Embrace the Celebrity Within - Why Everyone Has a Little Celebrity in Them - and What to Do About It

Everyone is a celebrity at something, and by "celebrity" I'm not talking about movie stars, professional athletes or those overnight sensations that are here today, on the cover of People tomorrow and gone by Friday.

True celebrities are experts. In a lot of cases they're experts at acting, putting a ball in a hoop or looking sexy in next to nothing. But believe it or not, most celebrities these days - the ones that keep auditoriums and hotel conference rooms and even bookstore shelves full - are folks like you and I; people who realized what they are very, very good at and put it to use by celebritizing themselves (or putting their expert status to use as a modern celebrity).

You, too, can become one of these nowadays celebrities, no matter what business you're in, how big your company is (or isn't) or even if you don't think you bring the chops.

The best part is, it's as simple as 3-F's:


To be a modern day business celebrity you have to know 1) What you're good at, 2) What are you passionate about and 3) What people need from you. Celebritizing yourself is about knowing all three of the above, not just one or two.

So, what are you a good at? It could be anything: gardening, management, economics, knitting, housecleaning, politics - the works. The experts we all know and recognize and who become celebrities, everyone from Tim Russert to Ty Pennington to Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean, to George Stephanopoulos, may come from a wide array of backgrounds but all have one thing in common: they know what they're good at and do it very, very well.

Next, what are you passionate about? Now, being good at something and being passionate about it are two very different things. You can be great at fixing cars but hate talking about it, sharing it with other people. If so, this topic just wouldn't qualify for the expert celebrity game. But, if you look a little harder to identify what it specifically about fixing cars that you truly love and you find it's restoring classic automobiles, now that's something you could celebritize!

Finally, what do other people need from you? So what if you're good at fixing cars AND passionate about restoring classics? Is there a market for that? Do people really want to talk about that? And are you the right person for the job? Once upon a time I might have said, "No, there's no market in celebritizing yourself around restoring classic automobiles." But that was before Car Talk on NPR made its and co-hosts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi famous. That was before Antiques Roadshow captivated the country's attention and before both the History and Speed channels became cable staples.

Nowadays, truly, if you are an expert at something, passionate about that thing and can find a market for it, you too can become a celebrity!

Focus...On What Works

We all know what's going to work for us and what doesn't.

Blink and Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell is a celebrity x 10 but I don't think you'll ever hear him screaming into a microphone on some shock jock's call-in show; it's not him, it's not his audience - it doesn't work.

On the other hand, Guy Fieri, celebrity chef, cookbook author and winner of the Food Network's first "The Next Food Network Star" contest, IS just the kind of passionate, verbal, excited and outgoing individual who has made a career out of what works for him: using his natural passion and enthusiasm for his expertise - cooking - to create a personal brand that is suddenly dominating the Food Network scene.

Of course, even a profound extrovert like Guy Fieri pales in comparison to pundit, expert, author and popular CNBC host Jim Cramer. Cramer, with his trademark rolled up sleeves and loosened tie, intense eyes and voluble vocabulary, spends every evening shouting his message of the latest stock tips to an adoring and exceedingly loyal fan base on his popular TV show, Mad Money.

With his expertise, proven credibility and solid background, Cramer could have easily been a popular and successful pundit. But by finding his niche on his very own show, Cramer has truly shone and become what most experts crave: a celebrity.

Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Cramer and Guy Fieri are all experts; all are also bona fide celebrities.

And all are doing what works... for them.

Finesse... the Message

Finally, you need finesse; specifically, you need to finesse your message. It needs to be clear, concise and focused. For instance, if you are an absolute miracle worker when it comes to organizing things, it only makes sense that your message is organized as well.

What is that message? Let's say over time you've realize that most people aren't organized and even fewer people recognize the value of organization. So to make it clear for them just how important it is to be organized, you've come up with a simple three-part message that you communicate everywhere you go: your message is that organization saves time, increases productivity and boosts profits.

That message is delivered every time you publish something, hand out a business card or invite someone to read your blog. That message isn't just the words you use but the graphics you use in your brochures, on your Web site and on your business card.

Let's say you start a blog to spread your message about how important it is to be organized. You wouldn't write about sports scores or share holiday recipes or Hollywood gossip, would you? Hardly. Your message is that organization saves time, increases productivity and boosts profits.

So every blog post must reiterate that message in articles that have to do with your core expertise. You'll want to write about how an organized office is a productive office, you'll want to link to news stories or breaking research that reveals organization boosts effectiveness by 28%, etc. Otherwise you're just wasting that message, if not ignoring it altogether.

Embrace Your Expertise

So much of expertise is confidence, but we've seen how confidence alone isn't enough to become a celebrity. The bottom line with becoming a celebrity is that once you find... yourself, focus... on what works and finesse... your message, the foundation is already in place for what promises to be a bright and celebritized future.

Becoming a celebrity next becomes a matter of taking all three of these vital core skills and truly embracing your expertise so that you will have the confidence to truly shine in whatever it is you are good at, are passionate about and can find an audience for.

Once all these elements align, the sky truly IS the limit!

