Penis Enlargement Devices – Can You Make Your Penis Bigger by Using a Machine or Contraption?

The penis enlargement market has now become a billion-dollar industry and a testament to this fact is the amount of devices and gadgets that are for sale. You will often see adverts for contraptions such as stretchers, jelqing machines, pumps and extenders. However do any of these penis enlargement devices actually work?

Penis enlargement stretchers and extenders work on the same principle. You are expected to strap one of these penis enlargement devices to your manhood for many hours a day. The intention is to help stretch the internal ligaments of the penis, thus making it longer. Although there is some truth to what these gadgets can help you achieve, there is also a far more sinister side. A stretcher or extender will help to lengthen the suspensory and fundiform ligaments which will make your penis longer however they will do little for the thickness of your manhood. Unfortunately the longer your penis becomes by using one of these devices, the thinner it gets. This can make your penis extremely unstable and may even cause pain during intercourse.

One of the many penis enlargement devices that I have seen in recent years is a jelqing machine. In case you are unaware, jelqing is an ancient form of penis enlargement exercise. The actual exercise has been scientifically proven to work and will indeed make your penis bigger. The required action will allow you to fill the penis with vast amounts of blood helping to pump it up to a larger size and will also help to stretch the ligaments. However the men who used this exercise many centuries ago never used any form of machinery or contraption. I feel that using the machine to complete this exercise has many disadvantages and may even cause injury.

Another penis enlargement device that appears to be proving popular is a penis pump. Penis pumps were initially invented to help men overcome erectile dysfunction. The pumping action allows large quantities of blood into the penis and will help to nourish the internal tissues. Over time this should actually help these tissues to grow in size and will eventually make your penis bigger. However as a pump was never intended for penis enlargement, this again can cause you many problems. By over using a pump many men have suffered from injuries such as burst blood vessels or nerve damage.

As you can see all of these penis enlargement devices require that certain parts of your manhood are either stretched or engorged with blood. A far easier and safer way to achieve this is through the use of penis exercises, such as jelqing. As I have mentioned, there is scientific proof that these exercises work, you will not have to part with hundreds of dollars (as you will with many of the aforementioned gadgets) and as long as you are able to follow instructions you will never have to worry about an injury.

3 Body Types – Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph

Ever wondered why some people can eat absolutely anything and never put on weight while certain others can get fat just by the smell of chocolates and cookies. Well the answer to this lies in the body type of each individual.

Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph are the three body types and these are largely responsible for the way your body stores and burns fat. If you want to know more about your body type, read on.

Get to know your Type

Most fitness trainers and bodybuilding centers use the general body type classification to assess individual needs and fitness goals. Your body type is based on your bone structure and body frame. Therefore, each type reacts differently to exercise and nutrition. To get the maximum benefits out of your exercise routine and your diet, you need to know your body type.

Ectomorph – The Skinny Guys

Do you feel like a skinny bag of bones and your chest is as flat as the floor you walk on? If the answer to this is yes, you belong to the Ectomorph Body type.

The Ectomorphs are lean, thin and skinny with small bones, slender joints and muscles. They have a fragile, delicate and linear physique. Ectomorphs are not naturally powerful and need to work really hard to build muscles and gain strength. They have a superfast metabolism of which they can eat all day yet never gain weight.

Basic Ectomorphic Features

* Delicate & Fragile Build * Flat Chest * Lean Physique * Lightly Muscled * Thin and Skinny * Takes long to Build Muscles * Does not gain weight easily

Ectomorphs should concentrate on building lean muscle mass (this applies to women too) through weight training and cardio exercises. Because Ectomorphs do not have much strength, they should only perform moderate exercises and take rest between sets. The best workouts for such body types are walking on the treadmill, boxing, power lifting workouts, crunches and cycling.

Ectomorphs should consume between 3000 to 3500 calories per day if they want to gain some weight and build muscle. You should eat 5-6 times a day and include more carbohydrates and protein-rich foods such as green vegetables, whole grain bread, legumes, dairy products, chicken, and red meat in their diet.

The Endomorph – Short & Curvy

Unlike the Ectomorphs, Endomorphs find it difficult to lose weight and are often overweight. They are characterized by a round face, big bones, large trunk and thighs. Endomorphs find it difficult to burn calories because of slower metabolism and generally have a high degree of fat around their midsection.

If this describes you, don’t be disappointed since Endomorphic body types have their own advantages; Endomorphs are naturally muscular and gain maximum benefit out of muscle building programs.

Basic Endomorph Features

* Bulky and round body * Can put on fat easily, especially around the midsection * Generally short and stocky * Slow metabolism * Builds muscles quickly * Mostly overweight and obese

You should eat small meals frequently in order to regulate your metabolism. Follow proper nutrition and never starve yourself in an attempt to lose weight. People with this body type should restrict their intake of carbohydrates and consume more protein-rich foods. Proteins help in maintaining lean muscles and keep you satiated for longer hours.

Endomorphs benefit from cardiovascular workouts and weight training and, as a result, can build muscle quickly. The ideal exercise routine for Endomorphs would include cardio exercises and weight training. Other exercises such as Pilates, Yoga and Aerobics can also be of immense help.

If you are an Endomorph, we would recommend the ‘Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle program’ by Tom Venuto and ‘How to Get Ripped Abs’ by John Alvino. These programs will teach you the techniques to burn fat while maintaining lean muscles in the most effective manner.

The Mesomorph – Athletic Body

These are the people who are truly blessed with the best body type – well defined muscles, large bones and a perfect physique. If you are a Mesomorph, you will have a well developed chest, broad shoulders, slimmer waistline, firm abdomen and toned thighs.

What else would one ask for? However, there is a downside: Mesomorphs have poor flexibility and need to indulge more in flexibility training.

Basic Mesomorphic Features

* Athletic built * Full of energy and capable of a lot of physical activity * Females have an hour-glass figure while men are rectangular shaped * Muscular and toned body * Excellent physique * Gains muscle easily with proper training

Mesomorphs should consume a diet rich in proteins and slow-absorbing carbohydrates such as vegetables, brown rice, sea-food, eggs, legumes and olive oil. Their exercise routine should ideally be a combination of circuit training, high-intensity cardio, moderate weight training, core and strength training. ‘Burn the Fat, feed the Muscle’ program by Tom Venuto would help you learn the right way to train for your body type.

