Designer Shearling Coats Are Hotter Than Ever: 5 Style Trends

After you have perused the various styles in your local department store or online, and tried on a number of coats, you will feel more prepared for your purchase. Here are the five five trends to look out for this season:

1. The first trend is actually a classic-a full length, shearling coat. Rather than choosing a shearling item for its popularity, go for a timeless piece such as a coat, which will never go out of style.

2. A more recent trend in shearling is a shawl. This is a great item to wear with party dresses, trousers or skirts.

3. Another recent trend is a comfortable and elegant wrap. Interesting details can be added, such as stitching and embroidery for an eye popping effect.

4. For a more utilitarian look, the aviator trend with its thick, cropped shape and furry collar make a big impression.

5. The last trend to consider is a poncho. While it may seem informal, it can be easily dressed up with a fancy belt or with other fur accessories such as a headband or fur trimmed leather boots.

What's great about all of these trends is the sheer amount of choice. There are options for hoods, pockets, zippers, belts and more, and instead of standard colors such as black and brown, you can opt for khaki and deep rich chocolate colors, or more playful shades in green or red. Whatever style you choose in shearling, the most important thing is that it flatters your body and that you feel good in it. You want to choose a coat that is flattering to your body type and which you can wear for an elegant evening out on the town, or simply with a pair of jeans. One of the most important things you should avoid is buying a coat that is too small or tight fitting. You want to leave room for layers and do not want any gaps between buttons.

Quality of shearling coats and trends can be tested when you touch the fur with your hands-the underfur should be even textured and the guard hairs should be soft. Also, check the weight of the coat when you try it on. A high quality pelt should not be cumbersome, nor should it be lightweight. You can also check the label on the coat or garment. "Royal Dynasty" is the highest mark a coat can receive by fur industry leaders. This guarantees the quality of pelt, style and craftsmanship. Your nose can also be a powerful tool-real fur will have a fairly rich, leathery scent upon close inspection.

Fitness Equipment Glossary

There are dozens and dozens of different type of fitness equipment out there so keeping track of them can be quite the task, even for an expert. The constantly influx of new type of innovations and equipment also do not help and can intimidate newcomers to the fitness world. We have compiled a list of the most common terms regarding fitness equipment and break them down to simple to understand, non-jargon explanations. We have also detailed which body part the equipment targets, if applicable. If words like ergometer, P80 console and smith machine baffle you, this list will be your friend. We have gathered up all the fitness equipment names that we could find and we are constantly adding to this list.

Ab Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: abdominals

An ab bench is a fitness bench that is generally at a decline, usually with padded leg rollers to hook your legs or foot around to perform a crunch or sit-up. There are also adjustable versions of these where you can perform different exercises on.

Adjustable Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

Similar to a flat bench, but they are adjustable to either become a flat bench, an incline bench or a decline bench.

AMT

An abbreviation for the Precor AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer) which is an all-in-one elliptical machine. It is able to change strides and adapt to the user without any manual adjustments.

Arc Trainer

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, core (if it includes upper body: triceps, biceps, back)

A cardio machine created by Cybex that closely resembles an elliptical, but the independent floating pedal mechanism further reduces impact on your lower joints.

Assisted Chin Dip

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: triceps, deltoids, pectorals, abdominals, biceps

An assisted chin dip machine is a tower with two protruding rods. Some machines will have the user either kneel or stand on a weighted platform. The user starts with their arms at a 90 degree angle and extends their arms to perform the exercise.

Crosstrainer

See entry for elliptical.

Curl Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

Also sometimes called a preacher curl. This bench resembles a seat with a padded section in front. The user places their arm over the padded section of the bench and can perform curls with proper form.

Cybex

One of the leading manufacturers of fitness equipment. They mainly specialize in producing strength equipment with over 150 unique pieces. Cybex is also known for their innovative Arc Trainer cardio machines.

Decline Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A weight bench where the user’s legs are higher than their head. It is used for bench presses that target the lower portion of the chest.

Elliptical

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, core (if it includes upper body: triceps, biceps, back)

An elliptical is a stationary cardio machine that simulates running or climbing. Users stand on pedals which allows for a low impact workout. Some elliptical also have movable arms which will also allow for an additional upper body workout. Also sometimes referred to as an elliptical crosstrainer or a crosstrainer.

Ergometer – This is quite the confusing term. Sometimes an ergometer can refer to the device inside your exercise machine that tracks your statistics like heart rate, calories burned, distance run, etc. An ergometer can also be referring to an indoor rowing machine. See rowing machine for further definitions on the term used in that context.

Flat Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A flat bench is designed for users to lie flat on top of. It is designed to support users while they are performing bench presses.

FreeMotion Fitness

A fitness equipment manufacturer that produces both strength and cardio equipment. They are best known for their FreeMotion Functional Trainer, which uses pulleys and cables to allow a more dynamic range of motion.

Functional Trainer

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: Entire body

Functional trainers are all-in-one fitness machines that usually look like one large tower. Many of them utilize cables or pulleys in order to accommodate a wide variety of different exercises. Functional trainers target upper body, lower body and the core. The type of exercise varies depending on the model.

Hoist Fitness

Hoist Fitness is a San Diego based company that produces strength-training and indoor cycling products for commercial and home markets.

Incline Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A weight bench where the user’s head is higher than their legs. Generally used in bench presses and curls.

Incline Press

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: pectorals (upper chest), deltoids, triceps

The incline press machine is a weight machine that consists of a seat with two handles located in front of the user that are attached to weights. The user extends their arms and slowly brings them back to starting position to complete a repetition.

Indoor Cycle

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstring, quadriceps, calves, gluteus maximus, abdominals, tibilais anterior, core

An indoor cycle is a stationary bike that is similar to an upright bike, but is generally smaller and uses a weighted flywheel. It is commonly used in indoor cycling classes where riders ride the indoor cycle in a group in a group, following an instructor and music.

