Top Ten Coolest Security Guard Movies

For as long as we can remember, films that feature bumbling, hapless or larger-than-life security guards, or protective dynamic duos, have been a fun, important part of cinematic history. Here is a list of classic bodyguard movies, or movies with super-strength security stars that we simply can’t forget.

1. Armed and Dangerous: John Candy and Eugene Levy team up and make cinematic history in this brilliant buddy comedy; the bumbling duo play a recently fired cop and amoral lawyer who suit up as security guards, only to find that they’ve unwittingly become members of a corrupt company.

2. The Bodyguard: Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston sizzle on the big screen as a former Secret Service agent acting as bodyguard to a mainstream pop singer. The film’s epic soundtrack continues to be one of the best-selling albums of all time.

3. National Security: Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn as Earl and Hank, respectively; two guards from different walks of life that have one thing in common: the security company they work for. Their history of hating each other stems from Earl’s key role in Hank’s dismissal from the police force. This odd couple doesn’t disappoint in the laughs department.

4. Observe & Report: This dark comedy features Seth Rogen as Ronnie Barnhardt, a depressed, on-the-brink guard who is head of the security department at Forest Ridge Mall. When he fails to get into the police force and is belittled by the officer taking over his operations, he embarks on a dual mission of madness: to prove himself and catch the elusive mall flasher, Ronnie’s arch enemy and ultimate target.

5. In the Line of Fire: Clint Eastwood as Frank Horrigan, a Secret Service agent to the President. Frank famously dropped the ball when it came to saving President Kennedy, but did put himself on the front lines to take out a crafty assassin who is targeting his current client.

6. Paul Blart:Mall Cop: Kevin James holds it down as Paul Blart, who dreams of being an officer for the New Jersey State Police. However, his ample size doesn’t help his chances of being a powerhouse cop, so he has to make do with being a security guard at his local mall. Heartwarming and hilarious, this is a great film for the whole family.

7. The Pacifier: Vin Diesel as tough guy Shane Wolfe, a disgraced US Navy SEAL assigned to work as a bodyguard protecting five rebellious kids. He may soon be the one needing protecting, as he learns the hard way that nannying is no joke.

8. Night at The Museum: Larry Daley is a night guard at New York’s American Museum of Natural History in. Upon beginning his shift, he’s instructed not to let anything “in or out.” He soon comes to realize the significance of this creepy warning: The Museum comes to life at night, kicking off a bone-tingling phenomenon that delighted movie-goers of all ages.

9. Guarding Tess: Nicholas Cage as Doug Chesnic, a Secret Service agent protecting Jessica Tandy’s Tess Carlisle, the widow of a former US President. Though he holds great pride in his prestigious job, the fiesty First Lady tests his limits by treating him like a lowly servant. Have your hankie ready for this endearing tear-jerker.

10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the ultimate larger-than-life robo-guard, a well-muscled force from the future on a mission to protect teenager John Connor. Nothing says big-screen fun like another deadly Terminator!

21 Quotes You Can Use To Inspire Yourself to Fire Your Boss and Build Wealth at Home

It has been said that it takes 21 days of consistent action to change a behavior or create a new habit. Often times we want something different but old tapes continue to play in our head that keep us from reaching our goals and dreams. This can range from trying to drop 10 lbs to earning the courage to start your work at home business.

The truth is going from an employee to an entrepreneur can be a little scary. However one of the ways to reduce fear and increase success is to lean on the wisdom and experience of others who have been successful in life.

Some may be famous and others not. Neverheless, the wisdom if you choose to listen can help you create a paradigm shift in thinking which the foundation to massive success. I have always loved to listen to the champions that have gone before.

Here are 21 quotes that I have thought about often and used to inspire me to down size my boss and it can do the same for you.

1. Once in a while it really hits people that they do not have to experience the world in the way they have been told to. — Alan Keightley

Were you told to go to school and get a good job? I was. While I know my mother meant well and thought she was preparing me tobe able to have access to the pearly gates of success she could not know how things would change.

However, I knew that I wanted more? How about you? Remember, you do not have to set up for 60 hour work weeks, 30 minute commutes, your kids in day care or relocating for the promise of career advancement. You do not have to be part of the grind … the rat race.

2. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. — Mike Murdock

Are you afraid to get started? It may seem overwhelming but if you focus on simply daily actions the big goals take care of themselves.

3. No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals —. Brian Tracy

Get help right out the gate. Find a mentor, coach, mastermind or become a part a community that will help to support you in your success. You want to become a life long learner. Attend seminars and boot camps in your specialized area knowledge. When you learn from people who have been successful and you model their activities you will get their results.

4. By stretching yourself beyond your perceived level of confidence you accelerate your development of competency. — Michael J. Gelb

The only way to gain confidence in a certain area is to take action. It is in the action you will start to have small victories which will increase your level of success.

5. If you do not program yourself, life will program you! — Les Brown

Do not let other people make decision for your life. If you have no plan on you will create wealth during your working years your employer will. Have no retirement plan? You do not the government to be your strategy. Remember, it's your life and it's now or never.

6. There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. — Denis Waitley

No matter what your current conditions are you have the opportunity to change them. However, this only can happen if you take total responsible for the direction of your life. If you do not like where you are forgive yourself and focus on solutions. Do not focus on problems or why you think something can not happen. Start to ask strong questions the answers will start to appear.

7. Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality. — Dr. Wayne Dyer

8. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frigtens us. Who are we NOT to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in us all. — Marianne Williamson

When I first heard this quote it brought tears to my eyes. What talent or gift do you have that you are allowing fear to rob you from achieving? Do what you were called to do it is bigger than you. You are unique and sharing your gift with someone could make a difference in their life. Are you playing it too small? Are you staying in a job that does not stretch you? What can you do to make a difference?

9. You'll see things "you never knew you never knew." — Disney's Pocahontas

The journey and pursuit of freedom allows you to see the world in a different way than others. As you grow you will naturally see opportunities that others can not see. Jason Oman author of Conversation with Millionaires calls it "Money Goggles." Even if you were in a pitch black room you will have an infrared vision in the area of ​​creating opportunities to make money.

10. A different world can not be built by individual people. — Peter Marshall

You can not have what you want in life by being different. Successful people are passionate and sometimes radical in pursuit of their dreams. Do not allow yourself to be in environments that discourage you.

11. What is it that you like doing? If you do not like it, get out of it, because you'll be lousy at it. You do not have to stay with a job for the rest of your life, because if you do not like it you'll never be successful in it. — Lee Iacocca

Why would you ever spend most of your waking hours doing something that you do not like? The key to success is finding something you love to and set the standard for excellence.

12. Simply making consistent investments in our self-education and knowledge banks pays major disputes through our lives. — Jim Rohn

The self-education I have pursued after college has been my greatest return on investment. There is something to be said when you develop skills that you know will support you in any economy. Specialized knowledge applied with all out massive results will yield hefty financial and emotional rewards.

13. Finding your purpose may be a lifelong pursuit or you may have discovered it when you were 5 years old. There's no absolute timeline for anyone. That's a good reason never to give up, to keep on discovering things every day. — Donald Trump

If you have not discovered your life's purpose do not be hard on yourself. Start to ask yourself questions and enter into a discovery process. Allow yourself to dream without concerns of how you will get it done. Every time you think you have found the answer did a little deeper with more questions. Rarely are your true goals, purpose and desires on the surface of your soul. Often times they have been put away for safe keeping to protect yourself from disappointment. Keep discovering new things until your purpose is crystal clear.

14. What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people's lives. — Oprah Winfrey

When you get the money out of the way your world expends even greater. Oprah exemplifies this principle. She now looks for ways to help others in everything she does. Whether it is giving more support to your family or contributing to a worthy cause, having freedom as a work from home entrepreneur will allow you to make your mark in the world.

15. The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do. — Booker T. Washington

So what can you create and add value to the world? I love this quote because it demonstrates very clearly that what matters are results at the end of the day. Do not get caught up in theories. Make sure you are constantly taking action that moves you towards a specific goal.

