How To Design Your Own iPhone Case At Home

In a world of hundreds of millions of iPhones, many people yearn to make their devices uniquely their own. While physical and online stores sell a variety of mass-manufactured iPhone cases, there is surely a better way to reach heightened individuality. Luckily, there are many ways to design your own iPhone case and avoid the pitfall of having an accessory that looks just like everyone else's.

Designing an iPhone case takes a lot of creativity, so the first step is to remove any perception of the limits of what can and cannot be used to cover an iPhone. The options exceed the standard plastic, fabric, and leather options hanging on the store racks. That being said, there are three easy places to start the brainstorming, and all three have legions of happy, devoted followers.

First, there are several online stores that let people choose a photograph to be printed on a plain iPhone case. These sites tend to have decent galleries of their own to choose from, and some even let users upload their own images. Users can even design physical artwork and scan it to the computer, or they can create a masterpiece by using graphics software. The possibilities are endless.

Second, there is a huge trend going on currently that uses low-cost, clear iPhone cases and transforms them into personalized pieces of art. All it takes is a few scrapbooking tools and a bit of creativity. Just grab some fabric, glitter, speciality ink, high-quality paper, clear-dry adhesives, and whatever else comes to mind. The outside of the case can be given an entirely new look and texture.

Alternatively, many people choose to remove the insert that comes with the iPhone case. Then they trace around it on several varieties of scrapbooking paper. This is an extremely affordable way to create several custom cases, because the fitted sheets of scrapbooking paper can be switched every day, and even throughout the day. Since every craft store has aisles devoted to scrapbooking paper, there are potentially thousands of different designs from which to choose. For the price of one ho-hum case, someone can create a dozen unique cases at home.

Third, some companies have created kits to help people cross-stitch their own cases. The benefit of this option is that cross-stitched cases have an awesome texture and just feel nicer than a lot of their plasticky counterparts. The cross-stitching also helps the owner keep a tight grip on the iPhone. These kits can be used to design something old-fashioned, modern, classy, cute, radical, and anything in between.

Choosing to design your own iPhone case can take you in many different directions. These tips are a good springboard, but there are many creative things to try. Take a walk through a craft store and pick up some things that can be incorporated. Stickers, embellishments, rhinestones, ribbons, stencils, stamps, and many other materials can give added life and personality to any iPhone case. The most important thing to remember is that a custom iPhone case should reflect the style and interests of its owner. That is the only sure way of creating a design that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Logo Quiz Game - An Entertaining Way Of Enhancing Your Knowledge

In this world of technology and innovations several high-tech gadgets have been discovered that provide an ultimate entertainment to the individuals. There are several things and electronic equipments that keep you busy and internet is the most widely used tools that not only fulfills the entertainment needs of the individuals but also enhances their knowledge. The introduction of advanced mobile phones with outstanding apps has also attracted the attention of the youngsters and most of them can be seen using these apps in order to entertain them. One of the games that has become popular in a short time period is a logo quiz game.

As the name suggests, a logo quiz game involves the identification of various logos that belong to a particular niche. This game gas emerged out as an entertaining way of enhancing your knowledge. It has become the top downloaded game and is also available in the form of mobile apps so that it can be played on mobile phones. Once you play this game you will surely get addicted to it. The game has simple rules and mechanics and the player can get all the information by going through the instructions. The game checks your knowledge regarding logos of different companies operating in different industries. You just need to do guesswork and identify the logos that are displayed on the screen. The logos can either be displayed completely or partially and the player is required to identify them. It is the best way to check your knowledge regarding corporate world and get to know the various companies operating in the market.

This game can be more entertaining if you play it in groups or take it up as a competition between your friends. Identifying a logo correctly allows you to collect some points and after completing one level successfully the player is promoted to the next level. The upcoming levels are generally tricky and require more exposure to the corporate world. You can check your retaining power by opting for this logo quiz game. The game that was initially introduced in the market comprised of logos of various companies and was used as an effective tool to promote the knowledge of the individuals regarding corporate world. But the success of this game has resulted in the introduction of various other games that display flags of different companies, symbols of automobiles and fashion brand logos and several others.

The mobile apps of these games are available on the internet for free and you can download it in order to enjoy and gain some knowledge. If you do not have much knowledge there is no need to worry as you are provided with several hints to identify the logo. However, the most interesting part of this game is the cheat codes that are used to know the right answer. If you are interested in playing this game and are looking forward to download it, make sure that you check the display of the game. A logo quiz game has become popular among the people of all ages and serves as an effective way of enhancing your knowledge in a play-way manner.

Celebrity Bloggers: Your Insight Into the Lives of Celebrities

Know of any celebrity bloggers? Blogging is the new trend these days and celebrities aren't missing out on it. Once you start surfing the internet, you'll find a lot of your favorite celebrities running their own blogs. Jackie Chan, Maria Sharapova, David Beckham and Paris Hilton are just some names on the list of celebrity bloggers. Here's a list of some celebrities you must read about:


Alec Baldwin

The star discusses his political views on the Huffington Post.

Alyssa Milano

This former star of Charmed runs a blog by her own name;

Pamela Anderson

The gorgeous actress keeps her fans updated with her life through her blog.


Barenaked Ladies

All band members post on their blog.

Kanye West

The hip hop artist is another celebrity blogger who keeps in contact with fans by sharing photos and videos online.

Lilly Allen

Singer and blogger Lilly Allen, mostly deals with dispelling rumors about herself.


Anna Kournikova

The beautiful tennis star updates her photos on her blog.

Victoria Beckham

This famous lady markets through her blog and introduces her products to customers online.

Meredith Viera

Meredith hosts the popular reality show Who Wants To be A Millionaire. She runs her blog called ivillage.

The list goes on and on. From Hollywood superstars to athletes, from comedians to writers, blogging is earning celebrities millions of fans worldwide. Of course, some of them are advertising and marketing through blogging but some active celebrity bloggers are keeping their fans up to date.

In times when social networking sites such as twitter and Facebook are ruling the social media, blogging is not on the minds of many celebrities. It then comes as a pleasant surprise to catch up with these international faces and interact with them as ordinary everyday people through their blogs.

Another plus point for celebrities starting their blogs is the immediate audience they can gather as compared to an amateur who makes a debut entrance into the world of blogging and has to put days and nights of back-breaking hard work to get the blog recognized and to earn money.

Another way of seeing this connection between bloggers and celebrities is bloggers becoming celebrities. The concept of mom celebrity bloggers is pretty much 'in' these days. Mothers around the world are running their web pages attracting thousands of people to learn and interact.

Recently, we have seen some of these bloggers appearing on TV and newspaper ads. This is good news! It will help promote the concept of blogging among people, promoting a healthy social activity and online learning.

Social media studies also reveal the dramatic impact of bloggers on the marketing industry. Consumers are more likely to purchase products recommended by trusted and well reputed blogs, rather than try something new.

Especially in the fashion and baby products market, women buyers have shown great interest in purchasing products recommended by bloggers who have appeared in TV ads. Expert businesses and famous brands are now teaming up with blogs to promote their products in the market.

Celebrity bloggers are the movers and shakers of social media - from marketing to life styles, they can structure the market and society if they so desire.

Reduce Expenses and Improve Cash Flow at Your Self Storage Facility

The self storage industry has been constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to improve the cash flow at the facility in order to become more profitable. The profits at such self storage units need not always come from additional cash flow, it can also come from reduced expenses. Reducing the money spent on fluff pursuits can bring a considerable difference to the overall expenses and profits at a self storage unit. Some of these areas include:

Efficient Staff

It is prudent to hire the most top notch staff at your facility. They might demand a higher pay scale, but the experience, knowledge and skills that you would be adding to your company would help it benefit immensely. This would bring in additional profits, higher sales, and at the same time reduce your overtime costs.

Check Recurring Expenses

It is often seen that facility owners become complacent about the costs incurred by the facility on a regular basis and make no special efforts to regulate or periodically check them. This is a grave mistake. They should price shop for administrative needs as there are a number of players in the market, vying for clients. You can get the best deals that give you additional features for your needs relating to pest control, landscaping, water supply, transportation, office supplies, print services, etc. you would be surprised to know that people save above 50% of their money by following this one simple step.

Training the Staff

Training your staff to follow cost-effective and client friendly practices can benefit you immensely in the long run. Not only will present your company in a better light, but also bring in additional business for your facility. This would in turn multiply your profits. Training of the staff can be done easily and does not require you to spend any additional costs on it.

Marketing your Facility the Right Way

Replace your age old marketing strategies with new, more effective, and more pocket friendly marketing options that give you greater control over your marketing efforts and choice of target audience. Online marketing is a great tool at your disposal that can help you achieve your marketing targets in a better fashion as compared to physical marketing. Also, give smart incentives instead of heavy-on-pocket incentives to your prospective clients to do business with you.


As small as they might seem sometimes, the costs incurred by small expenses at the facility amount to huge expenditures. This is why you must take note of all the small expenses being paid off for at your facility and not just make sure you pay your bills in time, but also keep a tab on all the bills. You must keep the bills together in check the monthly budget and tabulate it.