LeMond Fitness

LeMond Fitness, powered by Hoist Fitness, is a fitness company formed by Greg LeMond that specializes in creating stationary cycles.

Life Fitness

Life Fitness is one of the largest and most respected fitness equipment manufacturers. They manufacture every type of equipment including cardio and strength machines.

Matrix Fitness

Matrix Fitness is a commercial grade fitness equipment manufacturer. They are known for their industrial design and contemporary look.

Olympic Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

Olympic benches are slightly larger than standard benches and are generally made of composite steel for maximum durability. Olympic benches are also more padded since they’re designed to be able to withstand larger weight loads and heavier lifters.

P80 Console – Precor’s newest consoles for their cardio fitness equipment. It has a 15″ LCD capacitive touchscreen. It is also iPod/iPhone compatible.

P30 Console – Precor’s older style console. Includes large LED display and motion controls.

Power Rack

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A power rack is a machine with four vertical bars and two movable horizontal bars used to catch barbells. Many power racks also come with additional horizontal bars to perform chin ups and pull ups on in addition to barbell exercises. They are usually wide enough for a person to easily fit inside, along with a fitness bench.

Preacher Curl

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

See entry for curl bench.

Precor

Precor is a worldwide leader in the home/commercial exercise equipment due to their emphasis on superior quality, creative innovation and overall performance. They specialize in both strength equipment and cardio and are probably most well known for their innovative AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer).

Recumbent Bike

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstring, quadriceps, calves, gluteus maximus, abdominals, tibilais anterior

A recumbent bike is an exercise bike that places its user in a reclining position with the pedals out in front of them. The recumbent bike is great for users with back problems because there is

less pressure on the lower back due to the laid-back position.

Smith Machine

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, back

A smith machine is a machine usually consisting of a vertical steel rails that is used in weight training. It is primarily used with a barbell and as a self-spotting machine. There are slots on the smith machine that you can hook a barbell onto with only a twist of a wrist. There are also usually safeties which can be placed at a minimum height to catch the barbell and prevent injuries. Smith Machines usually only also vertical movement and are primarily used for squats.

StairMaster

A fitness company established in 1983 and known for their stair climbing fitness equipment. Their most famous products include the stepper and stepmill.

Star Trac

Star Trac has been manufacturing exercise equipment for both home and commercial use since 1979. Their main specialties are their Pro Treadmill lines, their complete lines of selectorized strength equipment and much more.

Stepmill

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, hip flexors, calves

A stepmill resembles an escalator in the sense that it is an endless set of rotating steps. These steps are attached to a belt that revolves with every step. Stepmills are meant to exactly simulate stair climbing and uses your own body weight as resistance, which can increase the amount of calories burned.

Stepper

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, hip flexors, calves

Steppers are machines that have two side by side pedals that you pump up and down to simulate stair climbing. Since steppers rely less on bodyweight, they are more effective for lighter individuals who may not have enough mass to properly move the stepmills. Generally, steppers allow you to adjust resistance level to adjust intensity and difficulty of the workout.

Upright Bike

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstring, quadriceps, calves, gluteus maximus, abdominals, tibilais anterior, core

An upright bike is an exercise bike where the user sits in an upright position, similar to a road bicycle, with the pedals almost directly below the seat. The upright position helps to simulate real road bike riding and engages the core more than a recumbent bike.

Weight Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A weight bench (sometimes called a fitness bench) is a padded board supported by legs and its primary purpose is for weightlifters to sit or lie down on. There are various types of weight benches, including an incline bench, a decline bench, an ab bench, a preacher curl/curl bench and an Olympic bench.

Top 10 Benefits Of Being Drug-Free

Knowing the Consequences Will Help You Stay Away

You have probably heard that drugs create a lot of trouble. They can damage the brain, the heart, and other important organs. Drug abusers lose their adequacy and ability to concentrate. They often find it hard to think clearly and make wise decisions. If you know how much you can benefit from a drug-free life, you will not even touch drugs.

Here are some benefits of being drug-free:

  1. First of all, you will live a healthier and longer life. Drug abuse leads to extreme weight loss and malnutrition that can affect both your health and family life.
  2. You will enjoy financial freedom. You can spend all your earnings the right way rather than spending it all on buying drugs or alcohol. Financial freedom offers a lot of benefits and is one of the important advantages of being drug-free.
  3. You will have the opportunity to live a respectable life in society. If you are an addict, your indifferent behavior and personality changes could make you a real burden for others and nobody will respect you, not even your friends.
  4. If you are drug-free, you can reduce the risk of sudden death as many drugs can lead to a cardiac arrest or heart attack. Haven’t we all heard about road accidents caused by people under the influence?
  5. You can be a better parent and a good role model for your kids. If you are addicted to drugs, they might dominate your whole life and tear your family apart.
  6. You can live a fear-free life. Addicts will do all sorts of wrong things like lying, cheating, and stealing money. Because of all this, they are always afraid of other people.
  7. Another advantage is that you can save your career. Addicts cannot concentrate on their work and have a problem with assignments, deadlines and so on. If you are sincere and dedicated, you will have better job prospects and earn more money.
  8. By avoiding drugs, you can improve your appearance – you will look young and energetic. Drug abusers do not get the required nutrients. Your complex may change and your skin may shrink – that will make you look and feel quite old.
  9. Friendship can survive with reliable behavior, mutual care and respect. None of these will be there if you’re an addict.
  10. Creating awareness on drug addiction is very important. Due to lack of awareness, many people have no idea about the dimensions of this problem and hence our duty to help people understand how dangerous this habit actually is. Organize an awareness campaign in your neighborhood and show everyone the benefits of being drug-free. Surprise the attendees with a customized giveaway gift. There is an enormous collection of products available online. Because of their unique and easily-customizable nature, silicone rubber wristbands are the best choice. These products are available in various types, colors, fonts, sizes and styles. You can easily print awareness messages and distribute them during your campaign.

