How to Choose the Right Wedding Dress For Your Body Type!

Every Bride wants to look her absolute best on her Wedding Day! Many Brides have even been thinking about their idea of “the perfect dress” for years. But since every Bride is a different shape, how can a Bride choose the dress that makes her look the best?

The key to a Bride looking her best is finding the right dress silhouette for her body shape. No matter a Brides height, weight, size or shape, any Bride can look like a vision of perfection if she sticks to the principals of Balance and Proportion. Below are four loosely formed categories of body shape and the dresses that will most flatter those silhouettes.

1) Pear-shaped: A smaller upper body and waist, with larger hips, thighs, and buttocks.

The Empire Waist gown would be one of the most flattering for this body shape. The Empire style can create the illusion of proportion by enhancing the bust, while gracefully concealing the bottom half. This is done by creating a false waistline just beneath the bust, which gives the appearance of a small waist, thus creating a nice proportionate silhouette.

Another option is an A-line Dress, because it too can create a wonderfully proportioned shape (many bridal gowns actually come in an Empire/A-line combo, which is fabulous on this body shape). This gown includes a similar fitted bust and a skirt that floats away from the body, masking any larger parts on the bottom. It is especially recommended to embellish with beading on the top or to add small sleeves to help balance out the lower half.

2) Hourglass: A curvy silhouette featuring a smaller waist in relation to the bust and hips.

Those with an hourglass shape are very lucky because almost every gown will flatter their body. However, the silhouette that will best showcase the natural proportion of the hourglass figure would be the Mermaid gown (aka Trumpet, aka fit-and-flare). The Mermaid creates a tight and fitted look, and will display every curve. This gown hugs the body all the way to the knee, then flairs out like a mermaids tail.

The Sheath is very similar to the Mermaid style, in that it creates a slim and sexy silhouette. The Mermaid gown just goes one step farther than the Sheath because it is tighter and really enhances the curviness of the hourglass.

In a very close second to the Mermaid gown is the Ball gown. This gown has a snug fitting bodice ending at the Natural, Basque, or Dropped waist, and flows out in a dramatic full skirt. This style of gown also shows off the proportionality of the hourglass shape through the cinching in at the waist.

3) Long and lean: A lean, “boyish” figure with a thicker waist and narrow hips.

For a body shape that tends to be rectangular and lacking curves, the best thing to wear is something that creates the illusion of curves and proportion through its structure. The best option for a long and lean body is either the A-line or the Ball gown. These silhouettes are structured in a way that nip in and draw attention to the waist. A fuller skirt will help to create the look of hips, and some detailing on top will help to balance it all out. It is recommended to exaggerate the waist line by “belting” the waist (for example a sash or ribbon would work quite nicely). This will draw even more attention to the waist and thus create the illusion of an hourglass figure.

4) Busty: A larger bust in relation to waist and hips.

For the busty body shape, the most flattering gown would be the A-line or Ball gown. This style of dress creates volume on the bottom via the full skirt, and this volume is exactly what is needed to balance out a heavier top half. Dropped or Basque waistlines will also help to create the illusion of balance between the top and bottom of the body. In addition it is strongly recommended to avoid heavy beading or sequins on top, as it will only add weight to the bust area. Instead, it would create much better proportion to have the skirt be more ornate while the top be kept simpler. This will create a look of balance in the body.

Health Tips for Writers: 7 Ways to Reduce Strain and Fatigue From Typing

People who think writing isn’t manual labor haven’t done any. It’s true you don’t use your legs or cardiovascular system the same way you would in some occupations, but the strain on your eyes, neck, back, and wrists more than makes up for it. Headaches, chronic fatigue, and carpal tunnel pain are just a few of the physical occupational hazards facing writers and other workers who type a lot. As a professional freelance writer, I’ve become more familiar with these writing-related ailments than I care to be. To help others in a similar situation, here are seven ways I’ve found to help reduce strain and fatigue when writing.

1. Create a Comfortable Workspace

First, create a comfortable workspace. Your workspace includes your desk, your screen, your keyboard and other input devices such as a mouse or digital pen, and your chair. Discomfort, strain, fatigue, and pain can result from placing any of these in awkward positions.

Position everything so that you can sit up straight with your screen at eye level, your hands placed comfortably, your back and hips comfortably supported, and your feet placed comfortably on the floor. Adjust the height, lateral positioning, and distance of the elements of your workspace to achieve this.

Avoid placing your screen so that you have to tilt your head or twist your neck to see it. Keep your keyboard and other input devices at a height where you can drape your hands comfortably over them rather than flexing your wrists and fingers up when you type or click. Keep your input devices at a distance where you don’t have to overextend your elbows to use them. Adjust the height and positioning of your chair to conform with these principles.

2. Sit Comfortably

Creating a comfortable workspace is a step towards sitting comfortably, which is another key to avoiding fatigue and strain while writing. Good posture will also help with sitting comfortably. Following a few important posture principles will provide you with solid structural support, minimizing strain and maximizing comfort.

When you sit down to write, keep your head up so that the center of your screen viewing area is at eye level. Keep your neck and spine straight by adjusting your shoulders so that they align vertically over your hips. Let your feet rest supported flat on the floor or a supporting surface.

Avoid posture problems by monitoring the positions of your head, neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. Don’t lean forward with your neck or trunk. Don’t let your head droop. Don’t slouch your shoulders. Don’t push your hips ahead of your upper body. Don’t let your feet dangle behind you or stretch them out ahead of your body.

3. Warm Up

Warming up before you type will help you avoid fatigue and repetitive motion strain. This is especially important if you tend to experience wrist stiffness when typing, but it’s a good practice in general to prevent stiffness and boost energy.

Spend a few minutes warming up your eyes, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and fingers. Take at least 10 to 30 seconds for each of these body parts, moving in different directions to stretch the muscles and stimulate circulation.

Here’s a quick chair exercise warm-up routine you can adapt to your needs:

  • Open your mouth and eyes wide as if to yawn, then close them gently, clicking your teeth together lightly. Repeat 10 to 30 times.
  • Loosen your neck and shoulders by rolling your arms in circles, reaching up and out in front of you as if grabbing a big ball or a pair of rowing oars, then pulling your arms down and back behind you to complete the circle. Repeat 10 to 30 times. (If you are in an environment or physical condition which does not allow you to make large circles like this, you can make smaller circles by putting your hands on your hips, with the backs of your wrists on your sides as if making a pair of bird’s wings, and just rolling your shoulders.)
  • Push your hands out in front of you while flexing your wrists back and extending your elbows, as if pushing something away, and then slowly squeeze your fingers together while pulling back, imagining digging your fingers into something warm and squishy. Repeat 10 to 30 times.

I’ve found that warming up like this before I type makes a huge difference in whether I feel stiff or not.

4. Work in Short Bursts

Sitting and typing too long at one time will strain your eyes and body, triggering fatigue and reducing productivity. You’ll have more energy and write more if you work in short bursts instead of typing non-stop marathons. For peak performance, 30 to 45 minutes is about as long as you should go before taking a short break.