The Kept Promise

Mary Poppin's comeback, "That's a pie crust promise, easily made, easily broken," echoes in my head as I listen to partners repeat marriage vows to one another. Weddings may be impressive, but statistics have it; human beings are not good at keeping their promises. The divorce rate is such that almost every person now-a-days has been affected, directly or indirectly, by broken vows. How do we experience a promise fulfilled?

A vow is a declaration made by one person to another, binding the person who makes the promise to do, or not do, a specified act. Vows are important. Promises can reveal expectations. The problem is, human vows are frequently presumptuous, preposterous, or naïve.

It is almost comical as I look back and picture my then fiancé, and I, in church, making promises to one another at our wedding. To put it bluntly, I was young and stupid! The expectation of "happily ever after" was tantalizing, yet fragile; mainly because life is not a fantasy.

So, the first year of our marriage was dicey. Settling into the practical aspects of life with a mate seemed tedious. But, instead of pushing myself, or my husband, to keep the euphoria of our relationship going, I pushed myself to sit down and be reasonable. And then, a few light bulbs went off in my head.

Light bulb number one was, no more promising (swearing) to do something I've never done before, or vowing not to do something I've done already. Action speaks louder than words.

Light bulb number two was, set practical, yet satisfying expectations.

Here is a pertinent example, on the subject of intimacy, of how those light bulbs shed light on spiritual unity within our marriage.

"Making love" is common verbiage. The cliché "making love" is repeated in movies, on the radio, and out on the streets. We've probably said it ourselves. And, we are trained to know very well "making love" means having sex. However, this framework is problematic.

In all reasonableness, how can "making love" produce a world full of disease, abortion, and unwanted children? Why does rape exist, if sex has to do with love? Why do we innately cringe when infidelity occurs? And, why are ex-partners, who previously made love, now sending out high frequencies of resentment, lies, and spite, and polluting our mental milieu?

Basically, sex is overrated, but I didn't want to underrate it either. So, I reasoned, starting with love.
Due to my religious background, the phrase, God is Love, came to mind.

So, God isn't only loving, but God is Love itself? Infinite Love.

I ribbed myself. The idea of "making God, Love," was so preposterous that from then on my definition of sex was no longer overrated or underrated. My husband and I became honest about sex. When we want to have sex, for the purposes of either multiplication or birth-controlled devotion, we say just that to one another. Sometimes conversation will follow the request, usually not, but our sexual activity is respectful, spontaneous, and satisfying.

Sex is only one part of our relationship. After twenty six years of raising children, fostering children, financial ups-and-downs, career changes, traveling, family deaths, moving, anger, forgiveness, crying, laughing, having sex-human life experiences-it is apparent that, thoughtful affirmations experience a fulfilled promise. Let me explain.

Every day, my husband tells me I am beautiful. Well, maybe not every day, but it feels like it. I never expect him to say I am beautiful. I don't anticipate it. He will declare beauty even when I am sick and distraught. And, after his affirmation, I affirm to him, A beautiful person sees beauty. And, we mean it. We feel it. They are not words filling dead air. They are profound promises manifest, coming from something greater than ourselves; coming from God, Love. It is similar to saying, It is snowing outside. And, it IS snowing outside. No stopping the promise fulfilled. We don't do anything to fulfill the declaration, but we acknowledge what is done.

Human vows won't make goodness, or love, happen. So, don't work so hard to make something happen. Right now, the promise of Love is fulfilled. As we act on the spiritual truth of Love's fulfilled promises, our expectations become reasonable and we inevitably experience unbroken vows. From 21st Century Science and Health, "Love is reflected in love."

Healthy Breathing Habits and Factors to Follow in Order to Avoid Breathing Pain

Breathing is life and different people have differing breathing patterns but all that is needed is that they all have healthy and proper breathes. Poor breathing leads to a lot of disorders but they can be prevented. There is a relation between good breathing and various breathing capability stages and their relation to the individual's health, well being and life span.

Breathing is affected by the ease, strength, depth and the smoothness with which it is taken with increased breathing volume and vitality. The condition of the body (ill health) calls for a different breathing procedure from those with sound health. Ill heath means that the body is not performing some of its functions as it should thus different levels of oxygen are needed. Denial of oxygen to the sick worsens the disorder because the body does not have enough energy to fight the disease causer's letting them spread unchecked.

The activity one is engaged in their day to day life also affects the amount of oxygen levels in the body. This means that parsons who do manual work that demands a lot of energy will have bigger breathes as opposed to those who sit on a couch to watch movies most a time. The climate and the environment we live in is also a facto as where the environment is polluted then there is little oxygen hence straining the muscles of breathes.

Breathing being life should be taken very seriously especially in regard to the age of the individual. Children whose body is growing need better breathes because the brain is still growing and failure to have enough oxygen does lead to mental retards. Supply of oxygen to all the body parts leads to faster and even growth.

It is clear that different situations lead to different responses all for good healthy breathe

Music Production Equipment - Microphone Basics

Obviously, the first thing that you need in order to record sound in general and music in particular is a good microphone. In earlier recording history, the only method to record sound was by using a conical shaped object that made impressions on a wax disc and could only take a single mono input. Now, with today's ever advancing technology, musicians have it relatively easy because the choice of recording equipment ranges from the simplest most modest home studio setup at an extremely affordable price to the high-end professional international standard quality audio gear made for the creme de la creme. Since this article is made for the DIY musician though, today we will look at the basics of microphones so that we can make an educated purchase that suits our budgets and our artistic aspirations when the time comes.

