Greenhouse Supplies Guide

Whether you have a green thumb and a secret love for gardening, or you just dipping your toes into the pool of the plant world you may want to begin your own collection of greenhouse supplies. Planting flowers and other foliage could prove to be one of the most relaxing and tranquil hobbies you have ever experienced, as it puts you in touch with nature while providing you with a peaceful occupancy of the mind. Many people take great pride in their at home gardens and flowery slices of heaven, and as a result of this they have an impressive collection of gardening tools.

Finding greenhouse supplies is fairly easy and could be a potential obsession, depending on how involved you make yourself of course. A novice gardener will typically only need the basics to get started, especially if they are solely working on their own landscaping. Basic gardening tools would include a garden hose, a large and hand held shovel, gloves, rake, hoe, shears and a trowel. This may seem like a lot but more then half of these items can be found at a discount or dollar store, and will typically last a long time as they are durably made. If you want to go a step further, we recommend investing in a kneeling pad to ensure the comfort and cleanliness of your knees!

Once you have purchased your beginners items, you can start digging away at your back yard and transforming it into your own magical and personalized garden getaway. As soon as you get the hang of the fundamentals of gardening, which can generally be self taught, you can move on to gradually become an expert gardener with a desirable collection of greenhouse supplies. Professionals use a higher grade of tool and may be a bit more pricey but be assured these sturdy, long lasting products are well worth the money spent. Professional tools will usually be made of heavy duty materials such as stainless steel and cast aluminum which typically come with lifetime warranties.

We now jump to the future and see that you have such an amazing collection of greenhouse supplies, even Martha Stewart her self would be jealous! Considering the money you have put into these tools, as well as the time you have spent searching for them we advise you to keep immaculate care of them to ensure you get the most use out of them. You may look online for tips and helpful hints from fellow garden fanatics on the proper care and maintenance regimens you should practice. This will keep your handy collection in good shape for years to come, which will make you a happy camper!

Puppy Dog Face Painting Design Made Easy

Whether it is for Halloween or simply a birthday party for your kids, puppy face paintings and dog facial designs are a fun wonderful ideas for both little boys and girls. Puppies are adorable, fun, loving, and cute. So that makes a sweet idea for your kid to look like a dog for your upcoming party.

What makes it extra easy, is the fact that there are so many various dog breeds that you can choose from. Most of the time, if you own a puppy yourself and your child is close to him/her, it is a good idea to draw the same breed as your dog. Kids love it when they look like their favorite pet that they love.

You can also check out various face painting design galleries online and show different photos to your child to see which one they like the most. After all, the design is going to stay on their face for the party, so it is important that they feel comfortable with it and like it.

How to Face Paint Like a Pro

If it is your first time painting on the face, you might wonder how perfectly you can handle it. After all, if you make a mistake halfway, you might need to wipe the whole face completely to fix that part and start all over again. So how can you avoid that?

There are two easy ideas you can try. First, you can try your desired planned design on a piece of paper. Since it is easier and safer, you can relax and try and see how your hands will help you drawing it.

If it looks quite nice, you can then proceed to drawing it on the actual face. If you find some parts a bit tricky, you can practice it on paper enough until you have mastered it. Then you can switch to painting the face with confidence and peace of mind.

Another helpful idea is using the right paint ink and brush. The instructions you find will be helpful, but without the right tools and material, your design will not turn out as perfect as you wish.

So you can simply do a little research or ask the store helper to find skin-friendly and good-quality paint colors and brushes.

Where Can You Find Fun Dog Face Painting Design Samples?

The good news is, there are plenty of creative cute puppy face design photo galleries online that you can check out. They help you get a wide range of fun ideas for different dog breeds. So depending on what you like, you can easily find one there or at least get inspired to make your own favorite design idea.

One other helpful tip is to find the faces that look similar to you or your kids (the person who is going to be painted on), and look for the similar faces to see which design will look best on you. Good luck!

Top 10 Ways NOT To Hang a Pot Rack

It is Saturday morning and you are looking forward to a trip to the lake. Then, you remember the “honey do” list you wrote for yourself yesterday. The top item is HANG UP POT RACK! It had been a week since your order had arrived from the pot rack on-line store and you had excitedly torn open the packing materials to reveal the shiny bronze ceiling mounted French scroll rack.

“Now,” you exclaimed, “I can get this kitchen organized!” After a week of cursing at the box, which seemed to migrate around the floor of the living room of its own accord, HANG UP POT RACK had catapulted to the top of the list. But, how would you successfully attack this project? Successfully was the key word, as the steps you took brought you to this nice hospital and constitute

“The Top Ten Ways NOT to Hang a Pot Rack”.

1) Let me take a quick look around the kitchen to decide where I want to hang the rack. I guess it could go just about anywhere and, let’s see, this spot looks nice over the sink.

No, no, no, no! Before you even purchase a rack, measure the distance between the ceiling joists where you want it to hang. All pot racks, ceiling fans, and chandeliers must be secured to joists. Knowing this distance will help you choose to correct size pot rack.

If you have new construction, this can easily be planned before the ceiling is installed. If you already have a ceiling surface, such as sheetrock, find the wood and joists by using a stud finder or experiment by tapping small nails in the area of the ceiling where your ceiling hooks will be installed. If the ceiling joists are not where you decide to hang the rack, and you have access to the attic above the ceiling area, you can nail additional 2 x 4 brace supports between your ceiling joists, where needed, so that the hooks are fixed to wood in all locations. If you decide on a place without wood ceiling joists, you will need to use dry wall toggles and screws.

2) This is really a one person project and I can do it myself before lunch!

No, no, no, no! Installing a brand new pot rack will occupy about half a day, for someone who is reasonably handy or experienced. If that is not you, get help from a friend or contractor. By yourself, this project could be a disaster and take all day, or longer.

3) There are hardly any parts. I certainly don’t need directions. In fact, I think I threw them out when I opened the box.

