Fountains – The Surprising Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Fountain

As a designer and creator of indoor fountains I am very aware of both the benefits and potential disadvantages of a fountain and I always try to educate my clients on these considerations. I want happy clients but if your fountain doesn’t meet your expectations, you won’t be, and there are a surprising number of factors that will determine this.

The most important consideration is where you intend to place the fountain because this will determine what type you buy. Fountains come in different styles and create different sounds and volumes of sound. There is the type in which water flows into a bowl, types that drip into a bowl and there are types in which the water bubbles up. The best fountains have adjustable pumps so you can control the volume more easily but they all make distinctly different sounds.

A fountain with a constant, regular drip or flow is not a good choice in an area where conversation is frequent. Even the lovely sound of water falling gently into water can become irritating if it is constantly competing for your attention. A fountain with an irregular drip might be fine in such a setting and a bubble-up type that can be turned down so you still see moving water but don’t hear it is probably the best choice for a quite setting in which people regularly come together.

The drip or flowing water type fountain, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for several other locations. Often people like to have one or two of these in their bedroom if they are subject to frequent or constant external noises they don’t want to hear. They can focus on the pleasant sounds of moving water and forget the less pleasant, unsolicited sounds reaching their ears. However, if you are one for whom the sound of running water creates the urge to visit the bathroom, the bedroom is not a good choice for any audible fountain.

Another good location for the drip or flowing water type of fountain is a room adjacent to the room you frequently occupy. I keep a fountain going in my dinning room which I can hear from my office and I find it the perfect background sound. I am not constantly aware of it, but frequently those delicious sounds do reach my ear and I can choose to listen to it at any time.

An entry or passageway that receives frequent traffic but no long-term visits is an excellent location for a dramatic fountain with a very visible, and audible display of moving water. Such a fountain can really dress up such a space and contribute a very inviting, pleasurable dimension.

Bubble-up fountains are equally as pleasing visually and audibly but they make a very different kind of sound from the falling water type. Perhaps a brief explanation on how fountains function is in order here.

All indoor fountains work by means of a submersible recirculating pump (usually electrical but there are battery powered pumps) which resides within the fountain. The larger the pump the more water it can display. This is usually measured in terms of gallons per hour (gph) for a certain distance or height. A pump I frequently use in my falling water type of fountains will give 70 gallons at 4 inches of height and 26 gph at 24 inches of height at maximum.

In this type of fountain water is pumped up some device to a decorative element such as a ‘leaf’ or ‘flower’ from which it spills back into the bowl. In most of my fountains of this type I have what I call a copper ‘WaterFlower’ that is the decorative device through which the water is pumped. This is comprised of several elements.

There is a copper tube which I anneal (heat to cherry red to soften the metal), allowing me to achieve graceful curves with the tube. The copper ‘leaves’ and the ‘flower’ are cut from fairly heavy copper sheet. These I prepare (hammer for shape, grind and file the edges, scrub, scour and pickle) to ready them to receive the enamel.

Enamel is ground glass and enameling is an ancient art form not widely practiced today. I paint a gum solution on the copper pieces and sprinkle the ground glass over the surface. I set these on the little enamel kiln to dry and when ready I place them in the kiln at fifteen hundred degrees. The glass melts and adheres to the copper. To prevent cracking I do this on both sides.

I then solder the leaves and flowers to the stem. This fits into the bowl in any of several ways, a tube from the pump fits over the stem, water is pumped up the stem into the enameled ‘flower’ from which it spills into the bowl.

In the bubble-up type a short tube is placed on the pump which points straight up. The pump is covered in glass beads or rocks and the water bubbles up either as a spout of water or as just a rise of water over the surface depending on what sized pump is used and how the volume is set on the pump.

Generally the bubble-up fountain makes a gentler sound, much like a small stream flowing over smooth stones but because the pumps are all adjustable, this can range from quite a lively display to perfectly silent. This type is excellent just about anywhere. I have a writer friend who keeps one of these at mid-volume on his desk.

Cat fountains are very popular these days but if you intend to buy a fountain for your cat the same considerations apply. If it is going to be placed where you will often encounter it for considerable periods of time, make sure it produces a sound you like. Although cats like the drip kind of fountains and will spend considerable periods of time with water falling onto their tongues many homeowners prefer the bubble-up cat fountains. A lot of cats like to play with water and if they begin batting at it they may dislodge the waterfall so the bubble-up type is a safer choice of cat fountain if your cat is inclined to splash around.

Speaking of splash, be sure the fountain you buy doesn’t have any significant splash. Not only can this damage surfaces, it drains the fountain and this can lead to damaging the pump. This is not a worry for most fountains however, as this has almost always been taken into consideration by the maker.

The final consideration on choosing an indoor fountain has to do with the electrical cord and the location of the pump. Most makers of table-top fountains, as they are often called, have the cord going from the pump, over the top of the bowl. Some have devices for hiding this, others leave them quite visible. In some of these units the pump is not accessible, so not replaceable. Since you are probably buying a fountain as much for the looks as sound, a visible cord is not acceptable.

Fountains can be wonderful additions to a home. The right fountain in the right place can enhance your home décor in a truly lovely fashion and provide you with visual and audible delights quite unlike just about anything else. A well placed (and the right kind of) fountain can give you delicious and soothing sounds, either throughout the day or evening or intermittently, as you prefer. Fountains are rated highly by Feng Shui experts who say moving water is a healthy element to have in your home or office. Personally, I love them and I love making them.

