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    Is A Blog Right For Your Small Business


    More and more small businesses are considering using a blog to promote their business. A blog can be used in a variety of ways. Here are just a few • Get the word out to your customers about your services and products • An easy way to keep your employees updated • A way to allow interaction from your customers or employees There are a few advantages and a few pitfalls to be aware of before you start. It is important that you lay out a plan and decide what the purpose of your blog will be. Decide how often it will be updated and keep to it. Blogs that aren’t updated on a regular basis lose their advantage. You may need more than one blog because the tighter the focus your blog has – the more effective it will be. Keep your blog on topic and don’t allow it to range far and wide with your topics just because you can. If you want to stray from your major topic you may want to consider creating another blog on that topic. The big advantage of a blog is the ease of use and the ability to be interactive. At the same time that interactivity needs to be controlled to keep your blog on track. Your blog needs to maintain a consistent purpose. Unfortunately, not all comments will add to the conversation you are creating on your blog so make sure you control the comments. Worry less about the technology and more about the purpose for your business. Now if you are in the music business then adding sound clips and video may serve your purpose. Don’t just add technologies because they are available add them because they improve the conversation. Remember, that blogs are a conversation. Consider that when posting and adding content. In summary – If you take the time to plan out your blog’s purpose, how often it will be updated and schedule the time necessary to achieve this, you will find a blog can be a valuable asset to your overall business plan. If you are not willing or able to do this then you will be disappointed with the results you receive from your blog.


    Alice In Credit Card Land On Chargebacks


    Your credit card is stolen. You place a phone call to the number provided in your tourist guide or in the local daily press. You provide your details and you cancel your card. You block it. In a few minutes, it should be transferred to the stop list available to the authorization centres worldwide. From that moment on, no thief will be able to fraudulently use your card. You can sigh in relief. The danger is over. But is it? It is definitely not. To understand why, we should first review the intricate procedure involved. In principle, the best and safest thing to do is call the authorization centre of the bank that issued your card (the issuer bank). Calling the number published in the media is second best because it connects the cardholder to a "volunteer" bank, which caters for the needs of all the issuers of a given card. Some service organizations (such as IAPA – the International Air Passengers Association) provide a similar service. The "catering bank" accepts the call, notes down the details of the cardholder and prepares a fax containing the instruction to cancel the card. The cancellation fax is then sent on to the issuing bank. The details of all the issuing banks are found in special manuals published by the clearing and payments associations of all the banks that issue a specific card. All the financial institutions that issue Mastercards, Eurocards and a few other more minor cards in Europe are members of Europay International (EPI). Here lies the first snag: the catering bank often mistakes the identity of the issuer. Many banks share the same name or are branches of a network. Banks with identical names can exist in Prague, Budapest and Frankfurt, or Vienna, for instance. Should a fax cancelling the card be sent to the wrong bank – the card will simply not be cancelled until it is too late. By the time the mistake is discovered, the card is usually thoroughly abused and the financial means of the cardholder are exhausted. Additionally, going the indirect route (calling an intermediary bank instead of the issuing bank) translates into a delay which could prove monetarily crucial. By the time the fax is sent, it might be no longer necessary. If the card has been abused and fraudulent purchases or money withdrawals have been debited to the unfortunate cardholders' bank or credit card account – the cardholder can reclaim these charges. He has to clearly identify them and state in writing that they were not effected by him. A process called "chargeback" thus is set in motion. A chargeback is a transaction disputed within the payment system. A dispute can be initiated by the cardholder when he receives his statement and rejects one or more items on it or when an issuing financial institution disputes a transaction for a technical reason (usually at the behest of the cardholder or if his account is overdrawn). A technical reason could be the wrong or no signature, wrong or no date, important details missing in the sales vouchers and so on. Despite the warnings carried on many a sales voucher ("No Refund – No Cancellation") both refunds and cancellations are daily occurrences. To be considered a chargeback, the card issuer must initiate a well defined dispute procedure. This it can do only after it has determined the reasons invalidating the transaction. A chrageback can only be initiated by the issuing financial institution. The cardholder himself has no standing in this matter and the chargeback rules and regulations are not accessible to him. He is confined to lodging a complaint with the issuer. This is an abnormal situation whereby rules affecting the balances and mandating operations resulting in debits and credits in the bank account are not available to the account name (owner). The issuer, at its discretion, may decide that issuing a chargeback is the best way to rectify the complaint. The following sequence of events is, thus, fairly common: The cardholder presents his card to a merchant (aka: an acceptor of payment system cards). The merchant may request an authorization for the transaction, either by electronic means (a Point of Sale / Electronic Fund Transfer apparatus) or by phone (voice authorization). A merchant is obliged to do so if the value of the transaction exceeds predefined thresholds. But there are other cases in which this might be either a required or a recommended policy. If the transaction is authorized, the merchant notes down the authorization reference number and gives the goods and services to the cardholder. In a face to face transaction (as opposed to a phone or internet/electronic transaction), the merchant must request the cardholder to sign the sale slip. He must then compare the signature provided by the cardholder to the signature specimen at the back of the card. A mismatch of the signatures (or their absence either on the card or on the slip) invalidate the transaction. The merchant will then provide the cardholder with a receipt, normally with a copy of the signed voucher. Periodically, the merchant collects all the transaction vouchers and sends them to his bank (the "acquiring" bank). The acquiring bank pays the merchant on foot of the transaction vouchers minus the commission payable to the credit card company. Some banks pre finance or re finance credit card sales vouchers in the form of credit lines (cash flow or receivables financing). The acquiring bank sends the transaction to the payments system (VISA International or Europay International) through its connection to the relevant network (VisaNet, in the case of Visa, for instance). The credit card company (Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club) credits the acquirer bank. The credit card company sends the transaction to the issuing bank and automatically debits the issuer. The issuing bank debits the cardholder's account. It issues monthly or transaction related statements to the cardholder. The cardholder pays the issuing bank on foot of the statement (this is automatic, involuntary debiting of the cardholders account with the bank). Some credit card companies in some territories prefer to work directly with the cardholders. In such a case, they issue a monthly statement, which the cardholder has to pay directly to them by money order or by bank transfer. The cardholder will be required to provide a security to the credit card company and his spending limits will be tightly related to the level and quality of the security provided by him. The very issuance of the card is almost always subject to credit history and to an approval process.


