What Are Wall Stickers?

To get straight to the point, wall stickers are basically oversized, or giant vinyl stickers. These stickers are modern day paintings, and are growing rapidly in mainstream interior decor. The idea of vinyl stickers has been around for a few years now, with automobile graphics and vinyl signs, but due to the flexibility of vinyl, the idea of wall stickers was born. In the following I will explain why wall stickers are very popular, and continue to grow in to the mainstream use of modern interior decorating.

Expense

The main reason wall decals have got so popular, is the very low cost to have them made. Most companies that deal with vinyl stickers and decals order large rolls of vinyl at a time, which keeps the cost to the customers very low. Once a design is cut from the roll of vinyl, the product is almost complete. The only other necessary item needed to apply the wall sticker is application tape, which assists the person applying the sticker with the position of the graphic on the wall. The application tape will be applied to the graphic once it is cut, and is very affordable to the company making the sticker, so this does not increase the cost of the wall decal.

Flexibility

Vinyl stickers are known for many reasons, but flexibly is by far the best part of using them. The giant stickers are not made to go in one specific part of a wall, they can be applied to any flat surface, like doors, windows, and mirrors. As quick as the vinyl graphic is applied, it can be removed. All wall stickers are made will self adhesive vinyl, and can be removed without any damage to the surface of the wall. They can also be layered, or applied on top of each other to add a personal touch, if desired.

Vinyl stickers are great way to add a creative touch to any room, and can definitely save time and money when it comes to interior decorating. If a remodel is in your future, take a few minutes to discover the vast possibilities of wall stickers. Basic designs can be found at most major super, but for more detailed stickers, specialty websites will offer a better selection and quality.

Formatting RSS Feeds

RSS is a web format widely used to deliver news throughout the Internet in either summarized or full format. Feeds, however, may include formatting styles to embellish their own self-contained web page. This styling is useful to provide surfers with an easily readable feed that can be displayed in most modern browsers without needing a special aggregator to read the content.

Even though, formatting a feed can be tricky. Most websites with RSS support generate feeds automatically, and it is up to the chosen software the way in which the content is rendered. Blog software often comes with special features to style feeds and add extra information such as channel source, copyright notice and even advertising.

Therefore, a blog owner does not need to know anything about RSS specs to choose the right format to broadcast site's news, but this situation changes when the software only renders raw information. If you are facing this problem, first of all understand what is the type of feeds your software delivers.

Actual standard is RSS version 2.0, which is a stable core with an active module development. This format can be easily implemented in any website taking advantage of its extensibility, which allows integration via modules or hard coded into a script.

Although this standard may accept formatting elements within the code itself, it is not recommended play with it if you do not know how to modify each element. For a regular webmaster wanting to style RSS feeds, the easiest way is work around a cascade style sheet (CSS) to create custom classes for each item element.

Further information on the items that integrates a feed can be found at backend.userland.com, owner of this syndication format. As for tutorials, hints and tips on how to add formatting to your feeds using CSS, there are many resources on the web, so your favorite search engine may help to find them out.

Despite formatting your feeds is not a pre-requisite to broadcast your content via RSS, this practice is recommended so anyone can read the content without needing to install special software or use online RSS readers, but nicely rendered by the browser that points to a feed .

On the other hand, formatting your feeds may contribute to stop unauthorized distribution of content, because is harder implement a seamless integration, just make sure to use your website absolute URL linking your style sheet so the feed preserve the styling across the web.

4 Reasons Why I Want to Be Like Bamboo

My neighbor has a bamboo forest in his backyard. I have not paid much attention to bamboo until moving in and watching this amazing plant.

No other plant grows faster than bamboo. I've watched brand new sprouts of it grow as high as 3 feet in 2 days! I have pulled a few sprouts from the ground in an attempt to create a controlled planting of it.

Here's why I love bamboo and have made bamboo my mentor.

1. Bamboo is resilient. For two years now I have watched bamboo and how it reacts to the different seasons. Regardless of temperature or precipitation, the bamboo has remained standing. Personally, I've weathered many storms as a working man. I've managed to keep my home and keep my family fed after losing my job and transitioning into self-employment. I remain standing after my battles and have grown stronger as a result.

2. Bamboo is flexible. It's amazing to watch this stuff when it rains or snows. As you can see in my photo above, bamboo will bend and flex, but never break. When you are self-employed, expect to be forced to bend or flex while trying to keep things moving. Being flexible is essential as you have many hats to wear. Otherwise, you may snap under the pressure.

3. Bamboo grows fast. Within a few weeks I've watched the bamboo rise as high as ten feet! I do not plan on growing any taller as I already stand at 6'2 "and I'm comfortable with that. My point is I have to realize that to achieve the goals that I want to achieve in life I have to grow. I have to grow spiritually, I have to grow through education, I have to grow in the habits I am trying to form.

