Virginia is for Lovers

It's hard to decide whether Virginia is for lovers or not. Appropriately it is one of the few remaining American states where state laws are still deciding the sexual morality – or lack thereof – of their citizens. Perhaps it was correctly named, valuing as it does the sanctity of marriage, and the celibacy of those who choose to remain single. Nearby in Virginia, you can not have your cake and eat it too.

However, while out of step with the lax moral habits of the citizens of the majority of other American states, Virginia's history is certainly filled with love and romance.

It's from this state that we have the story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. According to folk lore, when her father was about to club this particular trouble maker to death, she twisted herself on his body intimating that if he wanted to kill Smith, he would have to kill her first.

Almost John was the kind of fellow who bought out the best – and worst – in people. This was not his only brush with death. As a matter of fact, one of his captains, on which ship he was traveling, was so ticked off with John Smith, that he made the decision to have his executed the minute they landed. But would not you know it, no sooner was he standing on land, than, after opening the sealed orders from the Virginia Company on which behalf they were traveling, than he saw that Smith had been designated as one of the leaders of the new colony. Swearing under his breath, the Captain spared Smith.

But, for Smith, it was out of one bit of trouble into another. In another battle he was wounded, captured, and sold as a slave by a Turk. Not realizing the man's charms, the Turk sent him as a gift to his sweetheart. It was not long before Smith had the girl wrapped around his finger. Of course he realized that she would not want to lose such a privilege as himself, so it was another case of gaining her confidence, and watching for a means to escape. Which, of course, he did.

However, as one of the leading lights in colonizing Virginia, Smith proved himself not only an able lover, but an extremely ruthless businessman. He could probably be called the father of Capitalism, encouraging the settlers as he did with his slogan, "He who does not work, will not eat."

Partner Pleasing Sex

The best kind of sex is partner pleasing sex. Knowing you’ve done the job is such an enormous mental high, and pleasing your partner leads to an amazing attitude towards having great sex on a regular basis.

Partner pleasing sex has to do with a combination of ambiance, foreplay, and game playing. I’ll briefly mention the first two, then get to the juice with number three.

1. Ambiance. The ambiance is what sets the mood. It can really make the difference between a so-so night of intimacy and a fun, exciting, erotic and unforgettable night of intimacy. What where doing here is “priming”. Ambiance is the initial prime, then with foreplay we move into the secondary prime. Two easy ambiance set pieces are music and lighting. It’s always best to get an idea of what music your partner likes, then choose the mellowest of that genre and play it lightly in the background.

The second initial prime for partner pleasing sex is lighting. Change out one of your bulbs and insert a colored bulb. A trick to the partner pleasing sex trade is finding out beforehand your partners favorite color, and then go out and get that colored bulb. When it’s time for intimacy, say smoothly and slyly, “didn’t you say your favorite color was purple?” And then very casually switch the lamp on. The one that has the purple bulb inserted in it.

2. Foreplay. This is the secondary primer for partner pleasing sex. You must engage in foreplay, beginning with small kisses and eventually moving into light touching. Foreplay plays a huge part in partner pleasing sex, and essentially primes your partner for the pleasures to come. Without foreplay you create a missing element which cheapens and lessons the overall pleasure pleasing aspect.

3. The juice: Playing games. Now, wrap everything around with the element of game play. From small jesters or jokes while setting the ambiance, to foreplay, and even the actual act itself, game playing proves to be fun, memorable, and creates a calming mood which is essential for partner pleasing sex. There’s a few tips for this and I’m going to unleash one right here. During foreplay, while kissing quickly pull back and pause when your partner goes to kiss you. Then simply smile or laugh a bit. Your partner should eventually pick up on the game and will then do the same to you, pulling back while your going for a kiss, and then laughing lightly. This game can go back and forth and is great priming fuel for partner pleasing sex.

You can carry this game on even into the final frontier. Slowly becoming intimate, then pulling back, and then resuming. Another underlying element to this particular partner pleasing sex method of game playing is that it’s as if your playing that your partner is so hot, that it’s hard to get close, and you have to pull back and then go in slow and precise, cherishing the flavor and feel of something so red hot and smoking beautiful!

Her Wedding Was Just So TACKY!

Stories of the wackiest and tackiest weddings of all time

We've all heard the stories – Angelina Jolie marries her first husband with his name written across her white silk blouse in her own blood. Photos are released of 'Posh and Becks' sitting on golden thrones and frosted in diamonds on their wedding day. The first words out of Black Eyed Pea's singer, Fergie's mouth after her vows are "I'm married b $% s"! Sarah Jessica Parker ties the knot wearing black. While we may think that tacky weddings are a practice reserved by the rich and famous, the truth is that they cross all socio-economic barriers. Here are a few of the wackiest and tackiest weddings, cakes and chapters in the twenty-first century:


One particular inventive couple, who chooses to remain anonymous, decided to support their men in Afghanistan by getting married in camouflage. We do not mean in a discreet yet romantic jungle location so that the press and mad Aunt Gertrude could not find them – we mean they literally got married in camouflage. The bride wore a camouflage skirt and a khaki colored veil. The groom at least had the decency to wear a white shirt; however this was coupled with a camouflage jacket. And the cake? It proudly held up two plastic army men.

