Discover How Factoring Invoices Can Improve Your Net Profit

Rebuilding your business after the recession will prove challenging for some not knowing how or where to find adequate working capital. It has been some time since business owners certainly had to be financially creative and search outside the traditional banking box. That being said, understand how factoring invoices will improve a companies net profit could be the ruling factor on who wins and who loses coming out of this economic downturn.

We ask all clients this question; if we could solve your cash flow problem what would you do with your company? In almost all cases, business owners and management teams respond by saying they would grow the business. If this is your case, and additional working capital will allow your company to grow then accounts receivable factoring could be just the ticket.

However, this funding vehicle is not for everyone. If your business model has changed and you now find yourself in a declining market facing reduced sales volume, invoice factoring could prove detrimental to the overall health of the company. That is, without the infusion of cash would provide sufficient working capital to regenerate sales growth either within the current customer base and / or by exploring new top line revenue increases within other markets.

Let me explain in the following example how a company can increase top line revenue growth and substantively improve net profits as a direct result of factoring invoices.

In this example we will assume a 3% factoring fee on only the increased sales volume. In this case factoring costs are based on $ 2,000,000 ($ 8,000,000 less $ 6,000,000)

Without Factoring With Factoring Invoices

Sales $ 6,000,000 $ 8,000,000
Cost of Goods Sold 60% $ 3.600,000 $ 4,800,000

————————— ———————– ——
Gross Profit $ 2,400,000 $ 3,200,000

Overhead – Fixed $ 1,500,000 $ 1,600,000
Factoring Fees $ —- 0 —- $ 60,000

————————— ———————– ——
Net Profit $ 900,000 $ 1,540,000


In this example, by implementing Invoice Factoring, the above company increased top line by $ 2,000,000 annually which yielded an additional $ 640,000 in net profit at a total cost of $ 60,000. We show the cost of goods sold holding steady at 60%, where mostly the costs would come down due to volume discounts provided by the sellers.

In addition, for illustration purposes, fixed costs such as rent, insurance, telephone etc would only increase slightly and we are reflecting a 3% factoring charge on the increased sales volume. (ie $ 2,000,000 times 3% equals $ 60,000)

Furthermore, improving cash flow by freeing up working capital companies can expand knowing that they have the resources to pay vendors timely. In many cases, vendors will share in the cost of factoring by providing quick payment discounts.

This is a win, win, win scenario. Your customer will receive timely deliveries, the sellers also gets to grow and will often provide discounts to be paid timely. As a result, your business will flourish by growing top line revenue as well as generating substantial gains in net profit.

You may ask why would my company want to look into Invoice Factoring.

As outlined in a recent New York Times article small and midsized American businesses are struggling to secure adequate bank financing, then pushing back expansion plans and slowing overall economic growth.

In a recent survey of senior loan officers tied by the Federal Reserve Board, the cumulative consensus shows lending standards will remain tight until at least the middle of 2010. Lenders lack of confidence due to reduced viscosity and uncertainty in the market. Additionally, most banks and financial services companies have not really recovered from the lingering effects caused by the mortgage meltdown, declining real estate values ​​and the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Another factor relating banks are potential losses mounting due to consumer credit card exposure as the unemployment rate increases and cardholders find themselves in trouble. Also on the horizon is a commercial real estate bubble due to business failures causing higher vacancy rates. Until the extent of these loses are known, bank will be inclined to hold onto their dollars.

In summary, banks are currently risk averse and are not going to lend any time soon. Finding and implementing a plan "B" could prove to be the difference for your business as the economy recovers.

Building a Chicken Run in Your Backyard

Building a chicken run in your backyard can be fun and a way to save money in these days of escalating food prices. With as little as five laying hens, you can produce 30-35 natural, fresh eggs for your family and friends. Building a chicken run can be as inexpensive as a couple hundred dollars.

Before you start building your chicken run, decide how many birds you want to raise. If you live in the city limits, check with your local municipal authorities to see if you can raise chickens and how many you can keep. Believe it or not, some cities still ban chicken raising! I'm sure this will change soon, as there's a growing trend of people trying to become independent of the current food system.

Once you've determined the quantity of hens you need to house, it's time to find a set of plans for building a chicken run. A wide variety of designs are available, so you need to find the one that fits your needs best. I personally like the all-in-one coops. By that I mean a chicken coop connected to an outdoor run. I prefer is design because it keeps your flock in one place and protects them from potential predatory threats. You'd be surprised how many raccoons live in or near your city not to mention a stray dog ​​or two!

When selecting a size, keep in mind chickens need an average of 5-10 square feet of space to be comfortable and healthy. Even with 5 hens, that's only 50 square feet, maximum – about half the size of an average backyard storage shed.

The next step is to find the best location for building a chicken run in your backyard. Chickens produce two possibly annoying side-effects. Noise and odors. Even though hens are much quieter than roosters (you know – cock-a-doodle-doo at 5 am!) They still "cluck" a lot. The other one is odors. In spite of keeping you coop squeaky-clean, there will be some odors. Even though these odors are not intolerable, they can still cause a cranky neighbor to be more cranky!

