3 Simple Ways to Match Makeup to Trendy Jewelry

Wearing makeup and accessories are pretty much the finishing touches when donning a particular outfit. There are huge varieties of trendy jewelry to choose from and makeup styles to use also.

But you just do not wear makeup and accessories for the sake of just wearing them. There are things that you need to consider in order for you to create a beautiful look. There are just three things that you need to bear in mind when matching your makeup with your choice accessory to complement your outfit. Here are some tips:

  • Complement – this is the safest way for you to create a beautiful look. Complementing colors always look pleasing to the eyes and they are not difficult to pull off. If you wear a complete set of accessories, choose your main accessory which your makeup could complement. For example, if you want to complement it with the color of your earrings, apply makeup that will not clash with the color of your main accessory. It is not recommended to match the color as well, for it would look redundant and boring. Complementing makeup with accessories is actually suitable for everyday looks, whether you go to work or school. Take into consideration the color of your skin tone when wearing accessories and makeup as well. Lighter shades of makeup are suitable for lighter skin tones for the color can already stand out. So if you decide to get a tan, or have a tan complexion, then it would be best for you to apply darker colors to complement your skin tone.
  • Match – as what has been mentioned before, when applying makeup, choose an accessory to base your makeup color with. If you want to emphasize a trendy jewelry you are wearing, then match it with just one part of your makeup. For example, you want to display your beautiful pair of red chandelier earrings. The best way for you to have people notice it, is to match your lipstick color with the color of the earrings. That way, it surely will become a head turner. Another way of matching makeup with accessories is by taking a look at what kind of trendy jewelry you wear. For example, if you wear pieces that are timeless and classic, then your makeup should also be of the classic and timeless look. One way of doing that timeless look is by lining your brows to create a strong and yet classic look.
  • Clash – most people are afraid of clashing colors due to the fact that sometimes it is really hard to pull off. But, the safest way to do it is by clashing the colors of your accessory or makeup with the colors of your eyes. That way you get to have your eyes noticed and your accessories noticed too. If you wear the opposite color of makeup against the color of your eyes, it would be like hitting two birds with one stone.

Once you have mastered the art of choosing a makeup style that would perfectly go with your trendy jewelry, you will surely be able to turn heads. This is also one way of feeling more confident about yourself while being more fashion forward and stylish.

How to Start a Foreclosure Cleanup and Property Preservation Company

A new article on June 3, 2009 from MSN Money writer Michael Brush indicates that there is a third wave of foreclosures still to come from prime borrowers (i.e. those previously “safe-borrowers” with sound credit and fixed-rate mortgages) as a result of job losses thanks to the worsening economy (“Coming: A 3rd Wave of Foreclosures”).

The article states that “In the first quarter, the percentage of these borrowers who were behind on their mortgages or in foreclosure had doubled from a year earlier, to nearly 6%” and goes on to say that “Credit Suisseanalyst Rod Dubitsky predicted last week that 8.1 million mortgages, or 16% of all mortgages, will go into foreclosure over the next four years. A weak economy, continued declines in home prices and rising delinquencies among prime borrowers all but ensure that foreclosures “will march steadily higher,” he says.” Not such great news for the economy, but good news indeed for entrepreneurs interested in starting a foreclosure cleanup business to clean and repair foreclosed homes for the banks.

To put this in perspective, this means that there will be over 2 million foreclosures a year and more than $2,025,000,000 up for grabs in money that will be spent on cleaning up these foreclosed properties (since the average bill is $1000+ to clean up one of these properties).

Let’s take a look at how you can position yourself to capitalize on this coming foreclosure movement

Set Up Your Company Properly

If you want to be hired for cleanup or preservation work, you’ll need to operate your business as a professional company. The good news is that you can set up a business quickly and inexpensively, and usually on your own. Many people decide to set up an LLC (Limited Liability Company) because of how quickly and easily it can be done but you’ll want to check with your accountant or other business professional to select the type of business entity that’s right for your personal situation.

If you do decide to start an LLC, you can usually find all of the documents you need online from your state’s government website. Usually the branch you’re looking for will be called the “Industrial Commission” or “Corporation Commission” or similar. Try typing in “start a business + ______ (your state)”. Anything ending in “.gov” is usually a good place to start as it indicates a government site.

Once your business is set up, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is like a SSN for your business. You can register for one online: type in “IRS” & “EIN” into a search engine to find the online registration link.

As soon as you have your EIN (which you can usually get immediately online), you can open up a business bank account for your company. This step is very, very important. In the excitement of things, many people get caught up in the day-to-day dealings of running a business and use their personal accounts to pay for business expenses. Not only does this present an accounting nightmare at the end of the year, but it could present problems for you with the IRS if you don’t keep your personal and business finances separate.

Once you legally set up your business, you may be required to register your business with your county or city in order to get a business license to operate. You can start by calling City Hall or the Office of the County Clerk to inquire as to whether or not you need a city/county/state business license and if so, how to get one.

So to recap:

1. Legally set up your business

2. Get your EIN # and set up a business bank account

3. Apply for a business license

4. If you want to do preservation work, determine whether or not you need a contractors’ license

Get Insurance

You absolutely must have a Commercial Liability Insurance policy and Workers’ Compensation Insurance in order to run your business. Not only is insurance essential for protecting yourself from liability and protecting those that work for you in the event of a work-related injury, but many asset management companies will not do business with you if you do not meet their minimum insurance requirements.

Insurance will likely be one of your largest start-up costs, however, most insurance companies allow you to pay the premium on a monthly (rather than yearly) basis, which definitely makes this expense more affordable.

General Liability Insurance policies can cover the following: bodily injury, property damage, contractual liability, personal and advertising injury, professional liability (also known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, this coverage protects you and your business from litigation caused by charges of professional neglect or failure to perform your professional duties), hired auto and non-auto liability and umbrella liability.

You’ll want to speak directly with your insurance agent to get a better idea of the extent of the coverage provided by their particular policy and one that is best suited for your individual needs

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required in most states when you have W2 employees, and some states also require your insurance to cover your 1099 contractors also. Workers’ Compensation (“Workers’ Comp”) covers your employees’ medical and disability expenses related to work-related illness and on-the-job injuries.

In the states where you are not required to cover your 1099 contractors you would need them to provide proof that they carry their own Workers’ Compensation insurance. Although tempting to shift the financial burden of maintaining a policy onto your 1099 contractors, in all reality, you are probably better off to take on the cost of all staff Workers’ Compensation (all W2 employees and 1099 contractors). The reason is that it’s difficult to find only independent contractors that have their own policy. In addition, this industry has such high turnover that if you put this restriction on your independent contractors, you’ll waste valuable time and lost revenues trying to find replacements in a hurry.

Here’s a great tip: sometimes you can get “pay-as-you-go” insurance where your workers’ compensation insurance premiums are based on your actual payroll, rather than an estimated amount. This is great for companies that are just starting out or have a fluctuating workload. Type in “pay as you go workers comp” into a search engine for results in your area.

As a second tip, we’ve used Farmers Insurance for years and have always had excellent customer service and great rates. Just Google “Farmers Insurance” for an agent in your area.

Foreclosure Cleanup v.s. Property Preservation Services

As the name suggests as a Foreclosure Cleanup Company, you’ll be cleaning out all of the junk in the house (also called a “trashout or a “junk out”), as well as cleaning the interior of the home. You may also be required to remove vehicles on the property. Usually foreclosure cleanup companies are also responsible for doing a basic landscape cleanup which includes hauling out any junk from the front/back yards, cutting the grass and trimming trees/bushes.

