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Same Sex Marriages Legal in England and Wales

The government has announced that same sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales from March 29, 2014 which is earlier than expected. While certain rather backward members of the establishment and society will undoubtedly be indignant, the move is right and just and will bring a welcome boost to the wedding industry.

gay_marriage_nyc

The Bridal Industry

I have worked in the bridal industry for over 8 years and have seen steady decline in the health of my business as the numbers of weddings decline gradually year on year. Add to this the impact of the recession on people’s pockets and the increasing tendency to purchase only when a bargain is on the table and many bridal shops have been suffering. The new law now brings the prospect of more weddings and so all businesses in the industry could stand to gain considerably from the move if a significant number of couples decide to take the plunge.

Equality

Business aside, the most important considerations are fairness and equality. I totally respect the rights of anyone whose religion or moral beliefs prevent them from favouring same sex marriages but it is not acceptable for those beliefs to bar others from making the commitment to marriage if that is what they want to do. The law should ensure that the same rights and privileges are available to all and those who do not approve can decide to have nothing to do with the events if they feel strongly about the issue.

Arrogance

Why anyone could be so concerned about the relationships of others I can’t imagine. It is the diversity of humankind which makes life interesting and frankly tolerable at times and I have never understood why anybody would seek to perpetuate prejudice. It is a position of extreme arrogance to propose that your way or the way you are is the right one and that anybody else is inferior or morally reprehensible because they are different. What kind of world would it be if we were all the same and wanted the same things? There would be some very long queues for one thing and we would all die of boredom from lack or variety and anything to talk about.

Mandela

This week saw the passing of Nelson Mandela who did so much to strengthen the fight against racism. Whilst his memorial service was packed full of people celebrating his achievements there are many more people around who have singularly failed to learn a single thing from his life and teachings. One wonders how many generations must pass before the human race is prepared to fully accept its own diversity and offer equal rights to all.

One Small Step

The new marriage laws are at least one step towards a better world and I wish I could live long enough to see the day when people look back and marvel at how stupid the world was with regard to sexuality. I know that I won’t live that long but at least we are making progress and I am sure this is turn of events that will bring nothing but good to our nation. Couples will have the opportunity to demonstrate their love and commitment, bridal shops, venues, entertainers and party shops will see an upturn in business and the publicity surrounding the new marriages should do something to relax outmoded attitudes. I can’t wait for March!

 

Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.

 

How To Make Your Own Water Purifier

Clean drinking water is essential to life and should you find yourself in a situation where there is no clean drinking water available then you will have to purify the water yourself. Here is how you can build your own water purifier.

You will want to start out with 2 large plastic containers. One will be used for unfiltered water and the other for filtered water. 5 gallon should be a big enough size for your buckets and make sure you keep the lids. You will also need a food-grade spigot, a pair of water filtration elements and an electric drill with 1/2’” and 3/4” drill bits.

 water

Step 1

First two 1/2” holes should be drilled at the bottom of whichever bucket will be the upper bucket. Also, drill two more holes in to the lid of the bottom bucket making sure that they align with the holes previously drilled. Keep in mind that this is a gravity filter, which means gravity will pull the water downward and that’s why it’s very important that your holes line up. Otherwise your water will not be properly filtered.

Drill

Step 2

Next you will want to drill a hole 3/4″ in size for the spigot into the bottom of the second bucket. Once the spigot is installed, make sure that it is properly sealed so that you keep water in and debris out.

Step 3

Now it is time for the water filter elements. You can buy these at almost any outdoors or camping store or online.

You will want to install these elements into the upper bucket. The hole that was previously drilled into the bottom of the upper bucket will secure the nozzle of the water filter. Make sure both of your filters are protruding from the bottom and secured.

Step 4

You are now ready to stack your buckets. If you measured and drilled correctly then your filter elements that are protruding from the bottom should fit into the lid of the bottom bucket.

Step 5

Now that your purifier is assembled you are ready to start filtering your water. Since your filtration elements are new it will probably take a long time for the water to make its way through. If you want to increase the rate of how fast the water is coming out, then you can simply add more water. Since it is a gravity filter it uses weight as its momentum.

water filter

Step 6

It’s important to regularly clean your new water filtration system. As time goes on, the more you filter water the more debris will pile up on your filter and it will begin to start slowing the filtration process down. All you need to do to clean your filter is to simply remove it and rinse it off. Remove any debris by hand that won’t come off with water pressure. Use this time to also clean and rinse out the buckets. It’s also always a good idea to keep extra filtration elements on hand as a backup just in case your filters become compromised.

All it takes is 6 easy steps and a few relatively cheap materials to ensure clean and safe drinking water. A worthy investment by any standards.