5. Pause to Blink and Yawn

Whether you’re typing or taking a break, you should pause periodically to blink and yawn. Staring at a screen and focusing too long strains your eye muscles and can trigger headaches and tension in the jaw and neck. You can alleviate this by remembering to pause periodically to blink and yawn.

6. Stop to Stretch

During breaks, running through a brief stretching routine will help you loosen up stiffness and refuel your energy. Simply walking around and moving your arms will help. You can also repeat your warm-up routine.

7. Use Alternate Input Devices

A final way to reduce fatigue and pain from writing is to use alternate input devices to cut down strain from typing. I prefer to compose my outlines with a pen in a notebook before I ever sit down at a computer. Other ways to avoid typing are to use a digital smartpen, which can convert your written words to digital text while recording your voice, or text-to-voice software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which will record your voice and translate it into text. You can even record yourself and then hire a transcriptionist to type it.

These are a few of the most important strategies you can use to reduce the physical stress and strain that comes with writing. Adopting these tips will make writing a more comfortable experience and give you more energy to get more done.

Properties, Uses, and Advantages of Quartzite

Today, many modern homes use quartzite for building purposes owing to its availability in unique colors and patterns. It is basically a form of metamorphosed sandstone. This stone is available in white, pink, and gray. Bricks and building blocks are also created with quartzite.

Properties of quartzite

Following is a short list of the exclusivity of this stone, which makes it a popular choice for various types of construction works:

1. One of the major properties of this stone is high resistance to wear and tear. This is a very hard stone and is also resistant to weathering. Properties like durability and suitability to every type of construction project is one of the major reasons for its popularity.

2. Quartzite has high abrasion hardness and is also resistant to harsh chemical attacks.

3. The surface of the stone is also very glossy, which is helpful for decoration and landscaping purposes.

4. It is available naturally in various forms, textures, and colors. It has a high aesthetic appeal and thus can be used for decorating the outer walls of the houses.

5. It is suitable for use in all surfaces – hones, polished, sand blasted, or flamed.

While there are so many properties, knowledgeable architects prefer it for being ageless – forever contemporary.

Uses of quartzite

Owing to its ability to split along the foliations, it is generally used for wall claddings and as roofing tiles. The granoblastic form of the stone has a medium-grained texture that allows the material to be used in the construction of floors. Various other types of exterior and interior designer tiles are also created with such stones. The stone is also a perfect choice for the construction of pool decks, entrances, stair treads. It is considered to be the best choice for areas where foot traffic is heavier. This is because; the material is easy to clean and provides a non-skid surface naturally. You can expose the stone to heavy traffic and harsh weather conditions. In the US, quartzite is generally crushed and used as aggregate base for pavement projects. It is interesting to note that during the 17th century, West African nations used the stone as money!

Benefits of the stone

1. It is an extremely hard stone and lacks tiny orifices. Thus, it can be used for shower floors. The texture of the stone will prevent people from slipping even when water spills on them.

2. Dirt generally does not accumulate due to its smooth surface and it can withstand stress. So, it can be used for flooring in areas of heavy traffic.

Are you interested to buy quartzite? San Diego comprises a few great suppliers from where you will be able to buy the material at the best price in the market.

Managing Penis Pain – Recognizing and Coping With a Skin Bridge

Circumcision is a common procedure that is often performed immediately following the birth of a male child, particularly in the United States and other Western countries. In the vast majority of cases, the circumcision heals without incident, with little more than a barely-visible scar.

However, in some cases, the incision may heal improperly, leading to complications such as penile adhesion. When this occurs, penis pain can ensue as the individual matures, and extra penis care measures may be necessary to resolve the problem.

What are penile adhesions?

A penile adhesion, also referred to as a skin bridge, occurs when the cut skin of a circumcision attaches, or adheres itself to the glans of the penis during healing. The result is a small strip of skin that extends from the shaft of the penis to the head. While this may not cause any issues in an infant or small child, the condition can become painful as the individual matures; the adhesion is not able to stretch and expand like the surrounding skin, and when erections occur, they can be accompanied by considerable penis pain.

Preventing adhesions

When a circumcision is performed on an infant or small child, the doctor often recommends that parents apply Vaseline or a similar product to the area for at least the first two weeks. This should prevent the exposed tissue from attaching to the glans and forming an adhesion.

However, in a few cases, a skin bridge may form despite this measure, in which case parents should have their child evaluated by a medical professional to determine whether further treatment of the adhesion is necessary.

In recent years, the medical community has increasingly recommended against the routine circumcision of male children, citing lack of medical benefits and pointing to risks such as adhesions. However, in rare cases, even uncircumcised males may develop a skin bridge. In the end, the decision to circumcise or not is a personal choice that should be made by parents (or by the individual himself) based on the advice of a knowledgeable doctor.

Treating a skin bridge – to cut or not to cut?

In the past, doctors often advised parents to simply pull apart the adhesion on an infant’s penis and allow it to continue to heal. However, tearing the skin bridge apart can cause pain, bleeding and scarring, and the torn tissue may simply re-adhere, leaving the child with the same problem.

Currently, doctors are more likely to advise a “wait and see” approach; boys often correct the problem by themselves as they explore and pull on the penis. If the skin bridge does not resolve by puberty, doctors may prescribe a topical cream that can help the extraneous tissue to break down, and after a time, the adhesion should simply pull away.

In more severe cases, surgery may be considered as an option to break the adhesion. This may be done through conventional cutting, or laser surgery may be performed. Men are generally advised to wait until adulthood, when the penis is fully formed and mature, before undergoing surgery. Following the procedure, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions for care; otherwise, recurrence is a possibility.

Extra support for stressed penis skin

For men who are dealing with a skin bridge, or even for those who are battling the everyday wear and tear that can be inflicted on a normal penis, a little TLC can tgo a long way toward creating healthier, more supple and attractive skin. It goes without saying that the penis should be kept clean, of course, and that protection should be used at all times during sex.

Men can also take this one step further by adding a penis nutrient formula (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) to their daily personal care regimen. A penis cream that is fortified with vitamins, amino acids and natural moisturizers is a good way to add strength and elasticity to the skin.

Dexterity Testing

Dexterity evaluation products examine a person’s motor skills with regards to the fingers, hands, and arms. Various exams exists to measure such performance abilities as eye-hand coordination, quickness at performing assembly tasks, and overall motor skill development. Dexterity exams are used in assessing progress when doing physical and occupational rehabilitation, screening applicants for necessary job skills, and evaluating the extent of an injury or other disability.

Most screening programs for dexterity naturally involve the use of some combination of fingers on both hands to follow some designated evaluation procedure, such as placing pegs into a pegboard. Some dexterity exams check for the subject’s ability to use not only the hands, but also test arms and shoulders more extensively as well.

A few standard testing procedures have established the accepted norms for measuring dexterity. They include the Purdue Pegboard Test, the Minnesota Dexterity Test, the O’Connor Fingers and Tweezers Tests, and the Roeder Manipulative Aptitude Test. In addition to these tests, others tests exist which measure coordination skills related to specific job functions.

