The Truth About Permanent Cosmetic Makeup Eyeliner, Lip Liner, and Eyebrow Tattoos

I've had cosmetic makeup procedures done in many parts of the world at many clinics and for many different reasons. All have been successful and I am pleased with the results; the ease of applying less makeup, waking up to beautiful brows and perfect eyeliner and softly colored lips. I also love going for a swim and coming out looking like I never got my face wet, at least there's no runny eyebrow pencil, no black smudges of liner under my eyes and no dull. lifeless lips. That's my experience, so naturally I've been recommending permanent makeup for a long time. But the truth is that tattooing any part of your face is a serious matter, and it's definitely NOT for everyone!

My adventure with persistent makeup began in Asia, therefore I had some of the best cosmeticians attend me at a clinic in Hong Kong. Later in Taipei, I had my eyeliner retouched a few months before I was married, so my honeymoon on secluded beaches of Macau was free of makeup worries. However, through my travels as a cultural journalist, during almost 10 years in Asia, I also saw numerous ladies who cosmetic tattoo eyesbrows were a total disaster, mostly because the shape and the arch of the brow was overly pronounced, or because the tattoo had been done on an area above the natural brow, or so unnatural looking due to having the brow line tattooed in a solid inky stain on the skin and not a natural feathery application within some existing hair.

This seemed to have been the result of women getting eyebrow tattoos after having completely removed their natural brow hair, either through electrolysis or some other hair removal system. Most of these "not very flattering" eyebrow results were on women who lived in smaller villages and isolated regions where newer tattooing techniques were not yet began to be applied, and where black was the only one that was used to create dragons on the shoulders and backs of men was also used on lady's brows. But the newest methods, which are used in international clinics, allow for a wide choice of pigments, including blending colors to get very natural shades that match even fair hair colors.

But who should get cosmetic tattoos and who should not? The truth is that if a lady has no brows due due to an illness that has contributed to hair loss, a tattoo is an excellent solution, especially if the feathering techniques is used. What this means is that tiny strokes of pigment are applied to the brow region to look like hair, not a solid line. Women who have very sparse brow hair should also consider adding a bit of dimension with this same technique, and in this case, the technician will follow the natural brow. Women who should not consider these procedures are those who have poor natural healing abilities, who bleed profusely, who scar easily or have extremely sensitive skin.

If you're unsure about getting eyebrows tattooed, since this procedure alters the look of the eye in a very noticeable way, then start with something smaller like a bit of eyeliner. Have your technician tattoo a fine outline in the lash line and see how your skin reacts to the pigment. If all is well, go ahead with the brows.

Selection of Job or Business in Astrology

Determining the nature of your profession or the sources of income is a very tough task for any astrologer. Selection of profession between job and business is very important decision of life. There are many astrological factors which need to be considered.Astrological readings can also suggest whether you can enjoy smooth success in your job or business ventures.

Ascendant: whatever is the field education, marriage or profession the strength of ascendant and its lord play very important role.

10th house/lord: 10th house and its lord from ascendant/Moon sign/Sun signs are pivots for determine the profession and business. Authority, power advancement and ambitions, business affairs in general, one’s rank, social status and profession of a person, name, fame foreign land, sources of livelihood self respect and self control are indicated by 10th house.

3rd house/lord: indicates courage and initiative for professional life, risk and speculation taken in life. Sometimes it indicates over confidence of the native.

5th house/lord:represents knowledge, education, intuition and intelligence of a person. Besides high position it indicates risk and speculations taken in professional life.

6th house/lord: indicates loans from bank or financial institutes, funds rising and the employees working under the native.

7th house/lord:represents professional relationships and business partnerships, independent skilled professions.

9th house/lord: this is house of luck or fortune of the native; it also indicates distribution or circulation of money, dignity of a person, foreign travels, and government favors.

11th house/lord: this is house of gain and income in one’s life.

Planetary transition: the nature of the profession also depends on the planetary period of major periods /sub period of a horoscope. The Dasha/Antradasha of the native forces him for change in profession in a very drastic and dramatic way. Through the strong and favorable Dasha/Antradasha, even a weak and ill placed planet can bless the native with success in profession and career.

Job/business influencing astrological factors:

Job/service:

  • If lord/sign or planets placed in 10th house are strong, indicates surety of service.
  • If number of fixed signs planets are more than number of planets in common or movable signs in a horoscope the native will chose the profession which demands patience, peace, tolerance and stability like Government jobs, medical profession or in achieves.
  • If the planets of common signs are more than the planets of fixed and movable signs in a horoscope the native will have different sources of income like as a teacher he can chose property dealing or as a profession he may own his own consultancy firms, tuition centers etc.
  • Lord/sign of 10th house are weaker in strength than the lord /sign of 7th house, profession of advocate, doctor, and professors are indicated.
  • If lords /signs of 10th and 7th houses are equally strong indicates the native will have individual business along with his own service. Like a doctor doing private practice along with his own service or the person will start his own business after retiring from the job.
  • If the lord of 10th house is strong but placed in 6th/8th/12th house or of medium strength the person will work in an autonomous institutes or private sector.
  • Sun/Mars/Saturn favorably influencing the 10th house, and lord of 10th house is in a strong position indicates profession of doctor.
  • Lords of 3rd/6th/10 and Jupiter are strong indicates profession of advocate.
  • Moon and Mercury influencing 10th house indicates writer or journalisms as profession.
  • Strong mercury and Jupiter influencing 10th house denotes writer or poets.
  • Moon and Jupiter aspecting 10th house indicates gazette officer rank job.
  • Moon placed in 10th and Jupiter posited in 5th house indicates very highly ranked position.
  • Lord of 11th placed in 10th house or their lords exchanges signs/houses indicates very good administrator.
  • Lord of ascendant and 10th placed together or lord of ascendant and 10th house is a same planet the person will work excellent work from his own hard earned money.
  • Jupiter as lord of 10th placed in trine indicates highly acclaimed position of the native.
  • Sun placed in 10th house from ascendant/Moon or lord of 10 is posited in the Navamansa of Sun indicates appreciation from government but if Sun is debilitated/ malefic/ill placed indicates unscrplous means of earning.
  • Lord of 10th is Mars or lord of 10th posited in the Navamansa of Mars indicates police, army, and wrestling as profession.
  • Mercury is the lord of 10th house or the lord of 10th goes in the Navamansa of Mercury indicates service in banking, writing, education, astrology art and crafting.
  • Mercury in ascendant and Jupiter in 9th house indicate government services.
  • Lord of ascendant placed in quadrant and aspected by lords of 2nd/5th indicates government job.
  • Sun having favorable aspects of Saturn indicates government job, manager authority and high authorities power of a person.

Business:

  • Lords/signs of 4th and 7th houses are weak but lord/sign of 7th house are very strong indicates sound business abilities of the native.
  • If numbers of planets in movable signs are more than the number of planets in fixed or common sign in a horoscope indicates the best qualities the native will have as a businessman like he will have initiative and capacity to make decisions, intelligent, alert and will possess the quality of leadership
  • If any or all planets like Mercury, Jupiter and Venus placed in quadrant to Moon indicates independent venture.
  • Mercury, Jupiter and Venus and Moon are placed in 2nd/12th from each other indicates independent or self ventures.
  • Jupiter is placed in 3rd house and Venus is placed in 11th house from Moon indicates the native will start his own business.
  • Lords of 2nd and 11th exchanges houses indicates very good business abilities.
  • Mercury related to 10th house indicates, business skills.Malefic influence over 10th house indicates laziness of the native.
  • All the planets placed in quadrant indicate money earned from agriculture.
  • If 7 planets posited in ascendant and 7th house, indicates business of transportation, wood, cartwheel etc.
  • If any malefic planet placed in quadrant having no benefic influences and Jupiter posited in 8th house indicates excellence of business in meat, poultry and fisheries.

