Saturday, November 26, 2016

AARP Receptive to Social Security Cuts; What Seniors Should Consider

COMMENTARY | AARP is an organization that works to help seniors. This week it has made headlines for stating that it is willing to discuss cuts to Social Security. This stunned many seniors because the group had been adamantly opposed to such action. During the 2008 election season, it aired many TV commercials against cuts to Social Security; now it has changed its tune. According to Bloomberg, “‘we are open to talking about different options to strengthen Social Security for the long term’ including ‘changes on the benefit side,’ David Certner, the group’s legislative director, said in an interview.”

Here is some information on three proposals that have been made to save Social Security.

Reducing Social Security Benefits

There have been proposals to change the Social Security formula. The idea was first brought forth in 2005 by the Bush administration. According to the Washington Post, “under the proposal, the first-year benefits for retirees would be calculated using inflation rates rather than the rise in wages over a worker’s lifetime.”

The major advantage to this proposal is that it would change the formula so that the program would be extended for many years to come. If Social Security runs out by 2035, everyone who has paid into it for years will not recoup the money they paid into the system, which is unfair to current workers.

There are many downsides to taking this action right now. The economy is very bad and most seniors now rely on their Social Security benefits just to live. Reducing the benefits for each person would be unfair, forcing many seniors into receiving Welfare or living in homeless shelters, which would greatly reduce their quality of life.

Invest Social Security Funds in the Stock Market

Some people like the idea of investing Social Security funds in the stock market. Andrew Stern, a member of the Deficit Commission, has pushed for this idea to be implemented. This would help increase the amount of money that is in the program. Social Security will need billions of dollars to stay funded, and investing could help the program meet its financial needs. The stock market has been inconsistent lately and many people do not trust Wall Street due to the bailouts of the banks. It would be hard for seniors to get on board with investing their hard-earned money in the stock market.

Increasing the Retirement Age to 69 By 2075

According to the NY Times, “the most recent projections from the Social Security Administration, issued last month, indicate that at the current rate, the program’s trust funds will be exhausted by 2036, and that $6.5 trillion in additional money will be needed over a 75-year period to pay all scheduled benefits.” President Obama’s Deficit Commission, led by Erksine Bowles and Alan Simpson, proposed the idea to increase the retirement age to 69 in November of 2010.

People are living longer, so increasing the retirement age over the next 60 years does not seem too harsh. It would help Social Security stay funded much longer because there would be fewer people filing benefits at one given time. It would also allow people to pay into the system for additional years, which would help inject more money into the program.

There are some issues with this plan. The first is that the economy may not have enough jobs to employ people so they can work until the age of 69. According to Reuters, “national employment numbers released earlier this month cast a shadow on the country’s economic recovery. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased a slight 54,000 in May and the country’s unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent from April’s 9 percent.”

The second is that as we age our bodies begin breaking down and many seniors have problems with vision and joint issues. This makes it harder for them to see and stand up for long periods of time. Most jobs require vision and strength in some capacity, so seniors may be unable to work, leaving them with virtually no money until they reach the age of 69.

The Proposal that I Think AARP and Seniors Might Accept

I personally think that seniors and AARP will need to accept increasing the retirement age to 69. A reduction in benefits is a huge financial burden for seniors, so increasing their retirement age might not be ideal, but it is the best way to maintain their benefit level. The cost of living will continue to increase in the future, so implementing this idea is not only cost-effective but also has the least negative consequences for seniors.


Tags:AARP Receptive to Social Security Cuts; What Seniors Should Consider

Are Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry an Item? Will They Be the Next Royal Wedding?

Ever since the Royal Wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William, everyone is talking about Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry. Would the two make a great couple? Will they be the next Royal Wedding to take place? Considering both of them are already in relationships this is very doubtful.

Prince Harry was seen flirting with Pippa, but maybe this is just the way that he acts. Pippa has been dating Alex Loudon for 2 and ½ years already. Do you think she would just leave him for a chance at royalty? Prince Harry has been with his girlfriend Chelsy Davy awhile now and even brought her as his guest to the wedding.

Harry has been dating Chelsy for five years now, but rumors are that she does not want to join the royal family. What is the point in staying in the relationship if it will never make it to the alter? She says that this is not the life she wants for herself.

Pippa looked wonderful at the Royal Wedding in a white dress of her own. The bridesmaids do not normally wear white, but her sister must have chosen this dress for her and was fine with it.

Harry and Pippa were on the balcony of the Buckingham Palace together. Everyone thought they looked great together and had high hopes that they would become a couple. It seems that the world is trying to push them into becoming a couple, but no word is out that they want the same thing.

Do you think Harry and Pippa would make a great couple? Do you want to see another Royal Wedding soon?


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8 Skincare Products to Beat the Summer-Skin-Blues

Summer is here and for lots of ladies that means so are the mini-dresses, summer parties, and spending some time having fun in the sun. For some ladies, this can also mean dry, rough, itchy, and extremely uncomfortable skin. Not so hot in a mini dress, right? To rid yourself of the summer-skin-blues, try adding some of my favorite summer skincare products to your beauty routine. Each of these goodies can naturally replenish moisture-starved skin in minutes, leaving you silky soft and summer-ready in no time.

Love Me Tender Hand Creme

Made with a nourishing blend of Aloe Vera, Shea butter, and vitamins, this grapefruit and honeysuckle scented hand cream softens even the driest skin. It absorbs nicely with a quick rub-together and the convenient size makes it perfect to keep in a purse, gym bag or desk. My favorite part is this hand-friendly lotion contains no phthalates, sulfates, triclosan, and it’s paraben-free. Pretty awesome, yes? $9

EOS Organic Lip Balm

A ball of moisturizing lip-love – literally! This all-natural, organic lip balm is made with only the good stuff like fruit extracts and coconut, jojoba, and sunflower seed oil. No stickiness, greasiness, or gooey mess – just moisturizing madness for your lips and it’s totally paraben-free. The sphere-shaped container has a flat bottom that can easily sit on a flat surface and it won’t get lost in your purse (even a big one). Plus, it comes in yummy flavors like strawberry sorbet, summer fruit, and sweet mint. $8

Sensual Beauty Divine Facial Moisturizer

Show your skin some love this summer with this natural, organic facial moisturizer. Made with organic aloe, Shea butter, vitamin E, lavender, chamomile, and grapefruit seed extract, this paraben-free moisturizer not only nourishes skin but also promotes even skin tone and works at restoring elasticity and preventing sun-damage. Use it in the morning before applying makeup and in the evening after cleansing right before bed for best results. Naturally-scented with essential oils, this facial lotion is available in chamomile/lavender, Neroli/sandalwood, and geranium/rose. $26

Sensual Beauty Botanical Body Mist

Mist until your heart’s content. This lightly-fragranced body mist is a great way to freshen up on a hot summer day. Spray it on the body, hair, or anywhere else you desire. With no sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, or parabens to worry about, this body spray is fabulous for everyone including those with sensitive skin. It contains natural pheromones which can add a bit of excitement to your day and is scented with natural and essential oils only. This must-have botanical body spray is available in enchanted amber, gypsy jasmine, and amber rose. $23

Simply Sensual Shave Creme

Just as the name implies, this shave cream is simply sensual. Apply it to skin on legs, underarms, bikini area or anywhere else you desire just before shaving for the smoothest shave you’ve ever had. Made with Aloe Vera and Jojoba, this cream nourishes skin and leaves it ultra-soft while protecting it from irritation and razor burn. It is lightly scented and is available in green tea, white lavender, and ginger/pomegranate. $12

Cake Beauty Milk Made Nourishing Bath & Shower Bubbles

Relax tired aching muscles, and soothe and nourish dry skin with this milk-infused bubble bath and shower gel. Just a nickel-size amount on a loofah or a couple capfuls under running bath water is all it takes – either way it will take you away from your day with it’s light raspberry and vanilla scent. Made with aloe, Shea butter, marshmallow extract, and milk proteins, these brilliant bubbles are paraben-free and contain no harsh chemicals. $22

Cake Beauty Glow-rious Glistening Body Lotion

Simply, glow-rious and one of my favorite summer products of all time! This non-greasy hydrating body lotion adds a small amount of shimmer (not glitter) to any shade of skin giving it a sun-kissed summer glow. Use it to highlight your best features by adding it to your shoulders, decolletage, legs, or anywhere else you desire. This paraben-free body lotion is lightly scented with a blend pineapple and vanilla, which smells fabulous and is a fantastic summer-friendly scent. $28

SHE AfterCare After Shave oil

SHE Aftercare after shave (and wax) oil-spray is a super-light, dry formula that reduces razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Made with Aloe Vera, Argan oil, Meadowfoam seed oil, Bergamot, Rosemary and orange peel oil, this awesome oil smooths skin and reduces inflammation for long lasting shave. It can be used on the body wherever you shave, tweeze, or wax and has a nice neutral scent. It will also remove any left behind wax and contains no parabens, glycerin, perfume or dyes. $20

Tags:8 Skincare Products to Beat the Summer-Skin-Blues




and faster


Accidentally on Purpose on CBS: Review

Let me be clear. I wanted to like this show. I like Jenna Elfman, but I think she may have the worst agent in the history of entertainment. Sure, she’s gotten a few decent roles – EDTv, Dharma and Greg, and a Depeche Mode music video in 1990 – but her last few television voyages have resulted in a leaky hull and a burning sail. Sadly for Dharma, Accidentally on Purpose seems to be destined for the same fate as Courting Alex (remember that one? Neither did anyone else.)

The flat story is only moderately enhanced by the forced laughs amateurishly woven into an otherwise unremarkable presentation.

“AoP” is a 30-minute sketch about the proverbial morning after. Billie, as played by Jenna Elfman (can’t she get a character with a normal name?) is a 30-something movie critic. She goes out for the night with two friends (Ashley Jensen and Lennon Parham) where she meets Zack (Jon Foster), a slacker chef who may or may not live in his van (we’re genuinely not sure). As with all underachieving, maybe homeless, food service workers, Billie spends one night with him.

Guess what? A few weeks later, Billie discovers she’s pregnant! Who could have seen this coming? Being responsible and reasonable adults, Billie and Zack decide the best thing to do would be for Zack to move into Billie’s house, where the hilarity is intended to ensue.