No, no, no, no! Pot rack distributors provide their customers with easy to read directions that include both technical and safety instructions. But even with all of the instructions, an extra pair of hands and eyes is very useful. Important details like, how to correctly install chain or the maximum weight capacity of the rack, could make a difference between success and disaster.

4) I know I have a tape measure, screwdriver and a hammer. That should do it!

No, no, no, no! Those directions mentioned in number three list all the materials you will need for the job. This usually includes: screwdriver, drill, tape measure, pencil, eye screws, wood glue, long wood screws, and other items like extra 2 x 4s, nails, hammer, sheet rock toggles and stud finder. Oh yes, the extra person, too.

Directions may vary according to the company. If you do not follow these instructions, and if your pot rack falls due to negligence, the manufacturer may not be liable in the event of injury or damage to you or your home.

5) It looks like I have everything I need to put up this little rack. If I’m missing anything I’m sure I have some extra parts in the garage.

No, no, no, no! You have to make sure you have the parts that are listed on those directions. The company supplies the hooks and chains that you need to work with the pot rack you purchased. Some pot racks use a supplied ceiling mounting plate, metal or wood, which is sized properly to be centered over the area from which you wish to hang the rack. This must be secured to ceiling joists properly in order to safely attach the chains from which your pot rack will hang. If you do not have these correct parts, your rack will not hang properly or safely.

6) My ceiling is higher than I thought. I guess I’ll just stand on this chair to reach over my head.

No, no, no, no! The chair might be safe enough to reach the height if you are installing a wall mounted pot rack, but when you are reaching over your head to attach something to a ceiling, you would be safer using a stable step ladder. And that friend you should have with you can hang on to the ladder while you climb.

7) Let’s see, I think I’ll actually hang the pot rack over the stove instead of the sink. Then, I can hang pots low enough to easily grab one while cooking.

Most likely no, no, no, no! Hanging a pot rack over the stove is a great idea, if the pots are high enough that they are not constantly spattered and don’t get so much heat that they are too hot to handle if you want one while you are cooking.

8) Changed my mind. I think I’ll hang it next to the stove, that way anybody can walk right up to the rack and grab what they need for cooking.

Most likely no, no, no, no! Make sure the pot rack his hung so that the hanging pots will not hit your head as you walk around the kitchen.

9) I plan on hanging all of my pots and pans, and those three big cast iron skillets on this rack.

a. No, no, no, no! There is a limit to how much you can hang on a pot rack. It depends on the size of the rack, how you hung it from the ceiling and the weight capacity, according to the directions, supplied by the manufacturer.

10) I am ready to go! Let me just drill a little hole here in the ceiling with my new electric drill. And it’s a good thing this light is hanging right next to where I want to drill…

Noooooooo, don’t drill so close to the light!

Installing kitchen accessories such as hanging fans, chandeliers, and pot racks can be accomplished successfully if done correctly. Following the manufacturer’s directions and using the proper equipment, as well as following safety suggestions should give you the desired results-a stylish and well organized kitchen.

A Deck of Cards Explained

Have you ever wondered where a deck of playing cards from or the meaning behind them? A deck of cards is more than just a way to play fun games. A deck of cards has meaning behind it and is actually quite interesting to learn about. From the basic construction of the cards to the deep meaning of the symbols, a deck of playing cards is an interesting thing.

Playing cards are generally just a heavy sheet of printed paper. They are a small size, made to fit in the palm of the hand. Many are coated so that they can withstand constant and frequent use without showing wear and tear easily. A deck of cards consists of 52 cards, all with specific symbols printed upon them. The fronts of the cards have specific markings that determine the name and use of a card. The back of the card can be decorated in many different ways.

Cards have always seemed to be around in one form or another. They have always served as a way to pass the time and to have fun. Card games have served for years in modern society as a way for people to get together and enjoy an evening. Throughout history playing cards have changed from simple to the more creative styles we have today.

A typical deck of playing cards is made up of suit cards and court cards. The four suits are hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs. The court cards originated from Europe and stand for the royal court. The court cards include the king, queen, knight and jack.

There are many ways the court cards can be interrupted. The traditional interpretation matches up each royal card of the deck with a specific historical figure. For example, the King of Diamonds represents Julius Caesar and the Queen of Diamonds represents Rachel from the Bible.

Playing card designs have often been used to get out messages. During the French revolution playing cards had symbols for freedom and brotherhood. Even today playing cards are often made using themes. You can get playing cards in many different designs and not just on the backs of cards. Many card manufacturers make themed cards with interesting new designs and plays on the classic suits and court cards.

The modern deck of cards used in America today feature the classic suits of hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs. They have the four court cards of the king, queen, knight and jack. The colors of a standard deck are usually black and red with some yellow highlight color on the court cards. The four suits each have numbered cards from 2 to 10, an ace and then one of each court card.

The meaning of a deck is not always clear. Most people do not put much meaning in the cards. Depending on the country or culture the meaning of the deck could differ greatly. Deciding on the meaning of a deck of playing cards is really something personal. You can decide for yourself what meaning you want to place on the cards.

Looking After Your Snow Blower

Have you ever went out to shovel or snow blow your driveway and not be able to start your snow blower? Most likely your snow blower would not start because the motor was to cold. Put a portable heater by the crank case and warm up the oil and it should start. That takes about an hour depending on how cold it is.It works the same as a block heater in a car. If you do not have a portable heater use a hair dryer.

If you have a garage or a shed keep your blower in out of the weather and make sure that you remove most of the snow and ice before storage. Otherwise wet snow will cause it to freeze up. Also make sure your auger is free of snow or ice. If the auger is frozen it could cause you to break a shear pin or a belt.

