Baby Photography – Lighting Tips

In baby photography one of the biggest challenges is lighting.

Lighting babies and children is something that comes with experience. As with lighting any other subject, the most important thing is that you become familiar with a few basic setups, and then adjust the setup to suit the particular situation and subject.

When it comes to diffusing the light you have a choice of brollies or softboxes. My preference, in the studio is the softbox. When I rolled out customers home I used translucent shoot-through brollies. One of the main advantages with the softbox is that it leads all of the light forward. With the shoot-through brolly some of the light escapes from the edges and bounces back toward the camera. With this you need to be careful of flare so always shoot some test shots first and remember to use a lens hood.

Translucent brollies also give a nice effect if you shoot the flashgun back into them and reflect it back out toward the subject. To keep the lighting soft you do need to get in very close if you use this method. The reason for this is that you increase the distance of the light from flash to subject, and as you know a distant light causes a harsher shadow.

Reflective brollies are less useful than the translucent shoot-through style; they are too harsh for most types of portrait work. That said if you are looking for a hard light they are fine, but I can not imagine a parent being happy with a harshly lit shot of their baby! Reflective brollies are however good for lighting backgrounds.

The main reason for keeping lighting simple for baby photography is their volatility! For example you could be ready to take the shot and the baby crawls out of 'position' … if your lights are 'clinically positioned' and very directional the baby will quickly move out of the shooting zone.

If you keep your lighting basic, for example two large soft boxes, then it gives you more latitude for movement.

A relatively flat, even light generally gives the most pleasing results for baby photography. As a starting point I like to place a main light, either reflected from an umbrella or diffused through a softbox, between 35 and 45 degrees to one side of the subject, then use a similarly diffused fill light at 1/3 to less exposure next to the camera as a fill light. I then adjust the lights to suit the subject's features in a flattering way.

An extremely fine-featured child often benefits by making the light "harder".

To achieve this, move the main light closer to the 45 degree position. Conversely, a child with large, sharp features or skin blemishes, such as a rash, will benefit if you move the light closer to the 35 degree position (ie back round closer to the camera) and lessen the power difference between the main and fill lights for a softer look.

When using a harder, more dramatic light on children, it is important not to over-do it. When seeking a more formal, dramatic effect, I usually shift the main light to between 45 and 55 degrees. The fill light should remain near the camera. You may want to lower the power of the fill light to deepen the shadow areas, but with baby photography I generally find that it's best to keep the ratio within one stop.

How To Not Get Suspended From Twitter and Google AdWords On The Same Day

One key lesson in the Internet Marketing World of 2012 and beyond is that Less Means More. Don’t try too hard. Patience is a key asset in Social Media and Internet Marketing. But even with the best intentions of hard work, trial and your noble efforts for extension of knowledge, it’s easy to come unstuck. So let me share with you the lessons – and what NOT to do. No-one told me not to try a few things without reading five pages of rules and small-print. So this is what you need to know.

The Cardinal Rule Number One To Not Get Suspended From Twitter

Read their rules on aggressive following and how you cannot use affiliate links in programs.

The Cardinal Rule Number Two To Not Get Suspended From Twitter

Never use the @username reply to send a promotional message. They call it aggressive following and you can have your account suspended instantly. When you start a Twitter account this looks like a great way to message some high profile personalities, with High Following Numbers. But don’t even think about it – unless you have a really insightful reply on a theme that they seem to be tweeting passionately about. And when you reply to @username, jst don’t on any account, add any sort of promotional or affiliate link. You will be suspended for aggressive following before you can say ‘dead-in-the-water’!

Sometimes – on the same day that you set your account up – you may get an electronic ‘slap-on-the-wrists’ (that’s certainly what it feels like!) before you confirm the error of your ways and then they re-open your account. But the surest way to get de-activated and left in floating Twitter suspension land is to sent an unsolicited @username message with a promotional link.

Even worse, don’t upload tweets into a scheduler like Hootsuite or Socialoomph that are constructed in this way, with affiliate links – either shortened urls or the full affiliate coded ‘hoplinks’.

The Cardinal Rule Number Three To Not Get Suspended From Twitter

Working with affiliates looks very lucrative but beware of the biggest and most aggressive. They got there by scaling and promoting heavily. But often their links and landing pages have been blacklisted. Even if you use a URL shortener it doesn’t help. For some reason it often makes more affiliate links get bounced back and rejected. If you use it in a tweet – randomly when you get the moment to do it or formally through an upload scheduler – you can be suspended from Twitter in a heartbeat. Seriously. Then it can take you weeks, maybe months, of lobbying against automated email processes, to, jst occasionally get re-activated. But there seems no logic to How or When such a fortunate moment might happen. So heed the risk.

