Have a Headache? Pop a Pill!

Once upon a time, when you got a headache, you looked around for the cause. Some causes were very obvious. On Sunday mornings, my husband, known to imbibe a few gin and tonics Saturday nights, would wake up clutching his head and moaning "I knew there was something wrong with that tonic water" ….. Right! So that's one very obvious cause.

It's when the cause of your headache is not obvious, or you do not have the time or inclination to figure out where it came from that the problem arises.

You know the drill. Have a headache? Pop a pill or four or so! Preferably a brand name pill, heavily advertised on TV. Pills where the cost of manufacture is zero and where marketing costs are in the millions.

Big drug can afford lavish TV advertising for its products. To sell one pain pill it will spend more than the GDP of many small countries. And the TV ads work. You see a beautiful woman clutching her head, in obvious pain. The weight of the world is on her shoulders. What can she do? Take a pill of course! The bottle is right there in the foreground, brand name carefully highlighted. She takes the pill and voila! Headache gone! She's practically dancing. Wow! Those pills really work! Right!

In the real world, what happens? We get a headache. We take the pills so heavily advertised on TV. The pain of the headache is temporarily alleviated. The headache is actually just sitting in a corner doing its knitting. The temporary effect of the pills wears off. We take more. Then we need stronger pills and heavier doses. Soon, we need a prescription for pain medication. Luckily for us, we know exactly what to ask our doctor for. It's another heavily advertised prescription medication.

Is this the answer? Of course not! The answer is a lot simpler, cheaper and healthier than that.

You feel a headache coming on. It will not hit you like a sledgehammer. You feel it coming; a general unease. Where are you? Crouched over your computer, maybe? Neck tense? Shoulders knotted? Tension everywhere? Well, yes. Right there, is the major cause of headache in the modern world.

Just once, do not reach into your desk drawer and extract your pain pills and swallow them unthinking. Realize that your body is in knots and it's trying to tell you so. Listen to it. Get up. Stretch. If you're in a commercial office, walk to the outside door. Take a few breaths. Walk to the water cooler. Drink two cups of water. Stretch five times before returning to your desk. See how that works? Rocket science! The world did not end because you took a five minute break. But the synapses firing off your headache subsided. Your eyes cleared. Your shoulders dropped from around your ears. A neck rub is great too, but a bit difficult to get at the office.

If you work from home, oh lucky you! Take all the above steps but, if you have a garden, go outside. Admire your glorious plants. Have a few words with them. Do a little weeding. Return to your desk refreshed.

So, what just happened? We ignored the siren call of lethal chemicals and we soothed our tortured limbs and muscles all by ourselves. This actually works for tension and stress headaches. And it's so much healthier than ingesting chemicals passed as safe by the Keystone Cops in the FDA.

There are other headaches, of course, not succeptible to these particular natural remedies and I'll cover them in later articles. But, for now, there is one instance I want to highlight:

If you get a blinding headache, out of the blue, no warning at all, your first instinct is to lie down and hope it passes. Do not. Call your PCP or the emergency services. You need to be examined right away. Remember. If you get a blinding headache without warning, act immediately. Get help. Now.

The sheer pace of our lives today causes all sorts of unease in our bodies. Big Drug has a panacea for all the ills the befall us. But it's not a panacea; it's not even a Band Aid. It's a false fix and we need to get away from it. Thanks to TV advertising, we're conditioned to think we should take a pill every time we feel less than on top of the world. Not so. Let's start with small natural steps and see if we can bring our bodies back to the glorious ease we had as children.

Roof Styles for Homes

Roofs come in many different styles and shapes just as homes can. The roof style choice makes an architectural statement. In fact, a roof makes such a strong style statement that the rest of the house usually just goes along for the ride. For example, a mansard roof is consistent with French 19th century architecture and is often seen on French country style homes.

When you drive through neighborhoods, you will often find two situations: a single dominant roof style or a wide mixture of styles. A neighborhood with a dominant style of roof often has homes built in the same time frame often by the same builder. A neighborhood with a mixture of style of roofs for homes has homes built in different times and by different builders. This is true of old Victorian neighborhoods as well as modern subdivisions.

Here are some of the more popular style of roofs for homes:

Gable – A gable roof is one that consists of two slopes meeting at a central ridge. The two sides are at the same angle and the same length. This type of roof also goes by the names of pitched or peaked roof. Many homes around the world use this simple style.

Cross-Gable – A cross-gable roof has two or more gable roofs coming together at right angles. Many traditional homes have this stylish update to the simple gable.

Saltbox – The saltbox roof is a variation of the gable. The front of the house has two stories, with a single story to the back. To accommodate this setup, the front of the gable is shorter and steeper than the long, shallower run that covers the back. Also called a catslide, this roof is traditional in New England homes.

Hip – The hip roof has four sides , all with the same slope. The longer sides come up to a ridgeline with the shorter sides ending at a point at the ends of that ridge line. This roof was common in the 60s and 70s subdivisions.

Pyramid – A pyramid roof is a hip roof that, instead of meeting at the ridgeline, the sides meet at a peak. Some of these roofs have equal side lengths and the same slope while others have different slops and side lengths. This style has been seen since ancient Egypt.

Mansard – A mansard roof is a complex roof shape with four sides each consists of two different angles. The lower angle is usually quite steep and accommodates windows and other openings. The steeper angle is at the top and comes together at a peak or along a ridgeline like a hip roof. This is a traditional French style.