Smart Phone Scanners Vs PDA Scanners

You have probably seen them before, and even if you haven’t you will soon. Book scanners are the quickest and easiest way to identify those high priced books from the rest of the worthless (re-sale wise) books. This is the single most important (and probably most expensive) investment you will eventually make in your business. There are many different types of book scanners out there and choosing the right one for you can be an overwhelming process.

These are the two main options:

PDA Scanner:

PDA scanners are stand-alone units that are purchased specifically for book-scanning. You DON’T need a cell phone service plan or internet connection to use them. There are several different options to choose from but the most popular is the Dell Axim series (X50, X50v, X51v). These PDA’s are no longer manufactured by Dell but have found a niche use by book scanners because the are (relatively) simple to set-up and use.

Along with the PDA you also need to purchase a bar code scanner to plug into it which will actually scan the barcode on each book. Socket Scan is a popular brand of scanner that many book scouts use for their PDA’s. These two individual pieces work together to show you what the price of each book is.

You also need to purchase a subscription service to a company which will supply you with the database of information that your PDA will use to check the prices of each book. There are many different companies that offer this service, like scoutpal, fba power, neato-scan, and asellertool. I will go into more details of each and talk more about the pros and cons of each service in a later post. I will also tell you which one I personally use and the reasons why.

You can purchase a “Book Scouting Package” from several of these database companies. This package will include the PDA, Scanner, and subscription to the service. This can be a GREAT way to get everything you need without the hassle or headaches of having to set it all up. However, you will pay more for one of these packages, usually around $500-$700. You can do it more cheaply though. With a little research and savy shopping you can get everything and set it up fairly easily for around 1/2 that price.

PDA scanners are FAST and that is by far the biggest benefit for anyone who gets serious as a book scouter.

Smart Phone Scanner:

This is the other main type of device you will see a lot of people using when looking for books. These individuals use their existing smart phones to download an App that scans the bar code on a book by taking a picture of the bar-code and converting it to the ISBN number (*ISBN number is the unique 10 or 13 digit number assigned to every book to identify it: stands for International Standard Book Number). It then checks the book number against it’s database of books and prices that it has downloaded from Amazon.com, and then gives the user (you) the price the book sells for on-line. This is the same thing that the PDA does except that the smart phone is not able to do it quite as quickly. The reason for the slower times is that the cell phone has to be connected to internet while it is working and it has to download the data each time it completes a search. This download can take an extra 4-5 seconds for each book, which doesn’t seem like a lot. However, when you consider the fact that you could be scanning hundreds and even thousands of books a day, those seconds REALLY start to add up. Almost every serious professional book scout uses a PDA instead of a smart phone simply for the time savings. You can scan through 3-5 times as many books in the same amount of time with a PDA.

However, assuming you already have a smart phone and internet service, the cost of turning your existing smart phone into a book-scanning super phone is very low. You can find subscriptions to the services for around $30-$50 without purchasing any additional equipment. This can be a great choice for anyone interested in starting but leery of making the big initial investment in the PDA.

There are benefits of each type and downsides for both as well, deciding which one is for you is an individual choice that you should make only after doing a lot of research and figuring out which is best for you. I strongly encourage you to DO that research, look at the different options, different prices, and options for each.

I will also included a section in my book comparing each option and listing the pro’s and con’s of each, so you can save those hours of on-line research. If you were going to purchase the book anyway, this is just another huge benefit.

The Importance Of Architecture And Interior Design For Retail Businesses

Opening and running a retail business is more complicated than just buying or renting a space and opening for business. There is competition and the whim of the public to consider. there is also the proper display of merchandise and the safety of the shoppers who come. well designed businesses attract more customers and sell more of their goods. they also stay in business longer and make better profits. Taking the time and making the investment in a good architect or Interior designer is just good business.

Some things that must be considered in planning a retail business are location, store front design, traffic flow inside the business, customer safety, color scheme, ambiance, decor style, ease of maintenance and customer convenience. Location of different departments and display cases can make a big difference in the success or failure of a business. A professional store designer can put together floor plans that will work for each kind of business that take safety and traffic flow into consideration. Most businesses have one chance to impress the buying public. Waste that chance with bad ambiance or poor store design and the business will fail.

The first consideration, after location choice, is matching the design and decor to the product to be sold. A gourmet restaurant needs a different decor than a coffee shop or fast food place. A sea food restaurant needs different decor than an Irish pub and so on. The decor needs to match the product sold to be most effective. Most customers will be expecting certain decor for the product they are shopping for. An intimate apparel and lingerie shop will have a more feminine feel than a men’s sportswear shop. An Interior Designer or an architect specializing in retail design can suggest decor and merchandise arrangement that will help customers shop with ease and purchase more.

Once the business has a design that matches the merchandise, it is important to pick a decor theme within that design. This theme can be ultra contemporary, European, glam or traditional and everything in between. this theme can be in different colors. It is important to pick a color scheme that is pleasing to customers and encourages them to buy. There are studies that show certain colors in restaurants work better than others to encourage customers to eat and drink more. The colors of walls, flooring and store furnishings should all go pleasantly together making customers comfortable and in a mood to buy more.

