Contract Negotiation With Clients – It's a Hit!

You've just started out on your own and, yes, the big day is here! A large contract negotiation with clients in on the agenda, and you're shaking in your shoes just thinking about it. Chill, it's not that big a deal. Most clients are human, and if you do your homework right, you should be signing that dotted line real soon. Contract negotiation with clients is a bit of an art, but mainly it's a very learnable skill. See how you can overcome your stage fright.

A negotiation process is not very different from staging a play. There's a plot, there are characters and the whole thing is enacted out, hopefully to a standing ovation. While a great deal of preparation goes into it, there's always the unexpected development which calls for on the spot improvisation. And that's the story with negotiations as well, barring a few twists in the tale ….

Rehearsing is everything. Start by laying down your goals. What do you really wish to get out of it? Do you want the contract at any cost? That's like deciding the ending of the play, and therefore, everything that happens before must lead up to it. So, do you have your script ready? This is the part where you determine the position that you're going to take during the contract negotiation with clients. Since some of the characters (read clients) are likely to follow another script altogether, you will also need to prepare for an alternative scenario. Have you defined the characters? Do a background check on the people you're planning to do business with. Does their reputation precede them, and if so, what tactics can you expect? What's the setting like? Make the effort to understand current market realities, competitive positions and key influencers.

It's showtime, folks! Finally, you're at the negotiating table. You've learnt your script by heart, but remember that the other party is enacting their own set of roles. If, by happy coincidence, the situation unfolds as planned, say your lines the way you rehearsed them. Else, move on to plan B – that's when you respond according to what the other guy says, but try your best to steer the conversation back to the original plot. It's important to keep track of what you're saying, so that you do not contradict yourself later on. That's pretty much the same as with a contract negotiation with clients, when your word must be worth everything. Finally, do not hog the lines. You're only one part of a larger drama. Give the rest of the crew the chance to say their piece, and hear them out. You're on stage, remember, so body language is everything. Even if you're not doing the talking, make sure you do not look bored or wooden. At the same time, if there's a little bit of villainy that's crept into the plot, bring on the heroics. Say no, if you absolutely have to!

Curtain call. In the final analysis, concluding a contract negotiation with clients successfully is what really matters. And for that to happen, you must give the client adequate reason to say yes. Which means, you can not be the only hero; the client must shine as well. If you're gunning for a happy ending, you'll probably need to inject a healthy dose of harmony and agreement among the lead actors. On the other hand, if the plot has gone astray, bow out gracefully. There will always be another day, another show.

Finally, our most important piece of advice, if you'd like some more guidance on negotiating with clients, do not attend drama school; visit teampublications.com instead!

Frequently Asked Questions About International Shipping

What do you need to know about shipping freight internationally? We’ve got a few common questions (and answers) here.

1. What is Ocean Freight?

Most freight shipped intercontinental is transported via sea vessel in containers. This is rarely the only component to international shipping however. A reference to ocean freight cost usually refers only to the cost associated with the actual ocean-crossing portion of the shipment. Transportation of the freight to and from container yards at the ports of origin and destination is provided by trucks and are not part of an ocean freight charge.  (Depending upon the destination country, a freight transportation management service can provide assistance with inland transportation after the container is unloaded at the port as well.)

2. Surcharges in Ocean Freight

Additional charges included in an international ocean freight price quote will generally include basic sea freight charges to cover the port-to-port transportation, a fuel surcharge, security charges, documentation fees and container delivery charges.

3. What is a Container Yard (CY)?

A Container Yard (CY) is a facility at which loaded and empty freight containers are accepted for loading onboard vessels. Containers are also off-loaded and stored at CYs.

4. What is FOB?

FOB stands for Free on Board. It is used to indicate when liability and ownership of goods is transferred from a seller to a buyer.  In international shipping, “FOB [name of originating port]” means that the seller (consignor) is responsible for transportation of the goods to the port of shipment and the cost of loading. The buyer (consignee) pays the costs of ocean freight, insurance, unloading, and transportation from the arrival port to the final destination. The seller passes the risk to the buyer when the goods are loaded at the originating port.

5. What is “Live Load” and “Drop and Pick”?

When getting a price quote for international shipping, specifically for ocean freight, a shipper should be sure to know the difference between live load and drop and pick. Pricing and responsibilities are different with each option.

In a live load arrangement, a driver will transport an empty freight container to the shipper. After the shipper loads the container, the driver will secure and seal the container for transport. There is generally a time limit in which the load must be completed without additional cost.

If a shipper chooses a drop and pick, the driver will deliver a freight container, leaving it for a few days. After it is loaded, the driver is called back to retrieve it and take it to the appropriate container yard (CY). This option is generally more expensive unless the loading location is very close to the CY.

6. What are the necessary shipping documents used in international shipping?

The international shipping experts at a freight transportation management service can assist any shipper with all shipping documents required by a carrier and/or by law.

Some common documents required in an international shipment are bill of lading (BOL), a commercial invoice or valued inventory list, packing list with pieces, weight and packing materials described, fumigation certificate, visa/quota, certificate of origin, hazardous materials declaration and other legal documents.