If you have a heated garage make sure you have a gas line antifreeze not the regular one but there is a special one that you can use. Check with your dealer. There is one that you can use in snow blowers and snowmobiles. Condensation might build up in your gas lines or tank in a heated garage causing the snow blower to back fire and maybe freeze up in the cold. The gas line antifreeze should take care of that problem. You should change oil regularly. That will help starting and your snow blower will warm up faster, It is easy to change the oil on most. Use a light weight oil 5W30. If you don’t want to change oil (I highly recommend this anyway) use synthetic oil 0W30 OR 5W30. Your dealer should have synthetic oil. I believe that using synthetic oil and changing oil regularly is the life of a machine.

When you start your machine don’t start on full throttle. You could blow your motor as it takes a few seconds for the oil to circulate especially if you use regular 5W30 oil or if it needs an oil change. When it is real cold the motor is stiff and the oil could be thick. I have two snow blowers. I had 5W30 regular in one and synthetic 5W30 in the other. Last week it was minus 34 and a windchill in the minus 40’s The one with the regular oil would not start. The one with the synthetic did.I changed the oil in the other one, used synthetic and it started.

Keep your throttle on a little over half when starting and let you machine warm up. Test your auger before snow blowing. Also when you shut down your machine turn the throttle of slowly. Don’t blow snow at full speed. Use first gear for heavy snow and second or third gear for light snow, I recommend only first and second but a lot of people use third. The higher gears should be used only for travel ling your snow blower from one point to another. For instance I have two driveways on both corners of my house 40 ft apart so I use high speed to travel the blower to the second driveway. You should see you a dealer and have you machine checked over Make sure your belts are not worn. I always try and keep spare belts on hand.

Life could be a little miserable if you don’t look after your snow blower especially in Northern Canada where we get a lot of snow, wind and cold. A couple days ago it went from minus 30 to 0 degrees in 36 hours and we had rain. We also had a foot of snow. The next time I went to start my snow blower It would not move. The wheels were frozen I hit the wheels with a rubber maul a couple of times before the blower moved. I hope you find this information helpful.

Dangers of Half Rep Training

The half rep is a technique of doing a push or pulling exercise using only partial range of motion for a particular muscle group. While they can be beneficial, most are done for the wrong reasons.

First, to clear up any misinformation, lets go over what exactly a half rep does that is beneficial, and what it is actually used for. These lifts are a training technique used by more advanced lifters to get them past sticking points in their lift, basically, to target areas of weakness in each lift.

Most of the time half reps are done incorrectly simply so that some over egoistic person in the gym can convince themselves that they are lifting more weight than they can actually handle. For example: Have you ever seen someone in the gym load way to much weight on the bench press and then maybe bring the weight down 25% before pushing it back up (usually with a lot of noise to make sure everyone sees them lifting heavy)? They call this a lift but unfortunately this does nothing for the development of chest size or strength. Another example would be this same egoistic person putting hundreds of pounds too much on a squat rack and squatting down only a few inches. This defeats their entire purpose and unfortunately most people, including personal trainers that I see perform these incorrectly and for the wrong reasons.

Over time, performing these lifts incorrectly does two things. First, it decreases the range of motion in which the muscle is viable. Second, the weaker parts of the muscle are not developed, they are left to atrophy and get weaker still. This inevitably leads to injury when a part of the body suddenly finds itself beyond the half rep training motion.

The correct way to do a half rep is to work the hardest part of the movement only, usually the lower part of the movement. (sorry gym rats but going 25% of the way down is pointless) Then stop 1/2 way up and go back down and do another 1/2 rep in the hard part of the movement range. DO NOT BOUNCE THE WEIGHT! Pause at the end of the movement for a split second and then press the weight back up, pausing at the top as well. Using momentum by bouncing the weight is just another way glorify the ego, and does not help in building real strength.

For example: A bench press lift would begin with the bar resting on your chest, go 40%-60% of the way up, pause, and return the bar to your chest. Pause again before performing another rep and do not bounce the bar off your chest. A squat would require you to go all the way into a deep squat, legs bent more than 90 degrees. Move from that position upward until the legs are parallel to the floor, then pause before returning to the bottom. A pull-up can be done in whatever area you are weaker, either from hanging with straight arms up to 40%-60% range of motion, or from half way up to chin above the bar. The idea again is to get you past your weak points.

So the question is; Should I do half reps? I would say no. Focus on developing strength throughout your full range of motion. If you must use them, use the correct technique and use it for the right reasons, to get past a weak point. Do not make it part of your every day lifting and do not use it to add more weight than you can safely handle.

To learn more about precise form and lifting technique that will speed up your progress, please visit www.dynamicsofmotion.com.

Top Ten Tips for Writing a Professional Overview or Biography

A professional biography or overview, showcasing your background, experience and expertise, is a necessity for every business owner. This often overlooked marketing tool is an excellent way to introduce you and your business to potential clients and possible strategic business partners. Potentially, it might open up opportunities for speaking engagements, radio or television interviews, or a feature print article. While any information about you and your business is helpful, information that is presented in a professional, well-polished manner can make all the difference in how others perceive you. Consider these important points as you craft your own professional biography.

1. One page wonder.

Your professional biography should be a few paragraphs and kept to one page or less. One page is perfect for copying on the reverse side of a handout or flyer. Several paragraphs, left justified make it easier to read and skim.

2. First, second, or third person?

Always write your biography in the third person. That is, refer to yourself by your name or she/he as appropriate. It sounds more professional as it appears that a third party wrote the text. For example, “Alexandra has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Newsweek, and Time magazines.”

3. Business in brief.

Not only do readers want to know what you do, but also they want to know who you work with – because they might want to work with you! A professional biography should include a sentence or two about your business niche (or niches) as well as the types of clients you serve. A modified version of your 30-second elevator pitch might be perfect.

4. And the winner is….

Make sure that you include a list of awards that you have received. Readers are interested in knowing about your talents and the organizations that recognize you for them.

5. Organizations.

Include names of the organizations, clubs, or associations to which you belong. A reader’s interest might be highlighted at seeing that you belong to the same alumni association or professional business group. Again, these connections might possibly lead to some interesting and exciting business opportunities.

