Important Things to Remember When Looking for Workout Gear

Choosing the right workout gear is very important. The clothes you need to wear should provide more comfort when doing your routine. This will help you enhance your performance when working out. The first thing you need to consider is getting the right size. Make sure the fit is not too tight or loose. Other than this, there are more things you need to consider. To give you more ideas, here are some guidelines when looking for workout gears.

The "breathable blends"

When looking for workout clothes, choose the materials that can wick or draw away moisture from your skin. This is very important especially for those moderate to advanced workouts where you sweat a lot, as evaporating sweat is what cools down your body. Most athletes prefer synthetic blends because of its ability to "breathe." Avoid using clothes made of cotton. These can retain moisture against your body. Use clothes made from polyester, spandex, or nylon.

Choosing the right fit

The clothes you need to wear should allow a free range of motion. It should not "pinch" or overly restrictive. Avoid using clothes with too many straps or those that chafe under the armpits or inner thigh areas. These things can disrupt you when working out. For activities such as Pilates or yoga, stretchy, fitted fabrics that wick away sweat is your best choice.

Look good, feel good

Other than comfort and function, you should also consider style. You can always look good by choosing the right fitness accessories. Instead of wearing oversized clothes, look for simpler but stylish clothes. Most women today prefer wearing colorful transitional pieces, which they can wear in and outside the gym. Search online for more fitness accessories you can use. Some items you can find are hooded jackets, jogging pants, running skirts, flared pants, and air cool jerseys.

Choosing the right footwear

As in any other sports, you need to find the right shoes for your needs. Ask your instructor for some recommendations. Most athletes today prefer cross cross-training shoes when going to the gym. This is because they provide the best cushion and transaction when working out or running on inclined planes. It is also advisable to choose the right size to prevent common injuries. This should also come with a comfortable pair of socks.

Considering your safety

Your safety should always come first. Anytime you run or bike outside, consider wearing bright, reflective clothing. Look for safety gears such as helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads. You should also wear gym gloves when lifting dumbbells or doing your bench-press.

Workout clothes: Changing seasons

Hot season – During warm summer months, make sure to choose the fabrics, which allow your skin to breathe and wick sweat away. Wear clothes that are cool and comfortable, and allow you to move freely.

Cold season -You'll need to dress warmly when it's cold outside, but keep in mind that you'll be working out. Dress in layers you can remove. Keep seat-wicking fabrics on your inner layer, and put an insulating layer on top. Always cover your head, ears, and hands to protect them from cold.

3 More Foods To Avoid If You Have H Pylori

H pylori infections are relatively common. Some people develop nasty symptoms, whereas others do not. The majority of people who do develop symptoms experience problems in the upper GI tract, such as heartburn, bloating and stomach pain, though some may also develop lower GI symptoms such as diarrhea.

What many folk don’t realize is that a number of commonly eaten foods can cause exactly the same – or similar – symptoms as H pylori. This can lead to confusion. First, H pylori can be successfully eradicated only for symptoms to remain if these irritating foods are not avoided. Second, symptoms can all go away when people avoid these foods, even when H pylori is still present.

Thus, eradicating H pylori and overcoming symptoms are not necessarily the same thing! Unfortunately, the medical system does not address foods and diet when treating patients who have H pylori. But think about it: the foods that you put in your mouth day in, day out, are sure to influence the health of your gut.

Fortunately, it’s relatively simple to avoid these trouble-causing foods, as long as you know the what alternative foods are available.

In a previous article on this topic, I explained how gluten, coffee and soy-based foods can all irritate the stomach and intestinal lining in much the same way as H pylori does. Gluten and soy, in particular, are enormous problem foods. The author is allergic to soy, develops flatulence and loose stools when eating it and can attest first hand to the problems this so-called health food can cause.

Three more foods that can act as major irritants to the gut are cow’s milk, especially when heavily processed, spicy foods and polyunsaturated oils from seeds and nuts.

Cow’s milk:

Cow’s milk is actually the number one allergy causing food on the planet. It presents a conundrum because some people do very well consuming cow’s milk products. However some people are very sensitive to the sugar (lactose) and protein (casein) in milk, developing digestive symptoms, skin problems and other symptoms when they consume milk.

I recommend my clients avoid cow’s milk for 60-days, then reintroduce it, noting how they feel. In the meantime, I recommend they consume goat and sheep’s milk products, which tend to be more compatible with the human gut.

Spicy foods:

Because H pylori damages the delicate lining of the digestive system – particularly the stomach and upper intestine – spicy foods can exacerbate irritation in those areas.

However, there is a caveat here, which is that certain spices, including chilli of all things, can have anti-H pylori properties.

Again, I recommend to my clients that avoid spicy food if it causes problems, but if they feel OK eating spices, I tend to encourage their use from a therapeutic perspective.

Polyunsaturated oils:

This is probably the most controversial topic because seed and nut oils are heavily promoted as being healthy options and should replace the likes of butter.

This is false, dogmatic information. Seeds oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn, soybean and nut oils are damaging to the body, especially when consumed at levels seen in today’s society. They interfere with the body’s ability to make energy, disrupt thyroid gland function and oxidize readily in the body, setting the scene for cancer and heart disease.