While most people can be classified into the above mentioned body types, certain people can have a build that is a combination of the above types. Whatever the case may be, it is important to balance proper diet and workouts specific to your type, so you remain healthy, active and full of energy!

A Good Swing Starts with a Strong Base of Support

A good golf swing starts with a strong base of support (hips, pelvis and lumbar spine). A highly conditioned base of support will provide stability throughout the swing and allow forces to be effectively transferred from the legs through the hips to the upper body to produce optimal power and control. A strong base helps protect the joints and other supporting tissues against the strong compression, shear and torsion forces that occur during the golf swing. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that predispose the golfer to developing poor postural patterns and muscle imbalance that result in a weak base of support.

For much of our young lives we were stuck sitting in school hunched over our desk. We finish school and begin our careers. Many of us now find ourselves spending excessive time in our cars or sitting in poorly designed chairs hunched in front of a computer. Over time we are conditioned to have tight hip flexors and a lazy posture. Poor posture and muscle imbalance decrease musculoskeletal efficiency and disrupt communication within the neuromuscular system. Short tight muscles display a lower activation threshold, meaning they fire at times when they should be less active or inactive. Over activation of dominant muscles leads to decreased neural control to their opposing muscles. Simply stated, “when one muscle becomes tight and overactive its opposing muscle becomes loose and lazy.” Tight dominant hip flexors create weak and lazy hip extensors (gluteals)and set off a chain reaction of dysfunction.

Tight hip flexors pull the pelvis into a forward tilt leading to an excess curvature of the lumbar spine. As a result the muscles of the abdominal wall lengthen and weaken while the muscles of the lumbar spine get short and tight. This pattern also causes disruption in our body’s lateral stabilization system. The hip abductors (muscles that move the legs away from the center of the body) along with their opposing adductors (muscles that move the legs toward the center of the body) work to stabilize the pelvis during lateral movement. Inefficiency in this lateral stabilization system inhibits coordination and hinders proper weight shift through the golf swing. So what we are left with are weak hip extensors (gluteal muscles) that can’t drive the hips through the swing, dominant hip flexors that won’t allow the hips to open to allow a full turn, tight spinal flexors that are forced to do the work of the weak hip extensors, but are to tight to make a full rotation, and a lack of coordination needed to make consistently good ball contact. To make matters worse most golfers spending hours at the driving range reinforcing and strengthening this dysfunctional pattern. Is it any wonder the average golf score hasn’t dropped in decades?

To break this pattern of dysfunction and build a strong base of support we must first establish coordinated muscle firing among the deep stabilizing abdominal musculature, the hip flexors and extensors, hip abductors and adductors, and spinal flexors, extensors and rotators. This is accomplished through the activation and strengthening of weak and inhibited muscles, and stretching the tight and dominant muscles. Once these muscles are re-educated and coordinated muscle firing is established we can then work to build optimal strength and power.

The first step in this process is the development of the deep abdominal and pelvic musculature. This is done by mastering the abdominal brace. The abdominal brace differs from the traditional abdominal training that encourages “abdominal hollowing” a.k.a. the “draw in” maneuver. With the “draw in” maneuver we are told to pull or draw our belly buttons towards our spines. Research has shown that drawing in actually lessens abdominal activation and decreases lumbar – pelvic- hip stability. The abdominal brace is an isometric contraction of the abdominal muscles meaning the abs are neither pulled in nor pushed out. This maneuver should be the first step of every exercise as it is the foundation of lumbar, pelvic, and hip stabilization. The following exercise will allow you to master this movement and re-educate the lower abdominal wall and allow the deep pelvic stabilizers to fire efficiently.

Abdominal Brace

o Lay in a supine position (on your back) with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

o Brace your abdominals by tightening abdominals as if you were going to take a punch in the gut.

o Return to a relaxed position and repeat.


o Control Movement is the key. While performing these exercises pay strict attention to NOT allow the use of the legs (hip flexors and /or gluteals) while contracting the abdominals. The only muscles contracting are the abdominal wall; place your hands on the belly button to feel this isolated contraction

o There should be no tension in your neck or shoulders.

Don’t limit the abdominal brace to exercise. Practicing the brace with all activity (sitting, walking, driving, golfing, etc) will help you develop the endurance your abdominals need to maintain a strong base of support as well as a healthy back.

A study presented by researchers at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 51st annual meeting showed that golfers who possess strong hip muscles have lower handicaps and longer driving distances than those with weak hip muscles. This makes sense since muscles of the hip and pelvis play a major role in stabilizing the trunk and transferring forces from the lower body through the upper body and arms during the golf swing. The ability of the hip extensors (gluteals and hamstrings) and lumbar extensors to fire in concert also allows the body to react to and counteract the rapid rotational forces of the golf swing. The problem here, as we have already discussed, is many golfers have inhibited hip extensors and tight and dominant lumbar flexors. Under the best of circumstances our spines were not designed to swing a golf club. Now we compound the issue repeatedly forcing our spinal muscles to do the job of our hip extensors to power through the swing. Spinal extensor muscles don’t have the size or strength to do this, hence the tremendous incidence of over use injury and lower back pain among golfers. So, what we need to do is quite down our lumbar extensors to allow the hip extensors to do their job.

The Bird Dog exercise progression effectively helps develop stabilization, coordination and strength of the spine. The key to this type of exercise is learning and then maintaining “neutral” spine. Neutral does not mean straight, it means allowing the natural curves to be present. This is imperative to allow the spine to function properly and movement to occur in a stress free manner. The golf club placed the length of the spine is an excellent cue that allows the golfer to feel the proper spinal positions and make necessary corrections. The club shaft should be in contact with only three points; the base of the head, the center of the back and the middle of the pelvis. Concave spaces should be seen at the neck and lower back.

Dog 1

o Position yourelf on your hands and knees with a golf club placed along your spine; make sure the rod contacts 3 points only (head-middle back-pelvis).

o Brace your abdominals and slowly raise one hand and the opposite knee just off the floor ( no more than 1/4 inch). Hold for five to ten seconds.

o Return to the start position and alternate sides.


o The club must remain in contact with all 3 contact points (head, mid back, pelvis).

Once you have mastered the Dog 1 then you can move to the next progression. Dog 2 adds the components of hip extension and shoulder flexion. This exercise is extremely effective in re-establishing efficiency in extensor chain (hip, lumbar, and cervical extensors).

