How to Pick a Vacation Destination

You deserve a time to relax and take things easy. You have been working hard all year long so you need time to refresh, not just for the sake of getting away momentarily from it all but for improving your performance as well. It is a well-known fact that taking time off can help improve a man's performance at work.

Picking the Right Destination

That's why you should decide on your vacation destination with care. You shouldn't just pick a place for no reason. It should be the result of careful consideration. Here are some tips that you can follow:

· The first step in picking your destination would be to plan your budget. You can only decide on the right place once you know how much you can spend on the whole trip. It is important that you decide based on the actual amount of money that you have and not on what you would like to have for the trip.

· Come up with a list of ideas and qualities that would make a destination ideal for your vacation. These ideas could include activities that you can do on the trip, sights that you would like to see and things that you want to buy.

· Pick the right date for your vacation. It should be a time when you can get away from your work and when your family can accompany you. Ideally it should not be at the same time others are taking a trip.

· Compare the list of activities that you want to do with the period that you can get away. There is a possibility that some of the activities you want to do would not be possible during the period that you have chosen. In that case you need to make some adjustments.

· Make sure that you have an agreement with the whole family about the things that you plan to do. This is important so that you can be sure that everyone would enjoy the trip and that no one would be left out.

· Use the internet in picking the best destinations that would match the activities that you want to do. You can also use it to find the best and most affordable deals when it comes to hotels and other accommodations.

· Try reading travel guides and maybe even blogs of travellers who have visited the places that you are interested in. Their first-hand accounts would be very handy for someone who would like to explore the very same place that they are writing about.

· There are other ways that you can discover about great vacation spots.For example, you can try asking the people that you know. They might know a place that would suit what you have in mind.

These are just some of the things that you can try when it comes to looking for a great travel destination. The whole world is waiting to be explored, don't miss the opportunity.

Ski Vacations Tips - Where Should You Go? Which Ski Destination Is Right for You?

With so many ski destinations out there, from Aspen to the Swiss Alps, you've got plenty of options for your vacation. Whether you plan on going with your family or friends, you will find some great deals on ski vacations online. All it takes is a bit of research. Consider your personal preferences and needs and look for the ideal vacation. Since there are so many destinations, resorts, and slopes, you should be able to find one that is perfect for you.

If anything, you might have trouble narrowing down all of the choices! Here are a few tips to help you make your decision:

  • The most important thing is for you to consider your vacation's focus. Are you interested in staying at a family-friendly resort? Or would you prefer to stay in a town with lively nightlife? Do you want to fly to a faraway destination for a week-long trip, or would you rather drive to a nearby resort for the weekend?

  • Whether your main goals are to explore a backcountry, visit a faraway country, or enjoy an exciting weekend getaway, you need to make a list of things you want in a resort. If you're planning a romantic getaway, you might want to rent a cabin so you can get some privacy. If you want to be pampered, stay in a luxury resort. There is no end to the accommodations at ski destinations.

  • Consider doing some activities outside of skiing. You won't want to spend all of your time on the slopes. What kind of dining options are you interested in? Are there other sports, such as snowboarding and ice skating available? When comparing ski vacations, take a look at the activities available in each area.

  • It's important that you choose a ski destination that offers slopes appropriate for your skiing level. If you're traveling with others, make sure that the destination offers a good variety of slopes, for beginners, intermediates, and experts.

  • If you're traveling with children, make sure the destination you choose has babysitting services, just in case you want to spend some time alone with the adults in your party. The hotel or inn you stay at should have amenities and activities to keep children entertained.

Once you finally decide on your ski vacation, you can compare packages and travel deals for that destination. Determine whether it would be cheaper to buy an all inclusive package or pay for everything separately. No matter where you choose to go, you should be able to find discounts on ski vacations.

Improve Your Golf Driving Game with a Golf Net

Driving is one of the most important elements of your golf game. It's how you start every round and every hole, and the quality of your driving impacts the rest of your game. Will you lay up nicely for a birdie, or will you be chasing your drives into the rough? Every golfer needs to spend time practicing their game, that's why they invented driving ranges. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have a driving range in your back yard? Well, golf nets can allow you to practice your driving game in the convenience of your own back yard. Let's look at some different aspects of driving the ball that you can practice with a golf net so that the next time you go to the links you will strike the ball with power and precision.


The approach or the setup precedes the stance and is crucial to the swing. This element is controlled by your judgment. Your feet and shoulders should be in line with the desired path of the ball (unless playing a draw or fade). By laying a club at your feet you can see the direction of your line. An instructor or golfing buddy can also correct the lineup on your approach. Generally speaking, the ball should be forward in your stance (close to your lead foot). Your knees should be slightly bent, and good footing helps ensure stability for the swing. While the eyes should always remain on the ball during the shot, the chin should be raised to allow for the shoulder to rotate through the shot. This is the most intellectual element of the swing, so take time to check your line, footing and other parts of your approach. You don't want to waste a perfectly executed swing on bad preparation.

Now let's check your stance. Your stance should change depending on the kind of shot you are making (drive, iron, chip, putt) and any number of variations you might desire to perform (draw, fade, distance, etc.). Because you need extra power and stability for the drive, you should spread your legs just wider than shoulder length. Tiger Woods makes this comment in his book How I Play Golf, "When I plan to go all out with the driver, I spread my feet even wider than normal. That gives me a firmer base so I won't lose my balance" (Woods 161). [1] Finally, make sure you have a good grip on the club. Different golfers will try different grip methods, but it's important that your grip is firm because you need to have absolute control over the club-head through the swing in order to make solid impact.

The approach and stance take meticulous precision. You want to be comfortable with your approach and be sure to practice it. The approach sets the tone for the shot and gives you a sense of regularity and consistency in changing situations. Be sure to always practice the science of your approach so that you can master the art of your swing.


The swing involves several key factors all coming together in a matter of seconds to execute a powerful and precise shot. Sometimes, only one thing needs to go wrong to make a poor shot. Consistent practice will refine your drive as you focus on each of these elements of the swing.


Beginning the motion of the swing is the all important backswing or takeaway. Instructor Jack Moorehouse says, "The first 24 inches or so of the takeaway is crucial. It helps determine the swing's width and the clubhead's path." [1] Concerning path and width, you want to be sure not to let the shaft stray wide or inside of your line. In other words, during the mid-point of your backswing, the shaft should be parallel with your target line - parallel to your feet. The backswing should be simple and smooth, try not to make any jerky movements.

From the Top

You should check several things at the end (or top) of your backswing. Often, golfers can make the mistake of over-reaching on their backswing as if to wrap the club around their body. The thought is to gain more power on the downswing, but that is not the case. The opposite risk is not going far enough, which sacrifices the power of your drive. At the top of the swing, the shaft of the club should again be parallel to your target line. To ensure that you are parallel at the top, check your lower arm (usually considered the dominant hand) and make sure your elbow forms a right angle to the ground. Your other arm (top hand) should stay straight throughout the swing. This draws the lead shoulder around so that at the top of the backswing the shoulders will be perpendicular to your feet which face the ball. Allow your hips to rotate slightly with your shoulders. This rotation creates power for the drive. When you are practicing, make sure that your clubface itself is parallel to your lead arm. The angle of your club-head is not irrelevant because it affects the impact of the club-face with the ball.


Now we have to bring everything back to earth. Many golfers get over-eager at this point and speed things up on the way down. Again, the thinking is that more speed equals more power. With all of the factors involved in the swing, the math is not that simple. Power will come primarily from the torque in your shoulders and hips released through your arms. An even tempo is more important than speed, especially during practice. This is a prime reason to take practice swings before your shot. During practice, try developing an even counting system that corresponds to your backswing and downswing. As your game develops, you can begin to speed up your downswing, but a comfortable tempo will always govern the swing. Don't forget to swing comfortably!

Sweet Spot

All of these things are preparation for the decisive moment - impacting the ball. Every club has a "sweet spot," and drivers are designed with extra sugar. A larger clubface is no reason to be careless though. A shot with poor impact can result in an embarrassing shank or a crank in the rough. Solid impact will create the distance and direction you are looking for. If you are struggling with making a solid impact, check all of the preparatory elements already discussed including set-up, distance from the ball, and backswing. Essentially, you want the moment of impact to reflect the approach stance. Of course, your shoulders and hips will be moving through the ball, but the club should impact the ball at the same point at which it began the takeaway. As with other sports, eye contact is crucial to solid impact. Be sure to keep your head down and your eye on the ball through impact and even follow through. This mistake is so common that the discipline of keeping your eye on the ball should be strongly enforced during practice.