Place your chicken run as far away as possible from your adjacent neighbors outdoor living area as possible. You may even want to visit your neighbors and let them know you're building a chicken run. Just informing them ahead of time can go a long way toward avoiding problems. You could even "bribe" them with free eggs to smooth things out more!

Now you're ready to actually start building your chicken run! The first task is to find out from your city if a building permit is required when building a chicken run. If it's under 200 square feet, you're probably okay, but it does not hurt to check.

Another tip to keep in mind is to honor the time restraints for construction in your neighborhood. By this I mean do not start hammering away at 6 am on Saturday morning, or work until 10 pm on a school night. Again check your city ordinances for allowable work times.

Do not make already unhappy neighbors more unhappy by annoying them while building a chicken run.

Principles of Cowboy Home Decor

Coming under different names – western, rustic, or cowboy home decor – this interior design style creates a very different look, both comfortable and rural. The cowboy home decor uses a lot of little details, sometimes very unusual, to recreate a different era, but you can be assured that most of these things are simple and easy to find.


Natural materials like metal, rock, wood, and leather, traditionally used in the West make essential essential part of the corn cowboy home decor. Furniture in this style is usually made in a larger scale and without any fancy or fussy detail. There is plenty of log furniture, twig and branch furniture, and mission style furnishings.


As with any theme, especially cowboy home decor, color is of the utmost importance to achieve the total look. The wood tenders to be honey colored and the metals should be black. Accent colors are usually a terra cotta, brick red, navy, or forest green, mixed with a neutral background of creams, grays, and tans such as found in a western style fabric or wall hanging.


The choice of fabrics should fall on tough types. Leather is perfect for cowboy home decor, as well as anything rough, textured, and tactile. Suede, wool tweed, birch bark, denim, fur, and even saddle blankets can be used to add the cowboy theme to a room.


There is no question that a motif is necessary when completing the cowboy home decor. They can include any type of animals such as deer, cattle, bear, moose, or fish. Antlers are extremely popular as well as a wall hanging or a chandelier, but look for a more creative use for them to be unique. You could make any of these items into a candelabrum, candle holder, or even a place to hang up coats according to your personal preference.

Other motifs include outdoor scenes such as fishing, riding, hunting, lakes, rivers, pine cones, oak trees, wildflowers, and grasses. The cowboy home decor is all about bringing the outside in, so do it as much as you can without being overwhelmed. Luckily this is one of the decors when more is better.

Cowboy home decor is good not only for your home, but also cabin or barn. It will add a comfortable feel, and can cost you almost nothing. You can use anything – from horseshoe sconces and twig framed mirrors to old jeans, dried flowers, and quilts. Use your creativity, and enjoy the fun of decorating your dwelling in such a limitless way.

Hardwood Flooring Adds Beauty and Value

For one of the best investments you can make in your home, consider installing hardwood floors. The look of hardwood floors changes everything. They can make a room look larger because of the clear open space, but at the same time keep it warm and inviting because it is wood. Hardwood flooring is more expensive than other flooring alternatives, but well worth the extra cost because it is so popular home buyers.

The simple elegance of hardwood flooring has always been in vogue, but never as much as today when people like clean, elegant looks for their homes.

It does not matter what kind of decor you have chosen; hardwood flooring looks equally beautiful in a formal dining room or in the casual family room.

Hardwood flooring adds warmth and beauty to a home, and in today's hectic world, the home has become a sanctuary where we seek such peace and beauty to comfort us after a hard day's work. Picture coming in the door after being out in the cold winter and being blessed with the warmth ambiance of glowing wood.

Another valuable feature of hardwood flooring encloses its beauty and the warm feeling it imbues, is the fact that it is so durable and long lasting, moreso than laminate flooring. If you take proper care of your hardwood floors, they will last for years and years. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding proper cleaning and treatments, and you will not only keep them looking gorgeous, you will also be protecting your valuable investment in your home. Keeping on top of any minor repairs will forestall larger problems in the long run, so be sure to do the proper upkeep.

You will be amazed and even a little overwhelmed when you start to shop for hardwood flooring since the range of choices is so great. You want to make sure you make the right decision, since this is a large, long term investment in your home. Better to spend some time in shopping and researching exactly what the right kind of hardwood flooring is best for you than to shop in haste and be disappointed in your decision.

Another thing to be careful about is looking for a bargain when you are shopping for hardwood floors. Yes, they do exist, but there are many inferior products that just sound like bargains but may not be over the long run. If you end up replacing these floors after a few years, they really cost more than the better quality, more expensive ones. For such a large item as hardwood flooring, you can usually get financing for the product, or you may consider a home equity loan since it is an improvement to the property.