Think about it!

Cutting Natural Stone With Water-Jets

Creating intricate patterns on stone slabs is now easier than ever. The patterned stone work has now become precise and efficient with the advent of water-jet machinery. The water-jets are so powerful that they can penetrate through a natural stone slab effortlessly. This enables the slab to be formed in almost any shape.

Enhanced patterns
One example of water-jets enhancing stone patterns is custom flooring fabricated with 2 cm thick slabs cut into pieces that fit together like a puzzle. Similar patterns can be achieved with terrazzo as the material can be poured into a place much like concrete. But unlike granite or marble floors, terrazzo is made up of crushed stone and fillers that have a limited color palette. Granite and marble slab floors, on the other hand, have a wide variety of color options.

Unique wall features
Cutting stone with a water-jet is a great solution for creating unique wall features. In addition to natural stone countertops, granite and marble slabs can be installed on a vertical surface. Stone slabs come in large rectangular pieces that make an impressive wall feature when installed upright. The most common vertical applications include fireplace surroundings and shower walls. The natural stone slabs can be cut into curves and waves using water-jet machinery. Although any cut pattern in stone is impressive since the material is extremely dense, cutting curves or waves is inspiring. The stone naturally found is rough and rigid and when shaped to a curve, balances the hard stone with a soft pattern that is pleasing to the eye.

Countertops that are unusually shaped are not a problem for the technology of water-jets. Granite or marble countertops designed in unique and non-rectangular shapes are often used in kitchen islands and custom furniture. Cutting the stone with the water-jet process is a prerequisite method that allows the designer or homeowner to become more creative – they can design the island top to a geometric shape with straight lines or an organic form with curves. A common shape for kitchen island countertops is one where three sides are straight and the fourth extends past the cabinets with an arched overhang for bar stools. Granite and marble slabs make an ideal table top that is easy to maintain. Round and oval-shaped tables are easy to create with water-jet machinery. This has opened the doors to design granite and marble slabs in more unconventional and artistic ways.

Should You Masturbate Before Going Out on a Date?

If you’ve seen the movie There’s Something About Mary, you’re probably familiar with the conversation between Ben Stiller and Chris Elliott about “The Loaded Gun Theory”.

Essentially, the premise is that when you go out on a date with a woman, it’s probably a good idea to masturbate rather than show up at her doorstep with only one thing on your mind.

Well, when this particular topic came up in conversation recently (excuse the unintended pun) I decided to do a bit of research.

As it turns out, assuming you word your Google search in a way that doesn’t result in a barrage of “adult” sites, you’ll quickly find that almost everyone who has thought about the topic du jour has come to the same conclusion: It’s best to masturbate before going on a hot date.

The reasons cited are generally twofold: 

1)   It takes the “pressure” off

2)   If something physical WERE to happen on the date, you’d be less likely to experience premature ejaculation.

Granted, conventional wisdom would point to this all being solid logic.  But not so fast.

The problem with “conventional wisdom”, as so eloquently pointed out by Freakonomics author Steven Levitt, is that it usually is based on the EASIEST conclusion to draw rather than what may perhaps be the CORRECT one.

And the more I consider the “Loaded Gun Theory”, the more I’m beginning to believe there’s more to think about than what’s on the surface.

In fact, I’d like to challenge you to consider if it’s actually best to store it up for a few days before a particularly anticipated meeting with a woman.  Here’s why.

First of all, I have a sneaking suspicion that when we as guys are physically geared up for sexual excitement, we just may radiate more of a sexual (read: “masculine”) presence physiologically.

Forget “pheromone spray”, gentlemen. My gut feeling is that when you’re flat out “in the mood”, women can somehow sense that…and the woman in them “wakes up” physiologically.

As I said, I really couldn’t find anything to support this hypothesis on Google, but consider some of the buzz surrounding MOTOS (Members Of The Opposite Sex) based on their various possible states of sexual readiness, hormone levels, etc.

Indeed, women tend to spend more time thinking about this sort of thing, and some of the ideas that have gained traction over the years include how women tend to have a certain “glow” about them when pregnant, and how when a woman is at her MOST FERTILE point in her monthly cycle she’s ALSO at her sexual peak…even, perhaps, as unconsciously acknowledged my men around her.

So here it is: Considering we’re all human beings here, why wouldn’t a similar but gender-specific set of premises hold true for us as men?

Further, I think that if you’re more sexually tuned up in the moment, you’re more likely to feel that much more excitement in your soul when engaging an attractive woman on a date. And that kind of energy can lead to some serious fireworks (the key word being “lead”, as always).

The analogy of what happens when you go grocery shopping while hungry may not be far off here.   If you’ve just visited an “all you can eat” buffet you’re more likely to postpone hitting the supermarket until tomorrow.

But if you missed lunch and are starving, you probably can’t wait to go food shopping.

I’ve actually run the ideas I’ve just described by several women over the last few days, and they ALL agreed with me…ASSUMING the guy was mature enough to stay in control of things.

It goes like this: Women actually LOVE IT when a man radiates primal sexuality on a date. 

What they DON’T love is when guys act like Neanderthals. They don’t like feeling pressured and/or “used”.

Interesting.

So I have a feeling that “personal control” may in fact be the kicker here.

Let’s face it; if you are hungry when you hit the grocery store you may spend twice as much money on stuff you’ll probably never get around to eating before it goes bad. But ONLY if you lack discipline.