Wrinkle Free Garments

Ironing the garments is considered a myth today. Our time-starved people want to spend minimum after cloth-care. Ironing the garments has lost the heat after the developments in wrinkle-resistant fabric finishes. Wrinkle-free finishes has hit the market of casual men's trousers in just five years.

The Wrinkle free quality of garment has been labeled various terms like Wrinkle-resistant, wrinkle free, durable press and permanent press. The industry also uses these terms for several finishing agents that have been appended to fabrics to avoid or reduce the amount of wrinkles.

Today's drive of wrinkle-resistant informal wear is not just a reprocessing of the dry, brittle durable press in wash and wear finishes of yesterday. The most modern wrinkle-resistant fabrics are newly devised products that were born of modern technology.

These wrinkle-resistant finishes were favored in the early 90's when they were inserted into men's all-cotton trousers. The finishes have given the root industry a new life on lease. Hagger and Farah are the first companies that introduced wrinkle-resistant pants to their bands. In 1992, Hagger introduced a line called "Wrinkle'Free" all-cotton pants. The line made a big impression on the market and by December 1993 Haggar gained 76 percent of the market in that class. Savan line is Farah's edition of the wrinkle-resistant pants. These lines of finishes were flattened with Duck Head and Levi Strauss Dockers.

Wrinkle-resistant garments are not free from problems; various troubles like attraction to grease and oil, fabric debasement and environmental interests are connected with these garments. Although, most of the problems have been reduced, companies are continuously ignoring techniques to better the properties. To improve the aesthetics is the biggest improvements.

Wrinkle-resistant garments should inevitably exist in wardrobes. After rejuvenating the bottom industry, the finish has hit the other segments of menswear industry like woven and knitted dress and sports shirts, jeans and suits. Wrinkle-resistant clothing incorporates even the children's attires and areas of womenswear market. The success of the finishes on garments will result in extra progress in other markets.

Due to the escalation of formal wear in the work place, the wrinkle-resistant industry has secured new heights in garment industry. Wrinkle-resistant garments are not only at department stores and mail order catalogs but also at stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart. The home furnishing industry has secured the wrinkle free concept by adding the finishes to sheets.

Our belief that wrinkle-resistant garments are costlier than finish-less ones is right; but for the most part they are moderately rated. All the products of wrinkle-resistant items do not give the same result. There are no inflexible courses of actions for manufacturers; since, it is suggested that customer should buy a popular brand that s / he trusts.

The wrinkle free finish (various other terms are "Easy Care", "Durable Press", "Wrinkle-Resistant", "Wash and Wear", "No-Iron" etc.) is achieved by cross-linking cotton. Permanent press finishes build cross-links between adjoining cellulose polymer chains; these provide cotton some flexibility and resiliency. Such cross-linked cotton can return to its earlier condition from deformity stresses and that wrinkles will not create.

Even today, DMDHEU is an important cross-linking force. With magnesium chloride as the acid catalyst to start a reaction, it creates cross-links in the formless areas of the fiber. Through the counteraction (> NCH2 => NH + HCHO), free formaldehyde is discharged. Insufficient curing also results into the discharge of formaldehyde at an extreme temperature. Various techniques have been evolved to define the amount of formaldehyde discharged, such as after-washing of cured fabrics, the insertion of formaldehyde scavengers like carbohydrazide to the bath, use of urea in the pad-bath or application through a spray, modification of DMDHEU to etherized, glycolated or methylated DMDHEU.

Options to DMDHEU are also being researched. Major choices are polycarboxlicacids, typically BTCA (1,2,3,4,4 Butane Tetra Carboxylic Acid) or citric acid. However, BTCA is not cheap to use and citric acid creates yellowing. Another technique has been to use polymers of maleic acid to create ester cross-links, and yet another to fix a quaternary group through an epoxidation counteraction to the cellulose chain to create cross-links. Research on all these options is in progress. Commercially, it is the remodeled DMDHEU (glycolated or methylated) that is most used now. The item is pre-cushioned to check untimely curing and also pre-merged with a catalyst. Today the catalysts with the basis of Magnesium are accepted most. When curing times are scanty, citric acid or aluminum chloride can also be compounded to speed up catalysis.

Following is a standard method for a pre-cure or post-cure finish:

DMDHEU (45%), 2-20% of weight of DMDHEU but not less than 1% owb; wetting agent. 0.1% owb; and softeners, 2-8% owb.

The wetting property lets the fiber internally penetrated, so that cross-linking may occur all through the fiber cross-section. A high-density polyethylene brings back some of the missing tear force and abrasion resistance by displacing lubrication. It also possesses a collaborative effect with silicone or fat-based softeners to create an agreeable hand. Among the silicone softeners, counteractive polysiloxanies with silanol functional end-groups (Fig 2) perform as elastomeric finishes providing better wrinkle resistance, good dimensional firmness (smooth drying properties) and exceptional soft handle with good sewing ability. They can also decrease free formaldehyde discharge by re-establishing part of the resin. Various types are available today: Pretavyl VP 1601A by Boehme Filatex Inc., and siltouch RS by Yorkshire Chemicals.

Types of Technology for obtaining "wrinkle free" finish
The dominant application techniques currently employed are based on the following processes: pre-cure; post-cure; garment-dip; spray (metered) application; and Vapor phase.
In pre-cure, the fabric is processed with resin, dried and cured in flat open-width form. This fabric can be used to manufacture garments that stand firm against wrinkling through wearing and have a soft look after washing and tumble drying. Since the cross-linked fabric defends any attempt to press in wrinkles, it will be impossible to bring in sharp long-lasting creases. Generally, such fabrics are applied in the womenswear market for some skirts, casual trousers and shirting where smoothness is the main benchmark.

A post-cure process provides a choice to manufacture a garment with soft drying and wrinkle resistant agents along with sharp creases that have a lasting effect for the life of the garment. In this treatment the resin is padded onto the fabric and discharged at low temperature (as in the Koretron process). The fabric is then cut, garment constructed and creases pressed into the garment. An extreme temperature treatment in this make up is given to cross-link resin. Although this procedure provides exceptional results, it has not been doing well with garment producers because of apparel limitations of colors, styles and fabric weight, and the requirement for a direct connection among mills, garment manufacturers and retailers.

To improve this procedure, a company in Japan applied a post-cure finish to fabric that was mercerised in liquid ammonia, giving excellent easy care properties together with the soft handle of non-cross-linked cotton. Liquid ammonia mercerisation is a process applied at ultra-low temperatures and it generates deconvolution of cotton, smoothing of the surface, swelling of the fiber to a circular cross section, enhanced absorbency, firmness and shine, and a very soft touch.

The other three alternatives are useful to finish the fabric only after it has been composed into a garment. In the garment-dip method, garments are fabricated from non-resistant fabric, then infused with a resin process similar to that applied to the post-cure process, extracted to about 65% wet pick-up and then tumble dried to 8-10 % moisture stuff, a critical factor that is determined using a moisture meter.

In the spray method, the resin is smeared by spraying it onto the garment during tumbling in an encoded revolving tool. A microprocessor is applied to gauge the accurate quantity of chemicals and to monitor the rotation time, expected wet pick-up, spray rate and process time. Like post-cure process, the garments are then pressed and cured. The process is more and more applied to both menswear and womenswear with the market moving towards washed-down appearance and softer handles.