Dog II

o Position yourelf on your hands and knees with a golf club placed along your spine; make sure the rod contacts 3 points only (head-middle back-pelvis).

o Brace your abdominals, slowly extend one arm (thumb up) straight out in front of you and the opposite leg behind you.

o Hold for five to ten seconds and repeat with opposite side.


o The club must remain in contact with all 3 contact points (head, mid back, pelvis).

o Do not allow your hips to rotate.

The key with Dog 2 is not to allow the lumbar extensors to fire during this movement. After mastering Dog 2 you can then further challenge the hip extensors by adding the bridge exercise. The bridge adds the resistance of body weight to the hip extension movement and further challenges (and strengthens) the deep stabilizers or the lumbar-pelvic-hip complex.

The Bridge

o Lay on your back with your arms placed at your side.

o Brace your abdominals and squeeze your gluteals (buttocks) then raise your hips into a bridge position. Pause and return to starting position.


o Your feet should remain flat.

o This movement is initiated with the hips not the spinal extensor muscle; no pressure should be felt in the lower back.

o Maintain abdominal and gluteals muscles contraction throughout the full movement.

It is important to implement a good stretching program to lengthen tight muscles as you strengthen your base of support. Aside from the already mentioned hip flexors and lumbar extensors other areas commonly tight among golfers include the muscles of the hamstrings, neck, scapular elevators (upper trapezius and levator scapulae) and shoulder internal rotators. A qualified strength and conditioning or golf fitness professional can provide you with a postural and biomechanical analysis that can provide a more detailed picture of your specific areas of need. Improving your base of support will add distance and control to your game and help prevent, reduce, and possibly eliminate golf related pain and injury.

Which Hammock is Better – Cotton Or Polyester?

As you are probably aware by now, there are many choices out there when it comes to purchasing a hammock. In fact, many people don’t realize how many different fibers, styles, etc. there are. When it comes to a rope hammock you have two fibers to choose from – one is polyester and the other is cotton. There are some other blends available, but cotton and polyester are the two most popular, and the most commonly found. It’s hard to make the proper choice because each has its own advantages, and disadvantages. Here are a few considerations that may help.

Where are you going to locate your Hammock, indoors or outdoors?

Cotton hammocks generally should NOT be exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time. It can cause them to fade and lose their color. You can use them outdoors in a shady place though if you’d like. On the other hand, polyester hammocks are resistant to the sun, but over time even the polyester ones may fade a little if they are placed in direct sun light. Polyester is known to be able to stand much more sun, and for much longer periods of time compared to cotton. So if you’re planning on keeping your hammock outside most of the time, polyester would be the way to go when it comes to durability. If you want to use your hammock indoors, cotton is the way to go.

Which is more resistant to rain?

Well, as I said above, if you’re hanging your hammock inside, this question doesn’t really matter. But if you are using it outside, cotton is prone to rot, mold and mildew caused from moisture or rain. There are products that say they can “waterproof” cotton, but I haven’t found that to be true. Polyester is resistant to moisture and rain damage so polyester will win when it comes to resistance to water.

Cost of polyester and cotton rope hammocks?

This really depends on where you purchase your hammock. There are high-end polyester hammocks that are more expensive than low quality cotton hammocks, but there are also high quality cotton hammocks that are more expensive than polyester hammocks! Of course, the choice is yours and this will depend on the brand of the rope hammock you choose.

Overall, the polyester hammock definitely wins when it comes to outdoor use and the cotton hammock is great for indoor use. Polyester is durable and will not rot, mold or mildew, where the cotton ones definitely will. Cotton is less durable, but much more comfortable. There remains one real question: do you want a rope hammock that you will not have to replace for many years (polyester), or a hammock that is comfortable, but that you will have to take special care of (cotton)?

Examining The Effect Of Superstition In Life

No matter how sophisticated our society becomes, superstitions persist in having an impact on success or failure. There seems to be part of the human mind that thrives on creating little anchors of “magic” that lift us up or bring us down independent of rationality. Though the clearly logical part of our thinking can easily dismiss the practice or belief in superstitious activity as silly quirks, our less rational creative mind goes to work incorporating whatever we feed it to gain or lose an edge in using faculties consistently engaged in solving problems.

Uncontrolled belief in superstitions can have a negative impact on how people conduct their lives. When applied in extremes, such thoughts can become destructive to the point of debilitation. Superstition can be passed down through generations or created on a purely individual level. Some of the older forms of superstition like walking under a ladder, stepping on cracks in pavement, spilling salt, breaking mirrors or other “bad omens” are examples of misguided beliefs that have long been a part of lore. There are also a host of traditional counter measures and lucky charms reported to counteract bad luck and turn it into good.

Some people prefer to practice more subtle forms of superstitious behaviors. Many professional athletes use a particular article of clothing to set their minds on creating a winning edge in competition. Similarly, average people use articles of clothing like a “lucky tie” or “lucky shirt” they wear whenever going out for a job interview or participating in some other event like gambling. Other people rely on astrology or other forms of irrational mental exercises to test for the right time to make a particular decision or perform certain actions.

Superstitious beliefs are tied to the supernatural or unpredictable side of events that are in the scope of things otherwise beyond our control. The difference between rational observation and superstitious practices is substantial. With rational observation, we can assess behaviors and methods that either work consistently or not. When the results are inconsistent, we can eliminate those influences that had no impact on outcome. On the other hand, superstition works completely on irrational belief systems where one successful mental correlation counteracts many unsuccessful results. If our mental “magic” seems to work once, we focus on attempting to recreate the success by trying to reproduce the same magic repeatedly.

There are few people in the world who approach life in a completely rational fashion. Each person carries around their own little bag of tricks that seems to serve them well over time. In general, everyone should use whatever positive edge they can find to enable their success, even if the methods are seemingly little more than smoke and mirrors. However, when these little bits of magic fail to help us achieve what we set out to do, it is essential for us to examine our approach as rationally as possible to change the things that may be contributing to our failures. One consistent fact about life is that things are constantly changing. If a current situation is unsatisfactory, this too will change when we take the right approach. Sometimes positive change is difficult to achieve, but it is certain that success will not be due to anything other than performing the right actions at the right time. Whatever we do in preparation for that appropriate timing should be practiced with a clear eye for cause and effect. Though our spiritual practices can provide us with comfort during difficult times and provide inspiration, it is how we interact with others and apply our inspirations which will carry us forward to beneficial results.