That’s also why you will notice, on the most spammy of emails from supposed ‘gurus’, they use intermediate connecting links through an autoresponder or hosting company.

The Cardinal Rule Number Four To Not Get Banned By Google AdWords

You guessed it. Avoid those aggressive links in your Pay Per Click Advertising Campaigns. If anything, you will find that Google are more unreachable and unyielding on this than Twitter are. Use a blacklisted link to an aggressive affiliate and Google AdWords will not just block it. They will stop your account. Even if you are running several completely innocent and compliant advertising campaigns. Then their auto email systems will drive you crazy.

Google even say that because you used a blacklisted affiliate link, then you are somehow associated with the company behind it. So they tell you to get that affiliate to make their landing page compliant, even though you clearly have absolutely no control over the affiliate’s company or their web activities!

So stay very patient. Keep your web promotional activity passive and conservative. Check all the affiliate and promotional links that you are using with real diligence before you jeopardize your relationship with those Web Giants that you cannot do without.

Nose Job (Rhinoplasty) Myths You Should Know the Truth About

Rhinoplasty is a very popular cosmetic procedure known for the potential to profoundly affect one’s appearance. Commonly known as a nose job, the procedure has many misconceptions. Below we answer a few of the most common myths and hope it serves to inform you and your decision on undergoing rhinoplasty.

#1 Your nose can be shaped to any form or size desired

While a nose job can bring dramatic changes to the face, there are limits on what can be done. There are boundaries set by the amount of tissue you have, your bone structure and other factors. Just as important is the standard of cosmetic appearance. A plastic surgeon can go beyond that standard, but the outcome will give look unnatural and artificial. Your plastic surgeon will guide you on what can be done. He will also give you his advice on what cannot, or should not, be done.

A nose job that goes past your cosmetic boundaries might have the general form you desire, but not the effect. In fact, the effect will be the exact opposite of your goals, standing out in a way that’s irregular. Any plastic surgeon with integrity will refuse to pass certain limits on a rhinoplasty, for the sake of both of you.

When you go in for your rhinoplasty consultation, keep an open mind.

#2 There are no scars from a nose job

There are scars with a rhinoplasty, just as there are with any surgical procedure. However, a good cosmetic surgeon is able to hide the scars, usually within the nose itself. That leaves you with a natural, smooth appearance afterward. Any scarring is usually invisible to the eye.

#3 Rhinoplasty is a painful procedure

Actually, there is usually very little pain, if any, from undergoing a nose job. There will be swelling and possibly some bruising in the days following your operation. That will pass. The overall discomfort you experience will be minimal.

#4 – Your Post-Rhinoplasty nose is very fragile

This misconception prompts some to cut out much of their former active life. They fear a bump to the face will injure or bend their new nose. These fears are untrue. The recovery time following your rhinoplasty may require refraining from some activity. However, after that period you can return to your normal lifestyle with full confidence.

#5 Only women get nose jobs

It is true that, overall, women tend to get plastic surgery more than men. However, more and more men are now seeing the benefits of cosmetic procedures and are undergoing them. Rhinoplasty, in fact, is the 2nd most common procedure men choose today. A growing percentage of males are getting nose jobs every year and are very pleased with the results.

Message Modules – How To Use Your Elevator Pitch as the Building Block for Stronger Content

I’ve frequently written about your elevator pitch, the 30-second opportunity you have to tell – and sell – your nonprofit’s or foundation’s story in the course of an elevator ride. These key points can also serve as the building blocks of longer presentations or copy. Milo O. Frank, expert on the elevator pitch and author of “How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less,” suggests looking at each of the points in an extended presentation or copy as individual 30-second messages.

“During the two, three, five, or ten minutes that your presentation lasts or a reader scans your copy, you’ll have an opportunity to ask – and answer – several provocative questions, paint more than one picture, use more than one personal anecdote or experience. The strategies that kept your listener alert and interested in your 30-second message will achieve the same effect in a longer speech,” advises Frank.

Frank’s idea is simple but innovative. I’m in the midst of experimenting with this technique for a current client. I’ve nicknamed this approach “message modules” and promise to keep you posted.

Want to know more about message modules? Take a look at Frank’s book, “How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less.”