7.  What is an ocean freight Bill of Lading?

An Ocean Freight Bill of Lading (BOL) is a document issued by the carrier indicating that certain goods have been received on board for transport to a specific place and consignee. The BOL is legally significant because it represents the contract between carrier and shipper. It also serves as receipt and document of title to the goods.

8. What is SED (Shipper’s Export Declaration)?

Many shippers must also complete a Shipper’s Export Declaration or SED. An SED is a form used by the U.S. Government to compile export statistics for the country. Certain shipments are exempt from reporting. The form is available from the U.S. Census Department. Ask your freight transportation management service for more information on SEDs.

9. Is ocean freight insured?

Most ocean freight carriers contractually limit their liability for damage to cargo. The dollar limitation varies from carrier to carrier but is typically relatively low. A shipper should be sure to find out exactly what the limitation is before shipping.

The shipper should then probably purchase extra insurance for the shipment prior to tendering the cargo to the carrier. Questions about coverage and insurance certificates can be answered by your service representative.

International shipping quotes are easily available through our web-based freight transportation management service online quoting system. After a shipper has had the opportunity to compare available shipping options, any additional questions can be handled directly by our experienced personnel.

External Air Conditioners and Summer Fun

No one should feel too guilty about buying an external air conditioner for your next camping or hiking trip this summer! Regardless of what you may have heard, these nifty gadgets are extremely handy! Recent innovations to cool down your summer camping experience with an external air conditioner are a great addition to camping life! This small article will help you decide on how to select the right external air conditioner that suits you and your family, when to purchase, and the various types on the market.

Most external camping air conditioners are similar to the systems used in a camping trailer or tent as well. Consumers simply must determine if the need for the camping air conditioner is necessary for short stays out. Unless campers have health concerns which would require one, these probably aren’t for the consumer that seeks to just camp for a short time.

Consumers should also be aware that the portable units typically are placed inside of tents, so if space is limited, this may be something to keep in mind before purchasing. Otherwise, fitting the tent nicely around the fan area will keep your camping space cool and comfortable. Most conditioners available on the market today will shut off once enough condensation builds up within its holding tank.

Weight and transportation, costs, camping space and time, as well as power sources are all things to consider before purchasing one of these nifty gizmos for your next outing. Quick internet research for hunting and sporting goods stores will give any interested consumer more insight to this market. It is very important to take into consideration you need for a device such as this, especially if you know small children or those who suffer from asthma may be travelling and camping alongside you during hot days. For those travelling and camping in cooler climates, even during the summer months, these devices are probably not necessary.

Campers who want a larger cooling device should be aware that they may need a power generator to power the device. Larger industrial air conditioners can be purchased for those campers who stay out in very hot areas for extended periods of time. These devices range anywhere from $20 to larger ones for $50, and even industrial level air conditioners with prices nearing closer to $300-500 range. For environmentally conscious consumers, more expensive brands come equipped with solar panel systems and rechargeable batteries for extended use.

These units are great for those campers who stay extended periods of time with several people in hot climates. Perfect for sandy or desert climates, it can even come in handy in wooded areas during parts of the year that experience peak hot temperatures. Prices for these devices tend to go down in the peak winter months, and most small retailers will increase prices on them as spring and summer arrives. This occurs because more people are seeking cooling devices as they begin to plan their camping adventures closer to these seasons.

4 Energy Saving Air Conditioners In India

As the cost of electricity keeps on going up, it’s paramount that you go for devices that consume minimal amounts of power. If you are interested in buying an air conditioner in India, here are some of the most energy efficient conditioners that you can go for.

HITACHI RAU330HTD

It comes with a twin rotary compressor which means that it cools the air within a very short time. It also has an auto power save mode that plays a major role in saving energy.

In addition to the above, the device also has an advanced off-timer with Kaimin, circulation mode, filter clean indicator, high capacity compressor, and minus Ion stick.

If you are planning of placing the air conditioner indoors you should go for one that measures 1150 x 245 x 333 mm; however, if you are interested in a device to place outdoors you should go for one measuring 950 x 460 x 740 mm.

Hitachi RAU230HUD

This is a 2.5 ton unit that has a cooling capacity of 8725 Watts, a consumption of 2825 Watts, and an EER ratio of 3.09. To ensure that the air is fully filtered, it comes with a Nano titanium filter. There is also a filter clean indicator that lets you know when the filter needs to be changed.

If placing it indoors you should go for one measuring 1150 x 245 x 333 mm; however, if planning of placing it outdoors you should go for one measuring 950 x 460 x 740 mm. Although, the device has two compressors, it’s usually very silent; therefore, there is no noise to distract you.

Mitsubishi SRK26CNS-S6

It’s a 2 ton unit with a cooling capacity of 7400 Watts and a power consumption of 2065 Watts. It measures 318 x 1098 x 248 mm and covers an area of up to 250 square feet. The good side with it is that it comes with a special filter that combines enzyme and solar features. Its operation range is 46 degrees Celsius.