16. There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction. — John F. Kennedy

Are you so afraid to fail that you just can not get out of the box? Do not be. Many people have "failed" their way to million dollar empires. It is better to do something and be wrong then to do nothing at all. When you choose to do nothing someone else typically makes a decision that affects you and you ending up doing something you do not want to do.

17. I do not believe in circumstances. The people who get in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want. – George Bernard Shaw

There is no such thing as luck. You create the luck by working and preparing for the opportunity. When you start to put yourself out there there the universe gives back. Make sure you are clear of your intentions and then go and make it happen.

19. It's not the hours you put in your work that counts, it's the work you put in your hours. — Sam Ewing

You have the same 24 hours in the day as Bills Gate and Oprah. Do not sabotage yourself by saying, "Well they can do it because their rich." Unless you inherit wealth there is a price that everyone has to pay. You do not have to work all day at your work from empire. However, you must consistently put time in if you want success.

20. You must do the thing you think you can not do. — Eleanor
Roosevelt.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to do something you think you can not do. It does not have to be something huge. A simple action of courage goes a long in adding to your confidence in every area of ​​your life.

21. You will never leave where you are, until you decide where you'd rather be. — Dexter Yager

Until you know your purpose you will be at risk for staying in a job that slowly eats away at you. Why? You simply do not have a strong enough goal to leave your current job. When the goal is strong enough you will search to find the answers.

How to Organize Catering for Events

Catering for events yourself is a big personal responsibility which requires careful planning and onsite presence throughout the process. You will also need access to the correct catering equipment, staff and a large enough provisions for preparation and storage of the food.

Outsourcing your catering requirements for an event can help you take the stress away from event planning. Onsite Caterers will come to your site and plan a menu through with you, to tailor your event food requirements. Onsite and Outsourced Catering help can be for events such as Weddings and engagements, Proms, Cocktail Parties, Luncheons and Dinner Parties, Corporate functions, Launch parties, Shop opening, Meetings, Funerals, Christening, Communions, Confirmations and Birthday parties and family celebrations.

The taste of the food is important, but also so is the presentation of the food to guests. An outsourced caterer can let you decide on how the food is presented, as well as offering previous photos of previous events to customize to your event. Dietary requirements and ingredients for guests can be sourced and catered for such as Nut Allergies, Vegetarian or even Halal only meat. Onsite Catering can also use disaster recovery techniques to prepare for the worst situations such as power loss or weather changes to ensure your event runs smoothly as possible.

Food prepared for these events can range from a 5 – 7 Course Meal, A Buffet with Canapé's, a hog roast or even a normal sit down meal with Family and Friends! Another advantage of utilizing an onsite caterer, is they can also provide advice as well as recommend reliable supplies for other Catering needs such as Wine to go with the meal, Wedding Cake Creation and waiting staff to serve the food.

Delivering a perfect catering service means 4 steps:

  1. Designing a menu to compliment your event, theme and requirements
  2. Holding a tasting session so you can make sure the food is just right
  3. Taking care of all the little details so you do not have to worry
  4. Delivering the highest quality, freshest food that offers real value for money

It is recommended that you find a local Cater that can source local fresh ingredients, as well and liaise with local suppliers to get you the best prices for your event.

Using Graphic Design Inspiration and Avoiding Plagiarism

One of the most difficult things to do is gain inspiration without copying or stealing someone else's ideas. Because we are surrounded by designs and art in everyday lives, trying to find that fine line between inspiration and theft proves to be problematic at times. Especially when you take into account that all designs are essentially influenced by the earlier created works of art we are surrounded by. The Internet alone has millions upon millions of graphic design inspiration at your fingertips. These days, with so many resources so readily available, finding inspiration for a design is pretty easy. The difficult part is taking the idea and making something new of it. How do you do that, you ask; by incorporating various concepts, approaches and design features together.

When doing a search for graphic design inspiration, do not stop at one idea. Keep your searches going for additional designs that are related or similar in color, content and structure to what you are looking for. The objective is not to choose one design and duplicate it, instead find a collection of elements that can work together in a different way. As you're doing your search you should be looking at the design and picking it apart to see if any piece can be meshed with another to create something fresh. Your ultimate goal is to combine the best components of each of these, creating a new design that inspires you.

Once you've gathered some inspirational ideas, take a deer look and study the fine details that really make them stand out and catch your eye. Look for typography, light effects and gradients; these are the subtle details that bring the design to life. You should be asking yourself, "Why do I love this design so much?" Once you have it pinpointed it will be easy for you to create a new vision with different concepts. When you're finished, it should not look like an imitation of any of the other designs. It should be a renovated design created with the contribution of them all. You must work to fuse the different elements with common stylistic methods to transform your design into something brand new.

There is no guidebook that teaches you how to search for graphic design inspiration and not commit plagiarism, but there are some forthright ways to avoid it. By using the strategies mentioned above we can all help the circulation of new ideas, creating new inspiration for everyone.

Seven Critical Success Drivers – Why New Products Win

The challenge in successful product innovation is to design a playbook, blueprint, or process by which new-product projects can move from the idea stage through to a successful launch and beyond, quickly and effectively. Before charging into this playbook, let's first understand the secrets to success – what separates successful innovation projects from the failures, the critical success factors that make the difference between winning and losing.

Some are quite obvious, but before you dismiss them as "too obvious", recognize that most firms still neglect them. As we probe each success driver, reflect on how you can benefit from each, and how you can translate each into an operational facet of your new-product system or playbook.

1. A unique, superior product is the number one driver of new-product profitability.

Delivering products with unique benefits and real value to users – bold innovations – separates winners from losers more often than any other single factor. Such superior products have five times the success rate, over four times the market share, and four times the profitability of products lacking this ingredient.

The definition of "what is unique and superior" and "what is a benefit" is from the customer's perspective – so it must be based on an in-depth understanding of different customer needs, wants, problems, likes, and dislikes :

  • Determine the customer needs at the outset – build in voice-of-customer (VoC) research early in your projects. Requests are usually fairly obvious, and easy for the customer to talk about. But spotting needs , particularly unmet and unarticulated needs , is more of a challenge, but often yields a breakthrough new product.
  • Do a competitive product analysis. If you can spot the competitors' product weaknesses, then you're halfway to beating them. The goal is product superiority and that means superior over the current or future competitive offering. Never assume the competitor's current product will be the benchmark by the time you hit the market!
  • Build in multiple test iterations to test and verify your assumptions about your winning-product design. Test the concept with users – and make sure they indicate a favorable response. That is, even before serious development work begin, start testing the product!

2. Building in the voice of the customer into a market-driven, customer-focused new-product process.

But the great majority of companies miss the mark here, with insufficient VoC and no fact-based customer insights (in more than 75 percent of projects, according to one investigation). A thorough understanding of customers 'or users' needs and wants, the competitive situation, and the nature of the market is an essential component of new product success.

Research has shown that top performing companies: work closely with customers and users to identify needs / problems, work with lead or innovative users to generate ideas, determine product definition via market research, interface with users through development, and seek market input to help design the Launch Plan.

Strong market focus must prevail throughout the entire new-product project, and should be considered through the new-product process:

  • Idea generation: Devote more resources to market-oriented idea-generation activities. The best ideas come from customers!
  • The design of the product: Use market research as an input to the design decisions to help guide the project team before they charge into the design of the new product.
  • Before pushing ahead into development: Be sure to test the product concept with the customer by presentation a representation of the product, and gauging the customer's interest, liking, and purchase intent.
  • Through the entire project: Customer inputs should not cease at the completion of the pre-development market studies. Keep bringing the customer into the process to view facets of the product verifying all assumptions about the winning design.

3. Doing the homework and front-end loading the project – due diligence done before product development gets under way.

The best innovators are much more proficient when it comes to completing activities in the "fuzzy front end" of projects – they do their homework:

  • Initial screening – the first decision to get into the project
  • Preliminary market assessment – the first and quick market study
  • Preliminary technical assessment – a technical evaluation of the project
  • Preliminary operations assessment – manufacturing and operations issues
  • Detailed market study, market research, and VoC research
  • Concept testing – testing the concept with the customer or user
  • Value assessment – determining the value or economic value of the product to the customer
  • Business and financial analysis – just before the decision to "Go to Development" (building the business case).