Cleaning up the property is the extent of services offered by a Foreclosure Cleanup Company, whereas a Property Preservation Company is also involved in the “securing” of the property and the “preserving” of the property.

Here are some of the services that a preservation company may offer (note that a Property Preservation Company will generally also offer cleanup services):

Securing the Property

o Initial vacant property inspection

o Lock changes

o Boarding of windows and doors

o Temporary roof repair

o Securing swimming pools

Preserving the Property

o Exterior Debris removal

o Abandoned vehicle removal (cars, boats, etc.)

o Interior Debris removal (junk-out)

o Hazardous waste removal

o Interior cleaning services including carpet cleaning

o Window washing/graffiti removal

o Window replacement

o Pool services (draining, acid washing, maintaining, etc.)

o Pest control services

o Yard maintenance/landscaping

o Snow removal

o Winterization

o Gutter cleaning

o Pressure washing

o Carpet removal & replacement

o Tile/Floor repairs

o Painting

o Sheetrock/drywall repairs

o Carpentry repairs

o Plumbing fixtures repairs & replacements

o Fire & mold remediation

o Fence repair

Here are a few things to consider when determining the extent of the services you want to offer:

A Contractors’ License is generally not required for Foreclosure Cleanup Company but is likely required for preservation companies doing work over a certain dollar value (usually $500 – $1000+). Sometimes this license can be obtained by attending a course and successfully passing a test whereas other states require previous, verifiable industry experience.

The insurance premiums tend to be higher on companies that offer preservation services as they are considered to be a “general contractor”. However, the revenue potential is much higher as preservation services tend to run from a few thousand dollars upwards instead of $800 – $1500 for each cleanout.

Usually what people do is start out initially offering just the foreclosure cleanup services and then when things pick up, they’ll add preservation items to the list of services they offer. This let’s them get their foot in the door without having to spend a whole lot of money upfront when setting up their company.

Source the Right Equipment & Tools

The great thing about starting a foreclosure cleanup company is that the initial expenses are quite low as much of the equipment and tools needed for cleaning foreclosures can likely be found in your own garage:

o Cleaning chemicals (i.e. all purpose cleaner, disinfectant, toilet bowl cleaner, window cleaner)

o Cleaning supplies (broom, mop, scrub pads)

o Vacuum cleaner

o Garbage bags and shovels

o Work gloves and disposable plastic gloves

o Lawn mowers & lawn tools

o Wheelbarrow

For the smaller items you don’t have on hand, check your local dollar store. Their prices can’t be beat and they usually have the same chemicals and cleaning supplies as the other retailers. Once you start doing some volume, consider shopping for your supplies at Sam’s Club or Costco to keep your expenses low.

You can also find used equipment in great shape (such as vacuums) by going around to your local Saturday morning garage/yard sales. If you have a “Re-Use” center or a Salvation Army, you may consider checking there also as they often have vacuums and other small equipment or yard tools for sale.

For hauling junk, you’ll need some sort of trailer and a vehicle large enough to pull it. If you don’t have a truck and a trailer, you can always borrow a friend’s truck and rent a trailer from U-Haul or just go ahead and rent a moving truck from U-Haul. (Remember though, that you’ll be charged a daily rate plus a per-mile rate when you rent a moving truck whereas if you use your own truck and just rent the pull-trailer, you’ll only incur the daily rental rate for the trailer.)

Sometimes you’ll be required to clean a property that doesn’t have electricity or water. In the event that there’s no electricity, you’ll need a generator to operate the vacuum cleaners and other electrical equipment. These can be rented at Lowe’s or Home Depot and is a much better alternative to purchasing one outright unless you’re going to use it on a regular basis (a new one will run you about $500+).

To save on expenses, it’s best to rent equipment in the beginning.

Once you get up and going, it may be worth looking into purchasing equipment of your own. Check the online classifieds ads (such as Craigslist, Kijiji and Backpage) for used trailers, generators, etc. You should also check with U-Haul as they have been selling some of their excess trucks as of late.

Stay Safe on the Job

As a business owner, you’re responsible for keeping your staff safe while working on the job. Working safely is paramount to the health of your staff and the reputation of your business (and also keeps your insurance premiums low). It’s imperative that you review safety issues prior to allowing anyone to work on the job – you must provide both classroom and on-the-job safety training to all new hires.

Now, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy; you can spend 20 – 30 minutes reviewing safety policies, safe working practices and answering any questions and then you’ll be done! Make sure you have people sign in and out of the meeting and that you document that a safety meeting took place.

It’s also very important that you become familiar with OSHA and Safety Standards as well as the health & safety hazards associated with this industry so that you can keep your staff safe, avoid accidents and costly fines. You can find the OSHA Pocket Guide to Construction Safety (it’s a short and an easy read) at the main website (OSHA DOT gov) by searching for the report name.

Another way to protect your staff and your business is to make sure that you check references before you hire someone. Insist that they list non-related references (i.e. not mother, sister or best friend) and instead list references of previous employers or someone they know in a professional capacity. We also do drug testing and background checks – it might sound paranoid to some, but the safety of our staff, our customers’ property and our company’s reputation is far too important to risk not spending $20 on a background check or drug test.

Price Your Services Right

In this industry, the lowest price always wins the bid (unless, of course, the lowest bidder has a terrible track record of not completing work and is utterly irresponsible and unprofessional, in which case the company has just committed “reputation-suicide” and will never be hired again). Lenders don’t want to spend any more than they have to on these properties so you want to make sure you price your services comparable with the going market rates (but at the same time, priced so that you still make a great profit and don’t leave any money on the table).

For cleaning out foreclosures, most banks expect to spend anywhere from $500 – $1500 for a cleanout (trashout, interior clean and initial landscape cleanup), but it could be a bit more or a bit less, depending on your area. It’s important to know that most lenders have prescribed “price caps” for the maximum amounts that they’ll pay for services.

If you’re also providing preservation services, a great site that we’ve used before to determine our prices for doing repairs is www.CostEstimator.com for getting the market rates for construction costs – you can get a free 30 day trial (no need to enter credit card – it really is free!). There are over 3,000 cost items adjusted for over 210 local, geographic regions to create your bid and you can add as many others as needed. If you want to sign up after the trial, it’s only $15/month.

Market Your Services

It’s true – “nothing happens until somebody sells something”… and you’ll need to get out there and sell, sell, sell your business. Once you’ve done a few jobs, you’ll find that word of mouth advertising and referrals will provide a large pool of new jobs for you, but in the meantime, you do need to do everything possible to let customers know you exist.

A large portion of work will come from the relationships that you build with Real Estate Agents (“Realtors”) who list bank-owned homes (often referred to as REO listings). They are often given the task of bidding out the cleaning and repairs of new listings by the asset management company so you’ll want to make sure the agents in your area know your company handles this type of work.

A great way to find out which Realtors in your area list REOs is to go online to the major bank’s REO websites and “data mine” the contact information for the listing agents (name, email, phone numbers). It can be painstaking work, but definitely worth it.

Here’s an example of a bank REO sites to get you started collecting Realtor information

WELLS FARGO (Properties managed by Premier Asset Services): pasreo.com/pasreo/images/pas_logo.jpg

NOTE: In order to access agent information, select the state and click search. Then, individually select each listing and click on “Print Property Report CVS”. Each listing and corresponding information (such as agent name, phone # and email) will be created in an Excel spreadsheet. You can access the page

Remember to follow up with a phone call a few days later. Don’t be shy about asking the Realtor if he/she has any jobs for you to bid, either – most of them are very accommodating and willing to give a new company the opportunity to provide estimates.