    November Auto Shows Don T Miss Em


    November may mean Thanksgiving turkey and football to many Americans, but if you're an automobile enthusiast, you already know that November is a great month for auto shows too. With five gargantuan auto shows spreading from the east coast to the west coast, there's bound to be one near you. The month begins with the Central California Auto Show on the weekend of November 2nd at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center in northern California. Admission is only $7 for adults and college students with proper ID are admitted at 2 for 1 prices. Isuzu will be present with its 2008 version of the popular SUV Ascender 5 Passenger and high performance line of pickup trucks including the i 290 and the i 370. Other renowned domestic and foreign car companies are slated to make an appearance – Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Lexus just to name a few. The following weekend, you'd better head cross country if you don't want to miss the Tampa Bay International Auto Show starting on November 8th in sunny Tampa, Florida. If you're lucky, you may get a glimpse of Isuzu's very own concept car – the VX O2. This stunning open air crossover vehicle features leather trimmed Recaro Sport seats; GPS navigation system; an infrared data port; a Clarion AutoPC system with real world command, control and communication abilities; and text to speech e mail, address book, voice memos and vehicle diagnostics. Wow. If you can't make it to Florida, maybe Texas is a better fit. On the same weekend, San Antonio holds its International Auto and Truck Show at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. This year marks the auto show's 39th event and features Isuzu, Porsche, Jaguar and Lotus. There will even be a special area on the south side of Bridge Hall celebrating Chevrolet's heritage. Three hundred fifty 2008 vehicles will be on display. The South Florida International Auto Show takes place mid month as well. From November 9 – 18 in Miami, the Miami Beach Convention center will be teeming with cars designed to capture the interest of any car lover. Known for its "Million Dollar Alley," this show boasts an entire segment dedicated to cars that only the wealthy can afford: Maserati, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. Then it's time to head west for the last auto show of the month – the Arizona International Auto Show. Scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend, the show begins on November 22nd at 9:00 AM and runs through the25th in Phoenix. The 25th is Family Day – children under the age of 12 are admitted for free with an accompanying paid adult. As 2007 comes to a close, what better time than to see what's new for 2008? Whether you're in the market for a new car, intrigued by the concept cars of the future, or fascinated with the history of the automotive industry starting with Henry Ford's Model T, auto shows are a great way to spend time with friends and family. As the holidays approach and our lives grow increasingly hectic, auto shows can be a day of fun amidst the chaos. They offer something for everyone.