4. Bamboo is versatile. Bamboo is used for many things. Scaffolding, flooring, decoration, fishing poles, Pandas eat it, fencemaking, bridges, walking sticks are only a few of the many things Bamboo can be used for. In my business, I have to how to do a variety of tasks. I have to be versatile. I believe in filling up your toolbox and learning as much as you possibly can.

Sometimes you have to look to nature and emulate nature to keep you going. A boss from an old job told me to examine nature when I needed a creative spark. I chose bamboo.

Which Is Best for Me, Laminate or Real Wood Flooring?

The dilemma of “laminate” vs “real wood flooring” is not necessarily one of objective/hierarchical decisions of one being better than the other. Both types of flooring have their pros and cons, and the requirements of the user are what really determine the best flooring material of choice.

Wood flooring

This available in a few different forms, is the more ‘traditional’ flooring type; favoured by those seeking an “authentic” floor with a solid feel, real wood flooring has been developed for hundreds of years to be the product that it is today. Typically comprised of either wood (“solid wood floor”) or a cheaper wood with a thinner layer of desirable/expensive wood on top (“engineered floor”), real wood flooring is the “go to” choice for quality flooring.

Laminate flooring

This is made from high density fibre, mdf underlayering or hardened plastics, is an increasingly more popular flooring option. It is cheaper, easier to clean and doesn’t require specialist cutting/trimming (most pieces are uniform repeating patterns). Laminate flooring is favoured by those wishing to cover large areas in a durable cost-effective material. However, if they become scratched or worn-through, laminate floorings are then no longer able to be re-coated – they are then ‘damaged’.

To answer the initial question; Do I want Laminate or Real Wood Flooring?, the answer is one of requirements. If your flooring is destined for a medium to heavy use location (such as a workplace, a busy family kitchen or a frequently-used hallway), then it’d probably be most cost effective to opt for laminate flooring. This would offer a good level of protection and last through time. The alternative would be a high-end real wood flooring solution. The pricier wooden floors are far better than even the best laminate products, but cost that much more – and a low-end engineered wood floor simply wouldn’t suffice for a scenario like this.

Another consideration is practical everyday utility.vs. the effect on property value. It’s well known that properties with real flooring fetch a higher price. This isn’t a statement on actual quality, but perceived quality. Wooden floors have connotations of homeliness, old-times and quality. As mentioned, not all wood floors resolve to this definition, but frequently, when selling a property, it does make all of the difference.

A final consideration to answer our question is that of budget. We’ve mentioned that solid floors are generally the best, with laminate flooring following, and engineered wood floors last (with regards to quality.vs. cost); and this really is a large part of the dilemma. If you’re only going to be at a property for a certain period, or you’re a landlord flooring your properties for hard-usage, you’d probably opt for laminate as it strikes a good balance of cost/quality, whereas a family looking to make somewhere their home for an extended period may make the leap and opt for solid wood. All of this depends on the cash at ones disposal.

3 Useful Tips for Rattan Furniture Maintenance

Rattan is a plant that is native to the tropical areas in Asia, Africa, and Australasia. Indonesia supplies 70% of rattan in the world, and the largest rattan industry in the country is located in Cirebon, West Java. This material has special characteristics such as durability, light weight, and flexibility, which is why it can easily be transformed into practical everyday objects such as walking cane, basket, and furniture. Besides wood furniture, rattan furniture can add a more exotic aura into your home. Similar to wood, rattan can also be coated with wood stains, varnish, and paints. Therefore, rattan furniture or rattan garden furniture is available in many different colors. However, it usually comes in its natural color, and coated with clear varnish. Another good thing about it is that it does not require a lot of maintenance. You can maintain the beauty and the quality of our furniture by following the tips below:

1. Regularly clean the surface
Since furniture made from rattan has many crevices, cleaning it can be a tricky task. Use mild detergent diluted in water. Lightly wet a soft cloth with the solution and wipe away dirt or stains. Remember not to over-wet the cloth as you will need to clean the surfaces without actually soaking the rattan. You can also remove dust with a vacuum cleaner beforehand. To clean stubborn dirt in the crevices, you can use a used toothbrush. Do not clean the rattan with detergent too often since it can damage the lacquer coating.

2. Place the furniture indoor
Rattan furniture is actually not really suitable for outdoor use, because it will lose its durability to weather and sunlight. The best way to maintain the durability of your rattan furniture is by placing it inside your house and not under direct sunlight. Also make sure you keep the balance of the humidity of your home. Low humidity makes the material dry and brittle, while extreme moisture provides the ideal environment for mould to grow.

3. Do annual major cleaning
At least once a year, do a major cleaning of your rattan furniture. Remove the accumulated dirt to prevent damages. Clean the rattan with more water than you use for daily cleaning and remove the dirt with a soft brush. Afterwards, dry it as quick as possible using hairdryer or put it outside but not under direct sunlight. Re-varnish your furniture with shellac or lacquer to protect it from water and make it look as good as new.

