What Is Interior Design and How Is It Different From Interior Decorating?

To begin this journey, first an attempt must be made to answer the question, ‘What is Interior Design’; The National Council for Interior Design Qualification offers up the following definition: ‘is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive’. Comparing this to the definitions provided by The Free Dictionary for an interior decorator: ‘also called interior designer a person whose profession is the planning of the decoration and furnishings of the interior of houses, shops, etc.’ and ‘a person whose profession is the painting and wallpapering of houses’

Well it is understandable, based on the two definitions above, why there are two camps. One camp holds that the interior designer is held to a higher standard and has significantly more training and design responsibilities than the interior decorator, and then there are those that bunch them all together as one and the same. There are those that look at the designer as a version of an architect and those that look at them as being a house painter. No wonder there is confusion amongst the ranks.

In an attempt to answer the question, ‘Is there a difference or not?’, a Google search was performed for ‘Interior Decorator Degree’ and the response overwhelmingly returned results for ‘Interior Designer’; and not the keyword as searched. One can reasonably conclude that since one can get a degree in interior design, but not as an interior decorator, that there is a difference.

So where would one draw the line between a designer and a decorator? Reverting back to the two definitions above one can discern the key difference. The definition for the designer refers to ‘built interior environment’ whereas the decorator suggests ‘decorating and furnishing’ as the key activities. The higher standard is the designer’s ability and responsibilities to call for tearing out walls, flooring, windows, lighting, electrical, as well as recommending furniture and miscellaneous design pieces. In short, the scope their role includes the responsibilities of a decorator, but goes much further.

Often it is critical for the designer to understand the wants and needs of the individual or company leadership that is hiring them to make a space comfortable and esthetically pleasing to ‘the eye of the beholder’; meaning whoever is paying the freight. This will require the designer to ask the question, ‘What is interior design through the eyes of my employer?’

Determining just how to customize a small dwelling area up to major corporate businesses like a national restaurant chain that must be attractive to the eye in many different regions of the country with a common design can be very challenging. Requiring a grasp of many different fields including developing and reading floor plans, a knowledge of building codes, and access to a long list of contractors that are capable of doing the work to specification are just a few of the extra requirement that separate interior design from decoration.

Often specializing in unique areas like hotels, casinos, restaurants, or other businesses that may regularly freshen up their designs to keep their businesses looking comfortable yet enticing, designers generally develop skill sets that may not play all that well outside of their special areas of expertise. What they probably are looking for in the interior design of a hospital is most likely a far cry from what they are looking for at a casino. Perhaps a better example would be determining just how to continue on with a southwestern theme for a Mexican restaurant chain in places like Seattle, St. Louis, Charlotte, Pittsburg, and Boston. What is interior design widely accepted in one region may not be well accepted in another.

In asking, ‘What is interior design?’ in today’s environment, one must also begin to start thinking green and to look for ways to minimize the consumption of non-renewable energy sources. How does one create areas with a lot of natural lighting but not subject the individual to the blazing rays of the sun? How does one incorporate solar panels into the design or solar powered floor heaters in colder climates without losing the esthetic charm and ambiance of marble floors? These are the challenges of today’s designers. It’s a good thing that they love their jobs.

Fat Transfers in the News

Fat Transfer procedures, where fat from one part of the body is removed and then inserted into another part of the body, has been in the news quite a bit slowly. It is not a new procedure, but it has gained recent popularity as intriguing new uses are being explored. What is Fat Transfer? How is it done? Who could benefit from this procedure? What are the risks involved?

What is Fat Transfer?

Quite literally, "fat transfer" refers to a procedure where fat from one part of the body is removed, processed, and then re-inserted back into another part of the body. Patients interested in the fat transfer procedure generally have some area of ​​the body they feel would benefit from a fuller or shapelier appearance. Utilizing existing fat from areas that could use a bit less fullness is a great alternative to using synthetic fillers.

Fat transfers have been done for decades, with references to surgically repurposing fat that date back as far as the late 1800's in Germany. In recent times, fat transfers have gained popularity with aesthetic surgeons as a safe, effective way to re-contour parts of the body by using the patient's own fatty tissue.

How is it done?

With advances in liposuction technology over the past few decades, the procedure is generally initiated by using a liposuction cannula to extract the needed fat from the body. Fat from typical problem areas such as the thighs, stomach or buttocks is ideal for the procedure. Once the fat is removed, the surgeon may perform some filtering to remove toxins or excess fluids. Then, once it is properly prepared, the fat is injected into the body at the site where increased fullness is desired.

Because some of the fat will be absorbed by the body, it is necessary for the surgeon to inject more than the desired amount. Because the rate of absorption varies depending on the individual, more than one procedure may be required to achieve the desired results.

Who could benefit from this procedure?

There are many uses for fat transfers, depending on the specific patient needs. For example, it has often been used for breast or lip augmentation in female patients. Men can use the process to augment the generation of their penis. Removing laugh lines or forehead creases is another common usage, as is increasing the shapeliness of the buttocks. Fat transfer is a key part of hi-def liposuction, where healthy, fit, active patients can reshape their bodies to highlight muscle tone and definition.

What are the risks involved?

As with any procedure of this type, there are risks involved, but in the case of fat transfers, the risks are generally minimal and the side effects easily controlled and quickly healed. For example, there is a risk of infection or bleeding, and occasionally a collection of fluid known as a seroma will occur near the incision.

Unlike implants foreign to the body (bo-tox, for example) this procedure does not carry the risk of allergic reaction in patients, since the fat used is harvested from the patient. There is no danger of rejection by the body.