Vulgar Vegas

Vegas is a bad joke to most people. They may drop the word in a light-hearted conversation if they're joking about eloping or they may know someone who has a cousin who got married in Las Vegas. But the scary truth is that weddings in Vegas are on the rise. Since 1970, weddings have increased five-fold. In fact, recent statistics peg it at 120 000 weddings a year and 50 000 renewals of vows, making up 5% of all weddings in the USA. Elvis would be proud. In fact, Elvis is proud. But this industry is worth over $ 1 billion dollars, so who's laughing now?

Cinderella cheap

Coming in at first place for the tackiest wedding cake of all time is the Cinderella castle cake – so large it needed an entire garage just to house it. Purple and white turrets made up the cake itself with Cinderella and Prince Charming carefully positioned at the front. The cake was framed by a carriage – not made out of pumpkin but out of white balloons and silver plastic wheels. You've got to hand it to this particular bride and groom though – it might be tacky but it's pretty romantic too.

Offbeat said it best when they wrote: "Yes everything you want to do for your wedding is tacky. .. [But] when it's all tacky, none of it is really tacky ". There you have it. So now you can use as many sequins, pink bows and cans of whipped cream as you like without even a smidgen of the usual guilt.

Is Your Stucco Leaking?

The problems with synthetic stucco claddings are well documented. Lawsuits involving Internal Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) have been common knowledge among the home inspection community for years.

Most home inspectors, however, are ignorant of the problems that are occurring in high priced sub-divisions with both coat plaster stucco and the newer one coat stuccos. I believe that the number of homes with extensive rot and mold reflected within the walls is fundamental.

Traditional three coat stucco is a mixture of Portland cement, lime and sand. In older applications it is generally installed over some type of sheathing material such as plywood. More recently stucco has been applied over foam sheathing or engineered Oriented Strand Board panels known as waferboard or OSB. A water resistant barrier, usually building paper or a house wrap, is applied to the sheathing and then wire lath is attached to the framing. The stucco is applied in three coats, the scratch coat, brown coat and finish coat.

Stucco is actually a porous material and designed to allow the absorption of water. The water restive barrier acts as a drain plane and as the stucco dries water flows down the building paper and weeps out the bottom of the stucco. As long as the wood sheathing holds dry and water does not get trapped in the wall cavity problems will be rare.

One relatively recent noteworthy change in practice is the use of OSB sheathing rather than plywood. OSB panels have very poor moisture resistance qualities and tend to easily delaminate when wet. When OSB gets wet, it swells and rots at a much faster rate than plywood.

Another change is the use of house wraps such as Tyvek HomeWrap rather than the heavier felt building papers as the water resistant barrier. There is evidence to suggest that when stucco is applied directly over house wrap there is a chemical bond which can occur between the house wrap and the stucco. When this occurs the house wrap loses its ability to prevent water from migrating through the water resistant barrier. The 2006 International Residential Code and Dupont, the manufacturer of Tyvek, no longer support one layer of Tyvek HomeWrap as a water resistant barrier. Dupont now recommends StuccoWrap which is correlated to allow drain. A layer of building paper is also recommended as a bond breaker between the Tyvek and the stucco.

By far the greatest problem is the improper flashing of windows. Water runs down the window frames and if the window is not properly integrated with the water resistive barrier large quantities of water will get into the wall assembly. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to determine if the window is flashed properly after the stucco has been installed. Sometimes the only visible clues are the stains at the stucco and trim junctions.

An infrared camera can be used effectively to diagnose leaks behind stucco. Areas of the stucco which retain large quantities of water such as around window flashings and roof wall connections will appear cooler than dry areas. Ultimately some type of invasive testing will be required to determine if the sheathing is water processed.

Problems with both traditional three coat plaster stucco and one coat applications are far more widespread then most home owners realize. Often what appears to be a small crack or stain adjacent to a window can be indicative of a far deeper problem. Too many times when the problems are readily apparent the damage is so severe that rot and mold will be present within the wall assembly. Many times well meaning contractors are not aware of the issues surrounding the improper flashing of windows and consider small cracks and stains to be normal.

Contractors may often recommend band aid solutions such as caulking and elastomeric sealers. These measures rarely resolve the problem and many times make the situation worse by sealing water into the wall assembly.

Garage Floors – How Much Do I Need?

Garage floors make a nice addition to any home and they are a fantastic home improvement project. There are many types of garage flooring products available with the most popular being rolled garage flooring, sometimes called rubber garage floors. With the wide variety of textures, colors and thicknesses available, choosing the right garage floor can be a difficult task.

Whatever type you choose you will need to determine how much flooring you need to purchase. If you have a rectangular or square garage, that calculation is quite simply length x width. For example, if your garage is 24 'x 20', then you simply take 24 x 20 and determine that your garage is 480 square feet. If you were going to purchase rolled garage floors then your best option would be to choose a roll that is 10 feet wide and purchase the length you need for each 10 foot increment. In our example 2 rolls of garage flooring that is 10 feet wide by 24 feet long would be perfect. But what if you garage is 24 'x 22'? If that is the case the best option would be to purchase rolled garage flooring that is 7.5 'wide and then buy 3 rolls at 24' long.

