Face Lift Candidates

Face lifts are usually sought after by people who are looking to erase visible signs of aging, and while they may all have the right expectations for the outcome, they may not all be good candidates to undergo the procedure. A consultation with your plastic surgeon will determine if you are a prime candidate for the operation, and if you are not, your surgeon can suggest some alternatives to help you achieve your goals.

Some of the characteristics of a good face lift candidate have nothing to do with the skin. The most important thing that any patient can do for the best outcome in any procedure is to accept the doctor’s advice and to follow post-operative instructions. Meeting the aftercare guidelines is imperative for promoting the best results. Ignoring recovery protocol can cause unnecessary swelling, alter or bust stitching, or even cause irreparable damage. Even simple things such as sleep position, prescribed medications, and smoking or drinking habits, can prohibit a face lift from reaching its ultimate cosmetic goals.

An inquiring consultation with a chosen plastic surgeon can determine if your skin will be receptive to the procedure. Elasticity is important. Because of the essence of the operation is based on stretching and repositioning the skin, those without substantial elasticity may need to consider alternatives to invasive surgery such as micro-dermabrasion, resurfacing, or even simple things like glycolic peels, or facials. Heed the surgeon’s suggestions; he has seen poor results and unhappy clients, and he knows what made them that way.

Bone structure is also an underlying factor in determining a good face lift candidate. If you do not have a strong structure, the operation is likely to fall short of your goals. You may be a good fit for facial implants which are popular in the check and the chin. Speak with your doctor to determine if these alternatives will ultimately meet your original goals. You are sure to find the right procedure for you if you are willing to accept medical advice and continue to research.

Last but definitely not least, you must have realistic expectations. So many people have a celebrity look in mind, and while some features can be replicated, bone structure and genetics play an important role in how a certain technique will play out on you. It is not really a healthy goal to want to mimic someone else’s look. Those most satisfied clients when it comes to the final outcome of face lifts are those who let the doctor consider their expectations and then suggest the best options.

An Elevator Speech Can Open Closed Doors

Do you have an elevator speech? How do you answer the question, “What do you do?” It’s been said you only have 30 seconds to impress your sales prospects and customers. Actually, it could be even less! If you’re selling products and services it’s critically important that you can answer the question – what do you do.

Most salespeople don’t have one and that’s why you need one.

An elevator, prepared in advance, speech is a compelling statement about you, your products and the services you provide that grabs attention and creates curiosity in the time it takes for a short ride in an elevator.

The origins of an elevator, prepared in advance, speech literally come from a chance encounter in an elevator knowing there’s only a brief amount of time to deliver a message that’s both unique and intriguing.

The point is you meet new people every day. You never know when the next business opportunity will present itself, so having a prepared elevator speech that’s ready to go on a moment’s notice is crucial.

Think about it, even in a job interview you’re usually asked, “Tell me about yourself,” and what do you usually do? Spout off in chronological order the jobs that you have held. Boring! Bland! Benign!

If you’re in sales you want to set yourself apart from the competition and creating an effective and powerful introduction is one way to do it.

Let’s say that Susan owns a hairdressing Salon. She finds herself waiting in a line at the post office and to pass the time she strikes up a conversation with those standing near her.

She’s asked, “What do you do for a living,” and her normal response was “I own a hairdressing salon,” which pretty much says it all – just not in a creative way.

Imagine now that she responds, “I own a hairdressing salon and our stylists make our customers more attractive everyday.” Okay, that is certainly an attention-getting statement, isn’t it?

The people in line now want to know more about Susan and her Salon as a result of her short elevator speech.

They want to know how it is that Susan makes people more attractive because deep down they are wondering whether Susan and her stylists can make them more attractive as well.

That’s an example of an elevator speech. People are always clamoring to know, “What’s in it for me,” and you have 30 seconds to sell yourself or your product in such a way that your sales prospects want to know more.

So how do you create an elevator speech

It’s not too difficult, but it does take time to get it right.

Start off by making a list. Write out exactly what the product or service is. Now make a list of all of the benefits a buyer of your product or service will receive.

Your list of benefits is the centerpiece of your powerful introduction.

For example – “I’m a sales representative with over 20 years of experience in environmental services.” Your sales prospect is probably thinking, so what?

What is your value proposition? How does your 20 years of environmental services experience help your sales prospect? What if you added this phrase: “My specialized training and advanced degrees allow me to quickly identify the red flags I spot during on-site inspections.”

Ah, now I understand why I should learn more about these environmental services.

You may need to create different versions of your elevator speech based on the business you’re in. Think about the types of people who you interact with on a daily basis and develop different versions if it makes sense to do so.

Just make sure it’s professional, polished and conversational.

Remember that practice makes perfect. Your elevator speech should be spoken flawlessly.

Here’s a sales tip

Record yourself so you can hear how you’ll sound to others. This will allow you to make the adjustments to make your elevator speech sound more conversational and spontaneous. Go here for even more sales tips.

The best elevator speech I ever heard was created by a president of public relations firm. It went like this. “Our business is to make your business unforgettable.”

You want your elevator speech to be “Unforgettable.”

Making your Mark with a DVLA Number Plate

A DVLA Number Plate is a legal requirement for all road vehicles and is used to identify vehicles and aid the Police. The majority of vehicles must display a number plate on the front and rear of the vehicle with motorbikes as an exception. All the information regarding DVLA number plates is held on a central database. The offices of DVLA Swansea act as the headquarters for the agency with over 80 local offices spread across the country.