Follow Through

Jack Moorehouse again advises, "The follow-through is a good indicator of the shot's quality. If it ends with a nice finish, chances are the swing was effective." [2] For all practical purposes, the follow through simple resolves the movement of the swing. Yet, it is so united to the rest of the swing that you want to attend to your follow through in practice. Tiger Woods explains the importance of extension in follow through when he says, "My right arm is fully extended straight down the target line. That shows I've tried to generate as much clubhead speed as possible" (Woods 181). [4] Also be sure to keep your feet in proper stance. Your back foot should come up with your toe pointing to the ground, and you should be balanced on your lead foot. If you are losing your balance, then you need to adjust the width of your stance or maybe your tempo. Don't choke yourself with your follow through; make your follow through comfortable.


Your practice will determine how you play. With all of the different aspects of a drive to develop, it is important to practice. Most people are reduced to only practicing their short game in their yards, but now you can practice all elements of your game at home. With a golf net you will be able to hit as many balls as you want without chasing them, and you can practice at your leisure without traveling to the range. Here is what the great Tiger says about the importance of practice, "I committed myself to the idea that there are no shortcuts to improvement. The best way to ingrain the correct movements and positions is through repetition" (Woods 106). [5] After developing the fine points of your swing at home, you will be able to experience the joy and pleasure of a great game from start to finish.

Paul Galla, President

[1] Woods, Tiger. How I Play Golf. New York: Warner Books, 2001

[2, 3]

[4, 5] Woods, Tiger. How I Play Golf. New York: Warner Books, 2001

Maui Real Estate - Why Buy It Now?

The Maui Real Estate market is ripe for purchases, with all of the components required of a solid base from which to launch a real estate portfolio.

Money is available at your financial institution and the rates as you know are near all time lows. A cash down payment on a home provides a rate of return superior to wall street by a ratio of 4:1.

Remember too that the FHA has options available that in many cases cannot be beat and provide access to the arena for newer seekers of the family dream.

The benefits of owning a home on Maui are numerous for the secure investor, providing personal accommodations and steady income from a large pool of renters that continue to maintain the islands thriving retail sector.

Vacation Rental Agencies abound and have succeeded in marketing private homes as a truly superior alternative to the typical hotel room. Location always prevails and West Maui seems to stay poised at the top of popularity lists both for the home owner and renter. I recommend the areas of North Ka'anapali with Honua Kai, Napili, and Kapalua. With TImbers taking over management of what was formely known as The Ritz-Carlton residences and Kapalua Villas offering a multitude of options, selections for the buyer and vacation renter provide the destination experience and revenue flow expected.

Real Estate is not a short term investment vehicle and I always suggest that you consult your accounting and legal partners prior to making any such purchase. Once done and you are comfortable with the risk level, follow up by partnering with a trusted and neighborhood wise Realtor, they can provide guidance with far more depth and personal focus than the resources found online. Have them define their area of focus and ensure that your needs are clearly understood and match well with their expertise.

For those buyers looking to reside on Maui, timing is equally as good. The county has worked hard on its infrastructure, schools are improving and private options are some of the best in the entire state, employment is strong and getting better still with the hospitality service industry setting the pace, communities are welcoming to new families and the diversity of the island makes for a wonderful environment to grow and enjoy, the lifestyle is supported by all of the required social and cultural necessities, and above all, it's paradise...

A Hui Hou

Let There Be Quiet! How Noise Affects Health

Did you know that noise powerfully affects your health? We are surrounded by noise in various degrees, however, I realized the impact it has in a personal way recently. Several weeks ago, I met my oldest son, Chris, in New York City, where he works. We were going to take the train from there to his apartment just outside the city. We walked around for about an hour. We were assaulted constantly by voices, horns honking, air planes flying overhead, cars, trucks, jackhammers, sirens and who-knows-what-else! After several minutes I realized I had unconsciously tensed up and felt vaguely anxious. When we reached his neighborhood, the difference was dramatic! It was still more of a "city" area than upstate NY where I live, but it was so much quieter. Almost immediately I felt myself relax a bit!

We are so used to being surrounded by sound some of us cannot stand to be without some type of noise - whether it's the television or radio in the background, a CD or static and nature sounds from a "white noise" machine. If you pay attention, you'll find there are very few (if any) places where you escape intentional sound - stores, doctor/dentist offices, restaurants, gas stations, public rest rooms - they all seem to have music piped in.

So how does all this sound affect your health? There is growing evidence that noise-related stress poses a significant health hazard. It's no surprise that repeated exposure to loud noise can damage your hearing. Even being exposed to the loud music at one rock concert can cause hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization, unwanted noise causes hearing impairment including tinnitus, disturbs sleep and triggers stress hormones, which in turn affect the immune and digestive systems. Constant exposure to noise increases risk for heart attack or stroke and can even be a factor in high blood pressure.

You may find these results of some studies to be interesting:

In an office environment, low-level noise can make it difficult to focus and stay motivated; in fact, those who used a white noise machine (to help cancel out background noise) performed better on tests. Noise reduces problem-solving ability, increases frustration and irritability (as I experienced on my trip to the city!).

Noise actually increases the desire to eat! Behavioral research shows that people inundated by noise at work during the week are more apt to overeat - even on the weekends. A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology indicated that women who are exposed to high levels of noise tend to eat more high-carb snacks. (Could this be part of the reason behind your inability to lose weight?)

One German study connected chronic noise exposure to an increased risk of heart attack, particularly in men.

We see many scriptures that speak about the importance of quiet - living a quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11); working in a quiet environment (Ecclesiastes 4:6) eating in peace and quiet (Proverbs 17:1). Our modern life is steeped in constant motion and sound and the resulting stress is damaging our health as well as our relationships.

We've gotten too far from the life the Lord intended us to live. But what can we do?
Here are a few suggestions:

Turn off everything that makes noise in your environment - radio, TV, cell phones, iPods, CD players and allow the soothing quiet to envelope and calm you. You may be surprised by how difficult you find being in total quiet initially. Begin by spending the first part of your day in quiet prayer and meditation (which we'll discuss in upcoming newsletters!).

Especially during mealtimes, turn off the noise and concentrate on enjoying your meal. Eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly, enjoy leisurely, pleasant conversation with your family (no arguments or rehashing of the day's problems), really observe, smell and taste your food, savor it - all without stress-inducing noise that can cause all sorts of digestive problems.

While many people enjoy using headphones while they exercise, studies actually show that by concentrating on your breathing and the feeling of your muscles moving, thinking about the results of your efforts (strengthening your legs, slimming your middle, etc.) actually increased the results of your efforts. If walking is your exercise, try just walking in quiet and communing with the Lord instead of listening to teaching tapes or music. Those are not "bad" things to do, but you need some time with no stimulation. The same is true when you are driving. While I like listening to teaching tapes or worship music, I try to take some of my driving time and just travel in blessed quiet!

Spend time outdoors - walking, gardening, exercising, playing a sport or with your children, read or just sit and enjoy a beautiful day. Listen to the birds and enjoy God's creation. Practice being quiet - you'll reap many benefits!

Business Consultants Compared - What Makes Firms Different?

When inviting a business consulting firm to get to know your business and its weaknesses, it is a delicate dance to find the best corporate qualifications, experience, and ability to navigate the inevitable invisible issues that will come up. It is also important to make sure your own corporate culture and on-going business do not get lost in the process.

In the marketplace of Business Management Consulting or Management Consulting, competitors generally fall into just a few categories:

-Sole proprietor consultants, who are generally niched and geographically based

-Larger consulting firms, who have multi-niched teams and the ability to reach out to other cities or regions

-Small consulting firms, regionally based and team oriented

Sole Proprietors: Personal Touch

Smaller and sole proprietor consultant competitors, like Jannelle Buzzell, Jim Grew, Will Moore, Mannus O'Donnell and others, get to know the client and their needs very personally. They start from exceptional business acumen, and make sure to create buy-in within the company. The client company is trusted to know their core business and its people very, very well. There is often not a pre-conceived corporate formula other than profitability, efficiency, and better managerial controls through feedback. To these folks, it is common to receive a fearful call where a business owner shares that they 'aren't even sure what the problem is or where it started'.

Large Consulting Firms: depth and breadth

Larger competitors, like Boly Welch Consulting, CBS Consulting, Georgia S. May, Point B and PeopleFirm, all offer fresh eyes, strong business acumen, and an understanding that all business evolution comes from the people within the firm. To make any consulting project stick, it has to come from within, which starts from leadership. Once leadership has aligned the goals and strategies, the consulting firm assists in rolling out change. This change management happens from setting measurable goals, checking in with ROI, and staying in regular touch with the feedback loop.

