Leadership Qualities – Leaders Possess Warmth of Personality

In the past, when someone thought of a business leader, a warm and welcoming personality was not usually something that readily came to mind. The cold, unfriendly, and aloof management attitudes of the 60s, 70s and 80s have changed dramatically in the past two decades. A leader who can’t smile, speak the language of his or her followers, or connect on a human, heart-to-heart level, will more than likely be removed from any position of leadership.

Have you noticed today’s leaders? They’re connectors. They network. They don’t sequester themselves in offices and make themselves inaccessible to their constituency. Instead, they are actively involved at events, in the media, and even guest on popular TV shows. While some of that behavior is certainly distracting and detracting, and occasionally inappropriate for their leadership role, the main point is that they’re just being human – enjoying themselves like anyone else. They’re being a “part of” something. They’re breaking free of the command and control model of yesteryear.

Nowadays, leadership calls for a new paradigm, one that comes from a more compassionate and collaborative perspective. Today, business is all about connecting with others. It’s about collaboration and being authentic without being narcissistic, egotistical, or arrogant. If you want to be a successful leader, then you must lead from the trenches. Your experiences must be like those of your followers. If you don’t know what it’s like to work in the trenches of your organization, then you certainly can’t effectively lead it from some high, lofty, and disconnected corner office.

How do you connect with others? How do you show others that you care about them and what they’re interested in? What specifically do you do to make environments friendly, inviting, and collaborative?

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” — Warren Bennis

How to Take Care of Your Car Headlights

It is a common occurrence on the road – gleaming cars with sleek bodies, washed and polished to a fault, sporting yellowed, cloudy headlights! You see dirty, unkempt, cloudy, scratched headlights on old cars and you see them on swanky new cars. It is surprising that people would go through the trouble of vacuuming their interiors and hand polishing their exteriors while leaving their car headlights looking positively ugly.

Unattractive headlights are a compelling eyesore because your headlights form the basic character of your car. These are what you first observe in a car. They are the eyes of the car and play a big role in maintaining the good looks of your car. Clear headlights are also a safety requirement. Cloudy headlights do not throw proper light on the road and could very well lead you into a ditch at night. So, it is important to take care of your car headlights regularly, for both aesthetic and pragmatic reasons.

The good news is that maintaining your car headlights in great condition is easy; and investing some time in it will keep you safe and happy.

Cracked headlights: If one or both headlights are cracked, replace them immediately. Any crack on the surface will allow moisture and dust to seep in, making the headlights cloudy while increasing the glare for oncoming drivers. If you need to wait for the weekend or a holiday to get the headlight replaced, seal the crack with resin until you replace.

Dirty headlights: Use headlight cleaners to wipe your headlights. Dirty, cloudy headlights can greatly affect your night vision. So, every time you wash your windshield, make it a point to clean your car headlights too.

Maintenance: Many drivers say that they just do not remember to check the condition of their headlights. This is wrong. Inspect your headlights annually to make sure that they are in good condition and are focused properly. Replace bulbs once every year to keep your headlights in good working condition. And it is important to replace both bulbs, even if you have a situation where only one is burned out.

Condensation: Sometimes headlights get cloudy due to retention of moisture. To remove condensation, remove the headlight and drill a small hole at the bottom. Drain out water and leave the headlight to dry. Seal the headlight and reinstall it.

Headlight lenses: Most recent vehicles have lenses made of polycarbonate. This makes it easy to maintain and repair them, if necessary. However, though polycarbonate is resilient and hardy, it also has a tendency to cloud and yellow after extensive UV exposure. Fortunately, there are a number of clarifying agents to help you remove this haze.

For those who are less inclined to purchase products to clean their headlights, there are headlight repair and maintenance kits. These kits have everything you need to keep your lenses clean.

Keeping your car headlights in good condition is not a difficult task. All it needs is consistency.

Pros and Cons of Futures Trading

Futures trading is amongst today’s most highly leveraged, potentially profitable financial pursuits. It allows traders to build up their trading accounts fast with only a small amount of capital at their disposal. However, if you take futures trading lightly, you could also wipe out your trading account in a matter of days. Therefore, it’s crucial to your trading success that you diligently educate yourself in futures trading, and trade only with a proven and solid trading strategy.

If you’re new to futures trading, it can be especially difficult to decide WHICH contracts to actually trade. There are a lot of options! The best approach would probably be to start with the more popular commodities, until you have a better idea of which contracts most fit you and your trading.

The more you know about the basics of futures contracts and commodities like this, the better your chances of trading success. With any type of online trading, there are a number of factors that you should take into account. Here are four of those factors, along with an assessment of how futures trading measures up:

1.) The Capital Requirements

In order to trade a futures contract, you need to deposit an initial investment into your futures trading account. Currently, brokers require a minimum of $5,000, though some brokers are willing to open an account with as little as $2,000.

2.) The Leverage

The leverage depends on the futures contract you’re trading and the contract value. Each contract requires an initial margin. Here are some examples for the most popular contracts (as of January 2008):

E-mini S&P – as low as $500 to trade a $75,000 contract

(Leverage 1:150)

E-mini NQ – as low as $500 to trade a $45,000 contract

(Leverage 1:90)

E-mini Gold – as low as $400 to trade a $27,000 contract

(Leverage 1:67.5)

3.) Liquidity

Again, the liquidity depends on the futures contract you are trading. Here are some numbers:

E-mini S&P: around 2,500,000 contracts/day

E-mini NQ: around 500,000 contracts/day

Euro Currency: around 200,000 contract/day

As you can see, the liquidity varies, and therefore you MUST check the volume of the futures market you are planning to trade.