Purdue Pegboard

The Purdue Pegboard was developed by an industrial psychologist at Purdue University to examine the capability of applicants to perform industrial jobs. This test provides a few different testing setups and procedures, and can be adapted to specific testing needs. Tests performed using the Purdue Pegboard Test setup include removing pins from a tray and placing them into a pegboard. Another part of the Purdue Test involves assembling a combination of pins, washers, and collars. Testing is usually timed for both of these test setups so that the results show both the quickness and accuracy of the subject in performing the dexterity tasks.

Minnesota Dexterity

This test has two versions, the Minnesota Manual Dexterity Test (MMDT) and the Complete Minnesota Dexterity Test (CMDT). Both tests measure eye-hand coordination. The tests involve having test subjects perform dexterity movements using disks. The CMDT includes five different tests in the entire test battery, which makes it more accommodating to testing a wider spectrum of dexterity metrics.

O’Connor Fingers and Tweezers Tests

The O’Connor tests are used for testing more precise movements of the fingers. The finger test requires the subject to place pins in holes, a setup similar to the Purdue Pegboard Test. The O’Connor Tweezers Test requires the testee to use a pair of tweezers to perform the pin placement. The O’Connor bare generally used to determine the aptitude of someone being considered for an assembly job such as sewing.

Roeder Manipulative Aptitude Evaluation

This test assesses a person’s ability to assemble and sort objects. The apparatus includes a performance board, rods with threaded ends, along with nuts, washers, and caps. The rods can be screwed into sockets on a performance board. Testing involves various sorting sequences as well as assembly testing. Subjects are timed as they perform sequences of sorting and assembly the rods, washers, caps, and nuts on the performance board. The Roeder setup can be used for a range of skills assessment.

Job Specific Dexterity Assessment

Other tests have been invented to check a person’s skills for a particular test or to understand progress made by rehabilitation. A hand tool dexterity test exists to examine a subject’s proficiency with mechanical tools, such as wrenches, and screwdrivers. There are other tests available that allow applicant screening and rehabilitation professionals to measure people’s ability to function in many different capacities. Wherever there is a widespread to evaluate someone’s performance with regard to a job function, there is likely a dexterity test available.

Some General Guidelines for Performing Dexterity Assessments

Although the various dexterity tests are somewhat extensible and can be used for many particular assessment needs, it is strongly suggested that the testing be correlated with the job function or skill for which the evaluation is intended. Otherwise, the results are meaningless.

The examples described above have become widely accepted because they use well-defined, systematic procedures. The core focus of dexterity testing is to normalize the results to understand what level of performance should be expected of a subject, allowing the evaluation to rate an outcome and compare it to a standard.

How To Frame Jigsaw Puzzles With Picture Frames

Making a picture frame to display a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to have fun and enhance your home.

A large number of people turn to the humble jigsaw to help keep their mind active and to enjoy some quiet time creating some great pictures.

There is an amazing range of jigsaw puzzles of various pictures and with varying levels of complexity available. Some people get bitten by the jigsaw bug and often the whole family can get involved in contributing to the outcome. It’s a bit like having dinner together around the dinner table rather than sitting in front of the TV. When you turn off the electronics and just do something creative or challenging with each other it becomes a good time to talk or if you are alone it becomes a peaceful time to think. Life is so busy and cluttered with numerous tasks that this thinking time is quite precious.

If you have spent several hours or weeks putting together a jigsaw puzzle and you don’t want to just put it back in the box, then framing it, is a great solution. You not only get a great decorative item but you can look at it and remember the time spent having fun with the family.

There are a few things you should consider if you are going to frame your puzzle.

It helps if you have done the puzzle on a rigid board so you can transport it to the framing shop. Usually the best way to transport it is to sandwich the puzzle between two pieces of plywood or MDF. Some people prefer to apply a layer of puzzle-fix to the surface of the puzzle once it is finished. Puzzle-fix is a transparent varnish that acts both as a protective layer but also as a glue to join the pieces together. You can use an artist’s acrylic varnish for the same purpose.

The picture framer will mount down the puzzle onto a substrate using either a wet glue like PVA or EVA or a self-adhesive coating that has been pre-applied to the mounting board. One of the common mounting boards used is self-adhesive foam board. The foam board is easy to cut and offers good support to the finished jigsaw.

You can always purchase some of the sticky foam board and take it home to mount the puzzle yourself. The way to mount the puzzle is to turn the puzzle over so it is face down on a hard flat surface. You can do this by sandwiching the puzzle between two rigid boards and then flipping it over. Then you peel the release film coating off the self-adhesive board and push the sticky coating down onto the back of the puzzle. Smooth over the backing applying firm pressure to ensure the puzzle pieces bond to the board. Carefully turn the mounted and glued puzzle back over and then rub down the pieces with a soft cloth to ensure that every piece has bonded securely. You can then frame the jigsaw as you would any other picture.

It is wise to consider using mat boards around the jigsaw to both enhance the image and to protect the puzzle from touching the glazing material. Pictures deteriorate quicker if they touch the glass. You should also consider a UV filtering glazing product if you want to get the best value out of the framed piece. Jigsaw puzzles are not necessarily printed with light-fast inks so they can fade and change color. You would minimize this color loss by using the UV glass and therefore get a much better outcome over the years.

Some people opt to not put glass on their framed jigsaw and they just use the protection provided by the puzzle-fix coating. This is a great option if you wish to economize or if it is just for a kid’s bedroom.

The other good thing to consider is many jigsaw puzzles are standard sizes and they often come in series or collections. It is easy to do a puzzle and have it framed simply and then when you are tired of it you can do the next puzzle in the series and just re-use the picture frame. Sometimes the puzzle can be framed without adhering it to the board so when you want to change it over it can be put back in the box.

Next time you want to get a new picture framed maybe think of a jigsaw puzzle as a way to have some fun and to decorate a room at the same time.

The Acid – Alkaline Debate: Part 3 – 6 Steps To Go From Acidic to Alkaline!

Before I go into the steps you can take to create the proper alkaline balance in your body, I want to quickly review several items to drive home my personal belief that most dark colas, whether they be regular or diet, have been one of the leading causes of all the degenerative diseases we are seeing. It is not the sole cause but a leading contributor. Why?

Remember What We Said About the pH Scale?

The pH scale is not arithmetical but logarithmic. Logarithmic means that the values separating each unit are not of equal value along the scale but increases in proportion to their distance from a pH of 7. For example, a pH reading of 6 is 10 times more acidic than 7, but a pH of 5 is not 20 times more acidic but 100 times more acidic. If you’re catching on, then a pH reading of 4 is 1000 times more acidic that a pH of 7.

The pH value for Coca-Cola is 2!

That would make it 100,000 times more acidic than a pH of 7. If your diet is lacking in alkalizing foods, then how are you going to offset this high acidic environment? Your body is going to pull calcium and other minerals to offset this so that you can maintain a slightly alkaline environment. If your diet is high in acidic foods and drinks, poor in alkaline foods and lacking in mineral and trace mineral intake, then you are setting yourself up for calcium to be taken from your bone structure. This is a recipe for osteoporosis.