All the decor items in a business should be easy to maintain and safe for clientele. flooring choices should be considered with safety in mind. No one wants customers slipping and hurting themselves on a too shinny flooring. The floor plans should group related items together for customer convenience. Check out lanes should be conveniently located and manned. A well designed and implemented store will sell more merchandise.

Winning at the Cornhole Game (How to Improve Your Technique)

Year after year do you see some of your friends not getting any better at playing bags? Perhaps that person is you? Perhaps even more frustrating there is always that one or two that just kick your butt routinely when you play? Is it not fun to play bags with those guys anymore? Have you ever just wanted to throw the board at them? If the answer is yes, then it is time to get better. The cornhole game is typically a hobby, but even still it is nice to be able to win more than once a year. What follows in this article is a list of techniques for getting better.

In order to get better at something you have to be at it for 90 days. It takes about 90 days for your body to get accustomed to something to the point of reasonable ability. 90 days is a long time though, so I recommend starting with smaller chunks. Commit yourself to just 30 days, where you practice at least 5 days each week within that month. One good way to get started getting better is:

Set up a weekly cornhole game with your buddies. The back alley with a cooler full of beer and some friends is a great way to pass the time and doing it regularly will having you pushing hole in ones, air mail deliveries, and many perfect slides for 3 points. This can be difficult at times though because it is often difficult to find 4 people consistently to practice with. Well, that is where the next technique comes into play.

The 2 man cornhole game. This is easy, and it will be some of the most intense bags game sessions you have ever had. Set up the two boards as if you were going to play normally. Line up with your opponent at one end and play as normal – then when you are done take score and walk yourselves over to the cornhole boards on the other side and do it again. The big advantage is that you get more than twice the play you would with 4 people. The advantage to you during your 30 days is that it is far easier to find one willing participant than 3 more. This greatly improves the chances you can play frequently.

Now, sometimes you may feel stupid telling someone you are so desperate to play a few rounds of cornhole that you want to just play two man. A good way to circumvent this is to convince a friend to do a local bags competition with you. This way you have a good excuse to practice this way often in the name of winning the competition. Face saved and you are getting better. When you can’t even find two people to play a game of bags with then you must go it alone.

Try this, every day you get home from work and pull the car into the garage pull out one of your boards and all 8 bags. Set up the one board pace out 30 feet and start tossing. Don’t let yourself go inside until you get 4 out of 8 bags in the hole. At first this will take you some time, but as you keep doing it, even over 30 days and definitely over 90 you will get a ton better.

The last thing is this, think about your throwing technique and research proper technique. It is important to settle on a technique that makes sense and that you can become consistent with over your improvement period. The cornhole game is all about consistency and so you need to settle on something early and stick with it. Good luck!

Eye Doctors Should Use Alternative Treatments For Eye Floater Symptoms

Pass the Prozac for the Eye Floaters? Posterior Vitreous Detachment is a common condition, which occurs in about 75 per cent of people over the age of 65. As people get older the vitreous, a jelly-like substance inside the eye changes. This can cause posterior vitreous detachment. The vitreous is a clear jelly-like substance within the eye, which takes up the space behind the lens and in front of the retina, the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye. It is 99 percent water. The other 1 percent consists of substances, which are important in maintaining the shape and structure of the vitreous. The outer part of the vitreous (the cortex) has the highest concentration of collagen. The vitreous is attached to the retina, more strongly in some places than others.

When a Posterior Vitreous Detachment starts the outer layer of the vitreous starts exerting traction at the points where it is adhered to the retina. The firm jelly-like substance of the vitreous changes with age. The central part of the vitreous becomes more liquid and the outer part (cortex) peels away from the retina. As it comes away from the retina it can cause the symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment. Many people are never aware that they have developed a posterior vitreous detachment but some patients notice symptoms such as floaters or flashing lights. Floaters can present with many different forms varying from little dots, circles, lines, to clouds or cobwebs. Sometimes people experience one large floater, which can be extremely distracting and make reading a difficult task. The flashing lights that occur are also caused by the posterior vitreous detachment. As the outer part of the vitreous detaches from the retina it can pull on this light sensitive membrane, especially where there are strong anchor attachment points. The pull of the vitreous in these areas stimulates the retina. This stimulation causes the sensation of flashing lights since the brain interprets all stimulation of the retina as signals for light. Sudden head movements often precipitate flashes as they cause the vitreous to move inside the eye.

Can anything be done to help with the posterior vitreous detachment? Yes but not what you would probably expect. Central floaters can be extremely distracting and interfere with daily functioning when they first occur. Unfortunately at this juncture there are no good medical procedures to remove eye floaters. Fortunately most people find that the symptoms calm down after about six months and eventually they largely dissipate from awareness. While there are no good studies to substantiate the perceptual adjustment the brain makes, Optometrists have observed the brain eventually learns to ignore floaters given adequate time, except in certain lighting environments and with eye movements. Logically this makes sense because the retina extinguishes any images that remain fixed and don’t move across the eye. Normal micro-eye movements that are always present assure that the world we live in is always visible. The blood vessels inside the eye do block the retina receptor cells but move in sync with the eye since they are attached to the top of the retina. That is why during an eye examination with an eye microscope you may notice a tree branch like pattern; the light is casting shadows from the blood vessels in areas that do not occur during normal illumination. The intensity and movement of the microscope light beam creates an unnatural pattern the brain has not adapted for. Several Eye Doctors have used laser therapy to disrupt floaters but this is not currently accepted standard of care due to the associated risks of damaging the retina. Also, on rare occasions special surgery  may be done to replace the fluid inside the eye. The risk is generally not acceptable for the benefit.