Specifically, these oils affect the gut by down-regulating the activity of certain enzymes that help break down food. When food is not broken down properly, it can be putrefied in the gut, causing wind, bloating, loose stools or constipation.

I recommend coconut oil, olive oil (which has a different composition to the other vegetable and seed oils) and organic goat’s butter as optimal sources of dietary fat.

Olive oil has been shown to have anti-H pylori properties and coconut oil contains lauric acid, which also has anti-H pylori activity. Thus, not only are these oils non-disruptive to the gut, they may also assist in killing the H pylori.

In summary, if you have H pylori, avoiding cow’s milk for 60-days and removing spicy foods may assist in quickly reducing digestive symptoms. Avoiding seed oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn and soybean oil has the potential to improve all aspects of your health.

Importance of T-Shirt Designing in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry has accepted T-shirts designing as important and it has gained popularity and growth since a couple of years ago as compared to other clothing styles. The trend in wearing tees will be changing fast because people want to wear something which is different and unique. This is the reason why they have lifted their focus from wearing conventional clothes to designer t-shirts. They find it quite exciting to display their feelings on personalities on T shirts. With the advances in technology; This has become possible and faster process to come up with unique designs and creativity for t-shirts. People are given option to design their own t-shirts and get what they want. T-shirts have become popular along people of almost every age including young, old, children, men and women.

Many good and skilled designers have bright opportunities to make presence in fashion industry and grab the opportunities to explore fashion industry. T-shirts designing can be one of the platform as graphic designers are able to design the t-shirts of various styles such as pet shop, hip-hop and sports t-shirts. There are numerous websites which are providing facilities to people to design Tees online and submit their designs to some of the brand companies. This opportunity can be beneficial for those who want to make place in fashion industry for t-shirt designing. T-shirt designing has opened the doors for many aspirants as this has emerged as new and growing segment in the fashion industry for recent years.

You have wider spectrum opened in front of you as people are considering various options for fashion and styles. With some nice designs and creativity; you will be able to get good customers for your clothing styles. There are a number of companies which are giving opportunities to new people as graphic designers for t-shirts. People have preferred t-shirts because of their comfort and styles and they consider it cool to design their own t-shirts. You can get in touch with people to invite their ideas and opinions for t-shirt designing. T-shirt designing is considered as money making profession in fashion industry because of its popularity and growth.

T-shirts designing requires constant efforts and innovative ideas so that designers are able to give people what they want. If you want to earn more in fashion industry; you have to work towards customer's satisfaction and you can achieve this only if you have given what they want.

It is highly recommended to do a market research so that t-shirts can be made more impressive than ever. You can invite people to take part in the contest and get their feedbacks so that you get the suggestions directly from your buyers. T-shirt designing will be gaining more popularity as people now prefer tees as clothing options and looking for something which is completely stylish and display their thoughts. Fashion industry has accepted t-shirt designing to great extent and this is the reason why people are becoming more aware of importance of t-shirts designing in fashion industry.

How to Wash Smelly Sneakers and Rubber Shoes Using Your Washing Machine

Smelly sneakers need to be cleaned and washed immediately. Otherwise, this will breed bacteria that may trigger the appearance of skin diseases such as athlete's foot. But you do not have to do this manually. If you have a washing machine, you can do it using your washer.

Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to clean your dirty shoes:

Step 1: If it has shoe laces, remove it first. Other shoes are fastened using Velcro and it is okay to wash that using your washing machine. But the shoe laces have to be removed first. You can include this with your other laundry. Once it is cleaned, you can just hang it to dry completely.

Step 2: Mix your cleaning solution. If it is reliably clean, you only need to use a mild soap. However, I suggest you use a disinfecting detergent specifically used for shoes. Before you buy it, check if it is a good choice for the materials of your shoes. If you are using canvas sneaker, make sure the detergent you are using will work well with canvas materials.

Step 3: Apply the solution to the dirtiest areas first. You might also want to sprinkle baking soda if it is extremely smelly. After treating it with the solution, place it in a net bag. You use this for exclusive clothes but you can also use this to hold shoes together.

Step 4: Set washing machine to the hot water cycle. And use the gentle washing cycle. Add a bit more of the solution to the washing cycle and allow the machine to finish cleaning your shoes.

Step 5: Use the slow spin speed so it can tumble and extract some of the excess water. When the cycle is done, hang it in a warm and sunny place to dry completely.

You might want to clean your washer afterwards as the dirt from your sneakers will be left on the washing machine's drum. If you do not immediately clean it off, it might cause a smelly washer and you do not want that to happen.

Using baking soda is also a good choice for a cleaning solution if you do not have a detergent used for athletic shoes ready. Just sprinkle it before washing your shoes. If it is still smelly after drying it completely, sprinkle it again with baking soda for an effective way of diffusing the smell.

