Arm Lift After Weight Loss

After losing a lot of weight, you might find yourself with a few unwanted things still hanging around. I'm talking about those flabby arms. They wobble when you raise your hand, flatten out like pancakes, and generally make you feel like all that hard work losing weight was not worth it at all. Do not worry about it anymore; the arm lift is here to save the day.

An arm lift is a surgical procedure few folks have even heard of. It takes a lift here, a tuck here, and in the end your arms are thin, toned and normal looking. Nobody will ever know that you were even overweight at all.

The First Step – The consultation with a plastic surgeon

Actually, this is the most important step of the entire procedure. The reason is that there are several types of lifts, and there are a variety of techniques to eliminate that drooping skin. Your doctor will have a look and a squeeze on your arms, talk to you about your goals, and assess the best possible strategy taking into account your general body shape.

They will want to get it just right for you. They will also check out your medical history, tell you about risks and recovery, and answer any important questions that you have. Your consultation is also a chance for you to check out your doctor's record of past work. Have him roll out those before and after photos, and start imagining your skinny, toned arms.

The Second Step – The arm lift operation

This is not a giant procedure. A cut is made from the armpit to the inside of the elbow. The length depends on the extent of the operation and what overall shaping is being done, as decided by you and your doctor during the consultation.

A smaller operation means a small incision, and a big operation means a bigger cut. Excess skin is removed and the tissue underneath is moved around so that it will be more natural. This is the key to the operation – liposuction does not work because this is not fat; the tissue and excess skin must be removed and contoured underneath.

The Third Step – Recovery

The operation takes about 2 hours, which means that you are in and out in one day. You'll have some pain and discomfort for the first day, and the doctor will probably prescribe some painkillers. There will be some swelling, but in two weeks it is gone. You can be back to work in a week or less, and back to exercising regularly in two weeks or so. The only drawback is that the scars will remain, but a skilled plastic surgeon can make the incision carefully so that it shows as little as possible.

The Fourth Step – Getting back into the swing of things

You can wear all those old shirts again, from your pre-fat days. You do not have to be embarrassed anymore to wear a sleeveless shirt or go shirtless. After you've lost the weight, all you've got left to do is get your body back into the perfect shape you want. An arm lift after weight loss is the way to get rid of that sagging skin on your upper arms and get you feeling your best again.

Craft an Effective Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator speech can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words). The idea of an “elevator speech” is to have a prepared presentation that grabs attention and says a lot in a few words.

It is said that many of the most important decisions made on the floor of the United States’ House or Senate are made “within the span of an elevator ride” as a staff aide whispers into a Congressman or Senator’s ear while they head down to the floor to cast their vote.

Do you remember the key scene in the movie Working Girl when Melanie Griffith’s character delivers her elevator pitch (literally done in the elevator)?

An effective elevator speech comes in handy when you attend an event, a conference, a convention, or some other type of meeting with networking opportunities. You will notice that one of the first questions people ask is, “And, what do you do?” “Oh, I’m a lawyer … or an accountant … or a consultant … or an artist…” It doesn’t matter because they will often say, “Oh, that’s nice,” and immediately label you in their mind with all of the stereotypes they perceive those occupations carry with them. However, if you turn your message around and start with an answer like, “I work with small businesses that are grappling with computer problems,” right away – especially if they own a small business – their ears will perk up and they will want to know more.

Developing Your Elevator Speech

Map it out:

o Who am I and what do I have to offer?

o What am I looking for and why?

o What can I contribute?

o What would I like?

Ask yourself the following questions to help round out your preparations and give depth to your message.

o What is my purpose? What am I trying to accomplish?

o What would be a successful outcome?

o How do I want people to feel?

o What do I want people to remember?

Keep in mind the basic elements of an effective elevator speech:

o Concise: An effective elevator speech is succinct, containing as few words as possible, but no fewer.

o Clear: Rather than being filled with acronyms, jargon, and ten-dollar words, an effective elevator speech can be understood by your grandparents, parents, and the kid next door. Make sure the audience understands what you are talking about and what’s in it for them.

o Informative: As much as is possible, an effective elevator speech is specific and tangible. Talk about demonstrable accomplishments and goals.

o Engaging: Your elevator speech is a conversation starter, not a monologue. You want to spark the interest of your audience, not bore them.

o Finish with a Request: At the end of your pitch, you must ask for something. Do you want their business card, to schedule a full presentation, to ask for a referral?

Put your plan into action:

o Write out a script.

o Practice in front of the mirror, and with friends, family, or CES. Record it, and listen to it. Do you sound confident? Sincere? Is it engaging?

o Ask for feedback.

Once you get a chance to try out the speech, think about how it worked for you:

o How did you feel?

o How did your audience react?

o Was there something you wish you had said?

o Was there something you wish you had not said?

o Update your speech and get ready for the next time!


Sample Elevator Speech

“I am Kip Piper of MTC Interactive. I work with independent professionals and small business owners to get more customers, get them to spend more and get them to spend more frequently by implementing a systematic marketing strategy that utilizes both printed materials and the Internet.” (End with a request, such as for a business card, appointment, or a referral, depending on your audience. For example, “May I have your business card to send you some information?”)

Elevator Speech Template

I am _________________ of__________________________. I work with _________________________ to __________________________________ by_________________________.

Try it out as often as you can. If the other person immediately responds, you have a winner. If their eyes seem to glaze over, they give you a confused look or if they bob their head with a fake smile on their face, you may consider tweaking it a bit.

What is Your Plate Size?

Want to benefit your waistline? Monitor your plate size. There are many, many, many rules and guidelines and suggestions in fitness and dieting these days, so many I could never begin to list them all. One rule, however, I think is simple, yet very important, portion size. We are told, that we need to watch how much food we put on our plate, and stick to the rule of avoiding the urge to go back for seconds. Let’s take it back to the basics though, something very essential, that is very easily overlooked: plate size. I know, sounds simple, but plate size can make all the difference in how much you consume at any single meal.

Findings on, show that plate size does truly matter when it comes to eating, because we usually tend to eat what we put on our plate. So instead of measuring food, as a diet would have you do, begin with changing your plates instead. Think about the total diameter of the plate including the rim or border, do not allow portions to reach outside of these diameters. Our minds can play sly tricks on us but sometimes we can use these little tricks in our favor. If we fill the entire diameter of a 8 inch plate with food and eat all of it, we will feel satisfied, whereas if we fill only half of the diameter of a 12 inch plate, we will feel the need to go back and get more, as if we have been deprived in some way.

