Don't Kiss Santa This Christmas

Ah, Christmas, my favorite time of year. Tis the season for parties, great food, meeting up with family and friends that I haven't seen in a long time and yes, don't remind me; a season for getting the cold or flu.

As lovable as Santa is, I am gonna think twice about letting my child anywhere him, let alone kissing him.

You never know, Santa might be bearing gifts other than toys for children. Him living all the way in the North Pole he just might be having the sniffles or worse.

Last Christmas, I used my radiator heater heavily because I hate living in a cold house. Despite the heating and wearing multiple layers of clothing outside, I came down with the flu once and had the sniffles a couple of times.

Maybe a 'couple sniffles" is not bad but when I got the electricity bill, it wasn't the sniffles I was worried about, it was my heart. Man was it high!

Any how, maybe I can use a little less heating this season and include extra practices that will help me from falling prey to the flu.

So here is what I am gonna do

1. Get more sleep. Not sleeping enough can make your body more susceptible to sickness by decreasing the amount of cells dedicated to fighting bacteria.

2. Practice good hygiene. Isn't this something our parents drilled in us from a young age so as not to spread germs.

When you sneeze, do so in a tissue and not in your hands. If you are using a public bathroom, wash your hands and then wipe them in your own tissue.

Before and after meals wash your hands.

Getting some of those antiseptic hand wipes is also a good idea for wiping hands. My grandmother always said "a clean wash and a dirty wipe makes no sense"

3. Drink clean water, filtered preferably. Keeping the body properly hydrated helps keeps the tissues of the respiratory system moist which helps prevent bacteria from settling and making us ill.

4. Take It Easy. A body that is under stress is more susceptible to catching a cold. People that are under stress often have low energy, a sure sign that their immune system is feeling the pressure.

Get a message, meditate, do yoga, see a movie, listen to music etc. Such activities will do wonders for you.

5. Air Out The Place. Perhaps last year I used my heating too often and didn't open the windows enough. By opening the windows, you'll be letting out potentially harmful pollutants that could attack your immune system.

6. Take supplements. Dietary supplements give you the vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients that you might not be getting from food. These nutrients promote immune system health and give you more energy.

Even if you think you are eating a balanced diet and that you don't need a good multivitamin, think again. The soil our food is grown in is so nutrient-deficient that by the time you cook it, whatever little nutrient it had might be totally gone.

So do yourself and your children a favor right now. Take a quality multi vitamin and antioxidant supplement today and boost your immune system. And please, say hi to Santa for me.

Avoid Blue Screen of Death

The blue screen of death can be one of the most frustrating things that can ever happen to a computer. One minute, you are sitting on your computer looking up valuable information or playing games, then all of a sudden it happens. You freak out and you have no idea on how to fix it. With a little work, you should be able to get your computer back up and running today. Here are 2 ways that you can fix or avoid your blue screen of death.

Tip #1

The very first thing that you should do is always update your drivers. Your drivers are the backbone of your computer. They relate all of your hardware/software to your operating system. If these are not working properly, then your computer will not work properly. To update your drivers, you can go to the manufactures Web site or download a program that will automatically do it for you.

Tip #2

The next thing that you can do is download a registry or virus cleaner. If you are one of those people that download music, movies, games, etc., then there is a good chance that you have a virus on your computer that is causing your error. Be sure that you get a registry cleaner that will fix your error. Some cleaners will only remove files, rather than correcting and fixing them.

The blue screen error is frustrating but if you take the time to update your drivers on a monthly basis and always scan your computer for virus, you should not see another error on your computer again.

Christianity Gets a Bad Press in BBC Soap "Eastenders"

I am a big fan of Eastenders and love the character led storylines, and while I think Pastor Lucas has an intriguing and mysterious sickness in the head, I am getting a bit tired of seeing every committed Christian that appears in movies or TV films these days portrayed as a psycho. Certainly it happens in real life, that people just don't get what faith is all about and the will of God becomes a ball of confusion in their heads leading them to do the wrong things. Instead of standing back and letting God take the reins, some people project their own will onto God to justify wrongdoing. But when these ideas are being expressed to mass TV audiences, it is vital to get the balance right.

For those who don't know, Pastor Lucas has now murdered his second victim, Owen, his wife-to-be Denise's ex who found out about Lucas' first murder (which was more of a failure to report a fatal accident than murder) of his own ex-wife. As always with Eastenders, quality scriptwriting comes to the fore, cleverly building up the obsession and the motives that have led to the poor tragic character of Lucas. Particularly skilful was the way tension prior to the wedding ceremony was increased by the unravelling of two story lines which became one: Lucas' spat with Owen and Phil's problems with the loan shark. Phil, desperate to hide his Jaguar from the repo merchant, hands the keys to Lucas and tells him to get it out of the square. The car then becomes the scene of the crime when Owen appears in the back seat to torment Lucas, and ends up strangled in the boot (or trunk). Comedy is used to good effect to highlight the tragedy, both in the characters of Denise's sister and brother-in-law, who cannot keep their hands off the gin, each other or anyone else they happen to fancy, and in the presence of the Jaguar at the wedding, with murdered Owen's mobile phone going off periodically in the boot as his mother frantically tries to contact him to no avail.

Great story-telling brilliantly produced, so what's my objection? Perhaps there was a time in the past when ethnic viewers might have made the same criticism I am making whenever a member of their race was portrayed as a criminal without reservation. Now it seems it is Christians or religious people of any kind who get the scapegoat treatment. Just as in the past it became necessary for filmmakers to introduce balance whenever ethnic characters were involved, so it is important that whenever we have psycho Christians as crime protagonists, we should also have just as many in the show doing what they normally do, good, selfless, charitable work.

Safety on the Web - Emails Inside and Out

The issue of an employee using his official email account for personal purposes is something only the company can resolve. While it may or may not approve the practice, management has to establish certain rules that employees should know and agree to before they are allowed to use the company's network resources.

If you've been contemplating on this issue yourself, it will be fair to analyze it beginning with the premise that your business and personal affairs are two things that matter to you differently. Naturally, they should be treated differently as well. No matter how tempting it is to simply use one email account for all your online communications, don't. Your personal email should be treated differently from your business email and for this reason, you'll always want to keep them separate.

Examining the nature of business and personal communications will help you understand how far worlds apart your personal and business emails are. Business email, for sure, will need strict adherence to stricter rules on passwords. Business communications between you and your clients will also usually need encryption for more security. If sensitive or confidential corporate information needs to be sent, this can be sniffed or and stored on email servers when proper security techniques are not employed. If you work in government, the more communication will have to be secure and the more you have to adhere to even stricter rules. In other words, when dealing with business email, you have to submit to certain controls that have been put in place for a purpose that promotes the best interest of the company or entity you are associated with.

When you use your personal account for business purposes, official email communications will not be protected using such established controls set up by the company. Hence, there is significant risk of compromising the security of corporate information. Obviously, this is something you can get in serious trouble with as far as your relationship with management is concerned.

One thing that makes ordinary web users more susceptible to hacking is their negligence of the fact that the threat is real. People who do not know enough about the technical aspect of the Internet still tend to think that such threat exists only in movies and passwords are secure unless willfully revealed by the owner. The point is, passwords may be obtained without permission and this is possible through the genius of people we know as hackers. Unless one learns to accept this fact, he will remain to be unable to understand the reality of Internet threats.

As an employee, you will be incapable of appreciating protective measures that your company employs to secure its network. Hence, you will always tend to break rules, not necessarily because you want to put the company's safety on the line but simply because you think the consequences are not as serious as they are.

For your own PC, hide your IP to enable you to surf anonymously and be kept safe from interlopers.

The First of Three Things I Don't Like About the Balanced Scorecard

We have to applaud the Balanced Scorecard for the evolution it triggered in organisational performance measurement and strategy execution. But no model is without its limitations. Certainly, on account of the Balanced Scorecard, we're now seeing the measurement of non-financial results rather than just the financial, and we're seeing strategies laid out in logical and cause-effect linked plans designed for execution rather than shelving.