6. Certifications and designations.

Include any professional certifications or designations you hold. Make sure you write out their names in full, rather than use abbreviations. Not everyone might know that CMA stands for Certified Management Accountant. And, perhaps, in a different discipline, it might represent something else – like a Certified Materials Analyst. If you no longer hold a particular designation, but it has played a major role in who you are and what you do, don’t hesitate to make a reference to it. For example, “Ann is a former Certified Data Processor and spent the last decade as an adjunct faculty member teaching higher mathematics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.” Don’t include abbreviations of college degrees, like MBAs as it looks unprofessional. The only exception to this would be for a Ph.D. designation.

7. Published?

Have you written any articles, books, e-courses or e-books? Self-published or not, your works add to your level of professionalism and credibility. Showcase them in your biography and you might earn additional royalties in terms of new clients or other opportunities.

8. Did I mention the media?

Have you been a guest on talk radio or television? Were you or your business featured or even mentioned in a newspaper article? If so, readers want to know. Again, these types of “mentions” add to your credibility and presence.

9. Call me any time.

People who want to know about you will read your biography for just that reason. And, if its compelling, rich, and includes the information they’re interested, in, they’ll want to contact you. Include complete contact information like your title (if any), name, address, telephone, fax, email, and website address. Make it easy to find this information by including it in the last paragraph of your professional overview.

10. Write, rewrite, and do it again.

After you have written your biography, edit, edit, and edit again. You may need to do a dozen or so revisions before you get it just right. Eliminate extra words, use descriptive words, keep the sentences short but varied in length, and write in the third person. Ask some friends to provide input as well. Make sure to revise your biography regularly to keep it up-to-date and refreshed.

Copyright 2004 by Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff.

Caravan TV Brackets – Tips To Install a Caravan TV Bracket

It’s fun to use TV brackets in a motor-home or caravan. It may be little different to mount a TV in a motor-home or caravan. Because they are made of different materials as those of our normal homes.

Motor-homes needs more care to install a mounting bracket. Although all manufacturers provide an installation kit with caravan or motor-home TV mounts, but as a user, following information may be helpful to successfully mount a TV in your caravan.

Motor-homes are manufactured with wooden or polymer walls. So it will become difficult to mount a bracket on these walls with ordinary screws.

Check the surface or place where you want to fix the TV bracket. Using normal screws to mount it will not be safe. A better solution is to mount your TV with nut and bolts. Install a metal plate to hold the nut bolts on either side of the wall.

Another good location to mount your TV bracket in a caravan could be the cupboard. You can use an “under cupboard TV bracket” or “Stowaway TV bracket” to get rid of wall surface/material problems. Under cupboard brackets will enable you to mount and fix the bracket firmly, avoiding any damage or breakage due to vibrations.

There are two types of caravan brackets available in the market. One with a thin fixing plate and other with a thick fixing plate. You can decide either of these fixing plates which better suits your needs.

Caravan or motor-home brackets generally manufactured with high profiles. They can swivel and rotate, have arms which can be extended and folded back to wall. These features will give you more flexibility and entertainment as well as a choice to arrange your TV with other furniture in the caravan.

Check the VESA standard of your TV and choose the right bracket accordingly. Check that a best TV for a caravan, should be, not more then 15 kg of weight. Some manufacturers claim a weight up to 20 kg. Heavy TV sets needs more secure fixtures. So carefully check the maximum weight a caravan TV bracket can hold.

Sauna Rocks – Another Hot Sauna Topic

A traditional Finnish sauna that utilizes sauna rocks in its operation is often referred to as a rock sauna, and the name aptly implies just how important a feature of the conventional sauna the rocks are. The sauna heater holds and heats the stones, and the sauna bather tosses water onto the hot stones to create the loyly or vapor that increases the humidity in the sauna room. Even in the modern era of far infrared sauna therapy, many sauna enthusiasts refuse to be swayed in their belief that sauna stones are essential to achieving the definitive sauna experience.

While sauna fans are free to forever debate what defines an authentic sauna bath, it is an absolute must that rock sauna owners always use proper sauna rocks in their saunas. Many manufacturers and dealers often provide ks with the Finnish-style saunas and kits they sell, but sauna owners who enjoy frequent dips in their rock saunas will likely someday have to replace old stones with new ones.

Under the intense pressure of the sauna’s fluctuating temperature and humidity levels, even the best sauna rocks eventually crack and crumble. Once a sauna rock starts to disintegrate like this, it can’t hold heat as well as it used to. It will also produce less steam, and it may even clog your sauna heater. Before the day comes when you have to replace the rocks in your sauna, it’s imperative that you learn to differentiate good sauna rocks from bad sauna rocks.

For obvious reasons, sauna owners should avoid using rocks that could explode in the sauna as well as those that give off poisonous or offensive odors. Neither should rocks that contain sulphur minerals (minerals with a yellowish color and/or metallic luster) or asbestos minerals be used. Rocks with sulphur minerals do not pose a health risk; they just wear down very quickly. However, rocks with asbestos minerals do present a legitimate risk, as asbestos has been proven to cause cancer.

To avoid placing potentially explosive rocks in your heater, follow the advice of expert Mikkel Aaland, who recommends a simple test: “Thoroughly heat a sample for two hours or more. Drop it into a pail of cold water then look for cracks. When the rock is cool, test it further by hitting it with a hammer or against another rock. If the rocks cracks or makes a soft grinding sound when rubbed against another rock, discard it. If it survives, you have a safe sauna rock.”

Because the best rocks are those least exposed to weather, certain quarried rocks are held in high esteem by traditional Finnish sauna lovers. One of the most popular is peridotite, a quarried Finnish rock and one of the most common rocks in the earth’s upper mantle. Peridotite is a type of igneous rock, as are olivine and vulcanite which likewise perform well in saunas. Many purists prefer using dark-colored igneous rocks because these rocks contain magnesium and iron and therefore have a relatively high heat capacity.