    Parading Pictures Online


    Are you feeling alone, lonely and away from home? Why don't you grab your digital camera and make memories of your own to share with your loved ones. Despite the distance you can still stay connected with your family with the new technology that we have nowadays. Certainly, there is no excuse, not even distance to keep you away and isolated. Now, you don't have to resort to classic letter writing that will take time before your family receives them since you get to see the pictures a lot faster just right after uploading and at any time you wish. Take advantage of these brilliant breakthroughs and start sharing your captured moments with the world or with your own comfort zone, your pick. Emails First off, you need to sign up for an email account at a reliable search engine. Send pictures through emails by attaching them with your messages. The downside is that the bigger the attachment, the slower the process. So, if you are planning to send photo attachments, better resize the pictures into smaller ones. Don't even think about emailing the ones that you intend to print out into tarpaulins, else the picture will come out pixilated. Online Photo Galleries There are a lot of different websites that has these kinds of features. They are usually the ones that are made especially for interaction with other individuals which means they are a lot better since there will be features available in their site that may not be available when you just send your pictures through attachments. However, there are some sites wherein you have to shell out money in order to keep you account active. This could mean that you would have to make unnecessary purchases like ordering prints. Creating a photo gallery or photo album won't be much of a hassle but first you have to sign up for an account, just like emails. Having an account means you are the only one who can have access through your pictures, unless of course if you disclose you password. The usual way of inputting the pictures is by uploading them. Once you have uploaded them, you can then group your pictures into photo albums. Some sites also have features that allow you to choose who can view your profile or photo albums. Now, thanks to high technology, being away literally due to the busy lives that you lead is no longer a problem. You can share different memories, not only through regular letters but also through the internet. Just don't forget to tell your family and friends about it. While you are at it, encourage them to join. It will be a lot easier and less of a hassle. Lastly, never forget your password.


    Double Vision Looking Back At A Commercial Icon


    While many iconic images have been created as part of successful advertising campaigns, some icons have histories as exciting as the products they endorse. For example, did you know that the Doublemint Twins first appeared as only illustrations? They debuted in print advertising for the famous gum in 1939 to communicate its double benefits: a "double wrapped" wax coated paper seal and a "double peppermint" distillation process used to produce a sweeter, smoother taste. These illustrated twins became the brand's signature and were drawn in ever changing matching hats for car card and poster advertisements. It wasn't until 1960 that the first live twins appeared in television commercials. They sang a catchy theme song that encouraged gum chewers to "double their pleasure" and "double their fun." New sets of twins were cast for commercials throughout the 1970s to 1990s and most recently reintroduced in 2005, as Wrigley continued to offer fun variations on the double theme. Now there's another kind of twins associated with the 90 plus year old trademark minty taste: Doublemint Twins mints. Like the namesake gum, these mints offer "double good, double fun" but with a blend of two flavors in a single mint. New television commercials build upon the brand's heritage of the campaign and the unique jingle but with an unexpected twist as viewers are introduced to a new set of twins two very different people that are dressed alike as twins.