The other way jobs are bid out is through large Asset Management Companies (also referred to as Marketing & Management Companies, REO Field Service Companies and Property Management Companies). Essentially, the lender says, “ok – I have thousands of properties to get rid of. Here, national ABC Asset Management Company: clean, fix and sell these properties for us”. And the national Asset Management Company will then subcontract out the work to local foreclosure cleanup and property preservation companies. In order to work for these companies, you usually need to sign up your company as a potential vendor. Many times this can be done online.

There are both positives and negatives associated with working for the larger companies. On the positive side, you will probably be given a few projects to work on at a time so you will be kept relatively busy. On the negative side, they usually want you to offer ‘wholesale pricing’ and don’t pay until 30 – 60 days after you invoice them for the work. Working for one of these companies, however, will give you the experience you need to go after more work.

Other possible customers include wholesale property investors (groups of investors that purchase foreclosed homes at the auctions and then sell them to smaller investors at a wholesale price), investors, landlords, property management companies, Realtors and so on.

You should also consider attending your local networking events such as the Chamber of Commerce meetings and any local investor meetings in order to hand out your card and network with potential customers. The more you get out there, the better chance you’ll have of securing some great, long-term customers!

This is definitely an exciting industry and a very profitable one for those of you who don’t mind getting your hands a bit dirty! Good luck!

Guys, Are You Top Heavy?

How’s Your Physique?

Many times men tend to work the upper body, chest, and arms to the neglect of the lower body and midsection. This is a mistake for a number of reasons, not the least of which is how it makes the body look unbalanced. There are many guys, whether they work out at the gym, or at home, who have spent a lot of time hitting the bench or push ups, and have made some substantial progress, but, their legs look like they belong to someone else. In addition, I have heard several women make comments about how this very fact is a turn off when it comes to the area of physical attraction. While women do like to see a guy with big guns, they also like symmetry. While they may not talk about it openly to men they are very much impressed with how a guy’s jeans fit him.

Now two lower body exercises that will definitely address this are the dead lift and the squat. These exercises are targeted specifically to the lower trunk, hips, quads, and hamstrings. They both are excellent ways to build muscle mass and improve the appearance of the lower body. Before you start doing these, contact a health professional or professional trainer to determine if you are ready to start either of these.

Exercise #1: The Deadlift

The dead lift is about as primitive an exercise as you can find. It primarily involves movement at the hip, and that’s all. You basically lift something heavy from the floor to your mid thigh level. It’s typically done in the gym with a barbell and is a concentric motion only. Once you pick up the object, you don’t lower it back down, you simply drop it back in place. The deadlift can be done with anything really. It doesn’t have to be a barbell. However, using a barbell does make it easier because of how it’s made. But, creative people can come up with other options. To do this particular movement correctly, the low back needs to be kept straight and in the “neutral position”. This means that your hamstrings need to be fairly long to do the exercise correctly and avoid injury. A stretching program may be needed. Also, when beginning, one should concentrate on form rather than resistance. This means avoid using much weight at all until your body is accustomed to the movement.

Exercise #2: The Squat

The Squat is a more dynamic exercise than the dead lift in that you lift and lower the weight. You’ll be getting movement in the ankle, knee and hip with this one. In addition, the upper body works to a degree because the weight rests on the upper back and shoulders or the upper chest and shoulders. Because the squat is dynamic, the amounts of weight may be limited due to things like knee pain or ankle or knee tightness. As with the dead lift, you will want to start off pretty conservative when it comes to weight. Again, because you need to know how your body will respond. Using your bodyweight, or the weight of the Olympic bar will be fine for this. To do correctly, whether using a bar or not, stand with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Then, lower your body toward the floor bending at the hip and knee. Your hips will move backward as you keep your knees above and slightly in front of your feet. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground and then rise to the starting point.

Your chances of avoiding injury are greatly increased when either of these exercises are done in a controlled and consistent fashion. Because of the nature of these exercises and the muscles targeted, they are a great way to increase lower body muscle mass and add symmetry to any physique.

My Top 15 Non-Traditional, Muscle Building, Fat Scorching Workouts

If you have been a subscriber to my newsletter for some time, you know that I’m always trying to give you ways to make your workouts more interesting and fun, while also stimulating big-time results. Don’t you agree that your training should be fun? This is what separates the people who jump on and off the “fitness bandwagon” a couple times every year without ever making any real progress from the people that actually adopt a true fitness lifestyle and finally achieve the body they have always wanted. Make it interesting, make it fun, and make your fitness a priority, and you’ll have the body that you want.

What I have noticed over the years is that many people will train regularly for a few months and then will either get bored with the same old weight training and cardio routines, or will get discouraged because their progress comes to a grinding halt after a while. In my opinion, I don’t think your workouts ever need to get boring or stale. You just need to have an open mind to the huge world of various training styles and techniques that are out there. Seriously, there are so many different and fun training styles out there, that there is no reason you should ever get bored with your workouts and give up on that lean ripped body that you’ve been looking for. Also, mixing in various training styles builds stronger joints by reducing repetitive movement pattern overload and varying your training stressors.

Now before I start with some of my favorite non-traditional training styles, I will state that I think one of the best ways to achieve a lean, muscular and healthy body is through a consistent weight training routine with free weights. You can choose to integrate some of these alternative training techniques with your weight training routines on the same day, as alternative workouts on separate days of the week, or even as separate training cycles where you try some of these techniques for several weeks at a time before cycling back to a traditional weight training workout. Try some of these training styles out and you’ll be on your way to never being bored again with your workouts…and your body will thank you with muscles popping out that you never knew existed!

Alright, here are some of my favorite non-traditional training techniques:

1. Staircase Workouts – This is great because stairs are everywhere. You can go to a football field and do stadium stairs, any building that has stairs like a hotel (most people take the elevator, so you will not even have many people looking at you while you’re working out), or even the stairs in your own home. For an awesome full body workout, try mixing stairs sprints with an upper body exercise like pushups or pull-ups. If done with a high enough intensity, stairs workouts help to create changes throughout your entire body due to the muscle building and fat burning hormonal response and metabolism increase that you get through working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body. If you thought that going up and down the stairs was the only way to get a good stairs workout…think again. My fellow trainer and friend, Virgil Aponte, has developed a website that focuses on creative stairs workouts using all kinds of exercises you never would have thought of before. You can find out more info on stairs exercises workouts at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

2. Wind Sprints and Hill Sprints – Find any open field in a park or athletic field and try 50, 75, and 100-yard all-out wind sprints. After each sprint, rest long enough to catch your breath before the next one (generally 1-2 minutes). Try workouts of anywhere from 6 to 20 wind sprints for a great “cutting” workout. Also, if you have a hill nearby, hill sprints are also great workouts. Sprint up the hill as fast as you can and walk down for your rest interval. Repeat until you’re whooped (a 20-30 minute hill workout is plenty). These sprint workouts are so amazingly effective at changing your entire body for the same reason as stairs exercises…by powerfully working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body, you greatly stimulate your metabolism while simultaneously increasing your fat burning and muscle building hormones.

Just look at any world class 100-meter sprinters and notice how ripped-to-shreds those guys are. Now compare that to the emaciated weakling physiques of many marathoners, and you’ll see that sprinting is where the action is at for a healthy, ripped, powerful body! Now I don’t want to upset all of you distance runners out there. Hey, if distance running is something you enjoy, then go right ahead. But don’t say you’re doing it for the health benefits, because I might just have to disagree. You can read my full story on why I believe variable intensity training is far superior to steady-state endurance training in one of my other ezinearticles.com articles at Cardio-Enthusiasts: Discover a More Effective Training Method for Fat Loss and Heart Health!