6 Steps to Go From Acidic to Alkaline!

To regain your optimal pH balance, you will need to take the following steps:

1. Change your diet to include more alkalizing foods.

2. Increase your water consumption and eliminate dark colas.

3. Cleanse and detoxify your body of microforms and the toxins they have created.

4. Replenish your mineral reserves.

5. Replenish your enzyme reserves.

6. Replenish the populations of healthy probiotics in your GI tract.

When someone consumes a diet rich in acid producing foods, the body’s overall pH balance can be thrown off. To counter this effect, alkaline food and water must be consumed to provide the nutrients necessary to neutralize the acids and toxins created from an acidic diet. The top alkalizing foods and nutrients are:

o Wheat Grass

o Calcium

o Sodium

o Potassium

o Chloride

o Bicarbonate

o Kamut Grass

o Barley Grass

o Alfalfa Grass

Think Green – Think Green Fusion Technology!



Notice that it is the grasses and certain key minerals that are necessary part of your diet. A good Green Fusion drink would be an excellent replacement for the dark colas. A diet rich in green and colorful vegetables would help create an alkaline diet. Increasing your intake of pure, clean water to at least ½ gallon per day will not only aid in maintaining the right pH balance but will also aid in weight management and weight loss. Get a good mineral supplement into your daily diet plan. However, Tums with Calcium is not the answer. Even though calcium is an alkalizing mineral it needs the acidic environment of the stomach to be absorbed properly. The purpose of Tums is to reduce stomach acids. This interferes with calcium absorption. I’ve never understood why doctors promote this type of product in their offices as a calcium supplement.

There is so much more that could be said in this area. Hopefully, these three articles on The Acid – Alkaline Debate have provided you with knowledge which is the precursor to prevention. As our American culinary tastes have evolved to the Super Size Me diet of acidic foods, we have also seen an explosion of both the waist line and degenerative diseases. Diseases that are not only preventable but robbing us of our youth and vitality as we grow older. You can see the critical importance of maintaining an alkaline environment for your body. Enjoy the foods that will help you create optimal health and wellness and potentially allow you to live a long life disease free.

Ancient Roman Art

Roman art includes sculpture, painting, architecture, and mosaic work, as well as luxury glass objects, gem engraving, metal-work, and ivory carvings. Roman artists were very creative, and often borrowed artistic styles from several cultures, including Greek, Etruscan, native Italic, and Egyptian.

Sculpture and figure painting were considered the highest forms of art by the Romans, but unfortunately, while a great deal of sculpture has survived to the present, very few paintings have survived. The best known and most important paintings to have survived are the wall paintings from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other nearby sites. These paintings show how wealthy residents of a seaside resort decorated their villas in the period preceding the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, which decimated these areas. A large number of paintings from 3rd century CE Roman Catacombs, parts of painted rooms from Rome and elsewhere, and Fayum mummy portraits from Roman Egypt have also survived (prior to 200 CE, the themes of Catacomb paintings were pagan in nature, but after that, Christian themes were mixed in with the pagan themes).

Roman painters used a variety of themes, including portraits, mythological subjects, animals, still life, and scenes from everyday life. During the Hellenistic period, scenes of the countryside were common. These scenes included rural mountainous landscapes, shepherds with their herds, country houses, and rustic temples. Also, erotic scenes were quite common.

Roman sculpture borrowed heavily from both the Greeks and the Etruscans. As a result of the Roman conquests of Greek territory, many Greek sculptors were enslaved by the Romans and it was reported that, by the 2nd century BC, the majority of the sculptors working in Rome were Greek. Because of the vast numbers of Greek statues that were imported into Rome, and the large number of Greek sculptors working there (and presumably using their Greek training and experience in producing their works), it has been very difficult to identify which of the surviving sculptures were of Greek design and which were of uniquely Roman design (even Roman temples were often decorated with re-used Greek statues).

The Romans did not attempt to compete with the magnificent free-standing Greek statuary. Instead, they produced historical works in relief. The most famous works of this type are the great Roman triumphal columns, which were made with continuous narrative reliefs winding around them (the columns commemorating Trajan and Marcus Aurelius still survive in Rome).

All forms of luxury small sculpture (often of extremely high quality) were very popular, as well as molded relief decoration of pottery vessels and small figurines.

His Most Famous Painting (The Study For This Sovereign Life) – Jim Dine

Jim Dine (b 1935) is a well-known American ‘Pop’ artist (painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performance artist, stage designer, and poet) of the twentieth century. ‘Pop Art’ is a form of ‘Contemporary Art’ that derives its ideas from commonplace to unique materialistic objects, such as packaging of products, advertisements, comic strips, and photographs of celebrities. Dine has repeatedly used ordinary and familiar objects of personal significance in his paintings. These objects usually are bathrobes, hearts, birds, flowers, hands, or tools. The painter depicts his popular ‘heart’ in his most famous painting, “The Study for This Sovereign life” too, which gained fame as his best creation of all time.

“The Study for This Sovereign life,” measuring 48″ X 73″, is a work of oil and sand on canvas, and was created in the year 1985. The diptych has a blue background and a rope like string divides it into two sections. On the left side is a deadly skull, and on the right side is a bright red heart. In spite of its depiction of the abominable skull, “The Study for This Sovereign life” is passionately filled with brilliant colors. A splendid contrast is created, as the blood red hue is set against radiant blue color. The painting takes on a dazzling sheen, as a tinge of striking orange and green shades are added to it.

Despite being known as a successful ‘Pop’ artist by the world, Jim Dine often deviates from the insipidness and the inexpressive nature of popular art. He does this by creating lively paintings that are fused with passion and the common experiences of daily life. He believes that he is too subjective to fall in the genre of ‘Pop Art,’ and that ‘Pop Art’ is a mere facet of his style of painting. According to him, the popular images of daily use are not the subject of his drawings. They are just a part of his landscapes. His real interest lies in creating personal images, such as paintings depicting his own palette and brush, his studio, his experiences as a painter, his other paintings , color charts etc. In short, he is fond of portraying simple objects from his own life in his work. His paintings such as “The Study for This Sovereign life” are therefore a mode of personal expression.

Dine’s work has been highly appreciated and admired in many parts of the world. Apart from the United States, his pictures and sculptures have found a place in various museums across Europe. The great amount of recognition received by “The Study for This Sovereign life” has made it a masterpiece of historical significance.

Jewelry – Earrings, The Most Important Piece of Jewelry – 2009 Emmy Awards

Why are earrings the most important piece of jewelry? By important I mean the piece that will do the most for your appearance. As with all jewelry it should blend with your overall fabulous look. You don’t want people to first comment on your great jewelry and then you. Your overall look is what needs to be attractive, then after the comments of how fabulous you look, they can notice your cool jewelry.

Earrings are what frames your face, if the colour and style are right they will be like two spotlights adding a glow to your face, making it brighter and more alive. On the whole an earring with a decoration on the front of the post covering the pierced hole gets the reflected light starting from the right point. Earrings with a shepherd hook usually start from a lower aspect and if they are a heavy earring it also shows up the drag on the lobe, these are more suited for casual wear. Some, especially older women probably will look a lot younger if they do not wear this type at all. There is nothing attractive about a saggy earlobe.