    Dr. Rene Piedra Asks Are You Afraid Of The Dentist


    "Drills, burs, retractors, excavators and probes. That sounds more like a construction zone then a place to maintain healthy teeth," says dentist Rene Piedra, DMD ( afraidofthedentist. net). It's no wonder that according to the National Dental Information Center, 95 million Americans are afraid of the dentist. Odontophobia or fear of the dentist is so common that more and more patients are avoiding their dentist appointments or taking unnecessary measures to mask the experience. "Rene Piedra, DMD & Associates have made it a personal mission to eradicate this fear and change the face of dentistry," says Dr. Rene Piedra. Known as the "people dentist" in Coral Gables, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Beach and surrounding areas, Dr. Rene Piedra and his team embrace several practices to help people not be afraid of the dentist. * They help patients get to the root of their problem rather then try to offer unnecessary medication by actually listening to patient concerns. Rene Piedra, DMD & Associates established a call center where patients can discuss their anxiety about dental procedures. * During the appointment, the element of the unknown is eliminated. Patients are walked through the entire process and can choose to view everything on state of the art computer monitors. * Using the latest in dental technology, regular procedures are now less invasive and easier on the patient. * Rene Piedra, DMD & Associates' offices are uniquely set up so that when you come in, you will be welcomed into a soothing environment and greeted with a smile with no drill sounds or chemicals. * Patients worried about the cost can relax. Dr. Piedra works with a variety of financial institutions which allows them to offer no down payments and interest free loans. "It is all really about the people not the teeth," concludes Dr. Piedra. "Out of all of the patients whom initially got treatment under sedation, more than 90% of them are now able to receive dental care without it! It is always our goal to get the patient past their fears." If you have had a bad experience in the past or in your youth or fear going to the dentist, Dr. Rene Piedra can help. To find out more information about the services offered by Rene Piedra, DMD & Associates, call their toll free number at (866) 568 2195 or visit them on the web at afraidofthedentist. net.


    5 Outstanding Steps To Quit Smoking For Good


    Many people trying to quit smoking find themselves failed. They wonder why. Their will is strong. Their commitment seems to be beyond limit. But, they fail anyway. Actually, there are several simple steps that they forget to take. And, those steps are: 1. Get yourself prepared Before you actually attempt to stop smoking, try and make as many changes to your smoking habits as possible. Change your brand of cigarettes, it would be better if you change them into something you dislike. Change the time of your smoking. If you do it mostly in the evening, change it into morning. Basically, mess up anything related to smoking. Make it as uncomfortable as possible. Much of the addiction to smoking has to do with routines and habits, so even small changes can make a big difference when trying to break the habit. 2. Start a Mind Management In this second step, you need to set your mind. Think of yourself as a non smoker. Erase all the memory related to your smoking habit. Keep in mind that you have never been smoking; that you don’t even know how it tastes; that you don’t have a clue whatsoever what makes a person wants to smoke. This is an important mental step to take if you’ve made a decision to quit smoking. It’s hard to do, but it might be the key to your success in the quit smoking attempt. 3. Spread the Words Tell to people dealing with you daily that you’ve quitted smoking. By letting the people around you know that you've quit smoking, you will be creating an instant support group that will be there if you find yourself having trouble. 4. Keep Getting Back on Track This is a must know information. Most ex smokers had to try multiple times before they ultimately quit. But, those who finally failed were the ones who left the track when they slipped up. They decided that it was impossible and ended up smoking again. Well, they were wrong. Many out there who were successful enough. So, if you happen to slip up, even more than a couple of times, keep getting back on track. Trust me, one day, you’ll successfully stop smoking. 5. Change Your Lifestyle This is the ultimate step yet the most important. There’s no way you can totally stop smoking if most of the time you hang out with a group of smokers. I’m not telling you to leave your friends, no. Just lessen the frequency. Find a healthier group of friends that will entirely lead you to end your smoking habit for good. If you’re certain about wanting to be a healthier person, make the decision now. Follow the steps above. Enjoy the beauty of being healthy. Remember, never take health for granted!