As you will notice during any journey, the desire to own a DVLA private number plate is growing all the time. A DVLA plate can represent a name or initials or even act as advertising for a company. The most commonly purchased registrations are prefix number plates however the current format of DVLA registration is beginning to catch up with this demand. When the new DVLA registration format was introduced it was feared that there it would create a suitable amount of personalised registrations and was criticised by many. However with a bit of thought it was clear that some classic personalised plates could be found. Love them or loath them, it is undeniable that a DVLA personalised number plate of any format is now one of the must have accessories for today’s motorists.

As each DVLA registration is unique, the race to find your perfect private number plate is on. Once a DVLA number plate is sold to someone else there is little chance of you ever owning it. The good news is that a DVLA number plate can be purchased from a number plate supplier on certificate and held for an unlimited amount of time until assigned to a vehicle. This option has been welcomed by thousands of people who find their ideal number plate but do not have a car to put it on. The certificates are valid for 1 year and can be renewed annually for a nominal charge. If the DVLA number plate [http://www.capeplates.co.uk/dvla_number_plates] that you are looking for has been sold you can contact a number plate dealer as they also act as agents for people looking to sell their registrations and who knows, you might get lucky!

When buying a DVLA car registration from your number plate supplier, you must remember that a vehicle can always be made to appear old but never newer. For instance, a T reg DVLA number plate could go onto a V (1999-2000) registered car as it would make it appear older but it could not be assigned to a S (1998-1999) registered car as it would make it look newer. When in doubt check with you DVLA number plate suppler who will advise on which marks can be assigned to your vehicle.

A DVLA cherished number plate is a term usually used to refer to older, dateless registrations however its use also now refers to most pre-owned registration numbers that are being resold. A dateless registration is a number plate that does not have an age identifier on it however to the trained eye it is possible to narrow when and where the registration was first issued.

If you are looking to purchase a DVLA registration plate, some of the best deals can be found at the DVLA auctions. These auctions are held every few months around the UK and offer people the chance to purchase a previously unreleased DVLA number plate. The auctions are open to anyone and are attended by many number plate dealers, most of whom offer an auction bidding service. Although these are the best places to pick up a cheap number plate, some of the most expensive DVLA registrations have been sold also. The record for this was the registration 51 NGH (Singh) which sold for £254 000 in 2006.

Choose the Best Fireplace Or Wood Stove For Your Home

Nothing beats the warmth and ambiance of a crackling fireplace. If you are looking at purchasing or upgrading a fireplace, wood stove or fireplace insert (or any hearth appliance) there are lots of choices. Depending on the style and features of your home, your energy needs, design preferences and budget there are many hearth options to choose from.

Masonry Fireplaces

New masonry fireplaces have come a long way since the days when they provided more ambiance than warmth. Today’s models are much more energy-efficient and some European models can even heat an entire small home. The cost of a masonry fireplace varies, depending on a number of factors, including type of material used (particularly on the fireplace face, which could be composed of marble, granite, brick, etc.), the hearth (brick, stone, concrete, tile, marble or wood) and other factors such as chimney liners and chimney caps.

Gas Fireplaces

Housed in their own metal casing, gas fireplaces can be installed just about anywhere. Inside the gas fireplace you will find ceramic logs, fiber gas logs or glass or crystal elements and a burner that produces a glowing natural gas-powered flame. These new gas fireplaces are not the old gas fireplaces. The quantity and quality of the flame has been dramatically improved and most now have the look and feel of a traditional wood burning fireplace. Many gas fireplaces now have flames that are difficult to distinguish from wood burning fire flames. Modern gas fireplaces also come with electronic remote controls and automatic fans to better circulate the heat. The new remote controls are relatively sophisticated with touch screens, child safety locks and automated temperature control operation.

There are three different styles of gas fireplaces: the direct vent model, the top vent design, and the vent-free model.

The direct vent gas fireplace uses two vent pipes that lead directly to the outside. One pipe uses combustion air from the outside while the other vents the exhaust gas.

The top vent gas fireplace design can be installed into existing fireplaces and uses the metal or brick chimney as the exhaust vent. The combustion air for top vent fireplaces is drawn from inside the home while the chimney vents the exhaust gas.

The vent-free gas fireplace model uses no exhaust vent. This style includes an oxygen-depletion sensor that turns off the gas if it senses a dangerous lack of oxygen inside the house. While fireplace manufacturers claim that vent-free fireplaces burn clean, are energy-efficient and don’t threaten indoor air quality, be aware that a number of states do not permit the installation of vent-free fireplaces. In the New England states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut installation of vent-free gas fireplaces is permitted. Massachusetts has in the past not authorized the installation of vent free gas fireplaces for safety reasons.

Prefabricated Fireplaces

Prefabricated fireplaces, also known as zero-clearance fireplaces, are highly insulated, so they can be installed within an inch of combustible materials, such as wall framing. They are preferred in new construction because they’re much lighter in weight, are faster and easier to install than standard masonry units, and are energy-efficient. Many newer prefabricated fireplaces are prefabricated from metal and installed in wood-frame walls. They generally have a metal shell and a realistic brick-lined firebox.

Wood Stoves

A wood stove is essentially a metal container for a fire. Made from cast iron or brick-lined, welded plate steel, a wood stove has an inlet for combustion air and an outlet for combustion gases, or smoke. Most modern wood stoves are airtight and allow the amount of combustion air that feeds the flame to be controlled. This control allows a wood stove to burn far more efficiently than a traditional open fireplace.