Dust and Carpet

For those of you not in the know Phoenix, Arizona is a desert, complete with cactus, sand, tumbleweeds, stores that sell cowboy boots and dust, lots and lots of dust. It's not poor Phoenix's fault that it was placed right in the middle of a desert but we residents make the most of it by adding pools, grass, golf courses and shopping malls amongst others. When one of the many and growing numbers of Phoenix citizens utilizes these fine additions that they enter in to the dust that we fondly refer to outside. Unfortunately this dust, while adding to the exceptional landscape, sticks to shoes, enters inside of every home and can seriously affect your carpeting. After a short period of time every Valley resident will notice build up of dust and dirt around their front doors (inside and outside), windows, back yards and back door and along their floor boards.

It is a wise decision to have a good and reliable vacuum on hand for all Phoenix area homes to keep the dust and its build up in check, as the more that accrues the easier it is for stains, streaks and soiling to occur in your carpeting . If any moisture is present in the carpet it will only make matters worse bringing more staining and mess to the surface. Carpet cleaning is one of the most proactive forms of fighting damage to your carpets by merely scheduling a regular visit every half a year to year for your residential carpet cleaning needs. This will allow for appropriate cleaning and longevity, as well as stunning appearance for you home and its flooring and even help with health issues.

The dust, while containing dirt and other items that can soil your carpets also contain microbes and mites. In Phoenix we have a condition known as Valley Fever which is a fungus that turns into a mold and is breathed in when the dust and soil it resides in is disturbed.

House dust mites are said to be a cause of asthma, different forms of eczema and nasal allergies. These fancy critters eat the dust in our homes that is actually the skin that has been discarded from our bodies. While there is quite a lot of this in a persons bed this sort of "dust" is everywhere in a persons home and regular washing, vacuuming and carpet cleaning will help in lowering you chances of incident with these always present bugs.

With unrivaled construction next to most neighborhoods, never ending road work and high winds during monsoon season these different organisms can certainly affect various people as well as wreak havoc for any sufferer of allergies and asthma. Many of these creatures thrive when moisture is present so be sure to keep moisture to a minimum.

Dust also collects on our air conditioners and heating units causing it to infiltrate homes even further. To be sure to keep the dust that is everywhere from really affecting you and your carpeting, consult with a professional carpet cleaning company to develop a cleaning and care strategy that works best for you!

Small Fireplaces – Gel Fuel, Electric, Wall Mounted or Digital?

Although most of today's homes no longer rely on a fireplace for heating purposes, they are still in high demand. Fireplaces will always have a special allure. The vision of cozying up in front of a roaring fire, mug of hot chocolate in hand, while snow falls gently outside the window or sitting in front of a rippling fire while you and your beloved spend a romantic evening together are two appealing scenarios that may come to mind when thinking of a fireplace. If you live in a small home, apartment or condominium, you may not have the luxury of a built-in fireplace. However, today you can purchase a fireplace that would fit into even the smallest of spaces. There are various options to choose from.

These include:

  • Virtual / Digital fireplaces
  • Compact fireplaces
  • Wall-mounted fireplaces
  • Tabletop fireplaces

Whatever your style leans more toward modern, contemporary or anywhere in-between, one of the above-mentioned fireplaces would suite it perfectly.

Electric or Gel Fuel Fireplaces

When looking into purchasing a fireplace for your small space, you will discover that some use gel fuel and others electric. The advantages are both eco-friendly, do not require venting or special hook-ups and are clean and odor-free. However, you may want to consider the cost and convenience of both before making a particular small space fireplace purchase.

Gel Fuel

Each gel fuel can lasts approximately 3 hours. They come in a case of twenty-four and cost $ 65 on average. By doing the calculations, it can be determined that one case of gel fuel will last around 72 hours. Due to the cost, most retailers will inform you that small fireplaces that run on gel fuel are mainly for decorative purposes rather than heating.

Electric

The advantage of purchasing a small fireplace that runs on electricity is the ease of use. It is also unnecessary to spend your valuable time (not to mention gas), to make trips to the store to get what is required to keep the fireplace going. The disadvantage is that your electric bill may increase significantly. However, this can be remedied by monitoring the amount of time the fireplace is in use.

Virtual / Digital Fireplaces for Small Spaces

Many may not consider a virtual fireplace as a serious fireplace option. However, before it is written off completely, it should be noted that today's technology has bought the virtual fireplace a long way from the mock fireplaces of yesteryear. Today's virtual fireplaces are basically a DVD that you put into your television or personal computer that creates a realistic illusion of a crackling fire. The DVD loops around and plays continuously until you turn it off.

Depending on your expectations, you may find yourself disappointed either by the quality of the video or that it is just not "real" enough for you. However, a virtual fireplace is perfect for small spaces. If you have room for a television or computer, you are already one step closer to having a fireplace. It may only be a facsimile of the real thing, but it is worth looking into if you have limited space and you want to add an ambiance of romance or the cozy cozy that adds a room.

Compact Fireplaces Made for Small Spaces

A normal size fireplace is around 40-50 inches wide. Those in the range of 25-35 inches wide would classify as a compact or small fireplace. Most traditional fireplaces are available only in floor models. Compact fireplaces are wonderful space savers as many are designed as corner units.