These measures when taken into consideration provide a great way to reduce your bills and earn greater profits at your self storage facility.

EMR's and Your Deadline - Fast Approaching

In the looming harbinger of medical records online availability, the 2014-2015 Electronic Medical Records mandate is fast approaching a financially ill prepared industry. As Medicare payouts shrink, as well as the people with actual medical insurance; thus leaving the medical community to, despite stimulus monies, incentive plans, etc., dip into its already shrinking revenue stream to address the ultimate question: "Is this (EMR) a standard, or will something else come down the pike shortly?"

With the recent legislation pushing this initiative for moving onto the electronic platform of storing patient medical records along further -called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or the ARRA, Legislators are trying to create more funding and incentives that can assist the healthcare community that are poised to embrace and follow the EMR Act in a meaningful fashion; whose definition of meaningful is also at issue.

The alternative of the "carrot and stick" approach will be the penalties that are proscribed from 2015 forward which will begin at 1% and likely increase incrementally up to 5% in the following years. The "stick" portion can also come in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements - even more than they already have. To obtain the funding, all medical entities applying for the EMR healthcare funding should understand and prove "meaningful use" of patient medical records and the use of "certified EHR" technologies. The EMR vendor selected by the provider/clinic or its business associates has to comply with regulations, such as the standards set by the Security Rule of HIPPA in order to qualify for the monies.

As the 1 October 2011 passes, so does the deadline to apply for the 2011 EHR incentive leaving everyone scrambling to implement for the 90-day reporting period. Will you be in compliance during the entire 90-day period? Data must be reported for the entire 90 days with some measures that would not be possible to accomplish retroactively.

If you begin reporting on 1 January 2012, you will still have the opportunity to earn the full $44,000 over the 2012-2016 period. You will be in compliance at the end of March and receive your incentive monies by May 2012.

There is an impending explosion of electronic records companies in the next 12-18 months, and physicians and their business partners need to position themselves for the onslaught that will surely overwhelm office managers, doctors, and staff alike. Please remember that it is not just the selection, but the:

  1. Hardware upgrades to include tablet/Ipad - Android usage
  2. Billing compliance issues with your medical billing provider, or in house staff
  3. Last, but not least, the training it will take rearranging schedules to learn the devices, software, etc.

Please remember that to err is human, and to really complicate things, you need a computer. You can also see ePrescriptions finally coming into your office along with other unforeseen items.

Think long and hard about it - and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.

A Look at Antique and Contemporary African Art

I just happened to read an article in the New York Times about a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which features both traditional African masks and masks created of cast off items by contemporary African artists.

This article raises many issues that may be of interest. First of all it indicates that the accessibility to purely traditional African masks and art is becoming more limited, and that the majority of people entering the international art market are turning to contemporary art.

This is explained because of the availability of contemporary art as compared to the traditional arts which are rapidly vanishing. Even traditional functional items which have attracted collectors in recent years are now becoming scarce when compared to readily available works by promising young contemporary artists. Thus galleries are forced to follow this trend and are overwhelmingly showing contemporary works.

This raises more related issues.

Traditional artists, like those who have carved masks for generations for their own tribal ceremonies or who are working in genres that are identifiable as "traditional" no longer have a customer base among their own people.

Thus they have turned to providing masks and other cultural items for an export or tourist market for the past few decades. So-called "cultural purists" have objected to these items which they identify as "copies", as if Africa is frozen forever in a time warp and can neither go backwards or forwards.

IF these objects are no longer used in traditional ceremonies, what are these traditional African masters (and their heirs) supposed to do? Stop the only craft or trade they have ever known because their customers are no longer their neighbors?

This "purism" among the art community in the West has taken on ridiculous forms. Certain buyers of masks for shops in Western museums or galleries want proof that the mask has been "danced", so "dances" may be conveniently arranged so that the mask passes this first test of provenance.

A museum director of one of the leading museums in Los Angeles insisted that all the new masks be remove from the museum shop due to criticism from "purists" that these items are " fake".

I do not think that such a patronizing attitude exists in relation to other cultures as compared to African items.

Certainly museum shops cannot be expected to sell only "old" items, nor could their customers afford to buy them. This problem is easily solved with labeling.

When I owned African Heritage, I always carefully labeled items as to whether they were produced by a craftsman from the culture it represents and its approximate age.

However, if (for instance) an Ashanti AkuAbua (fertility doll) was carved by a Kamba carver in Kenya, it was so labeled and the price reflected this.

So just at the time that the old items are disappearing and there is no longer a ready market for them in Africa, the Western "cultural purist" comes along and tells them to stop work, that they should no longer produce these "new" items with no consideration at all given to the history and expertise of the maker or the quality of the objects he makes.

Furthermore this attitude is devastating to Africans who want to buy "traditional" items, especially the younger generation.

I think there should always be a place to show high quality items produced by master traditional artists and that there should always be some latitude for changes from the traditional base, to allow for the artist's own originality.

At the other end of the spectrum I am not complaining about artists who make masks from old plastic cans and camera lenses (like those displayed in the subject exhibition at MOMA).

Far from it, I think what has become known as 'Junk" art can be extremely artistic and clever, but is it art?

There are many different variations of "Junk" art now appearing in galleries.

The mammoth "hangings" created entirely of bottle tops and metal debris by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui are excrutiatingly beautiful and they are based entirely on Ashanti textile traditions, ie the famous royal Kente and Adinkira cloths worn for royal ceremonies.

These spectacular works of art have caused a stir in art circles and critics struggle with words for them.

And the "Mass Communications" (left image) metal sculptures fashioned by Uganda John Odochameny from the debris of the technological age (recent ones include the addition of cell phones) are more than intriguing and have found quite a following.

However, I do not mean to get away from attempts to concentrate on traditional forms, rather I applaud what Jones and Key and others have done and continue to do.

I always tell my visitors to African Heritage House, that if they want to collect and preserve and protect tribal art, now is the time to do it.

When I finished African Heritage House in 1994, one could find masses of items on the market of almost all the items on display in the house, now they are gone.

Some have disappeared without the present generation even knowing that they existed.

Do You Have Greatness Within You? 13 Principles of Self Mastery

"No one is free who is not a master of himself."

~ William Shakespeare

Mastership of yourself is the task to become all you can possibly be and to bring out the very best in yourself. Your lifestyle should consistently reflect character of such a degree that you make a lasting impression on the lives of other people and a positive difference upon the world. Here are 13 principles of extraordinary achievements used by the masters:

1) Make Up Your Mind. Any man or woman can achieve great things if they will make up their mind to be the best person they can possibly be. It all starts with a choice. Once you make the decision, the path will unfold. The people you need to meet, the experiences you must have, and the books you need to read will almost magically appear once you make up your mind.

Someone doesn't wake up one morning and they are suddenly a nurse, teacher, accountant, etc. They first decide on the goal they want to achieve, then they enroll in school, they take the courses required, and after a period of study they have achieved their goal.

2) Have An Indomitable Spirit. Your attitude is so important to your success. Choose to be positive in your outlook. Be driven to succeed. Be willing to keep trying; to fail and yet begin again. Strive to overcome your fears and doubts. Carry yourself with a sense of certainty that things will work out for the best.

3) Live By The Golden Rule. "Do unto others what you'd have them do unto you." Be respectful and polite even if your kindness is not returned. Always behave with courtesy and respect.

4) Seek An Example of Greatness. My pastor, Bob Moon, of First United Methodist Church recently asked the congregation, "Who are you imitating?" He encouraged us to be imitators of Jesus. Choose role models that inspire you and reinforce the principles you are striving to develop within yourself. Seek the examples of great parents versus good ones, great supervisors instead of poor examples, just to name a few. Notice how they carry themselves, how they speak to others, their tone of voice, their level of respect for others and then imitate those qualities of greatness.

5) Set High Standards. If you want the things in life that most people don't have; you must be willing to do the things that most people aren't willing to do. If you want to advance your career, you must be willing to go to college, read books, work longer hours. If you want a great marriage, you must be mindful of special dates, be thoughtful, listen harder, and consider their stressors as much as your own.

6) Put Yourself In Environments That Force You To Stretch. Seek to grow beyond your present limits and abilities. I have been doing martial arts for twenty years but I didn't truly become a martial artist until I started competing. I started at a regional level and worked myself up to a world class level of competition. Being the best at your present level is okay but step outside of this comfort zone. By seeking the challenge, you will experience new growth like you won't believe.

7) Demonstrate Emotional Stability. You cannot have a life without stress and conflict but you can learn to manage your emotions. Working as a therapist at Greenleaf Center for nineteen years required me to be emotionally calm and stable in order to perform at my best level. A master does not panic. A master carries themselves in a strong and poised fashion.

8) You Must Be Loyal. Be faithful to your values, your family, and your friends. Learn to stand firm in your beliefs, your values, and causes that are important to you. Without loyalty, you cannot trust nor can you be trusted.

9) Be Disciplined. Van Gogh said "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together, painful and demanding practice and hard work." I was recently talking with Rico Young of Valdosta Toyota Sales, I asked him if he had any favorite quotes; He said "You can't rush greatness." He is right. It takes time and effort to become a master. There are no free lunches for the great. They do every small thing in the best way they know how.