Symi Weddings – Getting Married on a Greek Island

Symi is a small Greek island in the Dodecanese chain, and is often called ‘the jewel of the Dodecanese’ thanks to its neoclassical architecture and stunning scenery. What better place to get married? As a Symi photographer, I have photographed many weddings on the island, both Greek and non-Greek. You may be surprised to know that you can get married in Greece even if you are not Greek.

Ok, so unless you are Orthodox you won’t be able to marry in church, but through wedding planners on the island, you can have a civil ceremony followed by your own private function in one of the island’s dreamy locations.

A wedding I attended recently ran thus: the organiser had seen to the legal arrangements for the couple long before they arrived on Symi. There is a certain amount of paperwork to be sorted out and it’s probably best to have someone on the island do it for you. (This goes for any Greek island or any place that is foreign to you.) On the day itself the couple, who were from Great Britain, started the day in separate houses, as is traditional. The groom and his men prepared themselves in Yialos, the harbour area, and the bride and her party prepared up in the Horio, the higher village. At a set point in the afternoon the bride left the house and walked down the 360 or so steps to the harbour, no mean feet in a beautiful flowing white gown. Sensibly she and her bridesmaids wore flat shoes and carried their wedding shoes to put on when on firmer ground.

The couple met on the harbour bridge, again as is traditional on this island, and were led to the town hall by musicians. Onlookers in the cafes stood and applauded as the full party walked to the Mayor’s office for the legal ceremony. In cases such as these the civil wedding is a short affair and a translator translates for any couples who don’t speak Greek.

Following this the party walked back to the quayside and boarded a specially decorated boat, a caique, a traditional sponge diving boat. This took them all to the small island of Agia Marina with its small, white chapel and courtyard. Here they exchanged their own personal vows before their families and guests, speeches were made and champagne was passed around.

Later, the boat took them on a short sunset cruise before bringing everyone back to the harbour. The reception was held at an old fashioned taverna overlooking the harbour with its twinkling lights, and the boats coming in and out.

Sound perfect to you? It was for them, and also for photographers who don’t have to worry about scenery and finding the best place to take those all important wedding photographs. Perfect memories are made from a Symi wedding, and it is not as hard to arrange as you might think.

Tips on Managing Bottlenecks and Constraints

Are you struggling with getting things done, but nothing you or your company does seems to increase your overall level of output? The problem may be caused by constraints in your workflow, or even limitations in your thinking processes.

This article explores ways to identify and manage constraints in manufacturing, projects, and other business and personal situations. To optimize results, start by avoiding a false sense of productivity in your organization. It doesn’t matter how much each individual department or work group produces (which are called “local efficiencies”); it’s what your entire organization puts out that counts.

Where’s the Bottleneck? Introducing the Theory of Constraints

Dr. Eli Goldratt introduced the Theory of Constraints (TOC) more than 20 years ago to provide a powerful new way of thinking about ineffective workflow and accounting practices in manufacturing firms. TOC applications have since expanded into project management, software development, marketing, problem solving, interpersonal communications, and more.

In its simplest mode, TOC entails a set of principles for identifying and managing (or ideally, eliminating) limitations and bottlenecks in any business situation. Handling them effectively can vastly increase your potential for success.

Examples of bottlenecks in manufacturing include processes or pieces of equipment that can’t produce more than a certain level of output because of their own volume or speed limitations.

Superhuman effort can’t shovel work through the system any faster than the constraints will allow, unless people bypass, work around, or ease each bottleneck’s limitations. For example:

— On the factory floor, a constraint in an assembly process appears wherever piles of material accumulate problematically at any workstation. If that station cannot process the material quickly enough to keep pace with the incoming work, it acts as the “pacing factor” for the entire workflow up to that point. The traditional expeditor’s job is usually to bypass the problem by rushing hot work orders around out of sequence. Soon, everything becomes “high priority”!

— In a food preparation facility, constraints might include the oven capacity or the processing equipment. If one limitation is the oven size, for example, no matter how fast the choppers chop or the sauce makers stir, nothing will allow more than a certain number of lasagna dishes to be cooked at one time. And hiring more people to make sauces or noodles will only add to the backlog if the oven capacity doesn’t increase accordingly!

Until someone identifies and resolves these constraints, the whole system remains at their mercy. Frantically expediting work around the bottlenecks makes accurate scheduling impossible. It also produces a chaotic and unpredictable stream of output. Realize that these are system problems that management must resolve; they’re usually outside the control of individual workers.

The good news is that you can optimize the workflow to make the constraints the stars of the show. In so doing, you can better schedule — and therefore, predict — the speed and output of the workflow. For example, you could consider whether to:

— Increase the capacity of the bottleneck by replacing or retrofitting the slower equipment with faster, more efficient, or larger-sized models.

— Buy, borrow, or rent similar, low-capacity equipment and use it in tandem with the existing equipment, which will increase the throughput.

— Schedule additional shifts to run the slower, existing equipment, thereby reducing the backlog and keeping pace with the incoming material.

— Modify the product designs, streamline processes, and/or re-sequence the workflow to either remove or better utilize the bottleneck.

Battling Constraints in Projects

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we bite off more than we can chew — or find that a mundane flow of project activities is suddenly backlogged and threatens to derail our ability to complete the project on time.

If your progress reports show too much work to accomplish in the time available, try to determine where the bottlenecks exist in the planned activity sequence. Whether you discover the blockade through simple observation or via sophisticated computer modeling, you can brainstorm a variety of ways to relieve it.

For instance, you could focus all attention on supplying resources to the bottleneck. You could possibly accelerate the flow of work by relieving some performers of their time-consuming tasks. Consider whether some jobs that generalists perform could occur in “assembly line mode,” where specialists step in to handle certain things.

For example, let’s say that highly skilled information designers would normally do a large amount of editing and formatting as part of their roles. Yet they easily become bogged down doing those painstaking tasks.

So you might investigate whether using specialized editors and formatters could remove that burden from the generalists’ shoulders, leaving them to concentrate on the remainder of what they do best. Shifting the workload around in this way could reduce pressure, speed up the work, and potentially save the day for the project!