In the vapor phase process, the fabric is dried and finished at the mill, cut sewn; before cross-linking, it is press into garment form. Gaseous formaldehyde is then used with an acid catalyst in a particular chamber oven. The garments are later processed to create cross-linking. Then the surplus moisture is drained. The formaldehyde itself creates the cross-links (conventional resin will always have unreacted N-methylol clusters that can hydrolyze to discharge formaldehyde). Manufacturers of shirts and other lightweight garments are using the treatment today. Neverheless, it is apparently not easy to manage, possibly resulting in uneven processes and higher strength losses.

Choosing fabric for "wrinkle free" finish

The garment finisher generally does not produce its own fabric and it may have to cope with unwelcome damages in tensile strength, tear strength and abrasion resistance in the fabric when cross-linking. Due to the added value, garments are returned since low strength might prove to be costlier than fabric returned.

For manufacturing an up-to-standard wrinkle-free garment, various safety measures must be taken in fabric choice:

. The root fabric must possess enough strength to put up with 40-60% loss in tensile and tear strength and still hold sufficient strength to provide a garment of satisfactory wear life and lastingness.
. It must also possess exceptional absorbency to let resin enter the very center of the fibers and create cross-links. Surface adhering resins do not give any useful results and are incompetent and causing waste.
. If the fabric is dyed, the dye must be able to hold acid catalysis and high temperatures. Sulfur dyes, which are recognized to produce acid upon storage, are to be completely avoided.
. Residual extractable on the fabric (like starch from size) can counteract with resin and minimize its influence; a high amount of size removal is so critical.
. Fabric pH should be between 6.5 and 7.0 with an alkalinity of less than 0.05% (expressed as sodium hydroxide).

Choice of equipment

Producers and researchers are continuously evolving tools to serve to this specialty section. But they are still perplexed if these new machines – specifically presses and curing ovens – are worth the investment. While selecting the technology, many features such as type of product (shirt or trouser), WR procedure, time, vacuum, temperature and chemicals must be taken into account.

The two most decisive factors working behind "A" quality pressing of 100% cotton and permanent press garments are temperature and control of cycle. Presses should be prepared with high-heat, cast aluminum

garments are temperature and control of cycle. Presses should be prepared with high-heat, cast aluminum heads or with additional electrical heaters to provide a processing temperature about 150 degrees centigrade. Since the temperature sets out the curing procedure and monitors the overall smoothness, it is very important to manufacture permanent press garments. Typically, presses active in garment factories function within the range of 116-125 degree centigrade will not provide a perfect finish.

Hoffman and Vapor-press International have introduced the latest range of pressing machines wherein microprocessor monitors both temperature control and pressure applied accurately. A feature called head-hesitation holds up the head lifting so that creases are not formed on the garment – such creases can set forever while curing. As a safety measure, a head positioning set up lets the head lift by an inch (after pressure is applied) allowing a vacuum to dry the garment completely. Pre-timely interference by mechanics is a major problem in garment factories. This complication is enhanced by an Operator Penalty System that counts penal points every time an operator attempts to disrupt the cycle.

Curing is generally performed in hot-air-box or tunnel ovens. A tunnel oven is faster but needs a specific amount of garment development and a material handling system to and from the tunnel. Airflow design in these ovens monitors temperature variations, movement of the garment and wrinkle relaxation, and is there before the most significant selection standard. Pladrest Heating Ltd., founders in this line of work, has surfaced with a series of ovens to permanently press garments. The air velocity is regulated at last, in as much that temperature variation has been shot down to a noticeable 3 degree Centigrade over a single garment. Evolutions are also on the go to improve microwave-curing technology. As against average convection curing, the temperature increase in microwave ovens is supposed to be faster, consistent through the fiber cross segment, and to give a minimum damage to the fiber.

Jazz Guitar Chord Solos – Robert Yelin Made It His Career!

Robert Yelin was born on September 25, 1944 in Yonkers, NY His family moved to New Rochelle, New York when he was 9 years old. He started to take an interest in the guitar at 15 after hearing some records by rock-and-roll guitar players Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Robert started to take guitar lessons from Gus DeGazio, a local area instructor who played him Johnny Smith's famous recording of "Moonlight in Vermont." From that point on he came to know that this was the type of music he wanted to play!

Yelin continued his guitar studies with DeGazio but now devoted himself entirely to jazz. It was at this time that Robert started his extensive collection of recordings by all of the famous jazz guitarists. He studied guitar technique and harmony for three years with Augie Lamont and advanced his jazz guitar understanding by watching the leading jazz guitarists of the day including Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, and Chuck Wayne play in New York city jazz clubs.

By the time Robert Yelin was 18 years old he was playing solo jazz guitar in restaurants and by the time he was 20 he had decided to make a career out of music. For the next 15 years Yelin performed at many of the leading New York jazz spots like The Village Gate and Sweet Basil's. He combined this career with a day time job in the Yelin family's clothes manufacturing company. He is likewise a prolific arranger and writer on the guitar. From 1968 – 1982 he wrote over 30 articles for Guitar Player Magazine alone as well as articles for Downbeat and Cadence magazines. Starting in 1982, Robert became a professor at the University of Colorado where he taught the history of jazz and worked with the jazz guitar ensemble there.

It was also during that exact same year that Robert Yelin was diagnosed with diabetes and muscular dystrophy. The physical issues from these illnesses brought his jazz guitar playing career to an end. With a mix of excellent medical treatments and personal self-discipline, Yelin was able to start playing once more in 1996. Robert Yelin is a unique figure in the jazz guitar world. As well as being a gifted player he has one of the world's largest collections of jazz guitar audio and video recordings. His video collection has actually been an excellent source of reference to scholars and jazz guitar enthusiasts alike.

I had the pleasure of leisure spending an afternoon with Robert Yelin at his home in Littleton, Colorado when I was about 35 years old. He played some of his charming jazz guitar chord melody solos for me on a gorgeous Gibson Kalamazoo Award model archtop guitar that he owned. I immediately knew why Robert was described in jazz guitar circles as a "guitar chordiologist"! He had quite an arsenal of jazz guitar chords under his fingers to say the least. For my part, I played some Bach compositions for him on my Manuel Contreras classical guitar and he really got a kick out of hearing them!

Wheelchair Scale

A wheelchair scale is used to measure the weight of a person while it is located on a wheelchair. The scale weighs people who can not stand on a regular weighing scale. This scale will give the user a correct and correct reading of his weight. The wheelchair scale gives out readings in a medical beam type of measurement or in the form of a digital readout. They are frequently used in doctor's clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, and of course, in a patient's home.

This type of a scale is very easy to use. The person on the wheelchair is pushed up on the scale and the machine will show the weight of both, the wheelchair and the one sitting in it. Subtract the weight of the wheelchair and you can get the weight of the person.

This is a very simple weigh to measure a wheelchair user and saves him the trouble and pain of being lifted up to a regular weighing scale. It also helps to avoid any sort of injury to the staff assisting the patient. The chances of the handicapped person falling off while stepping on to the regular weighing scale is eliminated with the use of this scale. The wheelchair scale gives the reading quickly, hence saves time.

We must also mention here that people who do not use wheelchairs but have weak knees or wounded legs can use this scale conveniently. Stepping on to the regular may be uncomfortable and painful for them. There is a small ramp in the wheelchair scale, which makes it easier for people with these problems.