Best innovators also strike an appropriate balance between market / business-oriented tasks, and conduct more homework prior to the initiation of product design and development. Furthermore, the quality of execution of the pre-development steps is closely tied to the product's financial performance.

"More homework means longer development times" is a frequently voiced complaint, and a valid one. But experience has shown that homework pays for itself in reduced development times as well as improved success rates:

  • Evidence points to a much higher likelihood of product failure if the homework is omitted.
  • Better project definition (the result of solid homework) actually speeds up the development process.
  • More homework up front anticipates changes to product design and encourages them to occur earlier in the process (rather than later when they are more costly)

Cutting out homework drives your success rate way down, and cutting out homework to save time today will cost you wasted time tomorrow. Make it a rule: No significant project should move into the Development stage without the actions described above completed, and done in a quality way. And devote the necessary resources to get the work done; that is, front-end load the project!

4. Getting sharp and early product and project definition means higher success rates and faster to market.

Securing sharp, early, stable, and fact-based product definition before Development begins is one of the strongest drivers of cycle-time reduction and new-product success. Best innovators clearly define the benefits to be delivered to the customer, they clearly identify the target market, the product concept is clearly defined, and the product features, attributes, and specifications are clearly defined.

Build in an integrated product and project definition step or check-point before the door is opened to a full development program. This integrated definition must be fact based: developed with inputs and agreement from the functional areas involved: Marketing, R & D, Engineering, Operations, etc. This definition has six components:

  1. the project scope
  2. target market definition
  3. product concept
  4. benefits to be delivered (the value proposition)
  5. positioning strategy
  6. product attributes, attributes, performance requirements, and high-level specs

Acknowledging a stable product definition is a challenge – even the best innovators struggle. Markets can be quite fluid and dynamic, so build in the necessary front-end homework, pin down the integrated product innovation as best you can before development begins , specify in advance which part of the product requirements and specs are "known and fixed" versus which as "fluid, uncertain, and variable", and build steps into your development process to gather data so that the "variable parts" of your product definition can be pinned down as development endeavors.

5. Spiral development – put something in front of the customer early and often – gets the product right.

Spiral development is the way that fast-paced teams handle the dynamic information process with fluid, changing information. Many businesses use too rigid and linear a process for product development. By proceeding in a linear and rigid process, the project team and business set themselves up for failure.

Smart project teams and businesses practice spiral development. Best innovator businesses are 6 times more likely to interface with customers and users through the entire Development stage. They build in a series of iterative steps , or "loops, whereby successful versions of the product are shown to the customer to seek feedback and verification.

Use spirals – a series of "build-test-feedback-and-revision" iterations . This approach is based on the fact that customers do not really know what they are looking for until they see it or experience it – so get something in front of the customer in front of the customer or user fast (and keep repeating these tests all the way through to formal product testing).

6. A well-conceived, properly executed launch is central to new-product success.

Not only must your product be superior, but its benefits must be communicated and marketed aggressively. A quality launch is strongly linked to new-product profitability. Best innovators do the necessary market research – understanding buyer / customer behavior – in order to better craft the launch plan. They also conduct a test market or trial sell to validate the marketability of the new product and also test elements of the market launch plan. Best innovators also undertake a solid pre-launch business analysis, and most importantly, they execute the launch more proficiently – by a ratio of 3: 1 when compared to poor innovators.

Do not assume good products sell themselves, and do not treat the launch as an afterthought. A well-integrated and properly targeted launch does not occur by accident, however; it is the result of a fine-tuned marketing plan , properly backed and resourced, and proficiently executed.

Marketing planning- moving from marketing objectives to strategy and marketing programs – is a complex process. But this complex process must be woven into your new-product system.

Four important points regarding new-product launch and the marketing plan:

  1. The development of the market launch plan is an integral part of the new-product process: It is as central to the new = product process as the development of the physical product.
  2. The development of the market launch plan must begin early in the new-product project. It should not be left as an afterthought to be undertaken as the product nears commercialization.
  3. A market launch plan is only as good as the market intelligence upon which it is based. Market studies designed to yield information crucible to marketing planning must be built into the new-product project.
  4. Those who will execute the launch – the sales force, technical support people, other front-line personnel – must be engaged in the development of the market launch plan, and some should there before be members of the project team. This ensures valuable input and insight into the design of the launch effort, availability of resources when needed, and buy-in by those who must execute the product and its launch (elements so critical to a successful launch).

7. Speed ​​counts! There are many good ways to accelerate development projects, but not at the expense of quality of execution.

Speed ​​to market is an admirable goal, and there are many reasonably valid reasons that cycle-time reduction should be a priority:

  • Speed ​​yields competitive advantage: First in will win!
  • Speed ​​yields higher profitability.
  • Speed ​​means fewer surprises.

Speed ​​is important, but not as vital as one might have assumed. Speed ​​is only an objective objective – a means to an end. The ultimate goal, of course, is profitability. But many of the practices naively employed in order to reduce time-to-market extremely cost the company money. They achieve the objective objective – bringing the product quickly to market – but fail at the ultimate objective: profitability.

Be careful in the overzealous pursuit of speed and cycle-time reduction. There are ways to reduce cycle time, however, that are totally consistent with sound management practice and are also derived from the critical success drivers outlined. Here are five sensible ways to increase the odds of winning but also to reduce time-to-market!

  1. Prioritize and focus: The best way to slow projects down is to dissipate your limited resources and people across too many projects. By concentrating resources on the truly descripting projects, not only will the work be done better, it will be done faster. But focus means tough choices: It means killing other and perhaps worthwhile projects. And that requires good decision-making and the right criteria for making Go / Kill decisions.
  2. Do it right the first time: Build in quality of execution at every stage of the project. The best way to save time is by avoiding having to recycle back and do it a second time . Quality of execution pays off not only in terms of better results but also by reducing delays.
  3. Front-end homework and definition: Doing the upfront homework and getting clear product and project definition, based on facts rather than hearsay and speculation, saves time downstream: That means less recycling back to get the facts or redefine the product requirements, and sharper technical targets to work toward.
  4. Organize around a true cross-functional team with empowerment: Multi-functional teams are essential for timely development and are a topic in the next chapter. Rip apart a poorly developed project and you will unfailingly find 75 percent of slippage attributable to: (1) 'siloing', or sending memos up and down vertical organizational 'silos' or 'stovepipes' for decisions; and (2) "sequential problem solving". Sadly, the typical project resemblies a relay race, with each function or department carrying the baton for its portion of the race, then handing off to the next runner or department.
  5. Parallel processing: The relay-race, sequential, or series approach to product development is antiquated and inappropriate for today's fast-paced projects. Given the time pressures of projects, coupled with the need for a complete and quality process, a more appropriate model is a rugby game or parallel processing . With parallel processing, activities are undertaken concurrently (rather than sequentially); thus, more activities are undertaken in an elapsed period of time. The new-product process must be multidisciplinary with each part of the team (Marketing, R & D, Operations, Engineering, Sales) working together and undertaking its parallel or concurrent activity. Note that the play is a lot more complex using a parallel rugby scheme, hence the need for a disciplined playbook.

Building the Success Drivers into Your Playbook

Many businesses have "operating procedures" or guides on how to do things right. Imagine you are crafting a new-product guidebook or set of operating procedures for how to do a new-product project right – for example, an "idea-to-launch playbook" or a stage-and-gate system to drive new products to market.

Quality Plantation Shutters – How to Tell the Good From the Bad – Part 1 of 3

Plantation shutters can be purchased at almost every price imaginable. If you’re not a professional in the shutter industry, how do you distinguish between high-quality and low-quality products? There are a number of factors you can use to compare plantation shutters before making a commitment. In this article, we will explain how to tell the good from the bad.