MMA Workouts – An Intense Workout Routine Designed For MMA Fighters!

Fighters are the best conditioned athletes in the world – and they have to be! The nature of their sport offers no forgiveness. If they fatigue, they get knocked out. If they do not get knocked out, they may end up with a broken limb. Both options are not very appealing so you can bet that the MMA workouts these guys go through are as intense as it gets.

So how do you go about training for such a demanding sport? Well, first things first – you need to analyze the demands. Fighting occurs at a high intensity – or at least it should. Of course, every now and then you get a "snooze fest" where the fighters are timid to engage. A high intensity sport requires high intensity training. You need to increase your lactate threshold because if you're unable to deal with the accumulation of lactic acid – you'll likely end up puking in your spit bucket between rounds.

Interval training is a must for your MMA workouts because that's exactly what the rounds are – high intensity intervals. Of course, well structured MMA workouts should include pretty much everything. You need to work on flexibility, increasing your lactate threshold, increasing your aerobic capacity, increasing your strength, your power and your strength endurance (all different). You have to work on your speed and of course, your MMA workouts also have to include the technique work and the "in the trenches" sparring and grappling against resisting opponents.

There's a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to designing MMA workouts and it goes well beyond the scope of a single article. However, that being said, here's one of my MMA workouts that I was doing in order to prepare myself before coming to Thailand.

Sample MMA Workouts – Workout # 1 – Intermediate Circuit
* Can be performed in the aerobics room at your gym *

1. Skipping (medium-to-fast pace) for 2 minutes.
2. Box Jumps (5 boxes) for 2 minutes (lateral movement)
3. "Burpies" for 25 repetitions

Rest for 1 minute

4. Sprints (wall-to-wall) for 2 minutes
5. Shadow boxing for 2 minutes
6. push up plyometrics onto aerobic steps

Rest for 1 minute

7. Jumping lunges (30 repetitions)
8. Medicine ball rotary tosses (done with partner)
9. Hammer slams. Usually done with a sledgehammer and a tire but you substitute for a small barbell a pile of mats.

Planning for Safe Roof Work

Just by virtue of where you are working, roofing can be dangerous. Planning for safe roof work is the first and most important concern of professional roofers; and regardless of the size or scope of the job, safety precautions should never be overlooked. Tripping or a fall on a roof can have deadly consequences, but preparing and planning for safe roof work can be done quickly and with relative ease. Quality roofing need not sacrifice safety regardless if you are working on a residential or commercial job.

Fall protection is the obvious concern when it comes to roofing safely. One of the easiest ways to prevent roof falls is to tie-off. Especially on steeply pitched roofs, but even on flat roofs, you should always wear a safety harness that is securely attached to a structure that can easily support your body weight in a fall. In addition, while roofing in the rain is not advisable due to the possibility of leaks and water damage, slippery roofs can also pose a safety hazard. Whenever possibly, avoid roof work in the rain, snow, frost, or dew and wait for the roof to dry completely before starting your work.

Another important factor in planning for safe roof work is cleanliness. Debris, tools, and other materials left scattered about a roof are trip hazards, and these materials should always be cleaned up. In addition, sawdust, wood or shingle particles, and other kinds of dirt can make the roof more dangerous so regular sweeping is always recommended. Wearing rubber-soled shoes or boots can help prevent slips and falls as these types of shoes provide excellent traction compared to leather-soled shoes.

Ladder safety is equally important with regards to planning for safe roof work. Ladders should be inspected before they are used to make sure they are strong and damage free. In addition, ladder safety is considerably better if you use a gutter-guard. While gutter guards can protect against damage to your gutter, they also provide a more stable support for a ladder. You can quickly notch a piece of plywood to the width of each side of the ladder and attach this plywood to the roof. The ladder won’t damage your gutters while it is held securely so it will not slide sideways.

You should also take some time to learn the local work-safety requirements in your region. Depending on the type of roof and the type of work, you may be required to follow a number of guidelines including how to fasten ladders and crawl boards to putting up guardrails around chutes and hoists. There are even regulations about the kind of mechanical equipment you can use; for example, regulations restrict the use of powered equipment that has the potential to push or pull a worker over the edge of the roof. Still, even for minor jobs, always make sure that you follow safety regulations closely, if only to prevent injuries while doing roof repairs.

Digital Printing vs. Press Printing – A Comparison Guide

When it comes time to print your brand identity materials, there's one overarching question for you to consider – whether to print the resulting materials on a digital printer or traditional press. There are many differences between the two processes, some of which are outlined below.

Digital Printing

Less expensive – Digital printing is a direct-to-paper printing process. As a result,
it often runs about one-half of the cost of press printing.