    Central Australia The Eastern Macdonnell Ranges


    The rugged ridges of the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges stretch east from the outback Central Australian town of Alice Springs for some 200 kilometres, and are every bit as picturesque as the better known West MacDonnell Ranges. The ranges are home a spectacular array of natural features and landscapes, all within an easy hour or two from Alice Springs by car. Access to the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges is via the Ross Highway east from Alice Springs. The road is sealed for the first 75 kilometres, with an unsealed road continuing to the Ross River Homestead and Arltunga. The unsealed road is maintained in good condition and is suitable for two wheel drive vehicles and caravans. Many tracks in the region, such as those extending from Arltunga to Ruby Gap Nature Park, and from the Ross River Homestead to Ndhala Gorge, are suitable only for four wheel drive vehicles. In addition to several spectacular natural features such as Emily and Jessie Gaps, Corroboree Rock, Trephina Gorge, Ndhala Gorge and Ruby Gorge, the East MacDonnell Ranges also offer the opportunity to step back into Central Australia and the Northern Territory's history at the Arltunga Historical Reserve, and to fossick for zircon, garnet, beryl, apatite and tourmaline at Gemtree. Eastern Arrernte culture has a long history in this region. Arltunga is located about 120 kilometres east of Alice Springs, and was the first town to be built in Central Australia. Established in 1887, this historic mining town is today a true ghost town. Preserved by the aridity of the surrounding desert environment, many of Arltunga's original stone buildings remain in excellent condition. Arltunga is named after a subgroup of the indigenous Arrernte people who have lived in the area for over 20,000 years. Emily And Jessie Gaps are two gorges in the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges quite close to Alice Springs. Both sites are of great significance in the Yipirinya Dreamtime story which describes the creation of the Alice Springs landscape, being the location where the Caterpillar ancestors of the indigenous Central and Eastern Arrernte people met. Both sites are popular local picnic spots. The Corroboree Rock Conservation Reserve is a small reserve about 50 kilometres from Alice Springs. It contains a rock formation of special significance to the Eastern Arrernte people, being a site where traditional initiation ceremonies took place. The Trephina Gorge Nature Park is located about 85 kilometres east of Alice Springs, and is arguably the most attractive of the many natural features in the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges. Its stunning scenery includes huge River Red Gums, sandy creek beds, semi permanent waterholes and towering red rock walled gorges. There are five marked walking tracks in the area, taking from 45 minutes to 6.5 hours to complete. Campers often base themselves at Trephina Gorge, venturing out on day trips to explore other attractions such as Arltunga and Ndhala Gorge. Trephina Gorge is noted for its sheer quartzite cliffs and broad, River Red Gum lined sandy watercourses. Many examples of Central Australia's unique flora and fauna are abundant in the area, including majestic Wedge Tailed Eagles which lend their name to the Valley of the Eagles. Ndhala Gorge Nature Park is located about 98 kilometres east of Alice Springs. It is a significant Aboriginal art site containing over one thousand ancient rock carvings or petroglyphs, sheltered for thousands of years by the rugged red walls of two rocky gorges. The carvings and varied flora can be viewed on a short walk. A number of indigenous cypress pine trees unique to the Central Australian ranges grow along the exposed slopes. The dirt road into Ndhala Gorge is accessible to conventional vehicles in good weather, but it can be very rough in places and a four wheel drive vehicle is recommended. The Ruby Gap Nature Park is located about 140 kilometres east of Alice Springs. Ruby Gap was the scene of a rush of activity by miners in 1886 seeking rubies which later proved to be worthless garnets. It is one of the most beautiful gorges along the Hale River which winds through the Park, but accessible by four wheel drive vehicle only.


    Astrology Reading 10


    I'd always thought it would be fun to sit for an astrology reading, but I'd never actually worked up the courage to do so before. I guess I was a bit afraid of what I might find out. I mean, what if it was bad news? What if I were destined to be a failure, would never meet my perfect match, and would live just a short, uneventful life? Those aren't exactly the kinds of things I wanted confirmed by a psychic!