You do have to give your hardwood floors a bit of the velvet glove treatment. You do not want to put heavy furniture on it without pad under them, and you certainly do not want to drag any furniture over the floor. High traffic areas should be covered with area rugs, and you might consider scuff rugs for entrances, so that dirt, sand or grime is not dragged onto the floor. Kitchens are not considered the ideal place to install hardwood floors because of the high risk of exposure to moisture and water damage. If you do decide to use hardwood flooring in the kitchen, just be prepared for frequent repairs or replacements.

Important Safety Tips for Bunk Bed Owners

Whatever your reasons for getting a bunk bed, it’s always important to follow practical guidelines to ensure safety-especially if your kids are the ones sleeping in the bunk bed. It goes without saying that it’s possible to injure yourself with almost any kind of furniture if you’re reckless, but it’s also important to note that today’s bunk beds are the safest they have ever been, due to enhanced government regulation. Bunks for kids are held to even stricter standards, which should be a relief for many parents with rambunctious children.

Bunk beds and loft beds are built with an elevated design to maximize space, which means that there are structural vulnerabilities and safety considerations you should watch out for. Design for certain functions or advantages can mean trade-offs in other areas, but as long as you are mindful of this, having a bunk bed can be almost as safe as having a regular bed. The general rule of thumb is that taller, stacked furniture means better space optimization, but is much worse for stability (especially if you live in earthquake-prone areas). What’s important is that you carefully assess your needs and minimize your risks, so you can enjoy your bed for as long as your family needs it.

Following these simple tips can go a long way in ensuring your family’s safety and satisfaction:

· Shop only from a dealer or furniture store that sells quality products and offer some type of quality guarantee or warranty

· Follow the written instructions carefully when putting together your new bed

· Choose beds with guard rails that are higher than the mattresses, to prevent anybody from falling out of bed

· Only allow only kids six years and above to take the upper bunk

· If economically feasible, choose a bed bunk with stairs over a bed bunk with ladder to minimize tripping and increase surefootedness.

· Do not try to squeeze in the wrong size mattress into your bunk bed

· If you choose a bed bunk with a ladder, make sure the spaces are too small for a child’s head or torso to fit through

· Don’t allow more than one person to sleep on the top bunk, no matter how small or light they are

· Don’t allow roughhousing on or under the bed

There are other, less obvious considerations to think about when it comes to owning a bunk bed. While the biggest safety concerns are with young kids, adults need to be mindful as well, since anyone can sustain an injury if they are not careful. For example, one of the things people tend to overlook is the fact that some screws can become loose over time. Even if you follow all instructions carefully during assembly, it pays to check them again from time to time, at least to prevent nasty surprises. No one is perfect, and no accident is planned. Sleepless nights of countless tossing and turning can loosen even the tightest screws, so don’t neglect to check them occasionally.

Among bunk beds, the ones with the best stability are usually the twin over full bunk beds and the full over full bunk beds. It’s just simple physics: the wider something is at the bottom, the harder it will be to shake it or tip it-which is an important consideration if you live in earthquake-prone regions or if you share your home with active people. Of course, you shouldn’t get a twin over full or full over full bunk bed if space is limited and your kids are too small, but you can at least limit the chances for injury or tipping over by making sure that the calmer sleeper stays in the bottom bunk or by getting a twin over twin bunk bed with a staircase.

In the end, there’s no substitute for communication, consideration, and knowledge. Just educate your kids about the proper precautions and consequences, so safety and injury should never be a problem.

Basement Flooding And Insurance: Is Your Basement Waterproofing Covered?

Many people don’t think about something as simple as flooding insurance until after it’s too late and they’ve been afflicted with water-in-basement syndrome. But many do, and a basement waterproofing contractor will get lots of calls from people who want to know if they can work with their insurance company to have their services covered. The answer is, of course, “not always” — but it does happen regularly.

There are a few reasons why your particular basement flooding issue might not be covered by your insurance. The most common is that you don’t actually have flooding insurance. As much as it might seem reasonable, most “multi-peril” homeowner’s insurance policies don’t actually cover flooding — you need special, separate flooding insurance to cover things like basement waterproofing.

Even if you have flooding insurance, you might not be safe yet. If the flooding was caused by rising groundwater rather than an accident like a burst pipe, normal flooding insurance won’t cover it. “Rising groundwater” basically means “it rained so much that the water table came up over the side walls of your house and got in through cracks, etc” — but if the ‘groundwater’ rises above the ground itself and you have literal flooding, the insurance will generally kick back in and cover you.

Beware, however, because while flooding insurance will usually cover the personal belongings you have in your home, things in your basement are usually specifically excluded. Your flooding insurance will cover structural elements and ‘essential’ appliances like your heat pump, but won’t do a thing to ameliorate the costs of your post-flood basement remodeling. Even non-structural architectural elements like internal walls aren’t covered; any basement wall repair you need to have done from a basement waterproofing company will have to come out of your own pocket.