Lose color accuracy – Digital printing is a four-color printing process. Four colors
– Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black – are printed in tiny dots that when visually
mixed together, create various colors. This, in addition to the different set-ups and
settings on the machines from press-to-press, batch-to-batch and printer-to-
printer, can produce a wide range of different color results. You can never be certain
what you'll get.

Lose color range – Four-color printing has limitations on the brightness,
saturation, and range of colors available – when mixing colors in this way. To
produce bright reds, oranges, blues, and purples, especially, press printing is a
better choice.

Cost of proofing – Proofing is one way to produce accurate color. Proofing can be
costly, especially when compared to the overall cost of the job. But, since the proof
is created on the same equipment that the final job is printed on, it is often quite
accurate.

Can be faster – Since no pre-press work or press setup is needed, running your job
on a digital press can be faster, depending on how many jobs the printer has in the
queue before yours. Some printers can even offer same-day service. Three days is a
standard turnaround time for many of the web-based digital printing companies.

Limited paper choice – Digital presses can only accommodate a limited paper
thickness, and many digital printing companies only offer smooth, white papers.
Thus, if a thick business card is important to you, then digital printing is not your
right choice.

Limited finishing choices – Foil stamping, metallic inks, and embossing services are
usually not offered by digital printing houses. Some digital printers also do not offer
die-cutting or special folding services.

Limited choice of material sizes, styles, and formats – Digital printers will offer a
very specific "menu" or range of products. If you want to create innovative
marketing materials, such as the brochure-style business cards that we create at elf
design, then digital printing is not a choice for your project. Large formats are also
not available with many digital printers, as the largest paper size they can
accommodate is 11 "x 17".

Press Printing

More costly – The difference in costs is mainly due to setup costs. For press
printing, films must be produced, and plates may have to be produced as well,
which are additional items that add to the overall cost. Additional time is involved in
setting up and aligning the press, as well as washing the press. Also, there are more
overruns from traditional printing, since you can not program in a specific number of
pages to be printed as you can with a digital printer. Most printers consider
overruns to be billable, or they add an additional cost for that into the initial
estimate. Jobs done on a press will typically run about twice the cost of digital
printing.

Excellent color accuracy – The Pantone Matching System (PMS) offers great color
accuracy. Pantone colors are mixed to precise, pre-set specifications, which are
printed each year in their color matching guides. You can consult these books to see
exactly what the final color will look like in advance. It's a lot like going to the paint
store and specifying colors for your home on the paint chips they offer – you know
what you'll get. So, if color accuracy is important to you, then press printing may be
the best choice.

Brighter colors are available – Since the Pantone colors are mixed using inks, they
can be created to be much brighter and more intense. So, if lively colors are
important to your brand image, then press printing may be the way to go.

Cost of proofing – For four-color press jobs, proofing is often not too expensive
when compared to the overall cost of the job. However, it can be inaccurate,
depending on the type of proof run and the type of press on which your final job
will be printed.

For two- or three- color jobs printed using the Pantone system, complete color
proofing is often not available. However, samples of the colors are available in the
Pantone books. And, inexpensive laser prints or inkjet prints can be created to view
the positioning of the elements of the page. With a little imagination, you can
visualize how the final job will look.

Press printing can take longer than digital – There are several additional steps
involved in press printing, which are taken care of using direct-to-press, digital
technology. Films and plates must be made, the press set up, run the job and then
tune us needed for drying. Then cutting, folding, and other finishing must take
place.

Types of paper – Choose from an entire rainbow of paper colors – fire-engine red
to deep blue, sunflower yellow to pitch black. There is also a wide range of
thicknesses and textures from which to choose, including specialty papers, such as
vellum and metallic papers. If you are considering using nontraditional paper your
card or materials, press printing is the best way to go.

Fine line screens are available – The result of this is that even under close
inspection, the color will look smooth and seamless. It will also appear brighter and
more intense.

Wide range of finishing techniques – All finishing options are possible with press
printing. Metallic inks can be run through the press as easily as can a nonmetallic
ink. Embossing, die cutting, and foil stamping can be done in traditional printing
houses. You can create materials that really stand out using these techniques.

Innovative formats, shapes, and sizes are possible – Traditional press printing can
accommodate a wide range of paper sizes and can result in innovative and creative
finished projects. This is largely due to the "have-it-your-way" range of options,
where you can specify special sizes and finishing techniques.

We hope that the above primer on the pros and cons of both digital printing and
press printing helps you to decide which you will choose to produce your materials.

House Painting Odors – Getting Rid of the Smell

Homeowners, especially those with small children, often ask me how to get rid of paint odors. It’s such a big concern for some folks that they’ll ask me about potential odor control before they even book the painting estimate.