It doesn’t. The jokes are predictable, the laughter faked, and the story, empty. About the biggest surprise in this 30-minute train wreck is that Ashley Jensen is actually from the UK, because I was convinced until ten minutes ago that her accent wasn’t real.

The biggest issue I have with this show, aside from the writing, is this. I’m sorry to tell you, Jenna, but you’re too old to be playing an impulsive, reckless, 20-something rebel. Remember the scene in The Wedding Singer where Allen Covert explains to Adam Sandler that no one wants to see an old man hitting on women? The truth is, your characters need to start growing up the day you have to buy two boxes of candles for your birthday cakes.

As previously stated, Jenna Elfman is generally a terrific addition to any ensemble. In Accidentally on Purpose, the rest of the cast should just be grateful they have a job, let alone one in which they get to work with her.

Prediction: Gone by Christmas.

Tags:Accidentally on Purpose on CBS: Review

Anesthesia Awareness: Waking Up During Surgery and the Effects it Has on Those Who Experience It

Anyone facing surgery has several fears one of which is waking up during the surgery. There are several surgeries such as a caesarian, some brain surgeries or lasix that require the patient to be awake, however, during the majority of surgeries performed the patient is asleep. There have been numerous occasions where the patient wakes up during the operation, known as anesthesia awareness. It often occurs in the middle of the operation and the patient is unable to alert the surgeons, nurses or technicians due to the paralyzing medications given.

According to a study done by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, there are an average of one to two patients out of 1000 that wake up during surgery and the most were reported in children. Statistics have shown that approximately 30,000 Americans every year suffer with anesthesia awareness. The majority of patients will have brief memories of songs being played on a radio, surgeons and staff talking as well as are able to describe fear and pain.

The founder of the group Anesthesia Awareness Campaign Inc., Carol Weihrer of Reston, Va., reports that even several years after the surgery to remove her eye that was diseased, she suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder, has difficulties sleeping for more than brief periods at a time and has panic attacks. She can vividly recall the Doctor giving instructions to “cut deeper, pull harder” and she saw them cutting the optic nerve prior to everything going black.

Reports of anesthesia awareness are continuously surfacing, often times being dismissed as the patient only “feeling” as though they were awake but, cases such as Kathy LaBrie’s of New Hampshire are difficult to chalk off as unrealistic occurrences. She is able to repeat almost word for word the conversation between the surgeon and nurses regarding the kind of car the surgeon had. When patients are able to describe conversations, tools used and the songs playing, it is difficult to shove these occurrences under the rug as though they never happened.

Carol Weiher has spoken to a minimum of 4000 people that have suffered with anesthesia awareness experiences around the world and continues her mission to educate people about the after affects the situation can produce and there are new reports daily about the effects this situation has. Individuals have been reported to commit suicide due to the lingering effects of anesthesia awareness. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a popular occurrence for most after waking up during surgery. Individuals suffering with post traumatic disorder will continuously relive the experience that is haunting them. They have difficulties sleeping, socializing and living normal, happy lives. These individuals will be on medications and have to attend therapy sessions for several years if not a lifetime.

Though in very rare cases the patient cannot be observed as awake during the surgery by the anesthesiologist monitoring them, however, for 99% of those who suffer with anesthesia awareness, often times wonder if the staff or machines could have had prevented the situation. Equipment designed for monitoring a patients brain activity, alertness and awareness are continuously being improved upon and it is highly recommended that anyone preparing to undergo surgery speak candidly with the surgeon and anesthesiologist regarding the risks.


Tags:Anesthesia Awareness: Waking Up During Surgery and the Effects it Has on Those Who Experience It

Alternative Remedies to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Home remedies and homeopathic medicine have gradually gained importance over the past few years as an alternative to prescription drugs. Many people are not aware of the fact that there are also home remedies available to lower your blood pressure. These home remedies offer the two fold benefits of lowering the cost and preventing harsh effects of prescription drugs. Another advantage of home remedies is that while it may be used to treat one symptom, it often has other health benefits too. Many home remedies can be found in your local supermarket and health food store.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, here are a few home remedies. These remedies will not only lower your blood pressure but are good for your general health too. Given below are a few home remedies to help lower your blood pressure.

Garlic: Garlic is known to possess many beneficial properties that improve overall health, along with lowering your blood pressure. Consumption of garlic will also gradually reduce blood clot occurrences in individuals. It is believed by some researchers that garlic will also help in bringing down the triglyceride levels.

Magnesium and Potassium: Foods rich in these minerals are bananas, molasses and Soya beans. Some fruits such as watermelon and grapes are also considered to be a good source of magnesium and potassium. Not only will these foods lower your blood pressure but are beneficial to your overall health too.

You may be in fact eager to know what a triglyceride is. A triglyceride is a glyceride that occurs naturally in tissues and consists of three fatty acids that are bound together in a single molecule. They are an important energy source forming much of the fat stored in the body.

You can research on the web about the various home remedies available to lower your blood pressure by putting your query in Google search engine. The internet is flooded with a wealth of information dedicated to home remedies and homeopathic medicine to lower your blood pressure. Bookstores and libraries also offer an abundance of information. With a little research and dedication, you can find alternatives to prescription drugs for lowering your blood pressure.

As with any alternative health remedies, consult your physician before discontinuing any prescribed medicines. Discontinuing your prescription medicine suddenly without seeking advice from your physician could have serious and long-term effects on your health.

Thus it can be concluded that several home remedies and homeopathic medicine can help a lot in lowering your blood pressure without causing any harmful side effects to health.

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Amazing Harvard Commencement Address by JK Rowling

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, recently gave a commencement address at Harvard University and was awarded an honourary doctor of letters degree.

This is an excellent read, and gives great insight into the books. Of course, I was also happy to read that she was a Classics major (as was I). What was truly enlightening regarding the books, though, was her recounting of her experiences while working for Amnesty International. I’d say that those experiences very clearly informed the darkness present in the books.

Some of the stories she gives about experiences at Amnesty International are very reminiscent of the type of social structure and widespread terror which is present in the wizarding world when Voldemort and his followers are at large. If she had not prefaced these stories by saying she had worked for Amnesty International, one might think that she was merely recounting the deeds of Death Eaters in her books. It bears noting that apparently the atrocities committed by Voldemort and his Death Eaters had their origins in our very own real-life Muggle world.

What does it say about the world when it’s the darkest aspects of the Harry Potter novels that are drawn from our reality?

Two broad themes she addresses very well are the importance of failure, and the importance and power of imagination. She wryly suggests that Harvard graduates perhaps aren’t well-acquainted with failure, and that it carries valuable lessons. She also impresses upon us that one of the greatest gifts of imagination is being able to imagine ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and that being able to do so brings with it the responsibility to care for each other.

I strongly recommend reading this commencement address, whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or would simply enjoy an insightful essay. If you don’t want to read it (though that would be ironic, given that she’s a famous author), here’s the video.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Arcade Game Review : Last Blade 2 (SNK, 1998)

Last Blade 2
Published by : SNK (1998)
Re-releases : Sega Dreamcast, Neo Geo CD

Last Blade 2 is an absolutely gorgeous weapons-based fighter that is almost impossible to learn how to play.

Much like SNK’s previous weapons-based title Samurai Shodown, Last Blade is set in 20th-century Japan, specifically the Bakumatsu period. The characters are not exactly historically accurate however, being mostly angsty anime-style teenagers with the occasional goofy comic relief type thrown in. It apparently has an ongoing story, but it does not seem to be developed in-game anywhere, leaving me confused as to exactly what is going on.

Nonetheless, the graphics and animation are absolutely top-flight for the period and still hold up well today. Music is minimalist, with a traditional Japanese style when it appears, but many stages simply take place against ambient wind and water noises. Whether this lends the game an elegant or boring atmosphere is up to you entirely.

The gameplay is fairly similar to that of Samurai Shodown, the one major difference being the “deflect” system used here. Pressing the D button puts your character into a parry mode for a second or two, and if attacked they will automatically counter and leave the opponent open for a second to a retributional strike.

It’s really a very well-made fighter and an absolute feast for the eyes. The trouble with it is that unless you have another person around of the same skill level to practice with, it is nearly impossible to learn. At about the fourth match the computer suddenly goes into “Master Mode” and becomes nearly impossible to defeat without knowledge of the game’s more powerful moves and combos. And these combos are nearly requisite, as regular hits really don’t do jack (unlike in Samurai Shodown, where one could play functionally well without knowing any special moves). Some of the combos are pretty cranked up as well – it’s not uncommon to see the computer leap across the screen at the very beginning of a match and hit you in a combo that takes off literally ½ of your health bar. With the CPU all over your ass like white on rice constantly, there’s just no room to experiment with special moves and finding your own combos.

If you have the time and patience to invest in it, it’s really quite a good fighter. It’s definitely not a title for casual gamers, however – I think you’ll have to already be a fairly hardcore fighting game fan coming in to really enjoy this one.

Tags:Arcade Game Review : Last Blade 2 (SNK, 1998)

America's Greatest Oil Gusher - 100 Years Ago

The San Joaquin Valley is a dry, semi-arid region of California, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. But more than 100 years ago, it was the heart of America’s major oil finds. When over pressured petroleum reserves burst through the earth by tremulous force and come to the surface during drilling, you have a gusher.

For this central California region, the first major oil gusher was in the Bakersfield, Kern County region (southern end of the San Joaquin Valley) in 1896. It was referred to as the Shamrock Gusher, producing some1,300 barrels of oil a day. Then in November 1909, the Midway Gusher, produced 2,000 barrels of oil daily. A couple months later and twelve miles away, the most stupendous gusher was about to occur. It was named The Lakeview Gusher which flowed for 18 months between 1910 and1911, producing 18,000 barrels a day. The 100th anniversary of this awesome event is marked this March 15, 2010.

It began with Julius Fried, a grocer, who thought oil might be in the red grass area of Lakeview. Workers started January 1, 1909, slowing drilling the area. Among reaching down 1,655 feet, Fried and his partners of the Lakeview Oil Company ran out of money for further drilling. Another company, Union Oil Company, offered to help by purchasing 51% of the Lakeview Oil Company stock and to continue the drilling when they had extra crews available.