And yes, if you’re about ready to drill a hole in your mattress by the time you meet up with a woman, you may have “tunnel vision” and come off as too sex-focused or even DESPERATE when you’re with her.

But again…that will ONLY hold true if you lack discipline.

What we have here, gentlemen, could actually be a very real LITMUS TEST by which we can measure whether or not we have MASTERY over our own sexuality or not.

That’s heavy duty, isn’t it?

If you can’t handle the heat, then yes…you’d probably better masturbate before a date.

But that would be your loss. 

Because considering that women are actually ROCKED TO THE CORE by being in the presence of a man who is both sexually charged and self-disciplined, if you CAN keep your composure when in that state you might very well have a WILDLY POWERFUL advantage over most other guys out there.

And I’m not going to discount that this may be yet another piece of the puzzle as to why older guys can attract younger women who think guys their own age are “so immature”.

As for the premature ejaculation part of the argument, by the way, even that may be less of an issue than you think. 

Contrary to popular belief (there’s that “conventional wisdom” again), a woman may actually be FLATTERED if you blast off quickly your first time together. I can guarantee it beats the opposite scenario.

Besides, if she’s that hot, don’t you think you’d have a “second round” in you somewhere?

What do you think? Can you field-test everything we’re talking about here without freaking out? Can you believe that a woman may in fact respond to you in a completely new and powerful way?

At the very least, I can assure you that if you CAN handle all of this and apply it, you’ll be operating at a level that most guys can’t touch. And you’ll probably enjoy your dates that much more, all the while becoming the newly crowned world champ at ramping up sexual tension.

After all, what guy DOESN’T want to gain every available advantage when it comes to separating himself from the “herd” and realizing the ability to attract the very highest quality women on Earth?

Hemorrhoids Cure: The Simplast Way to Notice, Treat and Prevent This Illness

Hemorrhoids, that are commonly known as piles, are inflamed veins within or on the exterior of the lower colon. This condition can be very serious and could cause the victim a lot of pain. There are many things that can cause this condition, but the commonest causes are bowel problems, a low fiber diet, lifting heavy objects, pregnancy and an inactive way of living. The condition is also genetic in some families.

Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing. Do you suffer from itching in your sphincter area? Pain during bowel movement? Blood on your toilet tissue? All of these are signs that you could have external piles and it's not funny. External piles though common, can be annoying and mortifying, not to say insufferable. The solution is to be sure you do not sit for over an hour at a time and try to do some stretching that improves a good blood flow.

In most cases piles may be removed at any stage of the illness, but the earlier a doctor is informed, the better are the probabilities to avoid surgery and hospitalization. As the piles bump grows in size, the treatment methods change. Different treatment routines are applied to different stages of the hemorrhoids standing. Diagnosing external hemorrhoids is done by an easy manual examination.

Applying herbal cures for piles is a very useful strategy to get some relief from the agony and discomfort without side-effects or medical techniques. Because your piles condition is not awful enough to get surgery does not mean you have to leave it untreated and hurt through the pain.

This is a bad idea, but too frequently people turn to over the counter chemical creams available, but you have to be under supervision because of the possible side effects and allergies. Finding an external hemorrhoids cure is vital when you get external piles.

It is not widely known, but one of the best natural cures is witch hazel. The veins causing the pile to shrink and contract can be handled using the properties of witch hazel. To use this herb as care you can take a cotton ball and soak it in the witch Hazel and then use it on the areas affected to get instant relief. All these herbs are known to treat the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids very fast.

Although many people use these herbs for getting instant relief, this sort of treatment can slowly, naturally, and safely sort out your piles for good. Herbal cures for hemorrhoids will also stop the bleeding, itching, burning, and swinging connected with this condition.

Take this for sure, the best preventative measures are good private cleanness, use diuretics or stool softeners in the event of hard stools, concentrate on exercising the buttocks muscles, drink at least two liters of liquids daily, never put off the need for defecation and always put on purgative suppositories and stool softeners in cases of runs.

Drying Herbs

Drying herbs is one of the easiest ways to reserve leaves and flowers for future use in cooking, cosmetics, or health care recipes or potions. There are three different types of drying methods.

– Air-drying by hanging.

– Air-drying on screens

– Drying in a dehydrator

Hanging Herbs

Hanging herbs to dry is a good way to preserve them. However, a well-ventilated and dark area will be necessary, as well as one that lasts dry throughout the year. An attic is a good solution, after you have covered any windows that will allow sunlight. In many situations, a person may also use a basement room or a spare room for this purpose.

The best time of day to gather herbs for drying is in the morning. You do not need to wash them unless they've been soiled with mud. If you do rinse off your herbs, make sure they are completely dry before you bunch them up for hanging.

To hang dry herbs, tie bundles or bunches with twist ties, thread, or even rubber bands, and then hang them on some sort of apparatus that will allow air to circulate freely around them. You can use hangers, books, or any other method to hang. Make sure that you leave room in between hangers or bundles in order to allow adequate air circulation for optimum drying.

If you're drying herbs this way to use in cooking, you may find better results by enclosing her bundles in paper bags to keep them from growing dusty while they dry. While this may take a little longer, up to three weeks, they will stay clean!

If you live in a humid area or the area where you are drying your herbs may accumulate moisture, wrapping cheesecloth around herbs instead of paper bags will provide a better solution, by offering more air to circulate around herbs, though still keeping them clean from dust .

Hang branches of herbs, upside down at least one foot from any wall and allow at least six inches in between bunches of herbs. While most herbs take about two weeks to dry when hung uncoached in dark and dry conditions, those that are covered with paper bags or cheesecloth will probably need an extra week, perhaps more before they are ready to use.