Specifically covered:

-sump pumps

-well-water tanks and pumps

-cisterns and the water inside

-oil tanks and the oil inside

-natural gas tanks and the gas inside

-pumps or tanks used with solar energy furnaces

-water heaters

-air conditioners

-heat pumps

-electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes (and their utility connections)

-foundation elements





-unpainted drywall walls and ceilings (including fiberglass insulation)

washing machines and dryers

-freezers and the food inside them.

“Cleanup expenses” are also covered, so you can count on your insurance to help you get rid of your old stuff, but not to help you replace it.

Everyone should check to find out if their community is covered by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program; if it is, they have the option to purchase some pretty decent flood insurance at pretty good prices. The best part is that membership in a NFIP-covered community is the only prerequisite. It doesn’t matter if you’re actually in a flood zone, if you’ve already flooded at least once, or even if you live on top of a hill — any member in that community can (and should) get insurance that will cover basic basement waterproofing and flood recovery.

Some Observations of Successful Coffee Shops

When you are planning to set up your own coffee shop or a café, do have a look at the feng shui of the other coffer shops in your area.

It has been your ambition to own a coffee shop. You know that the earnings from this business can be good but there is stiff competition from the established players. How have the successful brands done it?

You could do the basic research

  • Look at the existing coffee shops or café or bars.
  • What type of coffee do they use.
  • What other products do they serve – cooked or freshly prepared?
  • What is their unique proposition?
  • How the business is operated – staffing levels.
  • The marketing and publicity.
  • The physical areas where the other outlets do good business.

Have you looked at the finer details of the locations (feng shui) of the most successful brand of coffee shops? Like Starbucks?

Many of their stores are located near cross roads or inter-sections. These coffee shops do not have doors flushed with the front wall. They are at all sorts of different angles. In fact, they have highlighted this in their publicity.

Also, look at where the cash till is placed relative to the main door. Also look at how the quiet areas for the customers are and also the areas where the busy areas area.

There is a reason why they are in that position. This is about internal design and you could call this feng shui. There must be a reason why the Starbucks coffee shops do so well.

Secondly, if you look at the intersections or cross roads in any city, you will find that there are more successful coffee shop (including café or bars) than the straight road with no junctions.

(c) Copyright – Dr Michael Oon. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Useful Information About Dry Risers

Dry risers are the vertical mains fitted into staircase enclosures or other appropriate positions, with outlet valves on every floor and inlets fitted at ground level to enable the fire brigade to connect supply of water in case of fire in the building. The only function of the dry risers is that they provide a ready made means of distributing substantial amount of water to stub out or prevent the spread of fire.

Where dry riser should be installed?

Riser should be installed in the building where any floor is higher than 18 meters above ground level. On the other hand, buildings where there are floors higher than 60 meters above ground level, wet risers are used.

The number and disposition of dry rising mains should be such that:

1. One is provided for every 900 square meters of floor area at each level other than ground floor of the building

2. Rising mains are not more than 60 meters apart in a horizontal direction of the building

3. No part of any floor area is more than 60 meters from a landing valve measure along a route appropriate for hose lines.

Design Consideration for Dry Riser:

1. In dry riser pipe work and fittings should be of Galvani wrought steel and pipe work should be joined by screwing

2. Changes in pipe’s direction should be made with standard bends rather than elbows

3. Dry riser should have a nominal bore of 100 millimeter where only one outlet is provided on each floor. If two outlets are provided on any level on any one riser the main should have a nominal bore of 150 millimeter

4. Each riser should be provided with a 25 millimeter drain valve at the lowest point of the pipe work. When drain valve is not in use, it should be strapped and padlocked

5. An appropriate automatic air release valve should be fitted at the highest point in each rising main to allow the pressurised air in the pipe to discharge when water is pumped in.

Electrical Earth:

Dry riser should be electrically earthed and bond those joints which do not provide electrical continuity. These considerations are very important and need proper concentration at the time of installation. There are many professional companies in UK which are providing quality services for dry riser servicing, installation and maintenance.

Where Are the Best Hospitals in Sao Paulo, Brazil?

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and world’s 7th largest metropolitan area. This Alpha World City with many tourist hot spots is the second most populous metropolitan area in the Americas. This prominent commercial and entertainment center has a famous nickname “Sampa”.

São Paulo has a large number of well-equipped hospitals that offer health care service of international standard. Its private health care sector is very large with many world-class hospitals and most of the major hospitals in the nation are situated in São Paulo. All these leading hospitals in São Paulo offer service of English speaking staff.

Here is a short description of some of the leading hospitals in São Paulo.

The Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz (Oswaldo Cruz German Hospital) situated at RuaJoaoJuliao,331-Paraiso CEP 01323-903- Sao Paulo is a prominent hospital in Brazil with international reputation. This 239-bedded hospital was founded in 1897 by a group of German immigrants. This Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospital has also achieved TEMOS, Telemedicine for the Mobile Society, certification. This famous German agency has given top marks to Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz for providing best health care service to Europeans visiting Brazil. By conducting many highly complex surgeries, the hospital has attained the highest-level certification from Brazilian Accreditation Organization (ONA) also. The hospital has 239 beds, 13 ICU beds, 13-operation theaters with4 laminate flow system, sterilized materials store, equipment room, a best equipped emergency room and 15 PRA (Post Anesthesia Recovery) beds. The hospital offers excellent clinical, diagnostic and surgical service in different departments including cardiology, imaging diagnosis, endoscopy, memory stimulation, metabolic surgery, nephrology and dialysis, orthopedics, diabetes treatment, Physical therapy, hematology, oncology, human reproduction and transplants. The center offers warm accommodation in a friendly and caring environment. Telephone: 55 11 3549-0093

Hospital Sirio Libanes located at Rua Dona Adma Jafet, 91Bela Vista – São Paulo – S.P.CEP: 01308-060 is one of the most popular, modern hospitals in Brazil and Latin America. This 300-bedded premier health center, established in 1965 has 4,500 employees, performs 50 surgical procedures daily and conducts 2,000 types of various diagnostic examinations. The hospital has achieved international reputation by offering high quality health care service in more than 40 medical specialties and possessing all latest advances in medical technology. They offer medical service of global standard in their various centers of excellence, which include oncology center, cardiology center, diagnostic center, substitute renal therapy, rehabilitation center, urology, gynecology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, magnetic resonance, and memory diagnostic center and their oncology center is particularly acclaimed. The hospital provides fine accommodation in comfortable apartments/suites with an anteroom, cable TV, internet connection, a mini bar, telephone and background music. The hospital started well-equipped and round the clock emergency service with special area for children in 1992 and has modern ICUs with 22 beds for adult patients. This service oriented hospital well known for its patient focused approach is also the most reputed medical education and research institution of the country and has established the famous IEP – Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa (Teaching and Research Institute).This hospital, a member of Brazilian Healthcare Products and Services, attracts large number of patients from abroad especially from Europe and the United States, accepts many international health plans and has an excellent International relations area with English speaking staff. Phone.: 55 11 3155-0900

Samaritano Hospital São Paulo is another major hospital in Brazil with wide reputation. This is one of the oldest hospitals in the city that came in to existence in 1890. The hospital founded by a group of American, of British and German immigrants had a modest start and then grew considerably to become a JCI accredited, modern health care center of international standard. This 200-bedded hospital offers complete and effective medical and surgical service in various departments like cardiology, neurology, pediatrics, orthopedics, gynecology, neonatology, oncology, urology and emergency procedures. More than 1100 physicians and surgeons are practicing here and the hospital’s surgery section has achieved wide recognition for carrying out high complex surgeries and video-assisted surgeries. Samaritano Hospital is a popular center for epileptic surgery, plastic surgery and cochlear implants. This hospital well known for its advanced technology and best personal care has special facilities for international patients. The hospital offers excellent accommodation in large private rooms with comfortable bathrooms, phone, internet, automatic safe box and cable TV. The customer care section assures best service in hotel booking, bus and air ticketing, translation, foreign exchange, laundry, valet parking etc. Cafeteria and restaurant with various delicious dishes are also provided in the premise. Phone: (+55) 11-3821-5300

Nonflammable Thatched Roofs

The potential flammability of the thatched (or any other natural material, e.g. wood shingles) roofing is frequently a reason why the homeowners do not decide to thatch their houses.

They are right – reed is flammable…

and they are wrong – we live now in times when science is able to turn any flammable stuff into a nonflammable (even fire retardant) material (I strongly hope we are just one step away from inventing the nonflammable safety matches).

In the past, the thatchers solved this problem with dipping the thatching straw into the mud. It formed a hard, nonflammable crust over the thatched roofing so it was quite safe when confronted with some smaller fires (fireplace sparks, etc…).

Nowadays you have much more possibilities how to make your thatched roof fireproof as well.

Following methods of fireproofing your thatch roof are worth your consideration:

Fire retardant sprays for thatched roofing

There are some substances available on the market, like e.g. Flame Stop I-DS, which prevent the spread of flames by developing a chemically self extinguishing reaction.

Most of them are available in the form of an aerosole (spray).

Fireproof aluminum foils

As aluminum is perfectly nonflammable material (it is a metal able to last high temperatures) even a thin foil helps to keep your house interriors thermally separated from the roof (this is the method that doesn´t protect the roofing material itself – let it burn, if fire is its destiny, but rather keeps the other parts of the house separated and so safe from the roof in flames).

Fireproof batts (thatch batts) that are usually used for filling the roof framing spaces between the truss beams. Thatch batts actually are the rockwool batts, again, separating the thatched roofing from another parts of the house.

Do you think none of the above mentioned methods would protect your home enough from fire?