Constraints in Other Business and Personal Situations

You may have felt the effects of subtle and not-so-subtle constraints that keep you from accomplishing all that is possible in your business and professional life. This is yet another dimension of TOC.

Have you ever wondered whether any drag you’ve been experiencing occurs from insufficient knowledge, smarts, energy, talent, commitment, or resolve? These arenas represent aspects of your potential, but aren’t necessarily what’s holding you back.

Business advisor Rich Schefren posits that our real constraints could be rational, procedural, or self-imposed, such as:

— Linear thinking that prevents us from seeing our organizations as complete systems (rational)

— Bottlenecks in our selling processes that prevent prospective customers from completing purchasing transactions (procedural)

— A fear of making mistakes, even though experimentation is what helps us learn what works and what doesn’t (self-imposed)

In conclusion, identifying and managing business and personal constraints could offer the “silver bullets” your organization needs to excel. In so doing, you can stop swimming upstream, break through previous barriers, and enjoy increasing success.

3 Tips for Financing Your Property Tax

The increase in property taxes across the nation is only one symptom of the ongoing financial crisis the world has been in since 2008. Many homeowners nationwide have suffered a vicious cycle. They lose their jobs, struggle for a while, and eventually foreclose on their homes. Multiple foreclosures mean that cities and states don’t get the property taxes they need flowing into their coffers, and they experience a budget crisis themselves as a result. These cities and states then increase property taxes on the remaining homeowners, which then puts even more strain on people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

If your’e one of the many suffering under the mounting strain of bills, mortgages, and taxes, you may want to consider your financing options. Rather than paying thousands in penalties and late fees, you may want to finance your taxes to provide a little financial relief to you and your family. Here are three tips for financing.

1. Understand the consequences of not paying your property taxes.

Unpaid taxes lead to a tax lien. A tax lien essentially means that whomever you owe taxes to has a legal claim on your property. In the short term, having a tax lien placed on your property means that you’ll suffer from bad credit and have trouble financing any major new purchases, such as a car. In the long term, a tax lien means that your home can be sold out from under you in order for the city or state to collect on the taxes you owe.

Meanwhile, the longer you wait to pay your taxes, the more the late fees start to build up. By the time you finally pay them off, you may end up paying much more than you originally owed thanks to the penalties and interest fees. By the time you finally pull together the money you need to pay your $10,000 property tax, you may end up owing another $4,000 or more in fees.

2. Find a reputable property tax loan company to help you.

Fortunately, there is a way out of the tax dilemma. There are lending companies who specialize in paying off taxes and related late fees. You’ll still be paying interest on a loan with the tax financing company, but the debt you incur will not mount as quickly as it would have in the hands of the tax assessor.

After the company loans you the money you need to pay off your taxes and late fees, it takes over your tax lien. Since the tax loan company will own your tax lien, make sure you do your homework and check into any complaints about the various tax loan companies you’re considering before choosing to do business with them.

3. Stay current with your loan repayments.

When you get a tax loan company to help you, make sure that you stay current with your loan repayments. Otherwise, because the company owns your lien, you could still lose your home. Don’t treat a property tax loan as the permanent solution to your problems; treat it as a stopgap measure that temporarily solves your tax problem as you get your financial feet under you again.

By following these three tips, you will be well on your way to recovering from your property tax crisis. Working with a reputable tax loan company will save you thousands of dollars as you resolve your financial problems.

Bottomland by Michelle Hoover: A Review

Set in Iowa on a lonely farm, the book opens as two youngest adolescent daughters, Myrle and Esther, vanish in the night. One girl’s bed is perfectly made, the other covered with disheveled blankets. An aura of foreboding and confusion is quickly established. As the mystery of their disappearance unfolds, we learn of the family’s history. German immigrant mother and father meet in New York City in the late 1800’s. Longing for a bit of soil to call theirs, the Hess family settles on an isolated farm in Iowa. As decades unfold, they fight anti-German sentiment stemming from World War I. A year after the end of the war the sound of the family’s German accent continues to brace the town against the perceived enemy.

Nan, the eldest sister, reveals the bleakness of the family’s existence. Her father, brothers and sisters are skin and bones. Feed for the steers is low, the potatoes growing in the garden are almost frozen, smoke from the neighbor’s chimney is barely visible in the whirling snow. Her sisters are gone without a word. A wooden chair lay on its side with a broken leg and a hammer covered with wood chips the only clues as to their whereabouts. Memories of what Nan’s mother would have done grimly floats through her brain. “I should have been wary of the stillness the next morning, but quiet in a house is a thing a woman likes to keep.”

  • Did Myrle and Esther simply lose track of time and stay overnight in town?
  • Had they pried loose the window their father had nailed shut?
  • How could they withstand winter’s elements dressed only in thin cotton dresses?
  • Were the girls taken by the townspeople to punish the family for being German?
  • Did the sisters run away to begin a new life?
  • How could they just vanish on a prairie where one could see for miles?

The struts of the book are poverty, alienation, resilience, and family ties. After the mystery of the disappearance is revealed a sense of foreboding is beautifully rendered. The remainder of the story, told through the various voices of family members, rewards the reader with a full understanding of the family dynamics. The sobering tale reveals itself subtly, but when it does, we are fully aware of the corrosive effects of a family desperately trying to stay intact in the wake of post-war persecution. Sweeping descriptions of the bleak prairie are masterfully written. Highly recommended.

What If the Gold Given by the Magi to the Infant Jesus Were a Liquid, Not a Metal?

Would it make sense if the gold given to the infant Jesus had been the oil of the “Balsam Plant” as it is called in The Bible? Let’s consider the gifts the Three Wise Men, (Magi) or the Three Kings brought to Jesus.

Gold was thought to symbolize the wealth of earthly kings, which befitted Jesus, but the other two gifts were of a much more spiritual nature. Frankincense was used as incense and myrrh was used in the embalming process. They have been thought to symbolize the priestly nature of Jesus (frankincense because of its use as incense) and myrrh, also used together with frankincense for incense as well as for embalming, which has been said to symbolize Jesus death. Some scholars have said that the myrrh also showed that Jesus’ kingship and priesthood would continue after his death. But what if the gold were golden oil; the one used to anoint the kings of Israel?