Wood stoves built during the 1970s and early 1980s offer efficiencies of 50 to 60 percent. Those built since new governmental requirements were put in place in 1988 offer 75 percent or higher overall efficiency; that is, they convert up to 75 percent or more of their fuel into heat. Concern about particulate emissions or air pollution carried by wood smoke have also forced changes in wood stove designs. Although old wood stoves gave off up to 50 grams of particulates per hour in smoke, new certified stoves give off only about 5 grams.

Most new wood stoves are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and come in many styles and colors. If you thought that wood stoves only came in black and belched smoke then think again. The new wood stoves are energy efficient, clean burning and there is a wood stove to fit any home or life style.

Fireplace Inserts

If you have a masonry fireplace but don’t like the associated, draftiness, energy costs or overall inefficiency, you should consider purchasing a fireplace insert, sometimes referred to as a fireplace stove insert. A fireplace insert is basically a wood stove designed to fit into a fireplace. Fireplace inserts are usually constructed of cast iron or steel just like wood stoves.

Installing a fireplace insert will typically require the installation of a chimney liner. The chimney liner essentially narrows and insulates the chimney vent and connects directly onto the fireplace insert creating a closed highly efficient system. No more opening and closing the damper. Fireplace inserts can use various fuel options and are clean burning (minimal smoke and particulate emissions). Fireplace inserts like wood stoves are heavy, usually weighing upwards of 300 pounds. This means delivery and installation are better left to certified installers or professional chimney sweeps.

Gas fireplace inserts utilize natural gas or liquid propane as the fuel source and consist of a gas log set installed into a steel or cast iron stove and are usually sealed on the front with glass. Most gas inserts have fans or blowers that automatically circulate the heat. Gas inserts are available with remote controls, wall switches or wall-mounted thermostats.

Wood-burning fireplace inserts use firewood as the fuel source. Wood inserts come with fans or blowers that automatically circulate the heat. Wood burning inserts would typically include an operable glass door in the front to allow for loading of firewood and flame viewing. Wood inserts vary in size of flame viewing area (the bigger the better) and maximum log length that can be inserted into the stove for burning.

Pellet fireplace inserts use wood pellets or other types of pellets (corn based, soy based, etc.) as the fuel source. Pellet fireplace inserts come with fans or blowers that automatically circulate the heat.

Pellet-Burning Hearth Appliances

Pellet-burning hearth appliances are simpler to operate and more convenient than other wood-burning appliances. In fact, they are almost as easy to use as gas, oil or electric heaters. Pellet stoves and pellet inserts burn wood pellets or compressed wood. Pellet-burning hearth appliances are loaded with pellets through a hopper and the rate of burn is controlled by an electronic circuit board that is typically controlled by burn settings or a thermostat. Most pellet appliances have at least two burn settings and some new models use thermostats to control the fire. They also use a forced-air system to distribute the wood pellet heat. Pellet-burning appliances are highly efficient, clean burning and environmentally friendly.

Pellet stoves burn wood very efficiently and many do not need chimneys. Rather, they can exhaust fumes by venting directly through a wall to the outdoors. Pellet-burning appliances need to be refueled less frequently than most other wood burning appliances. Refueling varies from once a day to twice a week, depending on the model and your heating needs. Most pellet stoves require electricity to operate.

Customizing Your Fireplace

Your fireplace can be customized with a variety of functional and stylistic options.

Gas fireplaces, for instance, feature three different kinds of logs: vented logs that provide a realistic burning wood look with less heat; ventless logs, which produce a yellow flame with a high degree of efficiency; and partially vented logs which provide a middle ground option in warmth, appearance and efficiency. Each type of gas log is available in many different gas log set styles including types of wood (oak, cedar, northern oak, etc.), flame size and color and other unique and interesting styles (camp fire, beach fire, glass, crystal, etc.).

Gas fireplaces, gas stoves and gas inserts can all be used with remote controls, wall switches and wall mounted thermostats.

Other options or accessories for fireplaces include a wide array of hearth rugs, custom glass doors, ash containers and buckets, wood holders, fire starters, flame enhancers, fireplace screens, tools and fireplace gloves. There are many accessories and options available for wood stoves as well. The most popular options include tool sets, hearth rugs, stove scents and steamers.

Cleaning Your Slow Cooker – Some Do's and Don'ts

Slow cookers are cool. This appliance helps you cook warming meals on chilly nights and gets you out of the kitchen on hot days. No wonder the popularity of slow cookers is soaring. Slow cookers are available in many sizes, colors, and some are programmable. If you do not have a slow cooker yet you may wish to buy one.

According to "One Pot Wonders," an article on the CBS News Web site, about 80% of American kitchens have a slow cooker. "Experts predict [slow cookers] will be a big trend in 2008," the articles notes. Grocery stores have picked up on the trend and sell pre-cut veggies and meat for slow cookers. Book stores have dozens of books devoted to slow cooker recipes.

Slow cooking is a safe way to cook if you follow the directions and clean your cooker properly. Here are some care and cleaning tips.

1. Never preheat a slow cooker. This advice comes from the Kraft Kitchens Canada Web site. Preheating an empty crock may cause it to crack.

2. Handle the crock carefully. In an article titled, "Cleaning Your Crockery Cooker," the Better Homes and Gardens Web site cautions users about hitting the crock on the kitchen faucet. (Apparently this has happened.) One hit could chip or crack the insert.