3. Kettlebell Training – If you’ve been reading my articles for some time, you’ve probably heard me praise kettlebell training many times before, but I will have to reiterate that it has been one of the best training methods that I’ve ever tried and has taken my physical capabilities to a whole new level. Kettlebells are an alternative type of free-weight training instead of barbells and dumbbells. Their unique construction and weight distribution (basically a cannonball with a handle) allows for a whole different realm of exercises that’s available compared to dumbbells and barbells. Kettlebells have been typically used for training hard-core athletes, military units, martial arts competitors, and other tough individuals, but there is no reason that anybody looking to get stronger, bigger, or more cut can’t learn the exercises and benefit from them.

It’s been a little over a year now since I’ve incorporated kettlebell training into my routines, and I’ll admit that I’m hooked for life! At between $100-$150 per kettlebell, they are definitely not cheap, but they are well worth the money. Just one or two kettlebells and you’ve literally got yourself an entire home gym that you can use for the rest of your life…worth every penny in my book! If you want to give these body-hardening kettlebells a try, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

4. Bodyweight Workouts – For a change of pace, try adding to your routine one or two workouts a week at home with just bodyweight based exercises. These can be great because you can get a high intensity workout done in only 15-30 minutes without having to go to the gym on days that you might not have time for a trip to the gym. Try alternating bodyweight squats, pushups variations, lunges, and floor abs exercises continuously for 15-30 minutes. Try to take very short rest periods or none at all to really amp up the intensity since this will be a brief workout. If you’re more advanced, you can even incorporate more challenging exercises like handstand pushups, one-arm pushups, and one-legged squats into your bodyweight training routines.

5. Ring Training – This type of training basically uses portable gymnastic rings that you can take anywhere with you. You throw the straps up over any high bar like a pullup bar, the top of a power rack, or even over a football field goal crossbar. Then you can quickly adjust the rings to do exercises like ring dips, ring pushups, ring pull-ups, hanging leg raises, horizontal body rows, L-sits, and more. Dips and pushups on the rings are my favorites and the rings really make them a hell of a lot more difficult, while also incorporating your stabilizer muscles to a much greater degree. The rings allow your joints to move in a more natural pattern and can help you prevent or even recover from shoulder injuries. Personally, when I try dips on a normal dip stand, it hurts my shoulders. However, dips on the training rings feel perfect, and also give me a much better muscle pump. The training rings are one of the best training devices I’ve ever bought. Give them a try…I think you’ll like them if you’re up for a challenge. I found my rings, which you can hang up easily on a power rack, pullup bars, or at a park, at ringtraining.com.

6. Swimming – A great full body workout that stresses the muscles and joints in a much different way than most resistance training. Incorporating swimming workouts once or twice a week into your normal training routines can really enhance your physique. I recommend trying a “sprint” style swimming workout, which will help more for building muscle compared with endurance long distance swimming. For sprint style, swim as hard as you can to the other side of a 25-meter or 50-meter pool (or sprint swim similar distances in a lake or the ocean if you like to swim outdoors). Rest enough to catch your breath between sprint swims (about 20-40 seconds). Try to keep the rest intervals fairly short with swim sprints. You can also mix different strokes (crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, butterfly) on each swim sprint. I’ve found that sprint swimming gives me a great muscle pump (especially in the upper body), without any soreness the next day as is typical with weight training. This is because swimming has no eccentric movement (the negative portion of a lift), which is what causes muscle soreness. Keep in mind that even though swimming works your muscles well and is a nice alternative workout to mix in once or twice a week, it does not strengthen your bones. You still need to do regular weight training to do that.

7. Sandbag Training – This form of training is a nice variation to mix in with your strength training. It works your body with an unstable object, which makes muscles that might normally be neglected get in on the action to perform the movements. I’ve been mixing some sandbag training into my routines for over a year now, and I’ve found it is a very intense method of training that works your muscles in a different way and gets you huffing and puffing like crazy. You can make your own sandbags to train with by filling various sized duffle bags with sand, or you can use those construction type sandbags that come in several shapes. Sandbag exercises can be done as squats, cleans, presses, lunges, shouldering, throws or heaves, carrying up hills, etc. Make no mistake, training intensely with sandbags will get you ripped in no time flat! I’ve actually found an entire book devoted to sandbag training, which gave me some great ideas for doing sandbag based workouts. If you’re interested in this type of training, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

8. Mountain Biking – As you may have figured by now, I’m not a proponent of steady pace endurance exercise, but rather, highly variable intensity exercise that works with bursts of exertion followed by recovery intervals. Well, mountain biking fits this bill perfectly. You get the leg pumping exertion during the uphill climbs, while also getting the adrenaline rush of the downhill acting as your recovery intervals. Mix it all together and you get a super-fun, high-intensity, leg burning workout that will melt fat off of your entire body and build awesome legs at the same time. The climbs can be tough and will challenge you both physically and mentally as you pump away trying to make it up steep hills without having to resort to getting off of the bike. Then after you make it up the challenging climbs, you get rewarded with the adrenaline rush of flying down steep hills while jumping off of boulders and logs and trying not to stumble or fall off the bike. It’s such an addicting thrill…I love it! See, who says that working out has to be boring!

9. Indoor (or outdoor) Rock Climbing – This is yet another fun way to get in a great workout that will also challenge you both physically and mentally. Indoor rock climbing gyms have starting popping up all over the place in recent years and will be more accessible than outdoor rock climbing to most people. Rock climbing is a great workout for your legs, arms, shoulders, and your entire back. It also really works your grip strength and forearms like crazy. Whenever I go indoor rock climbing (which is only on occasion), my forearms are sore for about 2-3 days afterwards. Give it a try if you’ve never done it…it may be just what you’re looking for to spice up your fitness routine.

10. Stick Wrestling – This is a killer full body workout and can also be a great competition between you and your friends. This is probably more of a guy thing for most people. You could even come up with your own “fight club” and have stick wrestling competitions with your buddies to see who is toughest. There are actually sticks designed specifically for stick wresting, but you can even just use a strong broomstick cut down to about 30-36 inches long and taped up with some athletic tape to prevent splinters. For your stick wrestling workout, stand on a soft mat or carpeted area (or grass if outdoors), match up with a friend or foe. You’ll both grab the same stick toward the ends with your hands on the outsides of your partner’s hands, on the inside, or staggered. Then you simply push, pull, jerk, and thrash your opponent around trying to knock them off balance until they either fall or lose their grip of the stick…and you win that round! Be careful not to get the stick up high and knock each other in the face. Use common sense. You can do this in 1-2 minute rounds or just keep going until someone gives up. Be creative and keep going until you’ve gotten a killer workout. Your forearms and legs will be screaming!

11. Strongman Training – This type of training is a little more hard-core, but it’s a blast for those who are into trying something different. The premise is based on the types of exercises competitors perform in the “worlds strongest man” competitions. If you have a yard, you can even set up some of these exercises in your yard and do some outdoor workouts to have a little fun. Your neighbors will probably give you some funny looks, but it’s fun, so who cares! You can get one of those giant tractor tires and do tire flips (which is basically a deadlift followed by a push-press). You can also try your hand at log lifts, boulder lifts and carries, keg lifts and tosses, weighted sled dragging…anything that involves pulling, pushing, lifting, or heaving any types of odd objects. You don’t need to be a monster to enjoy this type of training…just handle whatever size objects are challenging for your individual strength. Strongman training works your entire body in a very intense fashion and could easily spark some new results. If you’re interested in finding out more ideas for strongman training, check out my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

12. Rope Climbing – This goes back to the old high school days of climbing the rope in gym class. Seriously, if you have access to a rope, either at a gym or somewhere outdoors, rope climbing builds a powerful and ripped upper body like no other exercise. A great way to incorporate rope climbing into intense workouts is to do a climb up, then lower yourself back down. Then while your upper body is recovering for the next climb, you can do a lower body exercise like squats or lunges, or go up and down stairs. Keep alternating the upper body rope climbs with the lower body exercises in between and you’ll get one hell of a full body workout.