    So I simply avoided them until recently, when I finally worked up enough courage to see what was written in the stars about me. Since I'd never had an astrology reading before, I didn't really know where to go to find a good psychic. Of course, I'd seen commercials and magazine ads for various 900 numbers that I could call in order to get an astrology reading, but I naturally couldn't find any of those numbers now that I was ready to use one. So I figured I'd go online instead and see what kind of information I could get from the Internet. First of all, I was a bit surprised to discover that I could get an astrology reading online as well as over the phone. I had no idea that the online option was available, and I really liked what I read about the process. In fact, an online astrology reading sounded much better than the phone version because of the rate structure. I found many websites that offered a flat rate for an astrology reading, no matter how long it took. That compared favorably to the telephone versions that typically charged by the minute. At least with the flat rate I'd know eactly what I was getting into and wouldn't be hit with hidden fees. Second, I discovered that some websites would allow me to customize my astrology reading to cover only the topics that I wanted to address. So if I wanted to find out about potential love interests without touching on other subjects such as finances or health, then I could limit the session according to those boundaries. If I wanted a more comprehensive astrology reading that covered just about everything, I could do that too. After a little while, I selected a specific website from which to receive my astrology reading. I have to say that I was highly satisfied with the overall experience and quite pleased with the results. I regret not having taken advantage of these online psychics before, but at least I now know where to go whenever I want another glimpse into my future!


    5 Ways To Manage Your Diet For Diabetes


    : Since my diagnosis with diabetes at the age of eleven, my own diet has changed dramatically. I maintain my current healthy weight with a great diet/eating plan. If you do plan on losing more than about a stone in weight then I would visit your doctor for more tips on how to do this without risk. I've had diabetes for seven years now, but to tell you that how I maintain weight is perfect would be totally wrong of me. However, I can advise you to follow my steps because I know what works and what doesn't. Before I really begin I must also say that I have been brought up by great parents who taught me to eat everything, and so I do! If there is something that you don't like, there are loads of other diabetic recipes and ideas that you will eat and appreciate. I am a university student and I like to buy fresh and organic produce from where I live. I believe that this is important because it can be the most good for your body and contain more nutrients and vitamins than most supermarket produce. I like to source food from my fortnightly farmers market in town, which sells amazing meat and dairy produce and fresh in season fruit and vegetables. This is another important thing to remember, that eating fruit and vegetables in their season means that they will taste better as well as doing you good. I have a lot of influence from Western European cuisine (mainly France and Italy) as you will tell, but I do not profess to be a chef and everything is easy to make and very convenient. I have read countless diet books and diabetic recipe/diet books, and I came to a conclusion that I think really works. I fused all the good things from the diets (but not from every diet) and sort of put together my own one. I call this my Juvenile Diabetes Healthy Diet! The "rules" that I would lay down are as follows: 1. Cut back on snacks and then change the type of snacks you eat. Certainly my biggest downfall although it wasn't really apparent to me. When I first started at University, I had little or no routine which meant that filling my day was difficult and popping into the kitchen for a snack, no matter how healthy it felt, was a regular occurence. This is one of the hardest things to do for some people, but establishing a great routine is essential to great diabetes care. The types of snacks to be eating are unsalted nuts, dried unsweetened fruit, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables (I love fresh red pepper and cucumber), dark chocolate (richer and nicer and you only want 2 squares usually). 2. Cut back on white flour and embrace wholemeal carbs. This is the most essential part of your diet, and the thing that can show the biggest increase in loss of weight. Some diets in fact jsut focus on this point, and are very successful. Wholemeal (especially stoneground wholemeal) is so good for you and has so much more flavour in it that switching is much easier than you think. Most people are really surprised at the ranges you can get in you supermarket, again remember that the bread that is best for you is the one that is freshest with least perservatives or added ingredients. Also, brown or basmati rice is great with a lovely nutty texture. Wholemeal pasta is great and for your potatoes I would totally recommend the smaller new potatoes. 3. Stop drinking cocktails, start drinking wine. Cocktails are full of sugar, colourants and preservatives. As a student I have had loads of practice at going out and not drinking cocktails, so my drink of choice is Malibu and Diet Coke if I feel I have to drink something and I make it last all night. I can then top up with Diet Coke (which has almost no sugar in it) and it looks as though I am drinking Malibu, who is to know. If you are out at a restaurant, red wine is much better than anything else you can order, (except water of course!) and it has been proven that the anti oxidants in red wine are great for keeping a healthy heart. The recommended amount is one glass a day with your evening meal. 4. Start cooking more fruit and vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a great way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. And there are so many different ways in which to cook vegetables, but I find that raw is the best followed closely by steamed. Both of these ways preserve all their natural goodness as well. I will follow this post with another diabetes recipes post. 5. Drink more water. I know you have heard people say this many times before, but the benefits of drinking more water are endless. A few tips on how to get more water into your day are firstly to put bottles of water at all the places you go in the house or work. So keep one in your desk, on your desk, a glass in the kitchen, the bedroom, the sitting room, etc. Try and drink all these glasses up and you will be well on your way to 8 glasses a day. The trick is to add a glass every few days or so, if you try to drink all that water in one go you won't be so inclined to drink 8 glasses again, trust me! Have a go, it's amazing how great you will feel. For further tips on living with diabetes, visit Juvenile Diabetes blogspot This article was submitted by Alissa Carter, she is also owner & creator of the Prom dresses website.