We are all bound to be put in situations that make it difficult to make the right food choices, but using some basic and simple reminders we may just be able to keep ourselves in check: If you are heading somewhere you know there will be a lot of food and temptation (i.e. eat before you go to a party or grocery store. If you go on a full stomach your brain is able to make rational decisions about food. When snacking, portion your snack into a small bowl, you are more likely to consume large amounts if you take the whole bag. When dishing up for a meal, use a salad plate, as opposed to a dinner plate, this will help with portion control, and remember not to go back for more.

Drink water, avoid alcohol, soda or any sugary drink. Drink tea for flavor, which had been shown to promote a higher metabolism in studies. Use daily opportunities to gain small bits of exercise, take the stairs rather than the elevator, park at the end of a parking lot and walk, or take a big step and ride your bike or walk to work. The bottom line taking all of the above into account, remember the basic rule. You will be pleasantly surprised that by heading this bit of advice, your weight loss goals will benefit. Staying fit and dieting are not so easy to do, or not easy for most of us. Hold yourself accountable and make sure to tell others your goals and desires to make a lifestyle change. Think about getting a personal trainer who will keep you on track with your exercise routine.

Wood Stove Options and Choosing the Best Wood Pellet Stove

Wood pellet stoves are all the rage these days. There are so many styles, colors, models and possibilities that it is hard to resist buying one for your home. They are very popular mostly due to the cost effective way it heats or even acts as a cooking area when you need it. Choosing the best wood pellet stove for you will depend on your personal style and for what purpose it will be used.

There are many styles and model available. If you choose the built-in style, it will look like a built-in fireplace and provide heat during the cool months and a decorative centerpiece for whatever room you choose to install it. The floor models come in a variety of styles such as potbelly, barrel style or square box style. If you like really unique things, the Vogelzang brand makes models like the railroad potbelly stove, the boxwood stove in standard and deluxe models, the rancher stove, the mountaineer stove and the frontiersman stove that are all very unique and functional. Another brand name that stands out is the Englander brand with their EPA certified units. They make attractive and functional models that burn pellets, burn clean and quiet and one touch ignition for simple operation and control.

Today's wood pellet stove is more efficient and easier to use than the old wood cook stoves of the past. The newer models provide a functional and decorative way to heat your home in those cold months of the year and provide a great conversation piece during the warm months. You will want to know as much as you can before choosing the best model for your particular needs. As a matter of fact, you can get information about wood stove installation, pellet stove inserts, wood pellet stove ratings, used wood stove options, antique wood stoves, old wood cook stoves and even old kerosene stove repair. If you are really interested, you will learn as much about them as possible before buying.

There is no need to fret about wood pellet availability as you can find out where to buy wood pellets online and how to make homemade pellets from bark, wood chips, sawdust, cherry pits and other biofuel options. This is something to keep in mind when you are choosing the best unit for your home.

The Slow Cooker Recipe Books

Culinary delights are often associated with Haute Cuisine or special dishes for special occasions. However, the discerning stay at home cook or the aspiring cooking debutant may be pleasantly surprised by the practical, time saving and wonderful slow cooker. First of all let me briefly explain the slow cooking process and exactly what is a slow cooker.

A slow cooker gently cooks food over a long period of time thus infusing the succulent juices of its ingredients. Cooking at a low temperature, usually in a stainless steel or ceramic pot, conveys heat uniformly through its contents thus enhancing the cooking process. Many Authors have designed and created some wonderful slower cooker recipe books ranging from the exotic through to vegetarian. Moreover, the thought of getting practical, tasty food prepared efficiently and without fuss serves as a real benefit to those cooks which use this cooking process.

My own experiences have been very pertinent in this area. I can recall when living alone, pre-marriage days, the whole issue of preparing food certainly caused much concern. Admittedly, I enjoyed eating the end result of my labours, often marvelling at my efforts, yet scoffed at the thought of having to cook. It wasn’t until a friend of mine introduced me to this refreshing concept, a way of preparing food, which I could learn so easily and enjoy so immensely.

In principle, I was able to decide one day before eating or very early the same day for an evening meal, a series of ingredients placed in to a metal basket, lid going on top, electric button being switched on and away to go. It is that simple and so enjoyable. So what sort of dishes can be prepared? A great tip is to use the cuts of meat which tend to be a little tougher, the process it self acts as softener thus resulting in more tender results. Stews, curry’s, hot pots to name but a few dishes certainly lend themselves to the winter season. Equally mouth watering is sauces such as Bolognese, coq au vin to name but a few. In addition to savoury dishes the slow cooker can be used for items such as apple stews, fruit baskets and breakfasts as well.

Ultimately, the choice is a personal one and I can emphasise how pleasing the results have been. Since becoming a convert I have read many of the authors relating to this area, such as Judith Finlayson and Natalie Haughton, who through their works have provided some exceedingly tasty and delightful food. The slow cooker recipe book of Catherine Atkinson certainly reminds me of my childhood and the food preparation my mother did during the colder winter months.

The whole experience has been an enjoyable one and I always welcome this very basic and effective cooking process to be a style of eating which ticks many of the boxes, time saving, efficient, succulent and of course pleasing.

Heavy Duty Plastic Storage Boxes

Ordinary plastic storage boxes just don’t cut it in an industrial workplace. The thinner plastic will not usually stand up to heavy tools and corrosive liquids. There are a few different options available for use.

Hanging Storage Boxes

These bins are the cheapest form of heavy duty box and can be used in a variety of fashions. Louvered panels, rails and custom shelving are the most common ways of hanging plastic storage bins. They can also be stacked if they are of the same size which makes them extremely versatile. If you are planning on storing sensitive electronic equipment in these, consider buying conductive storage bins.

Stackable Plastic Storage Boxes

These are stronger than their cheaper counterparts but cannot be hung. You can buy large hopper bins that have a cut out in the side enabling you to take items out while the boxes are stacked on top of each other. Cross stack tubs are rectangular tubs that can alternate 90 degrees each stack. This way each tub can be access while stacked on top of each other. Hanging and stackable storage boxes are both ideal for production, assembly and order picking.

Clear Plastic Storage Boxes

If you would like to maintain the ease of having a clear box, small compartment boxes can be bought. These are usually used for storing small items like washers, small screws, o-rings and electrical fittings. Larger models can be purchased which contain small clear boxes that ‘tip out’ rather than pulling out like a shelf.

Hinged Plastic Storage Boxes

This type of heavy duty box is made from thick plastic with a thick plastic lid. They are great for long term storage and also for transporting parts. Of course another type of hinged storage box is a tool box. Buying a model with a lift out shelf means you can store more tools in an organised manner.

Plastic Storage Cabinets

On top of the clear plastic storage boxes you can also buy larger cabinets that interlock together. This way you can adjust the size of the cabinet buy adding an additional module.