Gambrel – A gambrel roof is much like a mansard except instead of having a roof surface on all four sides, the angles are only on two sides. The other two sides are flat similar to the end of a gable roof. This style is often found in French or Dutch-influenced neighborhoods.

Flat – A flat roof consists of a single plane on a building with little or no angle. While there is some debate, most roofs with 10 degrees or less in slop is considered flat. This is popular for commercial buildings.

Shed – A shed roof is a single plane roof placed on an incline with one end higher than the other. A slope of at least 10 degrees is seen on many modern homes.

Barrel Roof – A barrel roof is a half-cylinder shape that runs the length of the roof. It works well over a rectangular building.

Dome Roof – A circular building needs a roof that looks like half of a globe.

Which style of roof suits your taste?

Countertops 101 – Basics on Choosing a Kitchen Countertop Material

For many, their kitchen is the most important room in their house. And most real estate experts agree that the best way to improve or raise the property value of a house is to remodel the kitchen. The four major components of a kitchen remodel usually involve replacing the major appliances, installing new floors, replacing or re-facing the kitchen cabinets, and installing a new countertop. Let's focus on that final component – replacing your current kitchen countertop material with a new one.

Naturally, it involves more than just running off to the store to pick out a new countertop for your kitchen. You will first need to consider how much you want to spend. You also need to think about how much time and effort you'll need to spend to maintain your new countertop. Finally, you'll want to seriously consider the style and look you want in your kitchen. Whatever type of countertop you install, it will be the focal point of the entire room.

The very first type of countertop that pops into the mind of every anxious kitchen renovator is granite. However, there are many countertop materials to choose from – and granite is only one of them. These days, a kitchen remodeling hopeful can select tile, stone, acrylic, concrete, stainless steel, and laminate, even wood!


Let's start with the most popular: granite. Granite countertops are the most popular but also the most expensive. Post why? Besides the beautiful surface, granite is extremely heat and scratch resistant. A granite countertop is very durable and will last a long time. A granite countertop will never go out of style and granite slab installation will greatly increase the value of the house. The drawbacks? Other than the expense, granite is a natural stone and it is porous. A sealer will be required to prevent staining. One alternative is to use granite tiles in place of a massive slab. The cost savings on the tiles is high. It is important to not use the granite surface as a cutting board as it will dull the finish (and ruin a knife or two.)


Besides granite, there are other various stone surfaces that can be used on kitchen counters. Quartz, marble, limestone, soapstone, and slate surfaces are very popular today. Marble is smooth and cool, perfect for food preparations directly on the surface. It's not as durable as granite and requires more sealing maintenance to protect from staining. Slate is very durable and has such a unique surface that it can really stand out in a kitchen. As slate has been used as a roofing material, it does not require as much sealing protection, but some upkeep is still needed. Limestone is very porous and spills must be treated quickly to prevent staining. It has a natural, weathered look that can deepen and darken over time. Natural quartz has a look similar to slate but does not stain or scratch as easily. Engineered quartz has been gaining popularity as well, but the costs are considerably more (engineered materials are a quartz composite product mixed with epoxy, polymers, and small stones or pebbles for a unique look and feel.)


Glazed ceramic and porcelain tile has been popular in kitchens for decades. It comes in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and designs. The tiles can be a small as a square inch and as large as six square inches. The tiles are durable and also have some of the same heat and scratch resistance qualities as granite. The porcelain tiles are usually more expensive than the ceramic tiles, but the porcelain tiles are more durable and the hardest fired type of tiles. Drawbacks of tile? It can chip easily, more expensive than laminate alternatives, and the grout can be an issue. When putting the tiles together, there are grout lines between each of them and grout can stain very easily. It will require a lot more maintenance to keep it looking good. Because of the grout issues, the ability for the tiles to break and chip easily, and the overall cost, it is best to leave the installation work to a professional.


Concrete is not only for sidewalks or driveways. A concrete countertop is pigmented and can be polished into a smooth and shiny surface that can resemble any natural stone. The counters can be molded in a factory or cast on site. Concrete is rather porous and needs to be regularly sealed, similar to granite, to resist stains. It can be made into any shape and have any thickness. Concrete is also heat and scratch resistant. The counters can be made in a variety of colors and textures. Drawbacks on concrete? The sealer that is required is not the only protection needed. The sealer needs to be waxed every one to three months to prevent stain and water damage, so maintenance can be extensive. You can not cut on the concrete surface without leaving marks. Concrete is also very expensive.


A restaurant would probably be the first thing one would think of when it comes to a stainless steel kitchen counter. But there is a reason most restaurants use this material. Durability, stain and water resistance, low maintenance, a myriad of size and shape choices are just a few of those reasons. It's also very easy to clean and you can put a hot plate or pan on the surface without worry of damaging it. Drawback – many do not like the "industrial" look of it. It can be rather expensive to have made. Cutting on it can leave marks and it can be easy to dent. It's important to make sure the surface is at least 18 gauge and has eight to ten percent nickel in it.


Sometimes called Butcher Block Countertops, a wood counter is usually made from strips of maple or oak that has been glued together. But just about any hardwood can be made into countertops. Bamboo countertops are the latest trend! Wood counter material has a warm, beautiful look that can come in a variety of shades and textures. It's perfect for people who want to cut directly on the surface of their counter. It can be sanded and resealed in the event of any deep cuts, scratches or stains. It can be easy to install and the prices are reasonable. Drawbacks? Wood is not very hard and can easily burn, scratch, or dent. The wood can warp or turn black near sinks from regular water contact. And it requires regular sealing.