Wall-Mounted Fireplaces Perfect for Small Spaces

Wall-mounted fireplaces obviously take up no floor space. For that reason alone, a wall-mounted fireplace would have considered the ultimate in space saving design. If your style in décor is traditional, you may have difficulty finding a wall-mounted fireplace to suite your taste as most have a contemporary look and feel. However, as wall-mounted fireplaces increase in popularity, it is probable that the selection will grow offering more variety in design.

Tabletop Fireplaces Uniquely Designed for Small Spaces

Tabletop fireplaces are in one word "unique". If you are not wanting a floor model or wall-mounted fireplace, but you desire a small fireplace that is not only fun, but also out of the ordinary, then a tabletop fireplace may be just what you are searching for.

From a smokeless glass-fire tabletop fireplace made specifically to enhance the view of the dancing flames to a contemporary tabletop fireplace with stainless steel logs mounted on a slate base, these small scale fireplaces are miniature works of art that are bound to be great conversation starters .

Today, there are various options to choose from to have a cozy romantic fireplace in even the smallest of spaces. From compact, wall-mounted, tabletop, to a virtual / digital fireplace, there is sure to be one to suite any home or even office décor.

The Easiest Way to Measure for a Fireplace Grate

Making sure you have the correct measurements is a vital process when purchasing a brand-new fireplace grate. We will walk through the process to obtain the right measurements for a new fireplace grate.

You will need a few things to help you:

Measuring Tape for correct measurements, paper to write those measurements on and a pen or pencil to write with, and depending on the light levels in your room, a flashlight might help. We also recommend that you wear some clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, because there is a good chance you will get dirty and sometimes that soot is hard to get out of your clothing.

Step 1 – Measuring the Width:

Measure the width of your fireplace opening in the very back of your fireplace and write this measurement down. Make sure to get as far back as possible for the most precise dimensions, this is where the flashlight might be helpful.

Measure the width of your fireplace opening at the front of your fireplace and write this measurement down.

Now that you have both the back width and front width, deduct 6 inches from each dimension. If, for example, your front width is 42 inches, then you would subtract 6 inches, which would offer you a final width of 36 inches. If the rear width is of 38 3/4, you would round to the next whole number then subtract 6 inches for the final 32 inches.

You will need the rear width to make sure you are purchasing the right grate size, as they can be found in numerous various back widths. Some fireplaces have a radical taper and some fireplaces have no taper at all.

NOTE: The most common mistake when ordering a fireplace grate is to only look at the front width and ignore the rear width in a tapered fireplace. This typically ends up in a costly return after paying shipping. Be sure to confirm that all measurements before ordering.

Keep in mind that fireplace grates are categorized by their front width, you may need to look at several sizes before you find one that will fit your fireplace.

Step 2 – Measuring the Depth:

Measure the depth of your fireplace from the fireplace door, or from the beginning of the fireplace opening and write this measurement down.

Now that you have your depth dimension, deduct 6 inches from this measurement.

Ideally, you want to have about 3″ on all sides of the grate to ensure appropriate feature & air flow.

Step 3 – Find your Grate:

With these dimensions, you now have a guide to start searching for a new fireplace grate! We hope this short article was valuable to you.

What Are Panchaloha Idols and How Are They Manufactured?

As one of the oldest religions in the world, Hinduism carries a broad set of traditions, rituals and worship. Hinduism in the real sense is a way of righteous living and professes the unity of worship and the concept of a formless divine. But these are abstract concepts for many and the best way to help relate is through images. Over time, this was how the concept of various ‘Gods’ and ‘idol worship’ was developed, giving the free choice of worship ultimately to the individual. In this regard, Panchaloha idols play a key role in this regard.

Silpa Shastra is an ancient Hindu text dealing with arts and crafts and contains various design rules and standards. All idols whether stone or of metal have to be sculpted and manufactured according to these rules and prescribed rituals have to be followed both during manufacture and installation in order to obtain the correct benefits. Panchaloha idols are traditional idols of Gods fashioned from an alloy of 5 metals (silver, gold, copper, zinc and iron). The percentages in which these metals are used in the alloy varies between different regions in India.

The idol manufacturing process involves 2 steps. The first is the construction of the mould and the second is the actual creation of the idol. Initially, an image of the deity is created in wax with all the details. This wax is prepared by mixing paraffin wax, resin from the tree Damara Orientalis, and ground nut oil. Since wax produced by this method is quite hard, softer bee’s wax of high purity is mixed to make it easier to bring to life finer details.

To create a mould, the wax model is covered in layers of fresh clay and soil and then allowed to dry. Once the clay dries, it is heated to melt the wax and create a hollow mould. The melted Panchaloha metal alloy is then poured slowly into this mould to allow air bubbles to escape. This is then allowed to cool and solidify into the idol or deity. The cooling period varied between a few hours to a few days depending on the size of the statue and is judged based on experience. Finally, the craftsmen break the clay mold starting from the head of the statue to get the preliminary image. This image is then worked on to produce the final product.

The process has remained the same since the time of ancient dynasties like the Chera and the Chola and it is heartening to note that the art continues to thrive in various corners of India even today.

What Are The Best Shoes Or Sandals For Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is an amazing journey in so many ways, not the least of which is the way our bodies change. Our hormones, while transforming us into givers of life, also bring with them a number of uncomfortable side effects. Morning fatigue and tiredness are common in early pregnancy, however many women do not realize that the hormones of pregnancy may also lead to various aches and pains all over the body, especially the feet.