4.) Volatility

You will find decent volatility in the futures markets. The high leverage will allow you to make decent profits, even if the markets move just a few points. Here are some average daily moves:

E-mini S&P: between 1% and 3% per day

E-mini NQ: between 1% and 2.5% per day

E-mini Gold: between 1% and 2.5% per day

Euro Currency: between 0.5% and 1.5% per day

Keep in mind that these moves represent approximately $500-$1,500 per day for each contract traded.


Futures markets can be very liquid, and the capital requirements are as low as $2,000. The leverage is at least 1:50, and there’s decent volatility.

Futures markets are regulated and the spread is typically 1 tick (minimum movement of the contract). Commissions are usually below $5 per transaction. It’s no surprise that many day traders choose the futures market for their trading endeavors.

Black Truffle Cleaning and Recipes

Cleaning The Black Truffle

When you have fresh black winter truffles, do not clean them until your are ready to eat them. Other wise they will spoil quicker. Remove any soil from the black truffles just before using them in any recipe. They must be washed with water and a nail brush under running water. The truffle must be completely clean since they will be used unpeeled. Dry well with a paper towel.

The black truffle (Tuber Melanosporum) must always be used as a condiment, not as a food. Use only fresh truffles, if possible. To enjoy and appreciate the black truffles, 100 g is enough. With this amount we can make several recipes.

How to use black truffles to flavor food.

Use an airtight container and put together the food you want to flavor with the black truffle. Close the container and leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours. The aroma of the black truffle will penetrate the food in the sealed container. The black truffle aroma adheres to fatty foods best.

Truffled eggs

Take half a dozen eggs and place them in an airtight container with a fresh black winter truffle, washed and wrapped in paper towel, but not completely wrap the truffle. Close the container and put in the fridge for two days. The high porosity of the eggshell will allow the aroma of the truffle to penetrate the eggs. Then you can use these eggs to make truffled flan, use in stuffing or just eat them fried. You can add a little sliced garlic to the hot olive oil before frying the eggs. Fry the eggs when the garlic is slightly brown. These truffled eggs will delight your palate.

Risotto Parmesan with Black Truffles

Can be severed as a starter or a main course

Serves 2 – 4 people.


150g black truffles

320g rice

120g grated Parmesan cheese

50g butter

Half a tablespoon heavy cream


Boil the rice until it is al dente and drain well. Add the butter, cream, Parmesan and about half of the grated black winter truffles. Stir until it is well mixed and serve hot, garnish each plate with a generous amount of the remaining winter truffle shavings.

Salad with Black Truffle


3 Hard Boiled Eggs

2 large handfuls of green beans

1 medium sized lettuce

1 large handful of Rucola

1 Bunch of dill

70g black winter truffle

Creamy Dressing

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons creme fraiche

3 tablespoons double cream

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Cayenne pepper



Wash the lettuce & rucola and shake off the access water. Let drain in a collander while preparing the dressing. Top and tail the green beans, then boil them in salted water until tender. Remove and wash in cold water, then mix in with the lettuce and rucola.

The dressing is prepared by mixing all the above ingredients together in no particular order. NOTE – The cayenne pepper is added at the end.

Place the mixed rucola, lettuce and green beans on a plate. Slice the boiled eggs and truffles over the bed of lettuce, adding the dill.

Finally, add the creamy dressing over the salad.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Black Winter Truffles


4 chicken breasts

80g Fontina cheese

80g prosciutto ham (Parma-type)

30g butter

1 small onion

1 glass dry sherry

1 medium sized black winter truffle


Extra virgin olive oil



Fresh ground pepper


Slice the chicken breast lengthways without completely separating. Flatten with a meat mallet and lightly salt, pepper and flour. Place two slices of ham, a slice of Fontina cheese and a thin layer of black winter truffle inside each wallet or chicken breast. Close and sew up with kitchen twine or using wooden toothpicks. Brown the chopped onions in the oil and butter in a large pan. When they start to soften, add the chicken breasts and brown on both sides, wet with the sherry and cook, adding a small amount of broth if necessary. Serve very hot. Accompany with wild rice or boiled potatoes.

Heating & Air Conditioning Scam Alert – Read This Now!

As a homeowner myself and a Professional Home Inspector in the Dallas Fort Worth are for years I just had to tell somebody about some of these ideas that companies are trying to get us to believe. I hope this helps understand some of these issues.

Homeowners there are literally hundreds of products and devices being promoted everyday in the HVAC industry that claim to reduce energy or increase the capacity of AC systems by huge percentages. Do not become another victim of dishonest contractors and ideas that offer to good to be true results. Listed below are some of the most popular items going around in the business today.