One of the main drillers from Union Oil Company, Charles Woods, was working on the well on March 15, 1910. After reaching 2,225 feet in depth a massive oil gusher shot into the air. The gusher was twenty feet in diameter and reached a height of 200 feet. In the first few days it was producing 125,000 barrels of oil per day. Such a mighty gusher is also referred to as a ‘wild well.’

So powerful was this gusher, with sand and oil flowing in huge qualities, a large crate formed around the oil well and covered the equipment. The drillers worked for a month to try to control and enclose the great gusher. After a month the oil flowing was now equal to 90,000 barrels a day.

The oil was sent by a pipeline to huge barrel tanks, then traveled through a 8-inch pipeline to the Port Avila along the Pacific coast. Yet, there was fear among the workers of fires starting due to wide-spread oil scattered everywhere. The residents of Bakersfield and other surrounding areas, especially those with residences within a few miles of the Lakeview Gusher had their property and homes damaged.

This vast find of oil brought the crude price for oil down from $1.00 to 30 cents a barrel.

Problems pledged the Bakersfield oil fields. Near the Lakeview Gusher was an older well known as “Tightwad Hill”. In early 1911, this well suddenly blew up and caught fire. It burned for days and lit up the sky for miles around.

In trying to contain the massive Lakeview oil flood, huge timbers were placed over the top of the gusher but barrels of oil still surged, as much as 48,000 barrels a day. Using 400 workers, they created a barricade around the well, interweaving sand bags and sagebrush into a levee to hold back the flow of oil. By October 1910, the sandbag wall was about 100 feet in diameter around the Lakeview Gusher. The sandbags then were mounted higher and higher, to a height of 20 feet.

The Lakeview Gusher continued controlled and flowing for another year. By September 10, 1911, this colossal gusher had died out. Over its life of 544 days, it was estimated that some 9.4 million barrels (equal to 380 million gallons) of oil poured out. Unfortunately, only about 5 million barrels were saved for sale, the rest had evaporated or was sprayed across the landscape. It was referred to as a ‘black mist’.

The Union Oil Company tried to re-drill and make a secure base but all they could produce at the most was about 30 barrels a day. The company soon abandoned the site. It wasn’t until May 1914, while drilling nearby did the company tap into an underground oil reserve. This was named Lakeview No. 2. The new one was a gusher also but not the quality compared to the original Lakeview Gusher. The second one did produce 38, 376 barrels of oil.

In the 1930s, General Petroleum Corp., later Mobil Oil Co., re-drilled the Lakeview Gusher. With no sizable amount of oil produced, the area was abandoned.

The whole area of the San Joaquin Valley in California during the early years of the 20th century continued producing mighty gushers but nothing to equal the Lakeview Gusher in 1910. It has been noted as the largest-ever gusher in the United States.

With crude oil prices in the world now around $75 a barrel in early 2010 and times past in the mid-1970s at $36 a barrel to 2008 in the range of $94 a barrel, it is interesting to look back a hundred ago to one of America’s great finds and ultimate waste of crude oil.

For Bakersfield, California, there were many mixed blessings with the Lakeview Gusher in 1910. One positive aspect was that the Lakeview Gusher never caught fire itself. It also provided many new jobs for oil workers in the region. Enterprising citizens opened tent hotels near the fields for the workers and visitors to the area. The price of a night’s lodging was 35 cents, 10 cents more than the cost of a good meal. Transportation was important, especially since there were only dirt roads out to the oil fields from Bakersfield. Several businessmen started carriage and motorized bus shuttles to move needed workers and interested visitors to the oil fields.

Today, you can visit this historical site. It is on Highway 33 just north of the town Maricopa, along the old Taft-Maricopa Highway to the old US 399 road, now labeled Petroleum Club Road. This route leads to the oil-hardened, sand-bagged crater that marks the Lakeview Gusher. The once oil soaked land is topped with desert scrub. A marker was dedicated on February 3, 1952 by the Native Daughters of the Golden West, Kern County Historical Society and Kern County Museum. The bronze plaque is identified as State Historic Landmark #485.

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A Christian's Guide to Remaining Stress and Worry Free

Stressed out to the max? The failing economy, gas prices, lay offs, foreclosure- it’s enough to make a sane person feel insane. It seems as if there is only one thing to do – stress out! It seems like the only thing left we can so at times is it back and stress out fully loaded with validated worry and finical fear of a total crash due to todays harsh economy. If you’ve been hit with the stress, fear, tension and worry of a failing economy – stress no more!

Can I honestly ask you recall to mind a situation that your stress has helped you out of? Is there ever a time when you were like “thank God I stressed out about that so bad my hair fell out and my nails were near bleeding!, Oh if I didn’t stress out about it, I would have never been able to come up with the money for my electric bill!” Seriously, where has stress ever got you? Anywhere? Anywhere good? Come, on stress has to helpful, right, after all you do it ALL the time, huh? Okay, i will lighten up on the witty humor. Somehow humor makes us get a “Ahah moment!” I hope that helped.

Now back to the reality of stress. I know our economy is falling to the ground. President Bush just announced that we are in a recession, and have been for about a year. Something I am sure we all stressed out about since we have been knee deep in news of our failing economy. Everything from banks going under, gas prices gouging our wallets, and foreclosure rates at an all time high lead to a peak level of stress for almost any American in todays society.

In addition to the big picture on Wall Street, all of our wallets have been hit with a forceful blow pretty badly. Piling high the amount of stress that you personally feel due to the economic struggles of the county; your now faced with higher grocery costs, gas costs, utility rate increases and job instability as lay offs, hour cuts, and ever salaries decline!

Now that I reminded you of why you have been so stressed out and literally filled with worry, I would like to give you some useful information on the damage that stress can cause an individual. Now, don’t read this and stress that you have decreased your health, instead – JUST STOP worrying and stressing out!

Did you know that tranquilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications account for one fourth of all prescriptions written in the U.S. each year? Did you know that stress has been linked strokes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other illness? Did you know that stress weakens the immune system “stressing” it out so that it does not perform correctly, leaving you susceptible to more illness and infections. Many migraine sufferers can attribute each painful headache due to uncontrolled stress! Stress can be a the leasing cause of infertility in many couples trying to conceive.

Those are some alarming facts about stress, and yet even though you may have been aware of many of those facts, you still probably stress out more than you would like to admit. The thing is we all are guilty of stressing out every now and then. But I have to tell you, ever since I started taking Mathew 6:25-34 seriously, I began to see relief from my stress.

Do Not Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It took me a while to really comprehend how ineffective my own stress and worry really was and to truly trust God for everything I needed. He has supplied everything I have have needed and than some. Because of our Amazing God I am able to give our three children one of the most amazing Christmas ever. I have been blessed to be able to stay at home with them, while making money on the side writing for pay,which you can read more about here. I have gone through a time in which I was separated from my husband, in which at times I had no money at all for months, BUT GOD always provided in just the right time every one of our needs at that time. I learned the importance of tithing (read Tithes and Offerings: Do they Still Apply Today) and really having faith that moves the hand of God. I have seen miracle after miracle in my own life, but I first had to say “Okay, God, I trust you with everything and I AM NOT going to worry about any of it” He has certainly eliminated my stress and worries and taught me how freeing it is not living captive to the stress, worry, and finical fears that those who don’t have Christ are left to deal with.

So no matter how uncertain these harsh economic times are, remember your God is bigger and is ABLE to provide your every need! If you care for your finances His ways, He will entrust you with more no matter the condition of the economy.

Philippians 4:19-20 – And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Tags:A Christian’s Guide to Remaining Stress and Worry Free

Adam Lambert at the AMAs: A Poor Performance, or a Double Standard?

Sunday November 22, 2009, we saw a jaw dropping performance from American Idol runner up Adam Lambert. The performance was so risqué, the west coast version edited out some of the suggestive behavior. (I’m on the east coast, so I got to see all the good stuff.) He sang his first single “For your entertainment”. The content of the song is obviously about sex. It’s aggressive, but it’s not anything that we adults haven’t heard before. But when Adam performed this song on the AMAs, the after-buzz was very unfavorable.

Adam, who is openly gay, had both male and female dancers performing on stage with him. They were dressed provocatively, and danced with Adam in a slightly “unclassy” manner. In the beginning of the performance, he spins a female dancer around on the floor while she is lying on her back. He then held a male dancer on a leash. Later another female dancer grabbed his crotch. At the end of the performance, he grabs a male keyboard player and makes out with him.

There were people saying that they are no longer Adam Lambert fans after this performance. Personally, I don’t believe that. If that performance made you not like Adam Lambert, you probably were not big fans of his in the first place. But back to the AMAs…..

Adam later released a statement saying that this is discrimination since we’ve seen this kind of behavior in the past from women. He mentioned how Madonna and Britney Spears shared a kiss on the MTV awards and no one was disgusted about that. I think some people were, but the reaction was a little different. There was a lot of talk about the kiss with Madonna, but there wasn’t a lot of “disgust” per se. There wasn’t anyone saying that they were no longer Britney or Madonna fans after their performance.

I think that there is a double standard here. Women have been participating in this kind of behavior for a long time. Girl on girl action is something a lot of people actually like to see. Not only have women been behaving this way with girls, they also have with men. Christina Aguilera danced provocatively on her “Dirty” video. Ciara also did on her “Love, sex, magic” video with Justin Timberlake. This is not new behavior. What’s new is the fact that a man doing it now.

Not only a man, but a gay man. The way society reacts to gay men is very different from the way we react to lesbians. People are much more accepting of gay women. Once again, many people like to watch girl on girl action. But I think this is a result of holding men to a higher standard than we hold women.

I take it as an insult on women. How come? Because society views women as the weaker sex. We are the “victims”. No matter what happens, people always come up with an excuse for women’s behavior. When a man “misbehaves” so to speak, they have no excuse. We just shake our finger at them like, “You know better than that.”

But don’t women know better than that, too? Don’t all adults know right from wrong? Don’t all adults know what’s classy and what’s not? Don’t Britney, Ciara, Christina, and Madonna know better than that? Or is it just Adam who knows better?

We are not as accepting of gay men because it’s simply not as easy on the eyes as lesbians. It’s not as “entertaining”. We are so visual in this country, we agree with whatever looks good. Just imagine the difference of the reaction if this would have been Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez.