In each of the examples above it is important to know the width and length of your garage. Many of the garage floors available come in various patterns and are generally roled out from the back of the garage to the front. By doing this, the seem will run along the length of the garage. To determine the width of the rolls you will need you simply take the width of your garage and divide it by the various widths of flooring available. The most common widths of rolled garage flooring are 7.5 ', 8', 9 'and 10'. If your garage is 22 'wide then the best choice would be 3 rolls of the 7.5' width flooring. That would give you the least amount of waste when you install your floor. Three rolls at 7.5 'wide would cover an area 22.5' wide providing only 6 inches of waste.

Once you determine the width of the rolls you need the length is easy. Purchase each of the rolls in the total length of the garage. For example, if your garage is 24 'long then you will need each of your rolls to be 24'. But what if the necessary length of garage flooring is not available? The better garage flooring retailers can special order the perfect length of flooring you need. This eliminates waste and generally saves you money. Because there are usually custom order cut charges, it is best to order a single long run of flooring instead of 3 separate rolls. In our 24 'long garage, that would mean a total roll length of 72', (24'x3).

Calculating the right amount of a rubber garage floor can be a difficult task but one that is extremely important if you are planning on this impressive home improvement project. You do not want to buy too much and waste your money but you also do not want to buy too little and end up short on the job. The right calculations are important. If you are not comfortable determining how much you need, ask for help. The better retailers will be more than willing to help you order the perfect amount.

Lean, As Well As Green, Living Combines Best Of Each Concept

A popular lifestyle trend, advocated by many who profess to live responsibly, is the voluntary simplicity movement. In its raw form, minimal living requires that we eschew material wealth, and look to a standard of living that involves the least amount of possessions. Simultaneously, the environmental movement demands that we create the smallest eco-footprint that we can, guarding the environment preciously. Both lifestyles appear to have much in common, yet, oddly, there is only a nominal effort to blend the two together.

There is a vociferous opposition to the eco-friendly concept by those that seek to deny the reality of climate change. The anti-tree hugger groups gravitate toward the argument that, since global warming is a myth (or, at best, not caused by human actions), there is no need to spend effort on protecting the ecology of the earth. These people miss the point of being eco-friendly.

I live a modest lifestyle, yet do not begrudge those that have wealth and show it. The promise built into the anti-environment people's argument is that, if what they do will cause no serious harm, then there is no reason to discontinue being disrespectful and selfish regarding pollution problems. Extrapolating that argument to the middle / upper income situation then, I should be able to simply take what I want from those who have affluence, simply because it will have no monetary impact on them. Even more to the point, I should be able to walk into the anti-climate change proponents' homes and dump whatever garbage and pollution I want in their back yard, because the filth will not impact on the environment. The fact is, whether or not my actions harm the environment, I should act responsibly as much as possible, including taking care to not impact on others' enjoyment of the world around them!

Living a green lifestyle simply says that I want to enjoy this earth, but that I do not need to be wasteful to do so. I want to take only what I need on this globe, not what I want. I choose to live cleanly and simply, as much as possible.

Those that embrace the minimalist approach to living often are labeled as harshly as "tree huggers" by those that think that we choose to live this lifestyle because we have nothing, and want others to do the same. I have been told that most of us choose this way of living because, if we have little in the way of material wealth, we do not have to work as hard to get it. In essence, I am being told that I choose voluntary simplicity because I am lazy! It is an intriguing label, given that a) I have developed multi-million dollar businesses for others, b) have owned (and sold for pennies) a business that grossed $ 1.6 million in its second year of business, and c) living minimally takes a lot of conscious effort and (the horror!) work. Voluntary simplicity says that I do not need material wealth to generate huge enjoyment out of life. Indeed, it offers a richness for which money can not be intercepted.

Both minimalism and environmentalism seek to embrace living consciously and enthusiastically, but without taking huge bites out of that which is available to consume. By doing so, more is left for others to enjoy. This idea that "lean" is an ideal to aim toward is not radical, nor impossible. It is realistic, and hugely gratifying. Similarly, "going green" is a fantastic journey, allowing us to take Robert Frost's road less traveled. He was so correct when he claimed that doing so "has made all the difference." Will the world be greener because of me? Who knows? Will my efforts at living with less pay dividends for others? Possibly not. Neither matters. The lean and green living concept offers an option that combines, for me, the epitome of what I see is my duty. Nothing more, nothing less.

Lady Gaga Costumes For Halloween For the Truly Outrageous

Halloween is a time when you can be really outrageous and they do not get anything outrageous then the fabulous Lady Gaga. That is why Lady Gaga costumes for Halloween are right in step for this holiday. I must warn you though that you have to be really careful here because wearing like the Lady is for the truly outrageous. The outfits she wears on and off stage makes her the perfect character to dress like for this holiday.