If you are interested in learning more about this procedure, contact Dr. Rassoli at The Center for Beautiful Bodies for a complimentary fat transfer consultation .

We Have Come Along Way in Our Exploitation of Transportation

We sure have come along way since the horse and buggy or the first Model T that left the assembly line. We have attempted to build unbelievable transport items and prototypes for instance; the Spouse Goose, jet powered bullet trains, under water autonomous vehicles and those X-Planes. Speaking of which if you have been to all the aviation and space museums you would have to be impressed with what we have achieved so far in air transportation, but we can not stop here. Joint projects with NASA, US Military, DOT R and D and private corporations have built and tested many fascinating prototypes.

Having been to every aviation museum in the country, you have to be amazed at our progress in this century. Here are just a few of the museums we have been to;

http://www.aircraftwashguys.com/action.shtml

and look at these jet trains;

http://www.aircraftwashguys.com/tours13.shtml

down the street from the R and D, Department of transportation Center in Pueblo Colorado run by Bechtel. It is essential that we should continue research on all types of new and improved methods of transportation such Magnetic Levitation Trains, Hyper-Sonic Aircraft and space craft, Pelican type super transports, Mega-Cargo Blimps, Air-Cushioned Trains, Self Driving Trucks, Smart Cars, Pilot-Less Trains, UAVs, Underwater Unmanned Vehicles, RLV-Reusable Launch Vehicles Space Craft, Road Surface Safety Materials, Warning Systems and Smart Traffic Controls. All of these emerging technologies have been worth the research dollars.

We've come a long way in a short time and we must continue to press on and seek our human destiny through the innovations and research to propel the human race. Think about it.

Hard or Soft?

No, this article is not about eggs. However it is about the differences you can expect to find in hard and soft woods. The aim is to give you a basic understanding of the differences, enabling you to make an informed choice when it comes to choosing a wood for your project. The characteristics of the lumber produced from hard or softwood trees depends on the actual species of tree, for example the wood from a Yew tree, which is classified as a softwood is denser than Balsa wood which comes from a hardwood tree.

Softwoods

  • Are made of longitudinal and transverse ray cells. This means that this type of wood is suitable for papermaking, construction and furniture. It is rarely used on it's own as flooring, but it may form part of a veneer, which are commonly used to renovate old staircases.
  • Softwood is easier to carve and drill though, making it popular for intricate furniture designs.
  • Usually softwood is harvested from conifer trees such as pines, hemlock and redwoods. There are many more.
  • The trees that it comes from will usually have evergreen leaves that are shaped like needles or flat with pointy edges.
  • The seeds are dispersed by the wind as the fall out of a cone like structure.
  • They tend to grow faster than hardwoods when planed in their optimal conditions.

Hardwoods

  • Hardwood trees have pores which carry water through them, in a way that softwoods do not, in addition to the tracheid cells that are evident in both types of tree.
  • Hardwood trees such as Oak, Ash and Maple trees are commonly used in flooring, construction, musical instruments.
  • The leaves tend to be large and are shed in the autumn months.
  • The seeds from this type of tree will have a shell that could be in the form of a case as in a chestnut tree or a fruit.
  • A lot of the English countryside used to be covered in forests of ancient hardwood trees. Unfortunately these were not replanted as they were cut down. This means that it is becoming harder to source large planks of hardwood resulting in the booming industry of reclaimed lumber. Old buildings and furniture are being taken apart and the wood is being reused for a different purpose. As this wood has already been subjected to changes in temperature and moisture levels it is much more stable than newer wood.
  • Makes a good fuel for a wood burning stove as it burns slower, it also gives a smokey flavor to food such smoked bacon and cheeses.
  • It is unquestionably that this type of wood would be used to make paper, however it is used to make the finish for veneers, staircases, furniture, construction and flooring.

Both types of wood have their distinct advantages, the choice as they say, is yours.

Crab Meat Green Tea Dim Sum

Ingredients:

Egg White Pancakes:

* 1/2 teaspoon wheat starch

* 1/4 teaspoon Koshur salt

* 1/16 teaspoon white pepper

* 4 egg whites

* Olive oil

Crab Meatball:

* 1/2 teaspoon matcha

* 3/4 pound fresh crab meat

* 6 (31 to 35 shrimp per pound size) shrimp, peeled, chopped fine

* 4 pieces shiitake mushroom, chopped fine

* 1/3 piece scallions, chopped fine

* 2 pieces cilantro, minced

* 8 pieces water chestnut, chopped fine

* 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

* 1/4 teaspoon Koshur salt

* 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

* 1 to 1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce

* Cilantro sprigs

Egg white sauce:

* 1/2 cup green tea

* 1 egg white

* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

* Pinch Koshur salt

Prep Time: 20

Cooking Time: 30-40 min

Instructions:

To make egg white pancakes: Lightly beat egg whites with wheat starch, Koshur salt, and white pepper until well combined. Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil and heat. Pour 2 teaspoons of the mixture into the pan, spreading it out into a shape of a circle, while making sure it is as thin as a piece of paper. Repeat with all of the batter.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine crab meat, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, matcha, scallions, cilantro, water chestnut, white pepper, Koshur salt, sesame oil, and Chinese chili sauce. Pulse until all the ingredients are chopped. Remove the leaves from several cilantro sprigs. Blanch sprigs in boiling water for 15 to 30 seconds to soften enough to be able to tie into a knot.