The thing you will enjoy the most about discipline is what you will become in the process. You will feel better about yourself. You will have greater strength spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. You will have greater confidence, peace and self respect. Discipline gives you abilities you would not have otherwise.

10) Strive For Perfection. I regularly hear people say, "Nobody's perfect". This leads people to believe they shouldn't even try to be. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 5:48 - "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." This verse clearly says that it is possible to be perfect so strive towards the ideals in life. You might just surprise yourself and reach perfection.

11) Lead By Example. Give others an example to follow. If you want your children to grow up to be fine citizens then give them an example of citizenship. If you want your employees to be hard workers then give them an example of exceptional work ethic. Be responsible. Be bold. Set the standard.

12) In All Things, Be Self Controlled. Self control shows the depth of your character. You have much more control over your life than you may realize. You always have control over how you handle any given situation. You can either be reactive or responsive. Reactive people have more stress, more conflicts and more problems than a responsive person. Don't let the emotions and actions of others disrupt your life. Be patient and more aware of yourself and your surroundings. The person who responds to a situation is the master of himself.

13) Stay The Course. You must develop perseverance. Be willing to keep getting up even if it is hard at times or the negative side of yourself tells you to simply give up. You must be determined to achieve the outcome you have set forth. You may have to alter your original plan and adapt as your circumstances change but never stop reaching for your goal.

Running Through Reasons For Laser Tattoo Removal

I was recently asked why I never decided to get a tattoo. This question, by the way, was asked by a friend of mine who has a number of tattoos and is now approaching a quasi-state of regret for having gotten them in the first place. I admitted that I thought about it from time to time. The truth is that I simply couldn't decide on exactly what I wanted to have permanently placed on my body.

My inability to make a decision ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. At least, this is what my friend thinks and he has told me as much. The regret, it seems, is growing exponentially on a daily basis. The way I've always thought about it is that if you're going to get something permanently placed on your body, you better be able to live with it - forever!

Styles and fashions come and go. We'd never wear the same thing today that we had on in grade school. Back then, we would have sworn that pair of acid wash jeans and the t-shirt of (insert long since forgotten music group here) would have been in style until the end of time! Now we know better. So why do people decide to "wear" something forever when there's no guarantee that it will always be the cool thing to do?

These days, it seems as if I know more people who are contemplating going ahead with Laser Tattoo Removal than getting a tattoo. Apparently, it's now harder to find a reason to get a tattoo than it is to remove one. Just ask Mark Wahlberg or Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that the acting careers of these two gentlemen has prompted each of them to remove their many tattoos.

For these actors, having to spend what seems like an eternity in the makeup chair to cover up their tattoos before a shoot is hassle not worth going through. So, if you've gone through the hassle of getting a tattoo to begin with, chances are it'll be worth your time to have your tattoo removed - that is, of course, if you have a reason to. And, it is evident that there are many!

Getting out a relationship. My friend Sara, for example, once had a tattoo of the name of her ex-boyfriend Mark. Needless to day, once the relationship was over, the reason for that tattoo has also dissipated. I think getting a person's name - especially one who you may not know forever - as a tattoo has to be one of the worst reasons to get one. Sorry Sara!

Erasing a misspelling. Well, at least, Sara had Mark's name spelled correctly. I'm not sure how some people, however, have made the mistake of misspelling a name or word for their tattoos. You would think that they'd take the time to ensure that something written in permanent ink would be flawless!

If you have a reason of your own, fear not. Laser Tattoo Removal is the only way to remove your tattoos without scarring your skin. Be sure to contact a licensed physician or skin care specialist to learn more about this procedure. It may end up being one of the best reversals of a decision that you've ever made!

Tips to Create Quality Content for Your Website

Content is one of the primary aspects that search engines consider while ranking a website in search results. The recent update, Panda, released by Google, is a perfect example of how important the search engines consider the content to be.

Features of good content
As quality of the content is one of the yardsticks to measure the reliability of the business, make sure that you adhere to certain aspects of the content. Thus, a piece of good content should have the following features:

• Avoid duplicate content:
While ranking websites, search engines like Google use unique techniques that penalize duplicate, repeating and shallow content. Overtime, these websites are removed from the Internet. Hence it is significant that you refrain from copying information from other websites. Also, make sure that you don't have many pages with same or similar content in your website.

• Quality content:
Another aspect of good quality content is that, it should not have any grammatical, spelling or factual errors. Also, the content should have high usability and readability. Usability of content means to present the content in an organized fashion and substantiated by examples, wherever required. Readability, on the other hand, aids the reader in quick and easy comprehending of the content. The faster we read a piece of content and comprehend, the more readability it has. The content should not be presented by a complex text and it should not be too verbose because the user may find it hard to grasp.

So as to avoid all these issues, a business should make sure that the content of its website is edited well by paying attention to every detail of the content.

• Relevant content:
The content you are planning to upload should be related to the products/services you offer. The content should be developed by conducting a proper keyword research, which helps you know the search terms that are being used by your target audience to know your business. Having the same keywords in your content will make the content relevant for the audience looking for the info on the website.

• Usable, information-rich, direct content:
As the objective is to promote your products/services, the content should help your target audience know how your business benefits them. The content should give comprehensive information about your products/services so as to meet the needs of your audience - write on topics that your audiences are actually looking for or need to know, and not on topics that might rank well on search engines. The content should be able to make them trust your business. Keep the information short, substantial, usable and specific to your business.

• Insightful and interesting content:
Insightful and engaging content on your website gives competitive edge to your business. Post articles that are written by industry experts, that are authoritative and have substantial value when compared to other websites on the same topic. Give solid message while also giving information and details of your products/services.

Also, make your content interesting to read. Non-engaging content drives away the visitors outright. Present your articles in an interesting way - add pictures, graphs, videos, etc. wherever needed. Incorporate interactive features like premium calculators (as in websites of life and general insurance brokers, mutual funds etc), 3D views (as in case of automotive websites), comments column, chat options - all these features go a long way to impact the user in favor of the products/services.

• Fresh and unique content:
The content should be fresh and unique. 'Fresh' under this context refers to currentness of the content, that is, how frequently do you update content on the website, how often do you come up with new blog or reports, etc. These all reflect how updated you are on the industry trends and changing customer needs, which gives a positive impression of your business. Also, having fresh content helps in adding new pages related to your keywords, which in turn helps in giving better SEO rankings.

Having unique content is also another prerequisite of a good quality website. Unique content may refer to original reports, analysis and research done by your business experts. The content should not match with that of other website content. This increases credibility and reliability of your website.

Good content helps in the long run
Steady and sincere efforts to create good content will fetch good and long lasting results for your business. It would, in the long run improve the credibility of your website and consequently your business. Whereas, low quality content not only negatively impacts the search engine rankings but also the trust-worthiness of the business.

Good content on your website plays vital role to make your website rank higher. It enhances the overall user experience, benefits overall engagement, increases loyalty and conversions for your business.

List Building - Building Your List With Pinterest

While you might think that Pinterest can only benefit business' that are typically visual such as fashion, retail or art, it can effectively be used for most any type of business.

Pinterest is especially popular among American women and is an 'invite only' platform that seems to generate a type of camaraderie amongst its users. After all pictures are fun to share and often say more than words can. So how can you use Pinterest to build your list?

First I am going to assume that you use a squeeze page or opt-in form to add subscribers to your list. On you opt-in page you must have an eye catching photo or graphic. This could even be the cover to your most current e-book. Once you have that image, you can pin it to one of your boards.

In the title of your photo use your keywords, like in any other type of web copy you would write. Although you don't want your pin to read like an advertisement, you want it to be search friendly.

If you don't want to send people from Pinterest directly to a subscriber page you can build subscribers by sending them to your blog or articles on your web page. Then in the post or article make sure there is a call to action to get them to subscribe. You can even place a "Pinit" button on your blog to encourage others to pin your blog post pictures.

When people click on a photo they expect to be able to find more about what they clicked on. So you don't want to give them all the information in the photo description. Use it to build curiosity and get them to click through for more information.

In addition to getting new subscribers on your list, Pinterest can increase your traffic in several ways. Get creative, tie photo ideas to current trends, holidays or national events. Then write a blog post or article and link a Pin to it.

Make sure the images you use in your blog or website are "Pin worthy". It is more important now than ever to have images that are fun, interesting and tell a story. Post images people will want to share. Funny or unusual pins have the potential to go viral and spread your message across the internet in record time.

From large industrial business to the small solo-entrepreneurial business, Pinterest can be a way to gain exposure as well as customer loyalty while building your list.

Considering Your Employment Options

There's a very useful department at the local college. It's called "Career Development" and I surely wish I would have used it. Foolish youth that I was, I didn't think I needed any direction from anybody. This approach brought about a very checkered job history that is no longer relevant. I beat the odds and finally found my chosen field. Let me tell you the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

What does a person in the Humanities choose for their field of work? I was an English major, and philosophy minor in college. I might have been enterprising and sold insurance or real estate. In some corners it is presumed that an English major thinks well, and a philosophy minor knows some of the angles. But this was wrong in my case: I'm not particularly outgoing nor do I plan terribly well. How about a home business selling your own product, whether it be food item or arts and crafts? I have done some of this while serving as a seamstress who was mainly a dress designer. It was however intimidating to meet the lady who painted on bamboo tee-shirts, with beach designs, mermaids and underseas scenes. I'm not an artist, but just an artisan who likes to make people look good, though I don't have much experience in detailed tailoring. My years as a seamstress were not terribly lucrative.

