you're working with, or within.

See if any of these issues seem familiar to you.

1. You can not see the future from here.

If this is a barrier for you, you're filled to the brim, and beyond, with a sense that you can not see what's ahead, much less think about it strategically.

And you certainly do not have the capacity at the moment to consider criteria for a successful outcome, envision alternate scenarios and chose priorities, or plan an optimal course of action, complete with accountabilities and due dates.

2. There are too many choices.

You may be feeling this if:

a) criteria for creating a desired future circumstance are not clearly defined yet

b) priorities are not apparent, at the moment

c) there's not yet enough information about what's going on, and what may happen in the future with the primary forces of change likely to affect your company's fortunes in the future.

Whatever the case, having many options feels more like a burden than an opportunity in this situation.

And believe it or not, in this circumstance you may need more information, or you need to have the information presented in a way that makes it far more useful for planning and action-taking purposes.

3. Strategy is a dirty word.

Some people love setting strategy.

Others are far less enthralled with the "opportunity" that strategy-setting can present.

If you're charged with getting things done and out the door, on their way to customers on a daily basis, you may feel that the full-time strategists in your company are never around to see how their plans actually work out, once implemented .

And you may wonder what your role is in this exercise of future-building. More than that, perhaps you've never really been involved in it, and you're not confident of your abilities to do strategic planning effectively … but you do not want to admit it.

4. Tomorrow has very little to do with today.

If this is the main problem you see with long-term planning, at least right now, this may be how you really feel:

"Help me see how the work of today relates to the work of tomorrow."

"Make the strategy-setting and action-planning process tangible, achievable (and bonus-able), and help me feel a sense of achievement as we do the actual strategic planning work."

"Make me feel a sense of accomplishment in the process, and the planning outcomes."

"Make this part of my job – and teach me how to do it well – far more than you have today."

5. There's no guarantee about the future . We're just guessing, and there's a pretty good chance we'll guess wrong.

The frustration here may be that the future does not seem tangible, and the planning scenarios do not seem realistic.

Perhaps prior strategic planning efforts have not been well-planned, well-managed, or effective.

In that case, the ease and eagerness with which people proceed is surely going to be mixed, at best.

And this, ultimately, is what you're probably thinking if you're not enthusiastic about being involved in what can be a significant future-building opportunity:

"Take the barriers out of my way if you want me to help you prepare for the future, today."

Cannon Gun Safes Review – An UNBIASED Look at One of Their Top Models

Cannon gun safes are among the most popular on the market. For this reason, many people are obviously interested in how they compare with Remington, Stack on, and other name brand firms.

They make quite a few models, so picking the right one for you can be somewhat challenging. Here is a review of one of their most popular models:


This is easily one of their most talked about models, so does it live up to the hype? Here are its' features to help you find out:


Like many larger safes, this one has drilled in holes which enable it to be bolted to the ground. In other words, no one can carry it off. The steel is also reasonably thick, meaning most people will have a hard time breaking in.


It is able to handle up to 36 guns, which is more than enough even for the most avid hunter. However, the negative is that the exterior is very big, meaning you need a lot of room to put it.

The dimensions are 60 by 24 inches, so you have to have a fairly large area to store it. Since it is 24 inches wide, it is one of the widest models on the market.

Fire resistance

This one is built to withstand a 1200 degree blaze for 30 minutes. This is nothing special, as there are plenty of models out there that can do better.

Charging capability

One of the unique features about this model is that it has the ability to charge up electrical devices inside it. Not many other safes can say the same.

Adjustable shelving

This is one of the things Cannon is noted for. Therefore, you can change around the interior to fit whatever you want to inside.


Like every Cannon safe, this one is built in the United States. Therefore, if you are sick of buying "made in China" products and want to support the local economy, this is the one for you.


It comes with a lifetime warranty, which you obviously can not beat.


It sells for $ 1000. In other words … it's not exactly the cheapest model around. However, for a safe of this size and quality, this is a relative bargain.

The bottom line – Cannon Gun Safes are among the better ones out there, and the TS6040 is no exception. It definitely is not necessary if you just own 1 or 2 guns. However, if you need to keep either lots of guns or other valuables, this model is one of the best money can buy.