This country is not ready to accept the differences we are undergoing. We have a history of discrimination. We did it to Blacks, we did it to women, now we’re doing it to gays. I wonder what’s next. Will we pick on certain religions, another ethnic group, or what?

We are in denial about the different cultures, sexualities, religions, etc. in our country. We have a culture where if you are not like everyone else, then you’re a freak of some sort. I don’t quite know what it takes to make us a little more accepting of each other. Maybe it takes the same “keep up with the Jones'” attitude many of us have-to do whatever everyone is else is doing rather we want to, like it, or could afford it or not.

I applaud Adam for his performance. I’m glad he exposed us to this, because homosexuality exists and we need to wake up and smell the coffee. We don’t have to agree with it, but we don’t have to be in utter disgust either. Keep in mind, the same nation that is against what Adam did, is the same nation that spends billions of dollars on average on pornography. So I really don’t understand why everyone is acting so prudish.

If Adam had put on less of a performance, we would have been talking about how he didn’t deliver.
Either way, we would have been disappointed. I thought this performance met up to the standards of the song. It was kind of refreshing to see someone of the gay community be brave and stop letting the opinion of the rest of us keep him in the closet.

Tags:Adam Lambert at the AMAs: A Poor Performance, or a Double Standard?

5 Cheap and Easy Backyard Upgrades Under $50

Backyard landscaping can be a cost-prohibitive endeavor. With five easy backyard upgrades under $50, homeowners make the area user-friendly without breaking the bank. Who knew garden upgrades could be so inexpensive?

Putting Green Backyard Landscaping Idea

Caddy Shack fans can come into their own with a backyard putting green. Simply order a sack of bent grass seeds (one pound covers 1,000 square feet and costs about $24), a regulation six inch cup for $9 or a cup-less target for $12, and there is still some money left over for a sleeve of balls. Doing it yourself saves money but costs sweat. One of the easiest upgrades for the backyard, it is also one of the longest lasting.

Upgrade the Backyard into an Ice Skating Rink

Make a cheap backyard ice-skating rink that is great for little skaters just starting out. Instructables teaches how to use studs, plastic sheeting, wood screws and some beginning woodworking skills to construct this backyard fun for under $50.

Easy Backyard Upgrades Turn a Garden into a Bird Paradise

Attract birds to the yard with the addition of a pedestal bird bath for about $33. Keeping it a basic white, it is an excellent focal counterpoint to colorful flowers in a nearby flowerbed. Add a hummingbird feeder for about $14 and be sure to keep the cat indoors.

Attract Butterflies with Wildflowers

Upgrading a backyard that may be free from any flowerbeds or even lawn grass is easier than you think! Spend $15 on mixed wildflower seeds; they cover about 600 square feet. The mix is sure to attract butterflies throughout the season. Best of all, since these wild flowers are annuals, the homeowner can redo the entire backyard next year (when money may be a bit more plentiful). Add a hummingbird feeder for $14, and these backyard upgrades come in at below $50.

Upgrade the Backyard to Go Green

A $35 compost bin and $10 worth of builder’s sand can turn the dark inhospitable backyard corner — where nothing grows – into the garden’s environmentally friendly heart and soul. The sand beautifies the area and helps level the composting bin. Read up on how to compost your cat’s litter, grass clippings and a pumpkin after Halloween to be well on your way to going green with a simple backyard upgrade.

A Word on Cheap and Easy Backyard Upgrades

These easy backyard upgrades are largely temporary – with the exception of the backyard putting green and composting bin – and as such may need to be reevaluated the following year. For the putting green it is a good idea to conduct a soil sample for pH level analysis and also carefully consider irrigation before setting up the golfer’s backyard paradise.

Resources (accessed February 15, 2010)
Instructables (accessed February 15, 2010)
Nature’s Room (accessed February 15, 2010) (accessed February 15, 2010) (accessed February 15, 2010).

Tags:5 Cheap and Easy Backyard Upgrades Under $50

Ace Combat 6 Demo

The Ace Combat series started out on the playstation, but the 6th game will start Ace Combat’s debut on the Xbox 360.

The demo came out in July of this year. Ive just got my Xbox connected to Xbox live & the demo was the first thing I downloaded. Once the download was complete i started the demo up. I was able to choose my flight control style, & i went for the more complex setting as i find it quite easier. Then started the mission. The demo comes with one mission to fly, & that is the first mission from the campaign where you need to defend Gracemeria from a full on aerial onslaught. The mission starts with your plane, an F-16 & a few other wingmen taxing to the runway then taking off. The first thing that took me in were the graphics. A massive jump from the graphics on the older PS2. As your plane moves around and the sun catches the bodywork, you can literally see the small bumps & dent’s on the fuselage, very very impressive. As the opening movie progresses, your flight forms up with other aircraft in the area and you are introduced to your new wingman. The flight of planes then fly off over Gracemeria & this is where you take control.

The setting is pretty much the same as most of the AC games have begun. Your forces facing an overwhelming opposition with the odds stacked against you. When you take control the sky is littered with white & blue squares of enemy’s & friends. I found myself targeting an enemy fighter very close by. I fired a missile at the plane & again i was amazed at the graphics as the plane blew up into a fireball in front of me, wow. I must admit i found the lock-on system a little confusing, but worked it out eventually. When the white square of an enemy is flashing you are out of range, when the white square is constant it means you have a lock-on. I found the graphics & detail amazing as i flew around over Gracemeria taking shots at enemy planes & looking at the scenery. At one point an enemy flew in front of my plane & i gave him a very short bust of gunfire. The plane then started to trail smoke, which i had to look at for a second before finishing him off! I found a group of 3 B-52’s that had to be destroyed as part of the mission objective, I fired off 3 XMAA’s at them & saw two missiles hit home with one remaining bomber emerging from the fireball, that I finished off with an ordinary missile. The detail of the explosions is very very impressive too. I blew up a fighter & flying close to the explosion saw little bits of the aircraft as well as dust & other bits spray from it, very cool.

I also got a chance to use the allied command system where you can request help from ground forces or other aircraft, pointing my aircraft in the direction of a gaggle of enemy’s, & held the up button on the d-pad. With that I watched the ships in the water just ahead of me launch a barrage of missiles & gunfire at the enemy’s ahead, then went in to finish off any aircraft that remained. The graphics continued to impress, as I turned my plane back round the sky was a sea of contrails, explosions, missiles flying all ways & guns erupting from the ships below.

Shortly after the last of the target B-52’s had been destroyed another cut scene showed. It is here you get a first glimpse of the ace squadron & one of the super weapons. A giant air carrier in this case. The ace squadron fly low over the beautiful water & peeled off into the sky as the air carrier launches a volley of burst missiles. You then regain control & are bombarded by the burst missile strike which covers the sky in a red fire. I will admit that the first burst missile strike did slow down the game a bit & make things a little jerky. After the burst missile strike is over the ace squadron appears & at about the same time you are ordered to withdraw west & give up Gracemeria, with the enemy aces on you heel’s. I did try an shoot one down but he was much too good for me, so I withdrew west as well, dodging missiles & gunfire from the aces behind. Once you head west far enough the mission ends.

The sixth installment to the Ace Combat series looks set to raise the bar that little bit more & after the playing the demo I am longing for the release date. Getting an Xbox 360 is worth it for just this game alone.

Tags:Ace Combat 6 Demo

5 Natural Cures for Headaches

In today’s society medication and pain relief pills are pushed onto people to take for whatever symptoms they are experiencing. With the constant drug use, people build immunity to medication and so when they really need it, it’s not going to help and they’ll have to take higher drug dose than they would have initially needed. Any type of medication is hard on your body and may do damage to organs, so why not protect your body and treat your symptoms with natural cures/remedies? Here are some natural cures for headaches.

Probably the most common reason as to why people have headaches is because they are dehydrated. A headache is a warning sign, letting you know that something is wrong. Most people don’t drink enough water the way it is. Try drinking 4-6 glasses of water every day. This should ease most if not all of your headache problems.

There are also many teas out there that will ease the pain of headaches. Pretty much most herbal teas will do the trick. You could add juice from 3 slices of lemon into your cup of tea. The lemon gives immediate relief.

Boil a handful of rosemary in a liter of water and place it in a mug after it boils. Place a towel over your head and inhale the steam for as long as you can. Keep repeating this till the headache goes away.

Some foods even cause headaches and migraines. If any of these cause your headache, you should consider removing them from your daily diet or at least decrease the amount greatly. Foods like milk, butter, cheese and cream. Some other trigger foods may also include meat products, red wine, caffeine, and chocolate. You should also try to avoid foods with nitrites and sulfites in them. These dilate capillaries in the brain and increase blood flow which causes pain.

Another good thing for migraines is Ginger. It’s already proven that Ginger surpasses the Dramamine drug for nausea. Herbalists recommend 2 to 4 grams of ginger daily for migraines. It has been used for centuries in Asia to treat a number of aliments. You can also make ginger tea by simmering a couple slices of fresh ginger root in a cup of water for 15 minutes.

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Affordable Anniversary Restaurants in St. Louis

St. Louis has plenty of restaurants for an anniversary celebration. The following list is perfect for those who are celebrating a special event. You can post your own favorite anniversary restaurants below this article into the comments section. One thing to remember is that the prices and the hours can change at any time.

1. Al’s Restaurant is located at 1200 North 1st Street, St. Louis Missouri 63102. The telephone number is 314-421-6399. The regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday form 5:00pm until 10:00pm. The price ranges from $20 to $35 for your main entrée. On the menu you can expect to find a nice variety of seafood and steaks made to order. They do have a dress code that requires a jacket and no casual attire. Reservations are highly recommended. They have a very nice an elegant atmosphere.

2. Kemoll’s Italian Restaurant is located at 1 Metropolitan Square St. Louis Missouri 63102. The telephone number is 314-421-0555. The regular hours are Monday through Friday form 11:00am until 9:00pm, Saturday from 5:00pm until 9:00pm. Reservations are highly recommended at this location especially for an anniversary celebration. The price range is from $15 to $25 for your main entrée. On the menu you will find a nice variety of Italian dishes. The atmosphere is very romantic and cozy. The service is good and the staff is friendly.