Small Consulting Firms: Personal touch and depth

What makes the smaller consultancy different is the unique blend of these styles. With a small firm, you are likely to meet the owner, but not work with them regularly. You will have a small, personal team, but enough distance to call their supervisor if necessary. A small firm has 8-30 employees, and is generally based in a single city office. Conversely, the consulting firm is big enough to have scheduling and launching flexibility more like a larger consultancy. Small consulting firms cannot do everything involved for a larger project, so they are forced to rely on (and train) the employee team. This strategy keeps the consulting team in alignment with owners, in order to organize which work is done by which team. Smaller consulting teams do not take over a floor of your building and set up shop. It is necessary to work along side the employee team constantly in order to on board change at a pace owners and employees can handle.

How Much Do They Cost?

When we compare business to business consulting, price is an unavoidable topic. If you don't care how much the consulting firm costs, you are not in the market. Clients care, even if they aren't sure they can afford it (or have plenty of money to afford it). Small firm prices lie in the middle, just as you might expect. Many sole proprietors charge a lower rate, especially if they aren't busy. However, if they are busy, they simply cannot take the work, or quickly bump up to the rates of larger firms. Larger firms have additional overhead for travel, benched employees and significant benefit packages at all levels. These higher prices are significant and consistent. With a smaller firm, you are unlikely to receive enormous perks as a part of your purchase. They focus on the work done, and building the relationship on the job.

In general terms, a client can expect:

Team Size Typical Hourly Rate

Sole Proprietor 1 $40-$150

Small Firm 2-30 $75-300

Large Firm 30+ $200-750+

These rates are a generalized survey in Portland, OR, based on surveys of a small handful of varying small and medium businesses.


When you are considering outside consulting for your operations, spend some time considering the depth and breadth of the project, the budget you expect, and then consider requesting proposals or conversations from varying firms. Some projects are clearly one size or another, but medium scale projects that can take some time to evolve are a likely fit for a blended small consulting firm. If you go that route, you will save significant money and train your staff along the way.

Things To Remember When Planning Your First Hen Party

Finding out you're to be a bridesmaid or maid of honour at your friend's wedding is always exciting, especially when you know you'll have the chance to organise some of the celebrations.

It's traditional for the bride's friends to throw a rip roaring hen do in the weeks and days before the wedding, giving you a chance to wish her luck and give her a fun send off. Planning the perfect hen do is one of the biggest responsibilities you have as a bridesmaid, but it doesn't have to be a difficult task.

First of all you need to work out whether the bride to be is the kind of person who would love to be surprised when the day rolls around or whether they secretly already have a type of celebration in mind.

There's a real trend for whisking brides away for fun filled weekends or foreign holidays but some people really would prefer a local night out that they had plenty of time to plan for. If you've been chosen as a bridesmaid, you'll know what kind of person your friend is, so stop and think about what they'd really like rather than letting yourself get carried away with trying to follow recent conventions.

Another massive deciding factor will be the kind of people who will be attending the celebration. Find out whether your friend is thinking of a small, intimate hen do with only her closest circle or whether she's hoping to invite all the female friends she can think of. The larger the party, the more aware you need to be of budgets.

If you're going to be inviting people from all around the country, you need to factor in their travel expenses and understand that they may not be able to contribute as much to activity costs as they people who live locally.

There's also the question of age ranges. Lots of brides like to invite their mother and new mother in law to their hen party and if this is the case, you'll want to make sure you plan an age appropriate evening. One way of ensuring all guests are catered to is by organising a night out that has a number of different stages, therefore giving older guests plenty of time to bow out after dinner or drinks, meaning they won't feel obliged to party all night if they don't want to.

To make sure your hen do is extra special, make sure you do things to differentiate it from a normal night out. This can be anything from booking a cocktail-making class to thinking up funny quizzes and games to play during dinner. It's also nice to ask a few of the bride's friends to write a small speech and spend some time looking back at fun times you've had together as well as toasting the future.

Another favourite way to make sure your hen do stands out from the crow is to look for fun costumes or accessories to wear. You'll want the bride to be noticeable so choose something extra special for her to wear and make sure all the hens have matching accessories to identify you as a group, glow bracelets are perfect for hen parties, as you'll be able to spot each other across a crowded room too. When you're planning a hen party you'll want to cater to everyone who is attending, but remember its only the bride-to-be who really counts.

Ocean City's Finest Hotels

Ocean City is proud of its dazzling white sand beaches as well as its temperate weather. It is also famous for the Boardwalk, the entertainment and shopping center here. The Boardwalk also houses a lot of the world's well known players in hospitality industry. Here are a few of the deluxe Ocean City hotels and accommodations particularly found in Boardwalk.

Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites. It is one of the most, if not the most luxurious hotels in Ocean City, Maryland. Enjoy a delightful oceanfront view in one of its stylishly adorned suites and guestrooms. It has 210 suites and 210 guest rooms. Each is festooned with gracefully modern furnishing and comes with kitchens, personal refrigerators, satellite televisions, music and video players, and telephones.

Holiday Inn's in-house restaurant, the Hemingways at the Coral Reef offers a delicious menu for the selective taste buds. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this restaurant offers dishes with touches of island fare, modern and traditional cooking. Get a taste of their crab dip, a scrumptious combination of scallions, cream cheese and fresh crab. You should also try their tempting penne pasta perfectly mixed with olive oil, garlic and herbs.

Holiday Inn is a favorite of many leisure and business tourists. It offers a selection of twenty four-hour services especially advantageous for individuals with eventful schedules. This one's quite an expensive choice, yet it is all worth it. Situated twenty miles from the Salisbury airport, you can always look forward to a wonderful beach holiday at Holiday Inn.

Days Inn Boardwalk. A dramatic ocean view structure with an advanced interior, Days Inn is ideally placed near Ocean City's business and entertainment borough. Unwind in one of its featured pools while your kids have fun among themselves in the kiddie pool.

For accommodations, it gives you three impressive options: the poolside rooms which provide you a serene view of one of the hotel's pools; the street side that has some rooms giving you limited scenery of the Bay and the Atlantic Ocean; and the oceanfront which presents you a direct and full vista of the Boardwalk and the Ocean.

Every room is sophisticatedly adorned with modern furnishings and pieces like bed linens, carpet, a television, a safety vault, and an electronically-operated lock. Rooms also come with kitchen facilities and essentials that include cookware, ref, microwave oven and coffee maker. Days Inn also makes available complimentary cribs. A 24-hour service is on hand for your convenience.

Paradise Plaza Inn. Good taste and comfort are two things you can expect from this Boardwalk hotel. It is one of Ocean City's finest accommodation pick, as well. Why? For one, Paradise Plaza Inn is suitably situated on the oceanfront where the famous interesting places of Worcester County are handy and these include Assateague Island and Assateague State Park, fishing marinas, and Ocean City Outlets.

It also presents an array of oceanfront suites and accommodations that come with in-room safes, high speed Internet access, hair dyers, microwaves, coffeemakers and refrigerators. From the terraces of these suites, you can hear the sound of the ocean waves which can either make you nostalgic or lull you to sweet sleep.

It has big banquet facilities which could be the perfect venue for any occasions and events such as corporate meetings, birthday bashes and wedding receptions.

Whether you're traveling for pleasure or business reasons, Ocean City has thousands of hotels and accommodations to guarantee your relaxing and remarkable visit.

How Not to Design Your Perfect House

Perfection is a myth. There's no such thing as a perfect body, no perfect marriage, no perfect job and certainly, no perfect house. (I'm sorry to be the one to burst the bubble.) If it helps, there are perfect moments. Fleeting instances of perfection appear, but they go as quickly as they come and they're as slippery as soapy children to control. If you're careful, you can keep them in your memory bank, but there's an art to appreciating them and storing them safely without accidentally bursting them.

The problem is we all aspire to perfection. I could blame the media or society but I don't think it would help (allocating blame rarely does help I find, it tends only to fuel the situation by having us continue to focus on the issue). So let's instead have a look at how not to be perfect. How to be imperfect, maybe. Here's how to design the imperfect house.

Don't copy the Jones (or Worthington-Smug-Kleins)

Copying someone else's taste will never make you feel like you own the place. You'll always feel in someone else's shadow with that lingering sense of being second best. Besides, what will you do when the Jones' re-decorate? Copy them again? Surely it's better to discover your own sense of style and taste. Wouldn't it be easier to sit down with an interior designer and discuss how to create a stunning decorative scheme based on things you genuinely like or happy memories you have, or pieces you have inherited and have sentimental value to you? Surely this is a million times better than copying what next door's done.

Don't compare your own home with someone who has far more money than you do

Firstly it's just a cruel thing to do to yourself, so only ever compare apples with apples. But secondly, let me assure you that money does not equal good taste. Money often just means being able to afford to accommodate bad taste. Admiring the wealthy is a terrible habit. In truth, you've no idea how they became so affluent - it's more than likely they work excruciatingly long hours and probably don't have the time for their own children's birthday parties so, for your own sake, keep your wealth envy in check.