You can determine whether your herbs are ready to use or not, or if they are completely dry, by touching them. If they are ready, they will feel crackly and crisp. You may use them or store them for even longer periods of time, but keep in mind that since the water has evaporated from stems and leaves, their flavor will be more concentrated than the herb you pluck fresh from your garden. Because of this, reduce the amount you add to recipes to per one one half to one third as much as you would use when using a fresh herb.

After your herbs of dried, remove leaves from the stands and store in a tightly closed jar or container in a cupboard that is not open to direct sunlight.

Drying on screens

Dryings on an elevated screen or screen which you have elevated with blocks of wood or any other object proves a little easier for tiny leaves and flowers that might be hard to handle otherwise, or to hang without damaging.

Dehydrators

If you happen to live in an area of ​​the country that contains relatively high levels of moisture throughout the year, a dehydrator may be your only option for properly drying herbs. However, although dehydrators are handy for drying herbs such as parsley and basil, they may lose their color or flavor when air-dried. A dehydrator is perfect for drying roots in about three days, but when drying especially small herbs such as thyme, cover the dehydrator tray with cheesecloth to prevent leaves from falling through.

There are three different methods for drying herbs. Each one has its positives and negatives. Choose the ones that best fit your needs

Copyright © Larry Geldea, All Rights Reserved.

House and Land Packages – Avoiding Common Pitfalls And Finding Reputable Home Builders

Buying a home is for most people, one of the biggest investments they’ll ever make, and yet many people tend to throw caution to the wind when they’re searching for their ideal home. So many people make hasty decisions when it comes to house and land packages, and just as many end up losing a considerable amount of money due to dishonest home builders.

No matter where about in the country you are, buying a property can be tricky business. If for example you decide to buy a secondhand home, you could end up with a property that’s going to require very costly repairs in the near future. On the other hand, if you opt for a new build, you have many hidden expenses.

These could include things like planning permission, regular inspections by your local building inspector, and depending on the area, you may even need to pay money in order to get a power supply to your property. On top of everything else, you could have the misfortune of dealing with a crooked building contractor.

These are all things which have lead to the current trend where people buy a piece of land off a developer, and that developer then also builds their home. These house and land packages have a number of advantages. To begin with, many of the developers who offer these packages are well established companies.

They have staff in place to take care of all legalities, they have home designers, landscapers, and of course their own builders. Many of the larger developers will also have a range of different home designs, some of which include pre-approved house plans. If you choose one of these designs, the plans will still have to be approved, but process will almost always be seamless since the plans will have been used several times in the past.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to house and land packages is they get tempted by very low prices. As with so many other things in life, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, nobody is going to sell their land far below the market value. The only time you might be able to find a property below market value is by attending auctions.

Many people also make the mistake of hiring the first home builders they come across. They arrange a meeting with a building contractor, and they hire them simply because they seem like nice honest people. Choosing a builder is not only about finding an honest builder. Even the most honest builder in the world can cause you financial loss, albeit unintentionally.

Experience is just as important as honesty. If your builder has to knock something down and then rebuild it, they’ll almost certainly try to recover their losses in one way or another. This is why you need a builder that does it right the first time, every time. You need a builder that’s willing to work with you every step of the way should you require any changes to be made to the original plan.

There are plenty of good house and land packages available, but no matter how tempted you might be by one of them, you should never be overly hasty to sign on the dotted line. It’s a big investment, and as with all big investments, it requires proper planning.

If You Do not Use an In Ground Pool Solar Heater, You'll Be Sorry

Solar water heating has reached a high level of popularity in a lot of residential homes in the past years. It is not an uncommon sight anymore to have an in ground pool solar heater. This way of heating is very efficient and cheap, since you are using a free and renewable energy, your electric bills would have reduced up to 50%. Because of the high demand, several manufacturers produce and retail different models and makes to the consumers.

There are two basic types of solar heating sytems: passive and active. An active solar eating system uses electric pumps and controllers to be able to circulate water through the collectors. These systems are usually more expensive than passive ones. Passive heating systems basically rely on physics and transfer and collect power more naturally, making it more reliable and easier to maintain. The setback though is water flow is slower so it can be less efficient. AmeriMerc is one of the online websites that offer different in ground pool solar heater. One of their products is the SunGrabber Deluxe Solar Pool Heater item NS715, which includes the system kit and 4 – 2 X 10 solar panels, priced at $ 534.75. The system kit consist of a ball valve, check valve, couplers, tie-downs and a vacuum relief alve. The packages they sell are basic and include only 4 panels but for optimal coverage it is advisable that the panels be 50% of the area of ​​the pool.

Another in ground pool solar heater made by the same manufacturer is the SunGrabber Economy Solar Heater Item NS700, which costs $ 699.75 at AmeriMerc's website. This base package includes 4 – 2 X 20 solar panels and related hardware. These solar panels are horizontally mounted on the roof and have large headers which maximize solar efficiency and also make for better circulation. You can also purchase additional accessories and parts to go with the base package. You can buy add-on solar panels for about $ 150 each to be able to achieve optimal heating. The website also offers a sizing chart to help you better understand how many panels are needed for a certain pool size. Both of these SunGrabber products manufactured by Fafco come with a 10 year warranty on the solar collector.

AmeriMerc also sells the Sunheater in ground pool solar heater which has an over molded fiberglass header pipes and can up the temperature of the pool by 10 degrees. This product can be easily installed on the house's roof or just placed on the ground on a mounted rack. The price would depend on the kind of package you want to purchase but the lowest priced one is Item S601 which includes 2 – 2 x 20 solar panels which is able to gather up to 80,000 BTUs every day. Freight shipping is free and the product costs $ 229.95 on their website. Other packages can include up to 8 solar panels with a system kit included and costs $ 949.95. All of these come with a 5 year limited warranty. The initial installation of an in ground pool solar heater may not be that cheap but you will be able to reap its benefits in the long run. These systems are more efficient and reliable than other heating systems that are electric or gas fueled.