13. Bag Boxing – You can use a heavy bag, a speed bag, or even one of those rebound bags to get a great workout. Among the three, the heavy bag is the best all around full body workout, while the speed bag will test your rhythm and timing and give you a great upper body workout. If available at your gym or if you have a bag at home, try mixing these in as a good warm-up or as an intense finish to your strength routine.

14. Rope Skipping – You can’t beat rope jumping as a great full body exercise. I like to use it as a warm-up for my weight training workouts. I prefer to use the really cheap “speed” ropes with a plastic rope instead of a fabric rope. Once you get good, you can jump rope much faster with the plastic ropes than the fabric ones, which will allow you to get a more intense workout. And don’t mess with the weighted handle ropes…they’ll just slow you down. Your goal is speed when rope skipping. Try mixing together two legged jumps, one-legged jumps, arm crossovers, double jumps (rope passes under feet twice for each jump) to keep things interesting and increase the intensity. Also, try alternating 15-20 second high intensity bursts where you jump as fast as you possibly can, followed by 15-20 second recovery intervals where you jump slowly to get ready for your next burst. Keep repeating until you’re whooped, which might happen pretty quick!

15. Jumping exercises – squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps, and broad jumps are some of the best ways to incorporate explosive jumping exercises into your routines. The explosive and powerful nature of jumping exercises works your leg muscles in an entirely different way than most normal slow grinding strength training moves. I’ve even seen a university study cited once that found squat jumps to elicit the greatest testosterone response of all exercises studied. That means more muscle and less fat on your entire body, not just your legs. Try super-setting jumping exercises with upper body exercises for some really intense workouts.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these ideas for ways to really shake up your workouts and make them fun again. I know some of them may seem a little “out there”, but open your mind to the possibilities and you’ll never be bored again…and your body will respond with new found results!

The Roller Pigeon and The Tumbler Pigeon – The Main Differences (Plus The Similarities)

The Birmingham Roller Pigeon

In a few words, the Birmingham Roller pigeon is noted for its exclusive ability to turn over backwards and rotate with inestimable speed for considerable distances downwards. This is the only aerial performer which can boast of a standard. The most talented of them all, it has no rival and is the King of all high flying acrobats. The standard is contained in a few simple words and its importance is so great it should never be allowed to be lost sight of. The standard reads as follows: The true Birmingham Roller pigeon which turns over backwards with inconceivable rapidity through a considerable distance like a spinning ball. It has always given me great pleasure to quote this descrip­tion because, not only does it place the pigeon in a class of its own, but because it was evidently held in high esteem early in the last century, when this standard of quality was published. This performance is carried out at frequent intervals during flight, from the time they are liberated until they return to their loft. They excel as fliers, in fact there are none better. They possess a high degree of intelligence and they will live a useful life to a ripe old age. I have owned and seen many birds between the ages of nine and fifteen years which could fly and roll in first class order, and also produce prog­eny equal to themselves.

The Plate Roller Pigeon

The peculiarity of this pigeon is the manner in which it gyrates. The bird follows a course which is identical to that followed by a dinner plate when pressed with the finger and rotated in a not too rapid motion. Their wings are outspread and they do not follow a direct course. A backward somersault is a rare occurrence with these pig­eons. The plate roller is about the least accomplished tumbler there is, although a flock properly selected and trained to perform in unison, will gyrate downwards for considerable distances. This type of performer has very few followers.

The Medium Roller Pigeon

This title is my own to serve the purpose of trying to illustrate another kind of popular performer. This bird is noted for its ability to roll in good style for sever­al feet, and without stopping, add to this performance a series of erratic movements in all directions. They also have an apparent ability to stop performing at will. A kit of these pigeons, when performing simultaneously, present an amazing spectacle which even the most preju­diced of fanciers could not ignore or fail to give a lot of credit to.

The Tumbler Pigeon

This term can mean anything, but it refers mainly to such individuals which are capable of doing anything but rolling and spinning. Their quality is wanting and they have nothing to commend themselves. Their performance is extremely limited and for this reason they lend them­selves very ably to making concert performances. Since the results of competition flying depend upon the amount of ‘turns’, they are ideal for the purpose for winning prizes. The less performing ability an individual pigeon has, the more frequent will a number of the same perform in unison. At the same time, the depth of the ‘turn’ or simultaneous performance, besides the quality of same, will be very short. The better quality as an individual, a performer is, so much more will the depth and quality of the ‘turn’ become, when made up of higher quality birds.

Roller pigeons and tumbler pigeons truly are a beautiful sight!

How to Make Vietnamese Lotus Seed and Longan Sweet Soup – Che Hat Sen Nhan Nhuc

Sweet soup, Che, is a very popular Vietnamese dessert. In this version of Che, buttery lotus seeds are combined with longans, a tropical fruit similar to lychees, producing a slightly smoky vanilla flavor. Our elders believe this help sooth their sleep and clear their thoats. For me, when serving cold, it’s a great dessert cool your body temperature in a warm sunny day or a warm sweet soup for a cold winter; it’s always a great treat!

Dried lotus seeds are usually taking a long time to cook, but quickly cook when boiled with baking soda. When shopping for dried lotus, choose the ones with their bitter green centers removed. They are usually located in the same aisle where the dried beans are at Chinese or Vietnamese markets.

Yellow Rock Candy is the sugar that is purified and concentrated from the sugarcane. Using it instead of the granulated sugar to give the broth a better fragrant taste and it’s healthier than processed granulated sugar. You can buy a box of approximately around 1 pound for 1 dollar.

Recipe for Lotus Seed and Longan Sweet Soup


1 tsp baking soda

1 package (5 – 6 oz) dried white lotus, soaked overnight

5 cups water

3 oz (about 3/4 cup) dried longans, rinse and drained

1/2 cup yellow rock candy sugar

1 tsp pomelo/mali flower flavoring (Hoa Buoi flavoring)

Put the baking soda in a medium saucepan and add water to fill the pan halfway. Bring to boil over high heat and add the lotus seeds. When the water returns to boil and the foam rises to the top of the pan, remove it from heat for 20 seconds to subside the boiling and put it back to the stove. Do it 2-3 times, testing the lotus to make sure they are tender, but yet firm; then pour them out into a colander to drain. Rinse them and make sure to remove any lotus skin and bitter green centers.

Return the lotus seeds into the saucepan and add water, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the seeds are tender but not mushy. Discard any scum floating on the top. Add the longans and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or until longans have expanded and softened.

Add the sugar and stir gently to dissolve. Remove from the heat and stir in pomelo/mali flower flavoring. Taste and adjust with more sugar if needed. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

To serve, ladle it into small soup bowls or glasses with ice. Serve hot or cold.

To learn more about Vietnamese recipes and cooking skills, please visit http://www.vietfoodrecipes.com. This site is updated regularly, so come back often and remember to sign up for the ‘VietChef Corner’ Newsletter to have our recipes and useful articles delivered directly to your mailbox.

7 Questions To Ask Before Buying a Microwave Oven

Microwave ovens have made cooking easier and quicker. Modern kitchens specifically follow this cooking trend. These days, time is what we fight for, and always fall short of. Cooking in microwave ovens not only saves time and effort, but is also comfortable to use. Besides this, it has also widened the cooking and recipe options for the people. Certain food items are tedious and stressful to cook on the gas burner, but those can be easily prepared in this appliance.