In 1989 on February 16th Joel Brinkley in The New York Times wrote an article “Balsam Oil of Israelite Kings Found in Cave near Dead Sea.” This oil was found to be at least 2000 years old, and was believed by archaeologists to be the balsam oil of the Bible, which had been used to anoint kings. What is more, this oil had been more expensive than gold in the ancient world and, along with frankincense and myrrh, was one of the most expensive commodities.

Wouldn’t this have been a more appropriate gift for Jesus in more ways than one? All the gifts would have been fit for a king, and been the most expensive money could buy at that time.

Academics had long wondered what balsam oil was and the answer was given after the analysis of the oil that had been well-hidden and sealed in the cave near the Dead Sea. It was the oil from a long extinct ancient persimmon tree, not the Balm of Gilead which had grown around the towns of En Gedi and Jericho. That had been heavily guarded and would also have been very expensive in the ancient world, but as it grew near the area where Jesus was born, it wouldn’t have been the oil given to him by the magi who had “Travelled afar” (in the words of the Christmas carol bearing their name).They would have wanted to give him a rare, expensive thing which came from their lands or at least, not from his land. Even the Balm of Gilead would have been a rich golden colour, though and worthy of a king. It was used for its medicinal properties for healing wounds and stopping the spread of gangrene.

When archaeologists excavated the village of En Gedi where balm of Gilead was produced, they discovered that it had been heavily fortified and on the mosaic floor of the nave of a synagogue they found this warning: – “Whoever reveals the secret of the village to the gentiles, the one whose eyes roam over the entire earth and see what is concealed will uproot the person and his seed from under the sun.” Even this oil would have been more precious than gold and as it had wound healing properties, would have been a more appropriate gift for the infant Jesus perhaps.

So perhaps we should reconsider their old story in the light of new findings. Many times old translations, which is the case of the King James’ version of the Bible, transferred the beliefs and value systems of their times into their translations. For the translator of the Bible where we find this story, gold would have been the most valuable commodity, not golden oil. The translator might not have readily connected the idea of anointing oil for kings, with the text he was translating.

3 Easy Face Painting Design Ideas for Kids and Adults

When you are looking for easy face painting design ideas, you may agree finding free helpful guidelines and photo galleries can help you save time and prepare your favorite design more easily. Whether it is a facial design for kids or adults, this simple guide is going to help you find out more…

The good news is, face paint designs for children or adults are quite similar in step-by-step instructions and patterns. The only difference is the theme idea and style you choose to draw. So by following these simple instructions and easy guidelines, you can make your desired look easily and fast.

There are 3 ways to have your favorite facial design ready:

1. Do It Yourself Easily

This is the first method that may come to your mind, although not the only one. You can get yourself a few paint colors and brushes and start trying it yourself. Depending on how skilled you are and how much experience you may have on drawing on paper, you will find this process or be easy to difficult.

It is of course always easier to draw on someone else’s face, rather than your own. Because with your both eyes open and your both hands free, you can focus much better and have better success in your drawing.

So if it is your own face that you would like to paint on, you can use this second method to feel more comfortable…

2. Have a Friend Helping You with Your Design

So after you have chosen your desired face theme design, you can simply ask one of your friends or family members to help you draw it on your self. You can either ask them to paint the whole face, or if you prefer, you can draw the parts you can on your own, and only have them help you with the more difficult parts – like around the eyes.

If your friend hasn’t tried this before, you can simply share these face painting instructions with them to show them an easy, step-by-step guide to get started.

3. Easy Ready-Made Face Masks

Although the helpful tips above may make it easier, are you still looking for a simpler alternative idea to help make your desired design for you?

Then the good news is, you don’t actually have to draw it all yourself… or even have someone else helping you. There is also the third option of using a ready-made facial mask that you can find simply in a normal costume store, or even online on eBay.

Yes, no more shopping for paint colors, brushes, or getting confused about drawing patterns or instructions. No more going through lots of trial and error efforts, hoping to finally get it right.

Now you can save yourself from tears and sweat by using an easy face painting mask, and wear your favorite design in as fast as 3 minutes. Yes, it can be that easy.

Hope you enjoy your face painting adventure, and wish you the best of luck!

La Tules – Monte Queen of Santa Fe

Born around 1800, Maria Gertrudis Barceló’s childhood years are still being debated among historical scholars but her subsequent marriage to Don Manuel Antonio Sisneros on June 23, 1823, is recorded in the registers at Tomé, a small village about 30 miles south of Albuquerque. Though married to Sisneros, a member of a prominent family, she maintained her maiden name. She preferred the attribution of Doña Barceló. As she gained popularity as a gambler, the locals began calling her “La Tules” a nickname that translates into “the reed,” referring to her diminutive thin frame.

After moving to Santa Fe, she lost two sons in infancy and adopted a daughter in 1826. During this time, La Tules decided to turn her gift for dealing cards and reading men into a career as a courtesan, Monte dealer, madam, and an expert mule trader. She knew exactly how to capitalize on the insatiable gambling habits of the traders who traveled from Missouri on the newly opened Santa Fe Trail. Working in a public gambling hall, she used her charm and beauty to separate the traders from their money. As many as 100 Monte tables operated in Santa Fe during this time, with stakes as high as $50,000. By 1838, town officials realized there was more money gained by granting gambling licenses than collecting fines, and sanctioned the formerly illegal activity.

In a few years, she had enough capital to purchase a “Sala,” or gambling house and saloon, in which she entertained her guests with dances, drinks, lavish dinners, and gambling. Over time, she amassed a fortune as Santa Fe’s most renowned Monte dealer and confidante to some of New Mexico’s most powerful political, military and religious leaders. This menagerie included Manuel Armijo, the Governor of New Mexico, with whom she carried on an illicit affair that eventually led to his downfall.

The sala of La Tules was situated on San Francisco Street at the southeast corner of Palace Avenue and Burro Alley where it extended the width of the entire block. It was a long, low adobe building that eventually sported finely carved furniture from Spain resting on exquisite Turkish carpets. The main bar wound around a gigantic room. Two additional mahogany bars connected to form a quadrangle. Large glistening mirrors adorned the walls behind the bars, but omitted from the gambling casino itself. Elaborate crystal chandeliers with rings of candles provided ample light. As a finishing touch, private card rooms stretched the length of today’s Burro Alley from San Francisco Street to Palace Avenue along the Plaza. The private card rooms were strictly for professional gamblers, important visitors, and the affluent. La Tules staffed the operation with a small army of bartenders, waiters, dealers, and female “hosts.”