What you can do once the diagnosis is certain is request treatment for the psychological disruption caused by central floaters. You will have to pursue this as your own advocate as Eye Doctors generally do not recognize how disabling central floaters can be initially. They proceed on the knowledge that it will improve on it’s own over time and no treatment is usually needed. In the interim, patients are left with a perceptual deficient and anxiety. Treatment can include stress management techniques by a Psychologist or Therapist,  (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy), hypnosis, anti-anxiety medications, Selective serotonin  inhibitors medications like Prozac, or other alternative treatments to reduce anxiety and cause perceptual shifts away from the eye floater. Another possibility is fitting a tinted contact lens on the affected eye to degrade the overall image and lessen the focal awareness of a central deficit. Artificial tears transitionally used for the treatment of dry eyes can be used on a regular basis as distraction therapy.

Having something directly in your line of sight can be extremely disruptive and other than monitoring for any long-term retinal problems the primary therapy should be focused on reducing the effects of this disruption until the brain adapts. Posterior vitreous detachment does not in itself cause any permanent loss of vision. Your visual acuity should remain the same and you will be able to see just as you could before the posterior vitreous detachment started. You may have some difficulties to begin with because of the floaters and flashing lights though these do not cause permanent sight loss. The only threats to vision are the small chance of a retinal tear leading to a retinal detachment or a retinal membrane formation causing distortions in your vision. It is important to stress that retinal tears and detachments are much rarer conditions and that very few people with posterior vitreous detachments go on to develop either of these problems. Sometimes the vitreous is so firmly attached to the surface of the retina that as the jelly collapses it pulls quite strongly on the retina. In a few people this may lead to the retina tearing which in turn could lead to a loss of vision because of a retinal detachment.

Warning signs of a retinal tear or detachment could be an increase in size and number of your floaters, a change or increase in the flashing lights you experience, or a blurring of vision. If you experience any of these symptoms you should seek medical advice within 24 hours. This is particularly important if you notice a dark “curtain” falling across your vision, as this may mean that the retina has already partially detached. Early intervention may allow treatment of a tear before it becomes a detachment and increase the chances of a good recovery from a retinal detachment. It is important to remember that posterior vitreous detachment has been estimated to have occurred in over 75 per cent of the population over 65 and that while a posterior vitreous detachment does cause some disturbing symptoms it normally does not threaten sight. Your Optometrist will give you a thorough examination and dilate your eyes during your first visit. You can expect some light pressure on your eye as the sclera is depressed to see out to the edges of the retinal eye tissue. They will pay special attention to whether or not the retina is in any danger. If it isn’t then they should see you for regular eye examinations until the vitreous detaches and the period of risk is over. If you begin to experience the symptoms warning of a possible retinal detachment, such as increased or definite change in floaters, more severe flashing lights or a curtain falling over your vision don’t delay until the weekend is over, call to be seen the same day. The retina is extremely dependent on oxygen to live and postponing care 48 hours could result in blindness. Floaters can be particularly annoying. They get in the way of seeing things and can make some things difficult, for example reading a book. There is another way of trying to cope with this that some people find useful. If you move your eyes around you can create currents in the fluid within your eyes that can move the floater out of your direct field of vision. This is a strategy to use after a complete posterior vitreous detachment has occurred and the risk of retinal detachment has become minimal. Most people find that with time the floaters become less and less of a problem. In the interim, seek the type of treatment you need to deal with the perceptual and psychological sequel of the eye floaters.

LED Lighting – What Are Beam Angles?

One of the things you often hear about LED light bulbs, is that their beam angle is narrower than the old fashion incandescent light bulbs, or even than the newer CFLs.

What does this mean and is it a problem?

The beam angle is the angle at which light is directed from the light bulb. So a small angle of 20 degrees would be appropriate for a spot light, focusing light on just one small area. If you want more general lighting, spreading light over a whole room, a larger angle of perhaps 90 degrees would be preferred. In most domestic lighting situations beam angles of 30-45 degrees are sufficient to light a room comfortably.

The idea that LEDs have narrow beam angles stems from the older technology LEDs which were indeed designed for focused light in a narrow area. Today this is no longer true. New technology now means that LED light bulbs are available in a wide range of beam angles, from narrow spotlights to wider general lighting. Some LEDS can be bought in a range of beam angles from 15, 30, 40, 45, 60, 90, to 120 degrees. What this means is that there is a lot of choice on the market, sometimes so much choice that it gets confusing for the buyer. You can no longer just grab a light bulb from the supermarket shelf. There are decisions to be made!

The important thing when choosing LED lighting for your home, is to work out exactly what is needed for each area. A room lit by a single ceiling light will definitely need the widest beam angle available, whereas a room with several downlights placed in various areas of the room can use the average 35-40 beam angle as the lights will cover different areas of the room and overlap with each other. You will need a different type of LED light bulb for a table lamp than for a ceiling light, otherwise you might find that you are throwing light directly back at the ceiling instead of lighting up your desk or reading material!

When you are just getting starting with LED lighting, it makes sense to consult a specialist in the field, who understands all the different options and can advise on the best lighting solutions for your needs. LEDs are a considerable investment at the time of initial purchase, though they earn their way several times over when it comes to long life and energy savings, so you want to start off with the right ones. Look for a lighting specialist in your area who stocks a wide range of quality LED lighting. They should be happy to spend time advising on your requirements.