Be sure to refer to the manuals and other literature that came with your unit and heater before you replace your sauna rocks. You might inadvertently void your stove’s warranty if you use a type of rock that is not specifically approved or recommended by the heater’s manufacturer.

The information packaged with your heater should also indicate the amount or weight of rocks recommended for use with the heater. As a general rule, though, you should use enough rocks to cover the heating elements of an electric heater. If you heat your sauna with a wood burning stove, the rocks should form a small mound that rises above the stove’s rim. In both cases, remember to pack the rocks loosely to allow for sufficient air circulation.

Substantial information on sauna rocks can be found online, but not all of it is accurate or reliable. For example, one website recommends using smooth stones from rivers and seashores as sauna stones, while another advises owners to steer clear of them. Disagreement also exists on how suitable rocks with high iron content are for use in saunas. Questions about the ideal size, shape, texture and mineral content of your sauna rocks are perhaps best answered by the manufacturer or dealer from whom you purchased your sauna heater.

Barbeque Secret…Don’t Use Gas To Start The Fire!

I’ve rarely been accused of over thinking a situation. My “code of the west” mentality has been good to me through the years, rescuing me many times from the temptation of unnecessary thinking! Unnecessary thinking can ruin a perfectly good plan, but no thinking at all can be hazardous to your health! A good case in point is a situation I witnessed last year.

One brilliantly blue afternoon in late spring my neighbor Joe was preparing for one of his famous cookouts. He was about to put his brand new brick and mortar barbeque grill through its paces for the first time. A beautiful charcoal grill, he had personally, to the chagrin of the brick masons, supervised every detail of the project. It was a gorgeous fireplace style grill with the chimney almost head high built of the same brick that adorned his house.

The barbeque pit featured a curved flat black steel hood for enclosed cooking; with a warming tray built into the side of the pit to keep foods from getting cold while others cooked longer. There was even a compartment built on the opposite side to house charcoal and lighter. He was understandably proud of the best barbeque grill in the neighborhood!

Festivities began early with the neighbors arriving around 2:00 pm. By late afternoon many in the crowd were already feeling the effects of the adult beverages supplied by the host, who was especially enjoying himself. Everyone by now had grown tired of listening to an endless monolog by the host about the virtues of his new grill.

The time had come to fire up the grill! There was only one small problem. With all the preparations he had made for the cookout, Joe had forgotten charcoal lighter! Not to be detoured by such a small detail, he went into the tool shed at the back of his yard and brought back a large can of gasoline. After dumping a huge amount of charcoal into the bottom of the grill, he arranged it into a perfect pyramid. The fire was supposed to burn more consistently this way Joe informed the crowd.

By now the neighbors had begun realized what Joe was about to do and started yelling at him not to use the gasoline to start the fire. Offers were made to run next door to get charcoal lighter to no avail. Joe was determined to inaugurate his grill the proper way; with a large fire! He also assured everyone that he knew what he was doing!

Joy was enjoying himself, being the star of the show as it were. He upended the can of fuel over the charcoal and kept pouring even after the briquettes had been thoroughly soaked. Now came the moment of truth! He lit a match and with a dramatic flare, tossed it onto the charcoal! Whoooomp!

Mortar is very porous and does not always adhere perfectly to a surface without leaving a small crack in the mortar joint between bricks. When a liquid such as water, or in this case gasoline fills that crack, it will flow into the base of the structure, such as a barbeque grill. The vapors from the gasoline that had flowed into the grill did what gasoline vapors do when they come in contact with a flame. The grill exploded!

Bricks and mortar blown into pieces, rained from the sky onto all of us who had witnessed the explosion! No one was hurt because most of the crowd and moved safely away from Joe when they saw what he was about to do. Joe was slightly injured by a fragment of the grill grazing his forehead. Nothing serious!

His grill was a mess! A few seconds before, it was a beautiful example of workmanship; something to be proud of and enjoy for years to come. Now it was just a mile of rocks! Joe had apparently never heard that in some cases, alcohol and gasoline don’t mix! Warning! Drinking and starting fires with gasoline can kill you! Whether you’re drinking adult beverages or not, do not use gasoline for a charcoal starter!

My neighbor Joe has recovered from the disaster of last year. He is now making plans to build and even bigger charcoal cooker than the last one. From the size of the storage area in the barbeque pit, I doubt that he will ever run out of charcoal lighter again!

Remember, friends don’t let friends’ barbeque drunk!

Aromatase and Estrogen Dominance – What Can You Do?

Recently, there seems to be an influx of clients seeking advice to reduce estrogen dominance which may appear in males as increased breast tissue (gynecomastia), and females complaining that their legs are fat or thick. Upon observation of these men and women, I noticed they tend to spend a ton of their time on cardio equipment or jogging, and never or hardly any time, strength training.

Aside from the activity of choice these men and women choose, they tend to be estrogen dominant. Estrogen dominance may be attributed from genetics, environmental and lifestyle. Estrogen is catabolic hormone causing an increase in body fat and increased aromatase, whereas testosterone is an anabolic hormone that promotes muscle growth.

Aromatization happens when androgens (testosterone) convert to estrogens (estrodial). High estrogen and low testosterone may indicate aromatase. Aromatase is an enzyme found in estrogen producing cells in the adrenal glands, ovaries, placenta, testicles, adipose or fat tissue and the brain.

Symptoms of decreased testosterone include fatigue, lack of motivation, depression, decreased libido, poor concentration, decreased muscle tissue and increased body fat. In men, their breasts may enlarge as extra estrogen begins to promote female body characteristics.

Estrogen dominance may be revealed through caliper skin fold measurements and hormonal blood lab work or saliva testing. Results revealing high estrogen and low testosterone apply to females and male, alike.