3. Gian Peppe’s Restaurant is located at 2126 Marconi Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110. The telephone number is 314-772-3303. The regular hours are Monday through Thursday form 5:00pm until 10:00pm, Friday through Saturday from 5:00pm until 11:00pm. They provide a nice variety of Italian dishes that ranges in price from $15 to $25 for the main entrée. The overall atmosphere is very romantic and cozy and perfect of your special anniversary. You can call ahead to reserve your seats and cozy corner of the restaurant.

4. Turveys on the Green is located at 255 Union Boulevard, St. Louis Missouri 63108. The telephone number is 314-454-1667. The regular hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 5:00pm until 11:00pm, Friday from 5:00pm until 11:00pm. On the menu you will find a nice list of traditional American cuisine to choose from. The prices range from $15 to $25 on the menu. On select nights they have live music. The service is excellent and the staff is friendly. The overall atmosphere is relaxing and comfortable.

Tags:Affordable Anniversary Restaurants in St. Louis


It seems to be a lot easier to absolve other people for their mistakes than to forgive your own. Why do you believe it is so hard to forgive yourself for being human? Is personal absolution out of the question? Do you think it is because of a feeling of unworthiness? Perhaps there is a deep-seated reason for this inability in most of us. There is never going to be a time when mistakes are not made. Nothing you have done is so terrible that it deserves a life sentence. If you can just start with a few little things, you could be on the road to your own personal absolution.

First, there has to be acceptance. You did make a mistake. Stop the self-talk about how stupid you were to have made such a bad error in judgment. Believe me, you are not the first person to ever feel this way. Accept what was and acknowledge that you did make a mistake and you screwed up. The object here is to learn from the mistake. You have probably heard that your entire life. Things that have truth tend to get repeated often, so you should listen.

Secondly, it is time to push forward. You acknowledged your mistake. How do you move on? Stop letting others throw your mistake up to you and send you packing your bags for that guilt trip. Every time this happens, especially when you do it to yourself, change your thought pattern right away. Do not dwell on what has happened. The past is over. The future is yet to be. The only time you have is right now.

The third suggestion ties in with the first. Learn from the mistake. There are lessons to be learned in every situation. If it is really bothering you, then make a list. Question why you made the mistake. What led up to the situation? Could you have done something to keep it from happening? There may be nothing you can do to change what happened, but you are responsible for what you do with the lessons now.

One other thing that may help is to simply realize that as a human being, there will be mistakes. Have you ever met a perfect person? Perhaps your mother is as close to perfect as you will ever likely to see, but she is human and she also makes mistakes. Everyone has, does and will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you will never do so, is living in a fantasy.

You can minimize future mistakes by better planning. Absolve yourself now of your past, move ahead, learn from it and plan ahead. Life is about growth. Mistakes provide energy for the growth.


5 Christmas Presents for Cars Fans

If you have a little one that is crazy over Disney’s Cars, you may find the presents in this article useful. Having a Cars fan in my family, I know from experience what a little one wants. Trust me, he has told me a hundred times what he wants for Christmas, and don’t you know it, it all has to do with Cars. So, here are some Christmas present ideas for the Cars fan in your life.

Cars Video Games

Many Cars video games have been created for different consoles. You can find Cars games for Wii, Play Stations, Xbox, DSi, and even for the PC. One of the best places to find these games is Ebay. Also check out GameStop. They stay well stocked on their games, and you can purchase them from the GameStop website.

Cars Backpacks

If your little one is in school, why not buy him or her a Cars backpack. You can find them at Target, CarstheMovie website, and many other places. You can also check Ebay. From time to time, you can catch these backpacks on Ebay at reasonable prices.

Cars Bathroom Sets

If your little one has his or her own bathroom, you could buy them a Cars bathroom set for Christmas. These bathroom sets can be purchased at Wal-Mart and on the CarstheMovie website.

Cars Diecast Cars

If your little one is more into playing with cars, you can check out the Cars diecast cars. These cars are sold at places like Target, Wal-Mart, and on the CarstheMovie website. They sell all of the cars that was featured in the movie. This would be a great stocking stuffer.

Cars Pajamas

How about some Cars pajamas for Christmas? You can find the Cars pajamas in many different sizes at places like Wal-Mart and the CarstheMovie site. Some of the pajamas have footies and others don’t. Some are long sleeve, and some are short sleeve.

There are many other Cars items that can be purchased for your Cars lover for Christmas. Looking on Ebay for Disney’s Cars stuff will give you more ideas, and you will probably run into deals while you are looking. If you would like more ideas, visit the site below and you will see a long list of Cars items.

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A Mushroom that Heals? an All-Natural Alternative that Stimulates the Immune System

For years, researchers and practitioners have known that mushrooms are a powerful medicinal source. In the 1970s Japanese researchers were able to isolate a powerful extract in one mushroom in the form of a polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and found that it had strong, anti-tumor and anti-cancer capabilities. The Japanese government started providing it to patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Researchers linked the PSK extract directly to the stimulation and modulation of the immune system, showing surprising results in dealing with serious illnesses. In the 1980s Chinese researchers developed a more potent strain of a polysaccharide peptide (PSP). These developments sparked a series of over 400 medical studies around the world that has excited the medical community.

The mushroom is called Coriolus versicolor, and its PSK and PSP extracts are shown to be highly effective in boosting and regulating the immune system. It is widely understood that the immune system heals and defends the body.

World-renowned institutes, including M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, have either completed their own or cited the studies in their research of this breakthrough mushroom product. The immune system is our first line of defense. When the immune system is weakened the body may not be able to deal properly with any number of health issues ranging from the common cold or flu to the more serious of issues including, but not limited to, diabetes, fibromyalgia, herpes, hepatitis, pulmonary disorders, urinary and digestive tract disorders, liver diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, skin disorders, psoriasis, high blood pressure and even the deadliest disease that we all dread. When our immune system is weakened or compromised due to stress, age, environmental exposure or any number of factors, we tend to succumb to these health issues … and these results can be deadly. A stronger immune system is key to health and wellness. Giving our immune system the extra help it needs can help us deal with many health issues whether we are aware of them or not. Some tips to boost your immune system include:

Going herbal, try mushrooms. Try taking a herbal supplement that features the Coriolus versicolor mushroom, which is known to improve immune system function. One daily supplement, inForce is harvested at the mycelia stage, which makes for the most potent strain available.

Getting plenty of sleep. Most adults need between seven and eight hours of solid sleep a night. Giving your body the required sleep it needs will help your immune system.

Eating Healthy. Raw fruits, vegetables, fresh produce and foods high in antioxidants such as berries are quite helpful in boosting immune function.

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5 Tips for Avoiding Razor Burn While Shaving

There’s nothing quite as annoying or unsightly as razor burn, but you can avoid skin irritation by shaving carefully and following these tips for a more comfortable and even shave.

1. Pre-shave. This is probably the most important tip for shaving in general, and especially for avoiding razor burn. Before you shave, massage your face with hot water, or shave directly after showering. Rub the hair in the opposite direction that it’s growing (against the grain). This opens up your pores and makes your hair less resistant to being shaved, which will cut down on razor burn and make the whole shaving experience more pleasant. Use the same opposite direction massage when lathering up, too.

2. Shave perpendicular to the grain. Rather than shaving with or against the grain, go at a slight angle to the grain. Shave with small strokes, washing and wiping your razor clean after each stroke. Resist the urge to hurry through your shave. Take your time and be careful.

3. Use a brush. A badger hair brush or other high quality shaving brush can work up a rich, foamy lather that you won’t be able to get with just water and your hands, and can apply lather in an even way to help avoid razor burn. You’ll also get a more comfortable shave than you’re probably used to. You may have to look online for a good brush, but they’re fairly inexpensive and are certainly worth the money.

4. Use a lotion instead of an after shave. Aftershaves can dry out your skin, and that can lead to razor burn. Instead, try using a shaving lotion, which are very easy to find and good for your skin. Avoid any skin product with alcohol if you have sensitive skin; you want to stay moisturized, and work on your technique. It’s very likely that your skin will change over time, but it doesn’t hurt anything to avoid razor burn by staying moisturized in the meantime.

5. Use a simple razor and shaving cream. If you’re still getting razor burn, you may be using bad tools; avoid multi-blade razors, which can get far too close. Instead, use a simple single blade razor, or consider learning to shave with a straight edge. Use a simple shaving cream, as well. Simplicity is a good thing when shaving, and will lead to a more comfortable face.

Do you have shaving tips for how to avoid razor burn? Post them in the tips below.

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5 Great Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses

My mother stressed over selecting a dress to wear for my first wedding. She wanted to look stunning at her daughter’s wedding, but didn’t want to take the focus off the bride. Selecting a mother of the bride dress shouldn’t be so stressful. I have five fabulous mother of the bride dresses you can choose from. Some of these mother of the bride dresses are in your own closet!

Mother of the Bride Dresses #1: The Little Black Dress

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: every woman should have a little black dress. If you have a little black dress that is sophisticated and flattering, it can double as a mother of the bride dress as well. Accessorize with luxurious jewelry such as pearls. Wear a sophisticated hat and some killer shoes. Add color with a pashmina scarf or colorful shawl. You can’t go wrong with the little black dress as a mother of the bride dress.

Mother of the Bride Dresses #2: A Great Silk Pantsuit

A nice silk pantsuit made out of luxurious fabrics is a great mother of the bride dress. Choose a mother of the bride pant suit that has flowing and flattering lines. Choose a color that compliments the colors chosen by your daughter as her wedding colors. This way, your mother of the bride dress really blends in and fits to the theme of the wedding.

Mother of the Bride Dresses #3: A Cocktail Dress

If your daughter has chosen a black tie wedding reception, you may have no choice but to purchase a cocktail dress as your mother of the bride dress. Cocktail dresses are a lot of fun. If you wish to wear a cocktail dress as your mother of the bride dress, but don’t have a lot of money you can always look in second hand stores. If you live near a major city such as New York or LA, second hand stores may have designer gowns that have been worn only once or twice. Buying secondhand is a way to look fabulous in your the mother of the bride dress you might not have otherwise been able to afford.

Mother of the Bride Dresses #4: Bridesmaid Dress with a Unique Twist

A unique mother of the bride dress would be to purchase the same dress as the bridesmaids are wearing. Add a unique twist to your dress by adding a small shrug or jacket made out of the same fabrics as the dress. This will allow you to blend in the wedding theme, but still allows you to show your distinction as mother of the bride.