 

By Henry H. Hernandez

Henry Hernandez is an army veteran who enjoys farming on his ranch in Texas. After the military Henry became a water sanitation engineer and retired earlier this year. He has been living a self-sufficient lifestyle on his ranch and has actually made his home out of an underground bunker that he personally designed from risingsbunkers.com. Henry can be found on Google+.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Creativity

Creativity plays an important role in both our personal lives and our careers. It can provide a valuable release to those who take up writing or art as a hobby, enhance your social life by providing you with the ability to interact well with other people and it can make you indispensable within a company that is always looking to produce new and innovative products for the public and market them in the best way possible.

The brain has often been the subject of complex experiments and scientific study as we desperately try to understand more about it. And whilst we may not know as much as we would like about this intricate organ, he are a few things we do know about creativity.

1. Creativity is directly affected by others carrying out the same task. This is often referred to as social facilitation and describes the extraordinary observation that people located near each other who are partaking in a similar task tend to influence each others ability.

This was discovered in a 1920 psychology experiment in which a number of people were placed around a table and, even though they were not working together or even competing against each other, performed better than usual on a range of different tasks. This goes some way to explaining why writers like to congregate in coffee shops and other communal areas.

2. The color blue has proven to be a creative facilitator. Many colors have been tested to see what kind of effect they have on people’s creativity and blue seems to stimulate the process the most.

3. Slowing down helps you to think more creatively. Studies have shown that slowing down, reducing stress and stepping away from a particular activity can actually cause us to be more creative towards it. We can take this further by saying that boring and passive activities encourage us to be more creative; that’s why the best ideas usually hit you in the shower. People that are more creative also tend to have more relaxed personas because the nerve systems in their brain are slower.

4. Contrary to popular belief, the Eureka moment, in which we suddenly have a great idea which has seemingly come out of nowhere, doesn’t exist. This creative spark is much more likely to have developed in our subconscious and is the result of much contemplation on a certain topic.

5. Research has shown that creativity can have the power to slow down the aging process. Elderly people who engage their brains in tasks such as puzzles, crosswords and general writing activities seem to age slower than those who don’t.

6. Incentives may cause creativity to eventually run dry. Whilst we may be spurred on by them in the beginning, once creativity becomes a means to an end we begin to lose that illusive spark.

7. Creative thinking is not necessarily gifted to us from birth. Whilst there have been a few people in history that were seemingly born with creativity coursing through their veins, nurture looks to be the key. Therefore, it is true that just because you don’t consider yourself to be an innovative person you can still learn to improve your inventive thinking. Creativity training courses aim to teach people how to access their inner creative genius.

 

By Chris Mayhew

Chris Mayhew studied creative writing at university and loves finding new ways to increase his creative thinking capacity. He would recommend creativity training courses from Now Go Create to anyone wanting to explore the power of their brain.

Same Sex Marriages Ending In Divorce

Allowing same sex marriages is still a topic for debate in many states. There are a total of thirty-seven states in the US that still don’t accept same sex unions. Getting married to the person you love if you are the same sex therefore is a challenge if you don’t live in a state that allows for this union. Many couples opt to travel to states that do allow for same-sex marriage to be unified. If getting married is difficult for same-sex couples, getting divorced has been made nearly impossible for these couples. There are a lot of hurdles that same-sex married couples have to jump in order to get a separation.

Take for example a same sex couple (let’s name them Steve and Kevin) live in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex unions such as Virginia. In order to legalize their union, Steve and Kevin are likely to opt to travel to a state that recognizes same sex unions such as Massachusetts. They may choose to return to Virginia to continue with their lives. However, if they decide to get a divorce later, they wouldn’t be able to do so in their home state because their union was not recognized by the state in the first place.

Steve and Kevin therefore find that they would have to return to Massachusetts to get a divorce. However, they would not be able to get a divorce in the state if they have not established a legal residency in the state. Steve and Kevin would therefore find themselves in a dilemma as this would mean picking up their lives and moving to a new state to start over in order to get a divorce.

There are some states that require even much more than the establishment of a legitimate home within the state to grant same-sex couples a divorce. Some states may require a lot more paper work and other requirements to be fulfilled before they can grant the couple a divorce. This often results in the couple spending a large sum of money and investing a lot of time in getting a divorce.

Many same sex couples that would like to get a divorce are therefore opting to remain married but live separate lives than to invest heavily in seeking a divorce. However, difficulty arises when they end up in relationships with other people that they would like to marry but can’t because they are still in a legal union with someone else.

If you thought that getting a contested divorce is hard for regular couples, then it is a nightmare for same-sex couples. Courts tend to view contested divorces for same-sex marriages differently. The case will more than likely be treated differently from any other divorce proceeding.

Studies show that the divorce rate amongst same-sex couples is half of that of mixed-gender marriages. However, this rate is expected to grow with an increase in the number of same-sex marriages. It is therefore expected that the law is likely to catch up and accommodate the needs of these same-sex marriages.