Microphones are divided into 3 main categories:

1. Dynamic microphones, also known as moving coil microphones. They are called moving coil mics, because that is the mechanism with which these kinds of mics work - by using a movable coil that receives stimulus from vibrations in the air and then translates that movement into electrical energy to be fed into the signal chain. It is also called a dynamic mic, because these types of mics are usually used for live performances, or to record relatively loud and strong sounds, like kick drums or electric guitar cabinets. The main character sound of a dynamic mic is that it sounds slightly dull due to the inherent frequency response allowed by the moving coil. But this is traded with durability and endurance: dynamic mics are the strongest mics around, so they are often used in live performances when the conditions on the stage can be too dynamic for sensitive equipment. The ubiquitous dynamic mic (that is hailed as the must have in every studio) is the Shure SM57.

2. Condenser microphones, also known as capacitor microphones. Like the dynamic mic, the capacitor mic receives its nickname due to the mechanism it uses to receive and translate mechanical energy into electrical energy - by using a capacitor (or conductor) to translate the vibrations into electric currents. Condenser mics are the studio engineers favorite for sound sources that are soft, fragile, and have a high frequency content i.e female vocals, violins, acoustic guitars, and cymbals. The advantage of condenser mics is that they have a better frequency response for high frequencies, so they are good for catching material that have insinuations or rich in high frequency harmonics. There isn't a ubiquitous example of a condenser mic like there is for a dynamic, but beginner standards include the Rode NT1A and the Audio Technica AT2020.

3. Ribbon microphones. I am sure you must have seen one of these unique looking mics, if you are a musician. These are the mics that you see in classic 1950's movies, where the female singer in the bar with the red dress holds the mic stand and sings into a mic that is shaped like it has grills on the side. Ribbon mics use a very sensitive method of transducing electricity from vibrations, and are therefore the most fragile of the three types of microphones available. They're sound is a blend between the warm quality of a dynamic, but can also catch the high frequencies like a condenser. Ribbon mics are usually used for specific purposes, because if you can use it right, you can create a signature sound that can't be achieved with garden variety dynamics or condensers. The unique usage of ribbon mics make them the most expensive on the list, when compared to the other two types.

By using the correct type of microphone, we can achieve a better quality of sound recording. Granted, that art is limitless, and there are no hard and fast rules. But it always helps to have a guideline so that we can make an educated guess, and aim to achieve the same sound quality as we hear on our favorite records.

To your mic choosing prowess,

Set the Stage For Entertainment With Home Theater Lighting

Because the room is a completely visual environment, lighting is one of the most critical elements. With good lighting, you can enjoy sharp images on the screen while safely moving to get popcorn or a glass of wine. Bad lighting, however, will wash out images and make a $15,000 projector perform like an $800 office supply store special.

From a performance standpoint, the best video rooms are a thoughtful blend of projector, screen, room and lighting, and the challenge is to provide an overall design that performs extremely well when the lights are low. Let's start with the screen. It's important to make your screen size just right for the room, because an oversize screen reduces the contrast of the image as well as accentuating pixelization. Choose a smaller screen for a sharper image - the result, you will find, is sort of like sitting in the center of the theater, rather than in the front row, where the screen is way too large for your field of view.

Next, you need to ensure a relatively dark room with very little ambient light. Forget daylight or windows, or install black out shades. The reason is contrast; it is the ratio of screen image white to screen image black. Black is actually not black, but rather, a low level of light depending on both the room's ambient light and the inter-reflected image light that bounces off the walls and ceiling of the room. Make sure that the room itself is not causing lighting and image contrast problems. Use mostly dark wall finishes, especially around the screen. Don't hesitate to paint the room, including the ceiling, a dark color, because if you don't, light from the screen's own image will be reflected off the ceiling and will wash out the image. It's OK to use saturated colors like red or blue as long as the color is deep and low in reflectance. Avoid finishes with shine or sheen, like gloss paints. The most critical surfaces are the ceiling and walls in the front of the room, and the wall in the back of the room.

Finally, you need to take into account the fact that the room, like video, should be dynamic. When you enter the room, the room décor and architecture is very important. Then through the use of dimming and systems integration, the lights fade, and the room's function and comfort become the dominant issues.

Lighting for the room tends to be divided between functional lighting, which ensures the ability to move about and see critical tasks, and decorative lighting, that is chosen more for the appearance and character of the lighting fixture and effects. Decorative lighting should be turned off during the program, so it can be anything whose style and appearance are a proper match for the décor. There are literally thousands of choices of wall sconces, pendants, and chandeliers that fit the bill. (I'm not sure I'd recommend a crystal chandelier, because the crystal facets could actually cause disconcerting reflections from the screen, but that's up to you.)

The hardest part of home theater lighting is the functional lighting. With a good design, you can read a detailed description on a DVD cover with a minimum impact on the screen contrast, and then find your way to the door while others watch the program. For this type of lighting, a little bit goes a long way, and finesse is highly desirable. Most importantly, use lights that throw absolutely no light onto the screen.