Halloween used to be thought of as a night to dress up as something scary like ghost, goblins or monsters. As a matter of fact the original holiday, which was All Hollows Eve, was the day before All Hallows day or All Saint's Day or "night of the dead". This was the day when the souls of the people who died that year crossed over into heaven, but before doing so would mingle with the living. On the night before All Hallows day, people would set cakes and wine out for the dead to take on their journey. The holiday has gone through a lot of changes since those early days.

These days Halloween is thought of as a day to dress up in any outlandish, crazy, wacky and yes even outrageous costume you have a mind to. It can be funny, silly and even scary if you wish. Lady Gaga costumes for Halloween actually fall on the outrageous side. If you have ever seen any of them you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Take for instance her meat costume. I mean who dresses up like meat? Well, you can if this is one of the Lady Gaga Halloween costumes you choose to wear. Other outfits include her Kermit the frog dress, the bubble suit, the shower curtain outfit and more outrageous stuff.

Maybe you do not want an endless outfit, maybe you just want to accessorize. Well here are some things you can do. You can get yourself some really high, high heel boots and a Nuevo dress or get some Gaga sunglasses and wear an old time swimsuit or just put a bolt on your face and wear anything and you can have that Gaga look.

Lady Gaga is ultra popular, ultra talented and ultra outrageous. There's no doubt you can have a lot of fun dressed up in any of the Lady Gaga costumes for Halloween. This year get outside yourself, get one and be outrageous. There are even Lady Gaga Halloween costumes for kids. Above all have a happy and safe Halloween.

An Extreme School Assembly Program Rocks!

In the "old" days, the announcement of a school assembly was enough to make the majority of students groan. Today, with the popularity of extreme sports, your school can take the groan out of any reaction and replace it with gasps of excitation when you schedule an extreme school assembly program that provides action, daring stunts and a message that you want to get across to kids of any age.

It does not matter if you need a school assembly program for Red Ribbon Week, or Drug Awareness issues, or even regularly scheduled "talks" about bicycle safety, bullying or self-motivational issues. An extreme sports show will offer an event that kids will remember for years to come. The popularity of BMX racing and stunt team shows is a great place to start when planning an assembly that will pack a punch with the anti-drug or anti-bullying message you want to share with elementary, junior high or high school students. Kids, even those in elementary school, do not want to hear the same lectures about such topics, so it's vital that school and civic leaders find new ways to inform and educate the youth in any community without turning them off the subject completely. No more heartfelt sighs and rolling eyes!

When you plan an extreme school assembly program, make sure you are hiring professionals. How can you tell the difference? Check out their background, where they've performed before, and if possible, and contact prior venues to ensure that safety for both professionals and students was first and foremost. Professional BMX stunt teams, for example, will have all their own equipment, like ramps, a public address system and a professional announcer who will deliver the message against drugs or bullying or drinking while the stunt show is progressing.

A professional extreme school assembly program will also ensure that the audience is involved in the action and message through constant, interactive involvement. Today, a school assembly program is the best way to empower and educate young audiences in a way that leaves an impact on attitudes and beliefs. Careful planning, a professional school assembly program stunt team performance and an exciting, information packed message will get the point across in a way that will not involve rolling eyes.

Home Improvement Tools and Materials

Tools are essential with home improvement projects. And if you are inspiring to be a certified do-it-yourselfer, you have to familiarize with the tools of the trade and the materials that are best suited for your projects. You need a range of basic tools while working around the house wherever the work involves repair, remodeling, redecorating or construction of an additional wing or room.

The tools you will use will most likely depend on the kind job you intend to undertake and the kind of materials you plan to use. If you are planning to construct an additional room of wooden materials, you will need tools best suited for wood works. If the additional room is concrete then you need a different set of tools. In any case, if your intention is not to see a carpenter ever again around your house you'll need more than a couple of things. You'll need tools for floors, ceilings, walls and cabinet. Perhaps if you are inclined to go into plumbing and electrical you will need other tools appropriate for such jobs.

Carpentry Tools

For carpentry you'll need a few. But do not forget the work bench. The quality of work bench you construct is the initial gauge of how you'll fare in home improvement projects.

o Measuring tools. A tape measure will do but a combination square will provide other uses such as determine the "squareness" of a joint. It is also useful when you are using handheld circular saws. It can be adjusted to measure heights as well as depth.

o Handsaws. Easy to use, handy, and do not need electrical power, that, cheap.

o The Electric Drill. A versatile tool, it drill holes, sands and grinds, drives screws home, and even stirs paint. A tool you can not do without

o Hammers and screwdrivers.

o Random Orbital Sander. This is a one-handed tool that is convenient and driven by an electric motor. It is used to speed up sanding rough surfaces or for fine finish due to its circular random motion.

o Planes. The esthetic tool in the carpenter's kit. There are three distinct planes: the jack plane used for taking off rough surfaces of the board, the short smoothing plane, used to even up the irregular marks made by the jack plane and the fore plane, used to straighten edges of finished surfaces and boards .