Michelle Mitchell is a couples counselor in Massachusettes, working primarily with same sex couples seeking divorce.

 

Christmas Cards Can Be Charitable

Christmas is renowned for being a time for giving, where families and friends meet up to exchange thoughtful presents as a token of their appreciation. However, Christmas is also renowned for being one of the busiest times of the year for charities – as people are finalizing their shopping lists, preparing to make travel arrangements as well as businesses shutting up shop over the festive period; resulting in less trade. However, you can make a difference – simply by making a donation to your chosen charity when sending out your Christmas cards.

All for a good cause

Whilst many may have every intention to make a charitable donation at Christmas, by the time factors such as buying presents/attending Christmas parties/spending time with the family have been accounted for, making a contribution to a good cause often ends up being less of a priority. A survey conducted in 2011 found that 1 in 5 people claim to donate more to charities during Christmas; yet a similar statistic admitted that they found it more difficult to give. When it came to recognizing what Christmas means most to the respondents, 6 per cent stated ‘purchasing something from a charity’, 3 per cent ‘giving money to charity’ while 1 per cent said ‘volunteering for a charity’.

Driver of Ideas for nfpSynergy, Joe Saxton, says: “Charities cannot take Christmas for granted. Almost as many people say they find it harder to give as say they are more likely to give to charity at Christmas. As Sir Cliff will have us all know, charities at Christmas time must compete with mistletoe and wine, children singing and logs on the fire – not to mention much-loved  in-laws, ruthless bargain hunting and soapy cliffhangers!

“That all said, ‘bar humbug’, one must surely concede that the ‘Season of Goodwill’ still affords opportunities of Dickensian proportions for those charities that work hard to cut through all the sherry and tinsel, to hug at merry hearts.”

Sending your season’s greetings

However, according to the article (as reported by nfpSynergy), 49 per cent of those surveyed said they “usually buy charity Christmas cards” while 31 per cent said they were “more likely to buy a product that makes a donation to charity at Christmas”. With these insights in mind, why not combine the two – and send a Christmas card whilst at the same time, make a donation to your favorite charity? Not only will you be sending loved ones holiday cheer, you can also help make a significant difference to a worthwhile cause – which for many charities, serves as the perfect Christmas gift.

Charity begins at home

With many sites offering this service, getting started couldn’t be simpler. Simply pick a design, personalize your message, then select the charity you want to donate to. Once that’s done, the card will then display your charity’s logo so your recipient knows you’ve made your donation – which in turn will hopefully raise awareness and get them donating too! So go on, spread the message this Christmas – literally – by sending a card and donating to a charity today.

 

Article submitted by freelance blogger Rachael Blakewood on behalf of Christmas card specialists, Christmas Connections.

10 Weird And Wonderful Facts You Never Knew About Alcohol

We have used alcohol for a variety of reasons over the years, most commonly as a beverage and an aide to surgery. However, most people aren’t even aware that the first recipe for beer was the first ever recipe produced (for anything) in the world. There are various amazing, funny and fantastic facts about alcohol and this post will introduce you to a number of these.

Alcohol Facts

1.   If we go back in history and specifically look at the production of alcohol some of the first beverages produced are well over 12,000 years old.

2.   The Manhattan cocktail, made from whiskey and sweet vermouth is a favorite at many parties, bars and clubs. Well it just so happens that the creator of this fabulous drink is none other than Winston Churchill’s mother.

3.   We are used to seeing bottles of wine enclosed with corks, but this practice has only been around for just over 400 years. Prior to this the vast majority of French winemakers would use rags soaked in oil.

4.   Vikings were not only great warriors, but they certainly enjoyed a tipple. However, the way in which they consumed alcohol was very different to others. They didn’t settle for a glass, mug, bottle, or any other traditional method for consuming alcohol – instead they simply drank from the decapitated skulls of their victims.

5.   There’s nothing that most of us dread more than a hangover and we are always looking for the perfect cure. Well it seems that hangover cures date back hundreds of centuries as well, and some of the “cures” can’t actually get any weirder. The Romans settled for fried canaries, the Greeks used cabbage. The French made a strong cup of coffee and added salt, whereas for those in Puerto Rico, it was believed the perfect cure was to rub half a lemon under your drinking arm. Just in case you’re wondering, none of these methods actually work as a hangover cure… so keep searching!

6.   Did you know that there are 13 minerals which are considered essential for us human beings? And every single one of these minerals can be found in alcohol.

7.   It is estimated that a bottle of Champagne contains somewhere close to 50 million bubbles.

8.   Europe is one of the easiest places to start drinking alcohol from a young age. In fact, many high school cafeterias supply alcoholic beverages, and there is even alcohol available on the menu at McDonald’s in some countries. In fact, the strictest country in the western world in terms of alcohol consumption amongst the young is the United States.