Another bonus to plastic type storage is that it’s environmentally friendly; most of the plastic used to manufacture these products comes from recycled sources.

10 Abdominal Exercise Substitutions

Today, you’re going to discover the six-pack abs approved abdominal exercise substitution list AND 1 exercise you should never do.

Please print this exercise substitution list out and email it to your friends. Heck, you could even post it at your gym.

HERE WE GO – starting with the 1 exercise NEVER to do…

Now yesterday I told you about how I saw a trainer put his client through a BACK-DESTROYING exercise, and here’s what it was:

The exercise was weighted Stability Ball Crunches – but there were not normal crunches on the ball that you see people do. No way.

You see, not only did the client do a full-on sit-up motion, but she kept going – violently – into a total body flexion movement that ended with her almost putting her head between her knees.

But doing any type of spinal flexion can be harmful to your low back because this will compress the disks in your spine.

In fact, Dr. Stuart McGill, the world’s expert on low-back injuries and abdominal training, said in a recent New York Times article, “…no sit-ups, they place devastating loads on the disks.”

The disks in your spine are the same disks that get herniated in low back injury. And moves like sit-ups essentially CRUSH the disks between the bones in your spine, causing terrible pain and nerve damage.

So STOP doing crunches and sit-ups!

Fortunately, you can still get six-pack abs and a flat, sexy stomach by using back-friendly ab exercises instead.

So let’s review a huge list of abdominal exercise substitutions:

1) Replace crunches with:

Planks, mountain climbers, and stability ball jackknives

2) Replace cross-crunches (i.e. twisting or oblique crunches) with:

Side planks and cross-body mountain climbers

3) Replace sit-ups with:

Stability ball jackknives, stability ball planks, stability ball pikes, stability ball rollouts, and hanging knee raises

Now let’s take a look at how we can make some of these back-friendly ab exercises even harder for your abs:

1) How to increase the difficulty of the Plank

First of all, before you move on from the plank, you have to master it.

Dr. McGill says that we should all be able to do a plank for 2 minutes straight.

Now I’ll be honest, I let myself go on this exercise last summer, and not surprisingly, it was probably one of the reasons I had back pain.

At one point, I was only able to do a strict plank for 75 seconds, but I’ve worked my way back up over 135 seconds, and now my back pain is gone.

You can also do pushup-planks, as those will help prepare you for pushups if you are a beginner.

Eventually you will graduate to the Stability Ball Plank, which is 30% harder for your abs than regular planks.

2) Harder versions of the Side Plank

Advanced versions include the Side Plank with Leg Raise and Side Plank with DB Lateral Raise (allowing you to train your shoulders at the same time). Dr. McGill adds that we should be able to do aside plank for 90 seconds straight.

3) Mountain Climbers substitutions

You can use the Spiderman Climb exercise as a replacement, and this is excellent for lower-body and hip mobility.

A harder version of mountain climbers is the Cross-Body Mountain Climber, and you can also do mountain climbers with your hands on the ball or with your hands on the floor and feet on the ball.

One of my favorite advanced versions is the “Hands on the Floor, Feet on the Ball Cross-body Mountain Climber” or even the “EXTREME X-Body Mountain Climber”.

Stability Ball NOTE

If you don’t have a ball, you need to get one. They are cheap, and I’m not asking you to do any dangerous circus tricks on them!

But if you don’t have a ball, you can replace the Stability Ball Plank with the Mountain Climber exercise, but it will not be as difficult.

4) How to increase the difficulty of the Stability Ball Jackknife

Eventually you’ll progress to the Stability Ball Pike. And another way to do this exercise is using the TRX straps. That is one of the exercises that gets improved by the TRX. Very effective movement. But even with the ball you can step up your training by using this exercise.

5) The Stability Ball Pike

This is another exercise improved by using the TRX, as well as a cool toy I bought called the Power Wheel. The key to the exercise is raising your hips up as high as possible, and again, using the Power Wheel or TRX allows you to do that better.

6) Alternatives for the Stability Ball Rollout

If you are new to this exercise, you can use a modified Roll-out that is easier.

Plus, you can substitute an ab wheel in place of the ball or you can even use the TRX in a similar type of movement. It works because you are fighting the extension of your torso.

Stretch your abs on the way out, and contract your abs to return to the starting position. This movement will leave your abs quite sore if it is a new exercise for you!

7) Additional Advanced Abs Exercises

Once you’ve dominated all of these Stability Ball exercises, you can move to traditional advanced ab exercises of of Hanging Knee Ups and Hanging Leg Raises.

However, you should only do these exercises if you can fully ELIMINATE momentum from the exercise. Do NOT swing your hips or rock back and forth.

8) Pushups That Workout Your Abs

You should also understand that a LOT of traditional exercises work your abs and slight variations of traditional moves can work your abs very hard.

For example, some of the best pushups for abs include:

* Elevated Pushups

* T-Pushup

* Spiderman Pushups

* Decline Spiderman Pushups

You’ll get all of these in six pack abs home workouts, of course.

9) Pulling Exercises that work your abs

Back in the day, I trained a fit woman who had never been asked to do a chin-up by her previous trainers. So I had her do 2-3 sets of 3-5 repetitions.

She came back the next session and couldn’t believe how sore her abs were from this exercise. So again, you will get a lot of ab work from traditional movements. In addition to the chin-up, here are my favorite “total body pulling muscle ab exercises”.

* DB Renegade Row

* Pullups

* Chinups/Pullups with kneeups

* Spiderman Pullups

Use those to make your workouts more efficient.

10) Shoulder/Arm Exercises

YES, you can use shoulder and arm exercises to work your abs. Any time you do a standing exercise, you’ll need to brace your abs HARD in order to maintain a stiff torso. That works your abs as hard as planks and side planks.

Plus, in the triceps extension exercise, you are stretching your abs as you lower the weight and contracting your abs as you contract your triceps to return the dumbbells or bar to the start position. I’ve had super-sore abs just from doing triceps!

So here are my favorite upper body exercises for abs:

* 1-Arm Press

* 1-Arm Curl

* DB Triceps Extension

Hope you enjoyed that massive list of ab exercise substitutions!

Just say NO to crunches!

Healthcare Plan Savings Discussed

During these times when hospital bills and professional doctors fee are high, medicines are expensive, and temptations for foods, drinks and vices are everywhere, staying healthy is a must. While some are gifted with good and healthy body, others struggle to maintain a healthy body. And with the price of healthcare plan contributing to the expenses we already have, there is a great need and knowledge on how to somehow cut the cost of healthcare plan.

Although you can not do anything to bring down the price of your healthcare plan, you can manage to acquire significant saving by following these steps.