    Distance Learning Study Tips


    Distance learning is a fabulous new way to get an advanced education. It allows you to work at home on your own schedule and it allows you to set your own pace for learning. But remember, you still have to do all of the work. It’s just like that old saying, easy does it; but do it!! In order to be successful in achieving your distance learning goals you will have to develop a sense and source of personal motivation and you will also need good study habits. Just as successful students almost always have good study habits, so too is your online success directly tied to good studying in your distance learning program. Here are a few tips to help you get started off on the right foot. Set up a study schedule and stick to it. If you need to do two hours of study for every online hour then schedule a fixed time when you will do your studying. Pick a time when you are least likely to be interrupted, it can be early in the morning before the rest of your family wakes up, or it can be later in the day when everyone is gone to work or school. Don’t pick just before dinner when everyone is unwinding and catching up on their day or listening to their favorite, and very loud, music. You need the peace and quiet in order to concentrate. Some people study in the basement or even the garage. It doesn’t matter where it is as long as it is convenient, quiet, and conducive to your studies. Plan your study time when everyone else is busy with their own activities. It might be when the kids are gone to sports or dance class or when your spouse is at their bowling night out. It might be Saturday morning while the kids watch cartoons or your wife is sleeping in. It helps if other people are busy because they won’t be able to interrupt your studying. Another tip for successful studying in your distance learning program includes creating a space for yourself within your home where you actually enjoy spending time. Some people like to study on the back porch on nice days or in front of a cozy fire on colder nights. As long as you are comfortable it is a good place to study. Try and protect that space by telling all of your family that this area is off limits during your study time. Make up a small sign that says “Student at Work” or even “Quiet, Please”. You may have to tell them a few times, especially your kids, but sooner rather than later they will get it and respect your need for this study time and space.