WHIRLPOOL MAGICOOL PLATINUM V

This is a 1.2 ton windows air conditioner that has a cooling capacity of 3870 watts and a 6th sense energy saver that intelligently senses and adjusts the temperature in the room. To enhance the cooling capacity and power saving, the unit also has an MPFI technology that brings about rapid heat exchange.

The unit has a 6th sense sleep and auto restart; therefore, when the temperature is uncomfortably cold, it switches itself off and when the temperature reaches its set temperature it restarts.

Every Man

Every Shrek needs a Fiona like Cinderella needed a fitting shoe.

Every Beast needs to be loved by Beauty before the “Last Rose Petal” drops.

Every Aladdin needs a Princess that would love him for who and not what he is.

Every Prince needs an Ariel who would give up her own world no matter how glamorous it is, to explore the whole new world of his; that she knew absolutely nothing about.

Every Hulk needs a Betty Rose whose sight would calm him and turn him back into a charming young man, anywhere everywhere, anytime every time.

Every Hell Boy needs a Liz Sherman who would see beyond his ugly look and love him for the treasures that lie within.

Every Trevor Goodchild needs an Aeon Flux to love him both in this life and in the next.

Every Terry Sheridan needs a Lara Croft that would not only raid tombs, but raid his heart too.

Every Akeem needs a Lisa that has so longed for a man who knows how to “treat her like a lady”.

Every Jake Sally needs a Neytiri that would show him the ways of her world, her people, her heritage and her traditions… just to make him part of them.

Every Batman needs a Rachael Dawes he would fly to.

Every Spiderman needs a Mary Jane that he would throw webs and crawl on walls to get to.

Every Iron Man needs a Virginia “Pepper” Potts that would touch him tenderly despite the “hardness” of his outfit.

Every King Ahasu-e’rus needs an Esther that would lead him to do God’s Will and not a Vashti that would not honour his summons both in public and behind closed doors.

Every Joseph needs a Mary who would let it be unto her according to God’s Word.

Every Boaz needs a Ruth that would refuse to leave but stay glued to him, take his people and his God as hers.

Every Superman needs a Lois Lane that would wait for him while he is away.

Every Iceman needs a Rogue that he can touch.

Every Daredevil needs an Elektra that would not let her tendency toward violence and lust for mercenary lifestyle keep them apart.

Every Wolverine wish he doesn’t have to kill his Jane Grey to save the world.

Every Samson needs a Delilah that would protect and not hand him over to the enemy.

Every Adam needs an Eve that will offer him the fruit from the tree of life instead.

Every Lot needs an Ado (Lot’s Wife who turned Pillar of Salt) that would TOTALLY forget about the past behind and FOCUS only on the future that lies ahead.

Every Romeo needs a Juliet that would make her intentions known to him. Two heads are better than one, isn’t that what they say?

Every Goodluck needs a Patience that would not address widows as “fellow” while he is still alive. More so, he needs “Patience” to overlook and withstand further gunshots as they are dished out from time to time.

Every Barack needs a Michelle that holds in high esteem the values that build a great family and keep them closely knitted, with or without the “spotlights”.

I am Bunnie, who COMPLETELY needs Lilie to become My Wife; to have and to hold her from “that” day forward, for better for best, in wealth and in more wealth, in health and in sound health, to love and to cherish, until the end of time.

EVERY MAN NEEDS A WOMAN OF INTEGRITY WHEN HIS LIFE IS IN A MESS LIKE THE QUEEN PROTECTS THE KING IN THE GAME OF CHESS.

A Plus Delta Method to Save Your Relationship

Broken relationships and broken hearts are a part of life. No matter how hard we may try, our relationships go south, but if you really love the one you were with and want to save your relationship, you can do so with a little bit of hard work and commitment.

Getting your relationship back on track will take some effort on both you and your partner’s part. It is important both of you put your feelings of anger aside and come together as one to improve and make your relationship workable and stronger. In order to get you and your partner started out on the right foot this article will give you techniques that will help you and your partner in getting your feelings out in a way that it is helpful and for the betterment of the relationship.

Analyze if the relationship is worth getting into. This may be hard to do, but you need to take some time to think about your relationship and if it is really worth it. If your relationship is too far gone, then it might be a good idea to walk away, but if you feel that your relationship is worth every bit of effort, then go for it.

Introspect and find out the problem. It is difficult to save a relationship if you have no idea what went wrong in the first place. In order to have a better understanding about the issues in your relationship, ask your partner if they are willing to try a problem solving method known as “Plus Delta”. Take a time of day that is quiet where the two of you can do the following.

1. Each person needs a piece of paper folded into thirds lengthwise.

2. Highlight each column as “plus”, “minus”, and “delta”.

3. In the column labeled plus, write down the things that you feel is good about your relationship.

4. In the column labeled minus, write down the things that you feel are negative about your relationship.

5. In the delta column, identify certain changes that you want to make in your relationship.

Communicate your thought with your partner. While sharing your thoughts do not be angry and argumentative. Instead, hold one another’s hand or cuddle when sharing your feelings.

Try and listen to your ex. Make sure that when your partner is speaking, you are listening and do not interrupt to either defend your self or counter their claim.

Correct your mistakes. Your list will tell you about the important problems in the relationship. Initiate corrective action to counter or rectify the problems.