Business communications consultant Frank has created the ideal guide to perfecting your organization’s message in our era of information inundation. According to Frank, you can get your point across in 30 seconds. Media research proves it. Television commercials capitalize on it (sadly). People are only able to give their full, undivided attention in 30 second “bites” that equal the typical attention span.

Working within this timeframe, Frank’s handbook guides you through getting your audiences’ attention, engaging them and motivating them to take the desired action. Putting the techniques Frank outlines into play will challenge you to strengthen your nonprofit’s or foundation’s core messages. And a laser-sharp pitch is an absolute necessity in these challenging times.

You’ll find Frank’s guide equally useful as a training tool or resource for your colleagues — writers, fundraisers and public speakers.

Aspects of a Full Home Energy Audit

Many homeowners are looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient and save money on their utility bills. Often times the energy company that performs a free home energy audit only checks obvious areas like lighting and air sealing.

It is important that your home energy auditor performs a complete home energy audit. Vital aspects of your home that should be checked in a home energy audit include:

* Heating and cooling system: Learning about the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system is essential. If this is not checked there could be an abundant amount of energy being lost that you do not even recognize. Heating and cooling accounts for a large amount of energy use in your home and can be a major source of energy loss as well. Getting a complete home energy audit that assesses your heating and cooling system is something that you do not want to go without.

* Sealing: Although air sealing through your home is an obvious check, make sure it fully evaluates the air sealing. Simply checking around windows is not enough for your energy audit. A proper one should check for air leakage in your attic, foundation, and around any vents that may be letting in unwanted air.

When places are found through your home that are not properly sealed, it should suggest fixes such as insulation in the attic or basement, caulk and weatherrpping around doors and windows, and foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls. These fixes will keep in the conditioned air so that you are not wasting energy heating or cooling the outside, unconditioned air.

* Insulation: They are only complete when the insulation in your home is fully assessed. Many homeowners believe they have sufficient insulation in their home when this may actually be a major cause of energy loss. Simply checking to see if there is enough insulation is not a complete energy audit either though. Assessing your insulation r-value is essential.

The r-value of your insulation determinates how well your home is insulated. This value depends on the type insulation that is in your home. A full one will assess this and let you know if you need to improve the insulation in your home to save energy and money.

* Lighting: Lighting is a simple fix, but is not always addressed in a free home energy audit. A proper one should be extensive and definitely address the lighting in your home. With new lighting technologies, the energy you use for lighting could be reduced by 50-75%. Installing energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) through your home will save energy and money every month.

* Appliances: It should also include an assessment of the appliances you already have and the way that you are using them. Dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers all must be checked out to achieve a proper understanding of the energy you are already using. When that is established, your home energy auditor should then be able to give you solutions to save money when it comes to your home's appliances.

All in all, it is extremely important that you receive a whole-house energy audit to discover your home's energy efficiency and ways that you can save money. If it looks appealing, make sure that the auditor addresses all aspects of your home and fully assesses every area where you could possibly be losing energy.

Dutch Windmill Plans – How to Build Your Own Wooden Dutch Windmill

Ever seen that beautiful windmills in one of those scenic pictures of the Netherlands? The picture absolutely looks stunning, doesn’t it? Well, if you are someone who loves building things, you can build one for your own yard. You will just need to have excellent dutch windmill plans to be able to accomplish this.

Dutch windmills are quite different than ordinary windmills. These type of windmills have a rotating head enabling the blades to turn to the direction of the wind. As far as aesthetic value and functionality goes, dutch windmill is one of the unique and awesome woodworking project you can ever undertake.

However, before you start taking out all your woodworking tools to start the construction, keep these few tips and considerations in mind first:

Decor or Fully Functional?

First thing you need to determine is if you want to build a structure that is for decorative purposes only or you want something that’s able to generate real energy. Deciding which type of structure you have plans of building would matter considerably in terms of the materials, plans as well as the size of the structure.

For example, a decorative dutch windmill doesn’t have to be built at any particular size. Materials is not so much of an issue either because there’s not much at stake when it doesn’t function properly. On the other hand, a real power generating windmill would have to be built in a certain way, at a certain size, keeping in mind the physics side of things and the safety issues of the structure.


Another thing to consider is where you’ll set up the windmill. A decorative windmill would look good at any place in your yard just as long as it blends right with the kind of landscape you want to accomplish. I’ve seen these types of windmill as an accent in flower gardens and it definitely contributes much to achieve a perfect scene right there in the yard.