I tend to use two separate functional lighting systems. One of them is the higher level "task" lighting, and the other is a safety/step lighting system. For the task lights I prefer low voltage fixtures, usually with good shielding and narrow flood MR16 lamps. Keep lights at least 4 feet away from the wall so that no light spills onto a wall. You can get good results from low voltage recessed, track lighting and monorail lighting systems. Be certain to place these lights on their own dimmer, as you will want to turn them off once you've settled in to the movie. Avoid regular "cans" in home theaters - they tend to wash out screen images.

There are many ways to provide step lighting. Consider actual step lights, keeping in mind that the smaller LED and xenon lamp step lights are typically all that you need. Other designs, such as those using linear light strips under steps in the floor, will be inspired by the room's architecture and finishes. Always remember to highlight steps and changes in level - it's OK to move from pool to pool of light on a flat floor, but if steps are involved, make sure that the step is in a one of those pools of light.

Connect these lighting systems to modern dimmers and permit the integrated control of lighting along with the rest of the home theater electronics. Even if the home does not have a dimming system, use preset dimmers in the theater. This will make it easier to push one button and have lights - projection - action, the ultimate feature of a real home theater.

The Future is Bright For Online Gaming

The world of gaming has developed to the extent that even choosing a way to play games is a difficult decision in itself. As well as the range of gaming platforms, there is also the cost to consider, and you wouldn't get much change from a few months worth of mortgage payments if you were to buy every gaming system and console currently on the market. With the cost of the actual games too, you can literally go broke staying on top of things if you are a avid gamer. The cost of involvement hasn't hindered the development of the gaming industry though, which is now more popular than ever before.

The online capabilities of most gaming platforms and games has been highlighted as the principal reason for the beyond expected growth of the gaming industry. Whilst online gaming has been around in one form or another for some time, it is only lately that it has come into its own. From the days of simply playing 'Pong' with a friend in the same room, we now find ourselves in a time where we can play games with graphics resembling a movie, against 20+ people simultaneously, from all around the world.

Not long ago the dream of online gaming was a pipe dream, because while the computers might have been fast enough to manage it, the Internet connections were generally not that good. Today, with the advent of high speed connections like Cable and DSL, it is possible to play online as well as you would if you were physically wired into the same console as your opponent and in the same room.

Obviously, the range and type of games available these days has also contributed to the boom in online gaming. There is something, and more, for everyone, regardless of their age, tastes and gaming experience. Gaming companies have recognized that there is serious money to be made from producing quality games and are investing more time and money into pushing the boundaries of what can be done. The better the games they make, the more people become gamers, the bigger the market, and more reason there is to make an even better game next time around - everyone is a winner.

Most of these various games come with a plethora of online support from various communities, and the more popular the game, the more involved the community becomes. There are many groups out there that are dedicated solely to the enjoyment and play of a particular game. Much like fans of Star Trek have been known to have gatherings and such, the online gaming community has been known to be a very enthusiastic bunch. In fact, a good many online gamers actually use this as a networking opportunity, where they can meet others that share in the same desires and interests.

So, the future is bright for online gaming!

Celebrity Sunglasses to Die For

Would you pay thousands of dollars for a pair of sunglasses? Apparently, most people won't. But for many celebrities that's not a problem. After all, expensive shades can make your favorite stars look more glamorous and certainly add to their sex appeal. This has transformed a lot of stars into celebrity characters.

Take Brad Pitt for instance. The handsome star of Troy, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Ocean's 11, reportedly delights in designer sunglasses that are said to be worth more than his stylish clothes and fashion accessories. Like Kate Hudson and Lindsay Lohan, one of Pitt's picks in shades is Moss Lipow which costs thousands of dollars.

The brand is named after the New York artist who is known for his eccentric designs which run as high as $3,800 as in the case of his ostrich and alligator leather framed sunglasses. Still, that's nothing compared to Dolce and Gabana's DG2027B. The gold-framed sunglasses boasts a logo made of diamonds with a price tag of a whopping $383,609! I wouldn't be surprised if Angelina Jolie wears them one of these days.

Georgia Rule star, Lindsay Lohan, has been a favorite of tabloids due to her erratic and wild behavior, her numerous boyfriends and her stays in rehab. But she certainly has taste when it comes to eye wear. One of her prized possessions is a $30,000 pair of sunglasses from Nefarious called Auric. These were worn on the Nefarious Fine Jewelry holiday party in December 2006. The shades are in 18-karat gold and covered with diamonds. Not bad considering the string of flops Lohan has starred in recently.

Rap artist Jay-Z who has sold millions of albums, sports a pair of Louis Vuitton Millionaire sunglasses that cost $1,500. It has two rows of gold and mini-Louis Vuitton logos that run across them. The shades were inspired by the movie Scarface. Not surprisingly, the reigning rapper's sense of style is shared by fellow performers Kanye West and Rhianna.

Other popular celebrity sunglasses include Ray-Ban, Oakley, Dior, Gucci, Oliver Peoples and Tom Ford. Of course, as I stated earlier in this article, looking like a celebrity can cost you a lot. Thankfully, you can get lots of celebrity sunglasses at better prices without spending a fortune. The Internet is full of sites that carry these popular brands at great prices. That means you can still look like a celebrity and feel like a million bucks without draining your wallet.