Formica is the most common name for laminate counters. It's made of a thin layer of plastic glued to particleboard or wood. Plastic laminate counters are very inexpensive, lightweight, and available in an endless supply of colors and patterns. It is very stain-resistant and, as a plastic material, it is easy to clean. Because it comes pre-formed, it can be easy for a do-it-yourselfer to install. Drawbacks to Formica? While these counters are somewhat durable, they do not last forever. Laminates are not heat or scratch resistant but they are stain resistant. Abrasive cleaners can dull and scratch the surface. Warping or water spots occur with excessive exposure to moisture. The color or pattern can fade with time.


Solid surface counters are manufactured tops that are custom-made for any application. Popular companies include Corian, Avonite, and Swanstone. These surfaces are durable, water resistant, easy to clean, non-porous, and are even resistant to mold and bacteria. And nicks or scratches can be sanded away. Drawbacks include problems handling hot pans on the surface, high expense, and the excessive weight requires a good strong cabinet base (similar to natural stone.) Some do not like the plastic or "fake" look of the material, but the material does have a wide range of colors to choose from.

Replacing the kitchen countertops is only one step in your goal to renovate the kitchen, but it is considered the biggest step by many. You can really make a statement about your kitchen and your home with the right selection of countertop material. Of course, once you take care of those worn out counters that came with the home, it will really make those old cabinets, flooring, and appliances stand out! It's all just part of the process of increasing the value of your property.

How to Paint Your Face Yourself

Face painting is very common among people of all ages. People love to make various pictures on their faces. The painting is done with respect to various occasions. It is a great skill. It is more popular among children. Face paint adds charm and colour to the children parties. A Halloween party, sporting event, birthday parties, or a fair is made more alluring, and joyful by face painting.

To paint your face you necessarily not need to possess an artistic bone in your body. There are many face painting guides that help you to paint your face yourself. Face paint needs necessary supplies. First, you need to have a paintbrush in your kit. There are different size brushes that mediate the formation of different designs. They range from hair like paint brushes to large sized brushes.

The next important thing is the selection of the paints. Make sure that the paints are non-toxic. Use the paints with great care, as some of the face paints may cause allergy, and damage the skin. You can also choose paints having glitters in them. The glitters help to highlight the design.

The next important thing in face paint is the design. If you are a beginner, then you can start with simple and easy patterns. The simple designs are butterflies, stars, leaves, flower, clown, and many other designs. You can also copy some designs from the magazines. You just need a little practice to get control over the brush. You can achieve this control by practicing on the papers.

You can paint your face in front of the mirror. Sit at ease on the chair. First, check the paint on any part of your body to see its reaction. If the paint is skin friendly, you can apply it on your face. Start with the small sized brush, and draw an outline of the design. Once you have made the sketch of the design, you can refine the sketch and fill colours in it. Try to use bright colours, as the light colours are not prominent on the face.

Apart from the skill to paint your own face, you need to have the sense of the event. If you want to paint your face for any party, then the face paint should go with the theme of the party. Moreover, the face paint also differs with respect to the occasions. There are special face paint designs for the Christmas event. Red, white, and silver colours are the colours of Christmas.

The area of ​​the face paint depends upon your choice. You can paint the complete face. In such a case, you must apply a base layer to the face. This can be done by using a sponge. The sponge gives an even look to the base. After applying base, the face is ready to make designs with some contrasting colours. You can also create designs on the limited area on the face.

Face painting is an important element of parties. Your brush stoke can create something alluring, and unique for the occasion. Thus, face paint is an art; you can easily become an expert with some practice.

How to Learn English – The Listening Method

The key to learning English is to focus on input, not output. Input means putting in. English input is listening and reading: English going into your mind. The best way to learn English is to focus on input: listening and reading. Output will come later: speaking and writing.

At the school in Bangkok where Dr. J. Marvin Brown developed “Automatic Language Growth,” students only listen for the first 700 to 800 hours. The students who are the most successful are the ones who don’t try to speak. Students who begin to speak earlier are less successful.

What Dr. Brown discovered is that after 700 or 800 hours of listening, students begin to speak naturally. By that time, their understanding of the language is excellent. They already have some fluency. And after that the program continues to focus on listening and reading. Students only speak or write when they want to; the whole program includes 2000 hours of listening.

Automatic Language Growth, a.k.a. The Listening Method, teaches you fluent English without thinking about it. You are not “practicing” or even “studying” in the normal way. The language grows in your unconscious mind, not your thinking mind. You can analyze and think about English forever, and you still will not be able to speak or understand it. Stop thinking, stop analyzing.

And it’s not difficult or stressful like the usual methods of learning a second language. Traditional methods of learning a second language put the student through a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress. Research has proven that learning is enhanced in a low-stress environment. The Listening Method is not difficult at all; in fact it is based on duplicating the natural, joyous process of a child learning their first language.

For many students, the most difficult part is just accepting this new way of learning. You think you have to try to speak and be corrected by a teacher and learn grammar rules and go to English classes and study in the normal way. But how many people really learn fluent English in the normal way? Almost none; most language students work hard for years and end up frustrated and bored, with zero fluency.

So it’s time to try something new. Don’t worry about speaking and writing until you are ready. Listen as much as you can to native speakers speaking English. Find an mp3 listening course to learn English. In this way, fluent English will grow in your mind quickly and easily, without even thinking about it. It’s not difficult, its fun, and it works!