There are many types of wheelchair scales available at medical shops and in the online market. Majority of these scales are designed to suit standard sized wheelchairs, however, the weight capacity of each scale may be different. Some of the scales come fully assembled and poses no trouble to the buyer for installing it. A non-skid variety is available that protects the user against slips and falls.

Some of these scales are portable, have wheels on them, and can be shifted to any location. Some other portable models are foldable, which makes these models popular with doctors going for home visits to their patients.

For men and women who can not stand up quickly by themselves, this scale is the ultimate solution to all their worries and miseries. The scale provides a painless remedy to people who wish to check their weight but can not depart from their wheelchair. The fact that he can be wheeled over to the scale smoothly for a perfect reading of his weight is the major factor leading to the growing demand for this scale.

How to Cook Chestnuts

Wondering how to cook chestnuts? It's not so mysterious or difficult as you may think and even if you do not decide to cook them yourself, there are some wonderful chestnut products that make it even easier to enjoy this fabulous nugget of nutrition.

Selecting and Preparing Chestnuts

  • If you wish to cook chestnuts yourself, be sure that you buy only very fresh chestnuts. They should feel heavy in your hand and not rattle about in their shell. Chestnuts tend to go bad – rapidly growing moldy and wormy.
  • Chestnuts have a hard outer shell and a thin inner skin, both of which you need to remove in order to eat them. It is easier to remove these when the chestnuts are hot.
  • You always need to pierce the shell before cooking, otherwise pressure will build up in the nut and they will explode.

Three Methods for How to Cook Chestnuts

  1. Roasting chestnuts – Just like in the Christmas song, learn how to cook chestnuts over an open fire for a fun family activity . You will need a special long handled chestnut roasting pan or popcorn popper to do this. Using a sharp knife, cut an X through the shell of each chestnut. Place in the pan and roast for about 20 minutes, tossing and turning the pan occasionally.
  2. Baking chestnuts – This gives similar results to roasting but requires no special equipment. Simply slit the shells with an X and place on baking tray. Bake at 375 ° F for about 20 minutes. If you wrap the chestnuts in a dishtowel while they are still hot, this can make shelling them easier.
  3. Boiling chestnuts – Boiling chestnuts is a good option if you are planning on using them in a recipe. You can cut the chestnuts in two and make sure they are good before boiling. Place the chestnuts in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes or until the chestnuts are done as you wish (this depends some on the size and what recipe you are using them in). Shell and peel the chestnuts under cold running water while they are still hot (you may want to wear gloves).

Chestnut Products

Chestnuts are very nutritious, low fat, and can be employed in a variety of ways. Even if you do not learn how to cook chestnuts, do try using some of the great chestnut products available on the market to add this interesting food to your life.

  • Roasted chestnuts – You can buy jars of roasted chestnuts ready to use. Add these to soups, stews, steamed vegetables, or just enjoy them straight from the jar.
  • Chestnut puree – This comes in both sweetened and unsweetened preparations depending on how you would like to use it.
  • Chestnut flour – This is an excellent product for people on gluten free diets. Adds an interesting dimension to cakes, spreads, crepes, and other baked goods.

Device Hardening, Vulnerability Scanning and Threat Mitigation for Compliance and Security

All security standards and Corporate Governance Compliance Policies such as PCI DSS, GCSx CoCo, SOX (Sarbanes Oxley), NERC CIP, HIPAA, HITECH, GLBA, ISO27000 and FISMA require devices such as PCs, Windows Servers, Unix Servers, network devices such as firewalls, Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS) and routers to be secure in order that they protect confidential data secure.

There are a number of buzzwords being used in this area – Security Vulnerabilities and Device Hardening? 'Hardening' a device requires known security 'vulnerabilities' to be eliminated or mitigated. A vulnerability is any weakness or flaw in the software design, implementation or administration of a system that provides a mechanism for a threat to exploit the weakness of a system or process. There are two main areas to address in order to eliminate security vulnerabilities – configuration settings and software flaws in program and operating system files. Eliminating vulnerabilites will require either 'remediation' – typically a software upgrade or patch for program or OS files – or 'mitigation' – a configuration settings change. Hardening is required equally for servers, workstations and network devices such as firewalls, switches and routers.

How do I identify Vulnerabilities? A Vulnerability scan or external Penetration Test will report on all vulnerabilities applicable to your systems and applications. You can buy in 3rd Party screening / pen testing services – pen testing by its very nature is done externally via the public internet as this is where any threat would be exploited from. Vulnerability Scanning services need to be delivered in situ on-site. This can either be performed by a 3rd Party Consultant with scanning hardware, or you can purchase a 'black box' solution wherey a scanning appliance is permanently sited within your network and scans are provisioned remotely. Of course, the results of any scan are only accurate at the time of the scan which is why solutions that continually track configuration changes are the only real way to guarantee the security of your IT estate is maintained.

What is the difference between 'remediation' and 'mitigation'? 'Remediation' of a vulnerability results in the flaw being removed or fixed permanently, so this term generally applies to any software update or patch. Patch management is incrementally automated by the Operating System and Product Developer – as long as you implement patches when released, then in-built vulnerabilities will be remedied. As an example, the recently reported Operation Aurora, classified as an Advanced Persistent Threat or APT, was successful in infiltrating Google and Adobe. A vulnerability within Internet Explorer was used to plant malware on targeted users' PCs that allowed access to sensitive data. The remediation for this vulnerability is to 'fix' Internet Explorer using Microsoft released patches. Vulnerability 'mitigation' via Configuration settings ensures vulnerabilities are disabled. Configuration-based vulnerabilities are no more or less potentially damaging than those needing to be remedied by a patch, although a strictly configured device may well mitigate a program or OS-based threat. The largest issue with Configuration-based vulnerabilities is that they can be re-introduced or enabled at any time – just a few clicks are needed to change most configuration settings.

How often are new vulnerabilities discovered? Unfortunately, all of the time! Worse still, often the only way that the global community discovers a vulnerability is after a hacker has discovered it and exploited it. It is only when the damage has been done and the hack traced back to its source that a preventive course of action, either patch or configuration settings, can be formulated. There are various centralized repositories of threats and vulnerabilities on the web such as the MITRE CCE lists and many security product vendors agree live threat reports or 'storm center' websites.

So all I need to do is to work through the checklist and then I am secure? In theory, but there are literally hundreds of known vulnerabilities for each platform and even in a small IT estate, the task of verifying the hardened status of each and every device is an almost impossible task to conduct manually.

Even if you automate the vulnerability scanning task using a scanning tool to identify how hardened your devices are before you start, you will still have work to do to mitigate and remediate vulnerabilities. But this is only the first step – if you consider a typical configuration vulnerability, for example, a Windows Server should have the Guest account disabled. If you run a scan, identify where this vulnerability exists for your devices, and then take steps to mitigate this vulnerability by disabling the Guest Account, then you will have hardened these devices. However, if another user with Administrator privileges then accesses these same servers and re-enables the Guest Account for any reason, you will then be left exposed. Of course, you wont know that the server has been rendered vulnerable until you next run a scan which may not be for another 3 months or even 12 months. There is another factor that has not yet been covered which is how do you protect systems from an internal threat – more on this later.

So tight change management is essential for ensuring we remain compliant? Indeed – Section 6.4 of the PCI DSS describes the requirements for a formally managed Change Management process for this very reason. Any change to a server or network device may have an impact on the device's 'hardened' state and therefore it is imperative that this is considered when making changes. If you are using a continuous configuration change tracking solution then you will have an audit trail available giving you 'closed loop' change management – so the detail of the approved change is documented, along with details of the exact changes that were actually implemented. Furthermore, the devices changed will be re-assessed for vulnerabilities and their compliant state confirmed automatically.