Organic Materials for the most common parts of the house

Now let's go to materials that are now getting a lot of attention among home improvement practitioners for being environmentally friendly and cost effective.

o Organic based-paints are environmental friendly and do not emit pungent odor.

o Wall materials: You can also use transparent glass tiles, formaldehyde-free panels made from agricultural wastes and man-made stone products.

o Counters and Vanities. Glues are going natural and glues from soy are gradually replacing formaldehyde sealants and adhesives in furniture plywood. For cabinets and floors recycled lumber are available for you. Even stone and tile counters are now also being made from recycled products.

o Heating: Check on Radiant floors. Heated towel warmers are versatile as they warm the towel for comfort and at the same time reduces moisture to avoid mildew growth.

o Fabrics. Plush, 100 percent cotton fabrics are best but bamboo fabric is a good alternative.

These are some general information on tools and materials for a DIY to consider. Certainly there are hundreds more that you have to encounter before you can become a certified do-it-yourselfer.

Fire Preventive Coatings

Homeowners in wildfire zone should consider coats, in addition to landscaping, for fire protection. In fact all homeowners can benefit from fire retardant treatment within their homes also. Fire sprinklers are the ultimate home protection but costly. People do not realize just how fast fires travel. Smoke detectors give you time and should always be installed. Your whole family, and pets, can be dead before the fire department even knows you have a fire. Kitchens and electrical fires in walls are the most common sources of fires. Garages with gasoline are not far behind but at least they tend to happen during the day and are caused by a person. Smoking in bed is slow suicide. Your call.

Intumescent coatings are applied chemicals that expand with heat and are non-flammable. I have personally participated in testing Barricade, a proprietary product. My fire department took a sheet of plywood and wrote "Hope VFD" in Barricade and then took a torch to the plywood. The only thing that was not heavily charred was "Hope VFD". It made a believer out of me. This compound is sprayed on with water pressure when a fire is immanent. This compound is applied when a wildfire is imminent. It lasts 8 hours or more and if it dries out, the application of water will rejuvenate it. Burning embers are the main way that wild land fires ignite houses. This product is designed to form a barrier around the whole structure so embers can not get into hidden places.

There are many other paintings that do the same basic thing but are more attuned to interior use. They work by sealing the wood or fabric and preventing decomposition gasses from getting out. These gases are both flammable and toxic and are the cause of most deaths. The coating help turn the surface of the base material into char which is not very flammable.

Intumescent coatings expand to insulate the base material from heat as well as sealing the base material. The greatest amount of flammables in a residential structure (also known as a house) is the carpets, furniture, and window coverings. Most of these are derived from petroleum and behave as if they were petroleum. I have watched a hotel room, that was ignited from crumpled newspaper in a waste basket, being completely engulfed in flame, within 150 seconds. The windows blew out. The gases in the upper part of the room ignited, a condition known as flashover. A blast of 1200 degree heat kills every living thing in the room. Nothing is totally fireproof, but being fire retardant gives you time to get out. There are fabric treatments. I have attached URLs from some supplies but I have no personal experience with them.

One cheap substance that can coat interior wood is sodium silicate, or water glass. It is available from chemical suppliers in quantity. It is non-toxic.

Common boric acid can also be used on fabrics but is more difficult to use than commercial products.

Try these sites:

The author has no financial or other benefit from these companies and gives the URLs just a convenience to the reader.

Various Benefits of LED Street Lights

More and more cities around the world are installing LED street lights due to the wide range of benefits they offer. The use of these lights is also seen in homes, offices and other public spaces as sustainable lighting is the need of the hour. Installing them have rendered in huge savings.

Countries around the world are investing in LED street lights due to the below mentioned benefits offered by them:

Low energy cost – LED street lights consume 50% to 70% less power compared to HID lights. They can help cut your electricity bill to almost half. They have long life and can be used easily for a decade without burning out. This helps reducing the hassle of changing them repeatedly. They use only 15% of the energy of an HID bulb while giving more brightness.

Improved Light Quality – These lights are much brighter as compared to HID lights. They offer uniform light distribution which helps in improving visibility. They have proved to be very beneficial in cities with various dark spots. They are shock-proof and do not emit a lot of heat. Lesser number of LED street lights is needed to achieve the brightness given off by many fluorescent lights.

Low Maintenance Cost – Because of their long lives, LED street lights are not difficult to maintain. They heat less and are best suited for streets as frequently replacing street lights is expensive, inconvenient and difficult.

Low Emissions – These lights are being used widly as they are very environment friendly. They are free from hazardous chemicals like mercury and lead which are harmful for our surroundings. They are a way to combat climate change as they significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also there is a proper disposal procedure for these lights which help protect the environment from further toxic waste.

Reduction in Crime Rate – Criminals typically take advantage of poor light conditions for stealing or attacking someone. Improved light quality provided by LED lights has significantly helped in reducing serious crimes. Burglars and Criminals fear attacking someone in bright light for the fear of being seen or caught.

LED street lights have become important as some health benefits are also associated with them. This new technology has opened the doors for designers to come up with unique and beautifully designed lights. They offer an opportunity to reduce electricity costs immensely while ensuring a better environment for future generations.