How to Plant Tomato Transplants

For most gardeners, establishing tomatoes in the home garden involves purchasing or growing transplants from seed. I personally like using transplants that I purchase. They are easy and ready to go into the ground as soon as they are brought home to my garden. If you have used transplants from your local garden center in the past then you can surely relate. For optimum growth and to give your plants the best start possible, it is important to know exactly how to plant tomato transplants.

When you transplant a tomato into your garden, one small tip provides two distinct benefits. The tip is to plant deeply.

The first benefit of planting deep is the establishment of roots that are lower in the soil profile to begin with. These will be all that much closer to moisture should your watering practices be erratic.

The second benefit is a more stable plant. How many times have you purchased transplants for your garden and they have been tall, weak, and flimsy? Too many, I suspect.

There is hope. The cotyledons, or seed leaves, near the base of the young tomato plant can be buried. They are easily identified as one leaf on each side of the stem. They do not look like the rest of the leaves, as they are often elongated and oval shaped. Sometimes, however, they are not even present by the time you receive the plants.

In fact, it is best to bury the plant right up to the first real leaves. Roots will actually develop along the covered stem providing a firmer base and ready access to sub-surface nutrients.

The best method if your tomato plants are long and leggy with a lot of stem before the first true leaves is to dig a trench that is deeper at one end than the other. Lay your tomato transplant in the trench with the roots at the deep end. Then, carefully bend your plant slightly so that the leaves are just above the soil. Cover the stem and roots below ground with soil and use it to help hold the top of your tomato transplant in a more or less upright position.

If you live in an area where the soil is quite warm at planting time, you can simply dig a hole straight down to bury the tomato plant up to its leaves. In colder climates, the trench method is better as the roots are closer to the warmest surface soil.

I hope this article has been helpful in explaining how to plant tomato transplants in your garden. If you would like more tips like this for growing great tomatoes, please subscribe to my email newsletter using the form on the right side of the page. I will give you a free copy of my eBook "How To Produce 15-25 Pounds Of Ripe, Juicy Tomatoes PER PLANT" when you subscribe. The book is packed with 15 tips and secrets for growing your best tomatoes ever.

Until next time, Happy Gardening!

Petrol Vs Diesel Engines – Which Is Better and Why? Part II

It is a known fact that diesel’s best selling point is its efficiency. And while petrol hybrid cars are very efficient, they still can’t match the fuel economy of diesel hybrids. The scepticism that however still remains attached to diesel-powered cars is that they are slow, but with the introduction of the turbocharger, engineers are proud to say that that is no longer a problem.

Global warming, rising sea levels, erratic rainfall patterns and increased pollution are some of the factors that have led to a shift by car manufacturers to produce smaller engines with automatic transmission that are tuned for efficiency rather than performance. I mean back in the 70’s, when Chevrolet used to make 7.0L engines called ‘turbo fire’ on manual rear-wheel coupes, who would have imagined that a time would come when a car would come fitted with a CVT on a 900cc engine and this was considered normal? They say that the beautiful ones are yet to be born, but in the motoring world the beautiful (and great) ones were long born. By saying this I wish I had time to delve into the relegation that car design has and will continue to suffer, but let me stick to the debate at hand for now.

Having understood that engines are being reduced in size to address the effects of global warming, turbochargers, which vary in size and operation, have been employed to give diesel engines the speed of their petrol counterparts while retaining their superb efficiency. Almost every pick-up truck and SUV diesel engine coming off the production run right now is turbocharged, but reduced in size so that the same output of a 4.0L engine can now be achieved by a 2.5L turbo diesel. The result is a combination of massive power and great fuel economy, which is a win-win for both the consumer and the environment.

European car manufacturers have proven that diesel-powered cars can be faster, quieter and cleaner than petrol-powered ones, and that is why half of the new cars from Europe are running on diesel. But even then, a diesel engine will still demand more attention than a petrol one, and of course, turbo or no, petrol will still burn faster. And you can also make a ground-moving aircraft off a car by installing a supercharger on a petrol engine, that’s why sports cars will never run on diesel. But how many people are buying new sports cars anyway? Look at the trend: the World Car of the Year in 2008 was Mazda Demio, in 2009 it was the Volkswagen Golf, in 2010 the Volkswagen Polo, in 2011 Nissan leaf took the crown, 2012’s winner was Volkswagen Up, in 2013 it was the Volkswagen Golf again and in 2014 it was Audi A3: people now want small, convenient shopping cars that take up less parking space, don’t burn the pockets at the filling station and are easy to manoeuvre in tight city spaces. Of all these cars, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen Up are the only ones that don’t run on diesel, with the Leaf being electric, which leaves the Volkswagen Up as the only petrol purist. Is it therefore true to say that diesel has beaten petrol? I would say yes.

Electronic Contract Manufacturing Today

Fifty years ago, all components of an electronic product were manufactured by the same company that produced the final product. This meant that the manufacturer had to purchase the raw materials, employ experts, carry inventory for each and every individual component that goes into the product. In addition, this made it extremely difficult for small companies with small runs to enter the market and compete.

The market was ready for ‘electronic contract manufacturers’ that specialized in the design and manufacture of specific components that would then be sold to the OEM to be placed in the final product. Narrowing the focusing of a company to just one product or component, allowed them to offer economies of scale in the acquisition of raw materials, talent and expertise in the design process, and equipment for production. This cuts costs for the original manufacturer and frees up their capital.