1. Refrigerant and Oil Additives- The claims being made by installing these into your AC system say you will see incredible energy savings in the 20 percent range! These additives have been around for a long time. There have been hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars spent in trying to prove these claims by research laboratories. Many of the results from these tests indicate no change in system capacity or performance. If there are 20 percentage points to be gained in energy efficiency then the top equipment manufactures will be doing all the promoting and selling not small independent contractors selling these miracle additives. Homeowners also need to be aware of the impact on the warranty of your AC systems. Most all of the major manufactures do not recommend anything in a refrigerant system other than the proper refrigerant and the factory recommended oils.

2. Refrigerant Management Devices-These add on devices are advertised with enough “Tech-No-Babble” that would even confuse a NASA scientist. The idea is that these devices re-align the refrigerant molecules into a rotating flow mass to reduce laminar flow and friction losses throughout the refrigerant piping on the liquid side of the systems. Again there have been thousands of dollars and many hours spent by testing laboratories to verify these claims and how much they could reduce your energy consumption or increase the cooling capacity of an AC system. The results are not conclusive in determining that these devices can in fact improve efficiency or capacity of a system. Any under performing AC system will seem to operate better after installing one of these devices if it is not up to design conditions in the first place. The first thing that should be done is to verify the performance of an existing system and make sure that all heat transfer surfaces are clean, the proper refrigerant charge is in the system, the refrigerant is not oil logged already and there is design air flow across both the evaporator and condenser. When these items are done and in place you will see that other add-on devices are not be needed to achieve the design capacity and performance of the system.

3. Motor Mizers, Harmonic Filters, and Electrical System Stabilizers – I like to refer to them as “Little Black Boxes with Wires”. These are high on my list because they are one of the most common products I have seen out there and unfortunately for many they are even being sold! These devices will gain you as advertised by some companies 26-34 percentage points in energy reduction! I have talked with many electrical engineers about these devices and they cannot reduce the KW of your system by 26-34 percent period! Again if these types of devices really produced the savings that are claimed then the utility companies would be promoting these ideas and technology and installing them at no charge to the consumer to help reduce the demand on the utility grid.

4. High Efficiency Air Filters- I will no doubt catch a lot of grief about this one but I am used to it. I will start out to say here that having good clean air filters is a must for any AC system and for any homeowner. You have to understand a little bit about electrical energy and motors not to be tricked by this popular method contractors use to get into your back pocket. A dirty air filter in your AC furnace will consume less fan energy than a clean one! Now you can re-read this again and it says that; a dirty air filter in your AC furnace will consume less fan energy than a clean one! This is not a typo it says exactly what I wanted it to say. The next time when you need to

change a very dirty air filter in your furnace perform this simple test. Borrow a meter that can measure the amperage of the fan motor. If you do not have one or get a friend who is an electrician and take the amperage reading on the fan motor before you change the filter. Be sure and take the reading with the fan compartment door in place like normal operation. Take a few readings and record them over a five minute time period. If you are taking these readings in the summer be sure to let the unit run for a few minutes while taking the readings to get a fairly accurate and stable reading. Now change the filter(s) and take the readings again for the same amount of time and with the fan compartment door in place. You will find that the fan energy or KW increased by some amount. Depending on exactly how dirty the filters were before changing them out will determine how much change in amperage or KW you will notice. What you may notice after changing the filters out is that the home feels more comfortable and the AC system may run less to keep the home cool. This is where the energy savings show up if there going to be any at all. The increase in air flow across the evaporator coil because of the new filters will increase the fan energy or KW, but the overall amount of time the unit runs may be reduced resulting in energy savings. This needs to be understood very clearly because there are a lot of contractors out there selling very expensive and sophisticated air filtering systems guaranteed to save you a lot of money. In my opinion the best air filter for the money are the pleated type filters in the one, two, or four inch thickness that are changed frequently. Make sure that the filter compartment is air tight and that the filters fit well in the filter rack or frame and do not allow air to bypass the filter. You cannot go wrong with regular filter replacements and using good pleated filters. Now there is one other thing to know about air filters that is very confusing to homeowners and that is that air filters have an efficiency rating. The ability of a given air filter to remove particulate matter from the air stream is rated in efficiency by how much of the airborne particulate matter it catches by passing through the filter once. This efficiency is not to be confused with electrical efficiency or energy reduction.

5. Magnets- I guess as long as I am alive there will be someone or something that will come along every once in awhile who will make an incredible claim about magnets. In the HVAC industry I have seen magnetic devices promoted to treat water that is used in very large commercial and industrial systems instead of the traditional methods of using good science and chemistry techniques to treat water. In the residential sector magnets have been advertised to save you 20-25 percent in your gas energy bill by using them on your gas piping serving your gas appliances such as your heating furnace. By simply strapping these magnets on your iron gas piping they supposedly re-align and straighten the gas molecules in the stream of gas flowing to you your furnace before the gas reaches the burner section. Again this is just one of many devices and products being pushed on homeowners who have not been informed as to what is happening out there today. You may want to talk with your local gas utility provider as well on this one.

6. High Efficiency Capacitors- There are some contractors out there today who are selling unknowing homeowners new capacitors for their ac units because they are telling them the capacitors are out of the normal range or value for a capacitor. Do not fall for this gimmick. A capacitor is basically either good or bad and no in between condition. A capacitor will have a different reading in micro-farads based on if the capacitor is hot or cold. A warm capacitor that has been in operation will read differently than a cold one out of the box. Do not let a service technician fool you with this trick. If a capacitor fails either the fan(s) or compressor will not start. A bad capacitor is a valid reason for replacing a capacitor. But capacitors will not improve the efficiency of you’re A/C system by any significant amount that you can measure or will see in a lower electric bill.