The Seven Barriers of Communication

Most people would agree that communication between two individuals should be simple. It’s important to remember that there are differences between talking and communicating. When you communicate, you are successful in getting your point across to the person you’re talking to. When we talk, we tend to erect barriers that hinder our ability to communicate. There are seven of these types of barriers to effective communication.

Physical barriers are easy to spot – doors that are closed, walls that are erected, and distance between people all work against the goal of effective communication. While most agree that people need their own personal areas in the workplace, setting up an office to remove physical barriers is the first step towards opening communication.

Perceptual barriers, in contrast, are internal. If you go into a situation thinking that the person you are talking to isn’t going to understand or be interested in what you have to say, you may end up subconsciously sabotaging your effort to make your point.

Emotional barriers can be tough to overcome, but are important to put aside to engage in conversations. We are often taught to fear the words coming out of our own mouths, as in the phrase “anything you say can and will be used against you.” Overcoming this fear is difficult, but necessary.

Cultural barriers are a result of living in an ever shrinking world. Different cultures, whether they be a societal culture of a race or simply the work culture of a company, can hinder developed communication if two different cultures clash. In these cases, it is important to find a common ground to work from.

Language barriers seem pretty self-inherent, but there are often hidden language barriers that we aren’t always aware of. If you work in an industry that is heavy in jargon or technical language, care should be taken to avoid these words when speaking with someone from outside the industry.

Gender barriers have become less of an issue in recent years, but there is still the possibility for a man to misconstrue the words of a woman, or vice versa. Men and women tend to form their thoughts differently, and this must be taken into account when communicating.

Interpersonal barriers are what ultimately keep us from reaching out to each other and opening ourselves up, not just to be heard, but to hear others.

Communication is not a one-way street. To have others open up to you, you must be open yourself. By overcoming these barriers to communication, you can ensure that the statement you are making is not just heard, but also understood, by the person you are speaking with. In this way, you can be confident that your point has been expressed.

Have you had difficulty communicating an idea in the past? Were you able to solve the problem? Is so, how?

Top 5 Air Purifiers – Reduce Allergies, Stop Snoring, Remove Odor

I need “a breath of fresh air” we’ll often say. It’s more than just taking a break – that “clean air” rejuvenates our respiratory system. We yearn for the purity of crisp forest air. Air purifiers help you achieve this in your home and office.

Add to this that most of us spend as much as 90% of our time indoors. Every day we breathe in natural air borne pollutants such as tobacco smoke, pet dander, dust, mold, mildew and pollen. Add the chemical pollutants from common household cleaners, wallpaper, carpeting and your house could be toxic. Next thing your respiratory system is irritated, sinus or allergies aggravated and perhaps asthma attacks are triggered.

Here are the five most popular air purifiers. This will help you find a good purifier and cut through the marketing baloney

#1 IQAir HealthPro and the IQAir HealthPro Plus is one of the world’s most advanced air cleaners. It is the only residential air cleaner to use HyperHEPA technology that is used in modern medical laboratories. This means these purifiers remove more pollution than conventional air cleaners. Germany’s consumer foundation rated the IQAir HealthPro Plus the most effective for allergy sufferers. It’s expensive but then it covers double the area of most other air cleaners. Plus it has an excellent warranty of 5 years.

#2 Honeywell Enviracaire 50250 Air Purifier is a compact unit perfect for just one-room or apartment dwellers. It has an activated charcoal prefilter that reduces odors from tobacco smoke, cooking, nursery, pet and plant odors. However, it is rather loud so make sure you can live with the noise. Highly affordable but check out the filter replacement price.

#3 Whirlpool Whispure 450 Air Purifier won’t disturb your sleep. Its highly energy efficient using about the same wattage as a light bulb. Make sure you check its dimensions, as it’s a larger unit compared with other brands.

#4 Alen A350 Air Purifier has great performance and is affordable, Perfect for a single room or office. The color décor needs work in that the cover is a very obvious Outer Space Blue.

#5 Blueair 601 Air Purifier is large but not unsightly. It’s built from steel and its 10-year warranty inspires durability. Its on rollers so is easy to move around. It’s quiet and the filters are easy to change.

Should I Match Wood Blinds With the Wood Floors or the Window Frame?

Redecorating one or more rooms in your home may be a part of the New Year’s Resolutions that you recently made. It is an easy one to keep if you stick to classic methods of switching out the look of a room. Paint can have a big impact in changing the entire feel of a room and so can the window treatments that you choose. If you want to try something new, getting wood window blinds can add a rich touch to the bedroom, library, dining room or living room of your home. Knowing which colors of woods blinds to get when you go shopping for decorative items for your room makeover will go a long way in giving your room a cohesive visual appearance with the flooring and window frame in the room.

Wood window blinds add a natural and warm look to any room just as wood floors would. When the blinds are in the down position with the slats closed, wood blinds offer excellent privacy, light control and efficient at blocking out cold air.

Since the flooring in your room that you wish to decorate is the largest area in the room aside from the ceiling, it helps to ground the room. If your wood window blinds match the floor, the eye will make the connection with the large floor area and it will add visual weight to your blinds. If the blinds are the same color as the window frame, it will give the visual appearance of detachment from the floor.