But a few challenges continue to baffle those that embrace the Balanced Scorecard way. One of the challenges is easy and quick to remedy within the current Balanced Scorecard theory. But the other two, I believe, require a more radical re-think.

In this first part of a three part series, we'll look at one of those challenges that does indeed need a more radical re-think.

CHALLENGE 1: The Balanced Scorecard is hard to cascade meaningfully.

You might argue with me on this point, because part of the Balanced Scorecard's claim to fame is it's focus on strategy execution and cascading strategy to operational levels. But those famous four perspectives that were the revelation of this framework are also the limitation on meaningfully cascading strategy.

What Happens Is "Mini-me" Syndrome.

I call it the "Mini-me" syndrome (inspired by the Austin Powers movies), where what ends up being cascaded are localised scaled-down copies of the corporate scorecard. Each department or team has the same perspectives as the corporate scorecard, almost the same strategy map, but tailored to the scope of their work.

If injury reduction is in the corporate scorecard, then every department and team has injury reduction in their scorecard: even those departments where injury risk is infinitesimal. If cost reduction is in the corporate scorecard, then every department or team has cost reduction in their scorecard: even those departments (like Human Resources or Process Improvement, whose costs must increase in order for other areas' costs to decrease.

That's not true cause-effect thinking, and it leaves many managers and employees bemused and cynical about having to measure things that don't really matter to them, and that don't really focus on their specific and unique contribution to the corporate direction.

Additive Thinking Is Not Cause-Effect Thinking.

When the focus is on maintaining the four perspectives in everyone's scorecard to link up to the corporate scorecard, the attention has moved away from where it needs to be: focusing on the performance results and process improvements that have the highest leverage to achieve the corporate strategy.

What happens instead is a collection of additive scorecards, where you can add up or combine the metrics from scorecards across the departmental tier, and end up with the values for the corporate scorecard. Likewise, you could add up the add up or combine the metrics from scorecards across teams within a department, and end up with the values for the departmental scorecard. This isn't cause-effect thinking. It's additive thinking.

Cascade True Cause-Effect, Not The Scorecard.

To apply true cause-effect thinking, we have to let go of structure. We have to openly explore and analyse how the performance of a part truly does impact on the performance of the whole. The four perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard don't encourage that open exploration and analysis, and that's why we have the Mini-me problem.

I haven't found a sensible and easy way to help departments and teams cascade the Balanced Scorecard in a way that's sensible for them and truly aligned to the corporate direction. Instead, we use a more open approach called Results Mapping, which encourages them to start with a conversation about the corporate direction (or scorecard) and explore the question "How and where do our results and our processes most impact on the corporate direction?"

Two More Challenges...

In parts two and three of this series, I'll discuss two more things I don't like about the Balanced Scorecard, and suggest some tips for compensating for these challenges also.


Where are you trying to cascade the Balanced Scorecard? Is it making sense to the teams it is cascading to? Is there anything in their scorecard that isn't really that important, or anything missing that actually is important? What questions are you asking to guide the way that strategy is cascaded in your organisation or company?

How Long Should You Financially Support a Child Who's Left the Nest?

A friend of a friend had her first child leave the nest. She did it a bit too soon, left before graduating from high school to go live with some boy. The daughter did get her GED and fortunately is not pregnant. Despite the silver lining of moving out of a dysfunctional home, the daughter is not making good use of her life. She has no job, doesn't even try for one, lives off her husband's meager income and spends money like its water. As a result there are frequent calls home to mom and dad begging for money to cover the rent, the utilities and even groceries. Yet they have lots of computer toys, games and movies whenever they want.

As a parent of young children I look at this situation and try to learn from it. My first lesson is this: no matter how hard it is, I cannot continue to support an ungrateful lazy child so she can squander everything I work for just to play house two states away. I know that some lessons have to be learned the hard way. It would be very difficult for me to tell my child, "no, I will not send you food money. You have to get a job." It would be very tough. But it's something that must be done in order for that child to learn that life is hard and you cannot suck your parents dry. That poor daughter is very immature and in order to keep her from disappearing from their life completely they continue to feed her habits. But this only serves to destroy the potential for this young woman to learn how to lead a good life. I honestly can't imagine what she does all day long with no job, but her Facebook account talks about frequent shopping trips and she comes home with useless junk. I'm guessing it's all funded by mommy and daddy.

Take this as a lesson if you are a parent. If you give your kids free license to abuse you chances are they will. If your kids are still really young take the time to teach them about life's responsibilities and back it up with actions, not just words. Life is hard and it's not a free ride. The lessons can be painful but they must be learned.

How We Decide

I've always known that a marketing message should "connect" with your prospective customer's emotions. The traditional explanation has been that emotions truly rule the decision making process. This book explains why this mantra isn't quite right.

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter chemical in our brain, controls not only the "pleasure center" but all of our emotions. Dopamine neurons send and receive these chemicals based on different inputs. For example, prediction neurons produce dopamine when they anticipates a pleasure (think of Pavlov). Our brains continually are fine tuning our receptors based on real-world trial-and-error.

Our emotional brain is a stew of these dopamine receptors. Think about seeing someone you love. Do you tingle? It's dopamine coursing through your body. Now think about an almost car-crash you were in. Does your breath get shallow? It's dopamine again.

We assign emotions to certain physical responses: love, fear, hate, etc. Not everyone defines the responses the same way, but we all know how these emotions make us feel. When it comes time to make a decision, we weigh the emotional brain's answer ("a hunch") with the rational brain's ("calculated results").

While we can explain how our rational brain answer arose ("...based on a class I took last year, the answer is obviously...") we have an almost impossible time explaining our emotional brain. The emotional brain, it turns out, is wired to our unconscious. And our unconscious has been programmed by our lifetime of dopamine receptor programming. Our unconscious is processing information that our rational brain doesn't perceive.

So what does this all mean to your marketing? It means that while we're trying to evoke certain emotional responses, we need to talk directly to the emotional brain (and bypass the rational brain). A careful reader will read your marketing copy, think about the words, and in thinking, may trigger the emotional brain's response. A graph showing improved results likewise requires the rational brain to interpret the message. What we need to do is appeal to another set of neurons in our brain: mirror neurons.

Mirror neurons are what make us feel empathy. When we see someone smiling, we feel happier because our mirror neurons are giving us the same physical response as if we were smiling. It's true for all of the emotions that people express around us. (Aside: It turns out that one of the causes for autism are non-functioning mirror neurons. People can see other's physical responses to emotion, but their mirror neurons aren't causing the feeling within their own bodies.). Therefore, to evoke an emotional response, we need to trigger the mirror neurons. And the best way to do this is with images and sound. An image of someone happy makes us feel happier. We know that a great movie plays with our emotions (mostly controlled by our ears).

The goal for any marketing message is to arrive unfiltered to your prospect. Not only past the spam filters, but the emotional filters as well. Pick your images and sounds well, and you'll likely trigger the mirror receptors to evoke the emotion. As a prospect, it means that when it comes time to make a decision, you need to understand the kind of decision you're being faced with and the type of thought you need to solve it. You need to think about how you think.

Video Submission Software Saves Time and Effort

Uploading and sharing videos on the internet is now a very popular pastime. Most people will have access to a computer and a webcam or digital camera. If you have tried uploading a file, then you will understand just how frustratingly slow it can be. It doesn't matter the speed your ISP gives, video files are large in size and take a long time to transfer. The answer to this problem is video submission software.

An application that allows you to up-load video files simultaneously will save you a great deal of time and anxiety. There is software available which permits you to send videos to more than thirty search engines all at the same time. You will no longer need to leave your computer running all night. Most video submission software programs should also allow you to send files to podcast sites.

It is not just the convenience of use that makes video submission software a great tool. By being able to up-load your videos to many different directories and sites, you will be able to reach potentially millions of viewers. People have become famous through online videos, it is a useful way to advertise a product or show off a talent.

To find out just how many people have watched your video you should choose a video submission software program that has a tracking feature. It can be very useful to know how long people have spent watching your videos and where they are located. These statistics will allow you to produce videos that more people may want to watch and share.