How to Use Beauty Care Products

Beautiful skin is not as difficult to achieve, and do not need movie stars on account of which place is all about technology and how often you feed your skin care. For a long time after cosmetic surgery seems to be the preferred method but times are changing and women are learning that more natural methods are available. Health benefits, however, the products of more natural beauty care is the order of the day, and now may take a little longer to get results that are more durable, and others.

The days are creams and other modern forms of light-years ahead of what it once was. They often forget that our skin is an organ that needs attention because it is a difficult task and needs regular help. The first and most important of all skin care is cleansing facial to remove a makeup, dust and bacteria, which occurs during the day. It will remove dirt and other material from the face, the cleaner to a soft surface and soft skin is removed eventually massage with hot water provided.

For the rest of your pH is guaranteed not to be disturbed, you should use a tone after the detergent has been applied. To reduce wrinkles and keep your skin soft and supple, use creams or lotions when done with graphite leather. Moisturizer skimp also has the added advantage of locking in moisture, which can be lost not use, so this product of beauty.

Every week, at least once, and under the care of the skin, you should be in dead skin cells, which cleans a deep exfoliation to remove. Remember that if you do this, peel continue later with a full and clear sound.

Body creams and eye care products, beauty can now be used to help the skin very fragile outline of this sector and reduce swelling and signs of aging such as lines, but to improve the elasticity of the skin in that area. Water is a product that helps to detoxify and improve skin tone dumped with regular exercise and good nutrition. They often forget how much we rely on but take our skin, fine, but if damaged can lead to all sorts of problems.

My Passion For Wine - An Average American Entrepreneur's Wine Manifesto

I was brought up in the small Midwestern town of Coffeyville, Kansas. It is an interesting town that really has nothing to do with the dark inky beverage of the same name. My parents rarely drank wine. They preferred drinks like whisky sour, Tom Collins and liquors you mix with soft drinks. I never really enjoyed these. If I want my drink to taste like cola, I'll just have a cola. I like beer okay, but it has never quenched my thirst. I could always do better with water, lemonade and eventually Gatorade. In college I tried White Russians, then Black Russians and fancy brandies. They just didn't do it for me.

It wasn't until I got out of college that I dabbled in Riunite Lambrusco and Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante, but I could take them or leave them. And then it happened. I was working for a major oil company in 1979 when I first tried it. Business had been very good that year and profits had soared. I was invited to a sophisticated steak dinner at a 4-star restaurant, and the main beverage was 1976 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Dozens of bottles of Mondavi were opened. Not a drop went to waste. I had never tasted anything so extraordinary. It was wet and dry in the same mouthful. It was leather and sautéed mushrooms with a hint of mineral, violets, cassis and chocolate, plus layers of ripe oaky blackberry all rolled up into one delectable nectar of the Gods. Okay, maybe the sautéed mushrooms were a stretch. That night I fell in love with Cabernet Sauvignon as only Robert Mondavi could produce it.

In the 1980s I started frequenting a local liquor store that sold fine wine. The proprietor turned me on to Far Niente, Cakebread and Grgich Cabernets. They all sold for around $20 a bottle then. I didn't know how good I had it, for these are still some of my all-time favorites, but the prices have increased substantially. If only I could go back in time when I'm thirsty.

I continued to try various wines for many years. In 1997 I traveled to Napa Valley. I toured and tasted at Far Niente, Jarvis, Honig, Grgich, Beringer, BV, and several more. I had a personal tour of Far Niente by Gil Nichol before he passed away. His car collection was very cool. I walked through the vineyards at Honig with Michael and explored the caves at Jarvis.

I was certain that Batman and Willy Wonka were alive and living in Napa Valley that year. Gil Nichol was Batman with his exotic car collection and cellar that connected the Far Niente Chateau to the steps leading up to where his new house would be built. I walked away from the Far Niente tasting with a complimentary 750-ml bottle of Dolche late harvest wine. It was sweet, liquid gold, and I enjoyed every ounce of it. William Jarvis was Willie Wonka with the subterranean stream that flowed out of the top of the Jarvis caves into a clear pool of water that I assumed helped humidify the entire operation. It was simply amazing as was the Jarvis Crystal Ballroom with gigantic amethyst and quartz crystals from around the world.

We found the rest of the superheros at Honig with marvelous Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and their fun-loving postcards. That was 12 years ago, and I remember the vineyards and beautiful gardens at Far Niente like it was yesterday. I recall the taste of the wine right from the stainless-steel fermenting vats at Honig, and I'm still overjoyed to find several bottles of Jarvis Lake William under the tree on Christmas morning.

Two years ago my wife and I built an outdoor kitchen. It is definitely the nicest room in our house. It's kind of crazy that it's outside, but we love it. It has everything you'd want in an outdoor kitchen, including a crab boil pit, refrigerator, sink, and stainless steel gas and charcoal grills. We've had several wine tastings there. If you get to know the local wine representatives at your favorite wine store, occasionally you can score a great wine tasting by a very informed wine person and they will bring the wine for free. It's loads of fun, and I can't think of how to spend a better Saturday evening with friends and family.