Suggested lab testing:

*Female Hormone Profile: Pregnenolone, Total Estrogens, DHEA-S, Progesterone, Testosterone (total)

*Male Hormone Profile: Pregnenolone, Total Estrogens, DHEA, Progesterone, Bioavailable Testosterone, Testosterone (total), Testosterone (free)

*Both male and female should test – Thyroid panel: T3, T4, TSH and thyroid antibodies

*Male: PSA (Test at age 50 for Caucasian; age 40 for African American)

For skin fold measurements in males: if the pectoral site is higher than the triceps site this indicates aromatase. Additionally, if the quadriceps skin fold is relatively high in a male a PSA (Prostate-specific Antigen) test is in order. The skin fold estrogen sites for a female are the quadriceps and hamstrings. Liver enzyme activity and poor detoxification of estrogens are other factors to consider. Alcohol can be the culprit here as well as marijuana.

Excess estrogens in your body not only lead to aromatization, but estrogen dominant health issues such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids as well as breast and prostate cancers. Read more about hormones in my book, THE POWER OF 4 ~ Your Ultimate Guide Guaranteed to Change Your Body and Transform Your Life.

Factors that raise levels of estrogen include:

*Age increases aromatase activity

*Carbohydrate intolerance and insulin resistance – This affects the adrenals and all other major hormone levels. (The hormone you have the most control over is insulin – this is controlled through your diet. Hormones do not act independently.)

*Consuming a diet of processed soy and non-organic foods loaded with xenoestrogens, pesticides, etc.

*Liver function changes – Elevated AST and ALT values

*Obesity – High estrogen is present in most obese people of all ages. Obesity in males = 25% body fat or greater. Obesity in females = 30% body fat of greater

*Overuse of marijuana and alcohol – This equals higher blood sugar, triglycerides and estrogens.

*Plastics, pesticides, soaps, skin care products, cosmetics and household cleaning products containing xenoestrogens, pesticides and other chemicals.

*Prescription drug side effects – especially diuretics and liver activity drugs

*Zinc deficiency. Low levels of zinc have been linked to enlarged prostates and less than desirable levels of testosterone.

Aside from implementing lifestyle changes, eliminating all estrogen precursors as plastics, non-organic food and ensuring healthy gut flora, there are various aromatase inhibitors one can obtain through botanicals and supplementation.

Resveratrol, Calcium d-Glucarate, nettle root, chrysin, passionflower and green tea are natural estrogen blockers, preventing aromatase. DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate are helpful for estrogen dominant legs in women and gynecomastia in men. Gynecomastia is a growth of breast tissue in men.

In addition to the above, consider:

*Omega-3 fish oils (EPA/DHA), zinc and probioitics

*Consume organic foods versus conventional due to their abundance of synthetic pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc.

*Eliminate processed soy products.

*Avoid refined carbohydrates, HFCS and trans fats. Educate yourself on these ingredients and products, and stay away from them!

*Avoid estrogen precursors such as plastic bottles, chemical-laden cosmetics, lotions and cleaning products.

The exercise training program solution for estrogen dominance and decreased testosterone is a high-intensity strength training program that builds muscle. Proper nutrition must always be factored in and cannot be underestimated. Workouts involving the major muscles and multi-joint exercises will force the body to lose the fat reserves and increase muscle mass. Some of my favorite total body strength training exercises for include Olympic lifts, squats, multi-directional lunges, dead lifts, pull ups, push ups and step ups using sand bags, body weight, dumbbells, suspension training (TRX), kettlebells, sleds, pulleys and barbells.

How to Replace the Planks of a Bamboo Floor?

Bamboo flooring is an extremely beautiful and durable alternative to the hardwood floors. It is an eco-friendly flooring choice that offers for strength, resilience, and cost-effectiveness. Bamboo floor planks are similar in appearance to other hardwood floor planks such as oak and maple and are installed in basically the same way. If the planks of the bamboo floor get damaged, they can be repaired in many of the same ways like other traditional hardwood floors. So if your bamboo planks need more than touching up or cleaning, you can follow some simple but useful tips for replacing bamboo floor planks.

First of all, you need to determine the installation method of your bamboo floor. If your flooring is secured to the sub-floor by a glued down, nailed down, or stapled down method, and you have to replace even one plank, then the work becomes very complex. It will need special attention to replace the plank as one slight mistake can ruin your floor. In this case, it would be better that you look for the services of a professional to replace the damaged planks. This article will give you an idea of what is involved with the major repairs to the stapled- down or nailed-down planking, and why it is strongly recommended to hire a professional to do the repairs.

For the nailed-down flooring method, your planks might be installed by either “Blind Nailing” or “Face Nailing” technique. “Blind Nailing” technique will have nails spaced approximately 5 to 8 inches apart and nails would have to be driven down further to remove the planks. However, the nails will not be easy to see as they are angled into the tongue side of the planks. On the other hand, “Face Nailing” technique will have nails driven straight down through the top of the planks and you have to look for the small spots of wood filler, to locate these nails.

The next thing you need to do is to mark the size and location of the planks that need to be replaced. You may want to remove the section of the plank from the damaged area to the nearest end or you might have to remove just the affected area between the two ends of the plank. After you marked the location of the plank that is to be replaced, the next step is you draw a reference line across the plank and drill a row of small holes along the side of the line, into the bamboo plank that is to be replaced. It is important to drill carefully so that you do not drill into your sub-floor.

After drilling, chisel out the plank by chiseling between the drilled holes until you can split the bamboo plank. If you have to remove the entire plank, it would be better that your first split it in half and then separate the two pieces. Next step is to clean up any edges or remaining pieces by using a hammer, sharp wood chisel, and a steady hand. Also, clean up any debris or splinters that may be left behind on your sub-floor. You need to look for the exposed nails as well, and remove or drive them completely into the sub-flooring.