The time that you save in uploading files can be spent on more productive activities such as learning new video editing skills and techniques.

There are various different types of video submission software available. Some people will always go for the free options but it is the paid for applications that will have the most recent security features. If you do download a free program then you run the risk of malware or a virus. Any program you choose should give you the confidence that no one can post videos in your name.

Today, video sharing sites such as YouTube are phenomenally popular. This has come about with faster internet and cheaper technology. It is useful to research the best video submission software fully so that you can also post your movies and clips without any problems or delay.

Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa - Hawaiian Style Luxury

Rising out of its Hawaiian Garden of Eden setting the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa is a lavish $600 million luxury hotel styled in the classic manner of the early 1900s. A movie star favorite, Grand Wailea, Maui is an elegant enclave of courtyards, terraces, gardens, waterfalls, and fountains. The resort, situated on 40 acres of majestic rolling hills offers 780 guest rooms and suites, 70 percent of them overlooking world-famous Wailea Beach.

This Grand Wailea Resort fronts the famous Wailea Beach, a spectacularly long stretch of golden sand, wonderful for walking, swimming, and great for sun bathers. Just off the end of the beach, is an amazing collection of coral where you can spot turtles, manta rays, tons of brightly colored tropical fish, and beautiful underwater plants. You can easily snorkel to this area from the beach.

An exclusive 100-room "small hotel within a hotel", Napua Tower is the centerpiece of the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa. Napua and its five guest wings are surrounded by six art gardens, part of a $30 million permanent collection in the resort's "outdoor museum". Featured artists include Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, Fernand Leger and Andy Warhol.

At Wailea Golf Club, one of the largest and most acclaimed golf facilities in the islands, passionate golfers will think they've arrived at golfdom's golden gates! Surrounding the trio of 18-hole championship courses are spectacular mountain and ocean views. As a guest of Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, you will receive preferred rates and tee times at all 3 courses.

After your dream golf experience, how about a visit to an award-winning, world-renowned spa? The Grand Wailea's Spa Grande has been consistently recognized as one of the most luxurious Maui resort spas in Hawaii. This relaxing Polynesian retreat is ranked among the "Top 10 Spas in the United States" by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines. A celebrated trendsetter in relaxation, rejuvenation, and wellness, this 50,000-square-foot, Maui spa retreat addresses one's inner and outer beauty simultaneously.

Appealing to both first-time spa goers and repeat spa-savvy guests, Spa Grande is one of the first spas to reflect a cohesive balance between the traditions of the East, West and Ancient Hawaii. This spectacular Maui resort spa offers an extensive menu of soothing treatments and therapies one of which is an exclusive Terme Hydrotherapy Circuit, a unique haven of water therapies featuring five aromatic baths to soothe the body and soul, making for an amazing prelude to any treatment.

The Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa is home to six restaurants including Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, one of Maui's most highly rated restaurants. Lit by tiki torches overlooking a man-made lagoon, it features distinctive dishes such as macadamia-nut-crusted mahi mahi with citrus butter sauce, mango mint relish, and toasted coconut jasmine rice. Constructed from 800 tons of rock transported from Mt. Fuji, Japan, a second on-site restaurant, Kincha, specializes in sushi and sashimi.

More casual dining is available at The Grand Wailea's open-air Bistro Molokini, the garden view Cafe Kula and the Volcano Bar. Overlooking the Pacific, with stunning views of Molokini, Lanai, and the West Maui Mountains, The Grand Dining Room serves breakfast and brunch. Lounges include the swim-up Grotto Bar and the Botero Gallery Bar overlooking the lobby's impressive collection of sculpture.

Should you choose to visit the Grand Wailea - a resort many call the best in the world, you will quickly come to realize it is the jewel of Maui. This exquisite luxury resort offering stunning ocean views and surrounded by lush, tropical gardens truly reflects the natural beauty of Hawaii.

Mayan Calendar - The Myth, The Truth and The Media Hype

In the past few months, people's interest in the Mayan calendar and its prophecies has increased at a phenomenal pace. Public opinion on this ancient calendar is divided. Some believe that this calendar has no rational basis and is basically a myth. Alternately, there are several others who firmly opine that the Mayan calendar is a true prophecy on the future.

Scientists and astrologers agree that the Mayan people possessed supreme knowledge. These learned people were exponents of analytical thinking. They used scientific methods to come up with theories of human existence. Based on meticulous planning and scientific observations, the Mayan people developed a calendar that computed our solar year to be 365.242306 days long.

Interestingly, according to the Gregorian calendar that we follow today calculates our solar year to be 365.2525 days long. This clearly reflects that the Mayan calendar is both precise and scientific. Owing to this precision in their calculations and premonitions, a number of astrologers and soothsayers are fearing that the Mayan prophesy about the world coming to an end on December 21, 2012, could be true.

Scientists and astronomers all over the world have rubbished reports that suggest that the world will finally come to an end in 2012. According to them, these reports are only a figment of imagination that has no concrete evidence. Moreover, a section of these rational thinkers and social scientists further believe that the hoopla surrounding December 21, 2012, is actually nothing but a smart marketing move. Scientists are confident that December 21, 2012 will go down in the pages of history, just another day.

Whether the Mayan prophecy finally comes true or not is a matter of deliberation. In the meantime, marketers seem to have found a commercially viable concept in this prophecy. This is quite evident from the response that this prophecy is gaining, prompting filmmakers to make movies on it.

5 Ways to Overcome the Holidays, Even If Your Life is Hard

How does one step into the holidays when life is tough? Perhaps there has been a loss of a job or a decrease in financial flow. Now, more than ever, it is important to practice good self-care during the holidays.

It can be tough in times of difficulty to see a "silver lining" amidst so much loss. If this is true for you, I invite you to notice all the blessings that are in your life, and to start each day with an attitude of gratitude. The gratitude may be your breath or the covers that kept you warm during the night. Doing this practice regularly, you may be surprised how your life begins to shift from overwhelm to deep appreciation.

Remember, you are not alone on this journey. Reach out to someone you trust and let them hold you in a safe and nurturing space. Then, "pay it forward".

5 Ways to Overcome the Holidays, Even if Your Life is Hard

If you have had a tough time this year, due to job loss, illness, the financial crisis, or other heartbreak, you may be dreading the holiday season. These tips from the authors of Overcomers, Inc may help you cope:

1. Make taking care of your needs your number one priority this year. While it is good to care for others, in times of stress, it is easy to get overwhelmed by too much done on other's behalf.
2. Get enough rest. If you are feeling sad or stressed, those feelings will intensify if you don't get enough rest. Be sure you have enough time to recharge your batteries.
3. Create some new traditions. If this is the first year that you'll face the holidays after the death of a loved one or post layoff, don't pretend that life is the same and force yourself to do all the things you've always done. Keep the traditions that feel good to you but add at least one new thing that you will enjoy. New traditions bring more positive energy into the holiday season.
4. Ask for help. If you've always entertained 35 people with a full course dinner but just don't feel up to it or can't afford it, let your loved ones know. Suggest a potluck meal, let another family member host the event this year, or have a movie nut with simple snacks. Match your energy level and your budget to what you can do, not what you've always done.
5. Reach out to others in need. No matter how awful you may feel your life is, there are folks in a more difficult situation. Sending an afternoon visiting a nursing home, volunteering in a food pantry, or sending a care package to a member of the military will lift your spirits and help you feel needed.

May your holiday season be filled with compassion, peace, forgiveness and love.

"Are You Happy?" They Ask

There is a growing conscious awareness of happiness now emerging in our midst. People are beginning to focus more on their happiness and what really matters. Dr. Wayne Dyer calls it a "shift" when one moves from "ambition to meaning" and embarks on the process of purposeful living. Once a shift happens within someone to open their eyes to meaning rather than just living, they actually begin to see others around them differently. The shift has been happening to me for some time now and my antenna is now tuned to a different station than before. I now look for pleasant, good-feeling and purposeful things in my life knowing they are coming from within rather than outside of me. My circumstances are no longer directing my thoughts for they are purposeful and intended upon happiness.