However, selecting the right kind of microwave oven is not always easy. Manufacturing companies today have launched a wide range of ovens. Manufacturers claim that every piece is worth buying and is of sound quality. But, not every piece is apt for buying. As a buyer, you must know what questions to ask before buying a microwave oven.

What is the type?

This kind of appliance come in different types. Counter-top, convection, commercial, built-in and combined, these are the kinds of microwave ovens, which are available in the market. So, it is better to check and ask the shopkeeper about the same. Also, go prepared to the shop by doing your own research on the latest range of microwave ovens.

What are the features and extras?

Find out what all functions is your microwave oven equipped of. Also, check the extra attachments and parts which you get along with the package like grilling net, bowls and plates that are conducive to the device and sometimes hand gloves as well.

What is the size and structure?

The internal and external structure of your microwave oven must be sturdy. Hence, read the details mentioned about the internal structure carefully. Also, the external structure must be aesthetically sound. Your appliance will be a part of your kitchen, so make sure it is visually pleasant and complements the interiors of your kitchen. Also, choose the size as per the availability of space in your cooking area.

What is the technology?

It is crucial that your microwave oven must be made of high technology. This will ensure smoother and quicker functioning. One of the main reasons why people buy microwave ovens is to save time and effort. Their daily schedules are too hectic for them to indulge in cooking for long hours. Sound and high technology will enable the appliance to function faster, better and smarter.

What is the warranty period?

If you are looking for easy, safe and cheap maintenance of your oven, warranty period is what you must check for. The longer the warranty span, the simpler it is for you to get the repairs and maintenance check done. Also, a lot of your money will be saved through this facility.

How much is the power?

This kind of appliance must have a power of more than 700 watts. The wattage decides whether your appliance will give you a quicker service or not. A device having 1000-1300 watts of power is considered to be high power.

How reliable is it?

Electronic appliances must have advanced safety quotient attached to it. This means that heat distribution must be proper so that the food placed in it is cooked evenly. Also, sometimes the appliance hangs due to over accumulation of heat in its coils. Therefore, check whether the piece which you are buying is reliable enough for your house.

Placemats – How To Choose A Placemat to Enhance Your Dining Experience

One of the quickest and least expensive ways to change the look and feel of your dining table is to purchase a set of new placemats. Not only will this purchase add color and style to your table but they can also aid in protecting your table from damage due to hot plates and dishes. They will also make clean-up easier after meal time as they can easily be removed from the table and either shaken or wiped clean of any food debris or spills.

Some important considerations in purchasing placemats for your dining table are: what type of material are they made from, the amount of use they will receive and who will be using them. Obviously, other factors to consider are what will best fit with your decorating style. Color, pattern, shape and design are all decisions that will be part of your placemat purchase.

If you intend to use the same set of placemats every day, selecting a more durable and easily cleaned material is key to a successful purchase. Plastic mats are both durable and clean easily but, unless small children and messy teenagers are dining at the table, they should be reserved for outdoor use. Plastic mats are far too casual for indoor dining use and are better suited to picnics and Bar-B-Ques. Vinyl, hardboard, laminates and stain resistant placemats are well suited for continual daily use and they should be able to survive children of all ages.

If you are trying to create a dining experience that is for formal entertaining, either business or pleasure, there are many different placemat materials available that can help create an air of elegance and class. Linen cloth mats, always a classic, come in many different colors and designs and they lend themselves to a more formal setting. If you are looking to jazz up your table setting, placemats that are made from bamboo, mirror type material or leather can help create a more contemporary and trendy formal atmosphere.

Creating a festive or special occasion table is easy with the wide selection of colors, textures and materials available for today’s table. A children’s party is perfect for using paper placemats and allowing the children to design their own mats as a party game. Weddings, birthdays and holidays are easy to decorate for when placemats are selected based on the color themes generally associated with that holiday or occasion.

Remember the idea behind placemats is that they are to help enhance the look and feel of your table. Certainly they can be selected to help protect your table but it is the added color and charm that they bring that helps stage the dining table and create a wonderful dining experience for everyone.

Prison Workout For Better Muscles

As long as there have been prisoners, there have been prison workouts. As common to correctional facilities as beating up the new guy on the first day and avoiding dropped soap, prisoners have been building better muscles in confined spaces. Here are some reasons why the Prison Workout works:

1) Unlimited Time – Time is the only thing you have. You can spend four hours building better muscles because you’ve got nothing else to do!

2) Confined Space – In prison, ambivalence and indecisiveness do not exist. You can’t perseverate on whether or not to hit the gym or run the beach. You’re already at the gym, and you can never leave.

3) Creativity Required – with no equipment and no open space for running, it’s just you in a room, face to face with your potential.

4) You are the Steppenwolfe – A lone soldier, a man on a mission of fitness. Better muscles and a haunted past, what more is a lady looking for?

So the prison workout has its perks, but most of us don’t want to commit crimes and go to jail simply for the benefit of better muscles. Not to fear, the prison workout has many practical applications in the real world. This is a guide that uses the concepts of the prison workout to create a fitness routine you can practice in the confines of your bedroom.

The Burpee

Get ready for some pain. The burpee is a staple of the prison workout. Do 20 descending sets and you’ll have better muscles in no time. Here’s the process:

From a standing position, drop to a squat. Place your hands on the floor and spring back to a push up position. Do the push up. Jump back to a squat and then spring up into the air bringing your knees up to your chest. Do this 20 times. Take a breather then do 19 more. Then do 18, then 17, and so on. You’ll feel the prison workout burn.

Upper Body

The Card Game – This prison workout challenge requires a deck of playing cards and a hat. Sit across the room from the hat and flip cards toward it. Any time you miss and a card lands face up, do as many push ups as the card reads (face cards are 10). Work your way through a whole deck and you’ll be working your way to some serious ripped abs and pectorals. And remember to keep your body level, no butts in the air (especially for actual prisoners).

Tricep Prison Workout – This is a simple dip. Place your hands on a chair, bed, or sink, and dip your body toward the ground.

Lower Body

Squat Leap – This is basically a burpee without the push up. Do a squat and spring upward. This works the quads.

Jump Lunge – Lower your body into a lunge position, weight on the bent leg with the other leg stabilizing behind. Jump into the air and switch the position of your feet. Repeat as fast as possible.


The Prisoner’s Plank – Drop to a push up position, body rigid and straight. Now hold this position for three minutes. It’s not so easy unless you’ve got washboard abs.

For the Extreme Prisoner

Handstand Push-ups – You may have seen Nick Cage squeezing these out in Con-Air. The concept is simple, Do a handstand-you can brace your feet against a wall for support-then lower your head to the floor and push back upwards. You will build better triceps and shoulder muscles.

The Wall Squat – Back against a wall, lower your body until your upper and lower legs form a 90 degree angle. Hold this position as long as you can. Sounds simple? Try it for 5 minutes. That’s the prison workout way.

The prison workout fits perfectly into the Primal Blueprint, a health plan designed to maximize strength and good nutrition for those looking for simpler, natural alternatives to health in the modern world.

Careington Dental Plan Exposed

The Careington dental plan is designed to give you the best dental plan you require, in terms of efficiency and affordability. It is a service that offers dental discounts on various procedures, the best thing about it that it is reputable and widely known. Once you have joined the Careington dental plan you are able to save your money through the discounts offered. Many people do not go for dental check ups due to the rising costs. Careington dental plans are your answer to quality dental care.

The dental plans included in this package are: dental exams, these exams are aimed at helping prevent tooth decay, and more so discover underlying dental conditions that may have occurred in the past. A dental exam is very vital. At careington the dental facilities we are available to give you the treatment you want. During an exam the doctors may put sealants on teeth of some patients to prevent bacteria from affecting the grooves of the teeth. A simple routine oral exam like this will cost you so little.