Separately maybe they wouldn´t… but why don´t you combine them? You´ll get one really reliable, water- and fireproof, natural, ecological and cool-looking thatching material that last years and is quickly reparable at low cost.

Tattoo Cover Up Advice

Tattoo is a permanent mark on the body for life. However, it can be removed by laser and often it can be changed or covered, but not always!

Tattoo can be covered if it is old and faded. Fresh tattoo ink is too strong to be covered with colours, so the best option is black. If the tattoo is quite small and you want to cover it with a bigger tattoo- then there is no problem. The only thing you need to do is to find a right artist, one who enjoys doing cover ups and has a portfolio with lots of them in it. You may go to the nearest or cheapest shop, they will say that they will do it for you and it will be cheap. But you know what happens next, don’t you? You end up having a bigger tattoo to worry about that is not easy to cover anymore! Best cover up tattoo advice I can give you: Find somebody who knows what they are doing and follow his advice!

A tattoo is OK to cover with color if the image is faded and is at least 8-10 years old. Fresh tattoo ink can be covered with black over it only. If somebody tells you that they can cover black with red- beware!

The colors that work best as a cover up are blues and browns, not reds, oranges or yellows…

The new tattoo will always be bigger than old one. Otherwise the corners would be sticking out or you would end up with black square. I doubt that this is what you want! A good sign of a successful cover up is when no one can tell that it is a cover up at all. If you see some lines showing through or corners sticking out- you will know that something was underneath and other people will notice that too! And you will still get asked “what was there?” A good cover up looks as though there was nothing there before.

If you choose your tattoo wisely you will not need to worry about cover-ups. Do not get something that in the future you may want to change. Girlfriends/ Boyfriends and Husbands/ Wives names are the biggest danger if it’s even in Chinese or Arabic. The ex is gone and the name stays! How many times have you seen that? There are no guaranties in life what concern your love life. Another thing to avoid is fashion! Notice what the most popular tattoo is and do not get it. What was popular ten years ago looks silly now. So will this year’s too sooner or later. Good idea is to ask your tattooist for information on what is the most popular. (I tell you one word- “stars”).

The main tattoo cover up advice I can give you is this: choose what you want to get and find a person who is good at covering up tattoos. They will be honest with you and tell you what works and what doesn’t. If there are no cover ups in the artist’s portfolio it is better to find somebody else who does have pictures of successful work rather than being a canvas for experiments. Remember, your ideas may not work so be open for suggestions. The most important thing here is to get the mess sorted and replaced with something that you will enjoy. Do not think that you old tattoo can be covered with anything just as long as it is covered! It has got to be something that you like. You will have to live with it.

In some cases tattoos can not be covered and laser treatment is the only option. It is well worth to go for a few sessions and make your tattoo fade until it can be covered with anew one. In the end you will be happy with the result!

Choose careful and think before you get inked!

10 Fast Facts About Watercolour Paint

1. It is made from pigments that are ground together and held together with a gum binder that’s water-soluble, of course. The pigments used in watercolour paint can be either natural or synthetic.

2. It dries a lot lighter than when it is applied. In other words, the colour you apply to the canvas won’t be the same colour you’ll get once the paint has dried out. The final, dried colour is about two times lighter than the original colour applied to the canvas.

3. It is very safe and practically non-toxic. However, you should still avoid getting it on your hands, just to be on the safe side.

4. It has been used for many millennia – cave paintings done in paleolithic Europe were done in watercolour. It gained a surge of popularity during the Renaissance when it became appreciated is a proper art medium.

5. It can be transparent or opaque. Transparent watercolours let the light into the canvas and reflect it back, creating a sort of glowing effect. Opaque watercolours, on the other hand, don’t let the light in as much and instead make it bounce off the pigment, which creates a sort of dull and weathered effect.

6. It comes in tubes or pans. With tubes, you just squirt the paint out and go from there. Pans are basically square blocks of paint put together in a plastic or metal box. Generally speaking, tube paints are much easier to mix; they’re also cheaper and are better for creating large washes. Most artists prefer to use tube paints.

7. Fugitive watercolours fade very quickly. Most of the watercolour paints available now are non-fugitive, meaning the colour won’t fade as quickly and will therefore last a lot longer.

8. The same colour by different manufacturers may not look the same. If you want to use a particular colour, make sure to buy your paints from a single manufacturer so you get a consistent colour.

9. As it is water-based, watercolour paint can be quite unpredictable. When painting with watercolours, you have to learn how to control the paint. Of course, you could let the paint do its own thing and incorporate this into your painting.

10. Staining refers to how easy it is to remove watercolour paint from a support once it’s been applied or has completely dried. A staining paint is one that’s hard to remove, while a less-staining paint ca easily be wetted and lifted. The make of paint and the make of the support can both affect a paint’s staining.