Don't copy hotel chic

Unless you travel a lot and only use your home for a couple of months of the year, then seeing your house as a boutique to impress others will never work for you. Your home is where your family live and where you seek comfort, warmth and security. I suspect you don't get room-service at home so take a few colour ideas or maybe a fabric or two for inspiration but don't try and achieve the look that requires a concierge and a bell-boy.

Don't decorate using only the latest fashions

Unless you want to be changing your home as often as you change the clocks. If you like the uber-fashionable then make them the accessories that can be changed easily. On the other hand, if the latest fashion makes your heart sing and is a true reflection of how you feel and what you want to say to the world, then of course celebrate wildly with your celery green wallpaper and your petrol blue sofa. Just so long as you love them for the foreseeable future. Believe me I love all the pink crocodile wallpaper that's around at the moment but I've got to ask myself whether I'm going to love it just as much this time next year. If you're unsure then use your fad favourites for the downstairs loo. This is the most forgiving room in the house and always good for some decorating fun.

What could your downstairs loo say about you? It's a thought worth thinking about.

Choosing Your Home Heating System

When you own a house, it is of great likelihood that you will have some type of home heating system. What kind you have and how much you use it may depend on what part of the country you live in. There are several kinds, but the most common in the United States are radiant steam and forced air. There are several advantages and disadvantages of each type that you need to be aware of when you are looking to purchase a new residence.

The most common type is forced air. The main parts of it are usually housed in a furnace and sent through a series of ductwork to registers in the floors, ceilings, or walls in the various rooms of the house. The fuel may come from one or a combination of several sources including natural gas, oil, and electricity, depending on what is available in your region. There are several advantages to this type of home heating system. These include filtering the air so that your family may breathe cleaner air in your home and the ability to humidify and dehumidify the air so that you can control its moisture. It is also fairly inexpensive compared to other types and you can get high energy efficiency. There are several disadvantages however. These include the miles of ductwork needed in ceilings and walls. The fans can often be noisy, and it must be filtered and maintained on a regular basis to keep it running properly and keeping allergens to a minimum.

The other most common type of home heating system is steam radiant. These are not often used in newer construction, but are quite common in homes and other buildings that were built before the 1950s. These are characterized by large cast iron radiators that stand up in rooms throughout the house. These can be either several pipes or a single pipe which water travels through and is heated, therefore, filling the entire room with heat. The boilers for these can be fueled by natural gas, oil, or electricity.

Just as with forced air, there are some advantages to this type of home heating system also. These include the ability to warm the rooms more quickly and efficiently. They also provide a higher level of comfort than others, and many of the older systems can now be replaced with newer, more efficient ones. However, there are also disadvantages as these radiators can be ugly, the locations of these radiators can make furniture placement difficult, and it can make central air installation harder because separate ductwork is needed and installing that can get quite expensive.

A good home heating system can make or break your comfort any season of the year. The kind you put in your residence depends on your region's availability. It does not need to break your budget.

Used CNC Wood Routers For Sale: Tips For Avoiding Bad Equipment

If you're looking for used CNC wood routers for sale, it's important to thoroughly evaluate a router before you consider buying it. Although purchasing used equipment is never as secure as purchasing new machinery, there are ways to ensure that you purchase pre-owned CNC wood routers that offer excellent performance for years to come. If you need to avoid purchasing unreliable machinery for the sake of your business, the tips below will help you do just that.

Don't Buy Hardware From An Auction

If you aren't trained to evaluate woodworking hardware, buying it from an auction is risky at best. You may get what you need for a great price, but you may also have to spend money restoring the equipment to optimal condition. If you have a tight budget, and need to implement the machine in your production line right away, spending money and time reconditioning it probably isn't an option.

Purchase Reconditioned Products

Used CNC wood routers for sale that have been reconditioned are more reliable than used hardware that is sold as is. This is because the equipment has been restored inside and out to perform like new. Reconditioned hardware typically costs a bit more than equipment that hasn't been reconditioned, but if you need a product that won't saddle you with frequent repairs and unforeseen maintenance issues, the additional investment is more than worthwhile.

Inspect and Test Equipment

Inspecting and testing a piece of machinery at the location of the seller is ideal. If you can't travel there, have someone else perform the test and inspection on your behalf, or request the seller to send you additional photos of the machine, and a video of it in operation. Inspecting and testing CNC wood routers can reveal signs of wear and mechanical problems that aren't detectable by merely observing a few web photos of a machine.

Evaluate the Seller

The business model of a seller can have a major impact on the quality of what it sells. That is why you should only buy pre-owned hardware from a professional seller that specializes in reconditioning hardware. Buying from an auction or an amateur seller may result in the best price, but it could also result in acquiring hardware that lacks reliability, and isn't worth purchasing in the first place.


If you are looking for quality, used CNC wood routers for sale, your chances of finding them are better you don't buy hardware from an auction, purchase reconditioned machinery, inspect and test the equipment before you buy it, and evaluate the seller. For assistance purchasing pre-owned CNC wood routers, contact a seller of used CNC equipment today.

Ski Vacations for Families - 6 Guidelines for Finding the Right Resort

Are you planning a ski trip with your family? Then you need to choose a resort that is friendly towards families and children. There are many types of ski vacations, so you need to find one that is ideal for your needs.

You can always find deals on family vacation packages online. Either go with an all inclusive ski package or pay for the expenses, such as the transportation and accommodation, separately.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the ideal resort:

  1. Ski resorts that are friendly towards families tend to have beginner courses. They offer easy beginner slopes to make it easy for children to learn how to ski. A beginner course will have an easy mode of transport from the ground up to the ski area.

  2. You should look for a resort that offers skiing lessons to smaller groups. That, you and your children can be introduced to the sport comfortably. Even if you know how to ski yourself, you should still consider taking a refresher course.

  3. A family ski destination won't have a lot of bars and clubs. Sure, the adults in your group should be allowed to grab a drink or two if they want, but there shouldn't be so many bars in the area that it attracts party-goers.

  4. Decide whether you want to stay in the country or go elsewhere. There are plenty of family friendly resorts in the US, so you won't have to spend a lot of money to go overseas unless you really want to. You'll be able to save a lot of money if you stay at a US ski resort instead of buying international plane tickets for everybody. However, going overseas might be an educational experience for your children.

  5. Wherever you decide to go, check and see if the resort has condos and cabins available for rent. You probably won't be able to fit your entire family in a hotel room. Condos and cabins typically have two or three bedrooms and a kitchen. If you can, choose your lodging near a parking area so you can easily carry the skiing equipment to the door from your car or rental car.

  6. If you are traveling with smaller children, make sure to stay at a resort with good childcare services. Be sure to read reviews on ski vacations online to find out what other parents are saying about the daycare or babysitting services at the resort(s) you are considering.

Keep these guidelines in mind, and you and your family should have an enjoyable ski vacation!

Dubai Entertainment Guide - One of the Many Things to Do in Dubai (The Dubailand Park)

By the year 2020, Dubai could be the leading tourist destination in the world. With newest and latest project being undertaken everyday, its focus is fast shifting to the growth of its tourism industry.

This is just the right time for that. Dubai has already successfully invaded the trading industry in the Middle East, and is now moving forward and shifting its focus on other areas of its economy.

It is taking massive strides in the financial services sector, hospitality, technology, healthcare and of course entertainment. One if the largest and most current projects in Dubai are the Dubailand amusement park. It brings a lot of promise for the Dubai entertainment scene.

Dubailand has high ambitions, the greatest of which is to be the biggest amusement park around the globe. In addition, with a lot of planning and time allotted for the overall completion of this project, the accomplishment of this great feat is not at all impossible.

Dubailand will be featuring six areas, designed to appeal to a diverse group of people and to let the visitors experience the best of Dubailand experience. Each area is called world, each showing a certain facet of Dubailand that you as a visitors will surely love.

The Attractions and Experience World will offer a whole lot of adventures. This Dubai entertainment venue is designed to offer you the ultimate experience, giving you a chance to immerse in different worlds of amusement and satisfy your interests.

The kids will surely love the Giants World, the Space and Science World, Aviation World, and Water Park. If you love the extremes you can go see the Desert World Theme Park and the Snow World. There is a whole lot more to see! We are just getting started :-)

If you love sports and the outdoors you surely enjoy the Sports and Outdoor World. Ideally aimed at becoming a warm weather training facility that will cater to professional sports teams, this Dubai entertainment venue will incorporate five projects that would highlight extreme sports and such sports as polo, golf, and racing. It will also feature sports tournaments that will surely satisfy sports-oriented, competitive, and health-minded people.