Be sure that you both apologize to each other for hurting each other’s feelings and if need be repeat the “Plus Delta” as often as necessary.

Four Simple Steps to Less Stress by Taking Yoga "Off the Mat"

It’s not hard to imagine Henry David Thoreau living in utter simplicity on his land at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Spending only $28.12 on a 10×15 square foot home and living a Spartan lifestyle, he went to the woods to live deliberately, learn life’s lessons and feel a sense of “having lived” when he died.

Nobody wants to go to the grave feeling as if life was wasted. We all want to live completely, fully. But for most of us, living like Thoreau is more of a fantasy. We’re busy earning a living, keeping family responsibilities and saving for retirement.

So here’s the question for those of us fully immersed in a typical 21st century day: rather than retreating to the woods, can we live deliberately, here and now, in the circumstances we currently find ourselves?

The answer is a conditional yes. Yes because the essentials, by definition, are always present. The most essential is your indivisible essence, the core of who you are. It’s impossible to be separated from it. The ‘yes’ is conditional, though, because we need more vigilance to stay focused on the essentials when our busy lives pull and push us off course.

Yoga cultivates that focused awareness to keep our minds here in the present moment. Rather than just a series of postures to open your hips, a yoga mindset can open your heart. By integrating principles of yoga into life on a daily basis, and not just in a weekly Hatha yoga class, a new world of opportunities can be found.

With the knowledge that this moment is inherently whole, relaxation appears. Just trust that where you are now has what you’re looking for. This is yoga. And with this definition, everything is yoga.

Taking Yoga “Off the Mat”

There’s a simple four-step process you can use to cultivate a yoga focus in everyday life. That process is called EASE, an acronym that stands for Experience, Awareness, Self-Reflection and Elect.

Step One: Experience

By watching your own experience closely, you can see the truth of the ever-changing nature of the world. During a in Hatha yoga class, the teacher instructs you to notice your feet connecting with the floor in Tadasana, or to see where your breath resides in Trikonasana. This same level of attention can be brought to everyday circumstances.

Try this exercise. While you are feeling angry, sad, happy or excited about the anticipation of something, notice the answers to these questions:

· What emotion is present?

· How is my breathing?

· What am I saying to myself?

· How am I behaving?

· What am I feeling in my body?

· What is my energy level?

The simple step of noticing your experience while it’s happening, or reflecting upon it later, can immediately illuminate where needless tension is being generated.

Step Two: Awareness

Awareness is the ability we have to broaden our perspective in a given moment. The interpretation of an event comes not from the experience itself, but from where attention is placed. Expanding awareness provides numerous choices for directing attention.

Notice yourself reading these words. What are you aware of? Now turn your attention to your big toe. Notice where it is and how it feels. Is it hot or cold? How does your sock feel against your toe? Can you feel your shoe pushing against it? Can you feel the contact with the adjoining toe?

A moment ago, you were probably oblivious to your big toe. The simple act of bringing your attention to it, however, has expanded your current experience to include these new sensations.

Ask yourself the question, “what else is there in this moment?” Then, relax. Soften your edges, let go of your grip on the rope slightly. Slow down. Step away from the problem.

Awareness holds infinite possibilities.

Step Three: Self-reflection

Self-reflection answers the question, “How do you want to be in this world?” We’re misled when continually asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Regardless of age, some of us still struggle with what we want to do for a living, which implicitly implies that some distant point in the future holds the key to our happiness. A much more present-oriented (and easier) question to answer is how we want to be, which of course could be lived in this very moment.

Answering the question of how we want to be focuses on the values we deem important. Do you want to be loving, courageous, compassionate, or adventurous? Pick one or two ways of being that resonate with you and then use your everyday life as the practice ground for bringing them to life.

Step Four: Elect

The last step of the EASE process is to elect or choose, in a given moment, to act consciously and in accordance with your values. Saying what we value is much easier than actually living it. Life is the testing ground for understanding at a very deep level what these values mean. What does it mean to be patient when your son comes home drunk? What does it mean to be loving when your boss is being demanding and arrogant? What does it mean to be courageous when the fear of rejection is paralyzing?

The practice of life gives us unlimited opportunities to explore the implications of our chosen values.

Life is messy. At times we feel lost, as if we’re wondering hopelessly through an impossible maze, stuck in a confining box. Life, though, is more like a labyrinth. We may feel disoriented, but there is only one path–the one we are on. And the path leads to the center every time, without exception.

Free Family Games to Play in Walt Disney World

While the parks at Walt Disney World are full of amazing attractions and rides, amusing games have appeared that have nothing to do with any of these spots. You have to be in the parks to play them, though. They’re Disney World-related games that have been around for years, passed from family to family and archived online. These games are free and most of them can be played throughout your trip. Rev up your powers of observation: these games all take a keen eye to play!