Only wood plantation shutters will be discussed, since shutters made from MDF, composite, and polymer materials are different enough from wood plantation shutters in design and construction as to make fair comparisons impossible.

Telling High Quality From Low Quality

Let’s compare two typical plantation shutter panels to illustrate the differences between higher and lower quality shutters.

Visualize this: both panels are 12″ wide by 21″ tall. They’re made from the same Basswood, and have 3-1/2″ louvers. Even with these elements being identical, you will see some surprising differences in the design, construction, and components of the imported and the custom-made shutter.

Good Design Means A Better Fit With Your Window

The first difference between these two shutter panels is in the number of louvers they have and the overall louver area. The higher-quality shutter has 5 louvers, while the lower-quality shutter has only 4. The reason has nothing to do with aesthetics, but with how the shutters were designed. One is a true custom-made shutter that was designed and manufactured for a specific window; the other is known as “cut-to-fit.”

This design difference is the single most important factor in understanding a shutter’s quality. Here’s why:

The factory that makes the lower-quality shutters makes them to predetermined sizes; in this case, the heights of the shutters are made in 3-inch increments. So the factory makes shutters that are 18″, 21″, and 24″ tall. If none of these dimensions fits your window’s measurements exactly, the U.S. distributor takes a shutter the next size up and cuts it down to fit your window. This means the shutters have to be designed with taller rails and wider stiles so these pieces are large enough to cut down. For most customers, the result is a shutter with a larger area proportionally of stiles and rails, and a smaller area for the louvers. Fewer louvers mean less light and a more restricted view.

In contrast, the higher-quality shutter is customized to fit the window right from the start. Each shutter is designed to fit the measurements of a specific window in your home. In this sense, it’s like a suit that’s been tailor-made for its owner from the cutting of the fabric to the final fitting. The result is a more balanced shutter and a brighter and airier window.

While the cut-to-fit technique is less expensive, the overall lower quality is obvious even to the casual observer.

The Right Hinge Makes A Stronger Shutter

Two basic types of hinges are used on shutters: butt and non-mortise. When you unfold a butt hinge, it can resemble a butterfly, with the left flap the same size as the right one. With butt hinges, the two flaps fold together (or “butt up”) against each other.

In contrast, the left and right pieces of an open non-mortise hinge aren’t the same. Flaps on a non-mortise hinge fold one-above-the-other or one-inside-the-other. With non-mortise hinges, the two flaps are each only half the height of the hinge.

For butt hinges to fit properly, the edge of the shutter has to be mortised, or chiseled out, so that the hinge is counter-sunk into the shutter and its surface is flush with the surface of the shutter. In contrast, non-mortised hinges (as their name implies) do not require this sort of modification to the shutter.

It’s less expensive for manufacturers to use non-mortised hinges, since they don’t require mortising. However, non-mortise hinges are weaker than butt hinges, since each hinge flap is only half the size of a butt hinge flap. Weaker hinges may hold up well for a few years, but quality plantation shutters are made to last for decades.

Two Layers Are Better Than One

When plantation shutters are finished with paint or clear topcoats, some manufacturers try to save money by applying just one layer of topcoat over a stain, or only one layer of paint over primer. High-quality shutters have at least two coats of each.

A painted plantation shutter with only one coat of paint will have a rougher feel than one with two or more coats. And stained shutter will have a richer luster if a second layer of clear coat is applied.

Buy A Quality Shutter…But Don’t Buy More Than You Need

There are literally thousands of shutters on the market today. Most of them display a mix of high-quality and lesser-quality characteristics. Buying quality is important; but buying more shutter than you need is a waste of money. Hopefully you are now armed with the information to shop knowledgeably for the quality shutters you need and want for your home and lifestyle.

12 Cancer-Causing 'Elements' Found In Our Home!

When I jokingly told my friend about 12 common categorized 'cancer causing elements' found in some homes, my friend was in disbelief! She could not accept these facts that there are cancer-causing elements found in our own home … Let's have a look at all those cancer-causing elements basically found in our home!

[1] Vanishes, Industrial coatings, Paints and their solvents and Glues

These are generally found in newly completed or renovated homes where most of them are freshly applied to walls, floors, ceilings in bedrooms, sitting rooms, kitchens and even our bathroom.

A very distinct sign of all these home finishing coatings will be the unbearable odor when applied inside or outside the house. Decaying plasters after decades will also be cancerous. The worst is that we spend more time at home, so increasing certain risks.

[2] Electrical appliances

Most electrical appliances produce small or slight radiation and is never healthy towards those who are constantly exposed to them. What are these electrical appliances? Television sets, video players, computers, hand phones and the main switch just to mention a few.

[3] Water-borne cancer-causing elements that comes from our water taps

Tap water is always chlorinated to kill germs and bacteria. We need chlorine but we need not drink the chlorine inside the water. Moreover, there are heavy metals, other contaminants, possible
toxins that one is not aware of. In the process of washing, cleansing, cooking and drinking, many have unknowingly consumed dirtied water that may be cancer-causing in the long run.

[4] In your kitchen, in your bathroom ..

Some toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, body shampoos, washing powder do contain unexplainable cancer-causing elements. Most of these are manufactured without scientific backup and lack of quality control. So, take great care to buy only reputed branded quality products which are backed up with scientific proofs. Read the labels outside the products, its expiry date and know the basic ingredients it is made. .

[5] Insecticides to keep away mosquitoes, cockroaches and other insects

If they can kill small insects, it can also poison people very slowly when exposed for a long period of usage of the said chemicals. Moreover, it is not safe for young kids and the aged.

[6] In your bedroom

Poor ventilation in enclosed bedrooms, lacking of sunlight and fresh air will create poor quality air. Contaminated air will cause a lot of health problems. Great care should be taken as to maintain clean and fresh air in the bedroom.

There are certain contaminants in the air that will cause cancer. Free radicals from polluted air will attack our body DNA and immune system unmercifully.

[7] Improper cooking utensils

Aluminum pots, non-stick pans that gets worn out and gets thinner after constant use can cause havoc in our body when these metals and unknown chemicals are consumed with our foods cooked using them. Sad to say, it can not be easily excreted from our body. The worst fear is that it goes into our blood streams. Cooking gas when inhaled will also cause health problems.

[8] Unsafe food containers, food storage compartment

Some housewives are ignorant about using safe food containers, when microwaving and cooking. Some food containers are not suitable for storing hot foods, especially plastic and rubber.

[9] Your supplies of canned foods, preserved foods, sauces and stale foods kept too long,

Some canned foods are full of cancer-causing elements. Moldy foods are never advisable for consumption too. Foods rich in fats that become stale is cancer-causing too. Beware of stale groundnuts! It is the fat that cause it to be cancer-causing.

[10] In your wardrobe

Dark deep colored lingerie and underwear ….. Those underwear that are day day and night, close to our sensitive body parts … dyed by certain dyes can be cancer-causing. A word of advice, do not buy or wear dark colored lingerie or underwear, especially black.

[11] In your cardboard

You might keep some medicines, pills, cough solution in your cardboard. You may also be in some form of medication. Some drugs are only found to contain carcinogens after a period of trial and error. What a big guinea pig we have become!

[12] In your dressing room

Some skin care products and cosmetics may also contain cancer-causing elements too. Beware of some skin care products who never emphasized on safety and quality control. Be smart to opt for preventive measures which are still the best!

What all of us fear is pollution and contamination. Polluted air, water, environment and food or drinks will cause cancer in the long run when the free radicals create havoc in our body system. Too much toxemia and acidosis will rupture our normal cells. From there, cancer is born ….

How to Set Up an In-House "No Credit Check Financing Plan" With Little Or No Cost

This is a great system that is perfect for small businesses. I have personally seen this program generate 25% – 40% increase in sales just by telling people you offer "No Credit Check Financing". This article will show you step by step the way to set it up and many ideas dealing with advertising the plan.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER
When implementing the concept discussed in this article, Customized Concepts does not inherit the responsibility of the loans being paid back, of legal issues, or of anything that results from the use of this information.