Aside from pools, solar heating can also be used for spa systems and residential household needs.

The Plexiglass Ceiling: A Stronger Impediment to Minority Advancement

Many have heard of the proverbial glass ceiling and how the phrase is euphemistically used to describe an unfair system that prevents people (i.e., women and minorities) from advancing in their professions. The plexiglass ceiling describes the same type of unfair system with additional rigor used to prevent advancements-plexiglass is 17 times stronger than glass. While glass ceilings denote an inability to see the barriers, plexiglass ceilings are not as transparent. The victims of plexiglass ceiling see the barriers, but do not recognize a way around them.

Scholars, in past studies, have found that glass ceiling victimization correlates with gender (i.e., women, rather than men, face glass ceilings in their professions). While some researchers have not revealed findings supporting the notion that minority men experience the glass ceiling, other researchers concluded glass ceilings do affect minority males. A UCLA study found that women and minorities hold less than 5% of the managerial positions in the 1000 largest companies in the USA. The Department of Labor conducted a study which concluded that middle and senior level management positions in nearly 100 of the largest companies in the USA still reflect a shortfall of women and minorities. According to the Department of Labor, many companies persist with discriminatory practices. Discriminatory practices, however, are not limited to companies. Some women and minority men who work for the federal government also experience the effects of the glass/plexiglass ceiling.

Michelle, a minority contracts employee for the Army, applied for a leadership position and was selected as one of the two qualified finalists. The other finalist, a white gentleman, was chosen for and offered the position. However, the gentleman declined the position. Rather than offer the position to Michelle, the sole remaining qualified person, the selecting official issued a new job announcement seeking more applicants. Michelle was again selected as one of the two qualified finalists. The other finalist, a white gentleman, was chosen for, offered, and accepted the position. Michelle saw the plexiglass ceiling, but saw no viable way around it.

Charles, a minority logistics employee for the Navy, applied for a leadership position and was chosen as a finalist to take part in an interview process that would be used to select the new leader. Charles completed the interview process but was not chosen for the position. One of the other finalists, a white woman who also was not chosen, revealed that all of the white finalists, including the winner, were given a “mock” interview before the real interview (i.e., were allowed to hear the interview questions beforehand and practice their responses). Charles saw the plexiglass ceiling, but saw no viable way around it.

Jose, a minority engineering employee for the Army, worked hard to prepare for a future leadership position on his team. He led projects, mentored younger teammates, met all training requirements, and earned a doctorate in leadership. Jose’s leaders chose to create and fill the new leadership position in secret. Jose was introduced to the new leader, his Supervisor, and told to bring the new employee up-to-speed. Jose saw the plexiglass ceiling, but saw no viable way around it.

Michelle, Charles, and Jose were all victims of the plexiglass ceiling. The discriminatory practices designed to keep them from obtaining leadership positions were visible-not transparent as is usually the case with glass ceilings. For minorities, there has never really been a ceiling of glass-always plexiglass. Minorities have always recognized the discriminatory practices used to block advancements. Past court cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education showed clear discriminatory practices were used to block the advancement of minorities. By allowing activities and behaviors that facilitate the continued existence of the glass and plexiglass ceilings, organizations nurture feelings of worthlessness and other inadequacies in the victims. In many cases, the victims of the plexiglass ceiling cease applying for leadership positions. The lack of minority applications is then used by organizations to explain the lack of diversity in organizational leadership roles.

The Plexiglass ceiling must be removed to allow organizations to synergistically reach their full potential. The best qualified applicants, regardless of their race or gender, should be allowed to rise to the top levels in the organization. The first step to removing the plexiglass ceiling is to understand why the ceiling exists.

One reason the glass and plexiglass ceilings exist, according to one author, is to avoid increases in challenges to white supremacy as a result of minorities moving into leadership and decision-making positions. Numerous other reasons have been given for the existence of the glass/plexiglass ceiling such as women do not really want challenging positions because they need to spend large amounts of time with their children, minorities are not properly mentored, and minorities seek affirmative action placements and are not really qualified for leadership positions. One study found that women in powerful positions are more likely to develop cancer. Presumably, blocking the advancement of women actually helps them. Although the reasons given seem senseless, they are starting points for critical thinking exercises that might reveal the irrationality of the aforementioned explanations and facilitate breaches in the glass and plexiglass ceilings.

Prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, minorities were impeded by job announcements that read, “No blacks need apply.” Although the impediments of today are not as blatant, they exist on an institutional level-the plexiglass ceiling is real. Organizational interventions are necessary to eradicate plexiglass ceilings.

Organizational leaders need to show commitment for educating their managers and other employees on the importance of eliminating unfair barriers to advancement. Leaders should make sure their people understand that systemic barriers to the advancement of minorities and women result in the exclusion of valuable ideas and actions those who were victimized by the unfair impediments could have offered the organization. Leaders should institute and motivate their employees to voluntarily participate in mentorship programs to assist in developing employees. Leaders should also ensure their managers share information equally with employees. Concisely, managers should be provided the tools, training, and support to facilitate employee development and advancement and be held accountable for the advancement of a diverse group of employees. Leaders should also utilize effective monitoring systems to assess the impact of any interventions employed to remove glass and plexiglass ceilings.