Stay Healthy – Yep! The golden rule if you want to live longer. Skeptical? Well, nobody blames you but if you would like to give you body a great chance of living beyond your life expectancy, staying healthy is worth the shot. If you aim to get a cheaper healthcare plan, then this is also a great way to achieve it. Since healthcare plan companies base the price of their plan on the status of the health of the individual, do not be surprised if some might get higher rate than others. If you are conscious about it, then maintaining a healthy life could spare you from high healthcare plan rate.

Quit Smoking – Now that's difficult! But if you are a kind of person who will do anything just to keep the healthcare plan rate to the minimum, you can always start by kicking the habit away. So what does it have to do with low healthcare plan? A person who smokes is more prone to healthcare claims than those who do not. And if you understand the business, you would realize that healthcare plan companies receive more claims from smoking plan holders. The tendency is to sanction higher healthcare plan rates to those who smoke. Think about it! If you quite smoking, you save from healthcare plan bills, spare you from the cost of your everyday cigarette consumption, and give you a better chance to live cleaner and longer life.

Exercise and Lose Weight- If you are part of the growing number of Americans who can either be classified as overweight or obese, then expect to have a higher healthcare plan price. It is wise to keep a normal body size and maintain it with regular exercise so you can get a desired healthcare plan rate.

Good healthcare plan selection – If it's cheap, it does not necessarily mean it's really "cheap." Never let the price be your basis in taking a healthcare plan. As much as possible look for plan that gives you more benefits at the price advantageous to you.

Maximize other existing plan – If you presently have health insurance plan, make sure that you avoid getting another one with an identical coverage. This would surely drain your pockets by having unnecessary benefits you can never use. Also avoid buying unnecessary healthcare plan if you already have enough plan.

Know the type of plan you are buying – If you are buying healthcare plan for the first time, you should identify first the type of coverage you want. In this way, you can eliminate those unnecessary coverage you think you can never use. Remember that every coverage is paid so making sure that you can the healthcare plan that fits your need.

It’s Staircase Renovation Time

Spring is just around the corner. It’s time to start planning that home improvement project that you’ve wanted to do but have been waiting for the right time. Well, that time is now.

The cost of completing your project will never be lower. Labor and material costs are down, but, not for long. Building material prices are starting to climb as the demand increases. Many people have waited long enough and are moving forward with their projects.

The one project that is on many homeowners lists is updating their old staircase and balustrades. Many builders only offer their homebuyers a basic stair design package to keep the initial price of the house down. We have helped many of these customers upgrade their stairs from the plain, basic cookie-cutter design to a more sophisticated look for a relatively small investment.

Many homes are designed around the staircase utilizing its grandeur to enhance the elegance and atmosphere of a home. Every stair, large or small, has the potential to give your home a warm inviting beauty that will last for many years.

The first step in planning your stair is deciding on a design that works well with your home’s decor. Your stair should follow and accentuate the same style as your house or particular room. This could be modern contemporary, Mediterranean, early American, or just about anything that you have in mind.

The carpet has to go! The single biggest improvement to give your staircase character is replacing the carpet with hardwood treads. This can be accomplished very easily with Retro Fit treads. These modified hardwood stair treads give you the appearance of full 1″ thick treads without the hassle and expense of removing the existing rough treads. Retro Fit treads can be simply cut to length, then glued and nailed into place directly over the rough treads. Since many of the carpeted staircases are have a mortised and wedged tread to stringer assembly, removing the treads is a very difficult process and may require additional framing. The Retro Fit tread avoids this expense.

In addition to the treads, you will need to add a riser board to the face of the riser which may be stained or painted as you choose.

The next step is to replace the balusters (spindles or pickets as they are often called). The baluster selection is often the most difficult decision to make. There are hundreds of baluster designs and patterns from which to choose. The baluster selection will determine the style or theme of your stair and ultimately the home.

We are seeing a strong trend toward contemporary modern themes. This includes glass panel balustrades and stainless steel cable systems. You can add “warmth” to these designs by integrating wood railings and handrails with the glass and cable. If you have young children using the stair, you may want to shy away from the glass. It shows little jelly fingerprints very well. That aside, glass makes a very beautiful system.

The wrought iron baluster collection is our next best seller. This is where you can be very creative in your designs and colors. Wrought iron balusters are often referenced by the region that they represent. Tuscany, Palermo, Marsalis, are just a few of the many balusters available. This reference makes it easier to coordinate the style of baluster to the decorating theme of the home.

Iron balusters can be arranged in a multitude of patterns to create the perfect look for your stair size and shape. This allows you utilize a scroll baluster at strategic spots for accent while selecting a smaller, less expensive baluster to fill in the other areas. Or arrange a single basket, double basket, single twist combination. The options are endless.

Wood Balusters range from the straight square painted style to the ornately turned exotic woods. Nothing warms a stairway more than rich stained wood. With the availability of nearly every type of wood, the only restriction to your imagination is price. Wood balusters can range from $3.00 per baluster to $50.00 per baluster.

Most balusters can be replaced without removing the handrail. However, to achieve a clean new appearance and perhaps change the design of the balustrade, a new fresh handrail is best.

There are two types of rail designs; Post-to-Post, and Over-the-Post. A Post-to-Post system is simply the handrail installed between two square top newels. The finial, or post top, extends up past the handrail. The Over-the-Post system has the rail running over the top of the pin top newels. This Over-the-Post method creates a continuous handrail throughout the stair. Handrail fittings are used over the top of each newel to allow for attachment and maintain a consistent reveal at each post top.

When planning a staircase, there is one rule I stress to my customers. Don’t let price be the sole qualifier in making your selections. Every time you enter your home and look at that staircase, it should put a smile on your face. You will be looking at that stair for a long time and it must be a work of art that is pleasing to you and everyone who enters your home.

If everyone put as much thought into the design of their stairway as they do in choosing furniture or which flat screen TV to buy, there would be more happy homeowners. Your stairway will be around much longer that either of those and may even cost less.

The guests in your home will remember your elegant staircase much longer than your Flat Screen TV.

Building Your Own Staircase

I can only imagine what joy and fulfillment one might feel upon seeing their dream house take form right before their eyes. From planning the lay-out to picking out the furniture, all these will be all worth it once everything is finished and you can finally reside in your dream home.

But before arriving at the finished product, one must go through a lot of planning and decision-making. Both function and design should be considered all through-out the planning process, even up to the building stage.

You must plan the lay-out of your future home according to your needs. The number of rooms, the flow of your home, how many levels, and where to put the staircase, should all be carefully considered and planned.