3. Coat the crock with nonstick spray before using. This prevents food from sticking and makes clean-up a breeze.

2. Put a liner in the crock. According to the Reynolds Web site, slow cooker liners are made of heat-resistant nylon and designed for easy clean-up. The liner is simply thrown away. But using a liner does not get you out of cleaning the crock. Even if you do not see a drip, you should still wash the crock for food safety.

5. Use the right utensils. Stir food with a wooden spoon, plastic spoon, or rubber spatula to prevent scratching.

6. After the food has finished cooking, unplug the slow cooker. Wipe the cord with a damp cloth.

7. Let our slow cooker cool down before you wash it. Never add cold water to a hot crock or put a hot crock in cold water.

8. Wash the crock in warm, soapy water. Use a soft cloth, plastic brush, or plastic scrubbie. Let the crock soak a bit if food is really stuck.

9. Wash the lid in the dishwasher. A glass lid can go anywhere. If the lid is plastic, put it on the top rack.

10. Wipe the outside with a damp cloth and dry completely. Do not use abrasive cleaners, harsh chemicals, or scouring pads on the outside of your slow cooker or you will damage it forever. These tips will keep your food safe and your slow cooker working for years.

Copyright 2008 by Harriet Hodgson

Clear Plastic Boxes

I offered to host my best friend’s bridal shower. This is a great honor and I am thrilled and very excited about the event. However, when the bride-to-be told me that she wanted clear plastic boxes for the party favors, I was a little apprehensive. I had full reign on just about every other detail of the party. The clear plastic boxes appeared to be a little odd at first.

That was, until I got to check what products are available in these containers. These plastic items are perfect for the event because they are sophisticated and sleek but still understated. I think that the only problem I have to deal with is choosing which ones will be best for the occasion.

Clear Plastic Boxes – the style

When I finished my shopping, I have it narrowed down to four finalists. The clear plastic boxes come in a whole array of different styles and designs so getting this far was a great challenge for me. The final four each possess something special to offer and I guess that I might have a harder time choosing than I originally thought.

The first clear plastic boxes that are on my finalist list are quite simple in design. They look more like regular square gift boxes and they have tuck tops that fit right into place like lids. These items are flat and have to be set up but that takes little time.

My second pick is exactly the same as the first except for the bottom. These clear plastic boxes have tuck lids but they also have attractive golden card bottoms. This gives the basic design a little character and shimmer but I think that it might be a little too much. The whole reason that we went with clear plastic boxes was because they have light colors or distracting textures.

Clear Plastic Boxes – the perfect choice

Since I love purses in general, the circle top gift box seemed like the best choice for the occasion. These items fit together to look like a little purse with convenient handles. I love purses but that doesn’t mean that these items are perfect for my friend’s celebration.

The butterfly top clear plastic boxes are more associated to her style. These items are absolutely beautiful, unique and they are simple to assemble. They fit together just like traditional gift containers and they do match the overall theme of the bridal shower. I suppose I actually managed to make a decision. For now, the finest choice in clear plastic boxes is the butterfly design.

How to Identify Unsafe Abdominal Exercises After a Hysterectomy

After a hysterectomy surgery it is essential to understand how to identify inappropriate abdominal or core strength exercises. Many women unknowingly perform abdominal exercises with the potential for serious pelvic injury when returning to their gym workouts and fitness classes after hysterectomy surgery. Unfortunately many well-intentioned fitness instructors are also unaware of this issue leaving women uninformed, vulnerable and confused about appropriate exercise after pelvic surgery. These physical therapist guidelines are designed to help you identify unsafe abdominal exercises after a hysterectomy.

Exercises involving upper abdominal (or “six pack”) muscles pose the most risk to your pelvic floor. Ultrasound studies show that basic abdominal curl exercises force the pelvic floor downwards in women with poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles. The more intense the abdominal or core exercise, the greater the pressure on the pelvic floor and the greater the risk of pelvic floor overload and reduced pelvic support.

Decreased pelvic support can cause an array of serious pelvic floor problems including; vaginal prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain and anorectal disorders. Hysterectomy surgery involves the upper vagina being stitched up inside a woman’s pelvis in order to support the vagina and prevent vaginal prolapse (i.e. vagina descending down and sometimes out of the woman’s body). Research suggests the risk of vaginal prolapse is increased after hysterectomy surgery.

This means that it is imperative that you understand how to avoid overloading your pelvic floor after a hysterectomy with inappropriate abdominal exercises.The following abdominal exercises all have the potential to overload the floor of the pelvis and should therefore be avoided after hysterectomy surgery;

  1. Abdominal curl exercises involve lifting the head and shoulders from a lying position and are also known as sit up exercises. Variations include; incline sit ups, oblique sit ups (elbow to opposite shoulder) and fit ball sit ups.
  2. Double leg raises involve lifting both legs off the ground simultaneously. Variations include; bicycle legs, double leg raises, Pilates “Table Top” exercise and fit ball between-legs raises.
  3. Intense core abdominal exercises such as “Plank” or “Hover” which are performed routinely in gym workouts, yoga and Pilates classes. Never assume that just because an exercise is a “Pilates” exercise, that it is safe for and will help strengthen your pelvic support. Some Pilates exercises can place intense pressure on the pelvic floor.
  4. Abdominal strength machines that exercise the upper abdominal and/or external oblique muscles against resistance. These machines increase the pressure within your abdomen that is transferred directly to your pelvis. In fact these exercises will actually make your abdominal muscles even more effective at increasing the downward pressure on the floor of your pelvis.

How to identify unsafe abdominal exercises after hysterectomy surgery?