Relaxin, the hormone responsible for relaxing the ligaments of the pelvis, in order for it to open during childbirth, exerts its effect on all ligaments in the body. Relaxin combined with the additional weight most women carry through a pregnancy quite often leads to very sore, aching feet. Problems in the feet may cause a domino effect through the body: knee problems, hip aches, back ache and headaches. A simple solution is to invest in at least one pair of supportive and contoured shoes or sandals. Birkenstock footwear is one such brand that delivers unsurpassed support and comfort and is definitely the best brand to wear during pregnancy.

Birkenstock has many styles to choose from, and all feature the famous contoured foot-bed, offering strong arch support, a deep heel cup and toe grips. They are crafted out of all natural products including cork and latex, designed to cradle and support the foot. The cork is an excellent shock absorber and will also soften and conform to your own foot shape and walking pattern. Most styles have an adjustable strap, allowing you to achieve a perfect fit through your pregnancy, even if you suffer from fluid retention and swelling. Many of the styles are also 'slip ons', saving you from bending down to do them up, which can be a challenge as your pregnancy progresses!

Birkenstock sandals and shoes are also the perfect shoe to wear while in hospital after the birth. Forget the fluffy slippers, and pack a pair of stylish Birkenstock Gizehs in Silver. They will go everything including your pajamas, they look sensational, they are easy to slip into while carrying your gorgeous new baby (also especially helpful if you've just had a cesarean) and will make you feel great too ~ And by-golly you need all the help you can get directly after childbirth!

The benefits of Birkenstock do not stop after childbirth either, you will probably find yourself out walking with the pram or stroller most days, and you will be so glad to have great feeling feet and to have sandals that you can slip straight into without fussing around with buckles or laces, especially when baby might be unsettled. Once baby is walking, you can then give him or her the best start in life with their own pair of Birkenstocks!

Fireplace Accessories – Things You Need

Fireplaces are becoming extremely popular, not so much for heating the home, but for recreational purposes. This popularity is providing an explosion of fireplace accessories , equipment and safety equipment. A visit to any home improvement store will reveal an almost mind blowing array of choices that are available for fireplaces today. So, how do you choose, how do you know what you need and what is essentially fluff?

There are some items that are a must to have if you are using a fireplace in any capacity. These fireplace accessories include; a wood cradle, heat resistant gloves, a fireplace screen and pokers to name a few. Great, now you know what you need, but what exactly are they for and how do you know which ones are the best picks for you?

A wood cradle is an important fireplace accessory if you are carrying your wood through your house before it reaches the fireplace. This nifty little device is available in a variety of styles, colors and materials. It does just as the name suggests, it is a place to store the wood until it is burned. Because it has a cradle shape, it keeps the annoying little pieces of bark that falls off of the wood from becoming embedded in the flooring that surrounds the fireplace.

The next set of essential fireplace accessories falls into the important category of safety. When dealing with fire, safety should be the first concern. Using fireplace accessories such as gloves and pokers will help you to keep your hands, arms and fingers safe when working with the fire. While the fireplace screen keeps people, especially kids and pets a safe distance from the fire.

A good place to find a selection of fireplace accessories is at a home improvement store. They generally have a large enough assortment of supplies to give you a choice, but not so many as to confuse you. However, if you are looking for both selection and a knowledgeable staff, visit a fireplace specialty store. These stores are staffed with people who can answer any of you questions on which gloves protect the best to what kind of firewood burns hottest.

Another great way to decide which fireplace accessories interest you the most is to visit friends and family that have active fireplaces and see what they are using. Do not be afraid to ask if you can build a fire with their tools and equipment, get a feel of working with the accessories before you purchase your own.

While burning wood and building fires is fun, please do not neglect fireplace accessories that are used for safety reasons, these are what you will be happy you purchased when you really need them.

A House in California Walkthrough

Grandma, it's too dark outside, whatever we do? Look over to the right, it's the fireflies we use to use to light up our lamp post. I wonder if we catch enough of them, if we would be able to light up the house like we once did many years ago. I think I'm going to have to wander around a little ways to see if I can find anything else that may help us.

A House in California is a poetic point and click puzzle game about four characters: Lois, Beulah, Connie and Ann. Together the four individuals must discover new elements, meet new friends and collect new objects to help bring back memories of what is now the little house in California.

We first start off with our main character Lois, his goal is to find all the fireflies to light up the lamp post, we will have to explore some of his memories, make a few repairs here and there and finally collect all the fireflies. Once we collect enough we will be able to return back to our main screen and light up the lamp post.

Second we play as our character Beulah, his job is to search for singing birds, but it's a bit more challenging than that, it definitely could require a walkthrough in order to round them all up. Our character Beulah will have to read, write and do some cooking, you can of course find out more about each of the characters by clicking on them.

Third we play as Connie, she must gather all the colorful butterflies to make the house shine brightly. She will have to catch the butterflies in the right order, orange, green and blue. The butterflies make a peaceful addition to the house, now we have lit up the streets, added a nice harmony and some color to our peaceful residency.