Abraham-Hicks refers to the happiness as "reaching for what feels good" and getting "in the Vortex." Marci Shimoff has written extensively on the topic this past year with her bestseller "Happy For No Reason." In fact, there are over four hundred thousand searches found just on the word "happiness" on Amazon's website for books on this very subject. Movies are being made on the subject of happiness as in proof of the DVDs now available on the topic.

It begs the question to wonder why so many people are now interested in happiness and finding true meaning in their lives. In fact, more people are hiring Life Coaches these days than ever before to help them find their own path to purposeful living. More people know who Joel Osteen is and how to live "Your Best Life" as his bestselling book so amply describes. Even Oprah's motto to "Live Your Best Life" is drawing more viewers each year to her television and radio shows.

For whatever reason people are on the path to better themselves and their relationships, it can only be a positive move in the best direction. The importance here would be to take note if you are on a similar path individually. You are either moving toward or away from something at any given time in your life. With the ever increasing focus on moving toward meaning and fulfillment, now would be a good time to take inventory and see if you are actually moving toward happiness or away from what really matters. This would actually be one of those big ideas to actually follow. Get on the bandwagon with others and pursue your own happiness.

An IT Management Nightmare - Managing Trophy Kids

Remember that Jack Nicholson line from the movie that was made from the Steven King book "The Shining" .. Here's Johnny..."? I seem to recall that he delivers this line as he stands at a door with an axe in his hands trying to break into the bathroom. I suspect that many IT managers feel as though they are trapped in that bathroom and the millennial generation is on their way in.

Ron Alsop who writes for the Wall Street Journal has taken some time to study what this arrival means for all of us (hopefully no axes involved) and he's written a book with his answers in it called The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace. He's got some suggestions on just how to go about managing this new type of IT worker.

The first thing that needs to be realized is that the millennial generation is going to want much more attention and guidance from IT Leaders. This may come off as arrogant behavior, but it's not. The millennials got so much affirmation and positive feedback when they were growing up that when they enter the workplace they come across as being needy.

Unfortunately this need for more guidance goes hand-in-hand with the fact that millennials generally don't take suggestions for improvement very well. Blame this on their parents. IT managers are going to have toÃ'Â still deliver the good with the bad, but they are going to have to be careful to focus more on the good stuff.

Millennials are an interesting mix when it comes to doing work. They are used to having precise guidelines ("rules") that establish a structured situation with provides them with the order that they so desperately need.

However, at the same time millennials want a flexible work environment that allows them to balance their work and personal lives. A good way of thinking of this is that they don't view work as a place you go, rather work is something that you do.

All of this is enough to make an IT manger long for the old days when he / she was an individual contributor. However, their is an upside to all of this. The millennials have a solid grasp of cutting edge technology - it is a part of their life outside of work. They tend to work very well in teams and they get along well with baby boomers because they remind them so much of their own parents.

You've got hard workers here who will get the job done as long as an IT Leader points them in the right direction. That's why YOU are the IT Leader.

Medifast - Making Losing Weight Easy

Being overweight is never cool. For some reason, the media, the fashion scene and even regular folks only have eyes for the "thin ones" - the models, the movie stars and public figures with slender bodies and sexy bodies that everybody admires and covets.

And to those who are not gifted with a slim figure, this trend brings about low self - esteem. Find it hard to believe? Then try this, while you are out for lunch or dinner, try observing the behavior and posture of the slim ones versus to those who are in the heavy side.

In most cases, you would observe that people who are overweight have the tendency to walk with their heads down, shoulders slumped forward and their movements tend to be limited, as if they are avoiding catching attention. On the other hand, people with lean and sexy bodies are more likely to exhibit the opposite behavior. They walk with their chins up, they carry a better posture, they smile more and they are more outspoken.

Apart from this high confidence level, slim and healthy people are less likely to get sick, carry a happier disposition and they live longer too.

Those "advantages" are probably the reasons why almost everybody strives to be a thinner and a healthier individual. However, as you may already know, the path to losing weight is never easy. It requires commitment and a lot of sacrifices on one's end.

What sacrifices? Among them are:

- Committing to an exercise routine at least 3 to 4 times a week
- Lessening your alcohol intake
- Sleeping early (which means that you also have to minimize going out at night)
- And revamping your old eating habits.

Among those sacrifices, the last one seems to create more impact to most of the people who want to lose weight. Why so? This is because changing one's eating habits often means minimizing, if not letting go of the guilty pleasures from comfort foods such as the big, all-American cheesy hamburger, the creamy ice-cream, cakes and other desserts.

However, it would be important to note that revamping your eating habits does not mean that the dieters have to go hungry. This simply means that as one says goodbye to fat and carbohydrate-rich foods, he/ she has to say hello to a lot more greens, lean meat or healthier meal replacement plans.

While all of these sound easy, the actual challenge comes in one stays into a "diet" for two weeks or more. This is because at that point, the food suddenly starts to become boring and bland.

But not all dieters have to continue sticking with boring in bland. After all, this is what Medifast is supposed to be for.

What exactly is a Medifast diet?

It is a meal replacement programs that aims to do two things: one, to kick "boring" out of the picture and two, to provide dieters healthy meal alternatives. To give you an idea, the prepackaged meals include: scrumptious stews, chili, pudding, chocolate shakes, chocolate bars and even some nice and fluffy scrambled eggs. Note that they are not only delicious but they are also packed with vitamins and minerals as well.

The idea of the program is to have the dieter eat six small meals a day. Five of those are supposed to be one of the replacement meals of their choice and one lean and green meal. If the plan is followed, the dieter can lose an average of 2 to 5 pounds a week.

The best part is, along with the program, they get to have online support that can help them overcome challenges that come with losing weight. So now, do you agree that with Medifast in the picture, losing weight suddenly becomes so easy?

Video Game Console Comparison

Are you in the market for video game console shopping? There are more options today than there ever were, so it can be difficult to determine which system to buy. There are so many considerations to think of when buying consoles, so it makes more sense to look at the systems individually and compare them. The big three systems are Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Wii.

The Xbox 360 is probably the most popular choice in the market. Its online community, Xbox Live, is considered the best available - but that also means it comes with a monthly price tag to access it. The 360 comes in three different varieties, each at a different price point: the entry level Arcade ($199), Xbox 360 Pro ($299), and Elite ($399). Each version has incrementally more hard disc space, and comes with different accessories.

The PlayStation 3 is slightly more expensive, but is geared toward the gamer who wants an entertainment centre rather than just a gaming console. The biggest selling point for the PS3 is that it has a BluRay player built-in, whereas the 360 relies on HD-DVD technology (which is no longer supported by any major movie studios). The PS3 is technically capable of portraying better graphics and gaming experiences than the 360, but its free online community is not as robust as Microsoft's. The 80GB models are $399, and the 160GB models are $519.

The Nintendo Wii is even more popular than the PS3 or the 360; it is very difficult to find a Wii in stores to this day. While the graphics and power of the Wii pale in comparison to the 360 or the PS3, the main draw to Nintendo's console is that your movements control that of the characters on screen. Like the other consoles the Wii also uses wireless connectivity to access the Internet. The Wii is great for families, and comes in at a modest $279.

While the Xbox and the Wii are the cheaper alternatives in the video game console wars, the PS3 probably adds the greatest value by giving you a BluRay DVD player AND a gaming console, as well as a wireless media centre. There are advantages to all three, so it is just a matter of determining which console fits your situation the best.

Need to Know How to Quit Drinking?

For someone who wants to find out how to quit drinking, the first step is usually the realization that drinking has become a problem that needs to be addressed. Once that part is clear, one comes to the question of the best way of doing that. There will always be people who can completely quit drinking once they have made up their minds to do so. Others might not be so fortunate. In fact there are people who need medical assistance in helping them quit. Yet others are heavily dependent on support groups, such as family and organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous.