The good news is that the evolution of house paint has come a long way with low-odor and even odorless lines for some applications. The bad news is there are still so many reasons to use the smelly stuff, especially if you’re repainting an older home. Alkyd (oil-based) and shellac or alcohol primers are especially effective in sealing water damage and old oil painted surfaces to upgrade them to Latex top coats. But they’re also very smelly with potentially long-lasting vapors. Even the most common low-odor alkyd paints often used today to repaint wood work can have a lingering odor for days under the most ventilated conditions.

So how do you get rid of the smell?

I’ve just received an email from a mother asking me that very question. Her young child’s room was painted almost two weeks ago and she’s left the windows open and the fan on ever since. Still, the paint smell is strong enough that she’s concerned about letting the child sleep in the room. The painting of this room involved a lot of priming to cover the dark brown oil paint used by the previous home owner. Since the color needed to be lightened up and the surfaces converted to a far more Eco-friendly Acrylic Latex, a common top brand Alkyd primer was used to give the whole room a fresh start. And although it had “Low Odor” printed on the can, it obviously was NOT odorless. To compound matters, all the woodwork had to be finished in a leading “Low Odor” brand of Alkyd semi gloss which produced a smooth lustrous finish as well as a migraine inducing vapor.

So what can you do? Well, there a few ways you can overcome these situations beyond obvious ventilation to control, eliminate and even prevent odors from lingering.

“An ounce of prevention”… Before there was such a thing as “low odor paint” we used to add a splash of vanilla extract to every gallon of oil paint to make it “low-odor”. It was cheap, easy to do and had no effect on the color. Now that low-odor alkyd paints are commonplace on the market, adding about a tablespoon of vanilla extract makes them virtually odorless.

Or, as in the case above, the painting is already done. It’s too late for vanilla and the smell won’t go away as quickly they’d like. What’s happening here is that the odors are being trapped in the walls while the paint cures and probably in all the fabrics and rugs in the room as well. They need something else to absorb them for good. So, here’s what I advised her to do. Cut up a few onions and place them in a couple of bowls of cold water. Put one of the bowls in the room and the other in the closet. As simple and crazy as it sounds, the onions absorb and actually eliminate the paint fumes and odors… sometimes as quickly as overnight!

I first learned this trick while creating a baby’s room about 17 years ago. I had spent about 5 weeks converting a badly crumbling and dusty old attic room into a nursery pending the baby’s birth. And as it turned out, the baby was born about two weeks early and was ready to come home just as I was finishing the project. The job required a lot of smelly primers and sealers to bury decades of neglect and water damage. As was customary in those days, I added vanilla extract to minimize the paints’ odor (and damage to my brain cells) but the smell wasn’t clearing up fast enough to bring the newborn in. The homeowner’s Nanny, who was moving into the bedroom next door (and who was also troubled by the smell) used a couple of bowls of cut onions in cold water over night and the smell was gone the next day. I couldn’t believe it!

I’ve recommended this technique ever since with great results. But it should be noted here that this example was in an empty room. In the case of a fully furnished room, as in our case above, you should consider airing out clothing, drapery, rugs or anything else which might be trapping the odors and give them a shot or two of Febreeze to do the trick nowadays.

Now sometimes, there are extreme cases where odors are simply not an option. Some people are highly allergic to the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) contained in paints and the tints used to color them. Some can become quite ill with even short term inhalation of the fumes. In these cases, you have to resort to the whole gamut of tricks:

  1. Before you paint, empty the room completely to make sure there is nothing that will trap the odors.
  2. Open all the windows before you open the paint cans and keep them open throughout the entire painting process.
  3. Add vanilla extract to your Alkyd, Alcohol or Shellac based paints. (Latex paints don’t usually need this step as they’re relatively low-odor to begin with).
  4. Place several bowls of onions around the room (as above) while you paint to absorb the fumes as they escape.
  5. When the painting is finished, seal and remove all paint cans, bag your drop sheets in plastic before taking them out through the rest of the house (or throw them out of the window if possible) to keep from spreading the fumes they’ve trapped indoors.
  6. Refresh your supply of onions in water as the old ones will have had their fill of vapors by the time your finished the painting.
  7. Keep the windows open and wait until the paint has fully dried and the odors have gone before you replace the furniture and other belongings.

Of course, these tips are offered in connection with interior painting but you should also try adding some vanilla to your paint when painting the exterior in Alkyd coatings as well. It saves the painter a lot headaches… literally. But whether inside or out, these simple ideas combined with some good old fashioned common sense should produce a fresh new look with clean, breathable air you can live with.

Happy painting!