Radiohead – Recreating the Sounds of "Paranoid Android"

If you’re a rock fan, then you know Radiohead is. One thing that you may not know is how they got the unique sound that you hear on the track “Paranoid Android”. I want to take a moment to help you understand how this unique sound was achieved so that you can recreate it at home, and hopefully get some good ideas about new things you can do with your amp and effects.

The song kicks off with an acoustic guitar playing rhythm. Shortly after we hear a light guitar part join in to create an interesting ambiance. The two guitarists of the band, Jon Greenwood and Ed O’Brien continue to play dueling guitar effects, drawing the listener in until finally reverting to an all out rock section starting around 2:42. This is the tone that I want to focus on. To get this sound, you’re going to need a vintage or grunge style fuzzbox.

This same fuzzbox will be used to good effect all throughout the solo that starts around 3:10. The whole distorted section has a very “lo-fi” sound that’s typical of the music made at that time. Shortly after the solo, there’s a bridge where all distortion disappears, followed shortly by the return of the distorted sound, with an added pitch-shifting effect. To achieve this, you’ll need a pitch shift pedal, which isn’t hard to come by.

I want to return quickly to the beginning to touch on how they got the light electric sound that accompanied the acoustic guitar. To get the sound that they used, you’re going to need a tremolo, some reverb and a compressor. On your amp, you want to get a nice fat sound, with a good bit of bass and middle, and reduced treble. I think about 3/4 bass, 2/3 mid and 1/3 treble is about the right mixture (the fractions are of the total amount of each bass middle and treble and not how they relate to each other). Turn your reverb knob about halfway up, keep the tremolo on the slow side, with a good bit of gain & as for the compressor, turn the attack and sustain up about 3/4 the way up and the level should go up about 1/2 way. This should be pretty easy to achieve, just use a little finesse and you should be there.

Using this guide, you should be able to achieve about 75% of the sounds they got in the studio with your home setup. The sounds that Radiohead gets out of their instruments during this period were based heavily on equipment that they were using in the studio at the time, so it’s a little hard to pinpoint exactly the same thing. With a little playing around, however, you can get a very close approximation. Good luck & have fun!

Top 7 Fertility Boosting Foods You Should Start Eating Now

A healthy diet and lifestyle are essential for optimum fertility. A healthy body is a fertile body and the health of your baby is in great part decided before a pregnancy is even in sight. You see, by 8 weeks gestation a baby’s health blueprint is already created, as are his or her tiny organs and little fingerprints! At this stage his or her health vulnerabilities and strengths are set by the “map” guiding this miracle of creation. It is fair to say that once a pregnancy is established your child’s health potential becomes the lowest common denominator of you and your partner’s health at the point of conception.

So, how do you overcome fertility problems and give your child, the best possible start in life? It’s simple. Ensure you your partner are in optimum health by beginning the preparation for your most important event yet, at least 120 days prior to a conception attempt–whether you are trying to conceive naturally or using any form of assisted reproductive technologies.

Why 120 days? The quality of the egg and sperm today is the reflection of everything that was happening in your life and immediate environment over the previous 4 months. Your complete health picture during that time including nutrition, stress levels, blood oxygenation, hormone levels, emotions and other factors affect the quality of your fertility in the current month.

What you eat is an important part of my 11 Pillars of Fertility blueprint developed to give couples a comprehensive step by step reproducible system for overcoming fertility problems and creating the healthy baby of their dreams.

So what are some of the fertility boosting foods you can start making a solid base of your fertility diet today?

:: Green vegetables and Leafy Vegetables–This includes spinach, kale, collard greens, watercress and even Avocadoes. They contain folic acid, helpful in the production of red blood cells and genetic material. Folic acid also promotes development of a healthy nervous system, and prevents neural deficiencies in the fetus after conception–and it’s extremely important for healthy sperm production.

:: Nuts and Seeds–This includes walnuts, almonds, pecans and all seeds like safflower and sunflower seeds. The have essential fatty acids and Vitamin E which are essential in the production of healthy cells.

:: Citrus Fruits–Oranges, Kiwi fruit, grapefruit and other citrus fruits all have very high Vitamin C content. Vitamin C enhances sperm motility by preventing sperm clumping. It also enhances ovulation and release of the egg from ovaries.

:: Pigmented Vegetables–This includes orange or red hued vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, and all varieties of squashes. These have beta-carotene which is a healthy source of Vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy tissues in the reproductive organs as well as being essential for developing healthy brains and eyes!

:: Salmon–This fish contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, which assist hormone production. In addition sperm is largely made up of this type of fatty acids as is the embryo’s developing nervous system.

:: Pineapple–This is the best known natural source of Manganese, a very important mineral. Manganese activates enzymes in the body that trigger production of various reproductive hormones. Low levels of manganese are associated with difficulty conceiving. Pineapple also contains great amounts of enzymes, which aid digestion.

:: Chilies–Spicy foods containing red chili peppers increases blood flow around the body, ensuring that the reproductive system gets a healthy supply. Chilies also stimulate endorphin production, associated with stress release and a feeling of calm relaxation, which greatly increase chances of conception.