Bad Shoe

The Bad Shoe game began in 2001 when a bunch of veteran Disney-goers began noticing what truly horrible shoes some people wore when touring Disney parks. Not only were some of these shoes ugly, but many of them caused their owners to hobble out of the park after just a few hours, feet covered in blisters and toes bloody. The Bad Shoe game has even spawned a website of the same name, where people have posted some really horrible examples of bad Disney footwear. Play your own version of Bad Shoe first thing in the morning when you get into the parks. Sit on a bench and check out the footwear strolling past you. Shake your head at the spike heels and cheap flip flops. Bask in the knowledge that, while your feet may be sore after walking for ten hour in the parks, you aren’t causing yourself permanent damage with your sensible workout shoes.

Hidden Mickey

Possibly one of the most enduring activities in all the Disney parks, the search for Hidden Mickeys has become a worldwide phenomenon. It began when Epcot was being built and management insisted that Mickey Mouse was for children and should stay in Magic Kingdom. The imagineers felt differently and decided to hide Mickey all over the park. Everywhere you look in any part of Walt Disney World, you can find a hidden Mickey, the familiar three-circle outline of Mickey Mouse’s head. You’ll find hidden Mickeys woven into the carpeting in the resort hotels, raked into the sand in the beaches overnight, hidden in the constellations in the ceiling of Mission Space, in the placement of plates on a table, and just about anyplace else three circular objects can be attached or created. Families are known to keep lists of hidden Mickeys found and searched for, with points systems for spotting new ones each trip. Search everywhere for your own personal first hidden Mickeys. It’s an addicting hobby that can take a lifetime to fulfill.

Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure

This newest addition to the free Disney game category was actually created by the Disney team itself. Present yourself at the Kim Possible booth in Epcot and sign up to be a secret agent. You’ll be given a “Kimmunicator”, which is a texting and photo-sharing device. You’ll be given clues for a world-wide scavenger hunt within the country pavilions. When you get close to another clue toward your ultimate task you’ll be rewarded with cool special effects like miniature zombies in a train station, a glockenspiel carol or cuckooing clocks that were silent before. You can play Kim Possible all day for free, and there are a number of different missions. Each mission takes place in a different country, giving you a chance to tour World Showcase while still playing the game.

While most people have rides and attractions on their minds when planning their Walt Disney World vacation, there’s something to be said for adding a little bit of extra fun on the side. Whether it’s an afternoon scavenger hunt or a lifelong game of Hidden Mickey played year after year, free Disney games add that special touch that makes vacation memories.

French Country Style Decor

You don’t have to be an interior designer or French expert to create the French country style to your home. Even if you haven’t visited rural France you can still get the look by doing a bit of research.

It need not cost a fortune either because you can recycle old pieces of furniture to create that French feel. Or you can find some antique pieces and paint or upholstery to get the look at half the price. Stencils are a big French country look and you can buy them or make your own. French country style decorating is based on the casual, yet elegant feeling of the French countryside. The mood that it creates is cosy, warm and rustic. Most of the colours are inspired by natural surroundings including bright yellows, lavender, cobalt blues, gold’s, greens, beige, brown and deep reds.

With a rustic appeal and old-world comfort the French country still is easy to replicate. To emulate the French country look you might find in a cottage in rural France you should have a combination of natural stone floors, rooster motifs, carved wood furniture, wrought iron furnishings, plastered-surface walls painted or washed in butter-yellow paint. A primitive farm table would look good with a Provencal tablecloth. Crockery should be bright and match your overall colour scheme.

You can accessorize your home with baskets, crockery, linen, copper pots and much more. Fabrics come in all kinds of country style colours. Stripes and checks are popular as are the plainer type of designs. You can get lovely flowered fabrics with small prints or larger. Sunflowers are a popular design.

The way you dress your windows will also have a large effect of the whole country style home decor look. I would recommend Provencal fabrics and colours rather than heavy contemporary fabrics.

You can finish off your look with fresh flowers, which is an essential part of the country living feel. They can be fresh, dried or silk; you will get the same effect. Obviously fresh flowers will give off a lovely fragrant.

With a bit of creativity and imagination you should easily be able to pull off a great new French country look that you can be proud of!

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

Brick Brings Class, Style to Downtowns and Neighbourhoods Alike

Peter Chiodo, founder and president of The Robert Simpson Brewing Company in downtown Barrie, Ont., Looked to his city's historic buildings when he started planning the renovation of his new microbrewery.

The older brick buildings found in the city inspired him to use brick in the renovation of his formerly wood slat building, situated in the waterfront area of ​​Barrie's downtown. "I think brick looks better than any other siding because architecturally it's more picturesque," Chiodio said. "It's also unconventional, it seems like not as many people use it these days."

Many building owners, developers and architects who turn to brick cladding today no longer cite durability alone as a reason behind their choice. Brick is increasingly a design choice intended to project beauty, originality and warmth. In the 19th century, many cities mandated brick for downtown buildings due to its fire-resistant qualities. Changes in styles during the 20th century saw many brick facades covered with stucco, wood or metal, although the brick remains as a structural element.

"There was a desire to do something different and the result has been to break up the visual cohesion of downtowns," said Edward Allen, architect, author and former professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Barrington's, an outer wear store in Oakville, Ont., Uncovered brick in its more than century-old building to create a sense of elegance on the inside.
"Our whole concept was rustic warm, so I wanted that warmth that brick gives," said Paul Barrington, owner of Barrington's. "The brick we exposed in our store complemented the wide plank hardwood floor, Persian carpets and chandeliers we use in our decor."