Is The Atkin's Diet Dead Or Is It Still Alive – A Book Review

Okay so, the reality is that America is fat. Now that might sound funny, but it's really not, especially considering that now we have socialistic medicine, and a collective sort of healthcare insurance program and safety net for everyone. Not to mention the fact that we are providing food stamps to 45 million people, many of which are not watching their diets, and we are perpetuating their fatness. Now then, if you'd like to get back in the proper weight there is a very good diet book I'd like to recommend to you. The name of the book is;

"Dr. Atkin's New Diet Revolution – The Amazing No-Hunter Weight-Loss Plan That Has Helped Millions Lose Weight and Keep It Off," by Robert C. Atkins, MD., New York Times Best Seller, Published by Avon Books, New york, NY, 1992, 417 pages, ISBN: 0-380-72729-3.

Learn about the Ketogenic Diet, the book boosts in the first 5-chapters, and reminds the readers that the main reason this diet works so well, is that basically it does not ask you in any way to limit your diet, only what you eat , for instance, you can eat nearly unlimited amounts of certain foods. Of course, to keep the weight off you must continue your diet modification and allow it to become a permanent habit. Interestingly enough, it is not really all that tough to do.

Best of all you will have what the author describes as a "metabolic edge" as you help your body get want it needs, craves, and wants to do what it does best. Meaning you'll have more energy, strength, and mental acuity. The author admits it all sounds too good to be true and yet, millions of Americans have indeed lost weight using the Atkin's diet method. Although, I am not one of them, I have tried it out for a bit, and I was fine with it at the time.

He warns about the need to have proper insulin flow, and how those who do not heed this warning and refuse to watch their weight attempting diet after diet will simply find themselves with health issues down the road. We all know this to be the reality, as over-weight folks are so much more susceptible to all sorts of long-term health issues. He explains the need to ditch the calorie counting and to eat all you want of the foods your body needs, and the reason most diets fail is they are about calories rather than metabolism, and nutritional science.

He further sheds light on the carbohydrate limiting diets, "all wrong," he said. Atkins was a doctor, and he had outstanding credentials to back up his claims. He talks also about good fat and bad fat, and that more people ought understand what they are doing to their bodies on so many of these diets that concentrate on the wrong things for the wrong reasons. I enjoyed this book, it made a lot of sense, and I bet you will be glad you read it also. Please consider all this and think on it.

The Best Bacon-Wrapped Snacks

Everything goes better with bacon, and appetizers are no different. Whether you want to wow your guests at a party or make a yummy snack for your family, bacon-wrapped snacks can be the perfect addition to your menu.

Bacon-wrapped Fruit

If you think only savory foods can be wrapped in bacon, think again. Bacon-wrapped fruits are unique and taste great. Below are two examples of bacon-wrapped fruits that can be made for a snack or a party appetizer.

Bacon-wrapped Pineapple

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut a fresh pineapple into two inch square chunks. Wrap a small slice of bacon around each of the pineapple chunks and use a toothpick to secure the bacon in place.

Place the bacon-wrapped pineapple chunks in the preheated oven. After 15 minutes, take the chunks out and use a basting brush to brush on barbecue sauce. Return the pineapple chunks to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Bacon-wrapped Melon

Prosciutto-wrapped melon is a popular party appetizer, but try using bacon instead of prosciutto to mix up the taste and put a new spin on this elegant party platter.

As with the pineapple, cut the melon into two inch square chunks. Wrap with bacon and secure with a toothpick. This appetizer can be made like a kabob, with approximately four chunks of melon on each skewer. Grill on medium heat for six minutes, turning once half way through cooking.

Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the stems from 20 large mushrooms and discard, keeping only the mushroom caps. Mix one pound of cream cheese with one half of a cup of chopped scallions. Fill each of the mushroom caps with the cream cheese mixture, and wrap each cap with half of a slice of bacon, using a toothpick to secure the bacon.

Place the caps on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the bacon has crisped.

Bacon-wrapped Steaks

Bacon-wrapped steaks aren’t just for dinner anymore. A scaled-down version of this delicious treat is making its way to party platters. Use this easy recipe to make elegant, high-quality and tasty appetizers.

Start with four small cuts of filet mignon. Cut these into strips that are approximately one half of an inch in thickness. Once all of the strips have been cut, use a meat mallet to pound the strips into one quarter of an inch in thickness. If you do not have a meat mallet on hand, you can put the strips into a plastic resealable bag and use a heavy can for pounding.

Marinate the filet mignon in Italian dressing or a premade Italian spice marinade overnight. Roll the filet into a ball shape and wrap the outside with a slice of bacon. Use a toothpick to keep the meat in place. Cook over a grill on high heat for approximately four minutes per side, or until the filet mignon is no longer pink inside.

Cheap and Easy Brick Floors

When considering what material to use for a floor, few people look beyond a concrete slab, with something like tile or carpet as a finish. For us, however, there were several factors that made a stabilized compressed earth brick (SCEB) floor far more appealing, including cost, skill, and time required.