With this new structure, manufacturing companies were able to produce a better product, more efficiently, and easily scale up or down to customer demand. In the design development process, usually the most complex and difficult part of the process, a contract manufacturer is more likely to accumulate a team of experienced engineers that will focus their expertise on the specific component. In the production process, they are more likely to keep up with the latest, high tech equipment and state-of-the-art technology.

Suppose there is a problem with one of the components. If the manufacturer is producing all the components in-house, it may take a while before it is found – and maybe even after it has gone to the end-user. In addition, the problem has to be solved using in-house resources and capital. When working with a contract manufacturer, in many cases component flaws have already been caught long before they reach the OEM – often due to experiences with other manufacturers. Often a third-party view of the problem is what’s needed, and the resolution is solely on the shoulders of that third-party.

Since an ECM only purchases materials for the components they produce, they are able to purchase in bulk offering the OEM substantial cost savings. And since they are purchasing from their individual supplier in greater frequency, the manufacturer takes advantage of the strong relationships developed.

Finally, the contract company will thoroughly test the components they provide for quality. They will stay at the forefront of technology proposing improvements and upgrading their product so that it works better, lasts longer, and is more efficiently. This is a daunting task for the original manufacturer that has hundreds of components to keep up with.

An electronic contract manufacturer is an expert in the components they develop and provide. This expertise offers extreme value.

Considerations when choosing an Electronic Contract Manufacturing partner

For many companies, especially small to mid-sized companies, having a contract manufacturing partner is not only a good idea, it’s critical to the success of the business. Besides pricing structure and quality requirements, there are several other items that should be considered in evaluating potential partners:

How much and why do they want your business – Choose a partner with compatible objectives.

Some companies may only be interested in the amount of money at stake. While it is important that the numbers match up for the benefit of both parties, find out what their main driving force is. Larger contract companies may be interested in smaller manufacturing companies if they offer the opportunity to gain experience in an industry that is new to them. Or a product that has big growth forecasts.

Learning the answers to these questions is important before proceeding to the length process of submitting an RFP, and more critically, entering a partnership.

If the business principles do not match up, the OEM may not get the attention they need to make their product successful.

What will the ECM be looking for in a partner – Provide accurate forecasts

No one knows where an original manufacturer plans to go unless they see a well-developed forecast. If they want to make the most of the partnership, they need to inform the contract manufacturer about where they have been and where they plan to go in the future. This provides needed credibility.

The contract manufacturer will need to know what level of risk they are signing up for, while determining what level of resources will be needed to meet the requirements. Will they be able to purchase materials when needed, will they be able to handle the inventory?

What are the expectations regarding inventory

Determining up front what the policies and liability for inventory are between the two companies will minimize the possibility of conflict, and surprises. Understanding inventory issues and supply chain management, and actively making efforts to reduce exposure, is crucial when forecasts do not match up to sales, or a crisis occurs.

How will the ECM handle product changes

With electronics changing at lightning speed, changes are bound to occur fairly regularly. Find out the preferences for handling product changes, and the process they have taken in implementing them in the past with other customers is very important.

Defining the level of involvement expected by each party in the change proposal, analysis, and execution is important for the success of the partnership and the product itself.

Partnering with a company that has a large amount of experience in the multiple phases of a product lifecycle will provide valuable input in the various phases. Therefore, this experience as well as the documentation process should be discussed.

There are many aspects of electronic manufacturing that need to be considered when deciding on a manufacturing partner. These are some of the less obvious, but very important issues to make sure are not forgotten.

Bianna Golodryga Goes Inside the Container Store

As one of the nation’s most visible and highly-respected financial reporters, Bianna Golodryga has done more than a little reporting on the ups and downs of Wall Street-in fact, she even covered the World Economic Forum when it was held in Switzerland. But she’s no stranger to more street-level financial reporting; in fact, for an ABC News series called “Secrets of America’s Favorite Stores,” Bianna Golodryga went behind-the-scenes of some of the most popular retail stores in the country, including The Container Store.

What may seem like a niche business is in fact thriving, reported Bianna Golodryga; the chain is especially successful in selling organizational tools for closets, something that has become something of a trademark for The Container Store. Bianna Golodryga spoke with some of the chain’s leading executives and uncovered some of the secrets of what makes them so prosperous.

One of the most major components, she found, is in the scripted dialogue that store associates use to engage customers. Bianna Golodryga reported that Container Store employees are discouraged from using more traditional lines like “May I help you?”-instead, they try to engage the customer on a deeper level, something that The Container Store executives believe strengthens their sales.

Indeed, Bianna Golodryga discovered that a big part of what sets the company apart is the emphasis they place on employee training. Associates at The Container Store are trained for some 240 hours, compared to the typical 12 of other retail stores.

Bianna Golodryga has filed similar reports retail chains including Costco and The Gap, just one example of what makes her an invaluable and integral member of the ABC News team. After studying theater arts and acting at Houston’s prestigious High School for Performing and Visual Arts-the same school attended by Beyonce– Bianna Golodryga moved into finance when she was in college, and enjoyed a brief career in that field before ultimately moving into television. She began her career in journalism as a producer for the CNBC network, having been inspired by the financial reporting style of Maria Bartiromo.

Her work with that network quickly drew praise from across the industry, and got the attention of ABC News. She was recruited by that network and immediately became a favorite on-air journalist, covering economic and business affairs for a variety of ABC’s news programs. She has co-anchored the weekend edition of Good Morning America ever since Kate Snow left the program in May 2010.