9.  The worm that is typically found in tequila is believed to have been around for centuries, but nothing could be further from the truth. The tradition was actually started in the alcoholic beverage, Mezcal, and instead of a worm, the bottle was laced with a Gusano butterfly caterpillar.

10.  Some of the most famous travelers in the world enjoyed a drink of Sherry, including Columbus and Magellan. In fact, Magellan was such as fan of sherry that it is said that he spent more money on the beverage than weapons.

 

The author of this post is Jack Nichols, an employee at Somers Elite Training, specialists in RSG refresher courses. Jack loves sketching and reading crime novels.

Autumn: It’s The Perfect Time To Network

Who doesn’t love the Fall? It is the perfect time for BBQs, picnics and seeing the leaves change in the mountains. But did you also know that it is the ideal time for networking? Don’t think the only thing you can do during the Fall is rake leaves – there’s actually a lot you can do for your small business. Try some of our helpful tips, and soon you’ll be networking all summer long.

Be prepared to network. Its easier to be prepared to network than you might think it is. You’ll need three things:

One thing you’ll need is an “elevator speech” that describes what your company does and what you do. An elevator speech is both short and sweet, aim for a few sentences long and something that is a bit catchy and memorable. Yes, you’ll want to practice this and even try to write a few drafts of it to actually get it exactly the way you want it.

Elevator Speech

You’ll also need to carry a few business cards and/or your cellphone where you go while you are having Autumn fun. Don’t neglect the importance of being able to hand someone a business card, even though lots of folks do like to exchange info electronically. They may not have their cell  handy, and you might want to jot something down on your business card for them.

Have the attitude that you are open to network – wherever you go. Now this doesn’t mean you are thinking about business 24/7 while you enjoy your kid’s football game. But if you wind up chatting with one of the parents and it turns out they need a product or service you offer, the opportunity is there for you – and you don’t let it pass you by. Just be open to the possibility.

Networking

Now that you know what you’ll need to be prepared to network, let’s talk about some of the opportunities that may come your way. Autumn is one of the most social seasons we have during the year. Few can resist the call of the more mild weather months. Lots of us spend time outside enjoying enjoying cooler weather. Even those who log long hours in the office, are trying to get out early on Fridays to enjoy the weather before winter comes again.

Here are a few places you may connect with people to network:

  • On vacation. I was once quite surprised while taking a vacation about a thousand miles away, to be seated across from someone who lived only a few towns away from me! Don’t laugh, because this sort of thing can happen. But even if geography doesn’t smile on you while you are on vacation, more and more businesses are doing business nationally and even internationally. That great couple you meet on a cruise could lead to a business connection. Or the family you get to know at the next campsite could turn out to be a business you wind up partnering with for a project.
  • Athletic events. Fall is one of the busiest times, when charity walks, community athletic events and kids’ sports plan events. This could be the ideal way you connect with someone who turns out to be a helpful business connection. Whether they are someone who is interested in your products and services or they are someone who can be a good resource for you, these events are often filled with people connected to your local community.
  • Kids’ camps. Whether your child goes to sleep away camp or day camp, chances are you will get to know the other families with kids at this camp. Many who send their kid to camp send them to the same camp year after year. So probably you will see them each and every year, it is a great way to get to know people. This could lead to successful business connections for you.

Enjoy the Autumn weather – and be open to the business connections that come your way!

 

Lawrence Reaves spends finds great joy in networking.  He is always looking for new ways to connect with people.  You can follow him on Google+

Attention Technology Whores & Poor People: 10 Ways To Afford An iPhone

The iPhone is one of the most controversial gadgets of all time. With everything from its luxury price tag to it’s operating system constantly up for debate among mobile lovers. Whether or not you’re into arguing the pros and cons of the iPhone, there is no denying that people want it. A Lot!

While there is no telling if Apple’s gadgets really are worth their price tag until you actually use one, getting one isn’t an easy challenge. If your average pay cheque doesn’t stretch quite far enough to cover the cost of an iPhone upfront, consider these 10 other ways to afford an iPhone – no matter what your budget.

iphone-5s-black

1. Buy Second Hand 

This is obvious, right? If you want to save money on an iPhone then you should strongly consider buying a second-hand one. A second-hand iPhone with a few scratches will probably sell for about half of what the new model sells for, and the model before that is more likely to go for about 1/4 or less of the original retail value. If you’re afraid of buying second-hand, consider looking into Apple’s refurbished section to see if you can spot any deals on iPhones. Just keep in mind that you will have to get a contract for a used phone and, unless it’s unlocked, you’ll have to use the original SIM provider.