Looking at the Oscars 2007, on the Red Carpet almost all of the earrings worn were decorated from the front of the post, very few wore shepherd hook earrings. Most earrings at the Oscars were quite elaborate but not overly so. Some like Nicole Kidman only wore tiny studs.

Little has changed in the last two years. Here are some examples from the 2009 Emmy Awards – who from some groups were voted the top ten best dressed.

Olivia Wilde – 1.5 inch drop earring with a gem at the piercing and another at the end of the drop.

Rose Byrne – Flower shaped button style

Kate Walsh – A small wide hoop

Kristin Chenoweth -Stud earrings

Mila Kunis – Stud over piercing with a large drop chandelier

Heidi Klum -Large button over piercing and a very long shoulder duster.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Stud over piercing with a short chandelier drop

Christina Applegate – Stud earrings

Tina Fey – Stud over piercing with a 1 inch drop and round gem at the bottom

January Jones – Small stud with a 1 inch drop and a larger round gem at the end.

From the examples above, none of these well dressed women had exposed pierced holes. One may conclude from this that especially for formal wear, don’t expose the holes in the lobes.

The history of earrings seems to date back to the earliest of times. The examples found in the ancient countries were nearly all a variation of the hoop earring, a style that is still popular today. In Cyprus, from the middle of the 2nd Millennium BC the popular earrings were painted terracotta in the form of stylised nude females. Earlobes were pierced 2 or 3 times and large terracotta hoops suspended from them.

In Ancient Egypt jewels were an important part of the costume, worn by men, women and children. Jewelry was also used to adorn statues. The earrings were in various hoop styles. Earlobe piercing was evident and earlobes were often extremely elongated and deformed by the use of very heavy ear ornaments from early childhood.

From the late 4th Century BC earrings were becoming more elaborate in design. The earrings often had suspended pendants and chains. Filigree, granulation, leaf, rosettes and doves were all used to decorate the boat or lower half of the hoop.

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance it was a lean time for earrings due to the fashion of high collars and a headdress that often covered the ears. It took centuries up to about the 1530s for the earring to emerge again as hair and headdress styles changed. The new earrings were in the form of plain gold hoops with a pearl drop. It was not until the 17th century that the earrings started to make a real comeback, again they often contained pearls.

By the middle of the 17th century earrings were an essential item and they became more complex and interesting. They used ruby, pearls, emeralds and enamel in floral motifs.

18th and 19th centuries saw some beautiful and elaborate designs, often using semi-precious stones. Also diamonds and pearls and very intricate goldsmith techniques.

Early in the 20th century around 1910 to 1930 Art Deco style was popular. Around this time ear piercing began to be thought of as barbaric, and clamping earrings to the lobe with a screw fitting became popular.

1947 saw the feminine new look by Dior. This set the scene for earring design to come to the fore in a creative new way.

1970s saw earring design become larger and more varied. The ever popular hoops were back in demand, many of these hoops were decorated with precious stones.

Then in the late 1970s ear piercing started to become popular again. This trend has continued up until today when almost every woman, a large number of men and children have their earlobes pierced.

Today the styles are very diverse from studs to shoulder dusters. The very elaborate and expensive to the economical. Fortunately the economical earrings can look nearly as good as some of the more expensive ones. This is due in part to the technology and quality of man- made gemstones that can be very beautiful. For example the cubic zirconia which is made from minerals and resembles the much more expensive diamonds. Cubic zirconia is not quite as hard as a diamond but it can be cut and faceted in the same designs as a diamond can be cut. They can be colored to resemble ruby, emeralds, sapphire or any other stone. The choice is yours, try all styles and see which does the best for you. Enjoy your earrings and look fabulous.

Integrated Control Options for Root Knot Nematodes Part 2

Following on from Part 1 of this article where we talked about what root knot nematode (RKN) is, the symptoms and some soft options for control, in this article, we look at the rest of the tools that can be used in an integrated control strategy.

Crop Rotation with Tolerant Crops

Rotate susceptible crops, or crops which have become badly infected, with crops of brassicas such as cauliflower and cabbage or other crops such as strawberries.

Recent research has also shown that the addition of forage brassicas (a type of mustard) to the soil not only adds extra organic matter – thus helping to improve soil structure – but also helps to control nematodes and helps to prevent weed seed from germinating. The reason for this is that all brassicas produce a chemical which breaks down in wet soil to produce a cyanide-like gas. This reduces soil borne diseases (unfortunately, some good microbes too) and also helps to reduce nematodes (but does not seem to affect earthworms). There is a specific brassica known as ‘Nemcon Fumigation Brassica’ which produces higher concentrations of gas than the other brassicas.

Forage brassicas should be planted in autumn and dug in just before flowering whilst keeping the soil moist. They can be also slashed and left on the surface – although this is not quite as effective – where it is impractical to dig it in (because of pipes etc).

A wide range of other plants, produce chemicals that are antagonistic to nematodes. These include: castor bean, chrysanthemum, crotalaria, indigo, jackbean, partridge pea, sesame, sorghum-sudan and velvet bean. All of these crops can be used in rotations or mix-cropped with vegetables. Sun hemp, a tropical legume, and sorghum-sudan, a prolific grass crop plant are popular cover crops that can be grown for their nematode-suppressive properties between vegetable crops.

Soil Solarisation

Soil solarization as described by Wikipedia is “an environmentally friendly method of using solar power for controlling disease agents in the soil by mulching the soil and covering it with tarp, usually with a transparent polyethylene cover, to trap solar energy. It may also describe methods of decontaminating soil using sunlight or solar power”.

Essentially, this is a method of heating the soil so as to kill insect pests, diseases and nematodes. It is simple, cheap and effective.

Rotation and Inter-planting With Marigolds

Most varieties of marigold (Tagetes species) are resistant to RKN because their roots secrete nematicidal chemicals. Research shows that tomatoes planted 2 weeks after African marigolds were dug in showed a 99% reduction root lesion nematode (different from RKN, but a damaging nematode nonetheless). This makes marigolds an ideal rotation crop or inter-planting crop to be planted within or around your vegetable crop. Petite Harmony and Petite Yellow are known to be particularly effective.

If you want to treat a previously infected area of your veggie garden, plant your marigolds in strips or blocks within this area. You can treat a section of your veggie patch at a time. To do this, plant seed or seedlings about 15 cm (6 inches) apart and keep weeds out until the marigold plants have canopied. After flowering, remove the seed heads and keep some seed for the next crop. Removing heads will also reduce volunteers in your subsequent veggie crop. After removing the heads, incorporate the marigolds into the soil with a fork. (A fork is better than a spade, especially if you have nice populations of earthworms in your garden). You can also inter-plant your crops with marigolds which will act as a deterrent to RKN.

Destruction of Infected Roots

Where a crop has become infected, it is imperative to dig up roots and destroy them immediately after your crop is harvested. This will remove a large proportion of the nematodes which would otherwise carry over to infect the next season’s crop.