In addition, if you love nature, the Eco-Tourism World is perfect. The highlight would be desert attractions that will not only be sure wonders but also the heaven of unique discoveries. Among those to enjoy are the Animal World, the Camp World and Desert Safari. The Dinosaur World and Science and History Museum will surely appeal to you if you somewhat feel a strong connection to history and if your interests are perked up by anything ancient and relic.

If you are a seasonal traveler who wants to escape the monotony of your daily routine and spend sometime to relax, you will surely find the Themed Leisure and Vacation World a paradise. It features spas and wellness retreats that would be perfect for those who love pampering at its best. In addition, there are themed resorts that can provide an exotic atmosphere, giving you a chance to enjoy your dream vacation.

In addition, of course, any vacation to Dubai will never be complete without shopping and souvenirs. The Retail and Entertainment World is designed just for that. With its dining and entertainment facilities, plus global brands, there is nothing more you can ask for.

In addition to complete the package, Downtown is designed to complete the idea of fun. There are cinemas, computer games, nightclubs, and even bowling areas. A variety of day and night activities is being offered, so you will surely love to stay.

All these projects hold a lot of promise in them, and when completed, they will surely attract visitors from around the world. By 2020, Dubai could no doubt be leading in the global tourism industry.

This is just a mere glimpse of what Dubai has to offer. Read all about Dubai Entertainment on the only comprehensive guide to Dubai from a fresh, practical and first-hand perspective brought to you by two Dubai enthusiasts and researchers - the Dubai Information Site (

Look for the special section that discusses the things to do in Dubai if you only have a limited amount of time there.

Everyone's Favorite Weight Loss Tips

Everyone has his or her favorite weight loss tip to pass along to anyone who will listen or pay. The question is, DOES IT REALLY WORK? Bet you have heard some doozies! Me too.

Most people's favorite has to be the Ice Crème Diet! Can you imagine losing weight by eating all the ice crème you want?! Great work if you can get it! Another all time favorite is the pickles diet. Eat just pickles.... And lose weight. Of course you do increase your salt intake by a 1000-fold too, which is definitely not good for you. The all protein diet is very popular also. The problem with it is that your body is using up muscle mass along with the fat. Not too good for the heart and internal organs. Or maybe your diet guru wants you try a pill. Pills are nice. They are easy and convenient; and it gives you someone to blame if your weight loss attempt doesn't work.

If you really, truly, honestly want to lose weight there is no one single thing you can do. It takes work. Hard work! It takes a series of steps, lifestyle changes, healthy living choices, and a roadmap of how to get there.

Every journey starts with a single step. Your first step is to want weight loss and a change in your health and vitality. Studies show that you can improve your health by losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds, or 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. This may help improve many of the problems linked to being overweight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Think of all the things you still want to do... and the things that are important to you like family, travel, leisure activities, career, relationships, etc. Wouldn't all those things be improved with a slimmer and healthier you?

Take the time and be all you can be. Weight loss and healthy living is not a one time, quick fix. It is a journey, a lifestyle change for the better. It is the way to get out of the endless circle of diets, emotion ups and downs, craving food for comfort not sustenance, self fulfilled failures, and self-loathing. You do not have to stay on this treadmill to nowhere.

The second step is research. Read all you can. Fortunately nowadays you can have the information of the world at your fingertips on the Internet. Look past the ads and claims to the substance of the message. Most of the "plans" have verbiage like: eat a reduced-calorie diet, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, exercise program needed, and watch your fat intake. You can learn to eat right, exercise, and watch your calories without buying a book, taking a pill, or buying prepared food from a diet vendor. It shouldn't cost you to learn to take control of your life. If you give the control to someone else by following blindly their path, you will forever have to continue to pay them for what they provide you.

The third step is action. You can hope that change will come to you, or you can work towards it. You can learn to do it yourself so that you are in control of your health and fitness future. Go on; take the action now to change your health, life, and future!

Take care of yourself and love yourself.

Frances Lewis

Advantages of Staying Bed and Breakfasts

Between hostels and hotels in style and price is a very special type of accommodation known as bed and breakfasts (or B&Bs). These are family-run, small and warm, and offer a more personal service at an affordable rate. B&Bs are the best places to stay for both families and couples alike, and even if hotels were not costly, this budget option can still be your best bet. Here are a few advantages of staying at B&Bs:

Experience the local lifestyle: By choosing B&B accommodation, you get the opportunity to enjoy home-cooked meals with your hosts and experience the local lifestyle. Breakfasts are generally included in the rates, while dinner is sometimes offered by arrangement at an additional price. A B&B can be your perfect home away from home, but where all the chores of home are already done.

Privacy: Popular hotel chains do not offer much in terms of privacy since you will be staying with many other guests, but you are most likely to be the only guest staying at a B&B. If you are seeking privacy and seclusion, then you should stay away from large hotel chains.

Affordability: Popular hotel chains usually charge very high rates knowing they can get away with it. But when you choose to stay at a B&B, you can save a great deal of money due to the fact that your hosts are in the business because they enjoy doing it, rather than for making money. When comparing prices, keep in mind that a hotel will charge for every extra service it offers, but a B&B generally includes everything in a single package.

Personal Service: B&B accommodation is ideal for those little personal touches. A conversation with your hosts will equip you with valuable local knowledge. Oftentimes, your B&B will have local directories, informative books and other conveniences to allow you to make the most of your stay there. You will get information on the best restaurants, famous attractions, and all the things you want to see and do during your trip.

Wonderful surroundings: Popular hotel chains are mostly found in major tourist centres where you are likely to be surrounded by a lot of hustle and bustle. B&Bs, on the other hand, are often located off the beaten path and offer a unique opportunity to discover less travelled areas that you will otherwise miss.

B&Bs nowadays are an eclectic mix of all kinds of houses and hosts, and this is part of the excitement. As well as opening up their properties and hearts for tourists who require a comfortable lodging, B&B owners are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure an enjoyable and memorable stay for their guests.

Staying Positive in a Negative World

We are seeing glimmers of hope in this economic recession. At least, there seems to be a lot of activity in Washington and much better communication. Our hope is that the activity actually is producing progress.

"In the end you are measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish." Donald Trump

While we love the glimmer, the realism is that we have yet to see the repercussions from the bankruptcies of the auto manufacturers and all of their support industries. We still are feeling the hurt from the credit crunch and unemployment continues to rise. Consumer spending has been greatly curtailed. Not only are purchases for the home down, but all the industries associated with travel, eating out or leisure are also hurting. Look at how many restaurants are closed.

As if the economic issues are not bad enough, our traditional "heroes" are being disgraced and seldom stand for good any more. Athletes have drug and alcohol problems, beating their wives, trashing hotel rooms and more. Actors and actresses seem to have forgotten moral values completely. Many reality shows are based on poor values. The "rap sheets" on our political leaders are shameful in so many cases. Not only do we face this in the news every day, we hear it from the politicians themselves.

"Congress is the only business in the world where your colleagues wake up in the morning and try to figure out how to screw over their colleagues." Rep. Mike Thompson D - St Helena

So how do we stay positive in this negative world?

1 Look for the good in the people around you. The American spirit is alive and well and ready to burst despite the problems. If the people around you are negative, get rid of them and surround yourself with positive people.
2 Look for the real heroes and celebrate them. Look for the men and women returning from military service abroad, or "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot of the plane landed on the Hudson River and who lives in my hometown. Or the single mother who works hard to raise her kids despite the hardships. Or the struggling business owner who opens his or her doors every day.
3 Look for the positive role models on TV and in the movies and support them and their products. It used to be that all of the spokespeople and characters for products were positive. Search the ones out that remain.
4 Look for someone to help that can't help themself. You will feel enormously better.
5 Look for a church service to attend. You may not have the same faith that I have but go worship.
6 Call your parents and tell them you love them. They need that reminder even when it isn't Mother's day or Father's day.
7 Smile at people and enjoy the smiles that come in return. You will be amazed at the reactions you will get from this simple act.
8 There was an old psychology nugget that said "if you want to be positive, act positive". That is good advice.
9 For your business, read my other articles on this site and take some action. These are best practices and can save your business. That will help you feel positive.

A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there." David Gergen



Stock Footage: Advantages and How to Get Them Right

The rocket-fast, rapid-fire growing popularity of the stock footage industry in recent times is due, in no small part to the fact that these video clips are instantly available. And production savings are instantly noticeable. Instant download not only impacts buyer, but seller methods a well. It is important to understand their full capabilities.