These foods are most effective if consumed in their natural form. For the highest nutritional value, choose fresh, unprocessed organic foods wherever possible, and avoid overcooking your vegetables.

Copyright(c) 2008 Gabriela Rosa and Natural Fertility & Health Solutions P/L.

Pascal’s Triangle and Powers of 11

So, firstly, where can the powers of 11 be found in Pascal’s triangle? If we look at the first row of Pascal’s triangle, it is 1,1. We are going to interpret this as 11. The second row is 1,2,1, which we will call 121, which is 11×11, or 11 squared. Moving down to the third row, we get 1331, which is 11x11x11, or 11 cubed. And from the fourth row, we get 14641, which is 11x11x11x11 or 11^4. This information is summarised in the diagram below:

1 1

1 2 1

1 3 3 1

1 4 6 4 1

11 = 11^1

121 = 11^2

1331 = 11^3

14641 = 11^4

But what do we do from row 5 onwards? Row 5 is 1,5,10,10,5,1, but if you have a calculator, you can check that 11^5 is 161051, not 15101051. The pattern appears to stop working. However, we can in fact apply it to rows 5 and onwards, as we can interpret 1,5,10,10,5,1 as 161051.

Firstly, we need to understand why the pattern appears to have stopped working – then we stand a chance of sorting things out. The reason is that in row 5, we have suddenly got two digits numbers (the 10s). It is easier if we think of the numbers from pascal’s triangle fitting into spaces. In row 5, we are squishing two digits into the same space.

to understand how to interpret 1,5,10,10,5,1, we need to think about exactly what we have been doing so far. When we saw 1,2,1, for example we put the first 1 in the hundreds column to mean 100, the two in the tens column to mean 20, and the last 1 in the units column to mean 1. Now we can see that when get a 10 in, for example the hundreds column, this actually means 10x 100 = 1000. In other words, you just treat the ten as “0 carry 1” like when you are doing an addition sum. This is shown for 1,5,10,10,5,1 below:

1 5 0 0 5 1

+.1 1 these 1s have been carried from the 10

= 1 6 1 0 5 1

Amazingly, therefore, we can quickly calculate any power of 11 using Pascal’s triangle. This can help occasionally if ever you have to calculate a power of 11 quickly. However, the fun doesn’t stop here: by modifying Pascal’s triangle, we can quickly calculate any number multiplied by a power of 11. For example, we could calculate 241 x 11^2. All we do is start with 2,4,1 as our first row. As we are trying to multiply by 11^2, we have to calculate a further 2 rows of Pascal’s triangle from this initial row. For this, we use the rules of adding the two terms above just like in Pascal’s triangle itself. This is shown below:




2 8 1 6 1

… 1

2 9 1 6 1

This is a great way to calculate sums involving multiplying by 11 quickly, so even if you never been good at arithmetic try this out on your friends or family and impress them with your lightning speed calculations!

To show why this works,let’s take the number abcd, (where a, b, c and d are each a digit 0 to 9), and multiply it by 11. We can split this multiplication into two bits, as in the diagram below:

abcd x 11=abcd x 10 + abcd x 1

When multiplying a number by 10, you just add a 0 onto the end of it, so abcd x 10 is the same as abcd0. Now, we can add this to abcd x 1:

a b c d 0

+. a b c d

This gives an answer of a(+0) b+a c+b d+c 0+d. This may look unwieldy, but hang on a minute! It is the exactly the same as the sums from Pascal’s triangle! You can check this using the next diagram.

… a… b… c… d

(0+)a a+b b+c c+d d(+0)

=a(+0) b+a c+b d+c 0+d

A similar process can be applied for any number of digits. Therefore, we can see why this clever little trick works, although this makes it no less spectacular and is still definitely worth trying out on your friends!

EVA Foam Jigsaw Mats – Best Mats For Fitness Kickboxing

If you want to run a fitness kickboxing course that combines aerobic and anaerobic activity with the martial arts – you are going to want to consider the ground you stand on. As you will be doing a lot of bouncing movements and standing, it is important that the surface you train on offers a little give and take in order to help protect the knees, ankles and back. However, you don’t want the surface to be too soft, which will actually do more harm than good.

A great floor for fitness kickboxing would be one made out of firm EVA foam puzzle mats like the ones used as martial art mats in many training centers. These mats are interlocking, so you can move them around as you desire and create your own fitness map. For example, if you have enough space you could have them run a small circle on the red mats. You could have them do kettlebell training on the black mats. How about rolls and falls, push ups or squats on the blue mats. You can even stack mats up for more padding and move them when you are done.

For example we will cover the whole floor with red mats. Then we have a stack of various colored puzzle mats in the corner. We can take the ones we need and create mats on mats when we want either more cushion or to separate a training area by using the different colored jigsaw mats.

What is great about the interlocking mats for fitness and martial arts is not only the durable foam but what I love is that you can even wear shoes on them or perform fitness kickboxing classes without fear of ruining your mats. They are truly multi-purpose. You also don’t have to worry about jump ropes or even dropping weights on them. Though you will want to keep anything with a sharp edge away from foam puzzle mats as they are easy to cut. However, this would not reduce their effectiveness.