It is entirely up to you on how many levels you want your dream home to be. But it is important to always remember to put your staircase in strategic locations. Depending in your choice and budget, you have the option of choosing to hire someone to construct the staircase for you. But if you are the Do-it-yourself type, you can opt to build your own staircase. With the help of some basic construction know-how you might be able to come up with a safe and sturdy staircase.

If you choose to do it yourself here are some reminders to help you as you go along.

Safety is the main priority in planning your staircase. It should be placed not directly outside rooms, or in places where it will disrupt the flow of the room – such as in the middle of your living room. If you have children, you should choose materials that are child-friendly. Sharp edges should be covered and materials such as glass should be avoided. The staircase railing should also be sturdy and not have very wide gaps in between. Floating stairs are a major hazard and are not recommended, unless you want to sacrifice safety for aesthetics. Floating stairs do not offer any support for children and old people to hold on to when using the staircase.

Another good and useful rule of thumb is that the total of the length of the tread and the riser should not exceed 17 ". This is the standard used to create comfortable stairs in most establishments. But keep in mind that the riser should not exceed the length of the tread, the vice versa is much more practical. for example, the length of the riser is 8 "and the tread is 9", when added makes 17 ", making it pass the standards for comfortable stair climbing.

The material used for stair climbing should also be sturdy. It should be able to withstand children running up and down, and constant abuse. If you choose to carpet your stairs, make sure you check the carpeting from time to time, to avoid any accidents caused by slipping on stair carpet.

Building you own staircase need not be stressful. What you really need is a level head, a good set of hands, a lot of books, and the right tools and equipment and you are good to go.

How to Fix Staircase Handrails

A staircase banister that is loose and moving while you hold onto it is not a safe banister. If you are a do-it-yourselfer you probably want to be able to fix that yourself.

First, the anatomy of a staircase should be clear. Its basic parts are the tread that you step on, the riser, which is the vertical part between treads, and the banister, the part that is on the side offering support when going up and down. The banister has three components: the handrail, which you actually grasp when using the stairs, the balusters, posts that support the handrail, and a newel post, a larger vertical support at the bottom of the staircase.

A handrail will usually shake if the balusters loosen in the mortises where they meet the handrail. A mortise is a hole cut into a piece of material in which another piece, the tenon, will be inserted. For the first solution you should prepare: a hammer, wood shims, carpenter’s glue, a small block of wood and an utility knife. You will coat a shim in glue and hammer it into the joint between the handrail and the baluster. Use the small wood block to drive the shim in, keeping it between the shim and the hammer. Your purpose is to fill the gap and not to drive the pieces that join apart, so hammer with care. Trim the part of the shim that is left outside of the hole.

A second solution asks for: safety goggles, electric drill, screwdriver matching the screw head, combination bit corresponding to the used screw, flathead wood screws, 220 grit sandpaper, wood putty and wood finish or paint. Drill a pilot hole upwards through the baluster and into the handrail using the combination bit. You will drill under a 45 degree angle. Drive the screw in, countersink it and tighten it. Fill the hole that is left with wood putty, allow it to dry and then sand the repair spot and cover it with wood finish or paint for the aesthetics part.

If the baluster got loose in its bottom mortise where it meets the tread, you will need the same tools and expendables like in the second solution. You will drill a pilot hole down through the baluster into the tread at an angle. Drive in the screw, countersink it and tighten it. Just like in the previous case, you will then fill the hole with wood putty, let it dry, use the sandpaper to sand the area and then finish.

Successfully Selling Silver on eBay – Article Two – Hallmarks, Maker’s Marks, Standards, and More

(Warning: This article is long and reading it may improve your ability to make money on eBay)

In Article One I discussed the opportunities for savvy eBay sellers in the growing investor market for antique and collectible silver. The many types of marks on these goods can be confusing, however, often resulting in poorly described listings. One can be assured that at least 30% of the 12-15,000 weekly listings in the ‘Antiques-Sterling’ category will have inaccurate or misleading descriptions. The resulting buyer confusion and uncertainty causes poor selling prices, lost sales and seller credibility issues.

In this article eBayers will learn how to identify and understand the many different marks and where to research them. With this background sellers can write professional descriptions in their eBay auctions, eBay stores and other selling venues. Properly identifying and listing silver items gives sellers credibility and an edge over the hundreds of uninformed sellers in this competitive market.

Think of it this way – if one were going to get into the car selling business he or she should know as much as possible about makes, models, engines, performance, etc. Right? The same thing applies to selling silver goods. The marks tell the story behind the piece i.e., the maker, age, origin, history, quality, pattern, etc. Understanding marks will increase the sellers’ ROI because they become better buyers as well as resellers.

Identifying and Deciphering Silver Marks – The list below provides the basics for learning the many marks and and metal types. For further research and education there are many excellent reference books available for both beginners and experts. I’ve provided a short list of suggested books at the end of the article. Understand that many reference books are narrow in their scope i.e., specific to certain time periods, countries, etc. For this reason one should purchase only one or two books which cover a wide array of marks from many makers and countries. As experience is gained by listing and selling silver one can build a good reference library. For online research there are several excellent websites that are contributed to and used by collectors and dealers worldwide. I’ve linked one of the best sites at the bottom of the article. Professional valuations and appraisals are also available for those who want a quality listing but don’t want to research marks.

Those who are just starting into silver sales need to be very careful not to misinterpret marks. As stated above, one-third of the eBay sellers incorrectly list and describe items because they’ve learned just enough information about marks to be dangerous. Often these erroneous sellers think because there is a lion, crown, or anchor mark on their item it is English sterling when, in fact, it is silverplate bearing a pseudo mark. Just today I saw a new seller’s auction of a creamer and sugar bowl set that she listed as English sterling made in 1903. In reality it was American silverplate circa 1877-1880. She thought the pattern number, 1903, was the date it was made and that the lion in the trademark meant English sterling. This is just one example of many that make sellers look bad and limit their chances for a profitable sale.

Use Knowledge As A Selling Point – After properly researching the marks on the merchandise one can accurately title and describe the listings. Items can be guaranteed to be as claimed because the seller has enough confidence to do so. This gives credibility to the seller and the merchandise which will draw smart investors and collectors to the auction. The result will be strong bidding action and higher sale prices.

Use Accurately Identified Marks for Search Optimization – For example, a seller identifies a piece as Danish and made by Georg Jensen circa 1909-1914. When used to keyword the auction title and description this information will be a magnet for high-end collectors . This translates into bigger profits. Which of these two titles works best? “Antique Silver Bowl with Hallmarks” or,“Beautiful Georg Jensen Art Nouveau Sterling Centerpiece c.1909-1914”. The second one of course. This is simply using strategic keywords in the title which gives life to the listing.