Mailing Lists – 9 More Places to Buy a Direct Mail List

1. Trade Associations Mailing Lists

Trade Associations are unusually excellent sources of mailing lists. Better associations always include the industry's top major players. Local associations like the local Chamber of Commerce in your area are usually good for a mailing list of local business names. You can select your direct mail list criteria by business size, number of employees, SIC code (the government's industry classification of each business), or any of a multitude of other selection parameters.

Two great sources for finding associations are reference books from ColumbiaHouse Books, Inc., publishers of the State and Regional Associations Directory and The National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States. Mailing lists of the associations are available on labels or download.

Association mailing lists and data are also available in the giant reference Encyclopedia of Associations by The Gale Group on disk, CD, and on-line through Lexis-Nexis. This hard bound, three-volume set is the mother load of associations – showing detailed information on more than 23,000 local, state, national, and international associations. If you need a direct mail list from an association, if you can not find the association name, address and phone in here, you can not find it.

2. Mailing List Resources: List Reference Tools

Two excellent resources for investigating lists at the library are the SRDS Direct Marketing List Source (TM) and the Oxbridge Communications National Directory of Mailing Lists. We use both of these huge directories of lists in our own office – they're thorough and easy to use. These reference tools are each about the size of the Manhattan phone book and contain nothing but mailing list data: who owns what mail list, number of records in each, source of names and direct mail list pricing. Both tools are available in major libraries.

3. Mailing List Brokers

Mailing list brokers are found in phone books in every major city. They can be heaven, supplying incredible information, or hell, looking for that fast buck. Make sure you ask tons of questions before handing over any money (Please see the article "12 questions to ask a mailing list vendor," at and at for the list owner – so take that consideration when you ask questions and negotiate the price. The broker makes a commission on each list sale, and generally sells a variety of lists for multiple companies. list.

A plethora of list managers and direct mail lists owners can be found in the direct mail trade magazines such as Multichannel Merchant Magazine: Target Marketing, and DM News.

4. Catalogs of Mailing Lists

Some list brokers are huge and have their own catalog of mailing lists. Some of these direct mail list catalogs are over 100 pages long! Some direct mail list catalogs are handy reference tools that will give you an idea of ​​just what's out there – what kind of lists are available and counts of how many records exist in the thousands of different mailing list categories. Please see the full article on mailing lists titled, "Free Catalogs of Mailing Lists," at

Want to know how many dentists there are? It's a piece of cake: 190,168 are members of the ADA. Want to know if there is a mailing list of picky ale drinkers? Find the mailing list of "Ale in the Mail-Continuity Members:" 70,973 of them. Selling an accounting product? Try the mailing list from the Accounting Institute Seminar Attendees – all 78,634 of them. Looking for college professors? Did you want the 43,347 who teach English, or the 18,184 who teach history, or the 8,477 in marketing, or the 9,194 philosophy teachers, or the …

If you need additional information – like how many doctors who specialize in allergies and are the head of their practice with four or more employees can be found in Pennsylvania – call any of these catalog houses and ask them to run a mailing list count with those parameters . You'll be able to get that information in about ten minutes. Hugo Dunhill, American Business Listings, and Edith Roman to name just a few. Phone numbers for mailing list brokers can be found in the books Uncommon Marketing Techniques and How To Market A Product For Under $ 500 !

5. Lists on CD

Several companies now offer lists of every business or every person in the US on CD-ROM. These products allow you to create your own list criteria and generate your own strictly targeted direct mail lists. Some of the better programs make it easy and fast to use their CD-ROM products.

6. Internet

One of the best resources for lists is the Internet. There's no getting around it now, the Internet is here to stay – you might as well get used to it. It's a great – probably the best – research tool available for almost anything, if you can filter out the crap from the good stuff. But … is not that the way with all research tools: you gotta figure out which is the good stuff that you can use, and which is the bad stuff that you've just spent the last two hours looking over and have now figured out is pretty worthless. Yea, the Internet is like that – in spades.

7. Trade Shows Mailing Lists

Trade shows are great marketing events, and trade show lists are also great marketing tools. You can usually buy mailing lists of both attendees and of exhibitors. Check out two great websites: one is and the other for trade show information. The Tradeshow Week Data Book is a great tool published by the editors of Tradeshow Week Magazine.

8. The Enemy

You've been surprised how many of your competitors will sell your customers' names to mail to. If not competitors, how about asking other businesses who serve your market if you can purchase their mailing lists. Warranty lists and data, registrations, some firms just seem to warehouse data that would make a great direct mail list to someone.

9. House List

Of course, the best list of all – bar none – is your own direct marketing list of current and past customers. These are the folks that know you and trust you; they've experienced that great customer service you offer and are now willing to buy something else from you if you would only let them know it's available. Spend some extra time in this most important area of ​​list research: tighten your list criteria, do your homework, spend time in research, and find the best mail lists you can possibly find. Then test several.