Reducing Crop Stress

Any crop which is stressed will more easily succumb to infections, not only from pests and diseases, but also from nematodes. Use mulch, water regularly and fertilise.

Finally:

Use of Kelpak, to Generate Root Growth

Kelpak is a natural seaweed extract available in many countries around the world. It generates new root growth. This seaweed product can be used where an infestation has or is occurring in a crop. It does not control the nematode, but rather, it induces new root growth to compensate for loss of root mass caused by RKN. In some areas, where resistance is occurring to hardline nematacides, use of products like Kelpak, help a crop effectively overcome nematode damage and reduces yield losses.

Silica

Use of products that contain silica, such as diatomaceous earth, also help to control nematode and RKN damage. Diatomaceous earth would need to be incorporated before planting, but there are liquid silica products available that can be watered into a crop where the known risk for nematode damage is high eg tomatoes in sandy soil. If used on a regular basis throughout the crop life, such silica products will deter nematode infestation and damage and enable you to harvest a good crop.

I hope all these pointers have been a help.

Good luck!

Lucia Grimmer

History of Fireplace Tools

Many different fireplace tools are used when it comes to building and maintaining fires in home fireplaces and each one of these tools has a different story to be told as to how they came to appear on your fireplace hearth. This history will deal with the andiron, bellows, pokers and fireplace screens. Also included with fireplace tools are shovels, tongs, brushes but it is rather hard to determine how and when these particular tools began to be used.

To begin our discussion let’s start with the definition of tool. This is a device that provides a mechanical advantage in accomplishing a physical task. Archeology has determined that man was using various tools from the beginning of our existence. A tool can be as simple as a stick used to poke at something to reach and move it.

Poker

With that in mind let us start our exploration of the history of fireplace tools with the poker. A poker, also known as a stoker, is a short, rigid rod, used to move the burning material in a fire. Today’s fireplace pokers are usually made of metal with a point at one end for pushing burning material and a handle at the other end. Archeology shows that we have used pokers as a fireplace tool since the Paleolithic period. This period is the prehistoric era noted for the development of the first stone tools. It covers the period from 2.5 or 2.6 million years ago until around 10,000 BC with the introduction of agriculture. It represents the greatest portion of human time on Earth (about 99% of human history). Archeologist think that fireplace pokers were invented right after the discovery of fire (790,000 years ago) and the earliest pokers were most likely of the same material as the fuel for the fire – that is wood. At the beginning the fireplace poker, or “firestick” was probably a large branch of some type used to help keep the fire going.

Down through the ages this fireplace tool has evolved and, as other tools were used, the fireplace poker has gone in and out of favor. Up to the 17th century in England you might find only a fire fork and andirons for the fireplace but by the 19th century a fireplace poker was always used and the fire fork had almost disappeared.

The first successful mass production of pokers as a part of an entire fireplace set was designed and manufactured in Cape Girardeau, Missouri by the RL Hendrickson Manufacturing Corporation in 1898. From that time until now the poker is almost always considered a part of the assemble of fireplace tools.

“By fire-irons…the housekeeper and the ironmonger understand a fire-shovel, poker and pair of tongs. These implements were not all of them found upon the ancient hearths of this country; nor were they all necessary when wood was burned upon a fire-place…The use of pit coal, and of close fire-places, let to the adoption of the poker now in universal requisition.” Robert Hunt, A Treatise on the Progressive Improvement and Present State of the Manufactures in Metal, 1853.

Andirons

An andiron is a horizontal bar upon which logs are laid for burning in an open fireplace. Andirons usually come in pairs. They hold up the firewood so that a draft of air can pass around it and allow proper burning and less smoke. Andirons stand on short legs and are usually connected with an upright guard.

As man began to study fire and its properties in earnest it was discovered that allowing the circulation of air around the fire led to better fires. Because of this discovery andirons became more and more popular. In the 16th to 18th century AD they were also used as a rest for a roasting spit or to hold porridge.

Before the 14th century andirons were almost always forged from wrought iron and were very plain. During the period of the Italian Renaissance (14th to 17th centuries AD) many ordinary objects of the household came to the attention of artists and design and skill were used to product andirons. The andiron reached its most artistic development under Louis XIV of France (late 1600s). The guard (the upright portion of the andiron) was elaborately ornamented. Patterns consisted of heraldic symbols, sphinxes, grotesque animals, mythological creatures and much more.

Sometimes andirons were referred to by the creature they portrayed. One example of this that continues to this day is firedog. Andirons that portrayed dogs were called firedogs. This plays on the dual meaning of the word dog (canine and inanimate holder). In some areas firedog began to be used to refer to any andiron. In the United States andiron was once used only in the North and dog iron, firedog or just dog was used to identify andirons in the South. The Southern term is still used in that region but andiron is now used everywhere.

“Fire-lighting, however simple, is an operation requiring some skill; a fire is readily made by laying a few cinders at the bottom in open order; over this a few pieces of paper, and over that again eight or ten pieces of dry wood; over the wood, a course of moderate-sized pieces of coal, taking care to leave hollow spaces between for air at the centre; and taking care to lay the whole well back in the grate, so that the smoke may go up the chimney, and not into the room. This done, fire the paper with a match from below, and, if properly laid, it will soon burn up; the stream of flame from the wood and paper soon communicating to the coals and cinders, provided there is plenty of air at the centre.” Isabella Beeton, Book of Household Management, 1861.

Bellows

The bellow is a mechanical device for creating a jet of air. It usually consists of a hinged box with flexible sides, which expands to draw air in through an inward opening value and contracts to expel the air through a nozzle.

The bellow was used extensively in medieval Europe (5th to 16th century). It was used to speed combustion for a blacksmith and later to operate pipe organs. One of the simplest and most familiar types of bellows is the manual one used with fireplaces. The expandable chamber consists of a leather bag with pleated sides. The bag is fixed between handles to expand and contract. The inlet and outlet vents are provided with values so that air must enter through the first and leave through the second. Thus the fireplace bellows becomes a simple air pump.

When we think of fireplaces we usually think of these simple bellows. But bellows have had a major role in history. Metal smelting was not possible until after the invention of the bellows which made the fore possible. Bellows deliver additional air to fuel and raise the rate of heat output which is needed for smelting. Around 3000 BC hand operated bellows were used for metal smelting (bronze). The first evidence of iron smelting is around 930 BC.

Though early man did not need to get their heating and cooking fires up to the temperatures needed for smelting they did discover that fireplace bellows made fire building easier. Stoking kindling with a bellow produces a hotter flame and logs start much quicker. This is especially important when you are working with wet logs. Also, fireplace bellows were used early on to create an airstream to blow ashes out of the fireplace when cleaning.

Today fireplace bellows are still a necessary tool on the fireplace hearth. It is also a tool that many people like to design and make on their own. Many bellows are made out of beautiful wood and can have very intricate designs creating an elegant object on display by the fire.

Fireplace Screens

Though there is no exact date for when fireplace screens came into use we do know that they were first a form of furniture that shielded individuals from any excess heat that was coming from a log burning fireplace. Early fireplace screens usually were shaped as flat panels standing on attached feet, or as adjustable shield-shaped panels mounted on tripod table legs.