Finally, grandma asks if everything can be put back to the way it was. Ann's job is to undo everything we just did, remember and forget everything, then when the night comes to an end we can enter the house and know that everything we did was nothing more than just our imagination.

Eldest Child Syndrome – Are You What Your Parents Have Made You?

Do you have a people pleaser personality? Have you ever been in a situation where you begin to wonder whether other people’s expectations of you exceed your ability or willingness to deliver? Of course you have! Silly question – unless you’re one of those super-humans who know how to say no without saying no.

BIRTH ORDER AND SELF

Thing is, there’s a limit to what you can do, isn’t there? I’m one of the sandwich generation so I have both young grandchildren for whom I care twice a week whilst my daughter teaches, and parents, with various health issues, who also require a degree of support. In addition, I job-share with my husband – that’s how we make our living – and I write.

When I went down with ‘Female Flu’ a couple of weeks ago (so much worse than the Man Flu variety, because you have to keep going) I managed to keep most of the balls in the air, but some simply had to be dropped. So when I found myself expected to take on a family commitment at the weekend when I might, otherwise, have given myself some me-time to recharge my batteries, I wasn’t exactly delighted. I know some people know how to say no without saying no. I’m simply not one of them. Besides, I’m in that unenviable position of being a firstborn child.

SIBLING POSITION

According to the Wikipedia website, one of the first people to suggest that birth order has an effect on personality was an Austrian psychiatrist, Alfred Adler. A contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, he argued that the way in which each of us tackles the major aspects of life – friendship, love and work – is greatly influenced by our birth order in the family.

Now I know there are those who passionately believe in first child syndrome and others who feel there’s nothing in it. Advocates identify the following traits in the eldest child in a family, by saying they are:

  1. High achievers
  2. Good leaders
  3. Conscientious
  4. Self-sufficient
  5. Perfectionists
  6. Eager to please
  7. Have high expectations of themselves
  8. Feel responsible for the welfare and harmony of the family
  9. Low self-esteem (because they can’t live up to expectations)
  10. Sensitive and in need of constant assurance

PEOPLE PLEASER?

Do you – if you are a firstborn child – adhere to those characteristics? Do you, for instance, have a people pleaser personality? Have you high expectations of yourself? Are you in constant need of assurance that you’re fulfilling what’s expected of you?

To my mind, there are arguments for and against. The gap between sibs must play a part, surely? If the eldest is at school, or has left home before the next one arrives, what then? The eldest would have been an only child prior to reaching school age and would, in effect, continue in that vein. And what if there’s a different combination of genders? Say a girl followed by several boys. Or vice versa: a couple of girls followed by a single boy? I can’t believe that the same principles hold for all scenarios.

ARE ALL ELDEST CHILDREN HIGH ACHIEVERS?

It seems to be widely accepted that the first baby to be born into a family will grow up with a tendency to be analytical, methodical and high achieving. Whether every firstborn adheres to these attributes is debatable, not least because as a firstborn, myself, I show none of these traits. Creative, naturally flexible and spontaneous (though I’ve disciplined myself to be orderly where to be otherwise causes me grief) my only achievement was a No. 4 bestseller – and that crept up on me unawares! The familyrappwebsite continues, with the following statement this child values control and once again this is the very opposite of my personality. Perhaps there’s something my parents aren’t telling me, and I’m not actually the eldest child in our family?

RESPONSIBLE I have certainly never had any desire to be a leader of anything whatever! As an author my interests and pursuits are those of an introvert. I could, however, be described as self-sufficient, am conscientious, a perfectionist and have high expectations of myself – especially when it comes to feeling responsible for the welfare and harmony of my family. The sticking plaster mentality is probably true of many women. For me it’s – well – sort of stuck into my personality. If someone’s hurt or in need, I suppose I see myself as the one who has to tend and cover the wound!

Which is why I find it so difficult to say no and mean no. It doesn’t live up to people’s expectations of me, you see. Nor, of course, my own.

UNDERSTANDING SIBLING RIVALRY

I suspect that the whole eldest child syndrome is, actually, the result of how firstborns in the family are treated, and what expectations are made of them. ‘Now you be a good boy/girl, and look after your little brother/sister’ is the usual mantra. My parents told me – on the one occasion I tried to stick out for something I believed in that went right against what they were asking of me – that my acquiescence had been taken as read. They simply never expected me to oppose them and were shocked and hurt that I should do so.

All of which leads me to believe that eldest child syndrome is less to do with the innate personality of a first born child, and more to do with conditioning by parents and other adults. Perhaps if we take a look at middle child syndrome next week that will reveal more?

The Carbon Footprint Of Log Homes And Timber Frame Homes

Log Homes and Timber Frame Homes may have the lowest carbon footprint of any other type of construction. A carbon footprint is the measurement of carbon dioxide released as a result of using a particular product or other human activity. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere and major contributor to global warming.