What about internal threats? Cybercrime is joining the Organized Crime League which means this is not just about stopping malicious hackers proving their skills as a fun pastime! Firewalling, Intrusion Protection Systems, AntiVirus software and fully implemented device hardening measures will still not stop or even detect a rogue employee who works as an 'inside man'. This kind of threat could result in malware being introduced to other secure systems by an employee with Administrator Rights, or even backdoors being programmed into core business applications. Similarly, with the advent of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) such as the publicized 'Aurora' hacks that use social engineering to dupe employees into introducing 'Zero-Day' malware. 'Zero-Day' threats exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities – a hacker discovers a new vulnerability and forms an attack process to exploit it. The job then is to understand how the attack happened and more importantly how to remediate or mitigate future re-occurrences of the threat. By their very nature, anti-virus measures are often powerless against 'zero-day' threats. In fact, the only way to detect these types of threats is to use File-Integrity Monitoring technology. "All the firewalls, Intrusion Protection Systems, Anti-virus and Process Whitelisting technology in the world will not save you from a well-orchestrated internal hack where the perpetrator has admin rights to key servers or legitimate access to application code – file integrity monitoring used in conjunction with tight change control is the only way to properly govern sensitive payment card systems "Phil Snell, CTO, NNT

See our other whitepaper 'File-Integrity Monitoring – The Last Line of Defense of the PCI DSS' for more background to this area, but this is a brief summary -Clearly, it is important to verify all adds, changes and deletions of files as any change may be significant in compromising the security of a host. This can be achieved by monitoring for should be any attributes changes and the size of the file.

However, since we are looking to prevent one of the most sophisticated types of hack we need to introduce a completely infallible means of guarantee file integrity. This calls for each file to be 'DNA Fingerprinted', typically generated using a Secure Hash Algorithm. A Secure Hash Algorithm, such as SHA1 or MD5, produces a unique, hash value based on the contents of the file and ensures that even a single character changing in a file will be detected. This means that even if a program is modified to expect payment card details, but the file is then 'padded' to make it the same size as the original file and with all other attributes edited to make the file look and feel the same, the modems will still be exposed. This is why the PCI DSS makes File-Integrity Monitoring a mandatory requirement and why it is incrementally considered as vital a component in system security as firewalling and anti-virus defences.

Conclusion Device hardening is an essential discipline for any organization serious about security. Furthermore, if your organization is subject to any corporate governance or formal security standard, such as PCI DSS, SOX, HIPAA, NERC CIP, ISO 27K, GCSx Co Co, then device hardening will be a mandatory requirement. – All servers, workstations and network devices need to be hardened through a combination of configuration settings and software patch deployment – Any change to a device may adversely affect its hardened state and render your organization exposed to security threats – file-integrity monitoring must also be employed to mitigate 'zero-day' threats and the threat from the 'inside man' – vulnerability checklists will change regularly as new threats are identified

Disadvantages of Having Parrots For a Pet

Parrots can be pretty hard to take care of. Unlike other pets that can be left alone in their cages, parrots are restless creatures who you have to check up on a couple of times every day. Here are just some things that parrots can do to your home.

Parrots can be pretty messy

If you are the type that would like the house to be spotless, try to reconsider getting a parrot or any pet for that matter. Parrots can be really messy, even a small parakeet.

Their food can be flung everywhere even when they are inside the cage. Your floor can be filled up by pellets, seed, and nutshells. Sticky foods may also be plastered on the walls, on the bars of the cage and even at the ceilings. Foods will literally be everywhere.

Another problem that you may have are their poop, which you really have to clean everyday. And they are not that disciplined to only poop in one place. They actually poop everywhere, in bars, in their food dish and even with the toys that you give them. They may even poop in between bars, which may end up on the floor and sometimes even on you.

If you have a cockatiel variety or the grey breed, you will also have to contend with the powder that they have on their feathers. The feathers will stick everywhere. So, you really have to dust everyday.

Because of this, you have to scrub the cage, their dish and the whole of the area at least once a day to prevent bacteria from settling in and of course the bad smell.

2. Parrots chew on everything

Parrots love chewing wood. In fact, owners of parrots often give them wooden toys to play and chew with inside their cages. Parrots however are not satisfied with just these toys. When they get the opportunity, they will chew on everything that they get their hands on. They will puncture your clothes, your furniture, even your books.

This can be really frustrating especially if you are the type of person who wants a clean house. Parrots are not recommended in homes that have dainty and fragile furniture. They should also not be placed in areas where they can break things and chew on antiques.

Be careful with wearing jewelry because they will sure to grab it or chew it. Parrots love shiny things. They can claw the stone right out of your favorite jewelry.

Pheromones – Myth or Fact – Do Pheromones Work?

I did a quick search on the Internet for pheromones.

Pheromones are chemicals released by an organism into its environment enabling it to communicate with other in its own species. There are many different types I soon learned.

Insect Pheromones

Alarm Pheromone.

When an ant is disturbed, it releases a pheromone that can be detected by other ants several inches away. They are attracted by low concentrations of the pheromone and begin to move towards the region of increasing concentration. As they get nearer to their disturbed ant releasing an alarm pheromone, their response changes to one of emergency and alarm. They run about to try to break up the disturbance that caused the alarm.

Without additional amounts of the alarm pheromone are released, it soon wears off. This ensures that once the emergency is over, the ants return to going about their business.
Honey bees also have an alarm pheromone which is why if you get stung near a hive you can expect more bee stains really soon if you are not careful.

Leaving a Trail Pheromone

A trail pheromone is left by hands as they move about once they have found food. This trail joins and tells other ants where to go to find the food. It is continuously renewed as long as the food holds out. When the supply begins to dwindle, The trail Pheromone ceases to exist. The trail pheromone evaporates quickly so other ants stop coming to the site and are not confused by old trails when food is found elsewhere.

Sex Pheromones

Hundreds of pheromones are known with which one sex (usually the female) of an insect species associates its mates. Many of these sex attractants – or their close chemical relatives – are available commercially. They have proven useful weapons against insect pests as they can be used to attract insects to a trap, and to confuse males so that they will not reproduce. There are spiders that produce a moth sex pheromone to help catch their prey. A lot of animals such as dogs will mark their territory by peeing. It is said that the scent of pheromones is one of the territory marks.

Pheromones for humans.

There are Claims such as Gain MASSIVE Sexual Chemistry on Demand!

Instantly Arouse, Attract, Excite, Intrigue and Seduce Gorgeous Women Whenever You Want, Wherever You Want, As Often As You Want … Any Time You Are In The Mood.

If YOU would like to …

o Become a lot more sexually attractive.

o Meet more beautiful women, MUCH more easily.

o Grab the attention and get approached by women far more often.

o Make a fantastic, memorable, compelling impression, every time.

o Increase your self-confidence and masculinity BIG-time … then this may be the most important news you will read all year.

And other claims that are just as outrageous all over the internet. Human beings do not produce large quantities of natural pheromones. It has been noted that women who live together for awhile tend to sync their cycles. It has been written this is to a primer pheromone that women release.