To make dim sum: Lay out an egg white pancake. Add some of the crab meatball filling. Fold the pancake around the filling and tie the opening with the softened cilantro. Trim the top of the dumpling. Put the dumplings into a steamer, and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Egg white sauce: Add the egg white into freshly brewed green tea stirring vigorously, add 1 tablespoon flour and season with Koshur salt.

Garnish the dumplings with gcrumbled hard-boiled egg yolk mixed with kosher salt and some egg white sauce. Serves 6.

Polyethylene Packaging 101

Resins … Film thickness … Tensile strength … Impact resistance … What do all of these terms mean to you when purchasing your polyethylene bags?

Unless you are a poly salesman or have a degree in Plastics Engineering, the terminology used in the industry probably makes your head spin. To assist you, we've created Polyethylene Packaging 101.

Resins (Defined as: Any of numerous commonly similar polymerized synthetics or chemically modified natural resins including thermoplastic materials such as polyvinyl, polystyrene, and polyethylene and thermosetting materials such as polyesters, epoxies, and silicones that are used with fillers, stabilizers, pigments, and other components to form plastics.)

You may find it overwhelming with all the different resins available these days. How does one choose when you have octene, metalocene, butene, hexene, etc … A knowledgeable sales representative will be able to help determine what grade to use. Each grade has different characteristics and choices should be based on applications. Understanding resin properties is critical in forming the right product for your specific application.

Film Thickness (Gauge)

Polyethylene film thickness is measured by thousands of an inch, or milli-inch. The thickness of the bag does not always correlate into strength. A heavy gauge bag is not always strong. Most often it is a combination of resin grade and gauge relative to the application. A 2 mil octene linear bag will have more strength than a 2 mil butene linear.

Tensile Strength vs. Impact Resistance

  • Tensile strength is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or folded before breaking. Why is this important?

It's important to have a plastic bag that is strong enough for your application. A plastic bag that holds 50 pounds of material must have adequate tensile strength, otherwise the bag will end up breaking.

  • Impact resistance is a material's ability to resist shock loading. What does this mean?

Basically it is the film's ability to resist being punctured. A punctured bag may result in contaminated goods or product loss.

When choosing the correct gauge and resin formula it is important to consider how tensile strength and impact resistance are relevant to your packaging application. An example that everyone can relate to is a garbage bag. I'm sure most have had failure in a garbage bag wherever it breaks when lifting out of the can (tensile strength) or waste material punctures holes in it (impact resistance). With all these variables in choosing the correct formula for your polyethylene package, having a knowledgeable salesman is vital.

Who knew there was so much to know about making Polyethylene "Film and Bags"!?!

Choosing The Right Meal Plans For Weight Loss

Embarking on your fitness journey begins with choosing the right meal plans for weight loss. Changing your diet is key so that you can consume less calories than you are burning in order to lose weight. It is best to get a diet plan that will provide you with all the nutrients that you need so that you do not suffer from malnutrition or endanger your health.

Choosing the right meal plans for weight loss will determine if you are successful in losing weight and keeping it off. It is important to choose a plan that is sustainable long term. This will mean that your lifestyle will have to change permanently. Choose a plan that will fit into your lifestyle without overtraining you so that you can be able to maintain it. For example if you are required to eat plenty of fresh and raw produce and you do not have fresh market near you, you may have to go for a meal plan that offers alternatives so that you are able to keep to the plan. You should also choose a plan that you can be able to maintain. If you love sweet trees and sugary snacks it is best to go for a meal plan that allows you these treats once in a while rather than one that totally bans these items. This is because if you do not get to eat the treats once in a while, you may binge on them which can set back your plans.

Another thing to consider when choosing the right meal plans is to choose a plan that only allows you to lose weight at a slow and steady pace. The reason for this is so that the weight loss is not too rapid which can result in health complications. Fast weight loss also leads to loss of water retained in the body and loss of muscle and as soon as you are off the meal plan, you quickly regain the weight that you have lost and sometimes even more. The recommended weight loss per week is on average between one and two pounds. The plan you choose should also be able to have adequate calories.

Choosing the right meal plans for weight loss is important so that you learn what foods are important and how to eat moderately and healthily. This is so that you can make long term changes to your eating habits which will result in long term weight loss. You also need to pick a meal plan with foods that are appealing to you and that you like so you can maintain the right eating habits.

When choosing the right meal plans for weight loss consider also the cost and the availability of the foods and ingredients that are contained in the eating plan so that if many of the foods are not available or you can not afford them long term, you can choose an alternative plan.

Emile Durkheim’s Analysis of the Problem of Anomie and Its Connections

According to Durkheim, anomie is a breakdown of social norms and it is a condition where norms no longer control the activities of members in society. Individuals cannot find their place in society without clear rules to help guide them. Changing conditions as well as adjustment of life leads to dissatisfaction, conflict, and deviance. He observed that social periods of disruption leads to higher rates of suicide.

While suicide is an individual act, Durkheim argues that the suicide rate is a social fact; something that is external to any individual. It is a product of the social structure of any given society. Durkheim figured by examining the different types of suicide, he could identify key elements of social organization. He then collected several European nations’ suicide rate statistics, which proved to be relatively constant among those nations and among smaller demographics within those nations. He discovered a collective tendency towards suicide among White, Protestant males. Of equal importance to his methodology, Durkheim drew theoretical conclusions on the social causes of suicide. He proposed four types of suicide, based on the degrees of imbalance of two social forces: social integration and moral regulation. Integration is the extent of social relation binding a person or group to others and regulation is defined as the normative or moral demands placed on an individual that comes with membership in a group

Egoistic suicide resulted from lack of social integration. Individuals who were not sufficiently bound to social groups were left with little social support or guidance had higher rates of suicide. An example Durkheim discovered was that of unmarried people, particularly males who, with less to bind and connect them to stable social norms and goals, committed suicide at higher rates than unmarried people.