The legal disclaimer is a must. We do offer a "90 Day Financing Plan" that is guaranteed. We take care of the details and the risk. There is no risk to the merchant. This article is based on the idea. You can put many things in place to insure the loans are paid back. This will be your responsibility. We will discuss them and let you know the pros and cons.

You will need a good file management system. If you are running a business this is not really a problem. I recommend that all the paper work is scanned into your system. This allows for quick repatriation if there are any problems with the contract the customer signs.

Below is an example that does not charge the customer finance charges.There is an example on our website that has finance charges. This would qualify your program as "Same as Cash Financing". You are allowed to charge finance charges and application fees. This would create another income stream for your company but, you can not advertise "Same as Cash Financing".

The choice is up to you.

Example:

Yoshi walks in to your store and wants to buy your product or service but does not have the money and has bad credit, no credit, or just does not want to take out a loan. The item costs $ 1000. Yoshi says that is too much right now. You explain that you can offer him a "No Credit Check Financing Option". He says "Great". You and Yoshi agree on what payment schedule will fit in his budget. He forests that $ 200, every two weeks, would fit his budget.

Yoshi will then write you out five checks post dated checks for the amount of $ 200 each. Five $ 200 checks equal the $ 1000 sale price. I know there is someone saying is that legal. Yes. The law with post dating checks is very vague.

The two major things that come in to play are:

1. If the customer writes a post dated check that they know will not be good on the post dated date. This is a form of fraud. Customer is in the wrong.
2. You cash the check before the post dated date. When you and the customer agree on the payment schedule you are agreeing to cash the check on the dates stated on the contract. You are in the wrong. They can sue you for the penalies incurred and numerous other things depending on your state.

It is a good idea to keep the post dated checks within 90 days of the sale date. This is safer for you and the customer.

The check will need to be kept safe (in a safe). This will make sure that they do not fall in to the wrong hands.

Next you will need to get the filing system in order. You will need a way to let you know when the checks need to be cashed. You can do this one of two ways.

The first would be a basic folder arrangement. Create one folder for every week. Check the folders at the beginning of the week son you know what checks need to be cashed.

The second and probably preferred would be a basic program with Excel or some other spreadsheet program. This would require that you put the information in to your system, but would save the file set-up time. You will set up the spreadsheet to organize the payments by date. Check the spreadsheet every day to see what checks need to be cashed.

Here are a couple things to protect you from fraud and default on repayment.

The options below are up to your discretion. You can use one of them or all of them. The more you implement the more protection you will have that the customer will not default on the loan.

This first three are, in my opinion, a must.

1 Get a copy of the customers ID

2 Get a copy of their most recent pay check stub. You can take this one step further and verify employment. You can give the employee a call or you can send a fax to the Human Resources Department. The easiest way is to call. They can not give you much information over the phone but, they can tell you if the customer works there and if there is anything that might affect his future employment.

3 Call the bank to verify the account is in good standing.

4 Verify the Checks. If you have a merchant account that can process checks this can be simple. If you do not have verification verification you can call your provider and check pricing to get it set up. If you do not have verification verification and you do not want to pay for the service there are some other options. They are not as reliable but will work. Physically go to the bank where the check was issued and cash it. If there are not funds they will tell you or they will cash it and charge the customer an overdraft fee. DO NOT DO THIS WITH THE POST DATED CHECKS. This should only be done with checks that are not post dated. You and the customer came to an agreement that would not cash the checks until the date on the checks.

5 Verify the customers check writing history. This can be done a couple different ways. Check out National Check Network.com (NCN). You can also do a search on Google or ASK.com for "How to verify a customer check writing history". These systems can vary in cost and quality. We use NCN. This option will let you know if they have bounced checks that are outstanding, a history of writing bad check, or any check fraud in the past.

These are the basics and if want to tweak it to fit your company better, great.

We have a customizable contract on our website available for download. The form is a PDF. If you do not have a PDF editor you can go to PrimoPDF.com and convert the file to a.DOC file. This contract is free of charge and we will not ask you to give us any information. This is a great tool that will save you some time. There is no need to design your own. This is the exact form we use.

We also offer "No Credit Check Financing" that takes away the risk and is very user friendly. We implement the procedures above and guarantee the payment to the merchant. If the customer defaults we will honor the payment and we will take action to recover the monies owed. The fees involved are normally less than what it would cost you if you to set up verification verification and verification of check writing history. It is guaranteed to save you time.

Advertising

Advertise the "No Credit Check Financing" everywhere. Here are a few suggestions.

Get a sign / banner that states you have the program. We have a local company that will paint the lettering on. You can get your local sign maker to help you, too. Window appliques, appliques for your car, magnets for your car, the list goes on and on.

Change the on-hold audio so it mentions "No Credit Check Financing" and also voicemail box records. Be sure to mention the plan when you answer the phone.

Include the program on anything that your business uses for advertising.

* Yellowbook Ads
* Business Cards
* Brochures
* Website
* T-Shirts
* Vehicles
* You need to get it visible to as many people as possible.

Do a local radio commercial that states you now offer "No Credit Check Financing" This is spectacular if you can afford the media.

I hope everyone reading this did not find it a waste of time. If you can not use the information in this article please pass it on to someone who can. If you would like you can download an exact copy of this article and contract here. We will not ask for any information. I will be writing more articles in the near future. The article will be on ways that small businesses can increase their sales with various techniques. Please subscribe to my newsletter if you would like to be emailed when they are posted.

Why the Africans Live in Huts

Whenever one sees a picture of a hut, one thinks of Africa. Indeed, huts have been the defining architectural hallmark of Africa, and throughout the continent, they have been the preferred building style.

Huts are a form of living space. Huts are usually round, with a peaked roof. They are usually made of mud or clay, with a wooden structure to support the building, and a single wooden pole in the centre, which supports the grass-thatched roof.

Many critics of Africa claim that Africa can boast no great cultures south of Egypt. By that, they often mean that there is no architectural evidence of greatness south of the Pyramids. Indeed, architecture or architectural remains are the accepted calling card of the so-called ‘great cultures’.

While most of Africa can boast no such fossil evidence, there is reason to believe that the architectural choices made by the Africans thus far are neither as accidental nor as simplistic as they may seem.

For one, most of Africa is warm to hot throughout the year, without an extended winter period. The most uncomfortable climatic period is the long rains, during which it rains a lot, mostly every day. However, in most of Africa, it showers, rather than rains. That means a quick and voluminous period of precipitation, unlike rain in Europe for example, which may be a slight but continuous precipitation. In addition, most of Africa, which lies at the equator, experiences almost equal twelve-hour periods each for night and day. This is in contrast to for example Europe, where in winter, darkness may be up eighteen hours long.

As such, most of life in Africa is lived outside. A shelter is needed only for the night, against the cold and as shelter from wild animals. There has never been a need to invest as heavily in shelter as has been done in Europe for example. Strictly speaking, there was rarely a situation in Africa where lack of shelter would have been life-threatening. In many African cultures, nomads, hunters, warriors and messengers were often away from home for long periods without having shelter.

Huts are often small, and made of the readily available mud or river clay, plastered over a skeleton of branches. They were completely inexpensive in both materials and labour. In many cultures, the women did the plastering, while the men did the thatching of the roof. Among the Maasai of East Africa, the woman builds the whole structure, which is referred to as a manyatta.

Because of this relaxed philosophy to shelter, the Africans were not enslaved by the acquisition of shelter as is often the case in the modern world. In today’s globalised world, buying one’s home is a lifetime liability that forces one to live chained to a mortgage, under the Damocles sword of a foreclosure. The exploitation of this fear in the U.S.A. contributed to the current worldwide financial crisis.

It is also worthy of note that almost all the famous architectural monuments of the great cultures were built by employing slave labour, forced and semi-forced labour. That has never been necessary in Africa south of the pyramids. In fact, shelter was so inexpensive that the nomads could walk away from their huts at a moment’s notice and walk off into the savannah – the epitome of freedom.