Information About Goodman Air Conditioning

One of the most well known companies in the field of air systems is Goodman air conditioning. Its reputation is a well-deserved one based on its service and the high quality control of its products. In business for many years now, Goodman air conditioning has worked hard to earn its reputation and stands out from the many other companies offering air conditioning systems. The many new companies that have sprung up in recent years can not compare at all to the reputation of Goodman air conditioning. With more experience and technical knowledge, the company has earned the high level of respect it enjoys throughout the industry. When you are looking to own only the best air conditioning systems, this company has the products and services that will ensure that your air conditioning needs are met for many years to come.

There are several reasons that the Goodman air conditioning may be the best company for you to choose when looking for an air conditioning system. The company knows its business inside and out and has spent a great deal of time and money training its service technicians to provide the best service possible. They have been in business longer than just about any other company has and use that experience and knowledge to produce high quality products. Due to their reputation in the industry, you can be sure that you are getting the best quality products and services from Goodman air conditioning.

Goodman air conditioning will install, clean and maintain your air conditioning systems, which is something that not all companies offer. This is just one of the reasons to choose the products of Goodman air conditioning. No one should have to spend as much money on service and repair of their units as it costs to purchase them. If you do your research, you will discover that Goodman air conditioning is one of the oldest and most trusted names in this field.

There is really no need to look anywhere else for high quality products once you compare this company to others. Therefore, if you are looking for a great company with exceptional products, then this is the company for you to check out. You can choose a find air conditioning unit [http://www.knowairconditioner.com/Air_Conditioning_Parts/] and it will be affordable and work like a charm.

Eight Ways Bad Belts Break Engines

When a high-pitched squeal or whine comes from the engine compartment of a car, one very frequent reason is a belt failure or pending failure. Take the car to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible for diagnostics and belt replacement. Broken belts cause damage to many areas of a car and this damage is far more expensive to fix than the cost to replace a worn-down belt.

  1. Engine and accessory belts power many engine parts, including the power steering, air conditioner compressor, alternator, power steering and more. A broken belt, especially on that affects a critical system, often leaves the car dead until repaired.
  1. Think about how long ago the car's timing belt was changed. If it was over 100,000 miles ago, then have a good mechanic inspect the vehicle and decide if belts need to be changed.
  1. They are made over rubber with small teeth that grip the wheels it operates. As the rubber wears down, it begins to slip. The wheel turning it still moves, but the belt slips or does not move at all. This causes the loud squeal.
  1. The engine belt squeal is a warning sound that it is going bad. It still works, but it will deteriorate and fail quickly due to the excess friction and heat generated by the slipping.
  1. Engine belts that become too worn eventually snap, leaving drivers stranded. Quick fixes, like lubricants, are available. However, a temporary solution like conditioner is no substitute for qualified maintenance.
  1. Different vehicles use different belt systems. Some cars have a different one for each system while others have a serpentine type that runs multiple systems. The air conditioner belt is usually a separate one, so squeals might only be heard when the AC is engaged.
  1. When mechanics replace or tighten engine belts, they should care for every one in the car. Condition and wear are not the only causes of their problems. Often it may just be a matter of tightening them. Mechanics may change every one except the timing belt during a regular tune-up.
  1. During a tune-up, many items including engine belts and spark plugs are changed. Drivers who notice engine squeals should check the time since their last tune-up. It may be time for another one.

Knowing this, you will now know more ways to prevent a all types of them breaking and potentially breaking your engine. You will also know some warning signs a belt going bad.

Casually Elegant Rehearsal Dinners at the Beach

One of the best places you can choose to have your rehearsal dinner is a beach. You and your guests will enjoy the relaxed environment as you have your final pre-wedding party. A party at the beach can be quite informal, but for something as special as your rehearsal dinner, aim for a casual elegance.

Having a casually elegant rehearsal dinner at the beach means that you keep things low key, and yet stylish. You can select food and décor that suit the oceanside location, which will add to the ambiance of your party. Starting with the food, any time that you are by the water, seafood is a good choice. Clam bakes are popular in certain parts of the country, as are crab feasts, and lobster or shrimp boils. Forgo the hotdog on a paper plate type of cuisine in favor of something a bit more refined, both in terms of the food and the presentation.

When you are having your rehearsal dinner at the beach, Mother Nature will provide almost all the decorations that you will need. You can add to the natural splendor by choosing decorations that fit the location. Seashells are a terrific element for your décor. One really fabulous idea is to create paths of mixed shells lining a walkway. Intersperse pillar candles in hurricane lanterns amongst the shells to add some atmosphere (and to light the path once night falls).

The table decorations for a rehearsal dinner can be kept fairly easy – there is no need for anything as elaborate or expensive as you would choose for the wedding itself. Again, seashells and candles are ideal. Nestle a few chunky pillar candles or one hurricane lantern into the center of a pile of shells on each table for a simple but elegant centerpiece. Faux coral is another nice decorative element to include, and it is fairly easy to make it yourself if you are a crafter.

The bride-to-be and her groom will want to wear outfits for the rehearsal dinner that fit in with the casually elegant flavor of the party. For the bride, this can mean a pretty strapless dress in a summery color with a flower in her hair. A piece of informal wedding jewelry, such as a monogrammed shell pendant is a great finishing touch. (This is also a great idea for a bridesmaid jewelry gift to give your attendants before the wedding.)