Teaching English at the local high schools is the job I fell into, partially by inheritance, and partially by design. My parents were old-fashioned and believed the main occupations open to women were teaching and nursing. Also, I live by a well-known teachers' college in a large city, where many teachers are employed. But teacher training hit a few bumps. My Supervisor hated my reading of African American poetry aloud to high school sophomores. I see now that this was an idealistic thing to do in the civil rights era, and, I might add, a commendable thing to do. But such poetry was not on the curriculum so I was considered to be unorthodox. So, I spent much more time leading my students through "Tom Sawyer". I do like children and teens, and teaching is a respectable and worthy occupation, but not necessarily for me. My Supervisor agreed and gave me very mediocre recommendations. I ended up being a substitute teacher.

Since I was still not considering my options, I stayed in this job for fifteen years. I was fully employed only once, as a summer school teacher in a remedial class. I learned a very valuable lesson in patience and increased my listening skills. For the rest of this career, I taught strange and often hostile teens for a day or two. They didn't know me and I had not known how to find their school until that very morning, when I received a call in the wee hours of the morning assigning me to their class. At least my driving skills improved as their were no G.P.S. direction finders installed on the dash boards. Driving to a new destination was hit or miss.

If you are making a career change, and I understand this to be a far more frequent process than in times past, research fields that you are interested in. Even if you are mildly interested only, look into these fields because you may just not have thought of training in them before. Nobody's intellect can cover all bases. By the time I was in my fifties, I finally found theater: I write plays and do some acting. But this was only after a great many hits and misses on the employment dart board. As I mentioned, I was employed fairly successfully as a seamstress and I could have beem employed in that capacity much sooner if I had only kept an open mind. When I was in college, I was sent a test from the counseling center to test manual dexterity. It was little more than placing round pegs in suitable holes, and square pegs in other holes, but I was told by letter that I was extremely gifted in the area of dimensions and designs. I ignored this direction.

So, here's my travels in the job arena: waitress, student paper grader, department store clerk, telemarketer, gas station attendant and home helper for the aging and/or disabled. As might have been expected, after all these job changes I became somewhat disabled myself. I have arthritis. Let me tell you about each occupation.

As a waitress, I worked in the night shift at a restaurant by the waterfront. I was taught that any and all employment is honorable, so I'm proud I had this job. If you have a job which requires vast amounts of education or a high IQ, you can become tired very quickly, and suffer burn-out, over the long run. With waitressing, it is not tiring greeting new people and talking with them, if ever so shortly. Also, the physical exercise if walking around the restaurant, carrying heavy trays and filling up coffee cups and drinking water is very good for a person. It's probably equivalent to walking around one football field per day. I've always liked walking, so this was fine with me. In the day and age when I worked as a server, men were allowed to comment and even pinch the waitress, if no one was looking. It was done in fun, and usually when the flirting was mutual, though I am not condoning this practice. The fishermen used to come in this restaurant from the tuna boats and I enjoyed the attention. However, this job had one huge setback. I worked the night shift from nine to five in the morning and was alone except for one cook and one other waitress. It was lonely and there was no privacy. The restaurant was surrounded by large windows and the passerby's could easily look in and see that I was alone much of the time. We were located by a freeway, which was a four lane highway of the day. I felt, and perhaps not wrongly, that someone could see me by myself and come in just to talk to me, not seeing the others who were working there. I didn't feel it was dangerous, just very public. I like acting, as I think I have mentioned that I am in theater, and I don't mind being looked at if I'm in another role than just myself, or when I'm planning on an audience. But just being seen in the wee hours of the morning was a surprise I hadn't counted on. Probably I was the only one who would take this shift as the other waitresses had more time on the job and could pick their schedules. I was just working in the summers between college semesters. I got very tired of filling water glasses because the restaurant was deserted in those hours. The after hours crowd would come in and leave big tips, and I seldom had a problem with their behavior. I wasn't a terribly friendly person so this was the wrong job for me. My stand-offish ways revealed themselves in my very low tip amounts. One of the other waitresses was very friendly and pretty, and she made great tips. I envied her, though this wasn't a good thing: I should have been grateful that I was able to attend a good college and live in the dorms.

I graded student papers for about eight years. This helped my own writing skills a great deal, though I was disliked by the high school students. I picked up student papers from the teachers' boxes after hours in a program which was tailored to meet the needs of over-worked teachers who had to come home after school and grade large numbers of student compositions and exams. I particularly liked grading a series of essays for a contest at one high school. The essays were great and the writing was often better than what I could have done. But underneath it all, I knew the students disliked me because they felt that their own personal teacher, who knew them, should also grade their papers. They weren't entirely wrong, and they were eventually vindicated when the program was eliminated.

The telemarketing job was fairly challenging, but tiring after I had already worked teaching school and grading papers. I was putting in a twelve hour day. Even then, I usually had to face the summer without the school jobs. I set up appointments for solar water heating information. To this day, I do not like calling people up at dinner time. The true salesperson, which I am not, would undoubtedly be able to justify this disturbance by saying something like "If they really needed this project, this might be the only time they could be reached". I didn't feel at all justified. The product was very forward looking and the company was a good one in a nice office. Not only did I receive a minimum wage but I also received a small stipend for every sales that was later made by a visiting sales person. We were selling padding that wrapped around water heaters and warmed them, as well as panels for homes and swimming pools. These systems enabled all heating of home and water to be partly accomplished with the sun's energy. This is a very popular system today, and I am ecology minded. I was tired by the time I got to work, so it seemed as if I was working and running, driving and running, and then working again.

I hit a personal bottom with the gas station attendant job. I had to have employment for the summer months between school sessions, when I taught and graded papers. I worked in a small booth handing out tokens in exchange for money, so customers could put the tokens in the gas station pumps, for gas. It was very, very cold at night for me. I'm an arthritic, who has suffered with arthritis since I was forty years old or so. Occasionally I would have to leave the booth and clean the gas pumps. Oh, by the way, this job was also at night. I didn't think anybody cared much about me, or wanted to meet me, so I just passed out tokens with very little conversation. Since it was again the wee hours of the night, I needed to be brave in order to leave the booth and clean the pumps in the inner city, in the middle of the night. I kept having to stamp my feet, I wore gloves and I was bundled up. But I was still cold. Out of sheer loneliness, I invited a friend into the booth with me, which was strictly forbidden. He, in turn, stole forty dollars from the till and I was fired. I was pretty discouraged when a special delivery notice arrived informing me that I had been sacked. I was relieved, and they very kindly did not demand that I return the forty dollars.

For eight years I worked as a caretaker for the elderly and disabled. I had patients anywhere from slightly disabled and needing only thorough cleaning, to bed ridden clients who had bed sores. I can't tell you all the stories they told me as I loved companion care. There was the man who had worked in the nuclear industry and burned his hand. There was the woman whose mother had marched on the Trail of Tears, which was the American Indian march from Florida to Oklahoma. Her grandmother was an Indian and on the way she met a rancher and settled down with him to marry and have children. She looked very Indian with thick, straight long hair then turned a grey-white color. Some of my patients were very talented cooks and taught me what little I could learn. One woman was a news buff and we watched every news program we could find and stayed informed all day. I stayed with one lady for at least a year; she had been an orphan and was trained as a veterinarian, one of the first women to train in this area. She was very intelligent and we discussed medicine; she treated herself when she developed leg sores.

I am not a trained nurse and several traumatic experiences did occur. One lady's son asked me to reduce his mother's sleeping pills. One day I was stirring a tapioca pudding in the kitchen, and she fell out of bed three times, probably trying to get her pills. I quit the job immediately knowing I was not qualified and she died eleven days later. The moral of that story is "Don't take on more than you can handle". I don't blame myself because I was following her son's orders and she was terminally ill, but that job required a qualified nurse. Another lady had a nose bleed that lasted for about one half hour. She screamed for me to lay her on the bed with her head hanging off, and put ice over her nose. I did so and the bleeding lessened and stopped. She wouldn't let me call the ambulance. It's my theory that the generation (of the 20's and 30's) did not rely heavily on medical personnel so "yours truly" had to act as a nurse practitioner. And I'm not qualified! Though I was a top student in psychology and biology, this was merely an interest in human beings and how they work. I write plays to carry on with this interest in my current life.