    How To Gain Weight And Build More Muscle


    For many thin guys around the world, gaining weight without using illegal steroids has been a challenge. For thousands of lean young men, the dream is to gain weight, but no matter how much they eat they remain thin. Some people are naturally thin; that means their genetic makeup is in such a way that the body burns more calories than others. The very basic method of weight gain is to eat more calories than your body burns off. By providing the body with more calories, this balance can be altered and body mass can be increased. Weight training is of great importance in this context, which enables the body to absorb more nutrients from the food by increasing the level of certain hormones and increasing the muscle mass. There are many incorrect beliefs and theories bout building muscle. The type of food to be eaten is an important factor which decides the type of weight gained, whether it is muscle mass or mere accumulation of fat. Some types of calories are not equal to others for gaining muscle; because most processed junk food contains empty, totally nutritionless calories. These foods promote accelerated fat storage, and do not provide the body with the correct nutrients essential for gaining muscle. High quality protein, which the body breaks down into amino acids, should be the centerpiece of all your meals. Intense exercise increases demand for amino acids, which support muscle repair and growth. Another factor is the selection of the right type of weight training. Resistance exercises will help with muscle growth. Whereas aerobic exercises can result in the reduction of weight. For maximum muscle gain, the focus of your workouts should consist of free weight exercises, rather than machines or bodyweight exercises. To get a very effective workout, you must stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible, and machines do not do this. The main reason for this is a lack of stabilizer and synergist muscle development. Stabilizer and synergist muscles are supporting muscles that assist the main muscle in performing a complex lift. The results of weight training can vary from person to person, and will usually depend on your consistency and commitment to your program. You should have the patience and motivation for building a powerful body with a consistent diet and exercise schedule. Exercise Guidelines for building muscle: Weight training involves the use of equipment that enables variable resistance. This resistance can come in the form of free weights like barbells and dumbbells, machines that use cables or pulleys to help you lift the weight, and bodyweight exercises like pull ups or dips. The more stabilizers and synergists you work, the more muscle fibers stimulated. The exercises that work the large muscle groups are called compound (or multi joint) movements that involve the simultaneous stimulation of many muscle groups. These compound exercises should be the foundation of any weight training program because they stimulate the most amount of muscle in the least amount of time. Multi jointed free weight exercises like the bench press require many stabilizer and synergistic muscle assistance to complete the lift. Free weight exercises like the dumbbell press or squat put a very large amount of stress on supporting muscle groups. You will get fatigued faster and not be able to lift as much weight as you did on the machine. But you will gain more muscle, become stronger very quickly and have a true gauge of your strength. If you use machines in your program, they should be used to work isolated areas and only after all multi jointed exercises have been completed. Beginners should begin with a limited combination of machine exercises, bodyweight exercises and multi jointed free weight exercises. Before increasing the weight levels, they should work on becoming familiar with the proper form and execution of each. The following are some proven basic exercises to encourage muscle and strength gain unlike any other exercises. Bench Presses works the chest, shoulders, triceps Overhead Presses shoulders, triceps Pull ups/Barbell Rows back, bicep Squats legs, lower back Dead lifts legs, back, shoulders Bar Dips shoulders, chest, arms To build mass, you must weight train with heavy weights. To consider a weight heavy, you should only be able to do a maximum of 4 8 reps before your muscles temporarily fail. A weight is considered 'light' if you can do more than 15 reps before muscle fatigue sets in. Heavy weights stimulate more muscle fibers than lighter weights which result in more muscle growth. Heavy weight training puts a huge strain on your body, so adequate rest and recuperation after your workouts is essential. Eating guidelines for building muscle: A high protein diet is an inevitable part of any weight training programme, importantly, protein derived from animal sources. Proteins you need to be concerned with are those found in whey, casein (cottage cheese), eggs, beef, poultry, and fish. Soy protein, tofu and bean curd are some alternatives. Eating the right amount of foods consistently will force your body to grow beyond what you may think possible. The diet also should contain an adequate amount of carbohydrates (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, rice, beans, bread, pasta, all cereals) and fat. Green leafy vegetables and fruits also should be included. When you train with weights, you should eat a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. You also must have protein at every meal. To enable your body to actually assimilate and use the all the calories you will ingest, you have to reduce your meal size and increase your meal frequency. Splitting your calories into smaller, more frequent portions will enable food absorption and utilization of nutrients. During the past 20 years there have been great developments in the scientific understanding of the role of nutrition in health and physical performance. Studies shown that adequate dietary carbohydrate should be ingested (55 60% of total energy intake) so that training intensity can be maintained. Excess dietary saturated fat can exacerbate coronary artery disease; however, low fat diets result in a reduction in circulating testosterone. So the balance between protein, carbohydrate and fat should be maintained. So the focus on weight gain programmes must be on two components, lifting heavy weights, which will stimulate the largest amount of muscle fibers. Your body responds to this stimulus by increasing your muscle mass and secondly eat more calories than your body is used to. When you overload your system with plenty of protein and fats, your body has no other choice but to gain weight. A Mass Gaining program is incomplete without the timely measurements to monitor your progress. Without it, you won't know how exactly your body is responding to your diet and training routine. Just looking in the mirror and guessing is not acceptable. If you want to start getting great results, you must develop the habit of accurately tracking your progress. This also provides the motivation to continue with the weight gain schedule and for the further progression. So even though you have a very thin body type, and haven’t been able to gain weight no matter what you try, you will definitely succeed with a well planned weight gain programme.


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