The second type, altruistic suicide occurs when individuals are too filled with society. It is also results from lack of social integration and is the opposite of egoistic suicide. The self lose significance, where individuals are so integrated into social groups that they lose sight of their individuality and became willing to sacrifice themselves to the group’s interests, even if that sacrifice was their own life. The most common cases of altruistic suicide occurred among members of the military.

On the second scale, that of moral regulation, lies the other two forms of suicide, the first of which is anomic suicide. Anomic suicide was divided it into four categories: acute and chronic economic anomie and acute and chronic domestic anomie. Each involved an imbalance of means and needs, where means were unable to fulfill needs.

Acute economic anomie is when traditional institutions such as religion and government fail to exercise the moral restraints on a capitalist society. Chronic economic anomie is the gradual diminishing of social regulation. Durkheim’s example of was the ongoing industrial revolution, which deteriorated traditional social rules and often failed to replace them. Obtaining wealth and property was not enough to make individuals happy, as was demonstrated by higher suicide rates among the wealthy than the poor.

Acute domestic anomie is sudden changes in individual’s life that results in an inability to adapt. Widowhood is an example of this type of anomie. Chronic domestic anomie refers to the way marriage regulates the sexual and behavioral need amongst men and women. However, marriage provided different regulations for each gender. Bachelors tended to commit suicide at higher rates than married men because of a lack of regulation and established goals and expectations. On the other hand, marriage has traditionally served to over regulate the lives of women by further restricting their already limited opportunities and goals. Unmarried women, as opposed to unmarried men experienced chronic domestic anomie suicide less. The final type of suicide is fatalistic suicide. This type is only discussed briefly because it was seen as a rare phenomena in the real world. Examples include those with over regulated, unrewarding lives such as slaves, childless married women, and young husbands. The reverse situation, namely excessive regulation without integration also leads to fatalistic suicide. The slave is integrated only through ties to his or her master, and his or her future is in the hands of others.

Durkheim distinguished between anomic suicide and egoistic, altruistic, and fatalistic suicide according to the relation of the actor to his society. When men become detached from society, when they are thrown upon their own devices and loosen the bonds that previously had tied them to their world, they are prone to egoistic, altruistic, and fatalistic suicide. When the moral regulations surrounding individual conduct are relaxed and fail to curb human weaknesses, people are prone to anomic suicide.

The Secret Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been used for thousands of years for a variety of healing purposes. In fact, there are references to it in the Bible as a powerful healing agent. ACV contains a perfect balance of 19 vital minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, chlorine, sodium, iron, fluorine and silicon to name a few.

In addition to the minerals, it also contains 93 different healthy components that can even help your body regulate blood pressure and support your immune system. It also acts as a natural germ fighter as well as a powerful cleaning agent.

ACV also has some great external benefits as well. Not only does it maintain healthy skin, it also soothes sunburn and prevents dandruff. Researchers claim it can prevent baldness if used as a topical solution as opposed to being ingested. One of the most thought after qualities of ACV today are for it's weight loss properties.

Studies have shown that the nutrients, enzymes, and organic acids found in ACV act as a weight loss component by safely suppressing the appetite and increasing the body's metabolic rate.

There are some weight loss suppliers that have formulated an all natural weight loss supplement that contains a careful mixture of ACV that can be taken daily.

The one supplier I have found to be extremely helpful in understanding the benefits of ACV and all natural weight loss remedies can be found at www.NaturalDietSystems.com .

How to Create Your Own Custom Action Figures

Action figures pique human imagination and offer a vehicle to escape into the unknown recesses of the mind, enabling the creation of a world that, at times, defies reason and the physical limitations of everyday living. From superheroes to super-villains, from knights in armor to dungeons and dragons, from galactic space cadets to alien troops, from warrior soldiers to ninjas, from a dizzying array of characters, anyone can identify with an alter-ego in a face-off with their supreme nemesis. By extension, almost every person might find themselves creating action figures fashioned, if not with their own hands, with their minds. After all, what could be more enjoyable than playing with one’s own uniquely created action figure toy through which one could experience adventure and the imagined without bodily risk?

While today’s action figure toys are generally manufactured in large assembly lines, it is possible to create one’s own action figure toy by hand. This article describes the materials, tools and steps to take to customize your own action figures.

Cautionary Advice

• Work in a well-ventilated area

• Use protective goggles

• Use nose and mouth mask

• Use gloves to protect your hands

• Use all the tools as suggested by the manufacturer with care, especially power tools and sharp implements

Materials

• Base body that closely resembles and moves like that of the desired action figure

• Head with facial characteristics like that of the desired action figure

• Part A and Part B Apoxie®Sculpt, Green Stuff Epoxy, Magic Sculpt Epoxy Clay, or Fixit Epoxy Clay

• Base paint

• Detailing paint

• Varnish and Sculpy Glaze

Tools

• Colored pencils and sketch pad for drawing your action figure

• Detailed sketch or pictures with rendering of desired action figure

• Safety goggles to cover your eyes and nose

• Drop cloth or sheet to protect the work surface

• Disposable brushes

• Dremel rotary tool with shaping attachments

• X-acto knife

• Pliers

• Wire cutters

• Implements to help shape the Apoxie®Sculpt (e.g., plastic knife, fork, toothpicks, wax carvers)

Draw and design your action figure character, or model your action figure after a character or person that closely resembles your action figure concept. Finalize the concept of your action figure, and create illustrations of it from several different angles and perspectives. If you have your concept firmly captured, you will be less likely to stray and suffer rework because of changes in design on the fly.