A strategy that we like to also use is to cover the fitness kickboxing area with a full size carpet square. This gives us the cushion but also a cheap piece of carpet that looks nice and is easy to replace. Just pick out the cheapest carpet you can get from your Home Store. We usually do this if we want to allow members to wear any shoes that they own onto the floor, otherwise they will grind dirt into the foam mats which are harder to clean.

If you have your members only using shoes when they are on the mats then you don’t need to use a carpet cover. However, sometimes you might want to do it just to change the look of the floor.

To see more information on EVA Foam Jigsaw Mats for Fitness Kickboxing and Sparring Gear, please visit the web site Pad-Up Martial Arts Equipment.

Rose Petals – Where to Buy & How Much You’ll Need

Fresh rose petals are a wonderfully romantic touch to any event, especially weddings. Petals are readily available and affordable. There are three types of petals to choose from; fresh, freeze-dried and silk. All three are readily available from local growers, florists, and the internet. Fresh and freeze-dried are both fragrant and cost about the same. The count in a pound of petals and the coverage area will depend on the size and variety of rose, humidity, weather and thickness of spread you want.


Fresh Petals

There are a few disadvantages to using fresh however. Fresh petals will leave stains on carpeting and linens and are not allowed in most churches or carpeted facilities for that reason. Also fresh petals have a very short shelf life which means they must be shipped overnight or next day so the shipping fees may be costly.


Fresh petals are available from florists, nurseries and occasionally from commercial rose growers. Many commercial nurseries and rose growers are wholesale and will sell only to licensed florists and businesses.If you have a nursery or grower in your local area give them a call, you may get lucky, especially if you are willing to go with mixed colors. I have found that a great number of growers are willing to sell petals to the public at a retail price.


Petals purchased directly from a local grower usually come in a 5-gallon bucket and you will have to arrange to pick them up. Most wholesale growers close by 3 in the afternoon and are not open on weekends. You can also check with your local wholesale flower market, some like the San Francisco Flower Market are open to the public for a few hours after the wholesale trade is finished for the day.


Petals ordered online can vary greatly in price. Check several different sites and always pay close attention to the shipping time and charges. You may find a great low price but the shipping and handling may be outrageous.


Freeze-Dried Petals

Freeze-dried petals last considerably longer will not stain linens or carpeting. Another advantage is that they do not require overnight shipping, so fees are normally pretty reasonable. Since they can be delivered well in advance preparation time is not left to the last moment which is very nice for the bride. 


The disadvantage to freeze-dried is the petals are not as soft and the colors are not as bright as the fresh. Freeze-dried petals may be “re-hydrated” if you want a softer petal and you have the time. To re-hydrate place the petals in a steamy room for 30-60 minutes or until the petals become soft but still dry to the touch. Check on the petals about every 10-15 minutes and remove when they have reached the desired softness. Never let the petals get wet, any water whatsoever will ruin them and you will find yourself with nothing but a big slimy mess.


Silk Petals

The advantage to silk petals are many. Petals are available at most stores; they last forever; come in any number of colors and need no particular care or storage. You do have to watch the packaging. You may find for decorating projects that require a large amount of petals it is more cost effective to go with fresh or freeze-dried.


Here is a simple guide for how much you will need for tables, walkways and tossing.


Quantity Guide

Pathway – 1 Pound Rose Petals = 900 to 1200 petals = 15 square feet for light spread or 15 inches 12 feet

Rose Petal Pathway – One bag will lightly cover approximately a 3 feet x 10 feet.

Flower Girls – One bag of rose petals can easily fill one large basket or two small baskets.

Bridal Toss – One bag will fill 20-30 petal cones or 30-40 guests if asked to take a handful.

Round Tables – One bag will decorate 5 or 6, 60 inch round tables with a light scatter

Banquet Tables – 200 rose petals for every 3 feet of table runner.


Petal Storage

In a perfect world, you would store petals at 65-80 degrees, with 30-35% humidity. For the imperfect world, avoid storing petals in high heat & humidity. Store your fresh petals in a cool, dark place like a bedroom closet or a cool basement until your wedding day. Many places recommend you order at least 3 months in advance to guarantee availability, however last minute orders are often accepted. Shipping is usually overnight and runs about $30 – $40.


You may be tempted to use petals from your own garden but I strongly advise against it unless used as an aisle runner. Roses from your garden may have very tiny bugs about the size of a grain of pepper that cannot be seen until they are moving around on your table. I have tried washing petals from the garden and it eliminates the bugs but drying can be a problem and if the petals are not thoroughly dry you will end up with a slimy mess. Do not refrigerate or freeze petals.

Allergic Reactions to Wool Carpets and Rugs?

The natural performance of a wool fiber and it’s durable qualities have protected man for over 25,000 years. Wool is actually a hypoallergenic fiber. Those who say they are allergic are most often referring to the prickle and tickle effect of an old wool sweater. Sitting or laying on wool carpets and rugs rarely, if ever, can cause the same effect. No one has ever been treated or diagnosed for anaflactic shock when coming into contact with wool.