Whether you choose to match your wood window blinds to the floor or window frame is a matter of your preference. If your window is located on a tall wall and you wish to bring the visual height of the wall down, then it would be better to match the blinds to the flooring. If you match the wood blinds to the window frame, on the other hand, it will draw attention to the window area and away from the floor, which can help to make your wall appear taller. Your eye, as it travels along the room and the wall, will be stopped by the visual weight created with the window dressing and frame in combination.

Since you want to draw attention to the most attractive areas in the room and take attention away from the least attractive, you can place the window treatments accordingly in order to achieve the look you want.

All In One Pre Workout Supplements – Choosing The Best

There’s no doubt that if you’ve spend some time in the gym, opened up a bodybuilding magazine, or visited your local health food store, you have no doubt seen several product advertisements for pre workout supplements. It’s true that these supplements are the most popular bodybuilding supplements on the market, but with the constant flood of products on the market, which ones are considered to be the best? Im going to go over some of the top pre workout supplements on the market to date so you can make some smart buying decisions next time you’re in the market for one.

First, before we get into that you need to understand a few basic rules in regards to these supplements because they do differ and address different needs of bodybuilders. The first point about these supplements is that they contain stimulants such as Caffeine and Taurine. If you are sensitive to caffeine than you may want to opt for a non-stimulant pre workout product to avoid any side-effects.

The next major difference between these supplements is the inclusion of creatine.

Some pre workout powders have 1 or more types of creatine in them, whereas others do not and simply supply energy and N.O precursors. So you would need to decide if you want creatine in your supplement in order to narrow down your search.

Now let’s get to the supplements.

I’m going to mention 2 of the most popular pre workout supplements on the market that are considered all in one pre workout supplements because they contain creatine and stimulants as well as many other muscle building nutrients.

BSN N.O. Xplode 2.0

One of the most vastly advertised dietary supplements known as “BSN N.O. Xplode 2.0” and it is categorized as a nitric oxide supplement which is real popular now with bodybuilders. This supplement has a whole lot of ingredients in it including: various forms of creatine, caffeine, beta-alanine, and L-Arginine, just to name a few. L-Arginine is meant to force-feed your muscles vital nutrients by increasing blood flow in your veins, thus creating that muscle-pump that you often hear about. If you read any NO Xplode 2 reviews, you will notice that it is a very well-rounded supplement and is actually classified as a pre workout supplement due to its energy and muscle-building properties. There is a good amount of stimulants in it so make sure to start with a minimum dose to assess your tolerance.

BPI Sports: Pump-HD

Pump-HD is another very popular all in one pre workout supplement because it has 3 characteristics that weight lifters and athletes look for:

  1. Good stimulants
  2. Creatine Monohydrate
  3. Nitric Oxide precursors

There is about 300 mg of caffeine anhydrous per serving in Pump-HD which is about as much caffeine as 3 cups of coffee. This is a very good amount of stimulants if you like that caffeine rush, but if you aren’t used to it, try a ½ serving so you don’t get to jittery.

There is also 2000 mg of creatine monohydrate per serving which is actually not considered to be a full daily dose, but about half. The good thing about taking this amount of creatine is that it is not too much where you could get an upset stomach, which may occur if you are taking 4-5 g before you work out.

The last major benefit to taking this supplement is the nitric oxide precursors. A nitric oxide precursor is any substance that stimulates the production of nitric oxide or a “muscle pump“. Since the word “pump” is right there in the name, you know that PUMP-HD is going to deliver on just that. I can say that when I took PUMP-HD, I really felt the pump and it made me workout harder and for a longer period of time. It was quite enjoyable and I was able to get the most out of my workout.

Whatever supplement you decide to go with, make sure you read up on some reviews and testimonials so you can make some good buying decisions. Most of these supplements will last you about 30 days so it’s important to choose wisely.

Lose Pot Belly – 10 Steps to Lose Your Pot Belly and Have a Flat Lean Stomach

Every second person is sick of the stomach fat and bulges around the waist. We are so much indulged in work that we forget about the trauma faced by our body. We keep on eating junk and increasing weight. So if now you have made up your mind to lose pot belly and have a flat lean stomach, you are welcome.

Here are 10 effective steps to lose pot belly and have a flat lean stomach:

1. Positive attitude and commitment towards the goal set by you is very important if you really wish to have a flat stomach. You can never shed those extra pounds if you are not dedicated to the program opted by you.

2. Stop eating junk food immediately if you wish to lose pot belly. Make a daily food chart for yourself. You don’t necessarily need to make a diet plan but indulge health food in your diet like green vegetables, proteins, minerals.

3. Walking is very good for attaining a flat lean stomach. You must go for walk every morning for half an hour. Try to walk as much as you can if you can’t make up for morning walk.

4. Stop eating white bread and instead eat brown bread. White bread is a refined product and leads to huge pot belly. It is not even considered healthy.

5. Only use egg white for making egg dishes like omelet’s, boiled egg. The yellow part of egg contains a lot of fat, where as egg white has low fat content.

6. Many people think that skipping meals is a solution to pot belly. Let us make it clear that skipping a meal can never give you a flat lean stomach. It is advised that you take 3 meals a day and on proper time.

7. Drink warm water with some lemon juice mixed in it. This remedy is very popular in burning calories. You can really get benefited and lose that pot belly to get a flat lean stomach by this drink.