It also meant that no family was ever without shelter because shelter was unaffordable, unlike in today’s world where many families become homeless if they experience a financial upset midway through their mortgage.

In many parts of Africa, the huts were renovated and renewed once a year, after the harvest season and before the next rains. This was the period with the least work and was like a holiday. The harvest was in, and next agricultural season had not yet begun. The women renovated the walls of the huts by plastering with a new layer of mud or clay. White or ochre-coloured river clay was used as a cosmetic finish inside and outside the hut, as well as on the floor. Communities that had no access to river clay used a mixture of cow-dung and mud, or ash.

A good African housewife took this duty as seriously as caring for her own body. A capable wife could be identified by her impeccably-kept hut(s). The regular renovation also served an important hygienic function: river clay is a very clean and wholesome material that discourages the breeding of insects and other pests. Both clay and dried cow dung are similar to ash in this respect. Cooking-fire ash from non-poisonous burnt wood is pure enough to be used as an alternative for toothpaste.

Renovation also gave the woman a creative outlet: she could paint whatever motifs on her walls that she wished. The men re-thatched the hut(s), using grass, such as elephant grass which was mostly cut by the women. Among the Masaai, the women did the renovation work as the men were often occupied with the full-time job of protecting the tribe from lions and other dangers lurking in the savannah.

A very satisfying effect of this yearly renewal was the psychological effect. There was an atmosphere of renewal every year; of new life, of a fresh start, of soul cleansing and a doing away with the past. Every year. This is a very healthy psychological perspective. Festivals featuring dancing and feasting also accompanied this period.

In today’s world, acquiring a home has such a finality to it. A sense of being rooted and captured by one building for one’s lifetime.

Because they were low-cost, huts were also very flexible. One could build a homestead of huts: one for cooking, another for sleeping, another for receiving visitors, and so on. Every time one needed a new hut, one simply built one. Adolescent boys were given a piece of land where they could build their own huts, a distance away from the rest of the family. Their privacy was assured, and their activities within their huts were nobody’s concern. A lot of adolescents today would appreciate the idea of having one’s own hut.

Huts are very comfortable and exactly right for many parts of Africa. This is mainly because of the building materials used. Both clay and grass are good insulators, but are porous, and so allow a free flow of air. It is often very hot during the afternoons in Africa. The hut remains cool and is a welcome resting place. At night, when temperatures fall, the hut retains its daytime temperature, keeping the inhabitants warm.

Huts are also very low-maintenance. A well-renovated hut only needs to be swept once a day with a straw broom. There was no need to wipe, polish or dust. Accidents with liquids were undramatic because the liquid was simply absorbed into the earth. The only real danger was fire, since the thatched roofs could burn very quickly, trapping the people inside.

Recently, an architectural team in Switzerland has ‘discovered’ the virtues of clay as a building material. Clay is a strong, durable material that is easy to work with. Applied correctly, it can be used to build structures that are stable, durable and aesthetic without necessitating the use of paint and cement. Most important of all, clay is healthy. It has now been proven that clay filters out toxins from the environment. Modern building materials like cements, paint, fillers and metals release toxins that compromise human health and well-being. A building made of clay or mud is completely eco-friendly, provided the initial source was safe.

The Africans knew that a long time ago. Huts, made of natural ‘earth’ materials, fitted in with their basic philosophy of drawing on nature for all their needs, and only in the amounts that were needed. For example, calabashes and gourds were used as containers for milk, water, local beer, porridge, honey or any other liquid. Cooking pots were made of clay, as were water pots. Cooking sticks were made of wood.

Water stored in a clay pot has a pleasant, natural coolness, and smells of earth. Drunk out of a calabash, it has an additional woody flavour. Food cooked in a clay pot over a wood fire retains an inimitable earthy aroma, especially fresh beans or meat dishes.

Sleeping mats or sitting mats were woven out of rushes or made of animal skin, as was clothing. Some people constructed a raised clay platform covered with animal skins or rush mats to act as a seat or a bed. Stools were made of wood or woven from rushes. Women wore jewelry made from bone, horn, wood, stone, clay, beads or woven rushes. Foodstuffs were carried or stored in woven rush baskets or clay pots.

This philosophy of living in harmony with the bounty of nature led to zero garbage, since everything was biodegradable. Indeed, until the advent of modernity and urbanisation, Africa was a continent of natural beauty preserved in its entirety.

Sadly, present-day Africans are jumping wholesale onto the bandwagon of expensive homes built of derived materials, which require a lifetime to pay for and a fortune to repair and maintain. The materials used in modern buildings trap heat, smells and moisture and are often derived using procedures that harm the environment. The houses lack the wellness effect of sitting in a hut built entirely out of the earth. They are in keeping with the modern day trends of inflated consumerism, self-definition through possession and a careless disregard for the planet.

Happily, some are rediscovering the enchantment of huts. They have been re-designed in some cases to be much larger, with large windows, or combined in intersecting or interconnecting structures. A famous hotel in Nairobi, Kenya is built using this concept, with treated straw used for thatching.

Indeed, more and more people are re-discovering why Africans lived in huts.

Advantages of Ash Wood

The Ash tree belongs to the Oleaceae (olive) Family with about 70 species in the world. Of these the White Ash and Black Ash are the ones that are used predominantly in the lumber industry. Ash wood trees grow throughout the world in places as wide apart as North America, Europe, North Africa and South West Asia. White Ash has a clear white to pale yellow sapwood, with the heartwood leaning more to the light to medium brown tones. Due to greater supply, Ash furniture tends to be more easily available and is cheaper too, in comparison to Oak. Ash wood has the same high quality standards as Oak, but, at a more affordable cost.

Versatile

Ash wood is versatile and can be used in a variety of applications from tools to sports equipment and even furniture. Black Ash is a medium dense wood, similar to a Black Walnut, but softer than White Ash. Black Ash can be used for making baskets and other more detailed work because of its layered characteristics.

White Ash is often substituted for Oak. The wood of White Ash is similar to Red Oak in appearance and characteristics; when stained, it looks like Oak as the grain pattern of the two woods is similar. This allows Ash wood to be used in different types of furniture, modern contemporary Ash furniture designs, and also more traditionally designed furniture.

Ash wood is odor free because of which it can be used to make serving utensils.

Easy to Handle and Durable

Ash is a “user-friendly” wood, and takes easily to nails, screws and glue. Though it is hard, the wood bends well and allows a smooth finish because stain and paint adhere well to the wood.

The wood of Ash is typically easy to sand and machine. It is also easy to carve.

This is resistant to decay in the heartwood. This makes it durable and requires low maintenance.

Shock Resistant

Ash Wood has a Janka rating of 1320, making it between red and white Oak in hardness. This makes it a good choice for flooring in high traffic areas, or areas that are susceptible to rough usage, such as for use in kitchens. Ash hardwood floors are durable and shock resistant. Though it is hard, the wood bends well.

Ash wood has the best strength to weight ratio and is therefore used to make baseball bats. Since most players do not want a bat greater than 32 oz. this becomes significant. It is also used for tool handles and other sports equipment.

Thunder Explained

Let me set the scene; off somewhere in the distance the sky is dark, the winds pick up and the temperature drops slightly, those dark clouds are soon overhead and suddenly the sky lights up with a bolt of lightning followed by a booming clap of thunder. Thousands of years ago your first thought may have been that the gods were arguing and Zeus just thread the first punch, but today science has given us a slightly more reasonable explanation.

First things first; thunder comes with lightning and vice versa. In fact thunder is created because of lightning which is why you will always experience the two together. In that case we should to a quick overview of how lighting works. When lighting occurs it can heat the air to 70,000 in just a few milliseconds – now that's hot! With the air heating up so fast to such a hot temperature something dramatic must happen and if you've been in a thunder and lightning storm you know just how dramatic it can be – maybe you've joined your dog whimpering in the closet a few times or maybe you've had to peel your cat off the ceiling. The drama happens because a high majority of the electrical energy from lightning is transformed into heat and disappears into the atmosphere but less than 1% of the energy from lightning is converted into sound while the rest is converted into light and this is where thunder comes into play.