Mother of the Bride Dresses #5: Shift Dress with Fitted Jacket

A great mother of the bride look that I love is a shift dress with a fitted jacket. During the ceremony and while taking photos, you can be very professional and conservative. At the reception you can kick off your heels and take off your jacket and show off your gorgeous features on the dance floor. A shift dress with a fitted jacket could be the best mother of the bride dress for you.

Your daughter’s wedding day is going to be one of the happiest days of her life. Support her by choosing a great mother of the bride dress that makes you feel confident and gorgeous, while still allowing the spotlight to remain on her.

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Are You Ready to Be More Confident?

Do you realize that lack of confidence in yourself limits every aspect of your life? You have held yourself back in your job, in your relationships and even kept your inner power stamped down. Sometimes it really is a simple matter of changing how you see yourself. Negative thoughts about yourself come from a lifetime of practice in some cases. Everyone has painful experiences that come along with negative reinforcement. It is possible to create a more positive image of yourself and be more confident in every part of your life.

Here are some simple ways to start allowing more positive energy into your life.

1) Simply seeing yourself as an unfinished work is a good place to start. If you were done growing, there would be no more need to learn. It is a fact of life that there is always someone who is more intelligent, more courageous, and better in some manner. If you are trying to measure up to the impossible, it is time to readjust your thinking. Set an affirmation that you will only get better every day. You may be unfinished in many ways, but every part of you is worthy of respect, especially from you.

2) Act the way you want things to be even if they are not yet real. This is the old “fake it til you make it” method. This really does work if you give it a little time and put the energy into it. Pretending something is true affects the way your mind works. This is not a long term solution, but it can give you a kick start in building your confidence. The next time you have to attend one of those boring company lunches, act as if you are the most self-confident person there. Think about how a person who really is ultra confident would act in that situation. Attitude has a lot to do with feeling confident.

3) Make a list of all of your good qualities. You have more than you realize or are willing to acknowledge. Acting confident is a good start but you need to get at the root of why you have a negative image of yourself so you can start building a lasting change in your attitude. Take stock of the good things you have done in your life and what you have accomplished. The list will be longer than you think right now. Start talking nicer to yourself and appreciate your skills and talents. You may not be perfect (who is?) but you are not as bad as you think.

These are things that will continue for your whole life. No one ever gets finished with learning and growing. Learn to appreciate the you that is new every day.

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A Story of Economic Terrorism

The reader should be warned that extremely frank language in conceptual situations is contained in this novel and any language that the reader may deem to be offensive should be in no way construed as the author’s actual beliefs. The author in no way bears any responsibility for those that continue to read this book and find themselves to be offended.

Charleston, North Carolina

Thursday, December, 28th


He is feeling as if he has been waiting in line for hours, the new airport security measures had created a clusterfuck and he has better things to do. Scott Holland doesn’t look like anyone special; standing among the clash of humanity, all races, nearly all nationalities seemed as if they had converged on this spot at this moment in time.

The security screening procedures for all flights, especially international, had been heightened due to the upcoming New Years celebrations. Although racial or ethnic profiling had been technically outlawed, the screeners still made sure that they looked closer at people of Middle Eastern descent than at any others.

Scott is no different than the screeners, but he is specifically focusing on two women in traditional bhurkas. He looks around scanning the throng that was getting a little thinner as time wore on. He glances down at his watch and than back toward the women; they had gotten passed the screeners.

Quickly and without hesitation he draws a Sig Sauer .45 caliber handgun from his shoulder holster and fires one time into the air.

“Federal Agent, everybody down!” he yells at the suddenly stunned crowd.

The women in the bhurkas freeze for a second and then move toward the gate as if they had not heard the shot or the order.

Another shot from Holland’s Sig Sauer, assaults the ears around him. “Federal agent, get down…now!”

The bhurka clad women stop and turn around slowly.

“Get on the floor,” Holland yells again. Then repeats himself again in Farsi.

Black attired figures come storming into the area MP3 submachine guns pointing in every direction, laser eyes pinpointing on the bodies on the floor and in the direction of the women.

In a synchronous motion the women reach in front of them and pull the bhurka’s apart, the sound of Velcro rasping through the silence. Blocks of clay like substance are strapped around their bodies and wires are running up their shoulders and into the bulky sleeves.

In unison they cry, “Allah Akbar!”

Two quick successive shots roar, red splotches form on both women’s forehead and they fall back.

“Ow! Goddamn it Scott, that hurt!” one of the women staggers to her feet. “Did you have to shoot me in the head?”

Scott walks over to the woman and wryly surveys his handiwork, “Sorry Keri, old habits.”

One of the men in black pulls off his mask and intones, “All right folks exercise is over, and I want section leaders’ reports on my desk by 1500hrs.”

Holland walks up to the screeners table. “All right which one of you was responsible for letting those two through without further questioning?” Of the three sitting at the table, a young crew-cut headed man looks at Holland sheepishly.

“I guess that would have been me sir.”

“You guess that would’ve been you, huh? Well perhaps you would like to explain your reasoning to the 253 passengers and 15 crew personnel that would have lost their lives as to why you didn’t screen them closer?”

“Not particularly sir.”

Holland leans in closer, eyes flaring, “fine, explain it to me.”

The man swallows hard, “they were women sir, and I didn’t think that they were a threat.”

“Did you even talk to them?”

“Well… yes sir, I asked them the standard questions, and everything seemed to check out.”

“And where did they say their husbands were?”

“I’m sorry sir?”

Holland leans in a little closer, as if to make him self heard clearer, “I said, where did they say their husbands were?”

The man leans back trying to avoid the closeness of Holland and looks at him quizzically, “I…uhm… I didn’t…uh….ask them…sir.” Then he says a little defiantly, “I guess I don’t understand what their husbands had to do with anything.”

Holland backs off the man, “I see, and tell me…” Holland reads the man’s name tag, “Mr. Bolton, did you sit through the classes on Arabic law, most specifically the laws concerning Sha’ria?”

Bolton nods.

“And tell me Mr. Bolton, what does Sha’ria law have to say about women in public?”

Bolton licks his lips nervously, “Ah…it…says that ah…women can’t travel without a male family member or her husband with them.”

“Very good Mr. Bolton, so now I ask you again to tell me why you didn’t ask them where their husbands were.”

“Well sir, this is America, and we don’t acknowledge the laws of Sha’ria.”

Holland steps back from the table and turns around, “I want everyone to listen to me and listen good. Sha’ria law is not about a country, but about a religion, and the practitioners do not care what country they are in. Because America has constitutionally protected freedom of religion, we allow the people who fall under Sha’ria law to do pretty much as they please. These two women who were clad in bhurkas did so because their law required it, and their law also required them to have a male family member present at all times. They were suspicious from the very second they walked into the room.” He pauses for a moment to let it all settle in, and then, “it is our unwillingness to inquire into sensitive areas that continue to make us unsecured.”

Holland glances back at Bolton, giving him a hard look, and then heads for the door.

Once out in the hall, Holland leans back against the wall and exhales heavily. Twenty years and countless accommodations, and he found himself relegated to being saddled with wet-behind-the-ears trainees. Under the heading of Homeland Security exists an agency that used to be a part of the National Security Agency; the Defense Intelligence Agency contains a shadowy network of spies and covert operations that most people would prefer not to know about. Holland had been one of the more prolific operatives in DIA, but since the White House deemed that the nation would probably not fall under any more serious terrorist acts, his services were no longer needed in that capacity. Not wanting to release a person of his capabilities on the world without supervision they tucked him away in less than choice training operations until they could figure out what they wanted to do with him.

Los Angeles, California

Thursday, December 28th 2006


He sits in the middle of the room, stares at the blank wall in front of him, and contemplates the future. The plan is simple, if the execution is flawless, he will have struck a great blow; if the execution is flawed a great blow will still have been struck but he will not be able to bask in the quiet glow of a job well done. To rob a nation of a significant percentage of its people and its resources creates an untenable fear in all nations…in all people regardless of ethnicity, or nationality. To be successful here would make him a living god.

He pushes himself off the floor and wanders around the room seemingly distracted. Nearly everything was ready, just a few details to be cleared up and then he could pull the trigger on the plan. His distraction is not from lack of planning or commitment to the plan; this is a distraction of the flesh. In the next room lies a woman of questionable moral integrity, a woman that had no qualms about succumbing to his sexual advances the night before.

This woman… Natalie…Natasha… Nicole… something that started with an ‘N’ had approached him out of the blue while he was trying to have a quiet meal and a couple of drinks at a restaurant down the block from this apartment. Not wanting to draw attention to himself by seeming rude, he had listened to her inane driveling about her job, the high price of gas, and an endless cavalcade of pointless talking points, while sipping drinks. He had made sure that she had a continuous flow of alcohol intending the entire time to cause her to become quite drunk and then simply slip away, but luck had not been with him last night and she had remained relatively lucid.

He didn’t know why he finally decided to take her back to his apartment, he was well aware last night that in these early hours that he was going to be leaving the city for good. He thinks to himself that maybe he will regain some of his faltering luck and she will simply wake up and leave. Better that he wasn’t in the apartment when she did eventually wake up.

He walks over to a small writing table and in painstaking block letters drafts a note for her. Intentionally, he changes writing hands every couple of words and letters so that no two similar letters look as if they were written by the same person. In case she came back looking for him after he had gone a small amount of suspicion would be stymied by the lack of a credible handwriting analysis. He had taken great care to clean up after the clumsily performed mandatory sex act had been completed and the obligatory uncomfortable post-coital pleasantries had finally lead to her falling asleep snoring like a muted chainsaw. He had turned the used condom inside out over the toilet letting the contents slip into the blued water. Then with a pair of scissors, he had cut the condom into small pieces which were subsequently flushed into the LA sewer system. He knew that he was not in any of the law enforcement databases but it was always better to be safe. Hair was taken care of with a carefully designed wig that would lead authorities on a wild goose chase. It was crafted with the hair of over 30 different people so if police were to look for trace evidence, such as hair and fiber they would be tracking down dead-end leads for weeks on end. His body was devoid of hair, which he explained to his curious guest was a swimmers trick and that he competed in triathlons. His well defined muscle tone led credence to that statement but, truth-be-told, he had never even been in an ocean. That left his fingerprints, but since he had never been fingerprinted, at least not as an adult, there was little chance that he would be identified, though he reminded himself that he would have to wear gloves for the remainder of the operation.