The Housefly – An Introduction

Houseflies are insects included in the order Diptera (Gk. di – two, pteron – wing). Most other orders have two pairs of wing (i.e. four in all) but houseflies, bluebottles, hover flies, mosquitoes, tetse flies, crane flies (‘daddy long legs’) etc. have only the single pair. Houseflies are of interest principally because they are associated with the transmission of certain diseases.

Apart from the single pair of wings, houseflies share the typical insect features; their bodies are divided into segments which are grouped into a head, thorax and abdomen. The thorax carries three pairs of jointed legs as well as the wings. There are no appendages on the abdomen.

Houseflies lay their eggs in rotting organic matter, with a preference for stable manure. The eggs hatch into white, legless larvae, (maggots), which feed on fluids and small particles in the organic waste. As they grow, they shed their skins several times but retain the last one as a hard pupal case in which they undergo the drastic changes (metamorphosis) from a maggot to a fully formed housefly. The immature fly pushes its way out of the pupal case and allows time for its wings to expand and harden before it flies off.

The housefly poses a health hazard because of its indiscriminate choice of food ranging from human and animal faeces to food awaiting human consumption. Houseflies cannot take in solid food. They have a proboscis which can be extended on to the potential food. At the end of the proboscis are two flat lobes with a series of parallel channels. The fly places the lobes on the food and secretes saliva through the channels. The saliva contains enzymes which digest the food to a liquid which is then pumped back through the proboscis to the gut.

Any bacteria in the food accumulate in the proboscis channels and are flushed out with the saliva onto the next substance on which the fly alights. If the first food sample happens to be human faeces and the next sample a slice of bread, any bacteria from the faeces will be transferred to the bread and eaten. If the bacteria are those which cause intestinal disease, there is the risk that they will cause that disease in the person who eats the bread. Cholera, typhoid and salmonella food poisoning are diseases that can be spread by houseflies. In addition to the feeding mechanism, the bacteria can also be transferred on the housefly’s legs.

There are several ways of reducing the spread of disease by houseflies. The most obvious is to store all food for human consumption in situations which houseflies cannot reach. It is also vital to dispose of human waste in such a way that houseflies cannot pick up bacteria from it. This can be achieved by modern methods of sanitation and sewage treatment.

Flies have a range of about one mile so it is best if their potential breeding sites, e.g. manure heaps, are not allowed to accumulate near to urban populations.

The "Jen Ratio" – A More Nuanced View of Emotional Intelligence

Think of the jen ratio as a lens through which you might take stock of your attempt at leading a meaningful life.

—D. Keltner, Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

Did you know that if you engage in five acts of kindness a week, you can elevate your personal well-being in lasting ways? You might think this is obvious. Try doing it while coping with the real world of chaos, much uncertainty for many, and news that is more bad than good. It’s a job to be kind and compassionate.

Think of how any organization would benefit from acts of kindness coursing through it hourly and daily. The rise of its positive emotion quotient would directly affect the quality and quantity of innovation!

“Jen” science, the study of positive emotion, has been hinted at for centuries by various philosophers and scientists such as Confucius, Socrates, Plato and Darwin. But “jen” has only come into its own recently in the shadow and dying embers of the industrial revolution.

As elite athletes have known for some time, we do not rise to our best through fear. The latter helps us survive under dire circumstances but it is not sustainable as a way of being.

The latest financial global crisis has demonstrated that Adam Smith’s “Homo economicus” has its limits. The pursuit of self-interest which does not focus on bringing out the good in others can lead to serious destruction. As Dacher Keltner, author of Born to be Good reiterates, self-interest, competition and vigilance have been built into our evolutionary makeup in order to survive, but these tendencies are only “half the story”. “Homo reciprocans” is a more apt description of our reciprocating nature and the importance of emotions when making economic or any other kind of decisions.

The good emotional side of humanity, called “jen” by Confucius, has always been with us. It is gaining ground in our consciousness globally as we become more connected and better informed. We were reminded of our good side by Henry Patch, the last surviving soldier to have fought in the trenches of the First World War, who died at age 111 on July 25, 2009. In his memoirs, written after he turned 100, he described the pact he and his fellow soldiers made: avoid killing the enemy if possible. Aim for the legs instead. Academics have picked up on this theme of our good emotional side for a number of decades.

In the 1990’s, Daniel Goleman and other researchers revived the rightful place of emotional intelligence as a driver of great leadership-the higher you go in an organization, the more important it is.

Not long after, Marcus Buckingham through his Gallup research of over 80,000 managers found that building on strengths of employees is a faster route to a positive climate and employee success than trying to change what isn’t there (transforming weaknesses).

Of late, even strategic planning has had a facelift with the introduction of the process called “Appreciative Inquiry” or “AI” for short. Like elite athlete practices, AI takes the high road by working on creating more of the exceptional performance of an organization through aspirational discovery, dreaming and design.

Since the late 90s, Martin Seligman, who became famous for his “learned helplessness” theory in the 1970s and 80s, started a growing worldwide movement called “positive psychology”. It builds on the works of famous humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Erich Fromm.