With this huge increase in pressure and temperature the air expends aggressively – think of your emotions when someone cuts in front of you in line after you've been waiting for an hour – at a rate faster than the rate of sound. After that shock wave goes beyond 30 feet it becomes the sound wave that we all know as thunder. It is very similar to a sonic boom created as a jet executes a flyby. Thunder is basically exploding air that moves along lighting. There are a few variables that will greater or less the loudness – which is measured in decibels – of the thunder and those include humidity, wind velocity, temperature and clouds.

The science community has certainly come a long way from the earliest belief that thunder was part of the arsenal of the gods or that it was a collision of the clouds.

The Best Carpet Choices

There is a lot more to picking out a carpet that you might realize, but carpet retailers are here to help. From the fiber to the cut, style and color there are an awful variety of carpets to choose from for almost every conceivable purpose. Carpeting is manufactured for indoor or outdoor use, there are even carpet squares that are affixed a lot like vinyl flooring tiles. New materials and techniques have sped up the process and made the carpets of today more durable to stand up to the wear and tear of the modern world. Carpet that is correctly chosen and installed will last around 20 years with proper care.

Different Types Of Fibers

Nearly every carpet today is made with synthetic fibers, nylon and olefin (polypropylene) being the two major fibers that a large majority of the carpets today are composed of. Olefin in particular makes an excellent choice for indoors or out. Natural fibers, such as wool, are more expensive and not nearly as easy to maintain as synthetics. Acrylic and polyester are also synthetics that are commonly used. Synthetics are often blended for added durability and ease of maintenance. A new trend in the carpeting industry is leasing towards Eco-friendship and much carpeting is manufactured from recycled materials.

The types of carpet that your carpet distributor can offer you is immense. Probably the most popular type is the cut pile, if you cut the looped strands of yarn that make up the carpet it creates a tufted strand that can be cut to any length depending on the customers' desires. As with any type of carpet durability is determined by the type of fiber used and how it is constructed. For example, if the tufts of yarn are given a couple extra twists, then its durability is increased.

Many Different Types And Styles

Loop pile carpeting is another type that is becoming increasingly popular in the carpet community. The loops that are affected in a cut pile carpet remain untouched to provide a level loop appearance. It is easy to maintain, but needs to be vacuumed often to prevent soil from working its way inside the loops. Patterned loop carpets are created when the loops are of varying height to give the appearance of a design, usually geometric in nature. While loop carpeting tend to be more durable than cut pile it is not as soft and luxurious.

Berber carpeting has made a comeback in recent years and is available major carpet outlets. Originating from Morocco, their compact loop construction makes them very durable for high traffic areas, but again, not as comfortable as cut piles, but it works very well in office and school settings where no one is likely to be running around barefoot anyway or very high traffic areas of the house. Hand woven Berber can still be found, but is very expensive and has been widely replaced by carpets created by mechanical means. Berber is stain resistant and reliably inexpensively when you consider the use that you will get out of them.

Loop And Cut Pile

Loop and cut pile carpet techniques are also combined to give a textured appearance throughout the carpet. The loops appear lighter in color than the cut pile tufts and can create some very interesting patterns. These carpets normally come in solid colors and provide above average performance. It also creates an informal and cozy look. Because of the unique patterns that they display, this type of carpet tends to hide dirt a bit better than others although that should not be a concern for those who care for their carpets properly.

One other type of carpet that holds a small niche in carpet market is the plush or velvet type. These carpets are made by twisting the tufts of carpet in the same direction just slightly. Their luxurious appearance makes them perfect for formal areas or up the risers of a sweeping staircase. They are harder to care for than other carpets nor do they provide the durability of other carpeting options as they do not hold up well under heavy traffic. They tend to show every footprint and vacuum trail although these marks are easily brushed out.

Do not Forget The Pad

Whiche carpet type and style you pick them all require an under pad that, when properly chosen, help reduce wear and tear and makes the carpet more comfortable. Be certain to put as much thought and research into the choice of the pad as you did for the carpet. Different carpets perform at their best with the proper choice of pad. Rebound carpet pads are the most popular, but others are made of foam while others still are waffle shaped to increase shock absorption.

The advent of synthetic materials has made carpet care much easier. Not only in durability, but in ease of cleaning. Substances such as olefin and nylon are more soil and stain resistant than natural fibers and make them much easier to care for on your own without having to call in a professional, although any carpet should be cleaned at least every six months as part of any carpet maintenance regimen. Vacuum all carpets regularly. Consult your local carpet professional if you have any questions about the proper way to care for the carpets in your home.

As much as choosing the proper carpeting for your needs is important, it is also important to choose the correct carpet distributor. Find one that is a warehouse of carpets, as well as all floor coverings that employs knowledgeable personnel and carries the supplies, hardware and amenities that you need from reputable companies in the industry. You normally pay less at established distributors due to their high volume of sales. Many provide installation services and free estimation, carpet can be installed directly by homeowners, but depending on the size of the job can be quite the undertaking. Whatever type of carpet you buy or hire someone to install it or lay it yourself a one stop shop for all your flooring needs is essential.

Retinal Detachment – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

The retina is an extremely thin tissue that lines the extreme back of the eye and is basically responsible for the assimilation of visual data, which is then transmitted to the brain by the optic nerve for interpretation. A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying tissue, usually due to trauma, bleeding, extreme near-sightedness, medications or surgery. This condition invariably leads to complete loss of vision, and needs to be treated urgently. Currently, surgery is the only viable medical option in the management of retinal detachment.

The limitations of surgery are that eyesight may not be regained for several months, and recovery may be only partial. In addition, complications like infection and recurrence of retinal detachment are also possible. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can be quite useful in these situations as supportive therapy, to prevent bleeding, reduce the severity of damage to the retina, induce faster healing, salvage the maximum possible vision in the affected eye, and prevent a recurrence of the condition.

Ayurvedic medicines like Tapyadi -Loh, Laxadi-Guggulu, Usheerasav, Saarivasav, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Triphala-Ghrut, Punarnavadi-Mandur, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, and Gokshuradi-Guggulu can be used to reduce or prevent swelling and bleeding in the interior of the eyes. Herbal medicines like Laxa (Purified wax), Naagkeshar (Messua ferrea), Sphatik Bhasma (Purified alum), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), and Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia) can also be used for this purpose.

Medicines like Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Tapyadi-Loh, Ekangveer-Ras, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Yashtimadhuk (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) are used to minimize eye damage and induce faster healing.

Further damage can be prevented by treating known risk factors like diabetes and hypertension, and by boosting the immune status of the body by using medicines like Abhrak-Bhasma, Trivang-Bhasma, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Parpati, Panchamrut-Parpati , Panch-Tikta-Ghrut and Maha-Triphala-Ghrut.

Retinal detachment is currently a medical condition which is difficult to treat and therefore, the potential contribution of Ayurvedic herbal treatment assumes special significance. It is important that all such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of a team of Ophthalmologists.

History of Skincare Part 13: The Elizabethan Era, 1500-1599

A Northern Renaissance

It took nearly one hundred years for the Italian Renaissance to catch up with the British Isles, but when it did, the results were spectacular. Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, England began a quest of expansion that saw the creation of new colonies throughout the world. Large portions of India, Africa and North America were built up under British rule. While the merits of British colonialism may be debatable, however, there is no doubt that the Elizabethan Era represented an expansion of thought as well as an expansion of political power. Legendary playwrights and poets such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare based their works on the same Classical material that had inspired the Italians a century earlier. Clothing became increasingly elaborate and make-up quickly followed suit. At a time when a much greater emphasis was put on appearance than on health, however, hygiene and skincare often fell by the wayside.