The discount plans at Careington allow you to save a whole lot of dollars on dental work for you and your family. The Careington providers are numerous and are found nation wide. Most dental procedures such as unlimited cleanings, routine dental check ups and serious dental works such as crowning and root canals will help you save up to 20% to 50%.

There are many other packages such as cosmetic dentistry which involves putting veneers and bonding are included in the plans. Careington has the expertise in all the specialties of dentistry such as peridontics, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery and endodontics are all done at a 20% fee reduction. The dental services at Careington are competent, because all the dentists are qualified and have met all the credential standards on back ground, education and qualifications. The dentists also have working licenses and are allowed to treat and perform procedures on patients.

There is, however, a criterion to go about when looking to acquire a Careington dental plan. One is to locate and find a participating Careington provider, and then conduct a search in order to access all the required data. You will then acquire a Careington dental membership card from the participating provider. This card is what you should show during a visit to the dentist in order to receive a discount. There are many terms and conditions that you need to know with Careington providers. You need to know that one a certain dentist has left a plan it is your responsibility to choose another provider. A patient is not allowed to change a dentist in the course of treatment; there will be no discount if this is done.

In cases where a patient requires more than just a dental procedure, it is important that you contact your Careington provider so that you can verify which discounts will be offered in more than one procedure. Remember that for all the procedures that are not listed in the Careington dental plan, are charged at a 20% discount from the normal fees.

Cockroach Eradication

A Cockroach Infestation

There is nothing worse than learning that your home is infested with cockroaches. The first mating pair may have appeared up to a year ago, but because cockroaches are not only highly adept at hiding in the smallest of spaces you may not have noticed their presence until recently.

A solitary cockroach, dead or alive, is not indicative of an infestation. Neither are several big cockroaches. An infestation occurs when they are being bred in your home. You may have neither noticed nor identified the tiny cockroaches as they ran about exploring their new environment in the days following their birth, but their presence is indicative of a cockroach infestation which if left untreated, will cause a major hygiene problem in your home.

A female cockroaches carries up to 8 egg casings, each containing roughly 40 eggs, one of which she releases every six weeks or so. When hatched, the baby cockroach takes only 3 months to reach maturity, and incest is rife in the cockroach world. Every female in that group can easily find a mate and continue the process. Cockroaches live for up to 2 years, so you can understand how quickly a house can become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of cockroaches.

A mating pair can be responsible for 2 million cockroaches in only a year.

Once you realise you have a nest in your home, you need to find out where the nest is. Switch off all the lights in the house, wait a while, then open a room door and switch a light on. If there are cockroaches there you should see at least one of them fleeing for cover. Cockroaches move very fast. It is reckoned they can run at 3mph! The most likely places for your cockroaches are in the kitchen or the bathroom. Cockroaches need a steady water supply.

Once you have identified where the majority of them are, you can follow the steps below.

So how do you Deal with this Problem?

My first suggestion would be the tried and trusted method of all using Borax powder.

Mix a handful of borax with some sugar and place in the washed/dried upturned lid of a jar. The sugar will attract them (cockroaches have a sweet tooth) and the borax will kill them.

You should see some dead cockroaches around the place within a few days.

However, the old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” holds true for cockroaches, and there are some that may not take the bait.

Cockroach Trap

You can lay a cockroach trap. You can either buy one in that has a sticky surface so that cockroach is stuck to it and can’t escape, or you can make your own with a clear glass jar that you either put a little water in (this works better in hotter countries) or a little bit of food. Once the cockroach enters, it cannot escape even without a lid as the glass sides are too hard and smooth for it to walk up.

Cockroaches frequently walk along walls and ceilings because they have claw-like structures at the ends of their legs that allow them the hold on the surfaces. They cannot walk on glass.

Cockroach Extermination Chemicals

You can now buy profession cockroach killing bait or sprays in any good hardware store. If you are using a fumigating spray, it is better to put everything away in cupboards, all your personal belongings, ornaments etc, in case the spray damages anything. In the kitchen, do not leave anything out, and wear a mask while you spray. It is even better if you can arrange to not only go out for the day afterwards, but arrange to stay with a relative or friend overnight to avoid breathing in the fumes.

If you have the money, call in a professional cockroach exterminator. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

If you want to know more about cockroaches, look at this article, The Cockroach.

Seaward Apollo 600 Review

Well, at last we’ve got our hands on the final production version of this ground breaking new product. Not a prototype, not a demo version, but the real thing.

The key thing about it is that it’s so much more than a PAT. It should have really have been called a Risk Assessment Tester or RAT, although we can see why Seaward might not have liked the name Apollo 600 RAT.

We’ll come onto its PAT test capabilities later, but there are two key things that make it stand out.

The first is the integral camera that allows photos to be taken and attached to the reference number of the appliance being tested, or more generally of the risk being assessed. This can be used to show both the problem and the solution with photos taken before and after fixing a problem.

The second thing is the risk based approach. The embedded software allows you to enter risk assessments, calculating risk scores and allowing corrective action to be planned and documented.

Any risk e.g. a loose carpet tile, can be photographed, assessed and the required action noted and followed up.

At the moment it will deal specifically with fire detection and emergency lighting systems, as well as being set up for PAT testing. Extra modules are promised over time and will be incorporated free of charge in the firmware and software.

The unit is easily upgradeable via the USB slot and the upgrade process is much faster and simpler than for earlier Seaward products.

Ergonomically the unit ticks all the boxes. It’s an acceptable weight (1.5kg) and feels comfortable in the hands with good balance. The qwerty keyboard is responsive and easy to use.

Much thought has clearly gone into the user interface, to make operation of the menus and options consistent and easy to navigate (apparently much of the delay in finally getting the Apollo to market was down to fine tuning the user interface to simplify its use as much as possible).

So, while many people will see the potential of the Apollo as a risk management tool, it must first earn its keep as a PAT tester.

How does it stack up?

It has pretty much every feature you could want in a PAT. The only two omissions are a flash test, which is generally only used on some appliances in a repair environment, and a high current 25 Amp or hard earth bond test.

As the unit can be powered from either rechargeable batteries or the mains, a 25 Amp test in mains mode was a possibility but doubtless the impact on weight, cost and size rules it out. It’s not a significant loss as most users are comfortable with a 200mA earth bond test.

It includes all the basic tests with default, but user definable, pass limits including the earth bond test mentioned above, 250v and 500v insulation tests and the ability to test IEC leads. The 250V test is particularly useful for testing items with surge protection. It’s also the ultimate defence against IT managers who are terrified of their equipment being exposed to 500V insulation tests.

In addition it can measure load current under power, protective conductor current and touch current. When used in battery mode, an alternative leakage current is available, although, as in all PAT’s this can give misleading readings on some appliances.

Finally, the Apollo 600 completes its range of tests with a basic socket test and an RCD test, which has built-in protection to ensure RCDs on the circuit are not tripped.

The storage capacity is awesome, with up to 50,000 records and 2000 photos that can be saved. Many users may never need to upload data for re-testing, as prior test data can just be left there and re tests carried out automatically.

Standard accessories are generous with a calibration checkbox for regular quick checks to ensure basic functionality remains within specification.

The need to test fixed appliances is addressed with the re-introduction of point to point testing, using the two leads supplied. This feature was available in some older PAT testers and is also very useful for fault finding. It should be emphasised though that persons not trained and competent in safe isolation procedures and with detailed knowledge of the wiring circuits involved should not attempt to test fixed appliances.