Okay, so what’s to learn? There’s plenty. The following is just the short list, but with this foundation a seller can build their road to success as an expert silver dealer on eBay and other venues.

Things You Must Know:

  • Hallmarks – Just about every eBay seller misunderstands this. Specific to precious metals, a hallmark is defined as a mark or series of marks struck into the metal that officially authenticates the metal purity (fineness or content) and which is internationally recognized as a guarantee of purity. eBay sellers frequently confuse hallmarks with maker’s marks, logos, company trademarks, and simple number marks such as 925 or 835. While such number marks are used to indicate purity or content they are never to be considered as hallmarks unless they are accompanied by the official standard mark of the country of origin. Why? Because anyone can fraudulently strike these numbers into the metal without official assay. Hallmarks are the official marks of guaranteed metal purity in precious metal items. Trademarks and maker’s marks are simply the mark of the manufacturer of the item. Think of it like the karat marks on gold jewelry. If a ring says Cartier 18K, the hallmark is the 18K, not the maker’s name, Cartier. It guarantees the ring has a gold purity of 75% and it is recognized worldwide. Silver hallmarks work the same way, there’s just a lot more of them than there are for gold.
  • Country Marks – Almost every country requires official nationalized marks or symbols to be used as the hallmarks for their precious metals standards. Probably the best known of all is the Lion Passant used by England to guarantee sterling since the 14th century. There are far too many country marks to list here but you can research them in the online reference sites listed at the end of this article.
  • City Marks – A mark or symbol used in many countries to denote the city where the item was made. The leopard head representing London and the anchor representing Birmingham are two of the best known and most commonly seen on eBay. Again there’s too many to list but they can be researched in the reference guides listed below.
  • Maker’s Marks – These are the registered names, initials, trademarks, logos, brands, symbols, or other marks used over several centuries by silversmiths and manufacturing companies to identify their wares. There are literally hundreds of these worldwide. You will usually find these struck or imprinted onto an inconspicuous place on the item along with the hallmark and other marks.
  • Date Marks – Also called Date Codes, these are unique symbols, characters, letters, or numbers used by some well known manufacturers as a means of dating the production year of their merchandise. These are cataloged and are very useful in accurately dating many items. Unfortunately many companies didn’t use date marks which makes precise dating of their work impossible.
  • Pseudo Marks – These marks were created by silversmiths to mimic the well known and long established British sterling hallmarks. These smiths typically made silverplate items and silver items of lesser purity than sterling. The marks were intentionally designed to give a perception of sterling quality about their work in order to profit on the reputation and renown of British sterling. This does not necessarily mean they were all practicing fakery, though some certainly were. In fact, many pseudo marks are legitimately registered trademarks of reputable firms which manufacture in sterling, coin and silverplate. For example Gorham, a highly respected American sterling and silverplate maker, incorporated the Birmingham anchor mark into their maker’s mark. Much of the 19th century Chinese export silver also bears pseudo marks on some very high quality 800 and 835 standard marked goods. Pseudo marks are often mistaken for British sterling hallmarks so buyers and sellers alike must be able to recognize them. This is one of the main reasons why research is so critical to successful selling.
  • Pattern Numbers – These are proprietary numbers which are often found along with the hallmarks and maker’s marks. These are used by the manufacturer for patent registration, pattern identification and inventory control.
  • Sterling – Sterling is defined by the U.K., the U.S. (refer below*) and most other nations as an alloy containing at least 92.5% pure silver. The other metal in the alloy is copper which strengthens the metal for fabrication into usable and decorative wares. The word sterling comes from 14th century England. The sterling standard in Great Britain and elsewhere has been 92.5% (925) fineness since that time.
  • 925, 0.925 or 925/1000 – This number is often found stamped into silver items. It represents sterling when accompanied by the official standard hallmark of the country of origin. The presence of this number on an item does not guarantee it to be sterling unless the official country hallmark is also present.
  • “Solid Silver” – This is defined by the U.S. government (refer below*) as an alloy containing at least 92.5% pure silver which means it has to be sterling. It is illegal in the U.S. to represent any product by this name that is not sterling silver.
  • “Coin Silver” – This alloy gets its name from 18th and 19th century American silversmiths who melted down silver coins in order to fabricate items to sell. Typical items were silverware and other table service wares. The U.S. government defines this to be an alloy of 90% (900) purity (refer below*). Many items with less than 90% purity are frequently and illegally sold as “coin silver” in the U.S. on eBay and in other venues.
  • Continental Sterling – This is a misleading term used by some who sell European made items which have purity standards less than 92.5%. Similar terms used are Russian Sterling, German Sterling, French Sterling, etc. all of which are marked with official national standards that are less than 925. Continental Silver is the correct way to describe European goods provided the official hallmark and assay mark are present to authenticate the actual purity.
  • Silver Standards – In the U.S. the standards are pure (.9999%), sterling and coin (refer below*). In the U.K. the standards are britannia (95.8 % purity) and sterling. Britannia was used exclusively in Britain from 1697 to 1720 and has been optional since. Other countries have their own sets of official standards. Typically, but not without exception, these are 950, 935, 925, 900, 875, 850, 835, 812, 800, 750, and 675 purities as determined by official assay. These numbers represent the decimal fraction (percentage) of silver content in the manufactured item. For example, an item marked ‘800’ is 80% pure. 950 and 935 can be legally referred to in the U.S. as sterling, regardless of the country of origin, but the lesser standards cannot. 950 is sometimes referred to as Martelé Silver. Note: In the U.S. it is a federal crime to import, sell, label, advertise, or otherwise represent any item as “sterling” or “solid silver” which does not have a purity of 92.5% or greater (refer below*).
  • Loth Numbers – This was a numerical system used in Austria-Hungary and Germany-Prussia in the 18th and 19th centuries for authenticating official assays. It is based on a purity of 16/16. So that 15/16 is 15 Loth equaling .937 purity, 14/16 is 14 Loth equaling .875 purity, 13/16 is 13 Loth equaling .812 purity, and so on. Most of the antique silver from these countries found listed on eBay is 13 Loth and, as noted above, it is often misrepresented as German Sterling. Austria-Hungary used this system until 1866 and Germany-Prussia until 1886.
  • Zolotnik Numbers – These numbers are found on Russian silver items going back several centuries. The root of this system began in the 11th century with the Russian gold trade. A lot of antique Russian items are auctioned on eBay and other venues so it is important to know some basics. The numbers are based on 96/96 being pure. What is sold mostly on eBay is the more common 84 Zolotnik, or 84/96 which equals 875 (87.5%) purity. 88 Zolotnik is 88/96 or 916 purity and so on. A common problem with the 84 mark is mistaking certain types of French silverplate for Russian 84 Zolotnik. One way to tell the difference is the French silverplate mark will have either a ‘Gr’ or ‘G’ after the 84 which represents grams of silver used in the plating process. Also the Russian 84 Zolotnik will always be accompanied with one or more official marks and a maker’s mark in Russian Cyrillic letters. If an item is claimed to be Russian and it bears on the number 84, then consider it to be fake or plate.
  • Silverplate – This is a very thin layering or coating of pure silver over a base metal. The most common base metals used are copper, brass, nickel-silver, white metal, and Britannia metal (see below). The two types of silverplate are Sheffield plate and electroplate. Sheffield derives its name from Sheffield, England where it originated. The technique used was a ‘sandwiching’ of a layer of base metal between a top and bottom layer of pure silver. The metals were wrought or rolled until the two metals were bonded. Thus the base metal was ‘plated’ and could then be used for manufacturing. Electroplating was invented in 1805 but didn’t come into popular use until 1840. This is an electrolytic process whereby molecules of silver are deposited onto the surfaces of a sheet of base metal until the desired coating or thickness is achieved. Because electroplating is quick and not labor intense almost all plating was done this way by 1860 which doomed the Sheffield plate method. Today Sheffield plate is prized by collectors due to its superior hand-wrought quality and antique value. There are several different quality grades of electroplate/silverplate. These are based on the thickness of the plating resulting from the amount of silver used. The two common types of Victorian Era silverplate are triple plate and quadruple plate. You will see a lot of these types auctioned on eBay. The key thing to know about silverplate is that it has no significant silver weight, thus there is no precious metal value associated with it. The market for silverplated items is based on rarity, uniqueness, antique qualities, craftsmanship, and design qualities only.
  • Sterling Silverplate – There is no such thing! This description is often used by eBay sellers who don’t know anything about silver or who are keyword spamming to increase clicks on their listing. Because sterling is an alloy it is unsuitable to use as a silver source for plating.
  • E.P.N.S. – You will see these letters marking the bottoms of many older American and British silverplated items. This stands for Electro Plated Nickel-Silver. Many novice eBay sellers and those who don’t bother to do any research mistakenly list E.P.N.S. items as sterling. Common variations on this are E.P., E.P.C. (Electro Plate on Copper), E.P.W.M. (Electro Plate on White Metal), E.P.B. or E.P.B.M. (Electro Plate on Britannia Metal). Just know that any item marked with E.P. is silverplate and as such has no precious metal value.
  • Nickel-Silver – This is a common base metal alloy consisting of nickel, copper and zinc. There is no silver in it whatsoever. The name was coined because the metal is silvery in color and polishes to a shine. Other names used for the same metal are: Alpacca or Alpacca Silver; Brazil Silver; German Silver; Peru Silver; New York Silver; New Silver; Nevada Silver; Norwegian Silver; Silverite; Venetian Silver; Potosi Silver; and Sonora Silver to name just a few. Many people have been stung buying things like old German Silver ladies purses thinking they had something of real value. Nickel-silver is strong and durable but it doesn’t have any metal value.
  • White Metal – This is a silvery colored alloy usually containing a mixture of antimony, tin, lead, zinc, and cadmium. In the U.K. the British fine arts trade uses the term ‘white metal’ to describe all foreign items which do not have official British Assay Office marks struck on them.
  • Britannia Metal – Another non-silver base metal similar to pewter which is popular because it is durable and polishes to a silver-like luster. This is an alloy of 93% tin, 5% antimony and 2% copper. Not to be confused with 958 Britannia from Great Britain.