Recently we built a wine room, and we did it on a budget. It's probably more of a wine closet than a full-fledged room. Little did I know that a 300-bottle collection would cost thousands of dollars to stock or about ten times what it cost to build and refrigerate the room. The coolest part is the biometric finger-print entry lock. I purchased a small safe with a finger-print entry system, cut off the metal door of the safe and mounted it on the door of my wine room.

My wine room is my sanctuary. I run my finger print through the lock and pull on the door. The floor is smooth black slate, and I get a cool burst of air as I walk through the doorway. The light scent of cedar fills my lungs as all woodwork and trim are made from my favorite aromatic wood. The first thing I see is a colorful Monet print that is perfectly enclosed by cedar shelves with various areas for full case storage. To each side there are wooden racks for about 100 bottles of wine - red to the left and the center and white to the right. I pull a bottle of Stags Leap Merlot from the rack. It's as regal looking as it was in the 70s when the Stags Leap name helped put Napa on the map. I know the elixir of life awaits within. I run my hands over the bottle like I am caressing the curves of a beautiful woman. It is the spice of life that I enjoy most.

I update the inventory of my wine room periodically and have done so today. I keep an inventory list inside the door of the wine room and inside the door to a kitchen cabinet so I can think about what I might drink tomorrow without the need of swiping my finger across a laser beam.

Here's the kicker, my wine room is located in an oversized closet in my 3-car garage. Before I would even consider putting the wine room out there, I first had to completely redecorate the garage and throw away more than half of the contents. It took a month of cleaning, painting and cabinet building. I even painted the garage floor using epoxy with multicolored flakes and bought a new stainless-steel refrigerator to make it look more like an extension of the kitchen than a place to store what you can't take into the house. Everything in the garage now has a place and when you walk to the wine room, it's like walking through a pristine playroom with a few cars and bikes parked in it. I installed a remote thermometer in the wine room, and although I don't go into my special room every day, I do see the temperature there every time I walk into my house via a wall-mounted readout. It's very reassuring to see the temperature somewhere between 55 and 60 degrees on a hot summer day.

I'm thinking I should make some recommendations here. For $12 a bottle it's hard to beat the current vintage of Chateau St. Michelle or Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay. I understand they are under the same ownership nowadays. We've even put some vintage Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay back for later. The 2005 and 2006 vintages are exceptional, and I have a case of each. The 2007 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is extraordinary, but there is a shortage around here since the movie Bottle Shock was released. The price went up too, and is now around $45/bottle, but this is still one of the most consistently exceptional Chards on the market. I'm also a Robert Mondavi and Jordan Chardonnay fan. And to give the French their due, we purchased a case of 2007 Fat Bastard Chardonnay recently and enjoyed it very much. We've delved a little into Viogniers, sparkling wines and various other whites, but I'd have to say that I still prefer Chardonnay if I'm drinking white wine.

I prefer red wine, which I refer to as the grand spice of life. I've been enjoying the 2007 McManis and the 2005 Guenoc Petite Sirahs. Both are exceptional values with McManis coming in at less than $10 per bottle and Guenoc coming in at about $13 per bottle. When I want to step it up a little I have been enjoying 2006 Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Bogle Phantom, 2005 Dynamite Merlot, 2002 St. Supery Merlot or an old standard, 2005 Robert Mondavi Merlot. If I'm going to pull out the stops and serve the best from my wine room then I'm into the Jarvis, Pine Ridge, Stags Leap, Freemark Abby, Frogs Leap, Mollydooker or Jordan reds. And whether it is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Malbec, Shiraz or Petite Sirah, the experience is similar; watch it decant for 30 minutes, capture the various scents evolving off the deep red elegance then let a myriad of ripe berries, spices, seasoned wood flavors, sweet violets, coffee, leather or black licorice explode in your mouth with a final relaxing, "Ahhh."

I find Bogle Phantom to be an exceptional wine for a reasonable price. The current 2006 vintage sells for around $20/bottle. Everything about this wine is mysterious, from its combination of three varietals, Old Vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Old Vine Mourvedre to the definition on the cork, "bogle [Scottish origin] a friendly spirit; a phantom." This is a wine that definitely has to be decanted. Straight from the bottle it exhibits a tangy nose and musky taste, but let it breathe and develop for 30 minutes to two hours and it will astound you with its bold aromas, explosive flavors and buttery velvet mouth feel. It goes on to reveal intense black fruit, vanilla, cloves, figs and anise with a hint of leather on an extensive finish.

Three years ago I purchased at least half a dozen cases of Australia's Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz. It had an awesome nose, it drank well and was inexpensive at $12/bottle. If you like inky wine this is the one for you. It was in such demand that the last case I purchased had the words, "Outback Steakhouse" printed on the box. I need to revisit this wine. I've seen it priced recently for about $13/bottle for the 2006 vintage.

For the deal of the century I would have to look to Columbia Crest. I still have 23 - 750 ml bottles and 6 - 1500 ml bottles of 2003 Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot. This is their lowest tier wine, and I understand it is mass produced, but it has aged very well. I bought all I could find at less than $10 per bottle, and I received an additional 10% off for case pricing. The 2003 Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot has an awesome nose with lots of spice and all the vanilla, cocoa and ripe cherry and berries you can savor with a lingering hint of chocolate on a smooth finish. I highly recommend you buy all that you can find.