The method for creating action figures that is described here assumes that the base body upon which you will build your creation is readily available and, also, that you will need to make only a few modifications to the base body. Use an action figure base body that is close in shape, design and color to your desired creation, but you can make it easy on yourself if you craft your design around the types of action figures that are readily available. There are many soldiers, superheroes, knights, and other generic action figure toys that would serve as suitable base bodies. You may wish to stay away from base bodies that have many attached pieces and accessories that will need to be removed, requiring a lot of time and effort to pry off or sand down.

Once you have selected the candidate base body, give it a thorough cleaning, removing the manufacturer’s oil and powder, and any grime, dust or lose particles. Careful washing with soap and water, and then scrubbing with something slightly abrasive like fine sandpaper or a toothbrush will do the job. Be sure to give the crevices a good cleaning, as well, to assure that your customized accessories and features, as well as the paint, will adhere properly. When working in the sink, be sure to securely cover all the holes so that any loose parts cannot stray and disappear down the drain with the running water.

After washing, prepare the base body, removing unwanted accessories and features with pliers, wire cutters, an X-acto knife, and a Dremel power tool with attachments, as appropriate. You may need to soften areas of the body to ease this step. Run hot water over the body for 30 to 60 seconds to help make it softer and more pliable. You may repeat the hot water treatment as often as needed while you modify the base body. A nail buffer or very fine sand paper can be used to smooth and finish the body.

Always wear goggles and a nose and mouth mask when using a Dremel to sculpt and shape the body. A Dremel is a power tool that should be used with absolute care so as to not hurt yourself. Also, using a Dremel creates lots of hazardous dust and chunks of hot plastic that can easily and unexpectedly fly into your eyes.

The next step is to prepare the head of your action figure. You may possibly use the head from another action figure that more closely resembles your conceptualized drawing. Simply pop off the old head and replace it with the new head. Naturally, you will want to thoroughly clean the new head so that it will be ready to accept add-ons and paint, as well.

Run hot water over the head for 30 to 60 seconds as you did with the base body to help make it softer and more pliable. Remove unwanted hair or other adornments so that you have a stripped-down base head with which to work. Have your tools of choice handy: pliers, wire cutters, an X-acto knife, and a Dremel power tool. Be extra careful to not cut or harm yourself as you modify the body with the tools.

If the head starts to harden, run hot water over the head once again until it is malleable. Continue running hot water over the head between pulling, shaping and cutting until the head is properly prepared for your customizations.

If there is excess paint to remove, you might try rubbing it off with a cloth saturated with nail polish remover. Be careful to not remove the paint for the eyes as the eyes are the most difficult facial features to paint with precision.

Now, you are ready for your customizations. A product like Apoxie®Sculpt is key in making the customizations to your action figure. Apoxie®Sculpt comes in two parts that are kneaded together to form a compound that hardens and cures in about 24 hours. It is non-shrinking and non-toxic, but while it is uncured, it can dissolve easily in water. The Apoxie®Sculpt instructions claim that it can be worked on for up to three hours, but it is recommended that you work with it only up to two hours for best results. Other products like Green Stuff Epoxy, Magic Sculpt Epoxy Clay, or Fixit Epoxy Clay may also be used. In any case, be sure to use a two-part compound that air-dries and self-hardens, not a compound that needs to be baked in an oven because baking will deform your action figure.

Take equal amounts of Part A and Part B: just enough for the feature or accessory that you are making. Part A comes in many different colors, but for customizing, white, natural or black are recommended if you plan to paint the compound. If you choose to use a Part A that is white or natural, you can add dye or powdered coloring to make your own hues of the clay.

Mix Part A and Part B, kneading until the two parts are homogeneous and with the consistency of clay. Before working with it, let it harden a bit for about 30 minutes. Note that the compound can sit for up to 3 hours before it is no longer malleable.

As you shape each piece, work quickly as the compound may harden or be difficult to remove if it stays on your hands a long time. You may wish to use gloves because of the stickiness of the compound, or wash and dry your hands frequently. Also, be careful about marring or staining the surface on which you are working. Cover it before you start.

The Apoxie®Sculpt can be used to adorn or change the shape of your action figure. It can be used for mustaches, beards, hair, belts, accessories, face masks, helmets, crowns patterns, designs, grafting, and removable weapons and accessories, like capes and swords. The Apoxie®Sculpt can also be used to build up body parts, like necks, chests and arms. Apoxie®Sculpt can also be used to fill in undesirable holes.

Shape each accessory or feature using your selected implements and referring to your drawings as you go. Clay carvers, a knife or other implements can be used to shape the Apoxie®Sculpt or move it in the direction you wish. You may need to make several attempts until you get just the look that you desire. Once you are satisfied with the result, let the compound dry and cure.

If you have used the Apoxie®Sculpt for a removable accessory, let it cure detached from your action figure so that it does not become permanently attached. If you have small parts that need to be glued to the action figure, use a super glue. There are many different good brands of super glue from which to choose.

For best results, let the Apoxie®Sculpt harden for at least 24 hours before painting. Prior to painting, rough-buff the body and head first and then polish-buff for a smooth, satiny finish.

You are finally ready to paint your action figure. Study your concept pictures and drawings. Dark base paints are effective in enhancing the appearance of vibrant colors. Light base paints are best as undercoating for lighter colors.