Included with the standard model are adaptors for testing extension leads and 110v appliances, a USB download cable, carry case, quick start guide and a mains lead.

Optional accessories, which can really speed up testing and re-testing, are Bluetooth barcode scanner and printers. Also available is a 3 phase adaptor and a free trial of PATGuard3 software.

PATGuard 3 is another innovation in the PAT market. The software can be bought on a subscription basis and as long as the subscription is kept up to date, improvement, additions and the inevitable bug fixes are free. Purchase of a subscription also works out cheaper than the previous system of purchasing, supporting and upgrading PATGuard software.

Overall, this is an easy to use, very powerful PAT tester with extensive risk assessment capabilities and, at a street price of less than £900, good value for money.

Original article written by Mark Fuller © Instrotech Ltd – 2013 – All Rights Reserved

My Vaginal Opening Feels Rough – Could it Be a Yeast Infection? Discover the Answer in 15 Minutes

Surprisingly, many women are asking this question. Why is this such a common question? 75% of all women suffer from vaginal yeast infections and they’re searching for answers and solutions to the problem.

The answer to the question lies in understanding the symptoms and effects that a yeast infection have on the female body. Symptoms include: itchiness or redness of the vagina and vulva; a thick white, creamy vaginal discharge; and discomfort and/or pain during sex.

If you’ve had a yeast infection I don’t need to spend any time telling you that vaginal itching from a yeast infection can drive you insane. The discharge that accompanies the infection irritates the skin and causes it to itch constantly. It’s the most tormenting itch that you can experience and the worst part is that it can effect every area of the vulva.

It is extremely difficult not to continuously scratch or rub something abrasive on the skin in an effort to get some relief. Here is where additional problems begin. The constant scratching or rubbing irritates and sometimes breaks the skin. When it begins to heal the skin may develop scabs and that is the rough feeling that many women feel in the outer vulva area.

If you are experiencing the itching near the vaginal opening or if your scratching is covering that area, you may be breaking the skin and in the healing process, it may feel rough.

Now there are other conditions that can cause vaginal itching and roughness. Dermatitis is the most common cause of chronic vulval symptom. In some cases, vulval dermatitis can be caused by a genetic predisposition to allergies and hypersensitivity. Similar to a yeast infection, the initial symptoms will be the itching followed by the scratching. However, the difference is with dermatitis there is no discharge.

If you are one of thousands of women asking the question “My vaginal opening feels rough, could it be a yeast infection? There are four easy, self tests that you can do in the privacy of your home that will answer your question.

1. Make a list of your symptoms. A yeast infection will not only have the itching, you will have the discharge and a strange odor.

2. Make note of your habits. Have you been scratching in the area that feels rough so that the skin could have been broken. If so scabs may have formed.

3. Check the appearance of your underwear or pajamas. As a result of scratching, many times if the skin was broken you will see small spots of blood.

4. Perform a simple self exam by touching the area after cleansing and drying the area. Does the skin feel rough or does it feel like there are scabs on the skin.

If you have recently treated a yeast infection and still have the rough skin remember that it can take some time for symptoms to resolve as the skin of the vulva generally takes longer to heal than in other areas of the body.

If you suspect that you have a yeast infection don’t just treat the symptoms. Find out what you need to do to permanently cure the cause of the yeast infection or it’s highly likely that it can reoccur.

Common Defects of Iron Castings

An unwanted abnormality in a metal casting process can result in a casting defect. We list out some of the common defects of iron castings.

Air Hole

Flat holes of varying sizes appear on iron castings when the moulding sand has high water content, no proper ventilation, when the mould is poured too fast, etc.

Scattered contraction

You will find cavities most often at a 90 degree angle to the casting surface. The casting defect in iron components is usually caused by irregularities in carbon or nitrogen content in the melt.

Projections at the separation line

This happens when metal gets into the clearance between the top and bottom of the metal casting mould halves. To avoid projections the metalcaster must take extra caution during pattern, mould and core making.


Shrinkage is often seen in segment positions of castings. It will have an uneven shape with bumpy holes. The defect is due to imperfect gating system or if the riser is too small. Shrinkage can also happen when the pouring temperature is too high.


Sand holes, which are sand filled holes on the interior or exterior of iron castings, are a commonly seen defect. This defect can happen when the moulding sand is not of the correct strength.


If the iron casting is not given adequate melting time during its making, it can result in slag. The defect could also be due to some damage in the filter, or if the pouring temperature was too low.

Staggered box

Staggered box causes the staggered positions at the separation line of the castings. Staggered box is due to the incorrect location of top sand box and down sand box. The sand boxes should be aligned properly to avoid the defect.

Sticky sand

The exterior of iron castings is joined securely by sand, and this is what gives it a rough appearance. Sticky sand is caused when there is insufficient sand to resist fire. Like all the other common defects, this defect occurs when the pouring temperature is too high.

Axial Shrinkage

All metal contracts as it harden. Axial shrinkage happens when the metal at the centre of the casting takes more time to freeze than the metal surrounding it. This defect is mostly caused by uneven casting thickness. Pouring temperature and speed, and alloy clarity can also cause this defect.

Fillet Vein

This defect is due to too much binder in the sand. As a result a gap is formed in the mould during mould preparation or casting. The defect can be prevented by reducing the use of binder.


Sand contraction due to heat can cause this defect. To prevent cracks on a sand mould the metalcaster must adjust its sand composition and heating.

Cold Shot

This defect occurs when metal drops fall into a casting mould. These drops will soon harden and won’t melt when the remaining metal is introduced to the mould. Incorrect pouring practices can cause this defect. Metalcasters must try to improve pouring conditions to avoid this defect.

Five Advantages That Paper Lantern String Lights Offer

Have you ever heard of paper lantern string lights? Some people do not even know that paper lantern lights are accessible. What is more, a few of you have never thought of creating these lighting accessories at home. If you have not used lanterns before, try doing it this year. These products are available for sale in your local stores or at Internet stores. Since they are many and different, try string lights first. You only have to visit various websites that sell these products so you can see how they look like. This will make you realize why these lantern string illuminations are better than many other styles. These lights have many advantages to them and five of them include the following.

• Have many color variations – Although some people love colorful themes, others are satisfied with white. If you adore a white theme and want it for your upcoming event, all you have to do is buying white paper lanterns. These are available on the Internet or at your local store. On the other hand, if your preference is bright colors, you can find related lights as well. Some items have solid coloration and others have a mixture of colors. If you want printed or patterned lights, again you can get them. If color is what you want to show off in your holiday decorations, now you know that it is easy to do it.

• Can fit many occasions – Whether you are looking to use these lights for the coming Halloween and Christmas holidays or weddings, they are the best. They are even the most appropriate for those who will soon host a graduation, a birthday or any other anniversary occasion. Therefore, buying paper lantern string lights is very beneficial to you. These versatile lights are everything you need to beautiful your outdoors any time you want. Some are battery powered and others use electric power.

• Different sizes are available – Each lantern has its own size and it depends on its shape. For instance, if you want a round lamp, then you will consider size in terms of diameter. Generally, you can find small, medium and big paper string lamps. It is up to you to choose the most suitable lighting to help decorate your home this Christmas.

• Have different shapes – You have plenty of choices when it comes to shape. Lanterns have very many shapes, including round, rectangular, square, star cylindrical, and others. You can even find other figures as long as you search properly.

• Prices are affordable – If there are any cheap products in the market today, those would be string lights. Try finding them on the Internet and you will notice that this is true. Even if your budget is low right now, you can still use these paper lamps to beautify your party venue. Read product reviews before you can decide which paper lantern string lights are good for you. You will only use money at the time of buying and then enjoy using these lanterns in future.