There is considerable debate as to her beauty. Some accounts depict her as a stunning beauty with olive skin, radiant dark hair that poured down a slender neck, and sultry black eyes that flashed in the glitter of chandeliers. They described her as charming, beautiful, fashionable, shrewd, witty, and brilliant. One writer described her as: “… sylph-like in movement with a slender figure, finely featured face, smooth and dark of Spanish decent, thin-lined, arched eyebrows, flowing dark hair, thin lips, a beautiful woman, with steady, proud head and the demeanor of a wild cat.” On the other hand others depicted her in less glowing terms describing her garments as “Eve-like and scanty, low-cut chemises and short petticoats,” the negligé style. Another wrote, “When I saw her, she was richly, but tastelessly dressed, her fingers being literally covered with rings, while her neck was adorned with three heavy chains of gold, to the longest of which was attached a massive crucifix of the same precious metal.”

If you looked at the drawing of La Tules that appeared in the April 1854 Harper’s New Monthly Magazine you might side with her detractors. She appears as a dour, cigarette-smoking hag that surely could not warrant a description of an enticing beauty. In thinking it over you could postulate that the image depicted in the magazine was La Tules in her latter years where the wear and tear of the long hours of dealing monte had taken its toll on her looks. In all probability, she was originally a very striking young woman capable of being a superb seductress.

There is definitely no debate that La Tules was unmatched in dealing Monte in her sala. Matt Field met her in 1839 and was amazed at her genius in handling cards. He wrote: “A female was dealing and had you looked in her countenance for any symptom by which to discover how the game stood, you would have turned away unsatisfied; for calm seriousness was alone discernible and the cards fell from her fingers as steadily as though she was handling only a knitting needle.” In her book, Doña Tules, Santa Fe’s Courtesan and Gambler, Mary J. Straw Cook wrote about La Tulles. She wrote that, “She dealt night after night, often until dawn, with ‘skillful precision’ as the cards ‘slipped from her long fingers as steadily as though she were handling only a knitting needle… With feminine bravado, Tules’s deft and beringed fingers swept away piles of gold, the result of perpetual practice, as she won time and time again.”

Matt Field, while in Santa Fe one night, watched while La Tules dealt Monte to a Kentuckian whose declared goal was to break her bank. He later wrote that the drunken man was:

“… swearing that he would make or break before left his seat… and drinking to health of the Spanish lady in the again refilled glass which was at that moment handed to him… When the daylight was peeping through the door cracks, (La Tules) once more swept the table, and the reckless trader was left without a dollar.

The Senora then curtsied and disappeared though a side door with the dignity of an Empress and the same skillfully modeled smile, followed by her attendant with heavy bags of gold and Mexican dollars.”

One of the legendary tales associated with the gambling queen revolved around those bags of gold and Mexican currency. Because there were no banks in Santa Fe or Taos, La Tules periodically shipped some of her large winnings to banks in the United States. As the tale goes, she sent a 10-mule team loaded with 20 buckskin bags of gold to the U.S. with a contingent of armed guards. Somewhere in the desert, bandits attacked the mule train. Before being killed, the guards buried the cache of gold and would not divulge the location. No one ever found the gold and the legend began about the “Lost La Tules Treasure.”

La Tules was quite politically influential and though her relationship with Armijo, the last Mexican governor of New Mexico, she gained insight to the practices of the Politicos. They lived lavishly on graft and heavy taxation of the poor Mexican people and the American traders. As the conditions for war with the United States loomed she conceded that U.S. occupancy meant survival for her people. As Mexico’s power diminished and the United States took acquisition of New Mexico in 1846, Doña Tules secured her position with a loan to United States General Kearny for the purpose of paying his troops, on the condition that she have military escort to the Victory Ball at La Fonda. It was a lavish event attended by the upper echelon of Santa Fe Society.

She was also credited with alerting U.S. authorities of the Mexican-Indian conspiracy of December 1846. La Tules had plenty of opportunity to hear Mexican plotting and skullduggery in her gambling rooms. As a result, she is recognized as possibly preventing a blood bath in Santa Fe.

Doña Tules remained colorful and controversial figure in Santa Fe history up to her elaborately planned and executed funeral, presided over by the newly appointed Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy. Records at the Catholic Church say she was laid to rest in Santa Fe, January 17, 1852. Various reports by her biographers have described her funeral as lavish – some say $1600 for spiritual services, another $1000 paid to the candles alone. La Tules’s lifelong gifts to charity had granted her access to the highest social circles of Santa Fe and in writing her will; she stipulated a final gift to the church to amend for her questionable past. She was one of the last people buried within the adobe walls of La Parroquia, the old parish church on the Plaza that was later replaced by the St. Francis Cathedral. What became of her remains during the construction and possibly where her treasure was buried in the desert is only part of the mystery that continues to intrigue historical researchers about this fascinating “The Monte Queen of Santa Fe.”


Historical note: The popular gambling game of Monte (1800’s) is often confused with the sleight of hand swindle called “three-card Monte.” There is absolutely no connection between the two; one being a game of chance while the latter is a “sure thing” winner for the dealer.

How to Bulk Up and Put on Weight Even If You Work Full Time and Have a Family!

If you work full time and/or have family obligations, chances are that you do not have the time or energy to gain muscle mass. You may have the muscle mass routines which tell you how to bulk up or how to put on weight, yet they are written by (and probably for) those who can make lifting weights the number one priority in their lives. Many bodybuilders simply eat, work out, sleep, and relax most days; and that does not even take into account all of the supplements they consume!

So how can you bulk up and put on weight if you have work and family commitments?

First, decide on your goals. If you are skinny or frail, then your first goal is to get bigger and stronger. You will do this by lifting weights, eating appropriately, and learning how to recover properly. Working 40 hours a week (or more), commuting, going to family events, and taking care of your family will add roughly 80 hours a week of “stress” which most bodybuilders do not endure.

Second, find out where you are exercising already. Do you walk or bike to work? Do you do several hours of yard work each weekend? Do you shovel your driveway and those of elderly neighbors during the winter? Do you practice sports with your kids? Count up the hours you spend exercising and remember that you are working your muscles during these times.