Tags:A Story of Economic Terrorism

Affordable Anniversary Restaurants in Denver

If you are planning a special anniversary dinner, making sure that you stay within a budget is usually very important. Of course, this does not mean that you want a completely cheap location. You want something that is nice and elegant but will not cost you $100 a plate. The list below has some affordable anniversary restaurants that will keep you from breaking the bank. Keep in mind that the prices and the hours are subject to change at any time.

1. The first location is Randolph’s Restaurant & Grill located at 1776 Grant Street, Denver, Colorado 80203. The telephone number is 303-318-7272. The prices range from $15 to $30 for your main entrée. They are open daily from 6:30am until 10:00pm. On the menu they have a nice mix of traditional American dishes and plenty of fresh seafood options. The overall atmosphere is very cozy and comfortable. You can even make a reservation and request a seat near the fireplace. There is also a piano Bar on select nights as well. The staff is very nice and you will find plenty of parking available nearby.

2. The Samba room is located at 1460 Larimer Street, Denver Colorado 80202. The telephone number is 720-956-1701. The prices range from $15 to $30 for your main entrée. There regular hours are Monday through Wednesday from 11:00am until 12:00pm, Thursday through Saturday from 11:00am until 12:00am, and Sunday from 11:00am until 10:00pm. The service is excellent and the atmosphere is simple with a nice romantic feel to it. On the menu you will find a very nice variety of Latin American dishes such as Argentinean Skirt Steak, chicken, Beef Tenderloin and much more.

3. Red Square Euro Bistro is located at 1512 Larimer Street Denver Colorado. The telephone number is 303-595-8600. They are open Sunday through Thursday from 5:00pm until 9:00pm, Friday through Saturday from 5:00pm until 11:00pm. The prices range from $12 to $30 for your main entrée selection. The atmosphere is bright, and cozy. You can make your reservation for the private patio or for by the fireplace. Either option is perfect for an anniversary celebration. On the Menu you will find a nice variety of French and Russian dishes to choose from. Service is excellent and you will have no problem finding parking nearby.

4. Barolo Grill is located at 3030 East Sixth Avenue, Denver Colorado 80206. The telephone number is 303-393-1040. The main entrée prices range from $15 to $40 at this particular restaurant. Even though this is a bit more expensive than some of the other location in the area it is still in the affordable range. Their regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30pm until 10:30pm. They staff is very nice and the atmosphere is romantic and quaint. The menu includes a nice variety of Italian dishes and you can take advantage of the valet parking which is offered. Reservations are accepted and fireplace seating is available.

Tags:Affordable Anniversary Restaurants in Denver

6 Ways to Date Online After a Divorce

There are two ways to look at divorce: something old in your life is ending or something new in your life is about to begin.

I like to see things as a glass is half full, so I prefer to view divorce like you’ve shed the skin on your back and are getting ready to learn a brand new dance step.

One of the best ways to get on with your life after divorce is to try online dating.

First, keep in mind this will only work if you’re ready. You have to go through the proper grieving process and be open emotionally, physically and spiritually to a new relationship.

If you’re not, then online dating isn’t going to work as best as it could.

Let’s look at the process of how to start dating online after a divorce. I already mentioned the first one – being ready.

1. The starting gate.

Don’t saddle up and head to the starting gate if you’re in no way ready to be in a new relationship.

Divorce can be traumatizing. Like any traumatic experience, we need to give ourselves time to heal.

2. Ready. Set. Go.

OK, so you’ve determined you’re a fresh canvas and you’re ready to look for another potential mate.

The first step is to find an online dating site (or five) that offers what you’re looking for. There are tons of niche sites for single parents, Christians and even dog lovers.

You can also join one that caters to the masses, like eHarmony or

3. Pretty up your pony.

In keeping with the horse race theme, prettying up your pony is basically just getting your online dating profile ready for viewing.

It’s important not to do a sloppy job while putting it together. You should give some thought and attention to what you want it to say about you.

Also, choose a recent photo and don’t be afraid to ask a friend to proofread.

4. Survey the competition.

You’re not “competing” so to speak when it comes to dating online, but there is plenty of competition.

Take a look at some of the other potential suitors to see who you’re up against.

5. Spot the prize.

This horse analogy is getting old, but it’s always a good idea to know the players on the team and who’s out there when it comes to potential suitors.

Scroll through some dating profiles and see what jumps out at you.

6. Leave the gate.

Remember, life is about the journey, not where you end up. Enjoy new experiences, learn from them and try not to repeat the same old mistakes.

Online dating after divorce is about starting a new phase of your life and finding what truly makes you happy, so don’t rush into anything.

Go on 400 dates if you have to before finding your true soul mate.

Tags:6 Ways to Date Online After a Divorce

All About Sweet Beans 'Habichuelas Con Dulce'

Can you use beans as a dessert? Of course you can. Habichuelas con dulce is exclusive to the Dominican Republic. It is delicius and sweet!!!!

Habichuelas con Dulce is a sweet bean liquid dessert from the Dominican Republic that is especially popular around the Easter holiday. The beverage is part of the cuisine of the Dominican Republic and is traditionally garnished with “galleticas de leche,” round milk cookies engraved with a cross and known as “Guarina” or with “casabe,” a flatbread made of yuca flour.

Dominican Republic is a country with a variety of different races and cultures. Therefore, its music and its food have influence of their past. On this dessert, from the Taino Indians comes the sweet potato and the casabe, from the Spanish settlers the beans and the spices, and from African slaves the coconut milk.

Habichuelas con dulce is basically made with red beans, milk, sugar, spices and other ingredients. The beans are boiled and then blended to the consistency of soup.

One of the good things about Habichuelas con Dulce is that no two homes prepare it exactly the same way. Each family has its own secret ingredient. I’ll tell you my own recipe that my grandmother gave me years ago as part of our dominican tradition.

Serve warm or chill overnight to serve the next day.

Time: about 5 hours

Before starting to cook: Soak the beans in water overnight

Utensils: a big pot, blender, colander, long wooden spoon


4 cups of red kidney beans, boiled soft

6 cups of the water from boiling the beans

½ cup of white sugar or brown sugar

1 cup of coconut milk (1 can)

1 cup of evaporated milk (1 can)

½ cup of condensed milk

½ teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of butter

½ lb of sweet potatoes (batata), boiled and cut into small cubes

¼ cup of raisins (can be a mix of dark and light raisings)

Spices (add more or less according to taste)

¼ teaspoon of ground allspice

¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon of ground ginger

8 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

To garnish (may be omitted)

Cassava bread (may be omitted)

Small round milk cookies (may be omitted)

2 teaspoons of butter


1. Put the beans and the water through the blender. Strain the beans to get rid of the skin.

2. Put the beans, the coconut milk and half the milk in a pot and bring to a boil.

3. Add the rest of the milk, sugar and raisins and let boil at medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir regularly with a long wooden spoon to avoid sticking.

4. Add the sweet potatoes and the rest of the ingredients and boil to the desired consistency (about ¾ of the original volume, the beans will thicken when chilled).

(Tip: Spread butter on the cassava bread, sprinkle with salt and put in the oven until it turns golden brown.)

Serve the sweet beans chilled or warm with the cassava on the side. Put cookies in the beans when you serve.

Tags:All About Sweet Beans ‘Habichuelas Con Dulce’

Alicia Keys Wedding Details: The Pictures, the Dress and the Scandal Explained! (PHOTOS)

Brand new Alicia Keys wedding news: it seems Chelsea Clinton wasn’t the only celebrity wearing Vera Wang in white this weekend! The Alicia Keys wedding reportedly went off without a hitch in Corsica, France, according to (Though truth be told, we hear Alicia Keys’ wedding dress was more ivory than white.)

So far, Alicia Keys wedding pictures haven’t surfaced, but we’re keeping our eyes out and will bring them to you as soon as possible! In the meantime, keep reading to learn what the bride and groom wore, and find out who attended the A-list Alicia Keys wedding on Saturday!

No Alicia Keys Pictures Wedding Yet, Check Out Alicia Keys Baby Bump Photos While You Wait!

Like the Chelsea Clinton wedding, the Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys wedding took place on Saturday, July 31, and the bride wore Vera Wang. While Chelsea’s gown was more tradition white with a fitted bodice and soft organza skirts, reports say the Alicia Keys wedding dress was more contemporary. The gown was form-fitting, ivory, and reportedly featured a jeweled embellishment. Swizz Beatz reportedly donned a Tom Ford tux with a turquoise tie for his big day. The groom tweeted from France on his wedding day: “It’s a brand new day!” No Alicia Keys wedding pictures yet, but we expect some to trickle out soon!

In the meantime, click the link to check out other photos of the popular R&B singer, includingsome of the first Alicia Keys baby bump shots!

Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys are expecting their first child together sometime in November. Alicia Keys, 29, is pregnant with her first child, while Swizz Beatz, 31, already has two kids by other women, including his ex-wife. Many feel Swizz Beatz (really Kaseem Dean) left his first wife Mishonda specifically for Alicia Keys, and news of Alicia getting pregnant so quickly had plenty of people clucking.

(See Alicia Keys pregnant pictures and baby bump shots, right here!)

The Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys wedding, reportedly held yesterday in Corsica, France, was attended by such A-list guests as Bono and Queen Latifah. Swizz Beatz, a music producer, and Grammy-winning artist, Alicia Keys, have been dating since 2008.

The Alicia Keys wedding pictures have yet to be released, but you can see a photo of the new man-and-wife Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz right here!


Tags:Alicia Keys Wedding Details: The Pictures, the Dress and the Scandal Explained! (PHOTOS)

An Ideal Wedding Cake Starts with Good Decisions

The wedding date is set and as a new bride you are glancing at that diamond on your left hand a few hundred times a day. But you now have a wedding to plan and part of that planning is designing and creating the ideal wedding cake.