Brick brings the same feeling of warmth to a downtown's exterior, Allen said. "An entirely brick downtown creates a sense of harmony," he said. "Brick work is so flexible. Masons can do a lot with ornamentation, so each building has an individual style."

Chiodo followed that principle during his brewery renovation. Masons created a checkerboard border across the second floor facade, incorporating light brown brick accents into the deep red brick exterior. The effect creates visual cohesion for the building, but allows it to harmonize with surrounding structures.

The renovation earned a 2006 Masonry Masterpiece award from MasonryWorx, a masonry industry association, for design innovations that contributed to sustainable development. A buildings' relationship to its surrounding structures or neighbourhood was priority No. 1 for architect Yvan Deschenes, who led the 2004-2005 renovation of the Caisse Populaire building in Ste-Marie, Que. Since the building is located off Main Street and in a historic district, Deschenes and the bank's director were acutely aware of the need to upgrade the building's circa 1970s cement slab exterior.

"I chose an orange brick because it is a warm colour that provides variation to the many red brick buildings in Quebec," Deschenes said. "The brick gives a feeling of a historic building and we know that 100 years from now this building will still look good."

With exterior lighting that showcases the brick's colour and texture, the building won a Prix Lumiere 2006 award from the Montreal chapter of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.

Deschenes hopes to continue to shed light on the beauty and versatility of brick.
"For me the attraction of brick has never waned," he said. "It has enduring qualities that defy trends."

Busting Some Common Apartment Rental Myths

Not sure if renting an apartment is right for you? Perhaps you've been scared away by some of the rumors (or so-called "facts") you've heard about living in an apartment building? Well, despite what you may have read or heard, apartment living is extremely desirable, safe, and efficient. This article will "bust" some of the long-standing myths about apartment living. Just be warned – the realities might surprise you.

Myth # 1: Nobody would willingly choose to live in an apartment.

Many people think that the "ultimate dream" is to live in a nice house with a garage, a big backyard, and the proverbial white picket fence. But is it really? Research conducted by the US-based National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) shows that apartment living is steadily gaining in popularity – and that a surprising 40 percent of people living in an apartment do so by choice (and not because of their financial situation).

So, why would people choose to live in an apartment, even if they can afford a home? It's quite simple, actually. Among other reasons, apartment complexes usually offer superior locations that are closer to workplaces and popular shopping centers, renters appreciate the lack of maintenance and repair responsibilities, and the freedom to pack up your things and move to a new location on a regular basis (as opposed to being tied down to a lengthy mortgage) can not be overlooked.

Myth # 2: Apartment buildings have high crime rates.

Many people think of apartments as havens for "undesirable" segments of the population and that these buildings are rife with drugs and crime. However, in reality, apartments actually help create safe and secure neighborhoods.

Much of the belief that crime is higher in apartment complexes is based on the faulty logic in believing that one apartment building is the same as a single "house". If you compare the two this way, then yes, chances are there is more crime in an apartment than an ordinary household. But if you think of an apartment as dozens or hundreds of separate "houses", you'll find that the crime rates are no higher than they are in any other type of dwelling.

Furthermore, many apartment residents say they choose apartment living specifically because they feel more secure! With 24-hour security systems, "Lobby Watch" video cameras that can be monitored on your own television, intercom packages, and on site superintendents, modern apartments are extremely safe. And with so many people coming and going, it is actually more difficult for criminals to act without being discovered.

Myth # 3: Apartments contribute to a neighborhood's traffic congestion.

While there's no denying that a single apartment building can be home to hundreds of people, it simply is not true that apartments generate more traffic congestion than other types of dwelling or neighborhoods.

As a large amount of apartment residents are young professionals, students, and seniors (as opposed to large families), they average only one vehicle per family / household, as they are more likely to use public transportation to get around town. As well, people who rent apartments generate 30 to 40 percent fewer vehicle trips than the average single-family home.

Myth # 4: Apartments increase local infrastructure costs.

While some people believe that apartment buildings put an increased burden on the community as a result of a local infrastructure costs, the clustering of apartments makes them substantially less expensive to service. It actually costs less, on a per-household basis, to provide public services to apartments, as they require few kilometers roads, sewers, and water lines.

If more people lived in apartments, instead of buying up new single-family developments (which require public services and utilities to be spread over a larger geographic area), more funds and resources could be used to support other areas of the community.

Remember, do not let the myths fool you – when it comes to great locations, affordability, security, and minimal impact on local infrastructure and resources, renting an apartment is always an excellent choice.

Flatter Abs – Does Flat Matter?

Do flat abs matter? Yes, not just aesthetically but also for health reasons. Having flatter abs is a result of a healthy lifestyle. It gives you an image of strength and makes you more appealing to the opposite sex. Flat abs also helps decrease further health risks and allow you to lead a better quality of life.

When you see a person with a big stomach, you view them as lazy, out of shape, an over eater, or just someone that is not disciplined. On the other hand, someone with a flat defined stomach, you view them as strong, disciplined and capable, which are also attractive qualities.