Allergies are widespread in the developed world and that problem is increasing for two main reasons:

  • A great number of synthetic substances and petroleum based products are being used in the home.
  • The improved diagnosis of allergic conditions are now available to those suffering from allergies.
  • There is no reason why asthmatic or allergy sensitive people should not enjoy the comfort and good looks of carpets and/or rugs. Wool is non-allergenic and does not promote the growth of dust mites or bacteria. Wool carpet fibers are too long and too coarse to be inhaled and therefore do not affect asthma sufferers. In fact hard surface floors allow airborne particles to be disturbed and whirl into the air causing more irritation for hay fever and asthma sufferers.

    Recent data from Swedens Central Statistics Bureau, Army, and Flooring Association shows that over the past 20 years while the installation of carpet went down with the increase of hard surface installations, the number of allergic people increased dramatically over the same period.

    Wool fibers actually purify indoor air by absorbing air pollutants and gases. Wool fibers absorb common contaminants in indoor air like formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, while not releasing VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). This is one of the reasons why the LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) environmental program accepted wool carpets as the only soft surface floor covering in the initial testing of accepted floor covering products. The approved products are rubber, bamboo, linoleum, cork, and, of course, wool. All of these products are also rapidly renewable, biodegradable, and carbon neutral.

    Not only does wool keep the air free of many harmful pollutants, it will not release them, even when heated. It has been estimated that wool carpets can continually purify indoor air for up to 30 years. What a natural and beautiful way to help the earth and improve the comfort in your own home.

    If you hear someone say “I’m allergic to wool”, just keep in mind that another man made myth is now explained and hopefully put to rest.

    What Every Homeowner Should Know About Carpet Cleaning Rentals

    One of the most effective ways to keep your carpets in tip top shape is through the use of a carpet cleaning rental. If you don’t really know what I’m talking about, here’s a quick explanation. I’m referring to the Rug Doctors and Bissell machines that are available for rent at your local hardware store or supermarket. In Canada, the Rug Doctor is available for rent at almost every Safeway. The machines usually cost between $40 and $60 a day to rent. You definitely don’t need an entire day to clean your home though. An average size house will probably only take a couple of hours to do. The process is pretty straightforward as well. It basically involves pushing around a vacuum-like machine. The difference is though, that this vacuum uses a combination of water, cleaning solution, and vibrating brushes to deeply penetrate the dirt in your carpet.

    Despite the fact that these rentals are cheap and effective, a lot of homeowners just can’t be bothered, believing that a weekly vacuuming will suffice. This is a big mistake. Vacuuming does a great job of picking up the dust and allergens that end up on the surface of your carpet, but it doesn’t go beyond that. You need a machine that digs deep into the roots of your carpet and eliminates these bugs right at the source. Now, the text that follows is by no means a complete guide. It should at least convince you that renting a carpet cleaner is the right thing to do though.

    The most important reason for keeping your carpets in shape actually revolves around health. Most people think that carpets are nothing more than an ascetically pleasing and soft floor to walk on. This is all kinds of wrong though! The carpet actually plays an integral role regarding the quality of air in your home. Here’s how it works. Air comes in through the door every time you open it. With all the good stuff it brings in, it also brings in a lot of bad stuff. I’m referring to things like allergens and bacteria. Now, these little pests hang around in your home’s air for a while before eventually settling in your carpet. If your carpet is clean, this isn’t a big deal. The bugs end up stuck inside your carpet. This is a good thing as it means they are no longer in the air, being breathed by your family. Over time, the carpet gets dirty though. It’s ability to take on new allergens weakens so these little pests just stay in the air! Think about the way a filter stops working when it’s dirty. It’s essentially the same process… So how do you fix a dirty filter? Well, you clean it of course! The same can be said of your carpet. Keep it clean and the bacteria and dust mites won’t have a chance to infect the people living in your home.

    If you can’t really be bothered to keep the allergens out of the air in your home, maybe money will motivate you. That right… keeping your carpets clean can actually save you money. You see, the carpet is a part of your home. It’s an investment that needs to be protected. If you let your carpet rot from the bottom up, you’ll eventually have to replace it entirely. This can be really expensive. Do yourself a favor and maintain the carpet that you have. You won’t regret it.

    People who are buying homes always look the carpet as well. I know that when my wife and I were looking at places to buy, we always noticed a smelly, ugly carpet. It really turned us right off.

    “No way in hell we’re buying that piece of crap home!”

    The rest of it may have been really nice but we didn’t care because the carpet was so hideous. Keeping your carpet clean increases the value of your home.

    So there are two solid reasons to consider an annual carpet cleaning rental – Health and money. Happy cleaning!

    How to Remedy Shingles Within Days

    Shingles is an excruciating disease that typically affects older people. Shingles is caused by the reactivation of varicella zoster, the same virus responsible for chicken pox. When a person gets chicken pox, not all the virus goes away and hides in your nerves around the spinal column. When the person becomes old, the virus awakens and causes a painful rash on a person’s skin. Usually, a health worker will prescribe drugs to remedy shingles. These drugs, however, may trigger side effects such as constipation, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth and dizziness. Fortunately, there are natural ways to remedy shingles and prevent unpleasant side effects.

    Here are some natural treatments that can help remedy shingles. Some of these treatments to remedy shingles require application to the skin in order to relieve painful blisters. There are also treatments that need ingestion of some herbs or natural treatment for shingles.