8. Keep on checking your weight and maintain a record to boost yourself.

9. Hit a gym 4 times in a week. Proper workout can really help.

10. Do abdominal exercises like crunches, stretching etc and take aerobics classes. Both are equally helpful in reducing pot belly.

Top 3 American Fridge Freezer Manufacturers

American Fridge Freezers add style and sophistication to a kitchen not to mention practicality. The side by side fridge freezer integration saves space and despite what many people think they can be fitted in most mid-sized kitchens and even in a small kitchen. The American Fridge Freezer market is dominated by few major players and here are the top 3.

Please note that these American Style Fridge Freezer manufacturers are not listed in any given order since this is not the intention of this list. These are simply what we consider to be the top manufacturers of this type of household appliance.

Samsung American Fridge Freezers

Over the years Samsung has become a major player of the household appliance market with top notch products in various fields such as the home refrigeration with a unique line of products like the stylish American Fridge Freezers. Samsung H series was a success with side by side refrigerators in black, white and stainless finishes to add style and elegance to any kitchen design.

The new G series side by side refrigerators utilises a high end insulation technology that provides an extra 100 litres of internal space without affecting the exterior dimensions. Samsung’s unique humidity control technology also known as Twin Cooling Plus keeps food fresher for longer by maintaining a humidity level of up to 75%.

Samsung American style refrigerators offer all the functionalities you and could wish for in a fridge freezer. Tilt can carry, Fresh Room, bigger box drawers, LED Tower Lighting and the list goes on and on.

Price range of Samsung side by side refrigerators vary from £600 all the way up to £1500.

LG American Fridge Freezers

LG is well known for its high definition Plasma and LCD TVs but what many people don’t realise is that LG also excel in the manufacturing of other household appliances, such as Fridge Freezers in particular the American style ones.

LG American Refrigerators differ from others for being what they call plumbing free, allowing you to install it anywhere you wish without the need of having to worry about being near a water pipe and tap. LG’s unique linear compressor minimises mechanical loss, saves energy, reduces noise, increases durability and brings nature’s freshness efficiently to your home.

Amongst all manufacturers LG is the one that cares the most about the environment by producing the most eco friendly refrigerators. The LG linear compressor helps you reduce your home’s carbon footprint by an amount equivalent to planting 16 new pine trees each and every year.

If you are looking for energy efficient eco friendly and cost effective American style refrigerator LG is your brand of choice.

Bosch American Fridge Freezers

Bosch household appliances are of the highest quality with incredible functionalities, attention to detail, stylish finishes not to mention the energy efficiency of all products. All these characteristics put Bosch amongst the high end manufacturers of white goods. With Bosch American Style Refrigerators is no different.

Bosch refrigerators go a step further when the subject is energy efficiency as they can save anything from 20% to 40% than ordinary A+ rated models, thanks to the exclusive “Green Technology Inside”.

All refrigerators have a stunning finish be it in gloss black, white or stainless steel with external in-door LED electronic controls, separate cooling systems in the fridge and freezer sections that prevent transfer of odours, SafetyLock and indoor water and ice dispenser.

Now it is up to you to decide which is the American Style Fridge Freezer that best suits your needs or the one that will blend in better with your kitchen design.

Create a Quick and Easy Home Remedy For Constipation

Constipation is one topic that makes everyone uncomfortable, especially if you are suffering from it. Constipation, a common disturbance of the digestive system, is something that most of us have suffered from or will at some point in our life. For those that have yet experienced this, it is when the bowels do not move regularly or empty completely even when they do move.

Your stool may become very hard, which makes it very difficult to eliminate and causing you to strain, which then causes even more discomfort. The causes of constipation vary and most are not a sign of anything serious unless your constipation is chronic.

Some causes include changing your diet, changing your physical activity and not consuming adequate fluids or the wrong fluids. If the constipation does not go away, it is possible that it can progress to other health problems as the toxins in your body get backed up. So to prevent this, there are some home remedies that can be done with no to very minimal side effects.

Drink Away Your Worries

One home treatment that I have tried is red wine. Not that we are advocating alcohol use, but red wine does have a cleansing property to it. Another very simple yet effective home remedy for constipation is something that is similar to what they use to use in the hospital – soap. The recommended application can be done in the shower, during washing you lather the appropriate area and then wait to rise off for a minute or two. You should discover that after leaving the shower, you should have a bowel movement and it should be much easier with less strain.

The Power of Fruit

There are other natural or herbal treatments that are also very effective. Pears are very good at treating constipation. If you are a chronic sufferer, consider adding pears to your daily diet. For the occasional sufferer, one medium sized pear after dinner or breakfast will help get the bowels moving along.

Grapes and prunes are also very beneficial in alleviating constipation. They create a laxative effect due to the combination of cellulose, sugar and organic acid found in these fruits. Not only will they help with treating constipation but they also help tone up the stomach and intestine to help alleviate chronic constipation. Papaya and figs are fruits that are also wonderful home remedy choices for constipation. It takes just a half a papaya eaten with breakfast to work as a laxative. Both fresh and dried figs also work as a laxative.

You Want Me To Drink What?

Of course, we cannot forget the infamous home remedy for constipation that is even used with infants. That would be castor oil in warm milk. Or I have also found that adding a little karo syrup to warm milk will also help get the bowels moving and it taste better. Two teaspoons of aloe can also be consumed per day as a home remedy to relieve constipation.