The groom should select an outfit that, above all, complements what the bride will be wearing. He should look pulled together, yet comfortable on a beach. Try a nice button down shirt with a great patterned tie, such as those made by Vineyard Vines or Lilly Pulitzer. Khaki trousers or possibly a very crisp pair of khaki shorts will look good as part of the groom's outfit. Really, the only shoe to wear is a pair of Topsiders. No sandals on the groom, please (men's feet – ugh!), But a dressy pair of sandals is perfect for the bride.

Most rehearsal dinners do not have dancing, but feel free to bring along some great background music with a beachy vibe. Choose something more upscale than the Beach Boys or reggae, like a really great Calypso. Finish your casually elegant rehearsal dinner with a tasty dessert like individual key lime tartlets, and then it is off to bed in anticipation of the big day!

Finding the Right Job For You

How would you define a "right" job? A right job is something that you

– Enjoy doing

– Are good at

– Can make a decent (or perhaps even extraordinary) living with.

Please examine your current job – does it satisfy all the three criteria? If yes, you are really lucky;) Look closer though. Do you think there is possibility that there is some other job which may be even more right for you? (I am talking about another workplace – I am taking about another job). If you feel like there could not be a better job for you than your current one, then congratulations! You can now check out some other article since this one obviously is not for you. 🙂

If you are still with me, then you probably would like to find out how to identify what it is that you can do which you enjoy, you are good at and makes you money. Here's how.

The Aptitude Test:

First of all, make a list of things you REALLY love to do. These are the things you would do without anyone forcing you to do it, and then really enjoy it as well. List them all one by one, however fleeting an interest it may be, even if you do not consider yourself very good at it. Writing, speaking, swimming, gardening, dancing, helping others, teaching, music, programming, cooking, blogging, video games, astrology – anything at all. Write down at least 10 things you really like to do.

The Talent Test:

Now make a new list of all things you are good at – it may be excellent at, very good at, good at or just above average at. They do not have to be things you actually like (although you can of course write things you do like) – they just have to be something you can do. Cooking, cycling, dancing, singing, writing, acting, puzzles, blogging, bungee jumping – anything at all. List at least 10 things.

The Inventory Test:

This time you want to focus on what you already do – whether or not you like doing it. This list must be divided into two columns, one titled "activities" and the next titled "skills". For the first column, you need write down the Activities that you already perform or have performed with some success in the past. If you are a want to-be rock chick who is currently waitressing, then waitressing goes into this list. And anything else as well that you do at least as a hobby or part-time work, like baby-sitting, programming, writing, cooking, dancing etc. Leave the second column, titled "skills", empty for now.

The Reality Test:

Now you want to find out what are the "right" jobs for you. First of all, take the list you obtained after the aptitude test and the list that you obtained after the talent test.

Look closely through them – do you see any items that are in common in both lists? If yes, make a third list with two columns. In the first column, write down these intersecting items. These are the things that you love to do and are good at. But can you make a living with them? Let us find out.

Now in the second column, against each item, write down the skills you would need for it. Write down ALL the skills. Like for instance, do not just write "technical knowledge" if the item is "programming," write the other related skills as well – communication skills, good pressure tolerance, documentation skills, strong reasoning and logical ability etc. Likewise, you can find a set of related skills for each item in this list.

Once this is done, you can leave this list alone for now, and take up the list you got after your Inventory Test. In the second column "skills", write down the skills you have already acquired from your current job and past jobs. This time also, write down all the related skillset you might have subconsciously picked up while at your job – perhaps your waitressing job gave you a good temper control, for instance?

The Analysis:

Now that you know the skills you have, and the skills you need for each possible job, figure out which job is right for you. Even if a job may seem too unrealistic, do not give up yet. How many of the requisite skills do you already have? How can you learn the skills you do not have? Would you need to educate yourself with something? Do you know anyone in that career who can give you an opening at least as a temp? Are you in a position in life where you can take this up full-time immediately, or would you have to take it up part-time and see where it goes, before you quit your day job? What are the opportunities around you – like local Toastmasters club if you want to develop public speaking skills – which you could use to your advantage? What is the risk involved? How great do you feel when you visualize having this job? What are the pros and cons?

The Verdict:

Do this analysis for each potential job, and find out which one seems the most practical job for you. Once you have narrowed down this list to 2 or 3 jobs, think of ways in which this could be profitable. Really educate yourself on its marketability and your shot at it. Is there no demand for it? Is there too much competition? Ask yourself, "What is that Unique value that I can bring into this job if I go for it?"

When you have this list, you can start preparing to actually have it! Educate yourself, take it up part-time, learn new skills, keep an eye open for opportunities – and very soon you will find yourself working at your dream job! Good Luck!

How to File a Copyright

To file a copyright, follow these simple steps:

1. Gather detailed contact information on all contributors to the work of authorship (Citizenship, Residence, Year of Birth). Be sure to include all persons related to the copyright- writers, inventors, copy writers, marketing persons, and anyone else related to the project.

2. Find a patent attorney. A simple online search can accomplish this.

NOTE: Be sure to interview 5-10 attorneys and get a feel for the one who fits your personality. You will be spending a lot of time together, so it’s very important you get along well.

3. Schedule a meeting with him/her (or teleconference).

4. Provide three copies of your work with a Copyright notice such as “© Year, Name or Business name. All rights reserved.”

5. Provide the year the work of authorship was created.

6. Provide the date of First Publication/Sold/Offered for Sale: MM/DD/YYYY & Country of publication.

7. Determine who the owner of the work is and whether all authors, one author, or an entity is to be the owner or assignees. The entity or single author options may require an assignment agreement. Provide the full legal name and contact information of any assignees.