Stock video or stock footage are short video clips which are usually available for instant purchase and download. The license for these clips are either rights-managed or royalty-free. Stock footage is commonly used and not easily detected in movies, television, documentaries and, of course, all web applications. Difficult to film shots such as natural disasters (tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, etc.) are nearly always stock footage but so are many crowd scenes, cityscapes, space shots and nature shots such as clouds, waterfalls, ocean and forest scenes. Some ways stock video is particularly useful are:

I. Save time and expense: When you compare the expense of buying and downloading a stock clip to the expense of the production hiring a camera crew to shoot a similar shot, you will soon realize the considerable amount of money saved. As far as time to film, travel, etc. you soon see the amount of time saved as well.

2. Substitutions: Many films and productions today use a considerable amount of stock footage particularly when, as mentioned earlier, scenes call for natural disasters. There are also quite a few high quality special effects stock shots to beef up a project. Often, these stock video shots are of such good quality and so creative, they further inspire a production as far as story and plot goes.

3. You Don't Have To Wait!Stock footage is, nine times out of ten, immediately available to download. And, depending on the license, clips can be modified to fit and project need.

It is always advisable to check and double check all details of use and license requirements of any stock video purchased. Some things to be aware of are:

I. Licensing of the Footage Clips: This is of upmost importance. Misuse of a clip can lead to infringements. Again as mentioned earlier, footage is available as either rights managed or royalty free.

Rights managed clips have greater restrictions as well as greater expense. They are usually licensed for single use within a particular time frame and sometimes territory. Royalty free clips are one time purchase for unlimited use with a few restrictions, such as percentage of entire project the clips can entail if the project is for sale and also re-sale of the clips are prohibited.

2. Resolution and other quality issues: Of course, the quality of video stock is of great importance. Resolution, image quality, lighting, focus, etc. must match the rest of the project so the clips can be dropped seamlessly into the piece, or at least with a little adaptation.

3. Legalities: Most reputable footage providers guarantee that the footage is free from copyright issues are you are free to use such clips without worrying. However, they also come with stipulations as to their use by you: that you do not use them in any illegal manner for any illegal uses or any defaming uses. Make sure to check with the supplier as to their stipulations of use and legal guarantees.

For all the reasons stated above, stock footage use is on the rise! Check it out and consider using stock video for all you media projects. You and your budget will be glad you did.

10 Tips For Better Gas Mileage

In Booth Tarkington's 1918 novel "The Magnificent Ambersons," inventor and auto industry pioneer Eugene Morgan exclaims that "With all their speed forward, (automobiles) may be a step backward in civilization." Little did anyone know, but the Indianapolis-born novelist may have anticipated the current fuel crisis in America.

We love automobiles and depend upon them in countless avenues, from industry to family transport to leisure time; however, the economic impact skyrocketing gas prices have had upon our wallets may just be that step backward for civilization. The American Automobile Association recently forecast that the number of 2008 Memorial Day holiday car travelers would decrease by nearly 360,000 over the previous year's totals. This is widely attributed to the rising cost of gasoline.

Yet our love/hate affair with cars, trucks, RVs and motorcycles continues. This is in spite of how gasoline prices seem to reach new record highs each day. For those of us who need to squeeze as many MPGs as possible out of our vehicles, included here are 10 tips for maximizing gas mileage.

Make Maintenance a Priority -

1) Use Vehicle's Recommended Grade Motor Oil. Most newer passenger car and light truck engines require 5W-30 oil for multi-purpose driving. This lighter weight oil provides friction-reducing protection that helps engines run more efficiently, which equates to increased gas mileage. Older engines generally function better with 10W-30 or 10W-40. However, you should always consult your owner's manual or dealer to see what grade of oil your engine is designed for. If you use 10W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-30, you may actually lower your MPG. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using the proper weight of oil (as well as synthetic blends when possible) can increase MPG by one to two percent or more, or at least $.04 to $.08 per gallon of gas.

2) Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated. Tires that are properly inflated are safer and last longer. You can improve mileage by around 3.3 percent by maintaining proper tire pressure. That translates to roughly $.12 per gallon. Depending upon your tire size and maximum vehicle load, proper inflation can be anywhere from 32 to 60 PSI on average. Keep in mind that for every 1 PSI drop in tire pressure, your mileage decreases by .4 percent. Due to its more consistent rate of expansion and contraction, some sources advocate filling your tires with nitrogen rather than air, as race car drivers do. The overall benefit for the average driver is currently under debate, but in theory, the consistent expansion and contraction rate of nitrogen keeps tires in proper contact with the road, increasing traction and hence mileage.

3) Check and Replace Air Filters Regularly. Keep dust and dirt from clogging up your engine's cylinders with a fresh air filter. This enables them to function at greater efficiency, which increases both engine horsepower and MPG. Replacing a clogged filter can improve gas mileage by a whopping 10 percent - up to a $.41 per gallon savings.

4) Get a Tune Up. If your vehicle is out of tune or has failed an emissions test recently, improve your mileage by four percent with a standard tuning. For more serious problems like a faulty oxygen sensor, repairs can improve MPG by as much 40 percent.

5) Use the Fuel Octane Needed. Octane rating determines how fast fuel burns in an internal combustion engine. The higher the octane, the longer fuel takes to burn. A slow burn is generally more efficient than a quick burn, so on the surface it would appear that high octane fuel is the way to go. However, 92 octane is typically as much as $.20 per gallon more expensive than standard 87 octane, and the benefit from higher octane doesn't offset the increased cost.

Go Green: Go High-Tech -

6) Try a Hybrid. Hybrid electric vehicles are all the rage in our increasingly green-conscious society. Not only do they decrease harmful emissions and reduce wear on engines, but the fuel economizing features of hybrid engines enable them to achieve 20 to 30 additional miles per gallon. There are also tax incentives to making the switch.

7) Don't Fall for Gas-Saving Gadgets. OK, change in list format on this one. According to Popular Mechanics, not only do gimmicks like copper tubing, magnets and other gadgets and non-conventional fuel additives show little or no improvement to your MPG, but most seem to hurt fuel economy and horsepower.

Drive Well -

8) Ever Hear of Hypermilling and Ecodriving? These driving techniques are both centered around some basic ideas. For instance, coast into red light stops. Accelerate slowly and smoothly. On the highway, set up cruise control at the speed limit or slightly below. Seek fuel efficiency in a new car, rather than horsepower. Draft behind larger vehicles for the aerodynamic benefits - just like a NASCAR driver, but at much safer speed. Avoid excessive idling. Use overdrive gears . Let off the gas and save your brakes whenever possible. Not only will these techniques improve your MPG by 30 percent or more, but you'll be much more relaxed once you get the hang of it.

9) Plan and Combine Your Trips. Save fuel and reduce wear and tear on your car by doing such things as staggering your work hours to avoid peak commuting times, telecommuting if you can, and using carpools and public transportation. When running errands, try to get multiple jobs done on one trip. Several short trips from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one longer trip, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

10) Lose Weight. No, I don't necessarily mean you, but every little bit helps. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce MPG by up to two percent, or $.04 to $.08 per gallon of gas. So don't carry around that jet ski, trailer or quarter-ton of garden bricks if you aren't planning to use them on that trip.

With these tips in your arsenal, you can make the best of your car's gas mileage and driving life, help save the environment and ease that pain in the pocketbook. Once alternative fuels become more readily available for consumer use, do the right thing and make the change at the first opportunity. It will be a step forward for civilization.

Miami Beach Real Estate - A Review of Current Condo Market Inventories

The city of Miami Beach is one of the United States' most fashionable and one of the truly coveted destinations.

The city is a famous tourist, fashion and entertainment, film, fine dining and premier arts and culture destination. However, nothing best defines the city's characteristic more than the unique, highly artistic, architectural landscape being painted by Miami Beach condos and South Beach condos.

Miami Beach is known as an International Mecca for travel, business and to establish a home. From its small hotels with unique designs that line up along lower Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive, to its major upmarket hotel chains along the beach.

The City Has Had Its Fair Share Of Condo Boom Times

The area's extensive redevelopment has catapulted it into the higher levels of real estate in South Florida and the US as well, more so with the place being a well-known bastion of consumerism and all-out hedonism, with it's thriving party, celebrity scene, and entertainment scene.

The city's real estate investment options include ready for occupancy condominiums, and are setting the benchmarks when it comes to the building of elegant, sophisticated and amenity-filled condo developments. The area's most prolific developers, renowned architects and hippest designers are making their mark on the city's eclectic lifestyle, one that best describes the art of indulgence and opulence.

Current Condo Prices For The City

According to local real estate analysts, the average condo prices based on October, 2007 levels for each of the city's districts are the following: Miami Beach - $496,000; West Avenue - $463,060; Star, Palm and Hibiscus Islands - $2,788,143; Downtown Miami - $555,590; Biscayne Corridor and Wynwood, Edgewater - $448,487.