  • Exercises that involve lying and raising the head and shoulders, and/or both legs simultaneously off the ground all increase downward pressure onto the floor of the pelvis. These exercises all have the potential to cause pelvic floor injury, after pelvic surgery and when the pelvic floor muscles are not functioning well.
  • Exercises performed in prone (lying facing the floor) and weight bearing through the hands/forearms and feet (with the body elevated off the ground are intense core abdominal exercises. These can be modified by kneeling rather than weightbearing though the feet. Sometimes these are performed forward over a fit ball. Once again never assume that using a fit ball makes the exercise safe for your pelvic floor.
  • Abdominal exercise machines that exercise the abdominal muscles in upright or in lying have potential to overload the floor of the pelvis. These types of machines are usually used aiming to “flatten the belly”. It is not possible to spot reduce fat from the abdomen with abdominal exercises however this myth still continues to pervade western society. To flatten your abdomen you need to lose fat from all over your body, it is not possible to lose it through exercise from one spot only.

It is desirable for women to return to exercise after hysterectomy surgery and ensure their long-term pelvic health by exercising appropriately. It takes three months for most women to fully heal from hysterectomy surgery. During this recovery time the pelvic floor is at greatest risk of injury. Women should only return to the types of abdominal exercises listed above with their medical specialist’s approval and when their pelvic floor muscles are strong and capable of withstanding the large downward forces associated with these particular exercises. For some women with poorly functioning pelvic muscles this may mean avoiding intense core abdominal exercises altogether and opting instead for more appropriate gentle core abdominal exercises more suitable for their pelvic health and longevity.

800 Calorie Diet Menu and Meal Plan

One successful way to get rid of the excess pounds is to reduce your calorie intake. When the calorie count that you consume is lesser than the average, normal calorie intake it will lead to weight loss. A number of diet plans are available to help us consume fewer calories than we usually do. The 800 calorie diet menu and meal plan is one such diet plans which limit the calorie intake of a person to 800 calories per day. This diet plan falls under the category of Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) and should never be practiced without the approval and monitoring of your doctor. This diet plan is only recommended for people who are dangerously overweight and for people whose obesity may lead to life threatening situations. Doctors recommend this diet for people whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 30. People who take this diet usually lose 3-5 pounds per week and a total of around 50 pounds in twelve weeks.

This diet should not be tried by anyone at home. Getting a doctor’s recommendation is mandatory with this diet plan, as the calorie intake per day is dangerously low and taking this diet without medical supervision can lead to many medical complications. Never ever follow this diet without your doctor’s approval.

How is the 800 calorie diet menu formulated?

The 800 calorie diet menu and meal plan is generically formulated by replacing most of the regular food with meal replacement supplements and liquid diets. The exact diet formulation will be designed by your physician depending on a lot of factors like your weight, age, medical conditions etc. He will give all the details about what to eat and when and will also ask to see you every two weeks or so when you are taking the diet. You will be completely monitored during this period by your doctor. Because of the drastic calorie reduction, your blood pressure, pulse, changes in weight are closely followed and recorded by the physician. Moreover blood tests are also taken every two weeks to make sure that you are alright. The doctor will also recommend behavioral therapy and physical training exercises as a part of the diet plan. So you can understand how dangerous and foolish it would be to take these diets by our own without the support of a doctor.

800 calorie diet menus:

Furnished below are a few well known 800 calorie diets.

  • Medifast: This diet plan is endorsed by John Hopkins University and the calorie intake when following this plan is limited to 800-1000 calories per day. Therefore this is strictly not a VLCD.
  • Optifast: This difficult to follow diet plan is widely practiced in a lot of clinics in the US and Canada.
  • The Cambridge diet: This diet has a very low calorie level of around 400-600 calories and is used in the UK.


The Medifast meal plan is made of up to five meal replacements a day. Meals can be substituted with bars, soups, shakes and oat meals. Besides this, the meal plan also recommends one meal per day that constitutes of lean meat and two cups of vegetable salad. A minimum of 64oz of fluids should be consumed in a day and it is better to consume some fluid every two to three hours.


This program followed in clinics comprises of the following: 

  • Initial medical analysis before the diet is launched and continuous monitoring when the diet is being followed.
  • Counseling on behavior, lifestyle and nutrition that need to be followed to maintain the weight.
  • A predominantly liquid diet.
  • Regular physical activity.

This program is offered as a 26 week plan during which care is taken to ensure that the person taking the diet properly transitions to the regular meals.

The Cambridge Diet:

The Cambridge diet is a very low calorie diet and should not be tried without medical supervision. In this diet plan, regular meals are replaced with precise amounts of vitamins, calories and nutrients that are available as bars or in sachets. Copious amounts of water should be consumed to keep the metabolism balanced and to avoid constipation.

Side effects:

Following the 800 calorie diet will have a lot of side effects as there is a steep reduction in the calorie intake. People following the 800 calorie diet plan usually complain of fatigue, diarrhea, constipation and nausea. There is also a possibility of serious complications like gall-bladder stones if the weight loss process is too quick. So it is very critical to follow this diet plan along with medical supervision. Be aware that this diet plan is a risky endeavor and so never ever try to do this all by ourselves and put your health at jeopardy.

Aluminum Handrails Are a Great Choice

Aluminum handrails and gates are important for adding an appealing touch to your home or garden. They are beautiful works of master craftsmanship. Metal gates and railings are used both in the commercial as well as residential sectors. The benefits of aluminum handrails are many such as durability, security, beauty and safety. Aluminum rails are sturdy, low maintenance and withstand harsh weather. The rain will not rust them and most are already weather proof.