The Elizabethan Look

During this time, Queen Elizabeth’s look ruled the hearts and minds of British women. While clothing had become increasingly structured throughout the later part of the Middle Ages, Elizabeth took this sense of structure to new heights. Tight corsets were worn to give the body a smooth, shaped appearance. While proper hoop skirts had yet to be invented, women tied large pieces of padding around their hips to thrust their skirts out into wide, oblong hoops. Starched ruffles were worn around the neck and hair was often pinned into elaborate up-do’s. In spite of the extreme ornamentation of their clothing, however, the face was still the focal point of the look and cosmetics took on a much greater importance than they had in Medieval England.

Queen Elizabeth is often credited with being the first of her time to adopt a completely made-up appearance. While she may have been the first, however, the noblewomen of Britain quickly followed suit. Women would paint their faces with a white powder referred to as Venetian ceruse. The best ceruse was made of lead, carbonate and hydroxide. Less expensive alternatives were made from talc or boiled egg, although these were considered to be less effective. Once the heavy powder was applied to the face, women would rouge their cheeks with a red paint called fucus and paint their lips with vermilion. The first lip sticks were made during this time by putting sun-dried vermilion and ground plaster into a device similar to a pen. (Go here to learn more about the Elizabethan lipstick-making process: http://www.cosmetic-business.com/en/showartikel.php?art_id=1409 ) To add a glazed appearance to their look, women would coat their face, make-up and all, in a layer of egg white.

The Great Coverup

During the Elizabethan Era, elaborate make-up was seen as a sign of nobility, because few common people could afford the lead powders and dried vermilion used to create the popular look. As the century wore on, however, cosmetics also began to be associated with disease. Poor hygiene had led to a number of serious plague and smallpox outbreaks and many survivors still carried horrible scars and pock marks on their faces. While disease was rampant among rich and poor alike, only the rich had access to the expensive cosmetics that would cover their scars. Strengthening the connection between make-up and poor health, doctors at this time began to discover that lead powder was not as safe as had previously been thought. Women rarely washed their faces, choosing instead to layer new powder over the old, and years of this treatment were found to turn the skin underneath a dull shade of gray. While many doctors recommended switching to an alum or tin-ash based powder, lead prevailed in popularity.

Many women went great lengths of time without cleaning the powder from their faces. When they did want to remove their make-up, however, they found that the thick, caked-on lead was not easily removed with water alone. In order to strip the cosmetic layers, they turned to a combination of skincare science and superstition, washing their faces with everything from gentle rainwater or donkey’s milk to more astringent red wine or urine. Mercury was also among the common skin care products used to treat acne, wrinkles, scars and discoloration. While it did effectively remove these blemishes, it did so by corroding the surface of the skin and often caused scars that were far worse than those it removed. (Go here to learn more about Elizabethan cosmetics and hygiene: http://www.fragrancex.com/fragrance-information/elizabethan-makeup.aspx )

In spite of the health concerns of the day, Elizabethan women were known for their excessive beauty and cosmetic practices. It was these excesses, among others, however, that would cause a Puritan revolt in the next century and see Oliver Cromwell take control of the British throne.

How to Date Your Grandfather Clock

If your grandfather clock has a brass dial, it was probably made in the period between 1680 and 1770. The early brass dial clocks only had one hand, because the average person had no need of knowing the time to the nearest minute, and with a bit of practise you can tell the time to the nearest five minutes on one of these early (and rare) clocks.

By 1730 the vast majority of grandfather clocks had two hands, for the hours and minutes. One-handed clocks continued to be made in country areas for a while after 1730. Village life was very conservative, and the people living in villages at this time still had no real need of “to the minute” time.

From around 1730 (all these figures are approximate all the way through this article) the brass dial clock was made all over England in ever-increasing numbers, and the dials became more ornate as time went on, especially on the eight-day clocks. More features appeared, such as seconds hands in a small subsidiary dial, date hands or wheels, and moon phases, usually in an arch on top of the dial, but sometimes in small aperture in the dial itself

The easier clocks to date, and the ones most popular in America, are the painted dial clocks, often called “white dial clocks” in Britain.

Painted dial clocks appeared about 1765 to 1780, and after this the brass dial clock ceased to be made, again with just a few exceptions in rural areas, especially the far southern counties of England. The majority of English grandfather clocks were made in The Midlands and the North of England. The new painted dial was cheaper and easier to produce and easier to read by the poor light available at night, so the brass dial was dropped from production over a very brief period, for our purposes it is fair to say that no brass dial clock was made in the big clock making centres after 1780.

It may be worth a mention here that the clocks we are talking about were no different apart from the dial itself; everything else remained the same in both cases, only the dial changed.

Fortunately the painted dials then followed a certain progression as the fashions slowly changed over time, this means that we can usually date a clock to the nearest five to ten years. – – – And it also means we can see at a glance the important features without having to dismantle the clock.

The first white dials from 1770 to 1800 were lovely, simply and sparingly decorated, and with much of the white background showing. Decoration consisted of spandrels painted on in gold paint in the four corners, (probably to resemble the cast brass spandrels fitted to brass dials.) Sometimes a swag of flowers or similar was painted on the dial face, but again very sparingly and restrained. The hands were made of steel, very fine, often blued or blacked and not exactly matching.

Another year indication of an early dial is the use of dots for the minutes with small Arabic numerals round the dial at 5, 10, 15 minutes etc. The hours are marked by Roman Numerals.

From 1800 to around 1830 the style of the dial changed slightly, matching steel hands were used from now on. The minutes were still dots and not the lines inside two narrow concentric circles that we are used to, but the minute numbers changed to the quarters only, instead of every five minutes. The missing numbers were often replaced with little symbols, often looking like stars.

At this time also it became fashionable to use Arabic numerals for the hours instead of Roman numerals. The painted background decoration is starting to spread out too; arched dials have a scene painted in the arch, often with a spray of flowers on each side. The corner painting is spreading a little too, and the imitation spandrels are now often geometric designs, or a fan shape, or a floral design, which fills the corner.

Now we come to the later clocks, of around 1830 to 1880. In the North of England after 1830 grandfather clocks gradually got bigger and bigger, until by the end of the period some of them were huge – – – the dials were often fifteen inches wide and the clocks were eight feet tall, sometimes nine feet or more.

Given the larger area of dial to be decorated the dial painters went to town, the corner paintings became little masterpieces in their own right, and the decoration spread from the corner right up the side of the dial circle, to meet the next corner painting, and so on. Most of these clocks have an arched dial, and the artist painted in a large scene, often a biblical illustration, or a country scene, a nautical scene, a ruined abbey, or something ordered specially by the customer.

The hours have gone back to Roman numerals and stay that way; the hands are now highly decorated brass and matching. These brass hands were used after 1830 for the rest of the period when grandfather clocks were made, in other words up to 1880, possibly in a few rare cases to 1890.

The minutes are shown by a minute band, two concentric circles close together, with lines inside to represent each minute and no minute numbers at all. Date and seconds subsidiary dials are usual now, and the small ornate hands fitted to these are also brass and matching.

To finish off, here is a quick guide to the various features and their dates:

(Of course, all dates are approximate, to the nearest ten years.)

Numbering

Dotted Minutes – 1770 to 1800

Minutes numbered every five minutes – 1770 to 1800

Minutes numbered every quarter hour – 1800 to 1820

No minute numbers – 1820 to 1880

Roman hour numerals – 1770 to1800 then 1825 to1880

Arabic hour numerals – 1800 to 1825

Full minute band – 1815 to 1880

Corner decoration

Flowers or fruit – 1770 to 1800

Fans, shells or abstract – 1790 to 1830

No painting – left blank – 1780 to 1820

Gold imitation spandrels – 1775 to 1785

Arch decoration

Name of maker – 1770 to 1780

Flowers or birds – 1770 to 1795

Small painting on white background – 1795 to 1815

Full painted scene – 1820 to 1880

Moon dial – 1770 to 1830

Dial size

10″ to 13″ – 1770 to 1810

13″ to 15″ – 1810 to 1880

Square dial – 1770 to 1825

Arch dial – 1770 to 1880

Hands

Steel – 1770 to 1815

Brass – 1815 to 1880