A few of my patients were close to the end of life, including severe stroke patients. Oddly enough, some of the minor problems were more bewildering than the serious: one lady lost a toenail and it bled furiously. Of course there were lots of sores draining and lots of blood, and I do not like the sight of blood. I did gain a few lessons from this employment: it is extremely rewarding to help one's fellow men when he is most in need. There's nothing that feels better than getting a patient all cleaned up and comfortably reclining in his/her bed. There's just nothing more rewarding. I can see why nurses are so dedicated and they're truly fortunate they have the fortitude to do this kind of work. I also learned to give people the benefit of the doubt: if they're cranky or mean, they might be in pain or depressed. Many of these patients show up as characters in my plays, though they are changed and sometimes combined with someone else. They also show up as I act characters in my drama class: the more people you have observed, the better you can portray a certain type of person. So thank you one and all for being my patient and putting up with a somewhat unqualified person. At least I was always kind and caring, I hope.

Much of the time I seemed to be playing the role of nurse, and this could be disastrous. One time I had to lift a very heavy patient off of a bed for a job interview. I pulled and pushed three times but nothing happened. Another time I tried to lift a relatively small woman and dropped her, fortunately slowly, onto a wooden floor. I was somehow able to get her up. Another patient was a quadriplegic: she was in a water bed for a good part of the day and when I would bounce her off of that into a wheelchair she would repeatedly demand to be straightened in her chair. I was so exhausted after lifting her, that I couldn't pick her up any more and this lead to unfortunate disputes. Fortunately, I didn't get mad at her and I did the best that I could, which wasn't very good. So, it more than pays to find a job that you are physically and mentally capable of doing.

You might be asking: "How did this end?" The last job I had was as Emergency Contact Person for a disabled persons' apartment complex consisting of about fifteen apartments. I received calls about any and all sorts of problems. The man downstairs kept lighting fires in his apartment. He was mentally disabled and when I tried to talk to him he began to pound on my door and threaten me. Fire engines had been there several times, and this time I called the police. They came with rifles drawn just as this resident came walking across the apartment patio. I yelled "Please don't shoot" and he went down on his knees. He was safe but he later terrorized me by showing me dead animals on a stick. These types of incidents were all too common, and my job fell somewhere between policewoman and manager. It was lots of responsibility for $200 a month. But, again, I saw some real characters and they were placed in my memory bank for further use.

During this time, I volunteered to edit a housing newsletter in which I wrote articles and included recipes and poems. Hooray! I finally found something I like to do but I wasn't paid! Things just don't have to turn out that way if you plan your future with yourself in mind, and don't try to become what your parents want you to be, or what you think will get you the best salary. Strongly consider your own interests, and though you may not be able to train for exactly what you want, hire on in something close to your interests. You can work your way up, and you can retrain later when you can afford more expensive schooling., When I was a little girl, I always wanted to join the carnival. Whenever I would think of this I would feel terrible and guilty. Actually, I have always been oriented toward the theater. I acted in choirs, triple trio's, marching corps, dancing performances and high school plays. Later, I sang and acted in college productions.

That childish desire to join the carnival, which was so strong I could taste it, was a longing for the stage. I would have liked to ride the bareback horses, standing up. Once I was in a staged production, riding side saddle on a mule. We performed for a man visiting the stables in San Francisco where my cousin worked and trained horses. But I knew that that was a terrible life for a young woman and this would have destroyed my parents. They hoped that their gifted child would go on to college and become a teacher or nurse. Well folks, I tried both to no avail. When I was about sixty, my friend gave me a course in Dressmaking and Design and I started working privately in a field I both liked and was naturally gifted in. But sixty is a long time to wait!

I spent two years doing home study in this field and was already taking in sewing jobs. I constantly read in this subject. I especially liked making costumes by putting together several patterns and designing my own. I worked with an amazing girl who was a future Edith Head (famous costume designer in Hollywood). She designed a Marie Antoinette costume, Statue of Liberty, Gypsy and many others. And she could sit down and sew anything. She was my student for two years and I learned from her. I designed and sewed "Wonder Woman", Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, sea creatures, Biker Girl, costumes for junior theater, the lawyer in "Tom Sawyer", and many others. Notice how creative I was becoming and that was just the beginning.

I began writing plays and realized that I loved it. I don't write screen plays but I develop stories from the Bible and sometimes from my own head. I like to write family and general audience plays and I've had several accepted on Christian websites. It's about time I did something I liked, don't you think? The frosting on the cake was when I began to attend a Senior Drama Class and realized that I love acting. Being in a class with elderly actors is loads of fun, and doesn't have the stress of film acting. I could write an entire essay on learning acting and I will write it in the future. I recently researched Scottish plays and came up with a funny one from Glasgow, Scotland. My friend, who is partly of Scottish, and myself, of similar heritage, acted in it and had so much fun I can't describe it. I performed a public reading of Shakespeare's "King Richard VI Part III" in which I was Queen Margarete and got to say "Off with your head." Those milestones are recovery from a bleak job record.

Don't wait until you are sixty to find out what you are good at and go for it. At least make tentative plans and lay achievable goals according to what your interests and abilities are. And use that office that calls itself "Life Options" or "Aptitude Testing". You'll be glad you did.

Free Modeling Agencies

What Are Free Modeling Agencies?

Most of the time people think of free modeling agencies as agencies that don't charge any upfront fees or make models take required modeling courses or pay for photo shoots before they can be represented by the agency.

Having to pay for mandatory courses or photo shoots are things to watch out for. Models should never be required to take a course or shoot with a particular photographer in order to be represented. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with agencies recommending preferred photographers that they would like you to shoot with. Use your best judgement in this case. Is the agency insisting that you use their "in-house" photographer or is the photographer someone who regularly shoots models for a variety of agencies? "In-house" photographers can signal a problem, but referrals to preferred photographers generally does not.

Does An Upfront Fee Make The Agency A Scam?

No, not necessarily. Just because an agency expects you to cover your initial start-up costs or they have a reasonable fee to join does not automatically make it a scam. The key word here is "reasonable". A couple of hundred dollars or less is one thing - a few thousand is another. No new model should ever pay thousands of dollars to start a modeling career.

The other key here is "market". What market are you in? As a rule, agencies in large markets such as New York, London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo do not charge registration, administration or joining fees. They don't have to. There is plenty of work available for their models so the agency will earn its income from the commissions they charge the models and the clients. Generally, agencies earn 20% from the models' gross earnings and another 20% from the client. So, the agency actually earns 40% on a particular job.

Agencies in smaller markets may not have this luxury. Most of the jobs in smaller markets are catalog, local television, fashion shows, trade shows, etc. The clients are usually small businesses but can, from time to time, be larger clients with bigger budgets. It can be tough for agencies in smaller markets to make ends meet by only earning commissions from bookings. That's why smaller agencies usually have a training program or offer workshops to help generate additional income. There is nothing wrong with this! Don't automatically think that the agency is set up just to rip you off. The vast majority of agents in smaller markets are hard-working, honest people who really love the business and want you to succeed.

Working in smaller markets can be the ticket for a new model to get the experience and exposure to the industry they need in order to make it in a larger market with a prestigious agency. The catalog and local magazine tearsheets you get can help you get the work Visa's required in order to work in some international countries. Remember, as a professional model you are self-employed - you are not an employee of the agency. Reasonable expenses are to be expected - just use your best judgement.

If An Agency Likes Me They Will Pay For Everything - WRONG!

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that phrase I'd have a nice condo in Hawaii. Again, this all comes back to what market you are in. Smaller markets (outside of New York, London, Paris, Milan, and Tokyo) should not be expected to finance your career.

If modeling agencies in larger markets such as Elite Models, IMG Models, New York Models, Wilhelmina or Ford Models are interested in signing you they will generally cover the expense of your first test shots, composite cards, website fees, rent at their model's apartment and other expenses to get you started. You will be expected to pay these expenses back from the income you earn from bookings you get through the agency. As soon as you are paid from a job the agency will deduct any amount owing to them from your check. So, as you can see, even these top agencies are not "free". Depending upon the agency you will still be responsible for your debt to them even if you decide to leave the agency or stop modeling. This is something you should discuss with the agency before you take on too much debt. A responsible agency will never let your debt become too high before taking steps to correct it. Having said that, agencies in Asian markets such as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei will cover all your expenses such as airfare, hotel, composite cards, website fees, etc. and if you are unable to earn enough to pay them back you will usually be sent home before you accumulate too much debt and you will not be expected to pay them back should your expenses exceed your earnings.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that there is really no such thing as a "free modeling agency". There are major modeling agencies that may cover some of your start-up costs that you will be expected to pay back once you start earning an income. However, the majority of agencies in the smaller markets will expect you to cover all of your initial start-up costs such as test shoots, comp cards, website fees, etc. Whether you are a supermodel like Coco Rocha, Shalom Harlow or other established models there will be expenses incurred to start your modeling career and ultimately maintain it.

Hollywood: "The Entertainment Capital of the World"

Identified with glamour, fame & fashion, Hollywood flourishes in the hearts of millions as "The Entertainment Capital of the World". It needs no introduction among American movie & music lovers and fans of Hollywood celebrities. Technically, it is a district located at Los Angeles, California, United States, and it's the metonym of American cinema. It has world's best movie studios integrated with modern and advance technology that facilitates best of action, cinematography, editing, background, effects, and other elements that endows American movies with a cutting edge. It is a full-fledged and financially enriched industry, which originated at around 1850s. Down the line, this industry has made various revolutionizing land marks and proliferated as one of the greatest and stable cinema industries in the world. At present, it is like a buzz word, whose updates and events make news in every leading dailies and websites.