    Natural Topical Treatments

    • Lotions to relieve pain include calamine lotion, which can be applied frequently on the skin without adverse side effects.
    • Using cold compress is also helpful in relieving pain.
    • Tea tree oil and French clay. Combine French clay with water enough to make a paste. Then, add 1-2 drops of tea tree oil. Apply the paste to the affected areas and wrap with gauze. Then, leave on the skin for a few hours. Then, clean the affected area using a warm cloth. This method can be used to remedy shingles and must be done 2 to 3 times a day.
    • Lukewarm or cool bath. You can also add oatmeal to your bath water for more relief.
    • There are some people who use activated charcoal to remedy shingles. Combine activated charcoal, water and flaxseed to create a paste. Leave the mixture for 20 minutes and apply to the affected areas. The treatment can be wrapped and left on the skin for 12 hours. At the end of the period, wipe the treatment off the skin using warm washcloth.
    • Hydrogen peroxide is also used to remedy shingles by applying periodically to the blisters. This can help dry the blisters fast.
    • Mix Vaseline Intensive Care and 2 mashed aspirins and then apply to the skin. This mixture can also help relieve pain.
    • Capsaicin can also be used as topical treatment to remedy shingles. This treatment works by numbing nerve endings and is therefore effective in decreasing pain.

    If you try out these useful topical treatments, you should begin to notice an immediate relief of shingles within days.

    Benefits on Using Duct Tape

    Are you facing a situation which requires an enduring, resilient/ ductile tape but worried about the natural causes that might cause harm due to exposure? If your answer is in the affirmative and if you are unwilling to compromise on quality, then you should be looking at duct tapes from a pioneer in the field of manufacturing industry specific marking goods, tapes, sealing and plastics.

    Your selection criteria should say – a multi-purpose tape which possesses 0% lead, superior molding characteristics, is affordable yet high on quality. Additionally, you should opt for an adhesive that can be used for a diverse set of services in the industry be it sealing, building or air-conditioning systems under different conditions. The primary advantage of this tapes is their malleability due to which their use is not restricted to industrial use alone but also extends to household fixes. Duct tapes are a class apart, thanks to the adhesive property combined with its cohesive strength. Apart from the above features, this tapes can also withstand different weather conditions. All these characteristics make this type of tapes a clear winner as they easily score over electrical and other types of tapes in the sense that the latter caters to very specific industrial requirements.

    Another exciting new product you might want to check out is the ingeniously designed, cost effective wrapping system namely the OH&S wrapping system which reduces the chances of any mishaps and confirms to the occupational health and safety standards prescribed by the Australian government.

    Before deciding on where you would want to source or buy your duct tape from, check the delivery schedule of the company and see if they are capable enough to deliver your order on the very same day if the order were to be placed anytime during the day. The company should also have a great forecasting and delivery schedule to ensure the goods never go out of stock. The best way to evaluate a duct tape company is that they should not only ensure you get the best quality products at the most competitive and affordable prices, but also go one step further in providing you quick and precise services on their products. Check if the duct tape company can offer very high standards and are looking at setting the industry benchmark courtesy, their due diligence, innovative methods and emphasis on team work.

    Remember, if it’s an adhesive, it’s a duct tape. After all, this tapes are considered to be one of the five fundamental forces of nature these days!

    Beginner Scrapbooking Vocabulary, Part One: A Through H

    Scrapbooking is like any specialty hobby; it’s got its own vocabulary! When you first start out, you can feel like everyone around you is speaking a foreign language. To help you figure out what everyone’s talking about, here is the first in a series on scrapbooking vocabulary.

    A is for Adhesive. Adhesive is the sticky stuff you use to attach photos and other embellishments to your layouts. It comes in a variety of formats, from tape runners to glue sticks to glue dots. What you use depends on what you’re trying to stick.

    B is for Bazzill. Bazzill is one of the largest and most popular scrapbooking manufacturers. They are known for high-quality cardstock in dozens of shades. In recent years, the company has created cardstock colors to match patterned paper from other manufacturers, making it easy for scrapbookers to coordinate their projects.

    C is for Crop. When used as a verb, “crop” means to trim your photos. When used as a noun, a “crop” is a gathering of scrapbookers where they get together to work on their scrapbooks (and eat M’n’Ms).

    D is for Design Principles. Because scrapbooking is a visual medium, it relies on basic laws of design. These include guidelines such as the visual triangle, the rule of three, and color theory. The more you learn about design principles, the stronger scrapbooker you will become, just as great writers are familiar with the rules of grammar and spelling.

    E is for Embellishments. “Embellishments” refers to anything you add to jazz up your scrapbook page. It includes memorabilia, brads, stickers, ribbon, buttons, and anything else you adhere to the page in addition to your title, journaling and photos.

    F is for Flocking. Flocking is like glitter, only fuzzy! You can add it to glue by sprinkling to create a fun texture, or add to pre-made adhesive shapes. It comes in a variety of colors. Warning: It’s addictive — and messy!

    G is for Glue Dots. Glue dots just might be the best invention ever made. They are circles of adhesive that come in a variety of sizes, and they are perfect for adhering heavier or bulkier embellishments to your scrapbook layouts.

    H is for Heat Embossing. Heat embossing is a technique used to create dimensional images using embossing powder, embossing fluid, and a stamp. You stamp an image in embossing fluid in the desired location, then sprinkle embossing powder on top. Using a heat tool, you heat the area, melting the powder. The resulting image is raised and often shiny.