MATERIALS

Compressed Earth Blocks

Screened sand

Sealer – acrylic or oil based concrete sealer or varnish

TOOLS

Circular saw with masonry blade (optional)

2 levels, one small, one longer

Rubber mallet

2 boards to stand on. You do not want to stand on the sand as your feet will make large dents. If you stand on a board, your weight is spread out and the smooth surface of the sand is not compromised.

Surgical tape. The person laying the brick should consider taping their fingertips with surgical tape. This helps protect them without compromising dexterity.

Roller and brush

PREPARATION

Prepare and level your sub-floor, adding if you wish any vapor barrier, heating system, and insulation. Put a 1 inch layer of fine screened sand over the whole area. Compact and level the sand. The easiest way to do this is to bury and level a piece of square tubing in the sand on either side of the room, so that the top of the metal is flush with the level you want the sand to be.

You then bridge another piece of metal between the 2 pieces of square tubing, so that it sits on top of them, and drag it backwards and forwards over the area until it is smooth.

Choose your pattern before you start, and estimate the amount of bricks you will need. Running bond is often the easiest pattern to get your feet wet, but none of them are hard. The Herring bone can be difficult to visualize, but once you get going, it’s not nearly at intimidating as it seems.

CUTTING BRICKS

No matter which pattern you decide to use, you will need some cut bricks. Try and work out roughly how many you will need for your starting edge and cut those ahead of time. The ones needed at the other end of your rows, you can do once the rest of the floor is laid. Cut the bricks using a circular saw with masonry blade. If you are not too particular about the edges of your cut bricks, it is far easier to break them instead of cutting.

LAYING THE FLOOR

Place each brick, one by one, where you want it to go.

With the long level, check it is level with previous bricks or existing floors. With the short level, make sure the brick itself is level in all directions. You also want to check that it is lined up well with the wall.

Use the rubber mallet to tap the brick tight against its neighbors. And tap down on it to get the level correct.

When you get to the opposite end of the wall from where you started, and you do not have a brick to fit in the space, leave it. You should do all the edge bricks at the end. Even before the floor is finished, you are able to walk on it. Do not tread near to unfinished edges.

PERIMETER

For the edges, you may have to measure each space and cut or break bricks to fit. Alternatively, you can fill the gaps with a very fine concrete when you do the perimeter.

Once you have all the bricks laid, you can fill the perimeter, in between the bricks and walls, with concrete. This does not use much concrete, and can be done in half an hour. Screen your sand and then trowel the concrete smooth and level with the tops of the bricks.

FILLING CRACKS

Once all your bricks, including your edge bricks, are in place, sweep fine sand into the cracks.

Allow the floor to settle a couple of days, and then sweep more sand into the cracks. Repeat this several times until the sand no longer settles.

SEALING

To seal the bricks so that you can sweep and mop them, use an acrylic or oil based concrete sealer or varnish, at least two coats. Until this is done, the bricks will be coated in a fine dust (as you gradually wear them down). This is okay for a patio or outside floor, but for inside it’s not as acceptable.

Use a small can and/or brush to drip sealer in all the cracks first. Once that has set up, use a roller to spread the varnish on the brick surface.

The sealer will darken the natural color of the bricks. Most concrete sealers and varnishes smell strongly. Always provide adequate ventilation, and plan to keep those windows open for a few days.

More Information: http://www.velacreations.com/cebfloors.html

How to Find an Apartment

It's not always easy to find an apartment because it can require your time and effort to find one. However, there are ways to help you find the best one for you. You should at least have an idea about the price range you want to invest in these apartments, the amenities it includes, the right town or area and a lot more.

Try not to be stressed when you find an apartment by the following tips. Identify the type of apartment you want. Ask the following questions:

a. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I want?

b. How big is the apartment I want to invest in?

c. Where is it located?

d. Is there a good view? Does it have a nice kitchen? Are there kitchen shelves and are all these important?

e. Is there a parking space should I need it? Or can I keep my bike?

f. What are the amenities I could get? Laundry, fitness center etc.

g. Are pets allowed in the building?

You should also identify what you can not do when you are going to buy or rent the place. For example, will you walk long distance to work, or is it far from the stores, malls, and restaurants?

Should there be things that you will be limited to do? Check whether there are alternatives. Say for example, you can rent a space for your car or maybe there is a space where you can park your bike for a minimal fee. Another example is when you need a lot of storage. You can ask the person-in charge if there is a place where you can rent a storage facility.

Once you are able to find all these things in that apartment, you should still continue to look for options so that you can compare the amenities, facilities and others. You can check out the listings for apartments in the town or city.

2. Be focused on what you need to accomplish. You might feel frustrated in finding an apartment but remember that once you are able to find one with the requirements, the effort will pay off. Deal with each problem squarely because there are times that you will experience problems with your neighbors, with your apartment, or your deposit and a lot of things, but still do not get discouraged.

3. You should have goals in finding one. You need to have a guide or checklist on the criteria of the apartment that you are looking for. Once you have started searching, you can always compare the results and see which ones are better in terms of price, facilities and other factors. Also, a checklist and a goal will save you a lot of time.