Insight to the Hollywood Entertainment Elements

Entertainment is just like glued up word with Hollywood. The elements of this industry, whether it's a new released movie or some celeb story or a current event, always serve as a source of entertainment. American movies have a large audience not just in America or western countries but also in the eastern countries. These movies are dubbed by other film industries in their own languages. Further, many of its movies are taken as inspiration by other film industries. Likewise, Hollywood TV soaps are also quite popular around the word. Just like the movies, even the TV serials are made to cater all the genres like teen programs, family serials, sci-fi, action thrillers, fantasy, etc. Apart from the audio-video programs, the celebrities of this industry are also a promising source of entertainment for the larger audience. Audience loves to know about their real life updates, their affairs, their positive and negative publicity, background, interest, achievements and others. These celebrities are like the fashionistas, trending style statements into the popular culture. Further, entertainment slumber from Hollywood is its yearly events like Academy Awards Ceremony, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Christmas Parade, Grauman's Theater Footprint Ceremonies, Movie Premier, Star Ceremonies on the Walk of Fame, etc. Fans eagerly wait to see the telecast of these events on TV; some even try to get into these events, if tickets are available.

Current Entertainment Updates from Hollywood

Encompassing all the entertainment updates of this industry is hard to project in such a limited space, as there is a new update every second. However, its annual events are much talked among the audience. For the year 2012, the remaining events are as follows:

• AFI Fest (November): Its Los Angeles' longest-running film festival.
• DWP Light Festival (December): Celebrated at The Griffith Park section as a symbol of holiday cheer by displaying impressive light.
• Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade (December): Decorated boats circle the main channel and compete for prizes before a grand finale fireworks display.

Further, the preparation for the mega event "Hollywood Walk of Fame" is also picking up. It is an internationally recognized icon. It includes 24 induction ceremonies annually, which are broadcasted around the world.

Circuit Karting: The Options

Circuit karting is a brilliant form of entry level motor racing. All the thrills and excitement of F1, but at an accessible level. Of course, some people take their karting very seriously and spend years honing their skills. It's even become a popular proving ground for future stars of F1; Ayerton Senna and Louis Hamilton both began their careers in circuit karting. But it's not just as simple as jumping in your kart and racing off. There are karting circuits all around the UK and each offers a selection of different racing options.

Track Drive Experience

Perhaps you're new to the world of karting and just want to try it out for fun. Track drive experience does what it says on the tin; it allows up to 10 karts to go out on the track for no other reason than to drive. No racing, no trophies, no competition. If you do have a bit more experience behind the wheel, then track drive experience sessions are a great opportunity to get some practice in without having to worry about your position or form.

Track Race Experience

The next step up. Track race experience makes for a short, sharp race with a limited number of competitors (generally around 10 karts). They're the perfect place for novice drivers to begin, whilst more experienced karting enthusiasts will enjoy the more intense driving experience they offer. Don't worry if you lack confidence, each race only lasts for around 15 minutes - that's 40 laps plus a 10 lap qualifying session. Trophies go the three top placed drivers and every competitor gets a precise printout of their lap times.

Endurance Circuit Karting

The Le Mans of the karting world - in fact, an annual 24 hour endurance race is held at Le Mans every year. For those of us booking a place at our local karting circuit, however, the average endurance race is unlikely to last quite that long.

Endurance circuit karting races are available in both solo and team configurations. Solo races will generally last somewhere between 40 and 100 laps with an additional 10 lap practice session to get your grid positions. The scoring is simple; the first three finishers get the trophies. Team endurance circuit karting sessions will be longer, around 60-120 laps (or 1-2 hours). Here, team mates will hot seat in relay fashion, driving the same car in an effort to secure the best times. In team circuit karting, the aim isn't necessarily to finish first, but to complete the most circuits in the time allowed. Just like Le Mans. Most karting circuits will offer a range of race lengths and will likely have a minimum age requirement.

So, whether you're a novice or an expert, you'll find the circuit karting experience to suit you. Find your nearest local karting circuit and book your first (or seventy-ninth) race today.

Italian Cities - A Personal Insight Into Which Cities Are Worthy of Your Visit

Each Italian city has its own idiosyncrasies and you may want to be assured, in advance, that you will find what you are looking for. After scores of Italian visits over the last 35 years, I can summarise a consensus view on the pros and cons of each of the main Italian Venues. So here is a summary appraisal, travelling roughly north to south:

Turin - the warmth of the centre belies its industrial heritage. Not much architecture to marvel at, but the museums are surprisingly good.

Milan - forget the opinions of austerity and the first impressions from the sensational thirties deco of the Stazione Centrale. This city oozes style and success and has a wonderful attitude and work ethic. Here work and career are defininitely, to quote Voltaire 'the father of pleasure'. See the Duomo and marvel at its splendour, inside and out. Cruise the Gallerie along to Piazza della Scala and enjoy La Scala's understated facade.

Wander the chic streets of Via Monte Napoleone down Via Jesu' to the small stradine and their simple bars, where you can sit outside and people-watch all day long. And on the other side of the city, stare up in wonder at the Michelangelo frescoes.

Parma - a city that has grown wealthy on the successes of local industry and the global penetration of food exports. See the centre of their famed ham production, in the Apennine foothills at Langhirano, then head back into the city, to be awe-struck at the Cathedral and Baptistry.

Eat gelati as you wander through to the Farnese museum and enjoy the vast selection of independent (if slightly snooty) fashion shops. Restaurants feel it is their God-given duty to uphold this area's reputation as the centre of Italian gastronomy. But walk a couple of side-streets and you will find excellent family 'trattorie', where there is no menu, but you will be firmly 'advised' on what to enjoy from that day's 'specials'.

Venice - a city of so many contrasts. Completely commercial and international in its self-importance as THE most beautiful tourist destination. The architecture is stunning. The views over the Lido are splendid. But expect to feel you are in Times' Square or Piccadilly Circus, from the global nature of your fellow visitors.

Bologna - an absolute favourite, if you are seeking less tourism and a charm and authenticity that is again unique. The slightly austere Romanesque architecture of the Cathedral and the streets warms itself to you, after a day or two. Everything is accessible and you can browse so many beautiful food and local produce displays in the smaller streets. There is a crustiness to this University town that makes it so charming, without the new-money influences of Parma or the blatant commercialism of Venice or Florence.

Florence - yes, it has a completely unique personality and the most splendid palaces and museums. But you do have to search around the edge of the main pedestrian tourist streets for non-tourist restaurants, or anything truly Tuscan. Across the bridges to the east, you can find more intrigue. Just try to stay up in the hills, a few kilometres out of the City.

Rome - such self-esteem as the capital. The vastness of its sites gives it the ability to handle vast volumes of visitors but still keep an essential Italian character and style. Sit on the Spanish Steps and then wander over the river to marvel at the Vatican. Stroll back through Piazza Navona and on to see the ingenuity inside the Pantheon.

Feel the spirits of tens of thousands who perished at the Coliseum and recognise the effects of Roman history on every corner. Find charming squares along the walks towards the river with locals dining 'al fresco'.

It is definitely possible to find essential Italian life here and shield yourself from the tourism for a while. But give it time. Less than three days in Rome and you could not do this amazing city justice, in terms of your time and attention.

Naples - you will be surprised by the grandeur of the central government palaces and the charming harbour. Be careful of the drivers and hold your breath if you risk taking a taxi, particularly if they need to skirt around the city on the speedier autostrada. Enjoy the long pretty streets too, just off the centre.

The Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast are another holiday on their own. Take the ferry to Capri and enjoy the walk toTiberius Villa and the views back across to Sorrento.

Cagliari - this lovely city in southern Sardinia warrants inclusion for its friendly citizens and historical buildings, all of which are so easy on the eye, as you wander up and down the hilly streets. Take a ferry from here back to the mainland or more far flung parts of the Mediterranean if you wish.

So that's a mere fleeting glimpse of the cities that you are most likely to encounter. So many smaller towns should be explored too, often with even more charm, to explore whenever you can.

6 Ways to Survive Your Start-Up's First Crucial Year

So, that is the scary part, realizing that after a year of constant battle for survival, your business succumbs to failure. Here are 6 simple ways to help your business survive its most crucial first year:

1. Plan. This is a must-have battle plan for any endeavour - actual war, career path and business! When you have a plan, you are giving your business options that will help dictate its fate. It is a fact: unexpected issues and problems will always surface later on especially during the first year of your business as it struggles to find its rightful spot in the world of businesses. Having a plan for any inevitable misfortunes for your business will give you time to thwart any further adversity.

2. Choose your business location sensibly. Location is everything when it comes to business. Unless you are an online business entrepreneur, you need to find the most strategic location for your business to help market it to probable customers. If you happen to own an online business, finding a good location is synonymous to fashioning the appropriate-easy-to-remember website name or domain name, this way, people will not have a hard time remembering and typing your business name on their browser.

3. Minimize unnecessary expenses. Similar to saving your personal money for more important matters at home, you might want to cut down on expenses that are not that important for your business and instead, find ways and resources that will help you and your business earn extra revenue.