The hundreds of known marks and their meanings are complex and often confusing. The information you’ve received in this article should increase your understanding of what many of the marks represent. You can now build upon these basics to become an informed buyer and reseller with a substantial edge over your competition. Thanks for following this article series and please watch for Article Three: A Focus on British Sterling.

Suggested Reference Books:

  1. Kovels’ American Silver Marks by Ralph and Terry Kovel; Random House Reference, 1st Ed., 1989. ISBN-13: 978-0517568828
  2. Dealer’s Guides: English Silver Hall-Marks by Judith Banister; Foulsham Publishing, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0572029999
  3. Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers by Dorothy T. Rainwater, Martin Fuller and Colette Fuller; Schiffer Publishing, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0764318870
  4. American Silversmiths and Their Marks: The Definitive (1948) Edition by Stephen G. C. Ensko; Dover Publications, 1983. ISBN-13: 978-0486244280
  5. All About Antique Silver with International Hallmarks by Diana Sanders Cinamon; AAA Publishing; 1ST edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0978516802
  6. Discovering Hallmarks on English Silver by John Bly; Shire Publishing, 9th Ed., 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0747804505
  7. English, Irish, & Scottish Silver: at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute by Beth Carver Wees; Hudson Hills Press, 1st Ed.,1997. ISBN-13: 978-1555951177

(These and other excellent reference books on this subject are available at and other fine booksellers.)

* U.S. Guide to Precious Metals & Jewels: Laws & Standards (See paragraph 23.6)

The World’s Most Famous Runners

There have been many famous runners throughout the years, and they have accomplished many record-setting performances and feats which are hard to break. These world-famous runners have participated in the Olympics, ran many marathons, and are track and field stars in their own right. Some of them have pioneered the sport from over a century ago, and some of them have attained world prominence because of their hard work and athletic prowess in recent years. While listing all of these great athletes would be impossible, here is a great taste of some of the more memorable ones.

When we think of some of the greatest Olympians who have been runners, some of the first names who come to mind are; Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Mary Decker-Slaney, Grete Waitz, Michael Johnson, Deena Kastor, and Paula Radcliffe. These world-famous runners have been able to accomplish Olympic gold and marathon excellence Most set new track and field marks which have often been hard to reach.

Jesse Owens was able to win four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He brought Olympic running to prominence because of his unprecedented feat. These four Olympic gold medals were not matched for almost 50 years until Carl Lewis came along in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics. These two heroic runners were able to claim their multiple prizes by running in the 100 m, 200 m, 4 x 100 m, and long jump events.

Arthur Lydiard, who passed away in 2004, is considered one of the top five running figures in this past century. Not only had he won several different marathons over his great career, but he also is credited with inventing the exercise program that we all know as jogging.

Deena Kastor is currently considered one of the best female American marathoners. In the same token, Paula Radcliffe is also one of the best long distance runners in the world. Craig Mottram is from Australia and is also a continual threat in the marathon. Some of these world-famous runners are current threats in the world of running.