Next step is to cut the replacement piece of a precise length. One side of the groove and tongue needs to be removed to insert accurately into the empty space. Before making any cuts, be sure to line up the board. Now, apply a flooring adhesive or glue to the bottom of the plank, or “face nail” plank to the sub-floor. Angle the remaining groove and tongue edge into the existing plank and drop into place smoothly. For the “Face Nailing” method, you would also have to apply sand, wood filler, and countersink the nails to match the rest of the flooring. If your bamboo flooring is not permanently fixed to the sub-floor or is floated installation, you can easily handle the repairs on your own. You have to simply remove the quarter or base round molding on the side of the room closest to the affected area and start disconnecting planks.

Preparing a Business Plan – 4 Important Factors to Consider

A business plan is a written outline about a whole new project that tends to deliver something new or unique in addition to keeping in mind the economic and practical feasibility of that project.

Having said that these plans about a project should be feasible in all aspects, preparing it would take lot of accurate calculations. So, here are some of the important things to be taken care of while preparing a business plan.

The readers should understand that it is a decision-making tool. So, everything should be accurate, to the point and absolutely possible. For example, the objective of the project should be clearly mentioned and the all aspects in the particular plan should be working towards achieving the object. It should not deviate even one bit. The presentation of the plan should be clearly understandable.

When you prepare a business plan, it is very important that you do not look it from your own perspective. It is the global market that you are going to concentrate when you present a plan. So, try to bring in facts, details and calculations about the competitor in the same field and how your plan is better than the competitor.

The main aim of your plan is to get someone to support your new venture. If you are clear about the competitor and the market, it is invariably true that you will impress the audience.

Another important thing to keep in mind while preparing a business plan is to never make assumptions or to give baseless calculations. The people analyzing your plan are highly qualified and aware of every tiny bit of information you give during your plan presentation.

Tone Your Thighs in No Time With Your Treadmill

Those treadmill reviews finally sold you on a particular model. So, you went ahead and purchased the unit. Now, you have it all setup in your home and you’re exercising regular. However, those treadmill reviews didn’t explain what comes next. Do you just keep walking forever at the same pace? Well, you can, but you’ll eventually plateau in terms of working out your muscles and in your cardiovascular workout. You’ll also be limiting results to just a fraction of what the treadmill can do for you.

Overview

By design, a cardiovascular machine, such as a treadmill, works all of the major muscle groups in a repetitive nature. This repetitive nature affords the exerciser high caloric expenditure while also increasing heart and lung strength. One of the greatest aspects of the treadmill, an aspect that the treadmill reviews often herald, is that it offers other benefits than simply working the cardiovascular system. One very popular benefit is thigh toning.

However, no matter how strenuous a workout is, it will begin to lose effectiveness over time. One might begin walking gently for 15 minutes every morning, but they will begin to achieve less and less as the body grows accustomed to the workout. This is called plateauing. When a treadmill workout becomes “too easy”, the exerciser has the options of lengthening the duration of the walk, increasing the speed of the walk, and increasing the incline of the walk. This is why treadmill reviews spend much time focusing on these efforts.

Another way to avoid leveling out is to avoid the repetitious movement. For instance, our natural walking motion works our quadriceps and our hamstrings. As we increase the cardiovascular elements of our routine, we can also mix in diversity to work on other parts of our body, such as focused toning and slimming of the thighs. Treadmills naturally tone the thighs, but with focus we can maximize use of the treadmill’s features for improve the efficiency of our work.

Step 1

Many people learn just enough about their treadmill to get them by. Think back to those treadmill reviews, and all of that discussion of how one model offered particular advantages. Let’s start leveraging those advantages. If you haven’t already, learn how to adjust the speed, and then to adjust the incline. Using a combination of speed increase and incline increase, the exerciser can achieve a more rigorous workout.

Step 2

Just because you can work out at a certain speed or incline doesn’t mean you should start there. Warm up and then start slow. Work up to your top speed or incline gradually. Not only is this better for your health, it more effectively tones your body. Perhaps walk at a brisk pace for a couple of minutes, and then increase that to a light jog, and continue at that rate for 3 minutes.

If you can handle it, turn up the speed to run at 80% of your maximum for 30 seconds, and then turn it down so that you are at 50% for a minute. This is a great way to manipulate your heart rate effectively. Do you remember all that talk of heart rate monitors in those treadmill reviews? If you have one, this would be a great time to start using it.

Continue alternating at this rate a dozen times, and then finish the workout with a low-intensity 5-minute jog. Keep in mind that this type of workout is very intense. It’s a great way to work out those thighs and increase your caloric expenditure. However, don’t take the plunge too soon. Work your way up to this rigorous level.

Step 3

At this stage, it’s time to perform incline intervals. Incline training is amazing for its cardiovascular benefits, and it increases the workload on your thigh muscles. Step 2 will provide the perfect warm-up to Step 3. First, turn the speed down slightly. Now, increase the incline until at a grade of 3 to 5. The range is generally 0 to 10.

Run at this incline for one minute, and then decrease incline to zero, and increase speed. Jog at this new configuration for 2 minutes. Then, turn the speed down, adjust the incline back to where you had it, and jog for a minute. Repeat this cycle a dozen times. When this becomes too easy, stop alternating, and perform the entire step in an inclined position.

Step 4

Remember to work out on a regular basis. Whether you want to improve conditioning or tone your thighs, it’s not going to happen through casual use of the treadmill. Four times per week at 30 to 45 minutes is a good target. It’s all right to divide the workout further as long as you are experiencing the full range each time. Also, use creativity to alternate workouts to keep things interesting. For instance, do all flat work one day, and all incline work the next.

How to Work Out the Front and Back Aspects of the Thighs

Step 1

Toning the front and back of the thighs, the quadriceps and hamstrings, will occur naturally when you follow the steps above. However, some people do their calisthenics work elsewhere, and use the treadmill simply for toning. In this case, the repetition is most important, so set the speed and incline at whatever allows for brisk walk or an easy jog.