Oh course, there are other factors involved when it comes to individual personalities and differences, on the whole a person’s physical attributes have a way of affecting not only how others view them but also how they view themselves. When you’re fit, you feel more confident and better able to do more work and be more productive.

A strong fit body is an image of strength, confidence and discipline, all of which are attractive features to a potential mate. It is also physically appealing to see a fit body in nice clothes that compliment the person’s shape and figure.

Physical attraction is also a key part of having flat abs. Staying fit will make you more attractive to the opposite sex. Displaying power and confidence to your potential mate. Not only will you feel healthier but you may attract the man or woman of your dreams and further increase your happiness.

The many benefits of physical fitness far outweigh any of the negatives (if any exist). Your bones and joints feel better, you have more energy, you are stronger and better able to enjoy an active lifestyle. You can enjoy the simple things like hugging or carrying your child without pain.

Having a big belly not only gives a negative self-image but also leaves them open to being labeled as lazy, undisciplined and unattractive. In this cruel society, there may be more limitations for overweight people in their careers, opportunities, love life, as well as overall social acceptance. It will also put them at risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancers.

Flat abs do matter. If you want to get ahead in life, attract the man or woman of your dreams, succeed in your career and happiness, the first step is to start with yourself. Get fit and enjoy a better quality of life. It all starts with smart training and you can get your flat abs!

Florida Helmet Laws

Since July 2000, motorcycle riders have not had to adhere to a universal helmet law, requiring all riders, regardless of age, to wear a helmet when operating their motorcycles. Today, Florida helmet laws stipulate that riders over the age of 21 who have at least $ 10,000 in medical coverage can legally ride their bikes without wearing a helmet, a move which was considered a victory by many bikers unhappy with universal helmet laws that had been in effect until that time.

Whether or not the move indicates a clear victory or not is a matter of interpretation. While riders can enjoy the road unencumbered by helmets that are often heavy and hot, a study by the Florida Department of Transportation indicates that motorcycle injuries and even deaths have risen following repeal of the universal laws, prompting some state officials to revisit the law.

The debate over universal helmet laws has not been restricted to Florida. Across the nation, universal helmet requirements have met with active opposition, and in recent years, many states have eliminated universal helmet laws entirely, while other impose certain age or insurance guidelines that govern who must wear a helmet, and who may choose not to wear a helmet.

Before 1966, there were no motorcycle helmet use laws in any state. But the Highway Safety Act of that same year put an end to that, requiring the establishment of uniform safety programs for motorcyclists nationwide. Under this act, all states were required to develop and implement laws that mandated the use of helmets by all motorcycle riders. States that refused to enact such legislatio0n faced losing s portion of federal highway construction funds.

In 1975, with penalties pending against three states, Congress revisited the Highway Safety Act, and eliminated the helmet law mandate, as well as disallowing a suspension of federal funds from states without universal helmet laws. The result: by 1978, 25 states had repealed their laws, or amended them to include only specific groups, generally individuals under the age of 18.

The 1980s was, overall, a period of stasis for helmet laws. But in the late 1980s and 1990s, many states began reenacting helmet laws in an effort to decrease injuries and fatalities, and reduce insurance and medical costs. In 1989, Oregon and Texas once again implemented universal helmet laws, and Washington and Maryland followed suit in 1990 ands 1992. Even California, which had never before enacted a helmet law, enacted a universal helmet law in 1992 after much publicity. Florida also enacted a helmet law, but in 1996 as noted, the law was revised to include only riders under 21 and those without adequate insurance coverage.

The repeal immediately saw a marked change in helmet use in the state. As observational helmet use studies conducted by the state DOT in 1998 revealed 99.5 percent of motorcycle riders wore helmets. A similar study conducted in 2002, two years after the repeal of the universal helmet law, indicated that rate had dropped to 52.7 percent.

A second study conducted by the Florida DOT also revealed that although the overall number of crashes decreased during the 18-month period after the law was repealed as compared to the 19-month period prior to repeal, fatal crashes among the state's motorcycle riders increased by roughly 43 percent after Florida helmet laws were amended, from 284 fatalities in the 18-month period before repeal, to 404 fatalities in the 18-month period following repeal. Non-fatal injuries increased by about 16 percent in the same period. Even the numbers of under-age riders increased following repeal of the law, from 7 percent to 11 percent.

Given these figures, it's clear that, while the repeal of Florida helmet laws may seem like a victory to motorcyclists, a significant increase in injuries and fatalities means this area will continue to be surrounded by controversy.

Roofing Terminology

Knowing common roofing terminology will enable you as a homeowner to make an informed decision about roofing materials that are good matches for your home’s style and the region in which you live. It will also help you understand the contract with your roofing professional and the project updates.

Some key roofing terms are listed below:

Asphalt: A waterproofing agent applied to roofing materials during manufacturing.

Asphalt plastic roofing cement: An asphalt-based sealant used to bond roofing materials. Also known as flashing cement, roof tar, bull or mastic.