Local property analysts further noted that during the month of November, 2007, the average time needed to sell a condo in Miami Beach was 153 days.

Have Condo Supply Levels Dropped?

From a more wider perspective, the city of Miami Beach saw a 19 percent slide in its condominium levels since last month. Miami Beach did not come close to experiencing the level of development that we recently saw in Miami.

Most of overseas and out-of-state home buyers are also more likely to purchase a condo unit in this city than they are somewhere in the Miami-Dade area. Many think that the city will continue to see an increasing gap between the Miami and Miami Beach condo supply figures in the months ahead.

Over the years, tourism has been the city's major economic driving force; however today, the area's economy is diverse today. In recent years, it has expanded way beyond its traditional tourism-based cash cow, and has reinvented itself to become a multi-faceted real estate, entertainment, culture, health care and tourism center. This is an area where nearly 95,000 residents live, work, shop, go to school, have fun and go dining, and do many leisure activities.

The city's cultural scene is diverse, and takes pride itself in having the Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony. Though the city's geographic borders are set, its economic growth is booming, and many public works investments, like the proposed Baylink project, that is expected to create a mass transit connection between Miami Beach and the mainland Miami area, continues to reinvigorate the area.

[] - Miami Condo

Few Reasons for Vacationing With the Help of Tour Packages

India is a country that has been blessed with immense natural beauty. Whether it is mountains, valleys or rivers, India has got it all in abundance. No place in India is a better testament of this then Himachal Pradesh, the state located in the north of India. The beautiful mountainous valleys and waterfalls combined with the superbly pleasant climate make Himachal Pradesh one of the go-to places for tourists coming from all over the globe. Tourists come here to just have a look at the astoundingly beautiful scenic beauty here, while young couples visit this region for spending their honeymoon.

Dharamshala and Dalhousie are two of the most frequently visited towns of Himachal Pradesh that have become a favorite for the tourists for separate reasons. Dharamshala is famous for its shopping centers and is thus, popular among the newly wedded couples who have come to the state to enjoy their honeymoon. On the other hand, Dalhousie is loved by the tourists because of the rich tradition and history that this place holds. The amazing cultural heritage and natural beauty that this hill station has to offer has made it a hit with foreigners who have come to see the true essence of India.

For tourists and couples coming to both these two exotic touring spots, numerous tour packages are available that contain many facilities, which enable them to enjoy their tour and make it more memorable. The following is a list of the reasons why one should choose one of the touring packages at offer.

Save You from the Trouble of Finding Accommodation

The first reason why a tourist should get a tour package for visiting either Dharamshala or Dalhousie is that it saves him from the trouble of looking for a suitable place to live. Tour packages have rooms booked in hotels for the tourists beforehand, so that they do not have to go searching for rooms when they touch down in to town.

Provide Pick and Drop Facilities

The second reason why each tourist wanting to visit Dharamshala or Dalhousie should choose a tour package first is that it offers them pick and drop facilities to and from the airport or railway station. Almost every tour package for visiting these two towns offer free pick & drop services to the tourists, greatly easing out their vacations.

Offer Amazing Sightseeing Tours

Perhaps the most important reason why one must select a tour package for visiting Dharamshala or Dalhousie either for vacationing or honeymoon trip is that it provides amazing sightseeing tours for the visitors who are new to the town and do not know about the town's landmark monuments and buildings. Almost all tour packages to Dharamshala and Dalhousie come with a trained and knowledgeable tour guide who takes the visitors out to see what the two towns have to offer them.

Thus, because of the above-mentioned reasons, it is best that tourists coming to these two towns must choose any tour package most feasible to them from the number of options available to them.

Supply Chain Management - Towards Profitability

Supply chain management; it sounds important but what is it? That's a good question and one all successful entrepreneurs must have an answer for. Simply put, it is the process by which a business moves its product to market.

You've got a great idea for a product; and you find the funding to make your idea a reality. You've even created a marketing campaign to introduce your product to the world. So that's it then. Your work is done and you can sit back and watch the profits roll in right? Well not quite. Your product won't be a success until you can get it to the consumer at a price that makes sense. This is where supply chain management becomes essential to your products success.


It all starts with your suppliers. To make the best widget, at the most profitable price, you need an adequate supply of components to be available at a price that fits within your budget. The suppliers provide you with the raw materials which you in turn use to create the world's greatest widget.

A business could, if it so chose, become its own raw materials supplier. In most cases, this would be cost prohibitive. Mining for raw materials is normally a labour intensive, expensive proposition.

For example, in order to make a tablet computer (finished product) you need crude oil to produce plastic granulate, which in turn is used to create the plastic body of the tablet. However, as a maker of tablet computers you have no need for the vast amounts of crude oil which would need to be extracted in order for such a venture to be profitable. Besides, as a maker of tablet computers you have no interest in getting into such an industry. This is why we have suppliers. They can provide you with the raw materials required for your finished product. As long as they can do so at a price that makes sense, everybody wins.

Production Process

This is where you come in. You've found a good group of suppliers to provide you with all the raw materials you need to make your widget at a price that's reasonable. So now you have the funding in place to develop your product and you have the supply of raw materials needed to make your product a reality.

The next step is to put your production plan in motion. You develop an assembly process and you are producing widgets at a rapid rate. Everything seems fantastic! Now the profits have to start piling up! Not yet. You still have to get your finished product to market. Where your market is in relation to your production facilities, will have a lot to do with how you get it there.


For a lot of entrepreneurs this is where they get lost. How on earth do I get my product to market? There are many ways of doing this and, as mentioned above, this will depend on where your market is. The methods available include: ocean, air, rail, and road.

If, for example, my market is in Asia and my business is located in North America, I will have to use either ocean or air shipping as part of my supply chain. If however, my primary market is within North America, I will rely on rail, road, or air. How I decide which method is right for me will depend on numerous factors, not least of which will be cost and time sensitivity.

If my customer requires me to expedite shipment, I might be required to consider shipping via air even though the costs involved may be much higher. These increased costs will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. If however, my customer is not in a hurry for the shipment, they may be willing to accept longer wait times for the product in return for a reduction in price. In this instance I may choose to ship over the road. This method of transportation is generally cheaper than transporting by air.

Rail shipments may be even cheaper, especially when dealing in bulk goods. Companies in the rail business can take advantage of economies of scale. Rail cars travel on predetermined tracks, decreasing friction and increasing environmental efficiency. As a result, one locomotive can haul a large amount of rail cars. If your customer is not in a hurry, there may be great cost savings for both parties when shipping by this method. However, this method is inflexible and may not provide service direct to your customers' door.

Shipping over the road is the most common shipping system. This method can provide relatively rapid transport of goods to market, and is flexible enough to reach most destinations directly. Some companies maintain their own fleet, but most companies find it more cost effective to hire haulage companies to provide this service for them. It is cheaper than air and, while slightly more expensive than rail, it provides a good compromise when both speed and time are factors in the decision process.

In reality you may have to use a combination of shipping methods to move your product to market. These costs to you must be included in the cost of your product if your company is to remain viable. Returning to our original comments, supply chain management clearly is of the utmost importance to the success of any business. Understanding this process is not easy, but the entrepreneur must have a basic grasp of the process. Once you do, you'll be well on your way to profitability!

Miami Beach Real Estate - Still In High Demand

One of the most desired beach resorts in the United States, Miami Beach is a city in Miami-Dade County in the state of Florida. It was incorporated on the 26th of March, 1915. Though it is a distinct municipality, the city of Miami Beach is taken in the same category as Miami and the two collectively are mentioned as 'Miami'. According to a recent estimate, Miami Beach has a population of nearly 88, 000 in which more than 55% are foreign born and migrated to Miami at some point. It is located at 25°48'47", 80°8'3"W and has an area of about 19 square miles. This place basically has a tropical climate. The real estate market in Miami Beach is resilient . The average listing price of a single family home in Miami Beach is $1,017,000. Average listing price for a condo is $454,000. The average listing price for a Miami Beach rental is $2,100.

Spanish is the first language of the city and is followed by English, Portuguese, French, German, Italian and Russian. A large part of the Jewish community has set up home in Miami Beach and most of them speak Yiddish or Hebrew.

The education system of Miami Beach is moderately developed and the area has an adequate number of elementary and middle schools to take care of the educational requirements of the residents. Infrastructure is quite good in terms of transportation and the fact that Miami Beach is a tourist attraction ensures that there are minimum hitches where local transport is concerned. Buses and taxis and even rail dot the city and hence traveling within the boundaries is not a problem. Collins Avenue remains the main artery of the city.