It is best to be very methodical and focused in deciding the best way to achieve the goal of quitting drinking completely. The first thing to do is to deliberate on this problem in a state of sobriety, so that you come up with a sensible and workable strategy. You could begin with getting rid of all the alcohol that you possess, since you have decided that you are not going to need it again.

Next maintain a journal in which you jot down your thoughts about what made you decide to quit drinking. This will keep you focused and away from temptation. The next extremely important and perhaps just as extremely difficult thing to do is to keep your drinking partners at an arm's length. Also give a miss to those social events where drinking is inevitable.

In case you suffer from a damaged liver on account of excessive drinking you may want to repair the damage by taking medication for it, now that you have decided to not cause any more damage to it by continuing to drink. Imbibe healthy eating habits. Consume whole grain food and lots of fruit. You may want to take multi vitamin pills as well.

Start exercising. It will not only make you feel better and healthier you will also gain in confidence by and by. Take up new hobbies. Engage in extra -curricular activities. Read books, watch movies, take up a social cause-anything that keeps you busy in useful activity.

Come to think of it why would anyone persist with something which only causes grief, distress and ultimately disaster? You have everything to gain and nothing to lose besides hangovers, ruined relationships and a tattered social life. Even the most desperate alcoholic knows in his heart that drinking is a one way to street to oblivion, but lacks the courage or conviction to give it up. In such cases professional and societal help is required. Almost nobody is beyond redemption. God created man to be happy, and quitting drinking takes one right back on the path to happiness. Once a person has decided that he needs to quit, there is every hope that he will. Some may do it quite easily, and others may have to be helped along the way- but everyone can quit.

So if you do have the need or know somebody else who does need to find out how to quit drinking urgently, then you have found the help needed to fulfil that need.

Nikon Digital Cameras - Basics For Buying a Camera

Buying Nikon digital cameras or any other brand for that matter would require a bit of research and comparison shopping. Even though most digi cams offer the same functionality, one needs to pay attention to the functions of a camera.

Actually it is really up to the buyers to pick Nikon digital cameras that are the most useful to him. He can go ahead and pick a tiny and a convenient model if he is a newbie or go for digital SLR versions if he is looking for professional quality pictures. All that matters is that the ultimate buy should be one that is easy to operate and well within the budget.

Some Basics That Are A Must To Know

Here are a couple of the buying basics that you should know -

  • Compact Nikon digital cameras are light and portable. These cams are the best choice for casual picture takers.
  • The average resolution that you would receive would range from five to six mega pixel. Some higher models also offer seven to eight mega pixels. Try not to go beyond this as cams that take pictures up to 10-12 mega pixels eat up a lot of memory space.
  • You can also upgrade your old digi cam by adding professional lenses and other added accessories. In this way, you can gain access to better pictures and save on a lot of money too.
  • DSLR cams no longer fall in the very expensive bracket. Yes, the prices of DSLR cams are dropping very fast. So even if you are an average photographer you can hone up your skills with professional quality Nikon digital cameras.
  • The other features that you must keep in mind are the zoom, viewfinder screen size, SD memory card slot and the ability to capture movies and video.
  • Pick Of The Day

    One of the latest versions offered by Nikon is Nikon d70 digi cam. It retails for $999 and features a 6.3 mega pixel resolution. The cam is a good DSLR cam choice and delivers what it promises.

    If you still cannot decide which cam to buy, then just log on to the Internet. Here you can learn about the various Nikon digital cameras and also order your camera to be delivered home.

    Wireless TV Transmitter

    Televisions are the most common appliances we have at home. They give a little fun to houses. They are used in watching movies, cartoons, game plays, etc. Normally, televisions have default channels being received in it. If you want an access to those channels coming abroad or from other places, you can have network cabling for it. Examples of these cable networks are Sky Cable, etc. Do you have cable networks at home or you were just relying on the signals that your television catches up. If your television is in cable, you can access those signals that are restricted on your network. That is, you are to pay the amount for the cable. A more improved trend in the field of electronics is the wireless tv transmitters. As an analogy, these transmitters serve a service provider or a drop line of all the signals that has been detected. Its functions are more likely the same as wireless internet connection.

    The main functionality of these wireless television transmitters is just like an antenna. If the antenna receives signals coming from the local broadcasting station, these transmitters are the one sending signals to those other televisions at home. In other words, these transmitters are like ISP for the internet. It provides signals and if this transmitter goes down, all the signals being catch up also goes down but the default signal channels are still on the network. For example, you have a television in your bedroom, automatically, you television in your bedroom receive signals coming from your television in your living room. The receiver decodes the signals being sent by the transmitter. In other words, the receiver is dependent on the transmitter.

    The signals being sent by the transmitter travels through an open air so as much as possible you should consider the openness of these televisions with each other because there is a possibility that the receiver cannot catches up the signal. For example, you are inside the mall and you wanted to call someone but you cannot contact that person. This is because there are boundaries that would trigger the transmission of signals. Also, the specification of the television matters. For example, nowadays, receivers are built during the 20th century, those people having these modern receivers doesn't have the compatibility with the old ones.

    Data Recovery From Your Hard Disk

    Some people come under a lot of mental pressure and become worried when they lose any vital data. The age to worry is over. PC Data Recovery, today, is a very simplistic task. PC Data Recovery is the process of recovering data from the storage systems. One can retrieve data by using floppies, DVDs or compact disks, hard drives, etc. It helps one to recover all the data that has been lost in a professional, safe and speedy manner. For all the IT firms and corporate houses dealing with website functioning data recovery is vital for storing the data in a proper mode. The time for protecting your data from corruption or from getting lost has gone.

    First of all, you can catch hold of some technically sound friend of yours. They can help you out with your problem. They might also have the PC Data Recovery software if you are lucky. If you are not successful, then you should try and point out the problem with the hard disc. Your computer might fail to boot or if it does start up, it might not display other drives. You also need to listen vigilantly to any ticking, grating or scraping sound that your hard drive may make. If it does you should inform the PC Data Recovery experts about the problem. In any case, you will have to take it to the experts who will take some time and also empty your wallets!

    But getting the data recovered by the experts is better than doing it yourself as there are chances that the hard disk may crash.It is also advised that you know which data you want to recover beforehand. Making a checklist along with alluding at the location of the files, movies, or pictures (that you want to retrieve) can make the task simpler and less time consuming. If it is only a few music files or some games then one should erase it and consent to the data loss. Conversely, if it is some significant information such as a product that you cannot reproduce, then you have no choice but to take your PC to a PC Data Recovery center.

    If the hard drive is secure then one has a decent likelihood of recovering the data. Downloading the software might help in some cases. In this techno world, where we all are completely dependent on computers, one cannot afford to lose any piece of information or data. Thus data recovery software has become extremely significant for personal as well as business use.Today, PC Data Recovery is no longer a difficult task. With recommended software or with the help of IT experts it can be accomplished easily.

    Top Beaches in Asia

    Asian beaches have a much different character than anything in the Western world. The sand is clean and the water warm, ocean life is abundant for the exploring, and there are plenty of opportunities for surfing, scuba diving, and boating. Or if you have a more sedentary afternoon in mind, you'll usually find plenty of nearby places to lounge under a thatched roof or in a beach recliner, while people bring you tropical drinks in glasses made out of coconut shells.

    With much of the coastlines in the tropical regions of Asia, it's no small wonder that the beaches here are ranked as some of the most amazing in the world. Whether you're lounging on a beach on an island off the coast of Thailand, on the South China Sea, or on the banks of the Mekong, you're sure to have plenty to do. Beaches aren't just beaches in Asia. You'll see some great shopping with local craftspeople selling their wares, night markets, bazaars, and fabulous entertainment, along with some of the finest beachfront restaurants you could ever want.