Agenda for meeting with your intellectual property attorney:

1. Provide an overview of your work of authorship and the names of any contributors to the work of authorship.

2. Review the work of authorship.

3. Review any assignment issues.

4. Assign tasks and dates of completion.

5. Decide whether you are proceeding with an engagement agreement with your patent attorney.

Choosing the Right Business Name

Sometimes, new entrepreneurs are in such a rush to get started at their businesses that they jump right into working with customers without giving much thought to their BUSINESS NAME. "I'll just do business under my own name for a while, until I find something I like." While it seems easy at the time, you might want to re-think the plan to change business names down the road. You will find that, as your professional recognition and customer base grow, people have started to IDENTIFY you with the name of your company. A name change in mid-stream can be costly and confusing.

First, you will lose ground in the marketing arena – it takes time and effort to build up BRAND RECOGNITION, and that time is lost when you change names. You may also lose customers to the competition – what are they to think when they go looking for "Joe's Mobile Car Wash" in the yellow pages and you've changed your name to "Fast and Easy Auto Detailing?" They might think that you've gone out of business and it's time to find someone else to clean their cards. And finally, changing names can cause you increased PAPERWORK and EXPENSE – changing your bank accounts, credit cards, marketing materials, incorporation documents, DBA registration, etc. So why not get it right the first time? Here are some suggestions for choosing a business name that will serve you well for years to come.


When people hear the name of your company, will they be able to REMEMBER it 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 3 hours, or a week later? When they decide to hunt you up on the web or in the phone book, will they be able to easily recall your business name? It does not matter if you are choosing a fictitious business name or using your own – the same rules apply. Your name should be UNIQUE enough that it will stick in a potential customer's mind – "Smith's Gym" is not going to be nearly as easy to remember as "Work That Body."

You also want to stay away from names that are likely to be CONFUSED with another company. You may think it's a cute idea to come up with a name that closely resembles (without exactly copying) another company's name. But calling your personal coaching company "Joys-R-Us" is confusing, unoriginal, and likely to bring about a lawsuit! And beware of phrases or ACRONYMS that are overused in your profession. You would not believe how many Professional Organizers use some combination of words that spell out SOS (usually "Someone's Organizing Solutions"). Your company will stand out more if your name is truly unique.


However, the next question is "when they do recall it, is it easy enough to spell that they can immediately find your listing?" You want to stay away from challenging spellings and pronunciations. Calling your restaurant "Phine Phoods" is just asking for trouble – how is your customer going to know to look under "p" instead of "f" in the phone book? And if your last name is Piccalopoupoulis, you may be better off creating a fictitious business name. A good rule of thumb to follow is to pay attention to what happens when you tell other people your name – if you are always having to SPELL or PRONOUNCE it slowly, it will be hard for people remember and find later on.

This is particularly important if you are planning to turn your business name into a DOMAIN name. Websites with long or hard-to-spell names get overlooked during standard searches. And try to avoid having to include a hyphen or underscore in your name to make it appropriate for the web. Short, snappy, easy-to-remember names work best in the translation from brick-and-mortar to internet.


Will customers learn something specific, unique, or descriptive about your business, just from hearing the name? Will they get a feel for WHAT you provide or HOW you provide it? Many individual service providers try to sound like high-end firms by using some derivative of their first and last name for their company identity – "Joanna Carrol and Associates," or "JC Consulting," or "Carroll and Company." But what does that really tell a potential customer about your company? I do not know if you are an insurance agent or an attorney or a professional organizer. Include something in your name that describes your product or service – "JC Graphic Design" – so customers are not left WONDERING what type of business you have.

You can also include some information about those special CHARACTERISTICS that make your business DIFFERENT from the competition. Okay – so you've told me that you are a printer. Why should I hire you instead of the printer down the street? You might be faster, cheaper, provide better quality, have more experience, offer a higher-end product, or provide more services than the other guy. If it's appropriate and pertinent, include one or two of those traits – "JC Full-Service Graphic Design" – in your name.


If you are joining an industry that allows for "branching out," be careful about giving your company a name that traps you in a very small service area. For example, a company that starts out putting in tile floors – but has plans to expand into vinyl, hardwood, and carpeting down the road – would not want a name like "TileMasters." Something more along the lines of "FloorMasters" will give the company the FLEXIBILITY they need to grow and change later on.

And if you have intentions of ever expanding your service area, you need to be careful about a GEOGRAPHICALLY limiting business name. "Hair Over Atlanta" is not going to work as well when you open locations in Seattle and Los Angeles and New York. Be sure to check the US Patent And Trademark Office's online database to make sure your name is available for national use before you start printing it on your cards.

You also have to stop and think about whether naming your company after yourself – "Bob's Bar and Grill" – will limit you in a different way. If you have ever read "The E-Myth" by Michael Gerber, you know that having customers identify your business as an EXTENSION of you brings about its own special pitfalls. You become indispensable to the company – people get used to seeing Bob behind the counter every night and that's what makes it "Bob's" – the business can not run without you. And if you ever decide that you want to take a break, let someone else run the place on your behalf, or sell the company, you will run into a roadblock. Quite often, what seems like a great way to PERSONALIZE your business ends up turning it into a stone around your neck.

This business is your baby, your investment in the future, and you will have it with you (hopefully) for a long time. Do not short-change your business by skipping out on one of the most important steps you will take during start-up – selecting just the right name.