2. Get An Older Model 

If you go to a telecoms provider then you’re likely to see a number of different contracts. If you decide to go with an older model of iPhone, you can likely get it for free with a two-year contract. While the contract won’t be cheap, it does give you the ability to get an iPhone for nothing more than the cost of using it. Make sure you research providers carefully to find the one that offers the best advantages for your specific area.

3. Consider an iPhone 5c 

The iPhone 5c is a budget iPhone and it comes in a couple of fun colors. While anyone who sees it will know that it is the ‘lower priced’ model, you get all the benefits of an iPhone without having to pay full price. If you get a contract, the phone is even cheaper. While the 5c is not by any means a budget phone, it is considerably more affordable than the iPhone 5s.

4. Get the 2 Year Contract 

If you’re considering getting a higher priced contract with your iPhone anyway then you should definitely go for the 2-year contract. Purchasing your iPhone with a long contract typically takes off as much as 80 per cent of the original purchase cost, which saves you a lot of money. However, you should calculate how much you’ll have to pay on the contract each month to ensure that you can afford that as well.

5. Get a Pre-Paid Plan 

Did you know that you can actually save money over time by going with prepaid? There are many plans that offer flat rate prices for unlimited data so you can talk or surf the web as much as you want. However, you will have to pay full price for your iPhone, which can be expensive without a plan. If you want to compare the costs long term, check out the price of a traditional plan and consider how much that would cost over the course of a year, and then check out the best prepaid plan that offers local coverage and see which is more affordable. You might be surprised at the difference.

6. Sell Another Gadget  

An iPhone allows you to surf the web, text, respond to emails, use Facebook and even watch videos. With that in mind, you might not even need a laptop or computer. If you only use your computer for casually surfing the web then it may be time to say ‘goodbye PC, hello iPhone’.

7. Trade In Your Old Phone 

If you already have an old phone then consider up-cycling it to someone else and putting the funds towards your new iPhone.  Consider asking your friends first and then look at online sales sites like eBay or Amazon, as they will offer better prices than pawning or taking your phone to a reseller. Remember to research how much your phone is actually worth and then set a reasonable price based on that value. Also bear in mind that any damage drastically lowers the value of your old phone.

8. Save Up 

If you want to play it safe then why not save up for your iPhone. If you figure out how much you can afford to contribute to your iPhone plan each week and then contribute to it regularly you will have the money in no time. Even if you only contribute a small amount, it will add up, and you may even be able to afford a new iPhone when the next model comes out. The only downside to this plan is that it takes both time and patience.

9. Cut Back 

Do you go out? Drink soda? Go to the pub for a pint after work? Examine your life to see where you spend unnecessarily and try to cut back. It may be difficult at first but keep in mind that you can save a lot of money by drinking at home, cooking your meals at home, or in the case of the ladies, not buying that one pair of fabulous shoes. Just think of your shiny new iPhone and it will be worth it.

10. Consider a Loan 

If you want an iPhone and don’t want to penny pinch, give up your old gadgets or get an old version, then you may want to take out a loan. A payday loans provider can offer you the cash you need to buy an iPhone right away as an advance on your paycheck. Because you then have more time to pay it off, you can scrimp and save while enjoying your iPhone instead of while waiting for it.

There are plenty of ways that you can get an iPhone, no matter what your budget is. All you have to do is consider how much you can afford to pay or save per month and then go for the model you want.

 

James isn’t rich but still finds ways to afford the things he wants using tips like these. He’s a freelance writer from the UK and you can connect with him on either Twitter or G+

Bariatric Surgery Could Improve Sex Drive

wired-for-lust

Many people undergo bariatric surgery because they want to improve their appearance and health. A new study has shown that there is another major benefit that can be reaped from undergoing bariatric surgery. People who undergo bariatric surgery may be able to improve their sex drive. The study was performed by a team of researchers at Perelman School of Medicine. There were 106 women involved in the study, and they had a mean body mass index of 44.5. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. People who have a BMI of 40 or greater are classified as being severely obese.

The Study
All of the women underwent bariatric surgery. Eight-five women had gastric bypass surgery and 21 had the gastric banding procedure. The first year after surgery, the women had lost an average of 32.7 percent of their body weight. They lost an average of 33.5 percent during the second year after bariatric surgery. The women also noticed an improvement in sexual arousal, function, desire and lubrication.

The Results
Interestingly, the women had the poorest sexual function before surgery noticed the most improvement in sexual function. It is estimated that half of the people who have bariatric surgery had sexual dysfunction. This can lead to stress. Additionally, there is a strong correlation between obesity and depression. Thirty-seven percent of people who are obese are also depressed.

David Sarwer was the lead author in the study. He stated that since sex is such a big part of people’s life, a person’s overall quality of life is likely to diminish if he or she is not satisfied with his or her sex life. That is one of the reasons people’s quality of life often improves after they get bariatric surgery.