Today’s fireplace screens come in many decorative designs and are made out of metal, glass or wire mesh and are placed in front of the fireplace to protect the room from flying embers that may come from the fire. Sometimes they are used to cover the fireplace when not in use to make the area more decorative.

Whatever fireplace tool you use to help you build and maintain your fire, know that there is a long history behind each one of those fireplace tools and centuries of use has gone into perfecting the tool in your hand. And remember that in modern society fire has evolved from providing necessary heat and cooking to a symbol of warmth and love shared by all that gather are the fireplace hearth.

How to Use Threads in Facelifting

Thread lifting is the latest innovative and exciting new method to reduce the signs of aging by elevating sagging tissue in the brows, cheeks and midface. The threads can also reposition the brow and soften the appearance of jowling. In some cases threads may be used to tighten loose neck skin, saving the requirement of a formal anterior neck lift. In this article we will look at three of the most popular thread lifting techniques that are presently performed under local anesthesia.

The three methods (Contour Threads TM, Curl Lift and FeatherLift TM) all developed in different countries and carry minimal side effects resulting in long lasting effects of between around 2-5 years. The Curl Lift was developed by French plastic surgeon, Dr. Pierre F.Fournier.

It is a subtle lift using a special needle to attach a nylon or prolene, non absorbable, non-barbed suture thread from the area of the face or neck that is being “lifted” to a stationary point on the scalp. This procedure lifts the desired parts of the face or upper neck. Local anesthesia is used, resulting in a short recovery period and minimal discomfort. The best candidates for the Curl Lift are young to middle age patients who want to slightly lift their brows, cheeks and neck, or to diminish jowl formation.

The Curl Lift will soften nasolabial folds, as well as marionette lines. The Curl Lift is not appropriate for the patient with a lot of excess skin. Those patients who have already experienced a surgical face lift may benefit from the Curl Lift to restore any diminishing results. Complications and side effects are mild and few due to the limited invasiveness of the procedure. Dimples around the lower curl may be observed, but these are easily fixed. Sometimes the skin above the suspension bunches up.

This almost always disappears in one to three weeks. The results of a Curl Lift are not as dramatic as a surgical procedure, but give good results in selected cases with young or mature patients who don’t want and don’t need major surgery. The Featherlift was originally developed by a Moscow cosmetic surgeon, Dr Marlen A. Salamanidze in the late 1990’s. It uses specially patented Aptos threads to support the soft tissue upwards. Dr Salamanidze took prolene and cut barbs (very small “teeth”) along its length to act as a truss to lift up a drooping brow, cheek or jowl. This technique resulted in the development and creation of APTOS (antiptosis) threads, which have now been patented and further developed. The Aptos threads are made of a blue monofilament polypropylene material and designed with bi-directional cogs or barbs that hook tissue and lift it into place.

Other forms of threads or sutures, both barbed and smooth have also now been developed for use in threading lifting procedures. These threads can be used to lift any area of the face: eyebrow, cheek, jowl and neck to produce a gentle lifting of lax facial tissues. With the patient under local anesthesia and without incision, a guiding needle is used to place the threads under the skin, where the cogs on the threads attach to the skin, gently lift it, and secure it in the desired position. Patients typically have four to twenty threads placed, depending on the number of facial areas to be treated. An entire face can be treated within one hour, and some patients return to work within few days. Occasional swelling and bruising may last about one week. This method is most suited for younger and middle-aged patients with drooping of the soft tissue of the face and neck, flaccid, flat faces, weak facial contours, or those with premature aging around the face and neck.

The most popular lifting method today is Contour Threads, which was designed in USA, using clear non absorbable strands of polypropylene. Many patients have recently been disturbed to hear that Contour Threads may be soon phased out for economic reasons as they are minimally invasive, very safe and leave no telltale signs of surgery. The principle behind Contour Threads it that they also have small cogs that glide easily beneath the skin when the threads are inserted. These sutures can gently lift drooping facial features upward, restoring a more natural, relaxed, and fresh appearance to the face. The brow, cheek, jowl and neck can also be deftly contoured, creating a natural, youthful appearance. Over time, the body generates new collagen around the Contour Threads, which helps maintain the lift. The threads can also be anchored to the scalp tissue through very small incisions to avoid thread migration and to allow more lifting and tightening process.

The Contour Lift is usually performed under local anesthesia. For those who are especially anxious, light sedation can be used. The length of the procedure depends on the number of threads required. A typical treatment takes about one hour. Incisions are usually so small that skin stitches are not needed. The patient can usually return to normal activities (including work) within one to seven days.

CONTOUR THREADS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

– What is a Contour ThreadLift?

A Contour ThreadLift with patented Contour Threads is a minimally invasive, safe and effective non-surgical procedure that offers that offers subtle, natural-looking facelift-like results.

– How is it performed?

A Contour ThreadLift utilizes tiny surgical sutures to lift and support the droopy areas of the brow, cheeks, face and neck. Contour threads have tiny, teeth-like (barb-like) cogs that will grasp on to and lift the soft tissues. The threads are inserted in precise locations using a long needle, and once inserted under the skin, they open in an umbrella like fashion to form a support structure that gently lifts and repositions the tissues into a more vertical and youthful position. With the lift effect secured, the needle is removed, the end of the thread is cut and knotted, allowing it to retract deep under the skin where it cannot be felt or seen. The non-absorbable threads stay within the deep tissues and provide support.

– What are “barbed” sutures?

Unlike conventional sutures which are smooth, patented Contour Threads have tiny teeth-like barbs or cogs that are spaced evenly apart. Once inserted under the skin, they are fixated with tension that creates a suspension effect that gently lifts sagging tissues.

What do the threads look like?

Unlike other thread products, Contour Threads(TM) are clear so they are not visible under fair or thin skin.

– How do they work?

Due to the unique design of the cogs of Contour Threads(TM), the surrounding tissues act to hold the threads in place without the need for visible scars. The physician makes a tiny incision behind the hairline and the threads are advanced along the previously marked contours so they create a firm hold on the underlying tissues without causing additional trauma. The cogs do the work of holding, by being fixated to tissue as they are softly contoured into place. Once in position, your body generates new collagen bundles that surround each thread to maintain the lifting effect.

– Does it hurt?

Pain and discomfort are very minimal with this technique and most patients can take only Tylenol for pain relief. In most cases, ice compresses are recommended for the first 24-48 hours.

– Is it safe?

When performed by a certified physician with experience, the procedure is very safe. The risks and complications are uncommon and usually easily correctable. The actual sutures are made from polypropylene, which is a material that has been used in brain, heart and abdominal surgery for many years. Since a Contour Threadlift is performed under local anesthesia, there are none of the risks associated with general anesthesia.

– What kind of care is required after the procedure?

Following a Contour ThreadLift procedure, there are some practical instructions and care that must be followed to avoid traumatising or dislodging the threads from their supportive locations in the deep fat of the face and neck. Some of these instructions include avoidance of forceful facial rubbing or trauma, sleeping on your back, minimal facial animations, putting pressure on the face, and avoidance of excessive mouth opening. After 3 weeks, there are no more restrictions.