Step 2

Perform interval training as described above, but there’s no need for it be as high stress. Alternate between an inclined and a flat level walk as often as needed to achieve proper recovery.

Step 3

However, the focus should be on lengthening the stress period, which is where the best toning occurs, and shortening the recovery time.

How to Work Out the Inner and Outer Aspects of the Thighs

Step 1

To work the inner and outer thighs, the exerciser stands on the treadmill sideways. In other words, face the handrail. Securely hold onto the handrail, and turn the treadmill on at a slow speed. Walking sideways will tone the abductors and adductors, or inner and outer thighs.

Step 2

Stick with the slow speed for a while. Even at a slow speed, this is a great workout, and the point now is to gain the balance and coordination that will allow you to handle this workout at higher speeds.

Step 3

Once you have the flat walk down at the lowest speed, raise the incline one grade. Once you have the feel for it, go ahead and raise it to a medium level. Repetition helps toning while incline works more of the leg muscles, and thus creates more defined thighs.

Step 4

Concentrate on moving your legs apart and then back together. While facing the handrail, move the left foot to the front of the machine. Now, bring the right foot to meet it in a side skipping or sachet motion. Now, switch sides and repeat the process.

Step 5

Only increase speed and incline when you’re comfortable with the current speed and incline. As you master this exercise, you can vary the incline and speed levels throughout the workout to increase intensity.

Tips & Warnings

• Always warm up. Yes, you should warm up prior to walking for extending periods.

• Use proper footwear. Failure to do so could damage your feet and legs over time.

• Consult with a doctor prior to doing anything more than a natural walking motion.

• Do you remember the discussion of the kill switch in those treadmill reviews? Learn how to use it.

• Using the incline requires a slower pace than a flat surface due to the increase in gravitational resistance.

• Treadmill reviews make a point of discussing handrail quality. It’s an important feature, and make certain you have a strong grip on them before performing inner or outer thigh work.

• Respect the machine. People underestimate the level of injury a treadmill can cause.

Hang a Deck Gate – How Tos and Expert Tips

GATE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Tools Required:

  • Power Drill/Driver
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Awl
  • Center Hole Punch or Centering Drill Bit (optional)
  • Plumber’s Level and/or a 24″ long Level
  • Styrofoam block length to support gate (included)

STEP 1 (Clean Working Area):

Using the Gate box and/or Styrofoam packaging material as a cushion, place the deck gate on your deck floor (being careful not to scratch or mar the finish).

STEP 2 (Install Hinge to Gate):

Make certain that you have purchased a good quality outdoor gate hinge and hardware of sufficient size and weight-grade to support a gate weighing at least 35 pounds! Also, be certain to use all of the screws that are provided by the manufacturer. Before continuing, determine the orientation needed for the hinges purchased so that the gate opens from the correct direction (inward or outward).

Place your first hinge just about even with the bottom of the Top Rail in a vertical alignment that is square/perpendicular to the edge of the gate. If available, have a second person hold the hinge in place for you.

(Note: Depending on the hinge product used, a small Plumber’s Level may be helpful to ensure that the hinge is plumb & aligned properly.)

Use a Center Hole Punch or an Awl to mark the center of the screw holes. Using a Centering Hole Drill Bit will be more accurate and will allow you to skip this step.

Using a drill bit that is smaller in diameter than the screws being used, pre-drill the hinge holes to a depth that is slightly less than the length of the screw. If you have a Drill Bit Gauge, use a bit that is two sizes smaller than your hinge screws.

Use a power driver to attach/screw the hinge to your gate being careful to NOT over-tighten or strip the screw holes. If you are not experienced in the use of the power driver, be sure to practice on a piece of scrap material. Repeat above for the bottom hinge.

STEP 3 (Attach to Deck Newel Post):

Special Note: Depending on the material, size and final weight of your gate, it is critical that your newel post is plumb and strong! Preferably, the post should extend down through the deck floor and be blocked to the joists/beams underneath the deck. This is required for Trex Accents gates.

It is helpful to have a second person to attach the gate to your deck. Hold the gate up next to the newel post at the proper height desired (close to the top of your railing).

A long piece of Styrofoam (the same as the width of your gate) is provided. Place it underneath the bottom edge of the gate to help hold it in place.

Properly align the top hinge where it attaches to the newel post (according to the hinge design being used).

Use a 24″ level to make sure the gate is positioned plumb & level. It will be helpful to use wood shims as part of this step.

Use a Center Hole Punch or an Awl to mark the center of the screw holes. Using a Centering Hole Drill Bit will be more accurate and will allow you to skip this step.

Using a drill bit that is smaller in diameter than the screws being used, pre-drill the hinge holes to a depth that is slightly less than the length of the screw. If you have a Drill Bit Gauge, use a bit that is two sizes smaller than your hinge screws.

Use the power driver to attach/screw the hinge to your Post being careful to NOT over-tighten or strip the screw holes.

Keeping the length of Styrofoam in place and using available shims, level the gate in place. Then attach the bottom hinge in the same manner as described above.

STEP 4 (Attach Latch to Gate):

After making certain that your gate is hanging properly in the correct position and smoothly swings open and closed, begin to attach the latch purchased.

First attach the gate latch part by placing it at the desired comfortable height (normally about even with the top hinge). Depending on the hardware design being used, you should attach it on the inside face of your gate.

Hold the latch in place on your gate and lightly mark the holes with a pencil. After verifying you have the latch marked in the proper position desired, pre-drill your screw holes in the same manner as mentioned above. Then attach/screw the latch using a power or hand screwdriver.

STEP 5 (Attach Latch to Newel Post):

Hold the latch part that attaches to your newel post in position so that it lines up with the gate latch part and closes/locks in place properly. Make a light pencil mark to keep the position.

After verifying that you have the latch marked in the proper position desired, pre-drill your screw holes in the same manner as mentioned above. Then attach/screw the latch part using a power or hand screwdriver.