If you're looking for the man or woman of your dreams, unsuspecting pheromones in your body scent are most likely playing a large and very clever role in mate attraction. According to an article in "Psychology Today," how our body odors are perceived as pleasant and sexy to another person is a highly selective process. We usually smell best to a person who genetically based immunity to disease differs most from our own. This could benefit you in the long run, making for stronger, healthier children. I watched a show on The Discovery Channel once about sexuality. They did a contest with a male and 5 females who so had very different types of immune systems. The females with similar immune systems to the male were more offensive in odor than the females with very different immune systems. I would imagine this is due to the different in pheromones. The pheromones though are naturally produced by our human bodies. There has been no research to pheromones produced in a lab.

Dating and Pheromones

What if we were to prey women were a little bit attracted to pheromones produced in a lab. If you go into a club after bathing in these pheromones how is a woman going to be attracted to you? You are emitting a scent that (supposedly) is turning any girl who smells it on. Well, what about the couple that is dancing next to you? In theory, that girl is getting turned on but who's to say she is getting turned on to you? She's getting turned on to the loser she is dancing with (Which this loser did not pay anything for pheromones)

So, assuming that they do work they would only benefit you in one-on-one situations.

The fact is that no research interviews synthetic pheromones. The companies selling products are synthetic pheromones. Do these work? Who knows there are much more reliable ways to gain attraction that a scent. I want someone to be attracted to me for me. Not some pheromone I'm wearing. How is she going to feel when I'm not wearing it. Also what is the effect of a women being exposed to the same pheromone all the time. Would not it trigger her to get used to that scent and therefore no longer react to it ?.

My suggestion is to look for other ways to attract someone that can produce consistent results without relying on some product.

How to Cure Skin Problems

Our skin is known to be the largest organ of our body. It also plays a huge part in keeping us healthy. Our skin serves as our shield from all dust and dirt coming from the environment. Apart from that, it also guards us from the effects of all the chemicals, change of temperature and microbial attack which might cause damage to our health. Most of all, it is the reason why we manage to have nutrients in our body because it actually advances its loss. There are countless of reasons why the skin is so important to the human body. That's why it is just essential for us to take care of it. But sometimes, no matter how good we are in taking care of our skin, there could be factors which could trigger skin infection. When this happens, natural skin care will not be enough. Good thing, skin medicines such as Trofodermin exists in the market to help solve all our problems.

Trofodermin is a skin antibiotic designed to treat skin ailments caused by bad bacteria. It also prevails the infection from getting worse. This skin antibiotic is made up of Neomycin Sulfate and Clostebol Acetate which is also known as a synthetic anabolic androgenic steroid. Trofodermin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic, meaning, it hinders the bacteria to produce proteins which are essential to its growth. Trofodermin has the ability to heal the damages of the infection with its antibacterial and anti inflammatory effect.

This skin antibiotic can resolve several skin problems such as skin cankers and sores, skin ulcers, wounds and even ailments like decubitus. It can also help reduce erosive infections of skin and mucous which includes piogenic infections and herpes. Moreover, Trofodermin is your solution for contaminated wounds, burns and cracks in private areas. Long healing wounds can also be treated by this skin ointment and problems including skin dystrophy and beam dermatitis will certainly be minimized.

You may apply the antibiotic on the infected area for one to two times a day. It is best to cover it with sterilized gauze to protect it from other bad bacteria. For better results, it is advisable for you to visit a dermatologist before purchasing the product. Several conditions may affect the number of dosage you have to take and side effects may occur once you took the wrong one.

Our skin, like any other part of our body, is vital to our health and to our whole being. Infections may occur but it does not mean it can not be stopped because Trofodermin, has the solution in all sorts of skin dilemma.

A Review of the Revival RG-26M Acoustic Guitar

One of Revival Acoustics more popular guitars is the RG-26M an OM / OO size / shaped acoustic guitar. If you appreciate the quick response and unique sound that mahogany gives and appreciates good tone with added volume and punch; then the Revival RG-26M may be just the ticket for you!

As a dealer for Revival Acoustics, I had heard good things about this particular model, one of my incentivies for stocking this guitar was that I had ordered the RG-26 with the spruce top and liked it!

The RG-26M has an even more reasonable price tag! After making numerous attempts to purchase the RG-26M guitar from my supplier (because they continued to sell out of them so quickly) I finally got my hands on two and began to compare them! I'll admit that I'm a bit biased, in that I do like the sound that mahogany / guitars make; having said that, playing these guitar's for me was a satisfying experience! It is also important to note that size / shape matters here as well and there is a big difference between playing a dreadnought size / body guitar and wrapping arms arms around an OM with thinner sides; none one has long arms; it just feels more comfortable! The OM body is still versatile enough for flat-picking and excel's at finger style approach's like! This guitar features a 1 & 11 / 16th's nut width and works well for people with smaller hands, obviously it does not have the power and depth of a dreadnought, but it can squeeze out a lot of sound which should satisfy most people and it has a uniqueness that is all it's own!

There's Something about the way she Woo's me, this guitar is simple, no nonsense and straight forward, in that it's uniform (basically all the same material / wood goes into building it). Simplicity has a beauty all it's own and though mahogany may not be exquisite like Koa wood it's distinct and rich in color, style and tonality! What you see is what you get here, this may sound redundant, but when you play an all mahogany guitar you get an all mahogany sound, not the sound of a combination of woods like the Sitka spruce topped mahogany back and sides RG-26 ( see the Guitar Player Review on the articles page of my website) Both of the tops on the RG-26M guitars I received had a reasonable amount of what I call character; which I felt made them unique / pleased in there own right; despite being green, (right out of the box) both of these hogs performed well and whenever I am reluctant to put any guitar down, that's a very good sign to me, and not only that, but when I continue to pick them up to play them and continue to be satisfied by them time and time again!

There is nothing fancy here, but I think this model does really show off the abalone rosette well, which to me looks like a jeweled necklace and looks great against the dark mahogany top wood! The finish is all satin / matte and this gives the guitar a real nice natural feel and an overall rustic appearance! I also believe that a satin finish helps this guitar breath out more sound better than a gloss / poly coat would and it just fits so well with this particular model! If there we're something's I would change about this guitar, it would be the width of the neck, I would personally prefer to have a 1 n nut width. I would probably swap out the Grover mini Romatic's and replace them with open gear tuners for a more vintage vibe and because I find the mini knobs small for my hands to maneuver.

The specification's of the RG-26M are the same as the RG-26 guitar, with the only exceptions being the hog top, the satin finish and the headstock inlay; which has Revival inscribed on it in abalone vs. the tree of life Revival logo which is done in pearloid on the RG- 26. The Revival RG-26M is a very affordable solid wood acoustic guitar providing a lot of sound and bite for the money, an if your looking for an all solid mahogany OM sized acoustic guitar you will be hard pressed to do better!

Win Your Next Property Tax Appeal in Texas – 10 Basic Steps

First – Learn the Facts

You are most likely to succeed with your property tax appeal if you find factual errors in your property tax record, also known as an “appraisal card”. Mistakes in real estate appraisals, such as errors about the age of improvements or incorrect square footage measurements are not uncommon.

After you file a Notice of Protest, the appraisal district will schedule an informal conference with one of their staff appraisers. Bring any proof for your case to the appointment in the form of photos or other documentation supporting your claims. The appraisal district will need to keep your evidence for their file, so remember to bring extra copies.

Understand How Your Home Has Been Appraised

Harris County Appraisal District [HCAD] has over a million single-family residential properties to appraise. Montgomery Central Appraisal District [MCAD] has responsibility for valuing about 250,000 homes. The daunting reality is that there are not enough well-trained staff appraisers to go around.