SoBe is one of the world's most prominent tourist attractions from 1st to 17th Street. The Art Deco Historic District along Ocean Drive is a must see in a visit to the city. Other hot spots to visit include Lincoln Road, Versace Mansion and Bongo's Café. The economy of Miami Beach is rapidly growing and the key contribution can be attributed to tourism. Miami Beach is a resort locale and yearly billions of tourists come here. The objective of the City's Government is to boost the cultural variety and also work towards supporting private capital investment and market research. The business environment of the place is given vital importance and to attain the perfect balance concerns from abroad are welcomed. Apart from leisure tourism, business tourism also flourishes in Miami Beach and adds a substantial share to the tourism industry .

Booming tourism, year-round excellent weather, inviting beaches, hot sun, best night clubs, ardent night life, and constant government planning has resulted in a promising real estate market in Miami Beach. Glamorous places to live in Miami Beach include Star, Venetian, Hibiscus, Palm and La Gorge Islands. Total housing units in the area are more than 5,000 and nearly 30% of them are owner occupied. There are 931 single family homes, over 5,000 condos, 136 residential income properties and 1,700 rentals currently available. Miami Beach Real Estate sells outside of Miami and the prices are still very attractive to European buyers. The demand for Miami Beach real estate will remain strong.

How Electricity Deregulation Has Influenced The Lives of Layman?

The conventional mode of the single nationwide supplier replaced and now consumers have the freedom to choose the supreme packages for themselves. Just like choosing your telephone and Internet service provider now you can also select the energy and gas providers.

The point is that now you have the control and whatever your business and household gas requirements are you can select so. Whether you want clean energy, cheapest or subsidized version or you may looking for some special tailored packages all these are now in your reach. A few years back the state or country supply of the electricity was in the hands of some private owners and they were having all the monopoly among them but with commencement of the deregulation the residents have the liberty to select their energy providers. Certainly the manner in which it executed and guidance of it are according to the state legislation's and regulations which may differ from country to country.

Energy costs have been on the rising trend from past many years. This is probably due to advancement of the technology, which is fuel ed by the energy. Market dynamics, natural disasters, and various other factors all are equally responsible for increasing the costs of the electricity. Grappling with all these effects and causes the deregulation made working in the many parts of the world. There are many advantages and aspects of the deregulation.

The Several Facades of the deregulation

The best medium when you want to exercise the deregulation benefits is the Internet. Just like this platform can used to compare rates of anything whether travel tickets, insurance policies, electronics goods it has been possible to compare the different rates of the commercial electricity providers who have access to your region. In the past there were no benefits of the switching the energy supplier as all suppliers had the same "One fit" policy for their customers but with the deregulation came into the existence a number of mediators or energy consultants who try to understand the status of your unit and then suggest you the supreme customized customer oriented package. Now the switching you present energy provider made easy and hassle free. Also there are many service portals and websites which can prove a platform where a detailed and thorough comparison of the different suppliers can made.

If you are very much confused and not able to decide which way to move then here is a quick guide for you. Compare the different names you come across on the service portals or on the websites, if faced with any doubts immediately call their free customer care executives. The official contact numbers and addresses mentioned on the websites. Quickly shortlist some of the providers which gives you services as per your specifications of the budget and function. Various benefits are given if you are in the deregulated area and you can change the energy providers as many times as you can and it costs nothing but make sure whether there are any contracts and penalty charges of breaking the contract before signing the one.

When you have shortlisted some few reputed names which offer you the services as per your specification it is now time to in choir a bit about the company. You can plan a personal visit to their office and have some technical conversation with them. Also this is the right time to clear all your doubts or queries which may running in your mind. The last step is the most choice which can done in the form of signing the contract. Make no rush and study all the different terms and conditions of the contract. You can in choir what added services a particular supplier will give you and what benefits you would be entitled to if you renew the contract with the same provider. Make sure you decide shrewdly and perceptively before signing and consider all the different aspects of the process.

Plenum Cable Vs Non Plenum Cable: Which Is Best?

If you are in the process of constructing a building, which do you prefer the most, Plenum or non plenum? Well, if you are an expert with construction materials, you should know which material is the best. When choosing for the best capable, there are various options for you to choose. As time passes by, innovations continue to spread out throughout the industry. However, there is just one thing that will not change. Your choice should start whether to use or not plenum or non plenum cable. You should know the jacket around the cable and the cable specifications itself. If you know how to peruse both the jacket and the cable, it will help you decide the kind of cable to use for your job. One has to realize that plenum is not the same with non plenum cable.

Let us tackle a little bit about plenum cable. Plenum cable acquired its name from the HVAC industry which means plenum spaces. These spaces refer to areas where air can circulate within a building. Plenum cables aid in heating and cooling air. Since it is installed freely, it is required especially if there is no conduit used. The spaces in plenum help fire and smoke to travel fast. With a plenum rated cable installed, in case of a fire, toxic smoke is lower than normal.This is due because plenum cables are made of materials which Produce low smoke when exposed to flames.

These materials are called Low Smoke PVC, Flouropolymers and also Teflon®. These have superior smoke arresting properties that allow cables to emit less smoke compared to regular PVC cables. On the other hand, non plenum cables which are commonly called PVC (polyvinyl chloride) cable is not so costly between the two choices. Contractors usually opt for this type of cable to save or if they are reducing budget for their project. The decision though in choosing PVC solely lies on the owner or the contractors absent local municipality requirements. However, most schools & commercial buildings are required to install plenum reated cables by most municipalities in the United States and Canada, per the National Electrical Code. The cost of PVC cables is in fact about 30 percent less expensive than plenum rated cables and about 1/3 of Teflon® insulated cables. Plenum cables in general can offer less physical and secondary damages. It is highly preferred in establishments where many people are confined within such as schools and hospitals and commercial buildings.

The choice of using of plenum and non plenum cables should be on the contractor's point of view. The main factor that directly affects his decision is the cost. It is best to identify honestly if the project requires plenum rated cable or if PVC cables will do. After all, it is the quality, safety and longevity of the project that we are looking forward.

OiOi Diaper Bags Hot For Summer 2009

OiOi Diaper Bags, the rapidly growing brain child of International designer Lisa Bennetts, is Australian born and spans the globe in its scope and appeal. Now well established in England and the United States, we have the opportunity to enjoy her hot summer styles and share her functional designer fashions with celebrities like Lisa McCune, Rachel Griffiths, and Cate Blanchette who rely on their OiOi Diaper bags as godsends. We chose 3 of the most popular of Lisa's sizzling designs for a fun filled and rewarding summer with baby.  

Black on White Giraffe Tote Diaper Bag

A Nappy Sack you ask? Absolutely, we answer, and one of the best examples of how OiOi Diaper Bags creates fashionable functionality that help Moms look and feel good. The Giraffe Tote, which also comes in Cocoa, is made from a printed nylon canvas that is durable and easy to keep clean, with natural cotton weave handles, faux leather trim, stroller straps and a detachable nylon shoulder strap. The tote has one major compartment with 3 elasticized pockets and a burnt sienna, water resistant, nylon lining and an outer zippered pocket for Mom's personal belongings. These bags are easy to adapt for personal or baby use because the large padded micro fiber changing mat, the insulated bottle holder, zip top mess bag, hard wipes case and carabiner key clip are all removable. The base of the tote is protected by metal feet and in total it measures a very manageable size of 15.5"L x 13.5"H x 6"D.

Floral Bouquet Hobo

Absolutely new for summer and perfect for travels with baby is the Floral Bouquet Hobo style of OiOi Diaper Bags. Fresh, bright, and fun, the citrus, pink, and blue blossoms with a warm chocolate base are printed onto canvas that has a water resistant finish, making it a very stylish bag for the beach. The chocolate theme is carried over into the trim, nylon lining, adjustable shoulder strap, and accessories. The Hobo style has internal pockets for diapers, burp cloths, and extra clothing, an insulated bottle holder, large padded microfiber change mat, a pvc zip top mess purse, pvc hard wipes case, and a handy clip for keys. On the outside, it has zippered pockets for your cell phone, wallet, and any other treasures you keep with you. The Floral Bouquet Hobo also has protective metal feet and measures a comfortably large 12" wide x 15" high x 6" gusset.  

Pansy Backpack

The thirds style of OiOi Diaper Bags that we chose is the Pansy Backpack which is bright and beautiful with brilliant Azure blue and rich Chocolate Blooms on an alabaster microfiber backdrop which is waterproof and easy to clean. This backpack is perfect for leisurely strolls on the beach, blazing trails or just a day at the park with the family. The interior compartments are detailed with mesh and zippers, the straps adjust for Mommy or Daddy, the outer pockets hold your wallet, keys and cell phone, while inside the insulated bottle holder, large padded microfiber changing pad, zippered wet bag, and a wipes case. It measures a good 15" high x 10.5" wide x 6"deep.