Aluminum metal can be twisted and reshaped into virtually any design, you can choose from a huge selection of designs to suit your home and with a life expectancy of at least twenty five to thirty years.

Today we can have the combination of safety and beauty. In the early days handrails were just plain pipe attached to stairs, walls and ramps. With new technology comes fancy panels, scrolls, inserts and limitless designs for you to make the right choice for your tastes.

When you choose handrails for your home, garden or business, other things need to be considered such as design, cost, maintenance and local regulations. There are established building codes that need to be considered. There are specific dimensions and heights, which are recommended. Check with your local building department or established metal fabricator.

If you're building a new deck then why not give consideration to a aluminum metal railing in lieu of wood. They will last longer and are weather proof and you will find that it is very low maintenance.

You can have aluminum metal railings the way you want it. With the imagination of the maker of railings along with your ideas guarantees that this undertaking will end up spectacular.

Hotel Balcony Safety

One of the great pleasures of parenting is being able to take your children on vacation and watch them experience new things through their eyes. However, you are leaving the security and comfort of your own home and you need to take precautions to ensure the safety of your little one while on the road. One place of concern is the hotel balcony. It’s always enjoyable to have a nice walk-out deck off your hotel room to enjoy the nice weather and views. This is also very enticing to your young children. Being prepared not only prevents falls and suffocation but also adds to your ability to relax and enjoy your time on vacation as well.

All US states have minimum safety standards when it comes to above grade deck and balcony rails. Typically, the minimum height of the railing is 30″ and the spacing between balusters is no more than 4″. However each state and/or county can vary. Older hotels may have been built before the code was in place and others may simply be out of compliance all together. In short, you simply can’t count on the hotel or resort when it comes to your child’s safety. There are several things that can be done to help keep you and your family safe while out on the deck. First, you should always call the hotel or resort and ask if they have any child safety measures that they can implement before your arrival. This can include outlet plugs, window guards, poison control, etc. Be sure to ask about the deck and the railing system for the room you will be staying in.

– Is there a child safety lock on the door leading to the balcony?

– How tall are the railings?

– What is the baluster spacing?

– How far off the deck floor is the bottom railing?

– Is there furniture on the deck and if so, is it light and easily moved?

Try to get a feeling for the overall safety of the balcony before ever even leaving your home. If you’re still a little uncomfortable with what you hear, there are measures you can take to keep your children safe and make the trip as worry free as possible. If there is a railing system there but you’re concerned about the baluster spacing, you can bring along deck railing safety netting. The netting is light enough to be packed in your luggage and is easily cut to fit and attaches to the railing with the zip ties. This will keep your child from putting her head through. The zip ties are cut at the end of your stay, leaving no trace of the safety netting. Be sure to use the child safety lock on the door leading to the deck. This is not the lock for the door but a secondary lock, higher up, out of the reach of the kids. Check the furniture on the balcony. Can the little ones climb on it to reach the top of the railing? Can they move it themselves? If so, be sure to bring this furniture in when you’re not using it or asked the hotel to store it somewhere else for your stay. And of course, always use common sense. Don’t leave the door open when you’re not out there. Always stay with your child when he is out on the balcony. Just a small measure of fore thought can keep your mind at easy, making the vacation as enjoyable for you as it will be for them.

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.

Babyproofing Basics – Child Safety Gates 101 – Shop Smart With a Baby Gate Checklist

Baby safety gates are effective childproofing barriers and come in a variety of designs to meet different needs. But heading to the store or online to shop without the right information or preparation can be daunting. These tips and handy printable Baby Gate Worksheet can help busy parents select the right gate(s) the first time to make homes safe and livable for all family members.

1. Consider Gate Location

Where is the gate going to be used? The location often dictates the type of gate you need. Most gates fall into one of two categories:

Hardware-Mounted Safety Gates: Hardware-mounted safety gates attach directly to the wall or doorway using screws. These are the safest, most secure baby gates and should be used for dangerous areas such as stairways – especially at the top – and for long spans and irregular-shaped areas.

Pressure-Mounted Safety Gates: Pressure gates stay in place using pressure applied to cushioned pads against the walls instead of screws. They’re great for the bottom of the stairs and in doorways and hallways, but should not be used at the top of stairs.

2. Measure Gate Opening

What is the size of the opening or area where you’ll be installing your gate? Baby safety gates are adjustable to fit a range of widths and can be lengthened further using extensions – some are even designed specifically for irregular shaped areas. Precise measurements are recommended before selecting and installing any baby safety gate.

Basic Straight Baby Gates for Doors, Stairs, Halls and Spans: Measure the opening width straight across — as well as the height of partial walls or banisters if applicable. If installing a baby gate on an angle, measure the width along the desired angle.

Baby Gates for Irregular-Shaped Areas like Hearths, Entryways: Baby safety gates designed for irregular-shaped areas, such as curved entryways or fireplace hearths, are configured in movable sections and size is measured by running length. The HearthGate and Configure Gate are popular baby gates for irregular areas.

3. Any Special Installation Needs?

Most baby safety gates include hardware to install the gate into a wooden stud, wooden doorway or other secure wooden base. In other situations, installation kits help create a proper mounting surface to securely install baby gates. Plus, installation kits can help prevent or minimize damage to walls and woodwork.

Stairway Spindle and Banister Kits – A “No Holes” Solution: Banister, spindle and metal railing kits allow installation of safety gates onto stair railings without drilling holes into posts or woodwork. They work with most round, square and combination post styles. One kit is needed per post side; ie: if the stairway has a wall on one side and a post on the other, you’ll need one banister kit to install the gate. Stairs with banisters on both sides will need two kits, one per side.