Back surfacing: Granular material applied to the back side of shingles to keep them from sticking during delivery and storage.

Base flashing: That portion of the flashing attached to or resting on the deck to direct the flow of water onto the roof.

Built-up roof: Multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets bonded together.

Butt edge: The bottom edge of the shingle tabs.

Caulk: To fill a joint to prevent leaks.

Closed valley: The valley flashing is covered by shingles.

Coating: A layer of viscous asphalt applied to the outer roof surface to protect the roof membrane.

Collar: Pre-formed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roof around the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve.

Concealed nail method: Application of roll roofing in which all nails are covered by a cemented, overlapping course.

Counter flashing: That portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface above the plane of the roof to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.

Course: Row of shingles that can run horizontally, diagonally or vertically.

Cricket: A peaked water diverter installed at the back of a chimney to prevent accumulation of snow and ice and to deflect water.

Deck: The top surface of which a roof system is applied, surface installed over the supporting framing members.

Double coverage: Asphalt roofing whose lapped portion is at least two inches wider than the exposed portion, resulting in two layers of roofing material over the deck.

Downspout: A pipe for draining water from roof gutters to drain. Also called a leader.

Drip edge: L-shaped flashing used along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off into the gutters and to drip clear of underlying construction.

Eave: The part of the roof that overhangs or extends outward and is not directly over the exterior walls or the buildings interior.

Exposed nail method: Application of roll roofing where nails are driven into the overlapping course of roofing. Nails are exposed to the elements.

Fascia: A wood trim board used to hide the cut ends of the roof’s rafters and sheathing.

Felt: Fibrous material used as an underlayment or sheathing paper, describes roll roofing materials.

Flashing: Pieces of metal or roll roofing used to form water seal around vent pipes, chimneys, adjoining walls, dormers and valleys.

Gable: The end of an exterior wall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.

Granules: Ceramic-coated and fired crushed rock that is applied as the top surface of asphalt roofing products.

Gutter: The trough that channels water from the eaves to the downspouts. Usually attached to the fascia.

Head lap: An overlapping of shingles or roofing felt at their upper edge.

Hip: The fold or vertical ridge formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. Runs from the ridge to the eaves.

Ice dam: Condition forming water back-up at the eave areas by the thawing and re-freezing of melted snow on the overhang. Can force water under shingles, causing leaks.

Interlocking shingles: Individual shingles that mechanically fasten to each other to provide wind resistance.

Laminated shingles: Strip shingles made of two separate pieces laminated together to create extra thickness. Also called three-dimensional and architectural shingles.

Lap: Surface where one shingle or roll overlaps with another during the application process.

Mansard roof: A design with a nearly vertical roof plane connected to a roof plane of less slope at its peak. Contains no gables.

Mineral stabilizers: Finely ground limestone, slate, traprock or other inert materials added to asphalt coatings for durability and increased resistance to fire and weathering.

Nesting: A method of reroofing, installing a second layer of new asphalt shingles, in which the top edge of the new shingle is butted against the bottom edge of the existing shingle tab.

Pitch: The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in feet, to the span, in feet.

Low Slope – Roof pitches that are less than 30 degrees.

Normal Slope – Roof pitches that are between 30 and 45 degrees.

Steep Slope – Roof pitches that are more than 45 degrees.

Rafter: The supporting framing that makes up the roof structure; immediately beneath the deck; the roof sheathing is nailed to the rafters.

Rake: The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall from the eave to the ridge. They can be close or extended.

Ridge: The horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping sides of a roof at the highest point of the roof, hip or dormer.

Run: The horizontal distance between the eaves and a point directly under the ridge; or one half the span.

Selvage: That portion of roll roofing overlapped by the application of the roof covering to obtain double coverage.

Sheathing: Exterior grade boards used as a roof deck material.

Shed roof: A single roof plane with no hips, ridges, valleys or gables, not connected to any other roofs.

Slope: The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in inches, to the run, in feet.

Smooth-surfaced roofing: Roll roofing that is covered with ground talc or mica instead of granules (coated).

Soffit: The finished underside of the eaves that extends from the fascia to the siding and hides the bottom of an overhang.

Soil stack: A vent pipe that penetrates the roof.

Span: The horizontal distance from eaves to eaves.

Specialty eaves flashing membrane: A self-adhering, waterproofing shingle underlayment designed to protect against water infiltration due to ice dams or wind driven rain.

Starter strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves as the first course of shingles installed.

Tab: The weather exposed surface of strip shingles between the cutouts.

Telegraphing: Shingles installed over an uneven surface that show distortion.

Truss – A combination of beams, bars and ties, usually in triangular units to form a framework for support in wide span roof construction.

UL label: Label displayed on packaging to indicate the level of fire and/or wind resistance of asphalt roofing.

Underlayment: A layer of asphalt based rolled materials installed under main roofing material before shingles are installed to provide additional protection for the deck.

Valley: The internal angle formed by the intersection of two inclined roof surfaces to provide water runoff.

Vapor barrier/retarder: Any material that prevents the passage of water or water vapor through it.

Vent: Any device installed on the roof as an outlet for air to ventilate the underside of the roof deck.