A report prepared by the Edinburgh Center for Carbon Management (ECCM) compared the carbon dioxide footprints of three structures and the benefits when more timber was introduced into the construction. The results were astounding. ECCM estimated that there could be up to an 88% reduction of greenhouse gases by using log or timber structural elements wherever possible rather than other conventional building materials. The reduction of greenhouse gases was achieved by replacing materials high energy, high CO2 production values, such as steel and concrete, with solid wood. The report states that the production of steel and concrete materials accounts for 10% of the total global emissions of greenhouse gases. These materials have a high CO2 output created during the extraction of raw materials, refining, processing and manufacturing of the finished product. As reported in a study published by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, the energy consumed to process a tree into a finished sawn timber is about one-tenth of steel production.

In another report prepared by The Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) compared four different structure using different wall systems – two woods, one concrete and one steel. The report found that the steel wall system generated 33% more greenhouses gases than wood and the concrete wall generated 80% more greenhouse gases than wood. The study also reported that the wood structures out-performed the steel and concrete houses in energy use and the impact on air and water quality.

Wood walls are typically framed or solid. Conventionally framed walls use a combination a several materials including processed wood products such as plywood or other laminated wood products, fiberglass insulation, exterior siding, interior sheetrock and some type of wall covering. Solid wood walls using logs or timbers have basically one product – the log or timber. The energy consumed and the CO2 produced in the production of logs and timbers is a fraction compared to the production of all the various materials in a conventionally framed wall.

Consumers are much more aware the environmental impact of using different materials and are being increasing sensitive to the hazards of exposure to chemically processed materials. Logs and timbers are 100% natural. As a natural product, they do not emit VOCs or other pollutants into the outdoor or indoor space. Trees are produced from soil, water and air combined with the energy from the sun, in a miraculous process of photosynthesis. Ecologically and environmentally, solid wood is the only building product that is renewable, biodegradable, recyclable, energy efficient and extremely beautiful.

Sustained and plantation forest growth actually reduces greenhouse gases by consuming CO2 out of the atmosphere while the trees are growing. Political pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, such as the Kyoto Protocol, is sure to continue and it will become increasingly important to find solution. The use of solid wood construction such as log homes and timber homes can make a positive contribution.

How To Maintain Steel Doors And Roller Shutters

Roller doors and shutters provide a robust and secure barrier against intruders and destructive weather elements. They're made according to specifications, including great fit, smooth operation, and utmost security. More importantly, their low maintenance factor makes them an economic choice. Neverheless, these shutters and doors require regular checks to ensure they're in good working condition.

Checking for balance should be done each month by a skilled technician, preferably someone licensed and insured. The doors should be balanced, being smooth to roll up and down the roller tracks and able to stay stationary at any point along the tracks. Otherwise, the steel doors are out of balance and need to be adjusted.

Jammed and stiff doors should not be forcibly raised or lowered. Check individual parts such as springs and rollers for damage and have them repaired immediately. At times, all that is needed is some cleaning and removal of accumulated debris and dirt.

All moving components, save for roller tracks, should be lubricated each month. Lubricant facilitates smooth, safe and sufficient operation, but when placed in the tracks, it joins more grime and dirt that disruptions operation. Lubricant likewise increases the life of the moving parts, and the entire security shutter device. Among the important parts that need lubrication are bearings, hinges, rollers, and springs.

To prolong the life of the roller tracks and to encourage smooth and quite operation, occasionally apply silicon spray. The spray gives the tracks a slippery finish, enabling the doors slide properly. If you want to lubricate the tracks, use petroleum lubricant, but brush away dirt and grime before application and wipe away excess lubricant after.

Automatic doors and shutters should be set in manual mode annually or semi-annually. Manual operation should then be predetermined and done according to manufacturer instructions to prevent damage. The support brackets should be checked if they need servicing. If so, it's always advisable to contact a qualified technician right away.

Springs should be re-tensioned periodically, and each time the roller shutter gets abnormally heavy or difficult to lift or roll. Avoid operating doors with damaged tension springs because this causes damage to the motor and the opener.

Steel cables on the sides of the doors should be checked as well if they are in ideal shape and position or not. Replace protruding and broken cables right away to avoid accidents and worse damage to your doors.

All bolts and fixings should be tight in place. Loose ones can easily snap out of their holes and make the doors unstable and dangerous to operate. When there are loose bolts, do not operate the doors automatically rather, operate in manual mode in order to control the speed at which the roller doors are moving up or down.

Buying a Home? Watch Out For These Estate Agent Tricks

This is the second in a series of three articles warning home buyers and sellers about the main tricks estate agents use to get hold of your money. These articles are aimed at helping you avoid being fleeced by your estate agent.

Selling to Buyers

Although we all know that agents are acting for sellers, many are experts in befriending buyers and getting them to feel that they are on our side, working to help us get the best property at the best price. If you're buying a property you should be on your guard against several sales traps including the block, stock-shifting, pumping up the price, the spider's web and the sealed-bid scam.