Sony Ericsson T700 Review

The Sony Ericcson T700 is one of the phones that are connected the 3G Network that everyone is raving about. The T700 is something that will allow you to get online quickly using the Quad Band 3G Network that runs on the HSDPA 2100 and get everything done that you need to do as quickly as you possibly can. The memory that is built into the phone is actually 25MB that can be increased to 512MB. The small size of this phone is something that has everyone talking. It has a respectable dimensions of 48mm wide by 104mm long by 10mm high with a weight of 78 grams.

This is the mobile phone that you want if you are one that really likes to be able to take excellent still digital photos and make sure that those precious and important moments in your life are video recorded so that you have them at your fingertips at all times . If you are into making Video Blogs and Video Calls to those that you are working with and related to you will not have that much trouble with the T700. There are more and more people that are carrying around camera phones these days; which have led to the advances that we all are seeing in today's mobile camera phones.

Staying in touch with your family, friends and other contacts is not very difficult when you realise that you are always connected to the Internet as soon as you turn your phone on. You will not have that much trouble getting around the Internet with WAP 2.0 XHTML and the Access NetFront browser which allows you to zip all around the Internet. Once you have gotten to where you want to go online, you are not going to find it that difficult to respond to those e-mail messages and Instant Messages. There are specific versions of Web Browsers, Instant Messengers and Applications that are specially designed for these mobile devices.

Taking and making phone calls is not going to be that difficult either with the Bluetooth technology that allows you to connect a Bluetooth headset to the phone or the Speakerphone which you can simply use for easier calling. If you need to look up a map to get where you are going quickly, Google Maps is also built into the phone. Transferring data and information between the phone and your computer is pretty easy when you only need to connect up a USB cable to the external port.

Those that are really into their music will not have trouble keeping their favourite music with them. They will not have a hard time keeping all of that important musical information stored for future reference. The media player that is built in comes with support for a wide range of formats including MP3 / eAAC + / WMA / WMA and more and enhance your music with the built in MegaBase feature. You can easily access the album art to be able to see what other songs there are on the particular album that you favourite song comes from.

Aside from all of these you also have an Organizer that helps you keep track of your appointments and everything that is important to you. Getting from one thing to the next is not that difficult when you get the hang of using the Navigation Keys. You will be able to choose your own pictures that serve as your wallpaper and also have many choices of animated wallpapers that will keep your attention for a while, as well as getting everyone else's attention in the process. The type of mobile phone that you choose tends to say a lot about you these days.

Coaching – A Quote A Day

“Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” Author Unknown

Believe it or not, the use of motivational quotes can have a positive impact on your resolve to move forward in business. We can all suffer moment of self-doubt and find ourselves somewhat incapacitated in our entrepreneurial endeavors.

This article draws from a select group of quotes and ideas that may help you jumpstart your willingness to move forward.

“In the factory we make cosmetics. In the store we sell hope.” – Charles Revson

You have customers to think of. In the end, you sell more than a product you also sell something intangible, but altogether needed – an emotional attachment to the product. Some people don’t care about how they connect to a product on an emotional level, but many do. How have you developed your product to have an emotional appeal?

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

Anne Frank endured Nazi repression and her life represents one of dedication and willingness to help others. She did not become bitter in the midst of great difficulty she simply found ways to make things better. How does this thought mesh with your entrepreneurial efforts?

“A person who graduated yesterday and stops studying today is uneducated tomorrow.” Author Unknown

Have you stopped learning? Sometimes it becomes easy to rely on what we have always known because it just takes too much work to do otherwise, yet ongoing education can help you take the entrepreneurial spirit and apply it to new methods. Never loose the joy of learning.

“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” – Will Rogers

You may have failures in your past and it may be easy to dwell on those failures as evidence of your inability to do anything meaningful in the future. By living in the rearview mirror you fail to see opportunities and potential success.

“The buyer buys the seller not the salt.” – Author Unknown

You may sell a certain product, but what you are marketing is trust. If your customers trust you then they will trust the product. Conversely you can have the best product available, but if people don’t trust you they will never make that all-important first purchase.

Print this article out and refer to one of the quotes and thoughts each day. It may be the encouragement you need to turn the corner and make positive steps in your business.