– When can I return to work and activities?

Depending upon your job and your tolerance for some minor bruising and swelling, you may be able to return to work in 2-3 days following the procedure. Most patients look good in makeup after one week.

– How many treatments will I need?

Usually only one procedure is needed to achieve the desired lifting effect.

– How long do the results last?

Duration varies depending on the age of the patient at the time of the procedure, the degree of sagging, and the number of threads used. Additional threads may be added as needed. The lift effect of the Contour ThreadLift can last 3-5 years in some cases.

THREAD LIFTING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q. What are Threads?

A. Contour Threads and Feather Aptos are polypropylene extrusions (clear, Contour Threads), (blue, FeatherLift) that have been developed with unidirectional (Contour Threads) or bidirectional (FeatherLift) barbs along their length. Curl Thread is a monofilament nylon (black or clear) or prolene (blue) regular suture thread. All threads are non absorbable and permanent.

Q. How do the threads work?

A. These barbs, or cogs, grasp the adjacent flesh when inserted under the skin of the face and neck, allowing the operator to manipulate the thread to raise and tighten the area of skin into which the thread has been placed.

Q. Who is the best candidate?

A. The best candidates for this procedure are both men and women with limited facial and neck droop; patients that would like more contour; and those who have already had a facelift.

Q. What areas of the body are contoured using threads?

A. There is more than one thread application that can be performed to manipulate various areas of the face and neck, depending upon the extent and location of the required treatment. A combination of techniques can be beneficial. Volume to cheeks is added with Feather Lift. The brow, nasolabial folds, the marionettes and the neck are contoured using Contour Threads Lift. The cheeks and neck are slightly lifted with Curl Lift.

Q. How long do the procedures take?

A. All the techniques are quick; the actual length of time will depend on the number of threads used. A full face procedure usually takes about 45-60 minutes to perform.

Q. How long is the recovery time following thread treatments?

A. Most recoveries last less than one week. Some patients are able to return to normal activities, including work, in one day after the Curl Lift and few days after Contour Threads Lift and FeatherLift.

Q. Is anesthesia required during these treatments?

A. Local anesthesia is adequate in most cases during these procedures. Some patients require a mild sedative, usually because they are apprehensive.

Q. What are the side effects and possible complications of these procedures?

A. Complications and side effects are mild to none. Some discomfort, swelling and bruising may occur, but these side effects disappear quickly. Polypropylene threads elicit a minimal reaction in tissue that is followed by a gradual encapsulation. They are used in other surgical applications without any side effects.

Q. Do these procedures replace a surgical “face lift”?

A. The results of these procedures are not as dramatic as a surgical traditional face lift procedure. They can be similar to a mini-face lift. However, they give good results in selected cases with both young and mature patients who don’t want or require major surgery. Suture thread results can often rival those of a conventional mid-facelift in appropriately selected patients who do not have a lot of sagging or do not want to undergo traditional surgery.

Q. How many treatments will I need?

A. Usually only one procedure is needed to achieve the desired lifting or contouring effect. Threads can be added with time to defy the continuous aging process.

Q. How long do the results last? A. Duration varies depending on the age of the patient at the time of the procedure, the degree of sagging, and the number of threads used.

Q. What can I do to maintain the results?

A. Aftercare recommendations include the correct combination of creams and ointments and proper nutrition to maintain your results. Nutritional counselling and the correct products for your skin type are available through our offices. Other treatments are also offered to complement your face lift with threads: PhotoFacial/FotoFacial Skin Rejuvenation, Luscious Lips, Restoration and Enhancement, Anti-Aging Treatments, Botox Injections, Restylane, Sculptra, Collagen, Cosmoplast Injections, Anti-Wrinkle Laser Treatment and Chemical Peels.

What Has Changed in Health & Fitness Over the Last 30 Years?

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

How Hair Straighteners Changed Our Hair

Hair straighteners have been around for some years now and for most of us it is a styling tool we can’t live without. Since the moment they were introduced to tame frizzy hair, smooth hair and give an ultra sleek look we have never looked back when it comes to straighteners.

However, buying straighteners can be confusing. With technology improvements, the straightener has advanced to a place where some claim to condition the hair as it straightens. But at the end of the day, applying such intense heat to the hair can result in changing the hairs natural structure, which of course is not particularly good for the hair. The good news it that with the right hair straighteners and using some of the more advanced oils that have become available such as Argan oil or Moroccan oil you can keep your hair healthy AND straight at the same time. So what do you need to consider when buying your hair straighteners?

Plate Material

Today’s straighteners are normally going to come with Ceramic plates or Titanium plates, but which is best? It’s all a matter of personal choice and your price range really.

Titanium – is a strong lightweight natural material that has corrosion resistant properties. Silver in color and non magnetic, its ideal for straightener plates because of its ability to maintain its strength at high temperatures. It is also scratch resistant. Titanium heats very quickly and maintains a very even temperature and titanium plates also give off slightly higher negative ions than ceramic plates. Usually, prices will be higher for titanium plates than ceramic plates and if you do find a cheap titanium straightener its likely to be very thinly coated with titanium.

Ceramic – plates will also provide even heat distribution throughout the plates and is a non corrosive non metallic material that also produces negative ions. Nearly all hair straighteners available today use a metal heating element and base under a ceramic coating. Even high-end straighteners use this method. Although you can get pure ceramic plates that are meant to be better for your hair, these are not normally used as pure ceramic is soft and more prone to damage. Even just clapping the plates together can damage them and may even crack the straighteners. Plus they are going to be more expensive.

With ceramic coated plates the more coats and thin layers applied and baked onto the plates the better the heat distribution and longer the straighteners will last you. Cheaper straighteners are prone to ceramic chipping off, usually because of a poor quality ceramic coating, which in turn can really damage your hair. When it comes to ceramic coatings you are normally going to get what you pay for.

Heat Settings

A good many straighteners come with adjustable heat settings. This should be considered if you have fine hair or damaged hair. Fine hair will usually require a lower temperature compared to thick hair to achieve straight hair results. Temperature controlled straighteners usually give a heat range from 150-250 degrees Celsius. Start on a low setting and work your way up until you find the temperature best suited to your hair, because at the end of the day the lower the temperature the less heat damage to the hair.

Extras in the Plates

Many hair straighteners these days come with added extras built into the plates like anti frizz technology or ionic steam. Ceramic or titanium plates naturally come with negative ions but some brands are now introducing extra negative ions to combat frizz and plates that when activated by heat release conditioners into the hair shafts.

Negative Ions

We hear a lot about negative ions and how these can help our hair look and feel smoother and more conditioned. Ions are molecules that have gained or lost an electrical charge. Basically hair has positive ions caused by everyday life, like air pollution. Even brushing hair can cause static positive ions to build up. Positive ions leave the hair shafts open so the hair will dry out easily and become brittle. The more damaged your hair, the more positive ions it will produce. Negative ions work against positive ions like a magnet to smooth hair shafts and close hair follicles so they are good for protecting our hair.