1. The Block

Of all estate agents' tricks, the block is probably the one people least expect. Most of us absorb agents want to sell properties to us and so it does not happen to us that they may be interested in preventing us from buying. There are several reasons an agent might try to block us from buying a property. The most obvious is that they've planned a slash-and-grab for themselves or one of their contacts and so do not want us to disrupt their plans by buying at a higher price than they're offering. Another reason may be that the agent has a buyer who is also taking out a mortgage through that agent or an associate mortgage agent. The agent can earn almost as much commission from flogging the mortgage as from selling the property and so may be less interested helping a buyer with cash or who has organized their own mortgage. In both these cases, an agent may withhold our offers from a seller or, if they do pass on our offers, they may discourage the seller from accepting them by suggesting that we may not be in a good position to buy. An investigation by one journalist found that of six offers made to estate agents, only two were passed on to sellers.

2. The stock-shift

Buyers may be looking for their ideal home, but agents can only sell the properties they have on their books. Moreover, they have to shift their stock if they are to meet their sales targets. Without an agent is lucky enough to have properties that perfectly match buyers' requirements, the only way they can get their monthly bonus is by convincing buyers to take whatever they've got to sell. So the art of a successful agent is to influence buyers to compromise and take what is available rather than hold out for their dream property.

There are various ways of getting buyers to compromise. The easiest is to use fear to push you into making an offer. An agent may tell you that they have the perfect property, that this has just come on the market, but that you'll have to move quickly before someone else snaps it up. Or if a buyer is hesitating, the agent will use the phantom buyer trick and claim that several other buyers are also interested. To add a little color the agent may also say that one of the phantom buyers is a cash buyer and therefore in a much better position than you. Or an agent may arrange for several buyers to view a property at the same time. This is intended to make buyers believe that there is competition for the property and can lead to buyers being infected by auction-fever – always a great way to spur them into action and push the price up. Typically an agent will say that prices in the area are going up so if you do not buy quickly, you'll end up paying a lot more in a few months time. And there's the sandwich – here the agent shows a buyer three properties with the first and the third being either unsuitable or out of their range and the middle one being close to what they want. This helps create the impression in the buyer's mind that there are few properties fitting their requirements and makes them more open to being fobbed off with something which is reasonably close to what they were looking for.

3. The price pump

Research has repeatedly shown that around 70% of buyers spend on average about 20% more for their homes than they had originally intended. So, whatever a buyer may say to an agent about their price limit, the agent already knows from experience that the large majority of buyers can be squeezed well above this if shown a property they like. The simplest way for the agent to push the price up is to claim that they already have several offers on a property, so if you're interested, you're going to have to put in a fairly juicy bid. Or else an agent may use the build-up – show you four or five properties, starting with the cheapest and moving on to the most expensive. Most buyers, when seeing a property they really like, will stretch their financial limit rather than letting the property go to someone else. Another tactic is to show you a home that is way above your financial limit. In comparison, any subsequent properties will seem reasonably priced. Or the agent could use the sneer – take you to an expensive property and then suggest that it's a pity that you can not stretch your budget to buy such a perfect home. This is particularly easy if the agent can use buyer's partner or family to pile on the emotional pressure.

4. The spider's web

In addition to sellers and property developers, agents have a wide web of people who can help them increase their earnings. For example, if an agent convinces a buyer to use a particular mortgage advisor or supposedly independent financial adviser, on an average loan the advisor will pocket about £ 2,000 and the agent £ 1,000 to £ 1,500. Even if a buyer has finance available, an agent may tell buyers that 'it's company policy' to ensure that all buyers get the best loan deals available and so, either you want it or not, the agent makes an appointment for you to meet a mortgage salesman with business connections to the agency.

Similarly, an agent will usually get generous kickbacks if they pass buyers onto lawyers and surveyors that they regularly work with. An added advantage of using lawyers and surveyors known to the agent is that they will tend to overlook problems with properties to enable sales to go through. In any town or even areas of a city, most agents, lawyers and surveyors will have worked together in the past and none will want to upset any of the others. So even when a buyer believes their lawyer and surveyor are representing their interests, it's likely that the lawyer and surveyor will be more sensitive about maintaining continuing a good relationship with the estate agent rather than worrying about the interests of a buyer that they will probably never deal with again. When I began to question both my lawyer and surveyor about things they had apparently 'overlooked', the lawyer paid me £ 6,000 and the surveyor £ 2,500 – this may have been because they were mostly nice people and particularly liked me; or it may have been because they realized their moral little arrangement with the estate agent had been rumbled and so were keen to avoid any possibly embarrassing statements. Any buyer who gets caught in the spider's web of the agent's business associates may find it a very expensive experience.

5. Sealed-bid scams

If there are multiple buyers chasing a property, the seller and agent may ask all the potential purchasers to submit their 'best and final' offer in an envelope by a certain date and time with the understanding that the highest bid will be accepted. This is a wonderful way of getting the price up as buyers' competitive natures can cloud their common sense. But the sealed bid process is open to abuse. For a start, the seller does not have to accept the highest offer – a slightly lower cash offer may be preferred to a higher offer from someone who needs time to arrange finance. Also, once the bids are opened, the agent can easily go back to the bidder with the deepest pockets and suggest that if they increase their offer by a certain amount, then the property is their. If they think a potential buyer has access to more money, the agent can also lie about the level of the highest bid or invent a phantom bid in order to push the price higher. Or, if they want to do a slash-and-grab to get the property for themselves, a developer, a family member or friend, then an agent may withhold some bids.