However, with a real dutch windmill, aesthetic value won’t be your prime concern. First of all you have to set it up somewhere which has enough space. And most importantly, it has to be somewhere that has no wires or trees nearby that could impede its rotating head and blades. Safety is the main concern when selecting a suitable site for this windmill.

Dutch Windmill Plans

Whether you plan to build a model dutch windmill for your garden or the real thing, construction would be so much easier if you have excellent dutch windmill plans to guide you through the process. For a real power generating windmill, this is definitely a must since safety and functionality of the structure is the main concern here.

When you have quality dutch windmill plans, you will have a clear overview of the construction process. You also have the list of materials as well as the tools listed so you can prepare in advance. And more importantly, you will be guided every step of the way with instructions and illustrations so you don’t have to figure things out on your own.

Interior Design School – What Is It All About

The field of interior design is always changing. Not so long ago, you had to go to a formal design or art school in order to learn the field. Today students can attend almost any college or university and major in interior design.

Professional interior designers today must be licensed by the industry in order to practice their trade. Much like an architect, they must undergo intensive study and testing before even being allowed to take any licensing testing. The NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification), requires all testers to have a combination of six years of work experience, two years of schooling plus four years of work experience, or four years in a FIDER accredited university or college plus two years of work experience in order to qualify. This intensive procedure ensures that trade licensing helps to create responsible, educated designers.

At minimum, student designers should look for a college or university that is FIDER accredited and works towards a bachelor's degree – required for commercial work. However, most high-end designers also obtain a master's degree or a doctorate in design.
What kind of classes should would-be designers consider? AutoCAD by AutoDesk, is an excellent computer aided drafting course. Those with some experience and knowledge of this software program can command a higher starting rate than those who have not taken the time to learn anything about it.

Business classes, as well as a variety of marketing courses are also a plus that many students do not consider. Interior design is 90% networking, marketing, selling, and knowing the right people; 7% paperwork and 3% design.

Some professional designer's even suggest taking an acting class or two to help you learn how to make better sales pitches.

Art classes too can help you be better prepared when taking with clients. People are visual and you'll have a better shot at convincing a new client of your ideas if you can sketch them. Also consider taking an art, furniture and antique history class. They all come in to play every day in the design industry.

Design school can be very intense. Not only do you have traditional classes and a normal workload of reading, tests and other class work, but you will be expected to complete very large-scale design projects along the way also

One important aspect of your new career that design school can help make clear is what area of ​​interior design you will find most successful and rewarding. They're many different fields to enter in the design profession. There are residential interior designers who sole purpose is to serve homeowners, and there are commercial interior designers who work on offices, restaurants, banks, malls, hotels, and on and on. Within each of these specialties, you could have a project manager heading up the entire project or a draftsperson or even a product sales representative.

Some designers decide that they'd rather own or operate a drapery workroom or fabric warehouse, a design firm, be a partner in a firm, a painter, wallpaper hanger, carpet layer … or any of a hundred other design specialists! How you extremely use your designer's education is really up to you, your interest, and your talent level.

A Tribute to Seafarers!

Somewhere around 1500 BC, the Lapita people (ancestors to the Polynesians) moved across the ocean carrying their plants of food and domestic animals. This marked the beginning of true seafaring skills in the Stone Age. The traditional craft used back then is what we now call a catamaran. These seafarers knew how to read wind and wave patterns, and navigated by the sun and stars. Once could say the Lapitas studied the flight pattern of birds as they headed towards landfall, the drift of vegetation, and even cloud formation; skills old salts still use today.

In the mid-14th century, European Sailors ventured out into the Atlantic. On August 2, 1492, sailing the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue leaving the Canary Islands. Financed by the king and queen of Spain, Columbus sailed westward in search of silks and spices in Asia only to discover America instead.

In the 1600’s:

— 1620, December 21, wind-battered and weary, the Pilgrims anchored in Plymouth Harbor, MA after being at sea for approximately two months. They spent the winter on their crowded ship (Mayflower) and lost half the people due to disease. Over the next several years the population in Plymouth grew due to new arrivals from England.

— 1659, the first homesteaders (two men, 1 woman, and six children), arrived on Nantucket Island traveling by open boat through seas churned high by winds of approaching winter. Farming and fishing were main activities till 1712 before whaling became popular.

— 1675, Boston Harbor Islands had historically been places where society had set apart unwelcome institutions and people on the margins. American Indians were interned on Deer Island during King Philips’ war.

— 1684, the English purchased the Rumney Marsh and Pudding Point properties from the Native Americans. Then between 1753 and 1763, a fishing industry was located at Point Shirley and 300 people resided and worked there.