    Beachfront Dining

    After a relaxing day on the beach, you won't have to go far to find something to eat, and in many cases, you won't have to move at all. Many beaches have food stands and rows of beach chairs, and people waiting to take your order. But beyond that, there's nothing like a good sit-down restaurant overlooking the water, so brush off the sand and head on over for some freshly-caught seafood! The variety is astounding. You'll find restaurants on the pier and on floating barges, restaurants in boats, and restaurants on the sand. In Kanchanaburi Thailand, you can enjoy some fresh crab at a restaurant overlooking the Mae Kwai, with a perfect view of the historic "Bridge over the River Kwai". For you youngsters born after World War Two, that's right, it wasn't just a movie, it's a real place. Feel free to walk across it while whistling the theme song from the film.

    Beachfront Accommodations

    Asia's stunningly pure beaches are so compelling, you won't want to leave. So why take a hotel room in town, when there are plenty of affordable, comfortable resorts right on the beach? There's nothing like waking up in the morning and walking right out onto the sand to have your morning coffee as you watch the waves roll in off the sea. And depending on where you go, you will find a range of accommodations, ranging from a simple thatched hut to a five-star hotel. Those on a budget can still enjoy staying close to the beach with an amazing array of quaint bungalows and backpacker guest houses that will leave you with plenty of extra money in your pocket.

    But while many regions are highly developed and feature luxurious accommodations, there are still plenty of unspoiled and undeveloped beachfront regions for those who want to rough it a little. Vietnam's China Beach, which runs between Danang and Hoi An, is still largely undeveloped, and is a rare and beautiful gem in this Southeast Asian paradise. Closer to Danang, you will find more upscale resorts, but you're just as likely to encounter a local spot with quaint grass huts to spend the night. Another rare and largely unexplored beachfront area is along the Sihanoukville coast in Cambodia, where you'll still find accommodations built in traditional architectural styles.

    Respect for Local Customs

    The beautiful beaches throughout much of Asia attract people from all over the world, and tourists (and tourist dollars) are always welcome. But your trip will be more pleasant if you understand a bit about local customs, and resist imposing your own on the locals. Most local Asian cultures for example, tend to be modest, and public skinny-dipping or topless bathing is mostly a Western phenomenon. Yet many mistakenly believe that it is acceptable on Asian beaches. Respect the local customs and find out ahead of time whether it's commonly accepted practice on any given beach before you drop your top.

    Some of the most breathtaking beaches are also close by to other sites you may want to see, including Buddhist temples. Most Buddhist temples are open to the public, and the monks in residence are always quite happy to welcome visitors who want to have a look around. But avoid the temptation to walk straight from the beach to the temple in your bathing suit-custom requires you to dress modestly, with long pants (or a skirt for women), and a modest top that covers your arms.

    Surfing Fun

    Asia has become a prime surfing destination for those who seek the ultimate wave. Surfers visiting destinations like Padang Padang, Indonesia, or some of the warm waters off the Maldives, won't be disappointed. If you're an old pro, the surf will be high and the excitement unbelievable. If you're a beginner or even a first-timer, don't be intimidated though, you will find plenty of spots with more mild surf and capable instructors to get you started.

    Beyond the Beach and Under the Water

    Asia's beaches are so spectacular you won't need to go very far to satisfy your vacation needs, but if you venture out a little, you can also take a boat ride to get up close to the sea life, or even go scuba diving or snorkeling to get a look at what's underneath the water. Asia has some of the most spectacular scuba sites, complete with places for training and for renting equipment. The Coral Triangle in Malaysia for example, offers incredible diversity and abundant colorful sealife; and world-famous Christmas Island offers amazing views of nature both above and underneath the water.

    The Perfect Getaway

    And the great thing about beaches in Asia is that no matter what time of year, you can find someplace warm. In the tropical regions, it is sunny year-round, so be sure to send a picture of yourself enjoying the warm waters back to your friends who are busy digging out from the latest snowstorm.

    At least one day at the beach when visiting Asia is recommended. Some of the more populous regions, such as Hong Kong, will have more crowded beaches, but you won't have to look far to find one that has room for you to carve out a little space of your own for the afternoon.

    How to Stop Your Marriage From Falling Apart - Tips to Rebuild Your Relationship

    When a married couple begins to feel their relationship unraveling it can be devastating. In some instances one partner will decide that keeping the family intact isn't worth the trouble and they'll move out and seek a divorce. In other cases the couple wants to try and rebuild the relationship but they have absolutely no idea where to start. If you're faced with this now and you want to rekindle the love and commitment that was once present in your marriage, there's help. There are simple steps that you can take, beginning today, that will reconnect you and your partner emotionally. Learning how to stop your marriage from falling apart is the key to a happy, fulfilling future with the person you adore.

    Communication is obviously vitally important to any successful marriage but many couples don't truly see the value in listening to their partner. It's so easy to go on the defense when your partner comes to you because they are troubled about the relationship, or in particular, something you are doing. If you want your marriage to succeed you have to be willing to hear the negatives as well as the positives from your spouse. Make a commitment to one another to truly listen to each other. Let your partner talk, without interruption when they are expressing what they feel about the relationship. Absorb what they say and learn from it. Don't try and defend your position. Instead compromise and grow from everything they tell you. If you can do this, they'll follow suit and do the same for you.

    Dating doesn't have to stop once you two make that fateful trip down the aisle and become husband and wife. Couples who are happy in their relationships tend to make time to continue to date each other. Depending on your budget, you don't have to devote a great deal of money to this. Something as simple and pleasurable as arranging overnight care for the kids with a close friend or relative and then having dinner together at home, followed by a movie or a shared bath, can be more than enough. The focus shouldn't be on the experience, but more on the company. Enjoy this type of uninterrupted time with your spouse. It can help you both to get to know one another again and it will remind each of you why you fell in love with the other.

    Personal Change - You Are in Control

    Looking back, I marvel at how much time in my life I spent waiting for something to happen. I don't mean the time I killed waiting for a scheduled event or appointment. I'm talking about something much more important. What I am talking about is how as I moved through life, at almost every point I was hoping for an extraordinary event that would come from the blue and change my life from ordinary to special.

    Maybe you can relate. I wasn't a passive slug. I was doing my best at each turning point. I took some chances. I achieved some success but what I wanted was something unexpected and wonderful to sweep me away from the ordinary path I was on. Maybe it would be like meeting a supermodel at a 7/11 while buying a cup of coffee and later marrying her. Or it might be snapping an incredible photo and falling into a new career because of it. All of these fantasy events would take me outside the expectations of my current life and open up opportunities that would otherwise never be possible.

    I got set up for that kind of thinking by the media. How many movie plots are built around one or more unlikely but wonderful events? Growing up with fables, it's easy to believe that good things only happen by chance. It reinforces the idea that the individual has no power to control his destiny and that 'luck' is the almighty manager of life.

    When I saw individuals accomplish extraordinary things in their lives, I was quick to attribute their success as lucky breaks. I was never willing to believe in the power of an individual to take control of his life. Society is two faced when it comes to ambition. While it is common to tell people that they can accomplish anything they want to do, we are also warned not to make a fool of ourselves or to get our hopes up. We talk our kids out of high ambitions so that they won't get hurt if they don't succeed. It's no wonder that I spent so much of my life waiting for the extraordinary with all the signals telling me to be cool and not to aim too high.

    Only recently have I realized that all this time, I was waiting for me and that I am, and have always been, the only person able to change my life's direction, I can see that the people I thought were lucky were actually following a plan. They made their own luck. They defined their destination and route and then focused on making it happen. All this time, I have handicapped myself by waiting for a fairy godmother that didn't exist.

    Now I understand just what a handicap that mindset has been for me. All around me I was attributing the success of others who were taking responsibility for their lives to luck or chance while waiting passively for my bit of good fortune. All that time wasted makes me sick. Considering that I have achieved some success in my life, can I even imagine what I might have been able to do if I had just acted to go after some big dream.

    I am the most important force in my life. I can cramp that force so that it can only operate in reactive mode or I can release it to be the dynamic and powerful engine that can take me anywhere. My engine is running but only I can decide whether to stay in neutral or shift into drive. If I stay in neutral, I can be pushed in any direction by any outside force. If I shift into drive, then I decide where I go and how fast I want to get there.

    How to Combat Stress With Brainwave Entrainment

    Meditation is a well-known stress-relief technique. Stress is among the biggest killers in the world today. In fact, most health disorders begin as stress, and then develop into whatever symptoms they show.