4. Communicate to your clients. Communication is an essential element that will help your business succeed; most especially the communication you have with your customers. Know what your clients think of your business so you can do necessary improvements; know what works with them and what doesn't. This can also be a medium for your evaluation. There will always be room for enhancements and your customers are the best gauge for designing such.

5. Take time to evaluate and analyze how your business is going. It is important to take time to pause and analyze the numbers in your business. Are the revenues doing well? Are the sales climbing up by the minute? After you have evaluated how your business is doing, you can have several changes that could help you take another course of actions that will help your business go the right path.

6. Trust your gut. Statistics, numbers, and evaluations may be very helpful when it comes to determining how your start-up is doing; and that little tingly feeling you have knowing that all the twists and turns your business have had will eventually lead it to further heights is most of the time correct, so do not be afraid to trust your gut once in a while.

The start-up phase of each business is the most difficult part of doing it because your business is still on the process of establishing its stability. Open your mind and consider some minute but important things when undergoing this phase. Who knows, you might be the one exactly sharing the tips to other start-up entrepreneurs the time your business has already skyrocketed to the horizons.

Eco-Friendly Exports - Bamboo Wholesaling

The whole world has gone organic, preferring organically produced foods, unscented laundry detergents and other products which are in harmony with the ecosystem. As carbon emissions have become a worldwide problem, pollution and deforestation threaten the earth's intrinsic balance; concerned global citizens have grouped together on the grass roots level to find a way to bring the earth back into its natural balance.

The recent introduction of organically produced fabrics has been a highly successful win-win for concerned global citizens everywhere. Everyone knows that cotton clothing is ideal for its comfortable fibers, softness, and wear ability. It keeps the body warm and covered and is absorbent for natural perspiration and humidity. It has been called one of the most ideal fabrics available.

In recent years, pure cotton clothing made from bamboo fibers has become nothing less than a fashion rage! Made from the pulp of the bamboo stalk, it promotes the environment in a variety of ways, which we will go into later. This eco-friendly material is incredibly soft to the touch, inexpensive to produce and readily available in many parts of the world, particularly southeast Asia and Australia. Coincidentally, bamboo tends to flourish in areas where tropical rainforests and damp climates reign, areas often known for their poverty and likelihood for flooding and devastation. This new industry is a fantastic new development for economic redemption in Third World Countries

As this new production technique gains publicity, customers have begun requesting the ultra-soft fabric by name. To help respond to the international need, a new business of bamboo wholesaling has come to the forefront. Pacific Rim companies have seen the potential of bamboo based organic cotton clothing exportation, a hot and timely trend for the 21st century. Employing natural production methods, without the use of carbon emissions, like polyester processing does. Bamboo plants also help prevents soil erosion, adding oxygen back into the environment.

Bamboo is used for its wood in building lightweight but sturdy furniture, musical instruments, and lightweight constructed objects, like the ladies' skirt rings of yesteryear. Lovely harmonious wooden door coverings are often constructed from hollowed out pieces of bamboo, fancifully painted and decorated. Bamboo was used by farmers and laborers in Asia to weave reflective lightweight hats while working in the hot sun. These hats were effective at protecting the workers' heads and could be easily folded up and placed in a pocket when the sun's glare was no longer a threat.

Both the plant itself is resold to buyers all over the world who are interested in cultivating a crop for its own production needs. The bamboo plant provides excellent shade, a hedge between houses and properties, a wonderful designer touch due to its spindly trunks and decorative leaves. The bamboo is also quite well known for its rapid growth. There is one type of bamboo plant that grows up to a meter a day. The majority of bamboo does not match this level, but manage to grow an impressive eight to ten centimeters a day. Its rapid growth makes it a plentiful item, keeping its costs lower than other clothing options.

Why Care Training Courses Matter

Care training courses make it possible for people who have no formal medical schooling to perform tasks that typically require clinical specialization. These courses offer many advantages, including proper use of techniques in emergency situations, safety awareness and advocacy, and possible improvements in the health of trainees. Find a company offering a care training program that is right for you or your employees.

A Sample List of Courses
Enrol your employees in care training courses to help them cope with the daily demands of their jobs. Choose a course on "worker development," through which they can get a deeper understanding of what it means to move forward in their careers and benefit both them and the company. This course usually includes discussions on roles at work, receiving and giving support, supervision, and skills development. There are also parts dealing with personal care and development, nutrition, stress relief, and even handling sleep problems.

People who manage, train, or hire other employees can also enrol in care training courses. In fact, human resource managers are among the primary beneficiaries of such programs. They can try a course in "aggression management," for example, and understand how to deal with employees or customers who use aggression to express themselves. Recognize behavioural disorders and comprehend what leads some people to change. This program may help you diffuse a very tense situation and prevent harm or damage.

Health and social care workers can take courses like "medication administration," as they may find themselves in situations requiring reliable understanding of the risks and benefits of drugs for different people. Safe practices in this area of medicine can possibly save lives.

Have your employees study "basic or advanced life support" so they know what to do in case an accident takes place and somebody goes into cardiac arrest or something similar. Instead of panicking and making things harder to manage, your people will be ready and willing to help. The basic course will probably take only half a day, while the advanced course can require two. In health & safety courses, your employees will receive coaching on "substances hazardous to health."

"Fire prevention, drills, and evacuation procedure" training should be part of every company. A fire is an emergency with a high likelihood of causing panic, so training your people for such an eventuality will help protect them from harm or from adding more damage. They will learn how to react in an orderly fashion, use a fire extinguisher, and other important measures.

Choose a coaching agency that does not simply go through the motions of the drill. The more realistic their training is, the better it will be for preparing your employees. Find a company offering comprehensive and interesting programs so your employees do not fall asleep during the hours of coaching.

Health & safety courses are necessary in many aspects of the job. They are not exclusively for medical workers; they should be for everyone. People who understand the importance of health, safety, and care have a better chance of surviving emergencies, reacting properly to threats, helping other people in trouble, and keeping themselves healthy. Your choice of a company offering health and safety programs is an important part of running a business.

So You Have Never Heard Of Solavei?

Solavei is the company that offers no-contract phone service on T-Mobile's 4G network for $49/mo. with unlimited talk, text and data. The company that provides access to T-Mobile's recently announced HSPA+4G state of the art network rollout in 14 large metropolitan markets. It's a company that provides opportunities to new network marketers and struggling network marketers looking for new opportunities with a great product.

A Mobile Service

Solavei offers access to T-Mobile's robust state of the art HSPA+$G network for a $49 signup fee and $49/mo. unlimited. How can they do that? It does not mass media advertise but relies on word of mouth, network marketing and internet/social media to market their service. Those multi-million dollar savings gets passed onto their customers in the form of providing mobile services at half the cost of standard service.

Solavei was launched in October of 2012 as a mobile service with a novel twist. It banks on it's customers to recruit new customers. The company is said to remove the biggest inefficiency in the business model of mobile communication industry: the high expense of attracting new customers. There are no Solavei television advertising campaigns, no splashy, costly sponsorships of sporting and entertainment events; just good old-fashioned word of mouth and the network marketing skills of its associates.

It's Time to Have Your Phone Pay You

The bread and butter, nuts and bolts attention grabber for Solavei is their enthusiastic network marketing team. That is what has this company on the map and gaining ground. When a new customer signs up for a mobile service they become eligible to reduce their mobile service bill by signing up new customers themselves; there are several other companies that offer this too, but Solavei takes it to a whole other level by leaving the opportunity open to almost unlimited referral signing and income opportunities.

After the customer signs for Solavei service he or she is then eligible to recruit their first 'trio'; three new customers that will reduce the original customer's phone bill by $20/mo. as long as the three new users retain their service with the company.

The Rank Structure

Then Solavei users can advance through the ranks as their trios grow and their trios have trios. Those achievement paths are:

1. Social Partner -- When you sign your first trio you become a Solavei social partner. You'll receive a $50/monthly path payment for 4 trios and 1 trio in your personal network.

2. Social Connector - when your 8th trio is signed and you have 2 trios in your personal network. The top of being a social connector has $1000/monthly path pay for maintaining 20 total trios and 6 trios in your personal network.

3. Social Networker -- When you have topped the social connector level you'll become a social networker and gain the ability to earn $4000/monthly path pay by having 500 trios and 12 trios in your personal network.

4. Social Director -- This level offers $8000/monthly path payments at the top for maintaining 1250 trios with 20 trios in your personal network.

5. Social Executive -- You're a network marketing beast; you're earning $20,000/monthly path cash and maintaining 2000 trios with a personal network of 30 trios.

Solavei is a paradigm shift in mobile service delivery and network marketing. Their customer to customer marketing just may change the landscape of free enterprise in America. In a person to person way; this enterprising company takes business back to it's roots.

Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Electrician?

Hard Work Pays off with a Solid Career

The amount of electrician training needed and the personal commitment required to become a residential master electrician may seem daunting, but all the hard work will be well worth the rewards in the end. In many states becoming a master electrician requires:

  1. two years of academic training in an accredited facility
  2. passing a test to become an electrician apprentice
  3. working in the field as an electrician apprentice for two years prior to becoming a journeyman electrician
  4. passing the test for and working as a journeyman electrician in the field for 2 to 4 years before being able to qualify to take the master electrician's test
  5. passing their state's master electrician test for licensing

Still, for those willing to put in the effort, the journey is well worth it. Master electricians are among the highest paid electricians-second only to outside linemen that have been working for power companies for many years.