After you have gone through the evaluation process, you have to do an ocular inspection of the property and see the community and the neighborhood. You have to make sure that the location is one that is favorable to you and you have a good neighborhood. You also need to consider the security and other factors that will make you sleep safe and sound every night.

Once you have considered the above requirements, you would have probably enjoyed the search and you have filtered the best choices for the next place that you will live in.

Flat Iron Tips – How to Use a Flat Iron to Give Ringlets in Your Hair

Do not let the name fool you. The "flat iron" can be used to create many styles other than just a bone straight sleek look. You can create styles with volume, texture, flips and curls as long as you know which way to turn the iron as you are styling your hair and what products to use.

Creating ringlet curls in your hair can be best done with a smaller iron. The plates should be 1/3 "wide or smaller. You can create ringlets with larger plates; however the resulting style will be more like waves than ringlets.

Also make sure that you are using a quality flat ironing tool with ceramic plates. At least make sure that the plates are ceramic coated, if you do not want to spend a lot of money. The worst and most damaging kinds of irons are those with straight aluminum plates. Avoid aluminum at all costs if you do not want to damage your hair!

Always start a new flat ironed style with clean and conditioned hair. When you flat iron dirty hair, you infuse your hair with the dirt, burning the dirt into your hair follicle and into the flat iron plates. It can be damaging to both the hair and the iron.

Next apply a smoothing serum to your hair and blow dry or allow it to air dry. Depending upon your hair texture, it is usually best to blow dry if you want to create the best looking final style.

After your hair is dry plan out your hair style by putting in a part where you want it, or at least decide how you want your hair to fall. This is important as you are styling so that you know which way to turn the curls.

Creating the curls from this point is easy. You start with the flat iron positioned close to your scalp and you slowly rotate the iron into a curl. Bring the plates down the length of your hair while still curling your hair into the flat iron. The best way to truly learn this is to search for a video to watch on YouTube.

For the best looking curls, you should change directions with each section that you curl. This creates a natural looking curl pattern. Think about it: if you had naturally curly hair, would all of the curls go perfectly in the same direction? No way. So make sure that you alternate going in the forward direction toward your face then backwards toward the back of your head as you curl.

Finish the style with shine serum and hair spray or finishing polish as needed.

Wireless Helmet Cameras – Freedom at Last

The helmet camera was first introduced during the 1980's as a bulky camera mounted to a helmet. These helmet cameras were most often used to record a first-person perspective during sports and adventure activities, as well as on movie sets. Because the cameras recorded to video tape, the cameras were almost as large, heavy, and obtrusive as the average home VHS tape player of the day. With the advent of digital video systems, helmet cameras became small, light, unobtrusive and easy to use.

Digital helmet cameras which recorded the video to smaller, lighter tape media, hard drives, and memory cards were the next step in the evolution. The video from digital helmet cameras could be downloaded to a desktop computer, or a laptop computer in the field. However, these helmet cameras still required a wired connection to the computer in order to download the video. A wired controller was also required to manipulate the recording device perched on the helmet.

With the advent and widespread adoption of wireless connectivity, the last chains holding back the helmet camera's usefulness in the field have been severed. Today, high quality, wireless helmet video cameras are available at affordable prices. These wireless helmet cameras unobtrusively record the action from a first-person perspective while leaving the operator's hands free to engage in the activity.

Wireless helmet cameras are particularly popular with sporting enthusiasts interested in recording the action. Their use is widespread throughout air-related sports such as skydiving and hang gliding. Wireless helmet camera systems are even available in waterproof cases, making them perfect for recording underwater activities such as SCUBA diving. Helmet cameras are also widely used by the military, and for civilian police training. Like other video cameras, these wireless helmet cameras also record audio, making the system ideal for capturing everything the operator sees and hears.

Today's wireless helmet cameras typically record the action to widely available SD memory cards. The camera systems are resistant to shock, and many are resistant to water, making possible their use in inclement weather conditions. Many wireless helmet camera systems can transmit the action in real-time back to a base from where it can be broadcast to the internet, or to a centralized video broadcasting or repository system. The typical wireless range extends from about one thousand feet, to a few miles. The use of repeaters extends the range.

Straps and other mounting hardware allow the use of wireless helmet cameras with a wide range of helmets. Special helmets are not necessary. Therefore, such systems are popular for recording action from the middle of football games, BMX bike riding events, and other activities where the participants typically wear protective helmets. The mounting hardware also provides the ability to affix the camera to almost any imaginable platform.

If you are in the market for great wireless helmet cameras, there is a plethora of excellent vendors who sell a wealth of high quality products. Prices for complete systems typically range from one hundred dollars, up to thousands of dollars. Media cards are widely available for under one hundred dollars.