In the real world, appraisal district employees sometimes are not able to inspect much beyond new construction or additions. Even when properties are inspected, the examination may be hardly more than a drive-by. It is more common now for appraisal districts to rely on aerial pictometry for various aspects of property inspection. The level of technological resources now available to most appraisal districts is impressive.

Given the overwhelming number of properties that must be re-valued, these appraisal districts are dependent on computer mass appraisal models. The mass appraisal models that counties use are inevitably imperfect, although some are better than others. Your quest will be to determine the ways and the degree to which your property and your neighborhood have not altogether fit the model.

You may ask a real estate agent to help you find some comparable homes and their actual sales prices. Most good agents don’t mind helping you, because you may work with them later. Remember you want to be able to prove that your house is in a lesser condition than the comparable sales. Try to compare your home to the best ones in your neighborhood. If you can find information on better homes that sold below your assessed value during the prior year, you may have the grounds for a reduction.

Research the Value of Your Neighbors’ Homes

The easiest way for most homeowners to develop an appeal is to use the sales comparison approach to market value in their appeal, however the sales do not always favor your case. Another angle you can try is to determine if your home has been appraised in a “uniform & equal” manner to other similar properties in the same neighborhood.

Check if the appraisal district’s value of your house is at, or below, the median of the tax appraisal value of other homes in your neighborhood. Texas appraisal districts will have this information available online through their websites.

Obtain the Appraisal District’s Evidence

Along with your “Notice of Protest”, submit a request in writing for all the evidence the appraisal district used to value your home and intends to present at an Appraisal Review Board [ARB] hearing. It is also referred to as the House Bill 201 [HB 201] packet. Review this information to ascertain how the appraisal district determined the value of your home. You may find that this uncovers shortcomings the appraisal district’s case.

Don’t Lose Hope – You Have a Few Chances to Get It Right

If you are unable to settle your case one-on-one with a staff appraiser in an informal conference, the next level of administrative appeal is a formal Appraisal Review Board [ARB] hearing. Montgomery Central Appraisal District [MCAD] will have your formal hearing the same day. They immediately escort you down the hall and show you to the waiting area to present your case. Harris County Appraisal District [HCAD] will reschedule you to return to their office on another day to have a formal hearing. You will almost always wait two weeks.

The ARB hearing will be like a minor courtroom setting in which you make the presentation of your case. An experienced senior appraiser will represent the case on behalf of the appraisal district. A panel of at least three, supposedly impartial, appraisal review board members will hear the case and render a final decision. Important Warning: The ARB has the authority to actually RAISE your property value, so consider this risk. Also, do not forget to bring extra copies of all your evidence ( five altogether ) for the appraisal district and the ARB panel.

If your formal ARB hearing does not have a satisfactory outcome, you may still have two additional options available. For residential properties valued below $1-million, you can file an application for binding arbitration through the office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. There are fees of $250 or $500, depending on the level of involvement of your case. The other option is to file a law suit in district court against the appraisal district. As both of these procedures are time consuming and costly, you will need to decide if they are practical in your case.

Get Started – 10 Action Steps

1. Get a copy of your property tax record, or “appraisal card”. Texas appraisal districts will have this information online through their websites. If you cannot find it, call the appraisal district office for assistance.

2. Review the appraisal record for errors in your favor.

3. Find out if you are eligible for any special exemptions and apply for them. Examples are the Texas general homestead, over 65, disabled, or veterans exemptions.

4. File a “Notice of Protest” before the statutory deadline. This is usually May 31st or within 30 days of sending your “Notice of Appraised Value”.

5. Study the appraisal district’s evidence, the HB 201 packet.

6. Try to get help from a real estate agent to identify the details about good comparable sales (… and remember who helped you whenever you have a real estate transaction that pays ).

7. Take photos of your home and the other properties you are using for comparison. If you do not have a good camera, borrow one; or ask a friend to help you.

8. Make detailed written notes about precisely what you think should be the right value and the reasons for the reduction. Prepare your presentation and be able to show the proof to support your claim. This needs to consist of factual evidence such as dated photos, documentation of recent sales, and neighbors’ appraisal values.

9. Be kind and respectful to the other appraisal district staff and ARB members. Never forget they are also human and have feelings, like you. Remember the time tested expression, “You can catch more with honey than with vinegar.”

10. If you think it stands in your best interest, appeal your case to a formal ARB hearing. This may be a roll of the dice though. Depending on the make-up of the panel and their state of mind on the particular day of your hearing, your ordeal could be more favorable or it could become even worse.

If all this seems like a good deal of effort, there is yet another way to help ensure you get the best possible outcome. You can have a property tax consultant prepare and present your case, providing professional representation for you at appraisal district hearings. You can get the benefits of this service on a contingency basis, so it will cost you nothing unless you actually save money — that you would have paid in taxes.

Wilton – American Dream

If you decorate cakes or have ever shopped for cake making supplies, then chances are you are familiar with the Wilton brand. It’s hard to miss their products since Wilton has led sales in baking and cake decorating products for over half a century. Based in the Chicago suburb of Woodridge, Illinois, Wilton has grown enormously from its beginnings as a family cake decorating business during the United States’ Great Depression.

Today Wilton Industries sells over 2,000 different bake ware and food-related products, from instructional manuals and cake pans to pastry bags and food colorings. Wilton’s products aren’t just sold in the United States either. Major retailers in over 150 countries carry Wilton products. And business continues to grow with approximately 400 new consumer products being developed annually.

It all started in 1929 when Dewey McKinley Wilton, with the help of his wife, began a small cake decorating business in Chicago. Then came the stock market crash and the nation’s Great Depression. Surrounded by high unemployment rates and bread lines, Wilton carved out a prosperous niche by creating wedding cakes for Chicago’s famous hotels and clubs. The Wilton family business grew throughout the 1930’s.

Decorating cakes for the rich and famous gave the Wiltons’ reputation a nice boost. So when they opened a cake decorating and candy-making school for caterers and chefs, they had no problem with enrollment.

By 1947, the “Wilton Method” had become a household word among cake decorators, and a leading department store chain, JC Penney, was now promoting and selling Wilton products.

Before long the Wilton brand name become synonymous with cake decorating supplies and schools. All of this publicity laid the foundation for the Wilton’s decorating empire that continues to influence wedding cake trends.

Then in 1977, under the leadership of Wilton CEO Vince Naccarato, three diverse companies were united as Wilton Industries: Wilton Enterprises, Copco and the Weston Gallery.

Today, each division is a recognized leader in its market. Wilton Enterprises is the number one preferred brand name in baking and cake decorating products, Copco is the premier designer and marketer of teakettles and quality kitchenware, and the Weston Gallery is a leader in upscale picture frame design and marketing.

Under the continued leadership of Naccarato, the company enjoys strong sales growth and national distribution, which are largely credited to “category management,” that is basing marketing on tracked trends, and through “supply chain management,” which helps retailers lower costs of merchandising.

According to Austin Chronicle report, the Wilton Method was the unquestionable ruler of cake decorating until the 1980’s when Martha Stewart’s methods gained popularity. Her made-from-scratch cakes and stance that taste is just as important as the decorating challenged Wilton’s use of cake mixes and vegetable shortening.

However, Wilton continues to enjoy great success and to lead the industry. According to Hoover’s November, 2006 business report, Wilton Industries employed 650 people and reported $325 million in sales for the 2005 fiscal year, a 7.8 percent increase from the previous year.