When anyone in my family, among my friends or at work has a question about wine they usually come to me. A young man at work in his late 20s came to my office in a panic before Christmas last year. He had purchased some expensive red wines for his father-in-law and had left them in his car in the garage overnight. He was concerned they might have been ruined. I told him as long as the wine hadn't crystallized and frozen I thought it would be okay. He didn't think the wine had gotten that cold. I told him I was confident the wine was still good. He gave it to his father-in-law and I hear that the nose, taste and mouth-feel were as expected.

I'm a wine lover just like you. I certainly don't know everything about wine. There are thousands of wines that I have never tried. But, I know what I like, and I think the Aussie's, Californians, and most of the visionaries in Washington State are making some great wines. Wine is my greatest passion. Some of the best moments of my life have been centered around wine with family and friends. Here's to the best in all of us and here's to your next glass of white or red wine. Salute!

© 2009 by Mick Harrison

Dating With Children

After 5 years of being a single mom, I have heard and practiced many different words of advice regarding dating and involving the children. With my children only being 1, 3 and 5 at the time of separation and with me being primary custodian, this did not leave much time to "date" when I did not have my children.

Many people scoffed at me when they found out that I would invite prospective dating partners to meet me for walks with the children at the beach or to sit with while the kids played at a local park. Just as any female friend or coworker, I would introduce them to my children as a friend or a coworker. With my children being such an important part of my life, I needed to see how someone would fit in with my children and, more importantly, with my parenting style.

Whenever I have dated someone for a while without involving my children at the beginning, I have found the relationship is quick to end when the children are exposed. Not only does the significant other have expectations regarding how the children will react, I had expectations regarding how they would relate to my children. Realistically, these are never going to mesh after being fantasized about for too long. It is much better to see at the beginning of a relationship whether the reality can fit into the personalities and expectations. This way the relationship is driven by the reality, not forced into the expectations.

It is also important to note that you need to know your children. If your children are craving another adult in their life and they form attachments easily, obviously don't involve them. My children have never wanted to share me with anyone else, so I have never been concerned about them being hurt when a relationship ends.

My children are also on their absolute worst behavior when they meet any male friend of mine, this way i know that there is full disclosure going into a relationship. With all the cards laid out, we can both decide whether it would be worth it to invest more time an energy into a relationship.

If the decision is to move on, you don't start having family vacations and planning holidays together. You maintain the separation between your dating life and your family life. Continue to have special occasion dinners and events with only your children. Have dates alone with your significant other. Depending on your schedules, share some time together with all of you. Maybe go to dinner, a movie, hiking, or bowling occasionally. At this point, your significant other is your friend that is involved minimally in family life.

If you then decide that you want to proceed with a commitment and more serious relationship from there, then start building the relationship between the children and the significant other. Let them have some special alone time to get to know each other and get a feel for where there relationship will be. Mostly, the children need to see consistent behavior to know that they can trust this person to remain in their future.

Above all, go slow! Don't try and force a relationship, it will come in time with the consistency and the trust. Also remember to always spend quality individual time with your children so they don't feel they have "lost" you and the intimate family they relied on.

Why the Entertainment Industry Should Care About Pc Over Ip

Film, animation and television industry creatives should take notice: new technology is now available that allows you to instantly share dailies in full HD, work with remote studios or work from home - while keeping your movies secure.

* Keep large video and animation file sets in the server room and off the desktop
* Protect against pre-release piracy
* Enable free seating for creative collaboration

The technology has been available for a while which allows companies to centralise their desktop IT, removing the computers from under people's desks and replacing them with an energy efficient, small, quiet box called a "thin client". A thin client is basically a screen directly connected to the internet.

Remote working

Many companies are choosing this strategy for their desktop computing because of the advantages of centralised management (no more crawling under desks fixing computers), as well as the ability to access a remote desktop from anywhere, allowing for remote and home working.

Technical limitations of thin clients

Hardware manufacturers are well aware of the current limitations of their technology, especially in terms of displaying streaming multimedia. Although standard thin client technology works really well for 90% of the cases where companies need to perform the usual office functions, there are some industries which have had technical issues which prevent them from fully adopting thin client technology. This is especially the case for the entertainment industry, which relies heavily on having instant access to large files of content rich multimedia.

New technology

This is where PCOIP comes in. PC-over-IP is a new technology that allows the desktop computer to, effectively, be moved to a central computer room so that the user only has a "thin client" on their desk. This is the same concept as with standard thin clients. The difference is that PC-over-IP uses a new technology which allows for improved streaming multimedia.

The performance of this technology is impressive. At a recent demo, the author saw a large monitor attached to a thin client the size of a VHS cassette (and mounted neatly to the back of the screen), with 3D animation, CAD imaging and an animated film streaming in realtime from a server in Canada. The one concern is network bandwidth utilisation, and any company considering this technology should make provisions for a very fast network.

This has some massive implications for the entertainment industry.

For animators, this means that remote animation teams working in different continents can now have centralised desktops located at the company headquarters, all working on the same servers and with all data stored centrally - and closer to the render farms.

You can share dailies in HD without file uploads. Because the compression used in this technology doesn't effect the final pixel colour, you can review dailies in native playback.