Many other world-famous runners of the past and present are names that you just might recognize. The list includes, but is not limited to: Sir Roger Bannister, Uta Pippig, Jeff Galloway, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Naoko Takahashi, Evans Rutto, Catherine Switzer, Rosa Mota, Arturo Barrios, David Bedford, and Paul Bitok. All of these runners have gained acclaim in the world of running through their hard work and sacrifice.

5 Fast Fat Loss Nutrition Switches

All of us, myself included, are not really good, at the deprivation style of nutrition and burning fat. I do not really have to tell you what is bad for you and what you just should not eat because for the majority of people out there – you already know! The problem is in the way we try to deny ourselves those sweet and salty treats!

Whenever we simply stop doing something cold turkey and that includes eating or drinking a particular food our brain just sees it as something we can not have. Not only does this flick a switch in 99.9% of men that fights this principle just out of spite, but it also makes us feel that we are missing out on something that we like or even love. This is a strong emotion and extremely hard to control.

With this in mind, the big buzzword that is getting a lot of attention when it comes to better nutrition is SWITCH! What this means is that instead of stopping something outright and just hoping to fight the cravings and emotions with outstanding willpower, you actually replace it for a better option! It is very much like quitting smoking and where many successful people use alternate methods to keep their hands busy while quitting. This behavior switching technique can often make a world of difference as opposed to going cold turkey.

Same goes for nutritional choices. Do not try to quit something outright but actually substitute it with some better options. Try these five tips below to get you started on your way!

Fat Burning Nutrition Switch 1:

Leave desserts off the breakfast menu! Now I do not mean that people are having ice cream and chocolate for breakfast although sadly, some people do! What I mean is that when we really look at the ingredients in some of our most popular breakfast cereals and other common options, you soon realize that they are better off in the dessert bar! Lose the sugary cereals, sweet muffins, fat filled bagels and croissants and look at options like a good omelet, high fiber / low sugar cereals, yogurt, smoothies and plenty of fresh fruit for starters.

Fat Burning Nutrition Switch 2:

Monitor your eating schedule. Personally, I see no value in the arguments that eating after 7 or 8pm causes you any grief whatsoever. Yep, I said it! It is not eating after this time that causes you to gain fat; it is the rubbish that we binge on after these times that causes the problem! With this in mind, you can stop late night binges by eating a larger lunch and then having dinner that little bit later.

Fat Burning Nutrition Switch 3:

Lose the processed food and go natural as often as you can! Processed and modified foods or carbohydrates are just plain bad and are often stripped of real nutritional value. Try your hardest to replace these foods with nuts, vegetable or fruits. Examples here are pretty straight forward; when eating red meat, hold the fries and add some extra "trees" or a salad. Instead of a calorie filled chocolate muffin or Danish on your morning coffee break why not grab a handful of nuts? And even though it is an old favorite, switch the eggs on toast to eggs flavored with parsley or spinach and then finish it with an apple!

Fat Burning Nutrition Switch 4:

You do not want sugary drinks after a workout! This one is crazy! You go to all the effort of a hard workout, burning anywhere from 250 to 800 or even 1000 calories and then guzzle down a sugar filled energy drink, soda or juice and wipe out most or even all of your hard work in just a minute or two! You do not need it and it's a piece of marketing genius!

Fat Burning Nutrition Switch 5:

This one should go without saying, but do not just minimize the junk food in your house, but hide it! We are visual people and will suddenly get hungry when we see a nice yummy chocolate bar, packet of crisps or a stray dough-nut left around the house or fridge in full view.

So then, you want to remove as much junk food as you can from the whole house. But again, in both the light of not totally depriving yourself of sweetness and also keeping the rest of your household happy, feel free to keep some! However, keep them in a dark part of your pantry and make sure that you have plenty of bowls and containers of healthy, ready to eat foods like fruit and nuts. They not only taste great but are so good for you. Just get them in your eye line!

Here's one last bonus switch for you! Employ your own nutrition expert – YOU! Stop listening in hope at all the latest craze diets and instead home-school yourself on the foods you eat for at least 2 weeks. Note down everything you consume for that period and really open up your eyes to all the foods and drinks that are out there. Stuff you have never even tried before is a perfect choice! Eat the recommended servings and keep a good eye on the calorie counts and see how you feel and what happens over the two weeks. You will come up with some great wins simply and effectively that will change your whole diet.

This Year For Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz is offering the 2007 C-Class, which is only available as a sedan with much luxury and safety features. With not so huge backseat and the usual cabin furnishings, the 2007 line-up includes C230, C280 and C350 sedans.

It has low hood line, arced roof line and triangular taillights. Its design resembles that of the vehicles six years ago and is comparable to Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G35 and Lexus IS.

The 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan arrives as the C230 Sport, C280 Luxury, C350 Luxury and C350 Sport.

Standard in the C230 Sport are 17-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, cloth sport seats and a CD player where fast types of music can be played to even add to the sporty image of the vehicle. The C280 Luxury has 16-inch wheels, softer suspension tuning, power front seats with driver memory, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, genuine wood trim, and a more powerful engine. Equipped with similar parts as those in the C280 Luxury, the C350 Luxury uses V6 engine. The C350 Sport, on the other hand, has equipment similar to the C230; the only difference is that it possesses larger engine and power front sport seats.

Features like full leather upholstery, HID xenon headlights, a navigation system and a Harman Kardon Logic 7 audio system with a six-disc CD changer and satellite radio are optional on all C-Class sedans.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans legroom space is not wide enough and dash board has a utilitarian look with adjustable vents. The trunk can handle 12 cubic feet of cargo

Since Mercedes-Benz is famous for its safety features, it is impossible the C-Class vehicles not to have these. Antilock disc brakes, stability control and six airbags that include front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard. Optional are rear-seat side airbags and the Tele Aid emergency call system.

As proof of Benzs reliable safety features, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class bagged four out of five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts, and five stars for front and rear side-impact protection during the In NHTSA crash tests. The C-Class got the highest rating, Good, in the IIHS for its performance in the 40-mph frontal-offset crash test; and got the second highest rating, Acceptable, in the side-impact testing.

As to the power trains and performance, the Mercedes C-Class lineup uses three V6 engines. The C230 uses a 2.5-liter V6 that transcends 201 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The C280 has a 228-hp 3.0-liter V6. The C350 possesses a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in C230 and C350 Sport, and the seven-speed automatic is optional. Standard in C280 and C350 Luxury is the automatic transmission. Meanwhile, all models are offered as rear wheel but Luxury models can also be offered as 4Matic all-wheel drive. All 4Matic cars have a five-speed automatic transmission, and of course we can expect its Mercedes fuel filters to be top of the line as well.

The C350 Sport, with a manual transmission, is the fastest model among the four.