For millennium Northeast coastal Indians fished, farmed and hunted on the islands, and European settlers used them for much the same purposes. The large natural harbor and New England’s transportation network have made Boston a thriving seaport since. The port had its share of sea tales, as ships plying the harbor’s sea-lanes attracted pirates.

The pirates would ride up and down the Atlantic coast between Newburyport and Winthrop. It was here they would hide out at Pudding Point waiting for other ships to come down then attack and sink the boats. Before the boats would sink, though, the pirates would take the treasures of gold and jewelry off the boats, then sail back up towards Newburyport where they’d bury these rewards. Where exactly no on today really knows. However, if you come and visit Winthrop, be sure to walk the three-mile path around Deer Island and stop dead center at the tip. In front of you is a tiny island with a light on it called Nix’s Mate. It is here where the pirates were actually imprisoned and some are believed to have died there. On a dark, windy day you can hear them cry revenge. Today boaters make it a point to stay clear of Nix’s Mate. The actual structure is a ledge and meeting place for four different channels; Nubble, Narrows, South, and North. The tide swirls pretty strong there and if you get caught, you may end up with the pirates.

Boston was also a port of entry for early settlers and alter immigrants seeking a better life in a new world.

In the late 1960’s Winthrop had lots of mud flats surrounding their three yacht clubs. There was a problem at that time with some of the overflow from Deer Island coming back into the harbor. This “fertilizer” was causing sea lettuce to grow. Unfortunately, the sea lettuce was covering all the clam-flats causing the clams to die off. The odor and pollution from the clams were permeating the neighborhoods and peeling paint off the houses. A doctor was brought in to find out what could be done and he recommended putting everything under water by dredging.

Clamming is a lively industry in Winthrop and supplies many restaurants in the area. In fact, Boston chefs have claimed the best clams are the ones from Winthrop.

Every week the biologists at Plum Island’s Purification Plant sends out an email to all the clam diggers in Quincy, Boston, and Weymouth. This email notifies clam diggers where and when they can dig for soft shell clams. According to Massachusetts State Law, a clam digger is allotted five racks of soft shell clams per day. This really isn’t a lot of clams in the scheme of things, but it’s back breaking work all the same. Rules and regulations keep changing making it more difficult to support a family this way.

So, no matter if it’s 110° or 20º below, a clam digger begins arriving at Winthrop’s Public Landing ready to shove off one-half hour before sunrise. Armed with their buckets, boots, and trowels, they hop into the dinghies and set out for work before the next tide comes in.

Hunched over for hours with trowel in hand, the clam’s fate is totally up to the clam digger as to whether it ends up on your plate or in a Seagull’s belly. Clams are popular, but have to measure in at two inches in diameter otherwise be thrown back. Sometimes, if the diggers are in a hurry to finish before the tide comes in, the clams will end up being thrown up on the rocks. This is when the Seagulls get fed.

Once the five racks are filled, the diggers come back in. Here they’ll meet up with the buyers and/or Environmental Police to check their clams. Because these clams are dug in Winthrop, they have to be transported to Plum Island’s Purification Plant to be cleansed before being sold to restaurants and seafood stores.

At the purification plant the racks are put into long deep tubs filled with salt water from the ocean. Ultra violet lights are used to clean the clams. The clams stay in there for three days and every morning the tanks are cleaned, samples are taken and checked for bacteria. Air bubbles are pumped into PVC to help clams breathe while in the water. Once the clams are cleaned and the onsite biologists approve, then the racks go through a washer for the last step before getting a stamp of approval by the state before going out. Once approved, the clams will sit in a walk-in refrigerator till they are picked up. However, if there is any bacteria found in any of the tanks while the clams are being cleaned, all those clams are thrown out. This causes a financial loss to the diggers and could mean no clams for the restaurants.

Square Plastic Containers – What You Must Know Before Buying Them

When it comes to containers, the different choices available is mind boggling. You can buy pretty much any type, size and color you want. You can even order custom made containers to your exact measurements. One of the most popular requests that people want is square plastic containers . In this article we will go through the basics as to why people love the square shape, a few examples of containers you can, and best of all where you can buy your own containers at the best prices, and you do not even have to get off your chair!

Whether for your home or business, square containers are great contemporary option that never goes out of style. Since plastic is a water proof and see through material, it makes for a perfect storage base for pretty much anything! Items such as cold meats, candy, shoes, papers can all be stored in them. Another benefit to plastic is that they are very easy to clean!