What is the Commitment?

Often people relate electrician training to the type of training needed by residential electricians. Master electricians that work in the residential arena often commit to the field with a few years of academic studies, followed by a few years in the field as an electrician apprentice, followed by 2 to 4 years and passing a state test to become an electrician journeyman, prior to being eligible to take the state test to become a master electrician. The total time involved can be 6 to 8 years and that is if the individual is able to complete the academic portion in a timely fashion and work steadily in the field.

No doubt this is the type of commitment that not all people are willing to make. Some people would rather endure a short training program and get right to work in the field. Shorter training programs are definitely available through local companies such as telephone companies and cable companies or satellite TV companies that will train a person to become a telecommunications technician. However, these individuals will never make the high salary of a master electrician. So, if salary is a person's main driving force, it is well worth the effort to go through the training to become a residential master electrician.

Are you Right for the Job?

People who enjoy working outdoors may be well suited to the job as an outside linemen working for a power company. Every electric company has their own requirements for electrician training and some of the companies also have training available to individuals who wish to become an outside lineman. The job of an outside lineman is a very high paying job. In fact, it is usually at the top of the pay scale for electricians.

Remember, however, that the job of an outside lineman is also a very dangerous job and very physically taxing. Outside lineman work with high-voltage wires and their jobs require strenuous activities such as climbing power poles. This job also requires individuals to work in all sorts of weather, in all types of conditions, at all hours of the day and night. So, prior to committing to any type of electrician training to become an outside lineman, be sure that you are truly up for the job.

Ways to Let Your Personality Shine in a Boutique Dress

When you shop for a boutique dress, you have the advantage of purchasing from a shop that specialises in a relatively small segment of the market. With that in mind, you should have a pleasant shopping experience, and find that it's easier to locate something that helps enhance your unique attitude and fashion preferences.

Try Shopping Online for Your Boutique Dress

Online boutique shops have experienced a great rise in popularity. These possibilities make it easy to find cute frocks from the comfort of your own home, without taking time to drive directly to shops themselves. One of the advantages of shopping online is that you can make purchases when it suits you, instead of being motivated by the shop's opening hours. Furthermore, when you visit an online shop and find a boutique dress that strikes your fancy, you can choose to buy it immediately, or hold off on making the purchase until you get your next paycheque or any other time that's most convenient for you.

A Boutique Dress is Not Available Elsewhere

Some shops specialise in clothing that offers something extra special for their shoppers. A boutique dress is all about using enticing details throughout the piece to bring a look that's exciting and timeless. A dress that adapts to the changing seasons is very valuable. With that in mind, some shops find beautiful vintage dresses and add welcome details such as ruching around the bust line, buckles and pleats. Often, the result is hand-tailored, too. This ensures that you'll enjoy the highest quality available, and feel confident that your boutique dress is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Since you can wear the piece through any season or event and look fabulous regardless of current trends, your purchase is an investment that pays for itself over and over again.

Benefits of Being a Frequent Customer

In an effort to build a base of loyal customers, many shops showcase their latest dress offerings in a dedicated section of their website. Others may offer an e-mail newsletter, too. This allows you to have the latest information about what's available, so that you can be among the first to explore dresses that meet your needs.

Buy a boutique dress today and embrace the nuances of your personality. Today's shops make it simple to find something that you'll love to wear every day, or for special occasions. Look radiant in a piece that's simultaneously classic and updated, and prepare to turn heads wherever you go.

Book Review: Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan

Warning! May contain spoilers!

Michael J. Sullivan creates a set of superb characters in Royce and Hadrian, a pair of thieves who get a little too greedy at times. Or at least Hadrian does, and he then drags Royce along with him. I don't think I can stop saying enough good things about the way the two main characters are constructed, how they maintain character all the way through the novel and are delightful to follow. Royce and Hadrian are surrounded by a cadre of supporting characters that by the end of this first volume have various levels of depth and are used to develop the level of political intrigue that is going on within the story's world. Some of the other characters appear cartoonish. But this is not because of poor writing. It is merely, in my opinion, because of trying to cram so much into the novel and delve into so many of the side relationships that affect what Royce and Hadrian are involved in. Perhaps in some places these departures from the story as seen from the viewpoint of the main characters could have been done without. Without these side trips I think the story would have flowed better.

While the story opens in an excellent fashion, I love the interaction between Royce and Hadrian and the hapless highwaymen they encounter, the first half of the book does slog along at times as huge boulders of back-story are dropped with a plop into the narrative. And there are points of droning dialogue recited by characters who just seemed to be waiting for an opportunity to expound upon what they know of a situation. There were points in the story where I kept thinking of Syndrome from the animated film The Incredibles who humorously quipped, "You sly dog! You got me monologuing!" because it seems so silly at times. But as the story unwinds, things get significantly better. The second half of the story is tighter and much more captivating thanks in large part to the back-story having been over and done with mostly in the first half. Back-story dropped in the second half of the book flows much smoother with the narrative. If you are struggling through the opening half I assure you it gets better towards the end of the opening act. I will not say that the story was not without points where I had to stop and forcibly make myself resuspend disbelief before continuing, but those moments are minor enough to be overlooked. They happen in every novel I have ever read.

I was however a little disappointed in the ending of the first book. The first book in the Riyria Revelations series is prime example of what is common today among epic fantasy series. It is a book that at the end of it really has no end. There is just the cliffhanger for book two to pick up from and you feel like you have fallen off a cliff between chapters. Major plot points remain unresolved. The final battle with the supposedly mighty beast is light, quick and seems to be more of an anti-climax than a true climax. It was just another point on a slow journey through the story and an invitation to buy the next book of the series. My personal preference is for a more solid resolution at the end of a book, even if it is part of a planned series. I understand however that this is the current trend of the industry.

At the half-way point of the book I was not sure if I would be interested in the continuing adventures of Royce and Hadrian. By the end of the book I was much more interested in what these two thieves would be up to in the future. But not right away. I have put book two of the Riyria Revelations on my "to read list" but have opted to take a break and read some other stories before picking it up. The first book was just too long for me to want to delve right in to another tome on the same subject and I need some time to unwind from it.

I give Theft of Swords an over all rating of three and three quarters stars out of five placing it solidly above your typical fantasy story but not quite in the level of the more elite books of the genre. It was oh so close to getting four stars at times but the issues I discussed drew it back down from that level.

Do You Believe You Are Indispensable?

Over the past 8 months, both of my parents and my father-in-law were hospitalized and have undergone surgeries; two open heart surgeries and one gall bladder removal.

The aging process is inevitable.

However, just because someone is 80 plus doesn't mean that they have accepted the slowing down part of aging. Whether you are in your 30's, 40's, 50's or beyond... our minds and wills can be so strong that we don't acknowledge or accept that our bodies may not be the same as they used to be.

During the early part of my mother's recovery period from her aortic valve replacement, she struggled with her lack of energy and overall malaise. She was impatient to be back to where she once was. We can all relate to this as we are most appreciative of our health when it's absent. Fortunately for her, and for many of us, the absence of health is temporary.

We believe that invincibility is solely reserved for teens and young adults. However, people of all ages exhibit the belief that they are invincible in one way or another. Just think about the matriarchal martyr in your family and how she believes nobody can survive without her.

In the workplace this belief shows up as a sense of indispensability. You know you are in this mindset when you think your company, department, team or boss just couldn't operate without you; or let alone survive if you were to be "downsized" out of your position regardless of your 10, 20 or even 30 years of personal contributions.

And yet it happens. Frequently.

And companies, departments, teams and bosses manage to go on with the work.

Without you.

My dad gave me great advice early in my career, which I wish I had understood earlier. He said "Remember that you are never indispensable; there is always someone able and willing to take on the job after you."

The way I see it is our jobs are like our health. Too often we only appreciate them or pay attention to them once they are gone. Our bodies are like skills; we need to keep them fit and up for the challenge by never forgetting that we are neither invincible nor indispensable.

Due to my work as a coach during an economically challenging time, I know one too many people dealing with the aftermath of being downsized. The emotional turmoil and anger that accompanies this experience can be a lot like the slow and arduous recovery of a physical ailment.

What's the antidote?

Time. And a mind shift.

The biggest mind shift that we all need to make, whether gainfully employed or not, is that we can never just rest on our accomplishments of the past. Today, we are in a knowledge economy where ideas and thought leadership is the currency of value. As employees we are required to behave in an entrepreneurial fashion, keeping pace with the newest and best of ideas and thinking. We must continue to strive to add value and to learn new skills each and every day. We must recognize and leverage our unique strengths and leverage them.

Neglecting to exercise and stretch your skills is like neglecting your body. Years of abuse or neglect have its repercussions.

In truth, we can't control what happens to us, but we can certainly create an environment that optimizes our ability to learn and grow without a sense of entitlement, invincibility or indispensability.