Paint lightly and evenly over the entire body for the base layer, taking care to not move the articulated joints as you paint. Let dry. After the base paint is dry, move the joints to crack the paint, making sure that the joints are not glued together with the paint, then paint those spots that were not painted during the first pass. Put on another thin layer of paint where needed. Let dry.

After the base paint is completely dry, paint on the finishing details all over the entire body and head until you get the effects you are looking for and as illustrated in your concept drawings. Be careful around the joints and points of articulation as paint can hinder movement by clogging the ball-and-socket areas of the joints. Let the painted action figure dry completely. You might consider placing the action figure in direct sunlight for faster drying.

Once the paint has set and is hardened, move the action figure’s parts, and touch-up as needed. For the a finishing effect, you may want to use a coat of varnish or a satin glaze on those parts of the action figure that you want to have more sheen.

Beginner Golf

I was looking online today to try and find some sort of video on bunker shots and I came across a great book. Some day's on the course I feel like I have never even picked up a golf club in my life before. Have you ever had one of those days? If you are not a pro I am sure you know what I mean. I will never forget July 21st, 2007. I'm playing a round of golf with three friends I have not played with in sometime.

The last time I played with these guys I was definitely not the best golfer. I probably was the worst out of us all now that I think of it, but anyway I started the round with two bogeys and 4 pars. When we walked onto the seventh tee one of my friends said to me and I quote "I have never seen you play this well you should be at even par but your putter is off" after he said that I felt like I was on top of my golf game. You see my friend was a scratch golfer and I was only one down to him after six holes pretty good for a 17 handicap.

The rest of the day was pretty much the same I ended up seven over which I was very happy with, I lost the match but my friend asked me to be in his foursome a week later for a charity golf event which his team has won 4 out of the last five years. My friend told me with my drives and his short game we were a shoe in to win the tournament. The following week I showed up to the course early to use the driving range and practice greens. When I saw my friend he introduced me to the two other guys we were playing with. One of the guys said your guy with the big driver, I said I guess.

That put some pressure on me because they just needed me for my driver, I was hitting the ball pretty long in July. I told my teams I was confident I would keep my drives in the fairway and even win the long drive hole. I also told them if we land in the sand count me out because I stink in the sand. I know I am dragging this on so here is what happened that day. From the very first tee I snap hooked my drives, I mean I could not get comfortable over the ball, my feet were way off, my follow through was horrible, it was just a mess. I felt like I never picked up a club in my life.

Needless to say I am sure my friend will hold back his invitation this year, we took second place "no thanks to me" and I have not golfed with the same friend since. I thought this was a funny story that is why I shared it with you. Have a great day !!!

Nationally-Known Fat Loss Expert Discovers Russian Fitness Secret Weapon

I took extreme interest in being able to move heavy iron through space at the young age of 15 and quickly discovered my unique fascination with the human body. There is something about the iron that young boys are magnetized to. I think it’s the obsession to live up to their favorite superhero or at least to appeal a little more to the ladies. Whatever ‘it’ is, I caught the fever. Chest, Bis and Abs on Monday. Back, Shoulders, Tris on Tuesday. Legs on Wednesday. Repeat beach muscle lifts-what you see in the mirror-on Thursday and Friday. After all, that is what the ladies like, right?

And then it happened. My sack-of-bones started to break down. My low-back throbbed. My shoulders ached all of the time. My ankles became my Achilles literally and figuratively. I ran cross-country and track and played basketball, yet I had difficulty moving fluidly on any court or field. I continued to lift weights like I was on my deathbed. The mantra bigger, faster, stronger was the only thing I thought about. My dogged-determination brewed in me to ‘suck it up’ and push through it like most athletes are taught. Pain was to be thought of as ‘slight discomfort’. Little did I know that treating my body as a collection of body-parts would lead to my self-inflicting pain and overuse injuries a short four years later while in college studying Exercise Science (the obsession ran so deep that I decided to pursue education beyond Ironman and Planet Muscle).

Fast forward seven years.

I decided on a serious career as a personal fitness trainer at a big-box gym. I quickly discovered this type of gym and the training I was supposed to be promoting was causing my clients to physically break down as much as it was in my own training. After 18-months of insanity, I made it a personal vendetta to search for something I could morph into my own and actually deliver results to myself and my loyal clients.

Perusing the magazine rack at the local bookstore, I picked up the latest injection of Muscle and Fiction. Flipping through the pages, I zeroed in on an black and white ad promoting some simple barbell program written by some Russian dude claiming outrageous gains in strength. He even went so far to title the program “Power to the People.” So audacious the claims-as a young thirsty curios lad-I had to purchase and test drive this stripped down program. It worked. It led me to an online forum where this Russian dude had assembled an underground army of followers. He had invaded the U.S. completely undercover and was building a militia unbeknownst to anyone in the Ken-and-Barbie-fitness community which was all according to his blueprint. They forum devotees were swarming like a bee hive about these “kettle-things.”

Cowbells, Kettle-balls, Kettle-What? That’s what I asked myself in the spring of 2003. Cast Iron Balls…with handles. Kettlebells. My hunger for the pursuit of the iron resurfaced. A small hunch and a serious life gut-check that summer led me down a small little-traveled trail leading to my current state of reality. The masochist in me was relentlessly magnetized to these over-sized bowling balls with handles. The sadist in me knew others disgusted with their herd workouts would salivate over this newly re-discovered Russian Secret weapon.

My peers thought I had checked myself into a virtual loony bin. I didn’t care. I went rogue and immersed myself into this underground culture of physical training. A common bond grew among these seekers of sinewy muscle that actually had form AND function. What a concept! I had discovered the holy grail and realized shortly that I was on the beginning of a revolution in the United States headed Pavel Tsatsouline known as ‘the Evil Russian’. Pavel’s kettlebell regime quickly spread its tentacles throughout this underground community of strength enthusiasts.