All-Purpose Installation Kits: Multi-purpose kits aid with safety gate installation for hollow drywall (with no stud behind the sheetrock), walls with tall decorative baseboards, and other special needs.

Shop Smart! Before you shop for baby gates, print out the Free Baby Gate Worksheet at KidSmartLiving.com, to record gate types, sizes and any special installation details specific to your home’s needs.

My Top 5 Fitness Challenges

Through my personal training and my own training I always try to plan fun, interesting as well as massively beneficial sessions.

Every now and then I will throw in a fitness challenge into my workout or my client’s workout which will give me/them something to aim for. Most of the time it won’t happen straight away and it is something you build up to getting closer and closer each time.

So just for a bit of fun I have come up with a list of my personal top 5 fitness challenges for you to have a go at. These are realistic targets for any well trained individual and a good long term goal for those new to exercise.

If you haven’t exercised before/recently started exercising then don’t attempt these, if you want to try then just halve the target and see how you get on.

So here they are:

1. 80 x Press Ups

The press up is a great exercise, it involves your chest muscles, triceps and your core. Many people will go straight for the bench press and pile the weights on when they can’t even do 10 press ups. Don’t even bother benching until you have the strength to bang out 30 perfect form press ups in a row. These press ups should be controlled but powerful one after the other getting your chest as close to the ground as you can all the way up to 80 in a row.

2. 20 x Chin Ups

One of my favourite exercises, I remember doing this at school and the majority of the class were left just hanging on the bar trying and failing to pull themselves up even a little. This is a tough move and requires a lot of strength. Form is important I’ve seen people crane their neck, hunch their shoulders and using as much momentum as possible. These reps are STRAIGHT ARM at the bottom and chin over the bar at the top, no jumping, bouncing, rocking, it needs to be controlled.

3. 1 x Deadlift at double bodyweight

Deadlift is one of the cornerstones of strength training and I think everyone should be doing it. A deadlift uses so many different muscles (practically every muscle in the body!) and produces so many benefits. Form is crucial in deadlifting, do it wrong and you could get a serious injury. Look on YouTube to find out perfect form before deadlifting. Remember straight back, engage the core and look ahead. Please do not try to do this straight away. Build it up from what you are doing now and see how far you can go without risking injury. This could take months to build up to, and it should.

4. 5 Min Plank

One of my favourite core exercises to perform, well I don’t enjoy it but I know it works! This is another exercise where form is crucial, you won’t injure yourself with the wrong form but many people will droop in the middle or stick their bum up, this takes the pressure off your abs and makes it easier. So when you try this you need to have someone to check your form and try and keep it for 5 minutes.

5. 5 Minute Mile Run

Last one, I wanted to get one in for you cardio runners. In 1954 Roger Bannister went into the record books as being the first one to break the 4 minute mile barrier, once he did that he opened the floodgates and many people broke it straight after. Start with 7 minute miles and work your way down and see how close you can get. If you run consistently you’ll be amazed at how much faster you can get over the distance.

These exercises work some of the most important muscles in the body and using these exercises should help to maintain good fitness and wellbeing.

Remember this is just a challenge don’t risk anything or change your training drastically just to make these.

Pick one to start with and see how you get on.

Good luck,


Cisco Certification: Building Your Own Home Lab, Part I

CCNAs and CCNA candidates hear it all the time: 'Get some hands-on experience'. From my personal experience climbing the Cisco certification ladder, I can tell you firsthand that there is no learning like hands-on learning. No simulator in the world is going to give you the experience you will get cabling and configuring your own routers.

Whenever I mention this to one of my students, they always say it costs too much. The truth is, it is cheaper now to build your own CCNA and CCNP lab than it has ever been. The secret? Used routers.

The word 'used' turns off a lot of people; not many of us buy used computers or used servers. Cisco routers, though, are robust; I personally own a Cisco 4000 router that I use as a Frame Relay switch in my lab that I've had for about four years, and I've never had a problem with it.

The good news for current CCNA and CCNP candidates interested in building their own labs is that used Cisco equipment has never been more plentiful or cheaper. eBay is a good way to get an idea of ​​what's out there and what the prices are, but you do not have to assemble your lab one piece at a time. Many eBay vendors who sell Cisco used equipment sell ready-made CCNA and CCNP labs for one price, including cables.

Asked major one 's the I vendor of CCNA and CCNP labs, Http://www.ciscokits.com , what the most common questions are On the regarding building your own home lab. Here's what they had to say:

Why do I need real routers instead of a simulator?

You need a physical router as the simulators just do not have the ability to give you the 'hands on' you need to see what happens when you disconnect a cable or put a cable in the wrong location. You will come to find quite quickly that mistakes you make on Router 1 are affecting Router 5 all because you did not screw in a cable properly. No simulator can simulate that.

How many routers do I need?

Two routers really are required to see if anything works. If you have a very limited budget, you can receive value from only purchasing a single router over working with a simulator. However, you will not be able to see the main thing we are trying to accomplish. The propagation of route tables! The only way you can see if your configurations work, is to have at least two routers. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you purchase a dual router kit that comes with all the accessories you need. Otherwise you can spend days trying to find all the little extra pieces you need to get your lab up and running.

Do I need a switch?

Well, it is nice to have. However, with only about 2 questions on the test dedicated to 'hands on' switch knowledge, if you have to skimp on something, skimp on the switch.