The federal government recognized the need to influence organizational conduct concerning discriminatory impediments to professional advancements. In 1991, the Glass Ceiling Act, a part of the 1991 Civil Rights Act, was passed to study and report on the artificial barriers to advancement and the under-representation of minorities and women in leadership positions. The report revealed that although some progress had been made, efforts were still needed to address the impenetrable barriers that continue to deprive women and minorities of access to high-level positions. After the report was issued, the reporting team disbanded and the discriminatory practices continued. The government failed to properly respond to the reported results. Leadership’s inaction, in the face of discrimination, is perceived as tacit approval of the discriminatory practices. The inaction might explain the immortality of the glass/plexiglass ceiling. Until leaders actively promote fairness and equality, minorities and women will continue to be victimized by the effects of the plexiglass ceiling.

Understanding a Third Party Logistics Provider and Their Advantages

While the term third-party logistics services or 3PL is not new, it still remains ambiguous to many. Today an increasing number of companies are considering third-party logistics providers. These firms cater to companies to outsource and offer its services and knowledge of advanced logistics and management. They provide a comprehensive range of services regarding logistics of supply chain. This covers transportation, warehousing, picking and packing, order fulfillment, inventory forecasting, packaging as well as freight forwarding.

Types of 3PL providers

Not all these providers are same. They can be broadly classified into the following major types –

  • Asset-based firms – These companies have their own fleet of trucks, warehouses and personnel to operate their business. They offer a comprehensive set of logistics services with barely anything excluded. Major benefits with these types of firms are shorter cycle time, lower freight cost and visibility of pipeline inventory.
  • Non-asset based firms – They do not have any fleet or warehouse space of their own but provide outsourced logistics solutions and freight brokerage services. They often partner with large network of freight carriers of asset based type.
  • Warehouse/distribution based firms – These deal with warehouse and distribution services. Their functions cover labor and supervision, receiving goods, storing them and finally shipping. These help in lowering capital investment as well as lower fixed/variable cost ratio.
  • Financial based firms – Their services include freight payment and auditing and cost accounting and control. They also provide various tools for monitoring, booking, tracking, tracing and management of the inventory. Some of their functions include inventory finance, distribution finance, payment solutions and leasing. Major benefits of these are reduced cost as well as capital investment and improved cash flow.

Advantages of 3PL providers

Using these services can be advantageous for many companies. Outsourcing your logistics requirement saves time and resources and gives you numerous other advantages. Some of them are –

  • Gain instant expertise and latest knowledge in the field

Any reputable logistics provider would have complete knowledge about the industry best practices. It is part of their normal work chain to remain updated with the latest development in technology, manufacturing and logistics. Their company software is capable of not only advanced reporting and inventory management but is also transparent enough to monitor the entire process. They usually employ Just in Time practices which helps them ship the correct amount of inventory at the right time and location-based on your needs. Hiring these companies assures you that your logistics needs are being handled by seasoned and reliable professionals. Various aspects pg logistics like fulfillment, warehousing and shipping are a major challenge on their own. No matter whether you are just starting out or managing a big company, expert handling makes a big difference and leaves you to focus on other areas of work.

  • Resource network

Most of 3 PL providers have a vast resource network that can never be available with in-house supply chains. Using all of their resources, each and every step of the supply chain gets executed the most efficient and seamless manner. They can successfully leverage relationships and volume discounts leading to a lower overhead and fastest possible service. This availability of resources which are unavailable in-house is a huge advantage.

  • Saves time and money

Outsourcing saves you credible time and money. Utilizing 3PL(third-party logistics) services implies that you no longer need to invest in warehouse space, transportation, technology, trained staff etc. They are your best ally against costly mistakes and facilitate you to get your business to build a logistical network with lower risk and higher return. They also save you the time needed to execute supply chain. You need not worry about any paperwork, billing, audits, staffing, optimization etc.

  • Scalability and Flexibility

Any 3PL provider can easily scale space, labor, and transportation as per the inventory needs. This becomes advantageous for businesses having seasonal needs. This ability helps any company to scale up and down spaces and resources based on needs. It also helps you grow your business in new regions without any worries.

How To Lay Tiles – Knowing The Basic Preparations

When building structures, it is important to complement it with the best flooring. As of now, there are numerous types flooring solutions. And, these types offer different benefits. So, in case that you are planning to obtain the best features, home experts usually recommend tiles.

Tiled flooring is becoming popular these days since it offers numerous benefits from lower expenses, reduced tasks and better results. However, to achieve all of these benefits, it is imperative to accomplish certain tasks that are listed below.

First, prepare the site properly. When using tiles, homeowners need to prepare the site properly. This is an essential task to ensure that quality of the results is not compromised. In addition, preparing the site can also help you ensure its reliability. To ensure this, homeowners need to dig the site to the required depth. After which, homeowners need to create space around the slab dimensions for the timber formwork. And, you need to ensure that you allow water to run-off to help ensure better concrete reliability.

Make use of the right equipment. After preparing the site, it is imperative for homeowners to make use of the right tools. Surely, homeowners can find alternative tools in mixing and pouring concrete and laying the tiles evenly. However, it is ideal to use the right equipment to ensure easier and better tasks. Other than that, using the right equipment can also help you reduce your expenses.

It is also best to opt for the best surface texture finish. When planning to make use of concrete as the initial flooring, it is also best that you choose the right surface texture finish. Today, homeowners can create different types of surface finish. For one, homeowners can create a non-slip finish by using a wooden float in a circular motion across the slab. Meanwhile, for a smooth finish, homeowners need to use a steel float should be used. Edges should be finished with an edging tool for best results. But for tiled flooring, it is not actually necessary to make the surface smooth as it will be covered with your chosen tiles.

Finally, it is important for homeowners to allow concrete and tiles to cure thoroughly. This is one of the main factors homeowners usually neglect that affect the durability and quality of tiled flooring. Thus, it is important to let concrete and tiles cure. This can be accomplished by ensuring there is no traffic on the tiled floor for at least a day after its installation.