Hormonal Improvements
The researchers also noted that the women had improvement in all of the hormones that are related to sex. These hormones not only affect sexual behavior, but it can also affect fertility. Even though the study did not directly examine the effects of weight loss surgery and fertility, the results of the study did imply that getting weight loss surgery could potentially help a woman improve her fertility. Furthermore, the women in the study reported improvements in their relationship satisfaction and depressive symptoms.

The results of the study are promising, but the researchers noted that it has its limitations. The study only followed the women for two years, so the long-term effects of weight loss surgery on sex drive are not known. There were also not any males included in the study. Researchers are hoping that in the future they will be able to do a study that examines the effects that weight loss surgery has on a man’s sex drive as well as the long-term effects of surgery.

Obesity is a major health problem. It is estimated that 33 percent of American adults are obese. Obesity not only affects adults, but it also affects children and teens. It is estimated that 17 percent of young people who are under the age of 18 are obese.

Robert Joginas works at Bariatrx for the past 3 years now. He enjoys blogging about dieting, exercise advice and bariatric surgery information.

How To Make Losing Weight Fun

With the holidays here, many people are beginning to get paranoid about their weight. People in Western climes are also bundling up for the winter and eating more hearty foods intended to warm them to the cockles of their hearts. Unfortunately, the weight gain that comes with hibernating instincts is hard to battle, especially when we are celebrating the holidays and want to have fun. Here are some ideas for how to have fun losing weight.

The “Die” in “Diet”

It’s an old joke – the first syllable in the word diet is “die”. That grim outlook usually makes people dread starting a diet or weight loss program. You may have all of the will power in the world, but there is always a plateau that halts your progress and assaults your resolve.

How would you like to lose weight by eating? You don’t have to “die” to keep losing weight, and how much fun would it be to lose weight by eating? You actually can do this. Researchers have found that when your body shuts down and stops losing weight, you need to fake it out by eating. So, yes, go ahead and enjoy that nice dinner. It can actually jump start your weight loss and get you off of the plateau. And, besides, you can enjoy your evening out with your friends even more!

Read More

Ok, we’ve all tried the balancing act of propping your book on the treadmill while you get in your 5 miles. The first page turn, however, usually puts a stop to that when you go flying off the back of the treadmill! So, if you are a reader, get audio books! It’s one of the best ways to enjoy your favorite authors, and you will get so absorbed in the story that you forget you’re working out. Some people even find themselves looking forward to workout times, because they get to “read” for a while. It’s a lot more fun than wondering when the cool-down song is going to come up in your play list.

Hash Runs

 

 

Have you ever heard of “hash runs”? They’re sort of like a fox hunt, except with people. You don’t even have to run. The way it works is that one member marks out a trail. This can be done with flour or chalk. Some people use streamers to mark the trail. Then, the “rabbit” starts down the trail, leaving roundabouts and other tricks behind to throw the “hounds” off. The challenge is for the “rabbit” to get to the end of the course before the “hounds” do. Whether you run or not, it gets you out, and you meet people. Some groups play drinking games afterward, but it’s not a requirement.

Weight Loss Field Trips

Some people like to get with a few other people and plan field trips. Swimming at the local pool, volleyball at the park, bicycle riding through a pretty neighborhood, and hiking through a local game reserve all get you out of the house, and provide camaraderie and exercise.

Laura Green has experimented with hundreds of different diets, some brought success and some brought failure. She is currently working at Yeotown in Devon, where she helps others to lose weight through Yoga and Detox.

How To Successfully Create A Brand

brand

Brand is a buzzword that constantly resides at the tip of marketers and business’s tongues, and has quickly become an essential for any company wishing to achieve continued success. With the definition of branding varying from company to company, businesses looking to develop their brand should be aware that it is largely a personal concept that is likely to change as the company grows.

Mature companies that have existed for decades have continually worked at building their brand so that it looks like a subtle evolution of products and services rather than a sudden change, which has meant that branding has evolved to become a driving force behind many aspects of, and changes within, a business.

Even the smallest of businesses should transform their products, company, and services by creating a complete brand that is attractive to potential and existing customers. When focusing on brand creation, businesses should be aware of the following to ensure that a long lasting, successful brand is created.

Branding Takes Time

Don’t expect your brand to develop and complete overnight. In fact, businesses should expect it to take years to perfect the branding formula that suits your business and attracts the correct customers. The larger multi-national companies that have apparently flawless brands have spent years developing and changing and many do still continue to find faults.

It Will Constantly Grow   

You shouldn’t expect for your branding to be instant or to ever really be complete. A brand should constantly be growing and developing as you introduce changes to the way your business runs and the products you provide. Although your brand is constantly growing, you shouldn’t be making huge overhauls on a weekly or monthly basis. Instead, you should be making minor tweaks in appropriate areas to ensure that your branding appears faultless and professional.