    Endless methods are used by people to relieve stress: Meditation, exercise, deep breathing, listening to soft music, taking a few quiet moments to sit and reflect. Some let off steam by having a couple of drinks, or taking in a relaxing movie. The numbers of ways are innumerable, and you just need to find what works for you. In most cases, what works for you isn't guaranteed to work for someone else, whereas in brainwave entrainment, what works for you should work for others as well.

    Then there's brainwave entrainment. Insomnia cures are among its repertoire. The studies in this area are returning some fascinating results, and not just in the area of insomnia, but in many other disorders resulting from stress.

    Our bodies and minds were not made to cope with the stressful schedules of today. Insomnia is our inability to unwind, to let go of the problems of the day. It ranges from not being able to fall asleep, to falling asleep only to pop up many times throughout the night. The true definition is not getting a good night's sleep.

    Brainwave entrainment uses our brainwaves-alpha, beta, theta, and delta-along with tones, to help us to relax and sleep. Like two tuning forks-strike one, the other will ring along. This method will change your mind and will help you more easily overcome your obstacles.

    Reduce Christmas Holiday Stress - 10 Steps to Success

    If you are like 90% of the population, you feel the pinch of stress during the holidays. Let's face it we are under a certain amount of pressure (some of us more than others) to accomplish a substantial number of tasks before that 12-25 deadline. Having to make so many people happy is truly the biggest challenge many of us face each year. If this sounds familiar, then this site was designed and dedicated to help you face those challenges with less anxiety and a little more optimism. Hence, the information we provide here will hopefully result in a more positive, less drained energy for when that big day arrives.

    You will be happy to know that there are at least 10 steps to success that you may follow in order to lower the "stress barometer". The holidays are exceptionally stressful. Making arrangements with family members, shopping for gifts, struggling through the crowds at local department stores, and planning meals are just a few of the situations that may result in stress. In this guide, you will provide you with 10 easy steps that can be followed that will assist in your overcoming stress that may be encountered this Christmas.

    1. Shopping Stress - What do I Buy? One of the most stressful events when it comes to the Christmas holiday season is purchasing gifts for those that you know. Your gift giving list may include your relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and many others. Pushing yourself to discover the "perfect" gift for each person on your list may prove to be exceptionally challenging. In order to take some of the heat off of buying gifts, elect to give gift cards. Not only is this type of gift inexpensive and easy to pick out, it is typically highly appreciated by the person that receives it. However, if you are more inclined to find that unique, Christmas gift idea for that special person you may want to check out the most exciting new products and gifts on our list of Hottest Sellers of 2009.

    And, if you are REALLY looking for the ultimate gift maybe that special person is s collector or a fan of vintage movie posters, sports memorabilia or historical figures and events a great site with such incredible treasures is Conway's Vintage Treasures (0r just Google it).

    2. MORE Shopping Stress - Yikes the Malls are Pure Insanity! You know what I'm talking about. The traffic into the shopping malls, then no parking, then hostile crowds to deal with, then long lines and out of stock items I came to the mall for in the first place. It's shopping hell! The solution?, Shop Online. No traffic, no parking lot aggression, no hostile Stressed-Out crowds to deal with and NO Out-of-Stock surprises. In the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas, find exactly what you are looking for and have it delivered to your doorstep. And, we have gone a step further to make your online shopping even LESS stressful. We have put together a list of the Hottest Selling Products in a number of categories. These gifts were determined to be the Most Popular products according to Amazon, with the Best Buyer Reviews and Ratings and most have FREE shipping. We've done all the work for you, so you don't have to. AND, the best part is these are not just gift buying ideas for Christmas but ANY holiday or special occasion.

    Steps 1 and 2 are some ideas to combat what is probably the pinnacle of the holiday anxiety and stress factor, Shopping. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will, in the least, guide you into a stress-reduction direction

    3. Letting go of tradition. Believe it or not, tradition may result in high levels of stress during the Christmas holidays. Many individuals make every attempt to stick to the traditions that they have always known, or traditions that are important to their loved ones. Examples of tradition includes visiting neighborhoods to observe Christmas decorations, ensuring that you visit all of your close loved ones on Christmas, and even hosting a Christmas party. If you find that the traditions that you attempt to uphold are resulting in high levels of anxiety, avoid them and make the holidays simple.

    4. Money Worries. A close cousin of "shopping worries" money problems cause varying degrees of anxiety during the Christmas holidays. This can easily be avoided by creating a budget specifically designed to address the expenses associated with the holiday. Go through your basic day to day budget and evaluate your savings. Then, determine an amount of money that can be dedicated to gift buying. Once you have a budget allotted for your Christmas spending, it is important to make a list of the individuals that you elect to purchase gifts for. You should then designate an amount of money for each person on that list. Many who are experiencing financial challenges discover that they can easily allow themselves to spend anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 per person on their Christmas list. By doing this, you will discover that shopping becomes a bit more enjoyable and a whole lot less stressful!

    5. What to do with the Children? If you are planning for Christmas and have children, you may find that succeeding in your preparations is challenging. You should do one of two things. The first thing that you may do to keep children occupied while you prepare for the holidays is to give them their own "jobs" to do to help you. This may include creating homemade ornaments for the Christmas tree, allowing them to create homemade cards and/or gifts, and other activities. If this is not successful, the second option is seeking out a babysitter.

    6. Be ready for a large group. If you are planning to have a social gathering or a party for the holidays, it is important to ensure that you do as much as you possibly can in the area of preparation ahead of time. You may choose to cook and bake ahead of time, set up the tables early, and organize the events of the night ahead of time. If you are having a large group maybe a good idea to ask guests to confirm on the morning if they are attending Christmas celebration. Also, make additional creative plans to keep children entertained. By doing this, you are reducing the amount of Christmas stress that you experience.

    7. What do I cook worries. If you are planning a Christmas dinner, you will find that it is often difficult and stressful to ensure that you prepare enough food for everyone. In order to reduce your stress, request that everyone that will be attending the event bring a covered dish and other items that may assist in providing enough for everyone that attends. That will also help resolve the worries of "what if they don't like what I cook".

    8. Gift wrapping woes. Gift wrapping is a tedious task that takes up a lot of time. The holidays are exceptionally busy and you will need as much of your time free as possible. It is not considered appropriate to just hand over a gift that is not presented in some type of wrapping, though. What do you do then? Instead of wrapping each gift that you give, purchase or make your own gift bags. This makes the gift just as appealing, and in less time!

    9. Relax.. When the holidays roll around, it can be challenging to rest appropriately. However, your body needs to be well rested so that you have the energy required to fulfill the obligations that you have around Christmas. Be certain that you get at least eight to ten hours of sound sleep daily. By doing so, your body will not be inclined to succumb to stress. Also, think about the benefits of meditation.

    10. Stay Healthy. Lastly, if you want to experience a stress free Christmas, be certain to take care of yourself. Be certain that your diet consists of healthy foods, lots of fluids, and that you exercise on a regular basis. You should also ensure that you avoid items that may be considered unhealthy such as alcohol. Also, I find meditation can have a dramatic positive impact on my daily energy. There are several books and free online resources for successful meditation. You may also be amazed at how this advice can lead to a stronger immune system against illness many experience after the holidays as a result of all the stress.

    There are many different ways to reduce Christmas stress. Here, you have been introduced to 10 steps that will assist in your overall success. By following these steps you will experience less stress, free up a large amount of your time, and will be able to allow yourself to enjoy the excitement associated with the Christmas Season.

    Hey Leave Tiger Woods Alone - He is Great Human Being

    It's amazing how many people don't trust the media in the United States, and I happen to be one of them and I'd like to explain to you why. You don't have to look any further than the attacks on the personal integrity and personal character of Tiger Woods, after he got into a car accident outside his home. The media completely fueled speculation of a cover-up of some type, and that there was more to this story. The reality is that the media loves to burn people down, and their favorite people to burn down are those that they have built up over the years.