Selecting a direct mail list is not as rewarding as generating the creative for a new glitzy 4-color brochure, or an exciting mailing package. But it shows up where it counts the most – in your bottom line. The better your direct mail list, the better your response. Guaranteed.

It's worth the extra time and money to target your audience with precision and increase the chance you'll come up a winner at the post office. There is no single more important factor in creating a greater response to a mailing than mailing to the best possible list. Whatever you do, do not settle for a mediocre list unless you want mediocre results. The better the list, the greater the response.

Networking Do’s And Don’ts

Networking is a crucial marketing tool, it is a great way to develop mutually beneficial relationships with like minded professionals. Networking can occur in a variety of settings: from face-to-face business conferences, to luncheons, coffee, or afterwork drinks meetings. There are also several online networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIm, Houzz and more. Networking is extremely important to interior design professionals as it has the ability to open doors to new opportunities. Interacting with the right people can earn you referrals, advise, and even create awareness of your company. It is a great way to gain credibility, trust and professional reputation. So what are the Do’s and Don’ts of networking? Find them below:


  • Get familiar – Familiarize yourself with the event and the companies who will be attending.
  • Name Tag – Wear it on your right side, as it is naturally the first place the viewer will look.
  • Set Objectives – Such as how many people you would like to approach, what kind of information you’d like to learn or obtain, as well as the points you’d like to convey about yourself and the company.
  • Wear your best attitude – Don’t be afraid to say hello to people around you, everyone is on the same boat. Be approachable and engaging.
  • Prepare and use an “Elevator Pitch” – Be accurate, concise and to the point, you want to make sure you engage your listener from the get-go and keep them interested all along.
  • Business cards – Bring more than enough with you as they are a great way to exchange contact information. If possible, write a brief note on the back about where and when you met as a reminder.
  • Listen and learn – There is much we can learn from other’s experiences, this is a valuable lesson in life and in business.
  • Be Patient – Networking is developing strong, long-standing business relationships.
  • Be prepared – Anticipate the kind of people you are likely to meet and have in mind questions to ask them related to the information you’d like to obtain.
  • Follow up – Create a mailing list and make contact with the people you’ve met on a monthly basis.


  • Don’t be late. It creates distraction from the entire event if you walk in late, and people may remember it and not in a positive way.
  • Don’t be shy Do not only talk to the people you already know. Networking is precisely to meet new people.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – All questions are valid. Everyone is scared of appearing ignorant but there’s no need. The majority of people will be happy to share their knowledge and expertise, so take advantage and ask as many questions as you can.
  • Do not cross your arms – Body language can be very powerful. Crossing your arms makes you look unapproachable.
  • Avoid self-promotion – This method is more likely to be perceived as negative than build valuable relationships. Be humble and open.
  • Don’t forget to follow up – This is so important, we’re saying it twice.
  • Don’t drink too much – Especially at the more informal meet-ups, if they are serving alcohol try to avoid it.

To Drive at the Right Spec

There is a problem most drivers often neglect while driving, they do not pay close attention to their eye problem or wear the right prescription eyeglasses, which will ultimately result in traffic accidents. Research shows if we are not able to read number plates at the distance of fifty meters, it is advised not to drive in order to avoid traffic accidents. But the fact is most people have realized their eye problems, but still take it for granted till accidents happen. The following will give some introduction on the importance of right spec for driving in the hope of calling on all people attach importance to this problem.

The researchers are done by a leading British spectacle retailers. After large number of researchers and analysis, it is found that as a result of poor eyesight, one out of ten British motorists suffer from road accidents or within an inch of accidents. So we can see if we take no notice of our eye problem but still drive, this will bring us under great risks. What's the worse, if eye tests show that the accident is caused by the poor eyesight and wearing a pair of glasses can avoid the accident, it is highly possible that insurance company will refuse our claim. What a great loss we have to suffer!

According to the research, 26% British motorists admit they realize that they need to have an eye test by their eye doctor judged from their driving experience, but they do not have their eyes tested yet. And among these people, half of them believe they can not pass the test and know there is a problem with their eyes. Therefore, a head of road safety department call on people to pay close attention to their eye problems, if they have doubts about their eyesight, they should visit their eye doctors to have eyes tested immediately. Even if they are diagnosed of some eye problems and need to wear eyeglasses, compared with the cost, losses and harms caused by accidents, the cost of eyeglasses and eye exam is just a little.

Nowadays, the whole society have paid more and more attention to eyesight problem for driving. It is regulated since 2011, the motorist's eye care prescription is a requisite subject for newly issued driving licenses. So for the sake of our safety and the safety of our society, please have our eyes tested at a regular basis, especially when we find we can not see clearly while driving, and wear the right prescription eyeglasses while driving.

How to Host Thankgiving Dinner and Enjoy it Anyway

You've been nominated; or otherwise your family has issued a decree; or perhaps it's simply your turn. No matter what the reason, you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year. This need not be a burden. In fact it can be a pleasure, given the right planning and organization.

I've found that the key to an almost effortless-looking dinner is thinking backward. Start your Thanksgiving planning by visualizing yourself, surrounded by family and friends at the dinner table, then work back to determine how you got there. Ask yourself which foods took the least amount of preparation, which took the most. Write these things down in a list.