Always Do Market Research

From the development of other areas in your business, you will already be aware of the benefits of conducting market and industry research, and this is still an important step when focusing on brand creation. By looking at how other competitive businesses brand themselves, and how customers and target audiences react to brands, you can develop a personalised branding that is exclusive to your company and received well by individuals.

Be Creative

The point of completing marketing and industry research is to discover what works and what people like, not to find successful brands and copy them. Although it can be incredibly useful for a small or young companies to model themselves on larger businesses and brands, eventually the brand created should be able to stand alone and become an ‘original’ branding idea.

Creativity is an essential for companies wanting to create a brand that withstands time and helps them stand out from their competitor and progress toward being industry leaders. An original idea or concept can help boost your business from offering standard supplies to becoming well sought-after.

It’s Worth the Money

There should be no doubt that brand development is worth the money, as successful creation of a brand will mean that your business sees a significant increase in profit and if done properly, revenue should continue to rise as the brand evolve.

Treat it Like its Forever…

…despite the fact that it’s probably not. You should approach your brand conception like you will never change it. This is purely so that your company creates the best brand possible; rather that skipping important parts with the excuse that it’s likely to change, and therefore delivering an incomplete profile for the company.

 

Beth Stubbings is aware of the importance of a strong brand for a business. She would recommend New Business to small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking for more help and advice on brand creation and other areas of business management.

3 Reasons Meetings Are A Waste Of Time

boring-meeting-2

Almost everyone who has attended meetings has complained about their time being wasted. Managers are trained in the “secret tips” of leading successful meetings, yet meetings are still frequently ineffective and poorly managed.

It’s difficult to have effective meeting patterns simply because meetings are not just a part of business processes; there is an inherently social aspect to them, which is embedded in the culture of the company. Whoever is running the meeting has to take into consideration many non-rational factors that aren’t covered in the “secret tips” meeting management training.  There are three issues that may have not been considered before:

1. The Perspective Problem

When people attend meetings, they all have a different perception about that meeting. It doesn’t matter how clear the meeting’s purpose was made. There are people who will only show up because they have to, and others will think it’s incredibly important.

There are the people who will have prepared in advance, bringing a notepad full of ideas to contribute and others will just show up barely on time. And then there are those people who will have strong opinions and those who will do whatever everyone else decides to do.

A successful meeting’s leader will understand where all participants are coming from. If it’s not possible to only invite people who want to attend and have ideas to contribute, it is a good idea to at least not waste time trying to get everyone to speak up or share, when there are only a handful of people who are invested enough to have an opinion.

2. The Personal Agenda

Most people have an often unconscious personal agenda that can influence the nature of the meeting. Being part of a meeting might be a status symbol of importance, so some people might just keep showing up and participating in meetings on projects they actually have very little to contribute to.

Meetings may also serve as social gatherings, which is not constructive to the meeting’s initial purpose. This is particularly a problem in companies where people are widely distributes, or are frequently on the road.

Although it’s good that coworkers get along well enough to want to socialize, it can impede the progress of a meeting. For this type of problem, it might be a good idea to schedule a long lunch meeting, which allows for a greater amount of time without cutting in to so much of the work day.

3. The Leadership Problem

Different people react differently to being led in a meeting. Many participants might be comfortable with someone else taking charge of the meeting, while others may actively sabotage the meeting leader or become passive-aggressive.

In a similar way, many people are not good meeting leaders. Some will take control of the situation, while other will be hesitant to show any exertion of power or take control of the meeting back from the participants trying to take over. While leading a meeting, people need to be aware of their leadership skills and confidence level. It’s particularly difficult for many people to lead meetings when they don’t normally hold very powerful positions.

If possible, it may be a good idea to limit the attendees for the first few meetings lead by a more timid individual. He may have greater success holding his ground and keeping the meeting on track with fewer personalities in the room. He might even want to pay attention to how other coworkers run their meetings, also noting who has a lot to say, but little to contribute, since those are the people he may have to watch out for during his meetings.

Donna Lee is running her business DearJane with high degree of success. She has found meetings are a necessary evil that is often required and yet found them to be always of very low relative value.

How To Explore The World Cheaply

We live on such an incredible planet that it makes me sad to think so many people out there have no desire to explore it. If I had my time again I would spend every extra penny I have traveling and seeing those places of the world our parents could only have dreamed about.Explore the world

Things are so accessible nowadays and there are many interesting and innovative ways that you can travel without spending much money at all.

We live in such an advanced world that it has led to a rise in new and exciting initiatives that offer people the chance to explore.

This article will highlight interesting ways to explore the world without much cost to you personally. I believe travel is one of the best forms of true enlightenment and can provide the brain with stimulation never experienced before.

So many people get stuck in their local areas with no desire to move and explore, my advice is don’t let that happen to you, get out and experience life.