Pound The Pavement

If none of these sound appealing to you, there is really no replacement for drinking a couple glasses of water and getting yourself out the door to go for a walk. One of the number one causes of constipation is immobility and the other dehydration. Your body needs fluids and movement to remain healthy. That includes our bowels.

Learn to Play Craps – Tips and Strategies – Bridge Or Heel the Don’t Pass Bet?

Be smart, play smart, and learn how to play craps the right way!

If the payoff for a Don’t Pass Odds bet equals the amount of the Flat bet, then the Odds bet is bridged. The part of your Odds bet that’s equal to the Flat bet is placed directly next to the Flat bet. Then, the rest of the Odds bet is placed on top “bridging” them. For example, suppose you make a $5 Don’t Pass bet and the shooter rolls a point of 8. Knowing the true odds for the 8 are 6:5 (i.e., six ways to make a 7, and five ways to make an 8), you then lay $6 in Odds with the hope of winning $5. In this example, if you win the $6 Odds bet, you win $5, which exactly equals the amount you win with your $5 Flat bet (i.e., your $5 flat bet is even money, which means you win $5). Therefore, since your Flat bet and Odds bet win the same amount (i.e., $5 each), you bridge your $6 Odds bet by placing a $5 chip directly next to your $5 Flat bet, and then placing the $1 chip so it bridges the two $5 chips.

If the payoff for a Don’t Pass Odds bet doesn’t equal the amount of the Flat bet, then the Odds bet is heeled. This means you place the bottom chip of your Odds bet chip stack directly next to your Flat bet. Then, place all remaining Odds bet chips on top of that single chip but offset and leaning on that bottom chip (i.e., your Odds bet chip stack is crooked because it’s leaning on the bottom chip).

Confused? That’s okay, don’t get nervous. The dealer is always willing to help if you forget. After a couple of times, it all makes sense. It won’t take long before you’re a pro. If you’re not sure what to do the first time you try it, simply tell the dealer, “I want to lay some Odds but I don’t know if it should be bridged or heeled.” The dealer asks, “How much do you want to lay?” Suppose you say, “Fifteen dollars to win ten.” The dealer asks you to drop your chips on the table (dealers aren’t allowed to take anything, especially chips, directly from a player), and then he properly heels or bridges them based on the amount of your Flat bet. You’ll quickly get the hang of it. Just don’t be afraid to ask the dealer questions. His job is not only to deal, but also to be friendly and help the players.

Now you know! Remember, learn how to play craps the right way.

Buying a Torx Screwdriver Set – What You Need to Know

What is a Torx Screwdriver

My first use for a Torx screwdriver was in repairing my Compaq laptop. I had to go out to my local big box supply store and buy a set of Torx screwdrivers. I have since found them useful in home, auto and other electronic device repairs.

Maybe you have a Wii or cell phone that needs to be fixed. I have even seen kids toys that needed a Torx bit just to install the batteries. I am also sure you have seen these before, being used as a type of tamper proof screw head.

Back to my computer repair, there were only two sizes that were needed – a T6 and a T8. You are not going to get your cell or laptop open, without damaging it, without these tools.

If you do any type of electronics repair it makes sense to get a set before you need them, like on Sunday evening when the stores are closed. Since the screws come in many sizes it makes sense to get a set of tools. Either a set of Torx bits or a full set of screwdrivers.

If you have seen videos of Dell’s assembly line for computers you’ll notice the screwdriver hanging by cords at each station. These electric drivers with torx bits securely fit on the Torx screws allowing for a faster and more efficient assembly.

They “lock” onto the screw head much more securely than a Phillips screwdriver – and like a Phillips head you do need a different size bit for each size screw head – similar to an Allen wrench.

Torx Screwdriver Sets

Torx Screwdrivers are great for not only electronics repair but also good for giving your computer or game console a good house cleaning. Have you ever seen the clumps of dust and fuzz that build up inside most electronic gear, especially those with fans for air circulation.

By doing a routine cleaning you can prevent your game box from frying itself due to heat stroke. Getting a set of these screwdrivers is well worth it since you never know exactly what size of screw you might encounter.

The set I bought has about five of the most common sizes of screwdrivers. The tool sets are available in many sizes but the most common sizes are T5 through T10. They also retail for about fifteen dollars, which is not bad, for a specialty tool set.

Torx Bolts

A torx bolt is something new to me but if you do a lot of work on electronic equipment you are sure to run into some, and you are going to need a special Torx socket to remove it properly.

You can buy a single Torx socket, but the more economical choice would be to buy a Torx socket set. That way you will be able to use them on all of your gear.

You can find these tool sets in most electronics stores and most hardware stores. You can find the widest selection and best prices on the Internet. Your best bet is to buy them before you need them. If you buy a set with a wide ranges of sizes you should be all set when the time comes.

Torx Bits

If you are trying to do electronic repair such as cell phones, cameras, laptops you are going to need a special tool set.

Almost every piece of electronic equipment uses Torx screws. Each piece of equipment can use two or three different Torx screw sizes, so you will need a tool set with multiple sizes.

The best buy could be getting a Torx screwdriver with interchangeable bits or tips. These usually come with a range of Torx bit sizes that should fit all of the Torx screw sizes that you will run into. These, as with all tools, come in different qualities. Don’t go to the cheapest sets as these will not hold up if you are doing all a lot of assembly work.