What routers and switches should I buy?

Choices, choices, choices! Which 2500/2600 router do I pick? I will list some pros and cons of each router below, along with current prices (note that prices are generally lower if you buy a dual router kit instead of a single router):

1) Cisco 2501 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 94.99. The cheapest introduction router, and it can support a vast majority of the commands that you will need to learn for your CCNA test. All 2500 routers that we will discuss come with a minimum of two serial ports and an Ethernet port. You will need to add a transceiver to this unit to convert the Ethernet AUI port to an RJ-45 style Ethernet port.

2) Cisco 2503 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 119.99. This is the same as a Cisco 2501, except it adds an ISDN port so you can complete all your ISDN commands for the CCNA test. You will need to add a transceiver to convert the Ethernet AUI port to an RJ-45 style Ethernet port.

3) Cisco 2505/2507 with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 109.99. The same as a Cisco 2501 except it has a built-in 8 or 16 port hub so you do not have to purchase a transceiver.

4) Cisco 2514 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 149.99. This router is the same as a Cisco 2501 except instead of one Ethernet port you have two. You may ask, what is the big deal? Well, you can use this as your Cable Modem / DSL Modem router. Now you can test your ability to setup a firewall and router in a live environment on the Internet. Lots of fun! You will need to add two transceivers to convert the Ethernet AUI ports to an RJ-45 style Ethernet ports.

5) Cisco 2520 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB $ DRAM 119.99. This is the same as a 2503 but it also adds two more serial ports so you can use this as a frame relay switch later in your CCNA studies. It costs the same as a 2503, so this is a great money saving tip.

6) Cisco 2612 Router with 32 DRAM and 8 MB Flash $ 199.99. This is a modular router unlike any of the 2500 series routers. So the big benefit of this is you can buy extra modules to add functionality such as more serial ports, ISDN ports, Ethernet ports, WICs and such. However, due to the flexibility you will pay a bit more. One day it is a frame relay switch, the next it is your ISDN router. In the long run it will be cheaper than purchasing a bunch of dedicated routers for each discipline you want to learn.

7) Cisco 1912 or 1924 Switch with Enterprise Software $ 109.99. This is a good low cost switch .. The only draw back is it is a 10 MB switch except for the two 100 MB uplink ports. Not a big deal since you have 10 MB routers.

8) Cisco 2912 or 2924 Switch with Enterprise Software $ 249.99. This switch will run all the current commands needed for the test and is a full 100 MB switch.

And should you desire to sell your lab after you complete your certification, you can either negotiate a price with the vendor who sold it to you, or you can sell it yourself on ebay. It's my experience that 95% of candidates who earn their CCNA go on to pursue their CCNP within one year, though, so do not sell it too quickly.

In the end, you spend only a few hundred dollars, and you gain invaluable experience and knowledge that will help you both in your certification quest and your job performance. Having been there, I can tell you that you will learn much more from actually configuring and cabling your own equipment than you ever will from any simulation of the real thing.

To your success,

Defective Airbag Case

Many factors contribute to determining whether or not you should decide to file a lawsuit because your airbag did not deploy.

These are the factors that will help you decide whether to take legal action:

1. Under normal circumstances, should the airbag have deployed in this type of crash?
2. Why did not the airbag deploy?
3. If the airbag had worked, could I have been less injured?
4. Are the injuries caused by the defective airbag serious enough or life threatening enough to be worth the cost of pursuing a defective airbag lawsuit?

1. Under normal circumstances, should the airbag have deployed in the crash?

Prior to deciding whether to file a product liability lawsuit for a defective airbag, it is best to examine the facts about the incident to know for sure there the airbag did not work properly. In other words, should the airbag have deployed in the crash? Oftentimes, to answer this question, an investigator is used to examine the evidence. The speed that the car was traveling at is an important element to consider. A typical airbag will deploy if the car is traveling at a speed equal to or slower than 14 mph. Moreover, the type of impact plays a role in whether an airbag will deploy. The airbags in the front of the vehicle should deploy in frontal impact crashes. Therefore, if you were traveling at a speed of or over 14 mph and were hit in the front of your vehicle, then the frontal airbags should have deployed. However, if you experienced a crash in the rear of your vehicle, then your airbag may not have gone off because it was not made for this type of accident. Newer vehicles also have side airbags, so it is necessary to determine where the airbags are located in the car and analyze their effectiveness according to the type of accident that occurred.

2. Why did not the airbag deploy?

You need to prove that there is something wrong with the airbag that caused it to not deploy even if you simply think that it should have in the accident that you had. You need to have an expert with an engineering background testify that there is something wrong with the airbag. It can be expensive to have experts in this field to come and give a testimony on your behalf. Therefore, if you were not severely injured, it would not be wise to spend the money on attempting to prove that the airbag should have worked.

3. If the airbag had worked, could I have been less injured?

In order to prove that you would have incurred less injuries if the airbag had gone off, medical experts should also be asked to provide a testimony to provide evidence of this fact.

4. Are the injuries caused by the defective airbag serious enough or life threatening enough to be worth the cost of pursuing a defective airbag lawsuit?

As you can see, airbag cases are complex, and costly to pursue. It may not be worth it to pursue a lawsuit of this kind, even if you believe that you have a strong claim. In other words, if the injuries that you sustained as a result of the airbag not deploying were not substantial, then the cost of going through the legal process could be more than the settlement. On the other hand, if you did in fact experience serious injuries or one of the passengers was killed, you should consider pursuing a case and should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.