Another excellent feature of square plastic containers is that they are not circle. What this means is that you can easily stack your containers without fear of them falling. You can buy stackable containers that lock into place, however this is not necessary if you buy square ones.

Have a careful as to what you will be storing, the sizes you need (small or large) and any colors you want. You can buy colored plastic units in blue, green, red, yellow and other colors.

Containers were created to make life a lot easier for us, so bearing that in mind, you will always find a use for them long after you have used them for the initial reason of purchase.

Speaking of purchasing, there are many great sales online to be found with all kinds of storage units such as racks, boxes and of course containers. Visit a few websites and take a look around and you'll no doubt find one that's perfect for your needs, whether that be those that are squared shape, made from metal, comes with handles or any other such feature!

Planning an International Trip? Make it Stress-Free!

Most people love to travel. We have such a beautiful planet that it will be worth it to see and experience as many places as time and money could allow. You may have traveled to some cities within your country, but until you tried international travel, you have seen nothing yet.

What makes international travel so exciting? Probably it's in exploring a totally different and unknown land, in tasting a unique and extremely rare cuisine, or in meeting people of a different culture. We have seen and heard stories from different continents, and it is human nature to crave for the beauty and diversity beyond what we have known all our lives.

Whether you are a first timer or a seasoned traveler, you need some tips to ensure that you plan your trip well, and eliminate as much stress as possible. Here are tried and tested dos and don'ts before you take that international travel:

  • Plan early – book your flight and hotel at least 2 months before your expected date of travel. Doing this will not only lay down plenty of options at your feet, but will also save you the hassle of just getting what's available because the flights and hotels are already fully booked. This will also prompt you to check your passport and visa to ensure that they are not yet expired.
  • Research! Research! And more Research – it is important to know the ins and outs of the country where you are traveling to. Go online and check at least 10 websites to immerse yourself in their culture and understand how a tourist like you should act in their country. Maybe there are certain street laws that you must follow, certain areas you should avoid, or certain actions you must refuse from doing.
  • Pack light – more often than not, you will bring home with you few souvenirs from the country you are visiting. Do not fill your bags to the brim! Leave some space for your shopping items, so you can avoid bringing another bag alike. Also, stay within the maximum weight and dimension limit for checked-in and hand carry luggage to avoid paying additional fees. Know what items are prohibited, and do not insure on bringing them with you. Remember that liquids, gels and creams are banned in your hand carry luggage except liquid medications, breast milk and baby formula. Make sure that you keep all your documents – passport, visa, ticket and ID – in one little bag or travel wallet for easy access. Also make a copy of the front page of your passport and other travel documents, and keep them in a separate place to prevent panic when the actual papers are lost or stolen.
  • Use online check-in – some airlines have the convenience of internet check-in at least 24 hours before your flight. Printing your boarding pass from your home will reduce your stress big time!
  • Arrive early in the airport – international travel require you to be in the airport at least two hours before the flight, but to be safe it is advised that you arrive three hours before. This will save you from unexpected promises, especially during peak periods. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Dress properly for airport security – remove your jewelries, cellular phones, belts with buckles, and shoes before you go through the airport scanner. To avoid too much delay, dress simply in shirts and pants and wear slip-on shoes.

Always keep in mind that travel, especially international ones, are usually stressful even if it is a pleasure trip. It is up to you to avoid the stress and maximize the fun. Happy trip!

Best CD Duplicators

There are many types of CD Duplicators available in the market today. The best CD duplicator is the one which suits one's particular needs in the best possible way.

When considering purchasing a CD Duplicator compare and contrast its features with your needs. The best buy would be one where a maximum number of matches are made between features and needs. Optimum utilization of the product is a must if you want value for money. It is advisable to analyze the features and choose a model which supports upgrades. This way any upgrading needs can be catered to without having to change the whole system.

The choice between single CD Duplicator and a multi CD duplicator depends on the work that you plan to extract from it. Similarly the business generated would determine whether a manual or automatic one is to be used. Manual duplicators are les expensive but the productivity is also limited. Automatic CD duplicators are expensive, but at the same time they are far more efficient and require minimum supervision. One could even program or time them to function within a stipulated time frame.

One variant of CD Duplicators available have hard discs inside them. This means that they have memory that can store data inside which can be burned depending on convenience.

The best CD duplicator is thus a misnomer, as the choice of any CD duplicator totally depends on the needs and the requirements from the duplicator. However, one needs to consider the available options in the market properly before finally deciding which the best CD duplicator is.