I was mesmerized seeing the future in the crystal ball…or at least an iron-ball covered in black epoxy paint! I was so mesmerized that I volunteered for 23 hours of contact through a specialized kettlebell course with my new-found mentor “The Evil Russian”. Contact didn’t even begin to explain what was endured that weekend. Upon arrival at this certification, Pavel defined contact-hours as ‘bonding’-so far as schlepping it to the bathroom. Three days back in September of 2003 changed my physique, my mental fortitude, and my life trajectory all in one shot.

Kettlebells were going to be the next major fitness trend. Not some hokey infomercial three-month fad. Kettlebells and kettlebell training hovered way below the radar of the popular majority-unlike traditional training in the hamster maze gyms–mainly because kettlebells require fortitude, attitude and WORK-itude I set out to stake my claim in the kettlebell underground.

Who does kettlebells? First serious guys that depend on fitness for their jobs like FBI, Secret Service, CIA and even a few cops. Then hard core trainers who cared about delivering maximum results in minimum time to their faithful clientele. The Russian Kettlebell Revolution picked up serious momentum towards year end 2007 gaining exposure in countless popular fitness magazines and big-city newspapers. Now Family-CEOs (moms)–the fastest growing kettlebell sect-are discovering that kettlebell conditioning is the most time-efficient cellulite vaporizer while balancing Junior soiling his diaper and Fido chewing shoes.

Why kettlebells vs machines, barbells or dumbbells? Machines are a waste of time and perpetuate laziness in our sub-fit over-fed majority. Sitting down to exercise? Who thought of that and when does life happen sitting down? Barbells. Good for one action: incrementally increasing resistance to increase muscle mass on athletes who need extra muscle mass. And last time I checked, you can’t swing a barbell between your legs. Dumbbells. Decent. They have a completely different feel to them than kettlebells. Anyone who says you can perform kettlebell movements with dumbbells and receive the same benefits hasn’t used kettlebells.

Kettlebells are a unique shape with displaced weight suspended from the handle promoting fluid momentum-based movements combining strength, cardio and flexibility all in the same training session with only ONE tool. This Russian secret weapon has been praised “the ultimate hand-held gym”.

Where does one learn the art of kettlebell swinging? From a QUALIFIED kettlebell instructor. Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) Instructors are required to withstand a mentally and physically vigorous 23-hour course before being cut loose to teach unsuspecting victims. I am one that instructor. Actually I am known as ‘THE kettlebell guy’ in Minnesota. And you are my next client. I invite you to be a contestant at my next beginner kettlebell class known as the Gauntlet and discover for yourself how to chisel away your spare tire and vaporize your muffin tops via the power of the kettlebell.

Hypermiling Technique – What is That?

Hypermiling or divide it up, hyper + mileage. Simply means getting high and more miles from driving. It also means using ways to maximize fuel economy.

Drivers or Riders who practice the techniques are referred to as "hypermilers." Hypermiling, which can be used in any vehicle regardless of its cubic capacity, has gained popularity as a result of the rise in gasoline prices in recent years. It involves mainly driving habits.

o Drive according to speed limits

30mph means 30mph. Keeping to impulses may be difficult but it is part of hypermiling. We do no need to waste fuel by stopping and accelerating all the time. Furthermore, such driving style are stressful for you car in the long term.

Slowing down can save gas. So do not drive too fast. You need to maintain a constant speed and not let traffic get ahead of you when you are driving in traffic. Keeping to a fix mileage is important.

o Climbing and descending a hill

Avoid big hills climb if possible. If there is a need, maintain your vehicle at a 2,000 rpm or so while driving. You make look silly because you are slow but you will look at others being silly because they are wasting gas! So it is a win-win in a way! If you have to take a longer route to avoid stop-and-go traffic, please do so. Longer route may have better driving conditions and less traffic which uses less gas. Also, changing your work schedule 30 minutes to half an hour can mean less traffic. Let's talk about descending. Use low gears when you are using a manual or on automatic gears, pull it to "2". You may inter-switch gears by "2" and "D" with mild tapping on you brakes. Remember over braking will use more gas.

o Maintenance, maintenance; I can not stress more of its importance

Maintenance is very important and extremely critical if you want to maximize hypermiling techniques. First, maintain your car properly, with regular oil changes and filter changes, air filters (intended air filters will greatly limit the air flow). If your air filter is dirty, chances are you car will gas for air. It also means that it will require more gas to move. Wash your car as dirt on parts of the body and wheel arch may restrict flow of air. Do remember your 4 best friends in contact with the road. Tire. Check tire pressure once a week. Use a digital pressure gauge. Pressure should be optimal. If you pump in extra of 2 PSI, will help reduce roll and in turn will give more mileage.

Travel light, clean up your car regularly. Remove unwanted things. If you drive alone, it is a good idea to balance out your car. You being in front and the things you carry, books, bags at the rear. Law of physics is simple, balance it out and the air will balance with you.

o Accelerate slowly and decelerate accordingly

Why the rush? No "cat starts" The longer your take to achieve a speed, the less fuel it will require to get there. A rule of thumb is to press down the accelerator and maintain it at a 2,000 rpm and allow it to reach its desired speed slowly. It needs practice as we tend to over press but eventually you will get it.