Now refine the list-but only only slightly. Which dishes can be prepared the day (or evening) before? Which dishes need to be prepared that day? Which dishes need to be prepared within an hour of dinner?

At this point, you should have at least a vague idea of ​​your plan of attack. So now it's time to refine the list further. In fact, it's time to begin to create a schedule. If you expect to serve dinner at 2:00 pm, for example, and the turkey will take three hours to roast, then half hour to rest before carving, it needs to be in the oven at 10:15 am

Why 10:15, and not 10:30? My start time factors in the three and one half hours, plus approximately fifteen minutes to get the bird carved and arranged on a serving platter after it has rested. And do not forget that it will take approximately fifteen minutes to pre-heat your oven too. Your schedule should reflect all of those variables.

By now, your list-or maybe lists-has grown substantively, as you refine the necessary tasks to get that wonderful picture of yourself sitting amongst family and friends at the dinner table. The next step in the process is to begin to identify the tasks involved in preparing the ingredients for the dishes that will make up your Thanksgiving menu; the prep work.

It's lovely to watch the chefs on Food TV blithely talking about adding a cup of chopped onions to a sauté pan-as they grab a cup of chopped episodes that's been placed inside easy reach on their counter. Of course, they have the benefit of having four sous chefs backstage who keep them supplied with the chopped, minced, pureed, or marinated ingredients that they'll need to create a smooth-running half hour television show. You can do the same. (although you can not count on having the four sous chefs backstage).

As part of your master schedule, allow plenty of time for prep work. This will guarantee smooth cooking when the time comes. You do not want to be hunting for a clove of garlic in a refrigerator stuffed with food for twenty, while you have a pan of hot oil on the stove waiting for you.

This is also the time to think about how many of the recipes on your menu will require the same ingredients. If for example, you have two dishes on your menu that each require a cup of onions, be sure to chop two cups of onions, and have them on hand, pre-measured and ready to go when the time comes to cook.

Think about which ingredients could have been prepped, perhaps the night before too. Carrots, celery, and onion, for example, can be chopped within twenty four hours of the meal, and stored, pre-measured, in zip-lock plastic bags in the refrigerator. This step alone could save up to a half hour on Thanksgiving Day. Try to think of other ingredients that could be prepped early as well.

Another activity that should be part of your to-do list before Thanksgiving is checking to see that your oven is properly calibrated. If you do not already own one, get an inexpensive oven thermometer and test to see that the temperature that you set on your thermostat is indeed the same one recorded on your thermometer.

In addition, it would be wise-again, if you do not already have one-to get an instant read meat thermometer. Knowing that you've cooked your turkey to an internal temperature of 165 F. will give you a great deal of confidence, and allow you to focus on the myriad last-minute details of getting the meal on the dining room table.

One last thought about prep work that will help the entire Thanksgiving experience flow more smoothly: give yourself a break when you've finished shopping vegetables, measuring ingredients, and generally assuring yourself that you have the situation in hand. Relax; sometimes have a cup of coffee before you begin the actual cooking. This break serves two purposes: it gives you a chance to reflect on your work so far, and to reassure yourself that you are indeed prepared for the next step. And it helps you to mentally shift gears and move from the role of prep cook to the role of chef.

Of course, at some time before Thanksgiving, you'll need to shop for ingredients. I've not spoken about shopping, because I feel that there are too many variables to be able to talk about it in full generality. Issues like your menu, proximate to a mega store or a specialized deli perhaps, your work schedule, etc. make it difficult to talk about in universal terms. Suffice it to say that if you've set a menu and created a schedule, they will tell you what you need, and when.

So now that you have your menu, done your shopping and prep work, what to do on Thanksgiving morning? First: trust no one. People are rarely more giving of themselves than at Thanksgiving, so that of assistance in the kitchen may be profuse and generous. Be wary. You may delegate a close friend or relative to keep an eye on the creamed spinach, but do not be surprised if the Macy's parade, or the NFL game draws your well-meaning helper away from the stove before the spinach is done.

It's okay. You've factored that into your schedule, and you can pick up the slack. When I say that you should not trust anyone, I mean that-as I've written elsewhere-90% of cooking is being there. And Thanksgiving is a tough time to be standing at the stove for anyone, let alone one of your guests.

Finally, at times like Thanksgiving, I'm reminded of a piece of advice I once got from a doctor friend: In case of an emergency, the first thing to do is take your own pulse. This is to say that things may not go entirely as planned. But do not panic. Trustworthy or not, you will have help available. An emergency in the kitchen is guaranteed to draw the most hardened NFL fan away from the game to lend a hand. Just stick to your schedule, as best you can, and everything will be fine.

Take the time to plan your Thanksgiving meal well, and well ahead of time, and you'll reap huge rewards at the dinner table in the form of compliments, possibly applause, and happy, thankful diners. And as you dry the last of the pots and pans that served so well in preparing your fear, you can enjoy the satisfaction that comes from a job well done, and the knowledge that next year, it will be someone else's turn.