 Settlement Quote

This is a brilliant way to get the best deal possible from your claim. Many people who claim receive their money incrementally each month and this can often prove to be extremely restrictive and frustrating. Most people think to themselves “I wish I had all of the cash” well this can happen with Structured Settlement-Quote.

How this works is simple, this or any company takes over your incremental payment plan and gives you a lump sum instead and they take payment in kind by giving you a reduce amount of money compared to what you would normally receive if you completed the plan.

It just comes down to personal preference, if you feel that taking a loss on the overall sum won’t be a major problem then by all means you should go for it but if the loss will be too much to bare then give it a miss. My argument is that having access to a lump sum of money that you wouldn’t normally have access to it is better than receiving monthly.

I appreciate the monthly payments are probably safer and advisable but why not take a risk now and then.

Frugal

You don’t have to splash out that much money when you are travelling. There are some really nice hostels nowadays that cost much less than hotels and in addition to this there are many different companies that offer student rates and large party discounts. Just do your research and find out what offers are available for you.

The Internet

We live in the internet age and it is a brilliant way to find out what is available, there are so many beautiful places to visit and if this is what you want to do with your time and money ensure you consult the internet before booking.

If you are hoping to tour the world on a budget you just have to sacrifice the creature comforts, tents are an option and hostels are certainly top of the list.

 

Andrew is an author with over 10 years industry experience. He feels a combination of technology and natural energy can help prevent further damage to the environment

 

Top Story: The Most Badass Hobbies In The World

We start hobbies for many reasons. Sometimes it’s so that we can develop ourselves and learn a new useful skill. Sometimes it’s as a form of ‘meditation’ almost so that we can relax and calm down after a busy day at work. Other times it’s just because we find that hobby fascinating and find ourselves drawn in almost against our will.

But sometimes we will start a hobby simply because it’s badass. In some cases we start hobbies not because we have any need for some new distraction, but just because they’re somehow cool to us. These hobbies are action packed and awesome and by taking part we become more awesome ourselves. Here are a few of the most badass hobbies that you could consider starting that will make your life that much more exciting, dangerous and sexy.

Motorcycling

Having a motorcycle is something of a requirement for every single anti-hero in movies. Whether we’re talking Wolverine from the X-Men or Ghost Rider, the minute you put on leathers and a visor and sit on top of something awesomely powerful you will feel liberated, unstoppable and just downright cool. And there are few feelings that will give you more of a kick than weaving around a whole line of traffic and then bursting off into the sunset. Plus, everyone looks good in leathers and those helmets are just really mysterious. You look like you’re a robot or someone out of Tron and that’s something that can’t be said for say… knitting.

Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is a hobby that makes you instantly hardcore. The whole point of weightlifting is to put yourself through immense discomfort and to growl your way through it, and as a result of this process you will become basically as hard as nails. Your muscles will grow and you’ll look like you could bend an iron bar – in fact there’s a chance you probably can. And when you heave a huge amount of weight above your chest you will find it not only feels like a primal and cathartic display of power, but that it’s also more action packed and exciting than anything you’ll tend to do in your day-to-day life. Plus when you weight lift you become a member of the ‘brotherhood of iron’. If that doesn’t sound cool then nothing does.

Base Jumping

While this doesn’t have quite the ‘hard man’ appeal of motorcycling or weightlifting, it certainly has the excitement factor in spades. Base jumping is illegal in some areas so make sure that you aren’t breaking the law before you start – but then again that just goes to show how awesomely dangerous this ‘hobby’ is. Not only will you get to travel at incredible speeds and see the ground plummet towards you, but you will literally be flirting with death. When asked in a bar what you do in your spare time, answer that you like to ‘flirt with death’ and then walk away mysteriously. Golf just isn’t in the same league.

Free Climbing

Base jumping involves leaping off of things with very little stopping you from going splat. Free climbing on the other hand involves hanging off of things with absolutely nothing stopping you from falling. This is essentially rock climbing but without all those cumbersome ropes and harnesses. It’s also what Tom Cruise does at the start of Mission Impossible II in one of the best opening scenes from an action movie ever. To make things a little safer you can always climb over a body of water to break your fall, but it’s still insanely dangerous which is why I’d recommend most people.

Archery

Anything that involves firing some kind of weapon is always going to be pretty badass, but when that weapon is a bow it somehow adds an element of refinement to it. Not only does this require awesome martial-arts-master like concentration, but it also makes you feel a little bit like Hawkeye or Arrow… which obvious is awesome because they’re superheroes.

These are just a few examples of hobbies that are totally badass. The real question is, how are you going to make your life more awesome?

 

Leo Mollan, the author of this post, is an avid blogger and works for Total Motorcycle Accessories, online retailers of motorbike security accessories. Leo is a bike racing enthusiast and loves everything to do with speed.

 

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