In order to have an ideal wedding cake you have to begin with the ideal cake designer for that wedding cake. If you have already selected a caterer then they will be able to recommend several reputable wedding cake designers that they have worked with in the past. If you have a wedding planner assisting with your wedding, then they should also be able to recommend wedding cake designers.

Take the list of recommended wedding cake designers and look at their websites. Look through the wedding cake picture galleries to get a feel of the type of work that they do. Read any testimonials that may be up on their site from other brides and read about the history of the cake designer.

In order to make the best decision you will need to meet each wedding cake designer in person and get a feel for their individual style of cake design and presentation. Some wedding cake designers are more formal, others focus on geometric shape, others may have a better technique with intricate flowers and piping. Talk to each wedding cake designer about the time and place of your wedding, style of your gown, feel of the ceremony and reception. Bring pictures of wedding cakes from magazines or online sites that represent what you think you want in a cake for your wedding.

Once you have found the wedding cake designer that matches your style and you are comfortable with, book them right away for your wedding. Some of the best wedding cake designers are booked up and over a year in advance.

Begin to work right away with your wedding cake designer on a design for your ideal wedding cake. Have you always known what your ideal wedding cake would look like? Or are you designing along with your fiancé as you go? Will it be more formal or a simpler presentation? All of these questions have to be answered. Your wedding cake designer should help step you through all these questions and collect all the information from you about your ideal wedding cake.

After a design session, or two, your wedding cake designer should come back to you with sketches of designs for you to review. Be very honest in your assessment of these sketches. Be vocal about what you like and what you don’t like. You will be paying a lot of money for this ideal wedding cake and you want it to be exactly what you envision for your wedding day.

And speaking of money according to, be prepared to pay anywhere from $1.50 to $20 a slice for your ideal wedding cake. The more complicated your cake the more expensive that it probably will be. It is generally cheaper to use buttercream than it is to use a fondant, and lots of complicated detail on the cake, intricate patterns will result in a higher price tag.

If your budget is more limited then offer ice cream or fruit, possibly even chocolate truffles that complement the flavor of your cake, and only order enough wedding cake for a half to two-thirds of your headcount. Another possible option, but not all cake designers will do this, is to have your ideal cake made on a smaller scale that fits your budget, and then order sheet cakes to be cut in the kitchen and served. So long as all the cake is all the same flavor, your guest will not know the difference.

Make sure that as you are planning your ideal wedding cake, and keeping your budget in mind, it is well worth it to pay the fee to have your cake delivered to your reception venue. Most cake designers will want to deliver it themselves and set it up onsite and you should let them do this. They have the knowledge and skill to make sure that your ideal wedding cake looks spectacular for your wedding day.

Once it is all planned, then enjoy your special wedding day knowing that your ideal wedding cake will be waiting for you at the reception, setup and ready to impress your guests.

Tags:An Ideal Wedding Cake Starts with Good Decisions

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Andrew "Cas" Castanuela Throws in His Bid for U.S. Senate

There’s a new kid on the block running for US Senate. He doesn’t hold the title of Doctor, Lawyer, or Indian Chief. He is not the typical “political fat cat” we all love to hate. He is not up to his elbows in money and running for a title.

He is Andrew Castanuela, affectionately known as “Cas”. He hails from the True Heart of Texas, Brady. One of six children, Castanuela grew up and joined the USAF (United States Air Force) where he served for 20 years. He is a life time member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, married with six children of his own.

When it comes to helping people, that is what Castanuela is best at. He holds a job with the state working with addicts. “I do have my LCDC (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) and have been practicing in the field over 21 years. I spent 20 years doing it in the military before I retired. .. I also have my Associates in Mental Health Services and finishing my BS in Social Psychology. After 43 years I continue to go to school even if it is online so that I can provide a better life for my family.” Says Castanuela. (personal email reply) He is also associated with the National Association for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (NAADAC), Texas Association of Addiction Professionals (TAAP), and the Texas Farm Bureau. (

He is an extremely personable man and genuinely friendly. Castanuela is a family man and Proud American. He is running as a Republican and his platform is pro-American.

– To Protect the American People from Out of Control Government Spending.
– The Right to Bare Arms
– To Support Term Limits
– To Support a Flat Tax
– To Support our Troops and Veterans
– To Bring Industrial Jobs Back to Our Country ( )

He brings to the Senate race kindness and understanding for his fellow man, love for his Country, and a background richly rooted in America, family, and honesty.

Castanuela upholds the U.S. Constitution as the basis of his platform and beliefs, in order to preserve and restore what this Nation was founded on. He is quoted from his website as saying, “I solemnly seek your support in sending me to Washington as a true spokesperson of the middle class and authentic representative of Texas. My candidacy is a symbolic representation of how the U.S. Constitution was projected to be empowered by our Founding Fathers. “

For more information on Andrew “Cas” Castanuela, you can access his biography, platform, and contact information on his website

Tags:Andrew “Cas” Castanuela Throws in His Bid for U.S. Senate

A Roger Ebert Rival Show to "At the Movies": Will it Become a Reality and Show Up Disney?

In what has to be the biggest unexpected upset in TV history with the departure of syndicated mainstay “Ebert & Roeper”, so goes a common plan by TV execs for TV seasons immemorial: Disrupting a classic format on a show that’s worked well in the ratings for decades and making it worse by adding wiseass young talent and giving an overall hip vibe. And so we’ll see this plan in action once again as “At the Movies” becomes the “Ben Show” this fall with 20-something Ben Lyons (pinch me now if dad Jeffrey isn’t the master of nepotism) and early 40-something Ben Mankiewicz who probably wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for his legendary family name.

With this much shocking chutzpah behind Disney revamping a proven formula used for the last 33 years founded by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, it almost makes you wish the new “At the Movies” would be brazen enough to use the trademarked thumbs-up/thumbs down rating system so Roger Ebert can sue the upholstery off the balcony seats and make that balcony permanently closed. Not that we’ll even recognize the classic balcony set on “At the Movies” as it likely revamps the old set to look like something off MTV and viewers tune in to their local stations every weekend to see two guys who are far from auspicious movie critics.

Yesiree, being a son or offspring of a notable person certainly has its perks, doesn’t it?

Of course, there is some interesting Yin and Yang here with the two Bens being the new hosts. Lyons will bring the fresh-faced MTV deejay look while likely giving a more positive edge to hipper and edgier fare. Mankiewicz is more of a gruff and cynical individual who will give every movie a hard time. But while those kinds of personality differences can sometimes be entertaining when an argument breaks out–an educated argument goes a long way, especially on an influential movie review show where people can to expect an educated opinion.

Lyons has no real business reviewing movies on a level anywhere near a Gene Siskel, Roger Ebert or even Richard Roeper when he’s mostly worked as an MTV deejay and something resembling a movie and TV producer. If you consider covering red carpet arrivals for MTV to be worthy of reviewing films, then you can easily deduce what a mistake it was for “At the Movies” to change like this.

For Mankiewicz, he brings a rough and tumble personality that’s suited a lot of his legendary family. However, he’s primarily known as a political radio talk show host for the liberal-minded Air America. His hosting duties on Turner Classic Movies have always made recoil in disgust–especially when his cynical ideas about classic films were typically nothing but unenlightened piffle. For a time, I thought TCM was setting him up to usurp the awesome host Robert Osborne…probably just because Osborne is getting older and the network is trying to groom a successor. Thankfully, he’s not even on TCM anymore, maybe because his easily arguable and gruffly cynical views on film just didn’t gel with the classy package TCM continues to be. He did have a better fit, though, hosting TCM’s “Cartoon Alley” on weekends for a few years that also bit the dust last year.

Now that you see what kind of style will be brought to the revamped “At the Movies”–we can only hope now that Roger Ebert will keep his recent word and start a rival syndicated show that can prove one important thing that TV suits need to finally get straight: Tradition wins out when it has the power to get back on the air…

Would a potential Ebert rival show just have him as a producer?

In an article I wrote here on January 25, 2008 about Roger Ebert’s health (here: ) and whether he’d ever return to “Ebert & Roeper”, I insinuated that he may have had to eventually change the title to “Roger Ebert Presents: (Name) & (Name)” in the event he’d never be able to come back due to his familiar voice being taken away by cancer surgery. Now there might be some prescience to that as apparent talks begin in starting a show bringing back the format Ebert and Gene Siskel started in the 1970’s over on PBS. For crying out loud, several generations have grown up with that old format and tinkering with it is akin to re-arranging the format of “60 Minutes” or “Meet the Press” that probably have to be reminded are in their 40th and 60th years, respectively.

The question has to be asked whether an Ebert-produced show would have the power to be picked up by hundreds of affiliate who would air it opposite “At the Movies” in many local markets. For syndication distributors who actually care about seeing two highly-educated, Pulitzer Award-winning movie critics who’ve devoted their entire life to studying and reviewing film as Siskel, Ebert and Roeper have, then it would be worth their while to consider taking on Ebert’s rival show.

We all know, though, that getting a show up and running isn’t an easy undertaking. The chances of seeing Richard Roeper with Ebert on the air again is obviously remote. But seeing Roeper with, say, Michael Phillips again (as it’s been most of this year on “Ebert & Roeper”) would be ideal. Phillips and Roeper had a good chemistry there that should be resumed if Ebert puts together another show. And, as he’s been on “Ebert & Roeper”, he can still be a major presence in being a behind-the-scenes producer. For his show, he could finally claim the title of executive producer and not have halfwit suits getting in his way to keep the show fresh and consistent.

Playing the “what if” card, it has to make you wonder if, had Gene Siskel been still alive and Ebert wasn’t out sick, the pair would have jumped ship because of Disney taking the show in a different direction. This may have happened regardless of Ebert being absent and Richard Roeper in the chair. Here’s your proof, though, that even Disney can’t seem to resist the temptation of TV suits thinking the young demographic is absolutely everything in TV. Those who control TV are perpetually stuck in this zone of misjudgment and can’t ever seem to see the light when it comes to appreciating all demographics or respecting tradition.

Here’s a salute to Roger Ebert for fighting back against this travesty, and it’s worth your while to support the new show if or when it gets on the air and ignore the revamped “At the Movies” that’s commensurate with any offspring of Joe Schmoe getting their own movie review show.


Tags:A Roger Ebert Rival Show to “At the Movies”: Will it Become a Reality and Show Up Disney?

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