Accelerating more slowly away from green lights and stopping more specifically for red lights cut fuel consumption.

o Use cruise control on the highway

Using cruise control cuts down on unnecessary speed changes, limiting the use of extra much gas. It helps maintain a certain speed as well as rpm. Let the cruise control do the work of maintaining the speed and relaxing you feet. Cruise controls are you partners in hypermiling.

All techniques discussed are basics. Remember that you too can practice them. It takes a while to adjust but eventually, you will be able to do it.

5 Secrets to a Healthy Nutritious Lifestyle

When most people make the decision to drop a few pounds or reduce some of that stubborn belly fat they immediately think about going on a diet. Most people believe this is the only way to manage weight problems. I dislike using the phrase going on a diet because this has two connotations. The first is that you will be limiting what you eat, going hungry and not enjoying food to the full. The second is that it will end once you have reached your goal. Once you come off the diet and return to eating normally the weight is very likely to creep back on within a few weeks.

Instead I prefer to talk about healthy eating habits and changing your lifestyle and the foods you eat for the rest of your life. You do not have to stop eating all the foods that you love. Instead adopting a healthy eating approach and rewarding yourself now and again with your favorite (but perhaps not so healthy) foods will keep you focussed and content in your new lifestyle.

Here are my 5 secrets to a healthy nutritious lifestyle:

Secret 1:

Try to eat approximately 15-20% below your calorie maintenance level. This is the amount of calories your body needs to function on a daily basis. For women this is approximately 2000 calories per day, though, this will vary depending on age and level of daily activity. Reducing your calories by 15-20% is only a reduction of 300-400 calories per day. When you consider that a Cadbury dairy milk bar (49g) contains 257 calories reducing your intake by 300-400 calories per day is not going to be that difficult.

Secret 2:

Spread your calories through the day by eating 5 or 6 smaller meals instead of the more traditional 2 to 3 big ones. This will keep your blood glucose and insulin levels low and your hunger under control. Be wary of proportion size, if you eat too much of anything (even healthy foods) you will be adding to your belly fat instead of reducing it!

Secret 3:

With each meal make sure you eat a source of lean protein. Protein is essential when you are trying to burn belly fat as it is vital for toning and building muscle. Opinion varies on exactly how much you should eat but average amounts are 0.8g to 1.0g per Kg of body weight. For example: A lady weighing 9 stone or 57Kg should ideally eat 46g to 57g of lean protein spread through the day.

Secret 4:

Try to eat natural, complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, oats, beans, brown rice, anything wholemeal and whole grain. With vegetables you can practically eat as much as you want, no-one ever got fat from eating vegetables. It is the butter they sometimes get smeared in that makes them fattening. Boiling or steaming is best as it reduces the amount of added fat and helps to reserve nutrients.

Complex carbohydrates are digested at a lower rate than simple carbohydrates (White rice / pasta / flour and confectionery) and stop glucose spikes in the blood. By keeping blood glucose levels stable insulin is kept low reducing the amount of fat stored, especially around the tummy.

Secret 5:

Avoid all refined or simple carbohydrates (White rice / pasta / flour and confectionery). These are easily digested and result in spikes in your blood glucose levels. Subsequently insulin removes excess glucose and stores it as fat. By reducing your intake of these simple carbohydrates you will prevent spikes in your blood glucose levels and less fat will be deposited around your body.

Follow these simple secrets and you will lose weight, burn more fat and discover how easy it actually is to manage your weight. No longer will family gatherings at Christmas or birthdays fill you with fear because you will have a great understanding of what your body needs and more importantly how much it needs.

Helping Your Teen To Overcome Depression

Statistics on teenagers suffering from depression and other mental ailments are alarming. Various studies suggest that 1 in 4 teens suffer from some sort of mental illness. Teenage mental illness, to include depression, can have dire consequences. Teenage suicide is on the rise. It is the third leading cause of death in the age bracket of 15 to 24 years. Dealing with depression in teens is an important step in reducing these numbers in our society.

Many things can lead to depression. A teenager is just learning how to handle the pressures and emotions of an adult. Only 30% of teens suffering seek help. The others just suffer through and do their best to get through. Adults have difficulty dealing with many things, asking a teenager to deal with it on their own, is not the best option.

Learning the signs of depression for our youth can be difficult. Depressed teenagers are often just looked as being a teen. Signs of irritability, fatigue, withdrawal and changes of eating and sleeping habits, are seen as normal signs of growing up and hormone surges. They are also signs of depression. Learning the difference in your teen's behavior may be key in getting them the help that they need.

Learning to talk to your teen may be your best investment in their mental health. Parents and adults in a teen's life struggle with this aspect. They often want to see the teen as still a child where the teen wants to be seen as an adult. Learning to bridge this gap and communicate efficiently may be a daunting task, but can be managed.

An adult should learn to offer support when conversing with a teenager. Let them know you are there for them. Ensure them that you are available to them at any time. Show them that you can listen without being judgmental. Do not try to talk them out of the way that they feel. Show them that you can understand and give them the help that they need to deal with how they are feeling.

Trust your own instincts. If you have a teenager that is showing signs of depression get them help. Trusting your own feelings and emotions may be what sets the teen on the road to better mental health. They may resist getting help at first. Be firm. Let them know you are there for them and willing to work with them, but insist that they find someone they can work with to help them through this difficult time in their life.

Often a teen will find it easier to speak with someone other than a parent. Consider a peer mentor for your teen. These are teens that are trained to work with others. They become a positive influence. Teen mentors can become a confidant and will be there for the teen that may be in trouble otherwise.

Teenage depression is a serious problem, but can be treated. Learn to recognize the symptoms and get help as soon as possible. Turn the teen in your life into a success story instead of a statistic.