Third, assuming that you are doing some sort of exercise during the week, realize that for you to bulk up and put on weight that you have to add in the appropriate type and amount of weight training. This means that you must choose muscle mass routines which stimulate growth, yet allow enough time for you to recover and, finally, grow new muscle.

Fourth, you must eat adequately. Assuming that you have your doctor’s permission to bulk up, add healthy foods which are “calorie-dense.” Calorie-dense foods include nuts, seeds, healthy fats like fish oil and olive oil, meat, and other such foods. Of course, drink lots of clean water and stay away from the sweets and candies for a while. Yes, you can bulk up with sweets… but that is not how you want to put on weight!

A good place to start your bulking up nutrition plan is to eat at least 15-16 times your body weight in calories. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds then 15 times your body weight would be 2250 calories. Talk with your doctor about this estimate, and make sure that you make any nutritional adjustments for allergies, diabetes, or any other medical concern.

Once you have everything in place you will want to focus one one thing: consistency. It is easy to get enthusiastic once you know how to bulk up; but after the tenth day your enthusiasm may diminish. Get supportive friends, join online forums, get a coach or personal trainer, or find some other way to keep your motivation high and to keep you on track. Do whatever you can to make these steps into habits.

Finally, have an “exit strategy.” For example, if you are 5′ 6″ and weigh 150 pounds you probably want your realistic muscle goal to be no more than 10% of your current body weight. If you gain too much weight then chances are that it is not muscle. Your metabolism could change dramatically and you may introduce new health concerns. Always consult your doctor about your ultimate goals so that you stay healthy, which should be your number one priority.

Have fun and remember to lift weights intelligently when now that you have learned how to bulk up and put on weight.

Techniques For Psyching Up Before Powerlifting Competitions

We’ve all heard the tales of a woman who physically picked up a car to rescue her child trapped underneath.  The human body is capable of tremendous feats of strength when adrenaline levels are high.  Emotions can cause people to do things they believed were physically impossible before.  For powerlifters, the ability to place oneself into a state of heightened awareness – and increased adrenaline – can be useful for lifting large amounts of weight in competitions.

The next time you attend a powerlifting meet, don’t just watch the lifts.  Instead, wander to the off-stage/backstage area and observe the actions of the men who are about to lift.  They do some pretty insane things!  Physically, a lifter might have his partner or partners slap him on the head, shoulders or back. The common belief is that with the newfound pain, the body releases a shot of adrenaline which will assist in the lift.  In more extreme competitions, powerlifters might have a friend even punch them in the face prior to lifting.  Having ones’ face tingling is certainly a way to get the body to perform at new levels.

Smelling salts are also used, sniffed by the powerlifter just seconds before he tries the lift.  After all, if smelling salts are putrid enough to awaken an unconscious person, imagine the effects they have on an alert, awake person who intentionally takes a whiff.  The immediate rush of the senses allows the powerlifter to sometimes work beyond previously-best levels. 

Verbal cues from spotters are useful as well.  Hearing your buddy shout things at you – whether positive or negative – can work wonders in encouraging you to get over the hump when pressing up the weight.

Studies have shown that “psyching up” is highly effective for helping athletes to perform at their highest possible level.  We’ve all seen professional athletes do it, whether we realize it or not.  When a basketball star steps to the free throw line in the closing seconds to either win or lose a game with his shots, he mentally prepares himself for the shots.  When a football player stands motionless for a few seconds before the ball is snapped to kick a game-winning field goal, the mental preparation he is engaged in is great.  Athletes of all realms use psyching up methods to perform at their best.  It’s no wonder that powerlifters- attempting to move more weight than many at one time believed humanly possible – use psyching out techniques as well.

No Regrets: Secura Turbo Oven Stands Out Over Other Infrared Ovens!

It seems that turbo cooking is supercharged to change the year among modern tabletop infrared ovens. Anyway, has anyone wondered about turbo ovens? Wikepedia defines turbo cooking as a hybrid way of quickly preparing food that may taste better than simply warming something in a microwave. Sounds like a supercharged turbo-engine driven cars. That means, turbo ovens have been designed to cook in no time at speed faster than conventional ovens.

By about earlier of last year, a new breed of infrared oven came out of TV commercials promising a new leap in turbo cooking technology. It was called as the: Secura Digital Halogen Infrared Turbo Convection Countertop Oven.

For us to know, the Secura turbo oven is no different at all with other time-tested new generation countertop ovens. It also basically employs the same infrared heating technology that makes cooking faster as well as convection fan technology that makes cooking as even as possible. As with other infrared ovens, it doesn’t only cook your food faster but also greatly saves electricity. The Secura Oven can broil, roast, bake, grill, barbecue, fry, steam!

Then why choose Secura Turbo Oven?

To cut this chase, what makes the Secura Turbo Oven, a good and probably a better choice is because of the following:

Double Safety Power Switch

While being innovative and sturdy, accidents can happen anytime anywhere. The double safety power switch is another leap in oven innovations with deep sense of security in mind. No wonder, it’s called as Secura- getting more secured infrared oven.

Elegant and innovative design

Hinges could have been discovered long time ago, yet the hinged cover (arm) of Secura Turbo oven is something worth to thank of. The advantage of this is that, it gives you a leverage when opening such hot piece of device!

The Secura oven also features a detachable cord which seemed to be lacking with other brands. This simply makes the Secura halogen oven easy to keep and carry around.

Non-toxic and non- radioactive self-cleaning with French ARCOPAL tempered glasshousing

I wondered before if the heat generated by infrared is not strong enough to somehow cause some molecular disruption in the materials composing the oven making it hazardous in the long run. Yet, the Secura Turbo oven is built securely being break-resistant ensuring to withstand extreme temperature shock.

This is a plus for this review from a satisfied certified Secura oven user…

“But with the similar price, I got an extender ring, and 2 standard racks with my Secura Oven. Nuwave and flavorwave, they don’t offer the extender ring for free, (extender ring’s value is about $30)”… by: M’NAS

CONVINCING!…That’s It!… Double Safety, Elegant and Innovative, Power-Saving, Non-Toxic Non-Radioactive…& MORE!

Other Useful Information:

Shipping Weight: 23 lbs Rating: 1350W Standard Accessories: *Extender ring kit *Elevator wire rack *Low rack *Tongs *Lead holder *User manual *Recipe book

So that’s it, I hope this review has been helpful indeed.