Top 10 Recital Rules For Audience Members

With summer fast approaching many studios are preparing for end-of-school-year recitals. An important aspect of a successful piano recital is the observance of proper recital etiquette. Below are the top ten rules that audience members should observe when attending a recital.

The Audience:

(1) Arrive on time, or a little early. When audience members arrive on time it provides the best opportunity for the performance to begin on time. Arriving a few minutes early will also allow for time to get a program and to get seated. In fact, those who arrive early usually get the best pick on seating.

(2) Limit perfumes or colognes. While perfumes, colognes and scented body lotions do smell good, in a recital/concert setting it is NOT considered appropriate to wear strong smelling scents. Many people have allergies to perfumes. So, out of respect to the other members in the audience it is considered proper etiquette to limit, or refrain from, applying scented items on your body or clothing.

(3) Sit QUIETLY and listen to the performances. The role of the audience is to provide appropriate support and encouragement to the performer, and to receive enjoyment from the performance. As such, it is expected that audience members follow some basic rules:

* No talking, loud whispering, or humming along during a performance. Additionally, noisy candy or cough drop wrappers should be avoided! This can be very distracting to the performer and can (especially in young students) cause problems in the performance. It is also quite distracting for audience members.

* Remain seated during the performance (no wiggling or walking about), and only leave between pieces if absolutely necessary.

* No gum. Smacking and chewing noises can distract other audience members. And, gum dropped in a recital venue can create a “sticky” mess. It is best to use (quiet) breath mints instead.

* No whistling, yelling, or other loud methods of congratulations should be done, especially prior to the performance. If a performer is focused and ready to play, but becomes distracted with the “cat-calling” and “whooping” it can really throw off his performance. While boisterous congratulations are meant to show support for the performer, it may actually cause unintended problems instead. The best way to show appreciation for the performance is with thunderous applause, and an occasional “bravo” at the end of an especially great performance.

(4) Go to the bathroom BEFOREHAND. If it becomes absolutely necessary to leave the hall during the recital it should be done quietly and between pieces rather than in the middle of a piece.

(5) No flash photography. If pictures or video are allowed in the recital it is best to stand in the back and be as unobtrusive or noisy as possible. And, cameras should have the flash turned off. Random and/or unexpected flashing of cameras (along with the clicking noises) can really distract a performer.

(6) Turn off your cell phone or other electronic devices. It’s obvious enough that phone ringing and beeping is very distracting to the performer and the audience alike. It is necessary to save the texting and talking for after the recital is over.

(7) Attend the entire recital. Leaving early is not considered proper etiquette. All of the performers have worked hard to prepare for the event and all deserve equal respect and courtesy (i.e. a full recital hall).

(8) Clap appropriately. In addition to providing applause in congratulations it is also important to remember to only clap at appropriate times. For example, a multi-movement piece should only receive clapping when all of the movements have been played. Also, in piano recitals it is NOT considered appropriate to clap after an especially brilliant passage has been played. Instead, applause is reserved for after the performance is over (or when the performer first enters the stage).

(9) Dress appropriately. Unless otherwise indicated in the invitation the general rule on recital attire is for it to be clean, not have holes or tears, and be more dressy than a tank top or casual t-shirt or other other overly casual clothing (like short jean skirts or shorts). A good practice is to dress as if going to church or on an interview.

(10) Most important of all is to enjoy the music. Creating an environment which allows all audience members to listen to the performances unhindered will result in an enjoyable and valuable experience for all involved. After all music is fun! It should be enjoyed.

There are many benefits to learning, teaching and applying proper recital etiquette. Recital etiquette is an important social skill that audience members should know and practice.

Available Fittings for Lifting Gantry

Available in both aluminium and mild steel and in a number of shapes and sizes, lifting gantries are used for a number of different jobs and in a variation of situations. Their main benefit being that they provide a stable and secure lifting environment. These lifting gantries are ideal for lifting smaller items around work areas and come with as many accessories as they need to suit most jobs.

The lifting gantry comes with everything from manual chain blocks to trolleys and even electric hoists to suit your particular application. These available fittings are one of the greatest bonuses of choosing a gantry crane – as it can be customised to suit almost any lifting need.

Manual chain blocks for example offer a cheap and very strong solution to lift whatever you wish. The chain block is easily attached and is a simple device to use once the chain is connected to the item that needs to be carried. The chain block works on a traditional pulley system to ensure easy lifting and all the ease of use necessary.