    However, Tiger Woods is not a normal celebrity. He is a superstar of humanity, a winner, and a creative genius and eminent achiever in golf. He has worked tirelessly, competitively, and he deserves everything he's amassed, as well as the notoriety and fame he has achieved. If we as a society allow our media to trash such an excellent human being, then our media is no longer needed. In fact, I became quite disgusted, listening to all the celebrity pundits, and personal branding experts say negative things about one of my personal heroes; Tiger Woods.

    Interestingly enough, I was not alone in my summation, and as I talk to all my friends about this issue, they agreed with me; the media needs to leave Tiger alone, he is a great person -period, end of story. I was quite happy to see that the media had done polls of what people had thought about the incident with Tiger Woods, and they all agreed that it was none of the media's business, that they had no right to pry into his personal life, and he wasn't some sort of popularized Hollywood movie star.

    This guy has actually achieved something in life and become the best in the world at what he does because he works the hardest, trains the hardest, and focuses the most. It is no wonder that people don't trust the media. They try to sensationalize everything, and make stories out of nothing. Next time you see someone being exploited in the media like this, turn off the TV, and call the news station and tell them of your disapproval, disappointment, and disgust. Until we do that, the media will keep trashing the greatest people amongst us. And that just isn't right. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this.

    Quick Ways to Keep Your Bedroom Neat

    The bedroom should be a place of tranquility and relaxation. However, it can be anything but that when you come home from a hard day of work, only to be greeted by a huge mess. There are a few simple ways to keep things under control, and it doesn't take a lot of time.

    1. Make the Bed - It seems obvious, but how many of us have been in a rush to get ready in the morning, and just skipped this? Making up the bed instantly makes the room look neater. You may not be able to waste precious minutes doing this in the morning (especially if you've hit the snooze button a few times), but even pulling the sheets up is better than nothing. Better yet, throw a comforter on top, smooth it out, and you're done.

    2. Get Rid of the Piles of Clothing - You know, whatever you wore the previous day that you were too tired to put in the hamper. The stuff that is clean but you didn't have time to hang back up, having had only five minutes to find something to wear. Most people probably have a hamper in their bathroom, but I find it helpful to keep a small laundry bag in the bedroom too. There are some that rest on folding frames, so you can stand it up in the corner or closet, then detach the bag from it when you're ready to do the laundry.

    3. Keep Surfaces Clear- Night stands and dressers can quickly accumulate a lot of clutter. Books, magazines, movies, and the like. Try to get in the habit of taking a few minutes each evening to clear away these areas. That way, it won't seem so overwhelming. If you watch tv, you can even do this while you're watching your favorite show.

    Almost everyone is short on time and long on things to do. But if you put these quick tips to use, your bedroom can be the oasis of calm that you deserve!

    Marriage Counseling Online - A New Way to Receive Help For Your Marriage

    • Jim and Jenny have trouble finding someone to watch their children. They have a lot of trouble communicating but child care, finding a therapist with flexible hours and coming up with the money for everything is very expensive. Online marriage counseling may be the answer for Jim and Jenny.
    • Ann and John live in a rural community and have few qualified marriage counselors around. Online marriage counseling may be the answer for Ann and John.
    • Steve is a police officer on third shift and Lucy works first shift. This is the easiest way to care for the children but leaves little time to talk about some of their concerns. Online marriage counseling may be the answer for Steve and Lucy.
    • Tony is stationed in Iraq and Sandy is stateside with their children. They have some tough things to talk about that really should not wait until Tony gets home 6 months from now. Online marriage counseling may be the answer for Tony and Sandy.

    All four of these couples want to get some help for their marriage but lots of things stand in the way of getting the help that they want. For each of them, online marriage counseling may be a good place to receive help for their marriage.

    Online marriage counseling can be an invaluable tool for some couples. A competent, licensed, professional marriage counselor can share practical suggestions that might include homework of reading, tests or exercises, conversations to have with each other, suggested downloads or audios, watching videos or movies.

    While working online through email, chat or phone might seem awkward or uncomfortable for some, it seems very natural for others. For couples who might not have the ability to get to a good and experienced therapist, it offers the opportunity to develop a better understanding of themselves and their relationship and learn new ways of working together that can help them solve difficult problems.

    How Does Online Marriage Counseling Work?

    There are several ways that we provide online marriage counseling through Counseling Relationships Online. We provide relationship help through email, chat or by phone (with or without a video camera).

    With email online marriage counseling, we will want to work with both people at the same time, while possibly asking for one or two private individual emails.

    Partners each take turns emailing one of us. We will then respond openly in an email to both partners addressing the concerns. Once we have a handle on your particular problem and what you would like to achieve, then the we can begin to offer ideas to help you move out of a "stuck spot" and back to a healthier place.

    Online marriage counseling through email exchanges continues in this manner until you feel that you are at a better spot or have resolved the problem that you began with.

    The benefits of email therapy, for online marriage counseling, are that it can be as short or enduring as you would like. As we address issues, you may decide you want to "go deeper" and we can easily do that by continuing with email or even adding chat sessions to the mix.

    The point is, you are in the driver's seat. If one email gives you the information you need to resolve the presenting problem, that is great! If you think that you want several emails, you may choose to purchase a package.

    Chat online marriage counseling involves email but with the added advantage of instant replies and ongoing conversation. If you are interested in this form if therapy, we will invite you to log on to a secure chat room where we can exchange emails about your questions and concerns.

    Through phone online marriage counseling, with or without a video camera, we have the opportunity to talk in real time about your concerns. With a phone session, you can be in the privacy and comfort of your own home or private space and consult with a professional therapist who can help you determine a direction to take to begin solving your problems. Together, we will arrange for a protected and encrypted phone line.

    There is no reason not to receive help with relationship problems today. Online marriage counseling is a place to begin.

    Living in Mexico - A Relocation Guide

    With a friendly populace, an average temperature of 78.8 F (26 C), an increasing infrastructure and more affordable healthcare, Mexico is one of the world's top retirement destinations. It just appeared as number one in International Living Magazine's 15th Annual Global Retirement Index recently. No wonder more and more foreigners are thinking of living in Mexico.

    The main factors that make living in Mexico so appealing are real estate costs, culture, climate, cost of living and infrastructure with blue chip companies investing in hospitals and development.

    Managing Editor of International Living, Laura Sheridan, said that living in Mexico, "You can still have all of the amenities you grew accustomed to north of the border," while enjoying the sun and the exotic beauty of the south.

    The United States, ranked number 19 in the index, fell short in the area of special benefits for retirees. Whereas living in Mexico offers great architecture and wonderful food everyday, making life a permanent cultural and sensual pleasure.

    You can visit Mexico on an tourist visa (FMT) and if you wish to work or stay longer, or purchase property you can apply for a 'living in Mexico' visa (FM3) or a retirement version of this (FM3 Rentista). If you decide to stay longer you can apply for a resident's visa (FM2) then after 5 years apply for permanent resident status, including the majority of the rights of a Mexican national can be acquired.

    Bigger towns and cities have all the amenities you need, major supermarkets, movie theatres, shops and nightlife. Although English is very widely spoken when living in Mexico it is especially handy to learn some Spanish before you come, especially if you are traveling through or live in more remote areas.

    In general, Mexico has a slower pace of life than that of the US, Canada and Europe, especially in comparison to major cities in those countries, a true escape from the rat race. However be prepared for a different culture and many things are not always done as efficiently and punctually as you may be used to.

    Anything from that new painting you ordered to the maid showing up on time, this can be frustrating but once you understand this is indeed part of the culture and experience of living in Mexico, you too will begin to relax and adjust to the calmer manana pace of Mexico.

    Mexico's people are friendly, warm and social, those that don't have he chance to travel like to hear stories from other countries and how things are in other cultures. The more you integrate and interact with them, the more they accept the gringo in you.

    Mexico is a great place to live, with such a variety of cultures, climates, beaches, drinks, snow-capped volcanoes, mariachis, tequila, affordable real estate and more. You'll find something for every taste when living in Mexico.