The Difference Between Mega and Micro Chiroptera

The term “Chiroptera” is derived from the Greek word “hand-wing” in reference to a bat’s webbed hand-like wings. Chiroptera is the scientific classification of bats. There are thousands of bat species all over the world, but all species can fall under one of two main categories of bat, Micro-Chiroptera and Mega-Chiroptera; colloquially referred to as microbats and megabats. Although related species, these two types are quite different. Continue reading to learn the difference between Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera, and some interesting facts about them as well!

Megabats

Megabats, or Megachiroptera, are also known as fruit bats. This is because, unlike micros, megas primarily eat fruit, the nectars of fruit, or the pollen of flowers and plant-life; like Eucalyptus or fig trees. This diet is the reason why they have such an important ecological role. They assist in pollination of plants and flowers, as well as, seed dispersal through their droppings, which double as a fantastic fertilizer.

The most common and prevalent species of fruit bats are Flying Foxes. As for sight, megabats have a broad visual cortex, allowing them enhanced visual acuity. They have really large eyes that look similar to a human! They also have great smell, and do not use echolocation. They also have furry bellies, big ears, and dog-like facial structures.

Another interesting fact about megas is their ability to control and maintain their body temperature. This eliminates their need to hibernate during the winter and cold seasons. They like to live in large colonies and groups, often times with different species, in the upper canopies of forests and woodlands. They are very nomadic and can travel great distances at night while foraging for food.

Microbats

Microbats, or Microchiroptera, are quite different from megas. They are more solitary, living in smaller colonies of the same species. Although not blind like the myths claim, they do echolocation, a sonar-like ability, to navigate in the dark and hunt for food.

Along with echolocation, Micros have large ears and good hearing that also helps in hunting for food at night. They are much smaller as well, hence the “micro” instead of the “mega”. Some are as small as a moth! They primarily eat insects and small prey like amphibians, birds, and fish; but some species consume the blood of mammals as their food source.

Unlike the megabats, Micro-Chiroptera lack the claw on the toe of their forelimb. This is a common distinction between the two species. They are fur-less and exposed, leading them to seek warm shelter and hibernate for the winter. This is where bats can become a nuisance to home and property owners. Scroll down and look below for more information about this matter and more.

Pool Table Installation For Great Indoor Entertaining

Winter is quickly approaching and many social people are abuzz with ideas for indoor activities that are versatile for any crowd of friends or family. Pool table installation is one of the best ideas for a variety of different sized homes and indoor recreational rooms, including garages or basements. And there are five steps to your new table's setup that will get you on track to a great indoor activity, whether you are working on your own game or looking for something to do while enjoying your company for the afternoon or evening.

First, you will have to pick just the right room for the space and ambiance that you seek for your table. The table could work standing alone or as a part of a full recreational room. Pool table installation is typically chosen for an extra or converted room in a basement or garage, but an attic or second floor loft is nice as well. It is mostly important that all of the potential players have clearance to walk, move and shoot as they see fit around the table. This brings you to the second requirement, which is the acquisition of actual measurements of the table and to be sure there is enough space to maneuver. You can pick out a table from any country of manufacture, or you can have one custom made from any materials for your particular style. Either way, the dimensions of an average sized pool table depends on who made it and can be 8 feet in length and up. You will also want to pay attention to allowing some extra walking or seating room beyond the average 58-inch pool cue on all sides, regardless of how big the actual room is beyond that.

Third, as you select or create a custom design for your pool table installation, you will consider many colors and styles. There are many popular wood, marble, shell and even metal inlay options for your creation. The style of table also includes matching specially designed cues and even how your table helps you to retrieve the balls after each game. The fourth step is to make sure that the floor is level for your pool table installation. This can easily be checked with a level device and fixed with minor construction corrections. Lastly, once the table is secured, it is time for you to use the table and see for yourself, how comfortable it is for you to move around it taking a variety of shots. And of course, you must then determine whether you are pleased with its overall appearance in your completed space as well.

Many Available Options For Cement Fiber House Siding

With all the different options available, it can be hard to decide what product to use to side your house. Many people just go with the most common options like vinyl siding or wood siding. However, cement fiber house siding should really be considered because there are a lot of advantages to using this sort of siding. This type of siding does not rot, get eaten by termites, burn, warp, melt, shrink, or get damaged if there is a storm. It is environmentally friendly and very durable. You can get it pre-finished in a color or stain, or you can get a version primed for painting whatever color you might desire. Unlike wood siding, you do not need to repaint this siding all the time.

Hardie Board Siding is probably the best known version of cement fiber house siding. One advantage to their products is that they come with a 30 to 50 year transferable warranty. They also have a lot of different choices for styles. Pre-finished options are available in your choice of 27 different colors. If you prefer lap siding, you can get it in 9 different styles, four of which are available pre-finished or unprimed. Those who like the look of shingle siding have four different styles to choose from, two of which are available pre-finished or unprimed. There are also four different options for vertical siding that come either pre-finished or just primed.

Another company that is well known and offers cement fiber house siding is CertainTeed. They have even more choices available than Hardie for styles and colors. There are pre-finished options, stained options, and primed options available in this brand of cement fiber house siding. Pre-finished options include Textured Beaded Lap, Random Square Straight Edge (5 "or 7" Exposure), Random Square Staggered Edge (7 "exposure), or Cedar Lap styles, all available in sixteen colors with a wood grain finish. are available in a choice of six colors and a wood grain finish and include Textured Dutch Lap, Textured Beaded Lap, Shingles with Shadowline, Shingles, Random Squared Straight Edge (5 "or 7" exposure), Random Squared Staggered Edge (7 "exposure ), Octagons (7 "exposure), Half Rounds (7" Exposure), and Cedar No Groove Vertical Panel. If you prefer to do the painting yourself or if you do not like the color options available, you can get the primed versions of these styles as well.