For three quarters of a century, Wilton has offered cake decorating classes throughout the United States and Canada, including the Wilton School of Cake Decorating in northern Illinois. Wilton is partially credited for bringing the intricate, European cake decorating method to the United States and Canada.

In fact, Wilton’s cake decorating classes enroll nearly 200,000 students every year and from all around the world.

While many cake decorators enjoy the Wilton classroom experience, others like the customer below, prefer learning at their own pace at home with video instruction, such as the “Cake Decorating Made Easy” series.

Another ingredient in Wilton’s recipe for success is its annual “Your Take on Cake” contest, which attracts thousands of talented cake decorators from across the United States and Canada who compete for $5,000 in cash and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend The Wilton School’s two-week Master Course for Cake Decorating in Darien, Illinois.

Advantages of Growing Tomatoes on a Trellis

Tomato planting has been one of the greatest passions of home gardening. And as you indulge yourself in growing healthy and tasty tomatoes you also long to grow bigger and bigger tomatoes. Anyhow, you wondered what could be the best way to growing tomatoes – trellis or ground gardening.

Here are some tomato trellis ideas:

1. When making a tomato trellis, you may put a support beam or a pipe overhead wherein your tomato plant can stretch out as they grow.

2. You may use PVC tomato trellis as an overhead because they are light in weight.

3. From the support beam, you may hang another knot or twine or stick where the plant can cling and grow upwards. This is what you call vertical gardening.

4. You can use as many vertical knots from the top to allow the spread of its growth. Just make sure to place the hangers not to close to each other. Keep a distance of at least 24 to 36 inches apart.

Homemade tomato trellis is highly recommended because you can easily adjust the size and style just as the way you like it. You can design the trellis according to your needs and comfort.

Growing tomatoes up on trellis are notably great with tomato varieties that grow very tall. Some of the varieties you can try planting on your trellis are Celebrity, Mountain Delight, Fantastic, Better Boy, Burpee’s Big Girl and the like. You may also want to try on the extra-large type of tomato variety.

The good things about growing your tomato plant on trellis are the advantages you can draw from it. Take note of the following benefits you can get in growing tomatoes up on trellis.

1. Tomatoes grown on trellis evades from being affected with fungal bacteria coming from an infected soil. Your fruits and foliage are safe from touching the infected soil thus making them safe and sound above the ground.

2. Fruit rotting can also be avoided when your tomato plants are hanged above the ground.

3. Tomatoes grow perfectly on trellis, ensuring blemish free produce.

4. Trellis can give your plant tremendous support as they grow, and consequently give you an easy access to your plant for weeding, watering and even on foreseeing your plant bear fruits.

5. Homemade tomato trellis also gives you the benefit of a carefree way in reaching your tomato produce especially when harvest time comes.

6. Tomatoes grown on trellis gains a free flow of air supply and sunlight penetration thus ensuring healthy tomatoes.

7. Tomato plant on trellis gives you the ease and convenience of pruning suckers that may affect other branches as well as remove any unwanted excess leaves that may block sunlight penetration.

8. Another good reason for using trellis is that you can easily keep them and reuse them when you decide to plant again.

9. What’s more is that you can eliminate constant bending and kneeling when taking care of your tomato plant trellis hence, minimizing messy hands and dirty shirts.

See, growing tomato on trellis is really a piece of cake as much as it is pleasurable and relaxing. So much more, you may relish luscious, full-tomato-taste fruit crops during harvest season.

Fireplace Mantels – The Early Styles

In the early evolution of the fireplace mantel – from the primitive wood or peat fire lit on a slab of stone during the Saxon times through the mediaeval period when the fireplace mantel evolved into a considerably more efficient edifice – the most important room was the common hall .

The Saxon dwelling, whether it was a royal castle, a manor house, or a low one-room cottage, was built around the fireplace. Rooms could be added on at different stages of the life of the house, but the fireplace was the hub of early English domestic life, providing heat to cook food, boil water and warm the inhabitants. The common hall was usually on the ground floor, and was open to the roof. The fire would be placed in the center of the room and the smoke would drift out through windows, crevices in the eaves – or sometimes through a hole in the roof created for this purpose. Coal was less objectionable than wood when burnt in close quarters like this, but the residents would have had to sleep around the fire at night to keep warm, so even when using coal life must have been very uncomfortable. Recessed fireplaces with chimneys were installed as early as the twelve century in other rooms in the house, but even though the central fireplace was such an important part of domestic life, chimneys did not come into general use in the central hall until the early sixteenth century . Smoke turrets or louvers were introduced during the reign of Henry III according to written records, although there are no examples still in existence. Initially they were built solely for the purpose of assisting the smoke out of the building, but gradually the chimney stack evolved as a highly decorative architectural ornament. These decorative architectural ornaments were called fireplace mantels.

The modern-day fireplace mantel originates from the early Norman times. Unlike the single story Saxon housing, the Norman household was frequently set out over two stories and there before could not accommodate the Saxon method of allowing the smoke to drift out through the rafters. Early fireplace mantels were large, slightly cambered hoods, supported on stone jambs or corbels. The recesses of the capable fireplace could contain niches in the back wall, where a clay pipe or cup could be placed. There would be sufficient room to hang cuts of meat so that they could be smoke-cured.

By the start of the Tudor period, the fireplace mantels had evolved from a huge overhanging stone hood, sometimes even supported by columns, to a more discreet affair. There was sufficient area around the fire to allow a number of people to huddle close to the warmth, and sometimes a bench would be set into the fireplace for comfort. The lintel was generally a single heavy beam and the opening of the fireplace was usually wide and rectangular to permit sufficient dirt to oxygenate the flames.

Sometimes the kitchen fireplace even had an ingenious system of shelving installed on each side of the hearth-the shelves were narrow and ran from back to front of the fireplace and were used for baking loaves. Special flat shovels called "peles" were needed to retrieve loaves placed at the back of the oven. A surprisingly small number of these ovens have been discovered, so it can only be assumed that bread was so cheap to buy that the time and labor cost of producing loaves at home could not be economic.

Meat provided a much large proportion of the mediaeval diet than it does in the twenty-first century. Roasting spits, a tool used for roasting large pieces of meat, were used for cooking the meat over a fireplace. The meat would be taken up to the table and served directly off the spit. New types of spit and turning mechanisms were gradually brought into play, although it was not until the second half of the sixteenth century that clockwork or draft-operated devices started to catch on, in an early attempt to cut down time-wasting chores. There was even a small breed of dog known as a "turnspit", which had been specially trained to operate the spits by walking on a wheel or drum fixed height on the wall near the fireplace. The treadmill was attached to the spit by a spindle. It was not a happy profession for a small animal, particularly if he was turning the spit for a large joint of meat to feed a large crowd. Dogs continued to be used until the early part of the nineteenth century, when oven-cooked meat became the norm.

Early fireplace mantels were quite simple and unadorned, a practical design with no decorative appeal other than an occasional simple rope detail around the surround. Towards the middle of the 16th century, not only were the fireplace mantels becoming more ornate, but so were the surroundings and overthantes. The fireplace mantels around this time often show the disjointed nature of fireplace design as old snatches of information from Renaissance Italy were taken out of context by noblemen trying to flaunt their wealth and status. These were applied to the fireplace at will, often mixing design styles such as Classical, Heraldic and traditional in one piece. Generally there is very little consistency in the fireplace mantel design during the transitional period of the early 16th century Gothic, Classical Italian, Heraldic, and French styles were all experienced with by different architects. The design often followed with the practical aspects of the fireplace, and with the materials available in the region.