Recently, neuroscience is lending credibility to the value of “jen” (meaning “humane”), long ago advocated by Confucius. We are hard-wired to give to others and to act cooperatively. When we do so, the reward centers of our brains dense with dopamine receptors light up and hum with activity. Confucius recognized that cultivating “jen” developed character in self and others, led to the meaningful life and offset violence, materialism and needless hierarchy.

What is the “jen ratio”? The numerator refers to acts of kindness, compassion, awe, love, gratitude and even embarrassment. The denominator embodies the “bad” action when instead of establishing one’s own character by bringing the good of others to completion, a person is disdainful, critical, condescending and contemptuous (all the elements that make for “bad” relationships). It is well-documented that these actions do not lend a helping hand to anyone anywhere.

Researchers are now taking stock of the “jen ratio” of individuals, married couples, nations, cultures and different age groups. As Keltner remarks, “nations whose citizens bring out the good in others to completion thrive” as “trust (a key result of “jen”) facilitates economic exchange with fewer transaction costs, adversarial settlements, discrimination and economic inequality”.

Winners of a number of Nobel prizes in Economics concur. Cooperation beats cut-throat, winner-take-all competition in a complex societal system where trust ultimately must be a guiding principle. New research from the Center for Neuroeconomics further substantiates the value of trust to yield economic and well-being benefit.

Scandinavian and East Asian countries fare better in this regard than those in South America and Eastern Europe. Even poorer nations like India generate a higher trust level than wealthier nations like the United States. “Jen” trumps money!

The “jen ratio” is a simple measure and another tool for leader-managers. Acts of “jen” and “not jen” can be counted (see Buddhist “Pebbles in a Bowl story at With some deliberate practice, managers can generate higher “jen” ratios leading to higher performance all round — hard and soft — underpinned by the increasing momentum of the “flywheel of progress” through good acts.

Halloween in Colombia

Teaching English in Colombia: Halloween

Did you know that Halloween is celebrated in Colombia? It’s a big time holiday too.

Adults and children alike dress up in costumes and make up. Employees in many offices, banks, supermarkets and retail stores also wear a simple costume, face paint or special make up. “Why do Colombians celebrate Halloween” I’ve asked many times. I’ve been teaching English in Colombia for more than a decade now and still no one can really tell me how Halloween came to be adopted on such a large scale in Colombia.

“We never celebrated Halloween when I was a child” Doris Lopez says watching two of her grandchildren “suit up” as “the Flash” and a Princess. She adds, “My children never celebrated Halloween or went “trick or treating, either”. Her children, now in their mid thirties, do take their children out using the expression, “Tricky, tricky Halloween” to solicit candy, sweets and treats from neighbors.

One Halloween Costume “Rule”

When celebrating Halloween in Colombia there’s one unwritten rule though. It’s that you can’t wear a full-face mask or “alter” your appearance beyond the recognizable. Why? I think primarily because there is a certain “element” of people who would use the holiday to disguise themselves and commit crimes. Just think, someone walks into a bank or large store dressed in a gorilla suit, then robs the place and its customers. After leaving the scene, the perpetrator need only ditch the suit and would be totally immune to recognition of any type. The person could even be standing right there when the police arrived and no one would be the wiser!

Private Celebrations in Schools

Many primary and secondary schools sponsor their own activities for their charges on the school grounds inviting parents and family members to participate in games, dramas, parades and costume-judging and other types of contests. During classes, a variety of activities are included such as coloring books, specially-prepared foods, treats and baked goods. Spooky stories are read, watched or listened to. A realia like plastic spiders, ghost figures, witches, Jack-o-lanterns (curious because pumpkins are not grown in Colombia) and assorted “monsters” are used for decoration, name tags and in a variety of other ways.

A Highly Commercialized Festivity

Merchants are always keen to get into the act as is likely true worldwide. Not only are there “specials” on a broad range of packages of candies, lollipops and sweets, but commercial shopping centers sponsor Halloween activities and have a “Trick or Treat” session from about 4:00 pm to around 6:00 pm. During that time parents bring their children to the mall to go from store to store where treats are handed out to them. The larger malls here in Cali can have upwards of 80 stores and shops making for quite a “haul” if the little tykes can hold out long enough to hit the majority of them. Costumes and make up run the gauntlet from queens, fairies, princesses and folk costumes through a menagerie of animals, cartoon characters, super-heroes (Batman, Wonder Woman and Spiderman predominate) to pirates, Jedi, wizards (look out Harry Potter) kings and Ninjas. Vampires and soldiers are generally frowned upon. There are Halloween parties held at many homes in the evening too featuring Cali’s music of choice – Salsa. Have you ever seen Spiderman dancing Salsa with a Power-Puff Girl? It’s a real hoot. It’s no wonder teaching English in Colombia continues to be so interesting.

On the day after Halloween, “All Saints Day” or the “Day of the Dead” is celebrated, but that my friends, is another story.