If you wish to have even more simplicity of use it is also possible to electric hoists on the lifting gantry. These electric hoists are connected to a junction box which allows you to control the electric hoist with the simple press of a button. This electric hoist and junction box make carrying out your needs effortlessness. Most are available in 3 phase versions and use 110v power sources.

To ensure your crane doesn’t move it is also a good idea to add parking jacks. These jacks ensure your gantry will not move if it has wheels and they can be adjusted by up to 450mm for you to meet whatever your use. These can be adjusted separately for each leg, meaning you can adjust them on soft ground or also in a place where there is limited height – very useful. Gantries can also be nailed to the floor via some bolts.

Safety is a premium, especially when dealing with such heavy materials, which is why there is the optional extra of an isolator switch available. This switch allows you to isolate electricity to the electric hoist should you run into any issues. All you have to do is press or twist the isolator switch to prevent electricity from going to the hoist, hence stopping it from moving.

The gantries themselves are also extremely adjustable and anodized, as well as having swivel locking castors as standard on all gantries. Aluminium gantries are also an option for those that deal in water related industries or industries where there is a lot of wet or damp. It is also possible to get leather suspenders for putting on the gantry to ensure safe carrying of wires and cables from place to place.

The selection of fittings available for your lifting gantry makes them ideal for a number of applications.

What to Do When You Can not Fit the Sofa Through the Door

Have you ever known someone who had a brand new sofa delivered to their home or apartment only to discover that the darn furniture will not fit through the door? Have you tried to move a sofa down to the basement or up to a second floor apartment only to realize that it will not go up (or down) the stairs. The problem is commoner than you may imagine. For years living room furniture larger larger and larger as manufacturers followed the dictum of "bigger is better." Meanwhile, people with older homes or apartments struggled to find small sofas that would actually fit through the door and into their homes.

There are two solutions to this problem. One, of course, is to buy smaller furniture. This is not necessarily as simple as it sounds. Sofas almost always measure at least 78 inches in length, while loveseats rarely measure more than 66 inches in length. Buying a sofa that is between these dimensions can be time consuming and frustrating, as they are made by very few (almost exclusively small) manufacturers. Even looking up the search term "apartment sofa" on a search engine will lead you to a variety of sources, only to have you discover that 90% of them offer only full size sofas.

The other solution is to search out one of the rare Ready-To-Assemble sofa manufacturers who make sofas that are designed to be shipped unassembled. These are guaranteed to fit through any door, stairway, hall or elevator, regardless of the age of the home or remoteness of the apartment. The only problem is that as it is from cheaply built IKEA -style knockdown designs there are only two manufacturers who specialize in custom built, ready to assemble sofas. Only one of those offers a quality solid oak frame, contemporary, transitional and traditional styles, and a choice of over 50 different fabrics)

Most RTA sofas look like RTA sofas and feel like RTA sofas. You can easily tell that they were assembled from parts. Since last year, however, it is possible to find quality RTA upholstered furniture that looks and feels like real, high quality conventional sofas. Custom-built, American-made RTA sofas are redefining the category. You do not have to settle for small sofas anymore if the only problem is squeezing through a door. If you need a small sofa, you do not have to settle for cheap knockdown, uncomfortable furniture ..

Plastic Storage Containers In The Classroom

As a volunteer at my local grade school, I thoroughly enjoy spending time with children. I love watching their little minds grow and soak up new experiences and knowledge. What a difference the year makes when I reflect back on their first days in the room the prior August. I'm very proud to be part of shaping their lives and think more adults should give more of themselves to help make future generations strong and capable.

Sadly, many classrooms do not have the resources that they need to optimize the daily teaching experience for each child. In some of the upper grades where they study from text books, I see kids sharing, alternating nights each takes the resource home. I've even been in cities like Tampa where schools had three sessions each day just to accommodate the overcrowding. So tragic.

One of the ways I try to drive change is through our state representatives. I write to them each session and share my views. I hope it enlightens them and affects their acts and choices when in session.

Within the classroom, of course I have to take a much more tactical approach. Where possible, I bring in personal resources (some new, some used) for the class. For example, our teacher was doing a project which required paper tubes. I saved up paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes for two months so that each child would have what they needed for the project. I wish more parents took personal responsibility to contribute to their own child's growth within the classroom.

I've also contributed plastic storage containers for use by the lead teacher and kids. After cleaning out my own kitchen recently, I realized I had more plastic storage containers than I could possibly use. I considered the multiple of puzzles, lacing cards, building blocks and craft supplies the classroom had and immediately knew what to do with those plastic storage containers.

We can each make our student's classroom a better place to be and learn.