You can relocate to your home studio. Because the experience of working on this system is just as it would be in the office, you're no longer tied to your desk at work.

---- Amanda Dahl, Director at AWIC - Optimising your IT

About the author:

Bed Wetting Solutions - Five Tips That Can Help Stop Bed Wetting

While not all bed wetting solutions will work for every child, here are a number of steps you may perhaps want to think about when hoping to stop bed wetting.

Parents and children alike can find that wetting the bed is not only uncomfortable and exasperating, it is also very uncomfortable for your child when they start to have or attend sleepovers with their friends. That said, it is most likely that you are looking for some way to help your child conquer this irritating yet common problem.

Number One:

You may consider using a bed wetting alarm given that research shows that they can be among one of the most successful ways to help stop bed wetting. There are a number of different types available and when you consider the alternatives, the price is usually fairly reasonable, given the peace of mind that you and your child will encounter.

Number Two:

You may possibly want to check with your doctor to be sure that your child does not have a kidney or bladder problem, particularly if they are still wetting the bed after the age of five. These problems can be very serious and early detection is of course the best way to prevent any further damage.

Remember though, just because your child still wets the bed after age five does not necessarily indicate a problem but it is always better to be safe than sorry and your doctor may be able to give you answers to why your child is still having problems even if there are no underlying medical problems.

Number Three:

You can also try a technique called lifting, where you will awaken your child 2-3 hours after they have fallen asleep and have them go to the bathroom. This is probably the least desirable of all bed wetting solutions as it does not necessarily help your child learn to wake up and go to the bathroom on their own when their bladder is too full.

Still, if you have the time and the patience, it is a method you may want to try if you want to find a solution that won't cost anything but your time.

Number Four:

Set up a plan where you reward your child for each dry night they have. You can let them pick out a movie or take them for ice cream, etc. You get the idea. Perhaps even a sticker book or a wall chart that your child can put cute little stickers in or on every time they don't wet the bed.

Nearly all if not all children love to get little stickers as a reward and this can help motivate them to wake up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night if they need to. After all it is quite possible that your child wakes up slightly but simply goes back to sleep instead of remembering to get up and go potty.

Number Five:

Last but not least is to just simply let your child grow out of their bed wetting problem naturally. Around 80-85% of all children will stop bed wetting by the time they have reached the age of five and the rest will most likely have outgrown the problem by the age of 7.

Nevertheless, there are some who can continue to wet the bed all the way up to age 12 and for a lot parents that is going to be unacceptable and really annoying.

Another point I would like to mention is that you should never blame your child or yell and scream at them. They do not wet the bed on purpose and they are almost certainly already embarrassed and have a feeling of low self-confidence. While it is frustrating as a parent, you should try to let your child know that you do understand and that you will do all that you can to help them with their bed wetting problem.

While this is by no means a total list of bed wetting solutions, it is a place to begin to help your child learn to stop bed wetting.

The Big Secret to Internet Affiliate Marketing

The big secret to internet affiliate marketing....is that there IS no big secret to internet affiliate marketing! If you want to know how to make passive money on the internet, this method of making money is as simple a passive income system that there is, and the good news is, it really works. I know, because about six months ago I looked at my pay check. I mean really looked at my pay check. I work full time which is 80 plus hours a week, but the pay check was just not enough. Actually it was just enough to live on, but certainly not enough to take the family out to movies or dinner, far less pay for the braces that would eventually be needed for the kids.

I was sick and tired of worrying about every last cent and how to stretch it.

That's when I decided to look into the Internet and see how people were making money there. I knew that there were lots of people were making huge amounts of money on the Internet but I just could not figure out how.

For a newbie (that's what they call us new timers to Internet marketing) there was just so much to learn, and it comes at you so quickly. After a while it becomes overwhelming. The problem isn't that Internet marketing is hard, but it is hard to learn the easiest steps to take to making money.

I plugged along learning how to buy a domain name, how to set up my domain, how to create a website, how to make original graphics for my site, then how to upload them using FTP... as I said information overload.

Sometimes it felt like the Internet was a big high school, with a few big-name teachers or gurus that are mainly more interested in lining their own pockets with your money than helping you line your pockets with money. The rest of us run around trying to find out what the big secret is to making money online, and usually never finding it.

Well, I can now tell you what the secret is to making money online. There is no secret, it is common sense. Find an experienced mentor or find a coaching program from a reputable internet marketer. There are many people online now to give complete detailed video courses, with step-by-step instructions on how to do everything that you need to do to make money online. I know this because even though I spent countless hours learning how to do everything that needs to be done to create a website that will make money, I never was able on my own to make more than a couple of dollars a day. That is until I joined a coaching program.

Coaching programs are excellent for a number of reasons. The main reason is because they are coached by somebody who already makes money on the Internet, and is more than able to show you the step-by-step ways that you can make money too. A very popular ways to give out the information with coaching programs recently has been through video. Video has totally revolutionized the learning aspect of Internet marketing. Until video became popular, e-books were practically the only way that people could learn knowledge and different techniques, and still it was very difficult for newbie's to understand a lot of what the e-book with saying. With video the phrase "a picture is worth 1000 words" has never been more true.

One of the most popular ways to make money online is through affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a popular method of making good money. You promote a service or product and in return for this promotion get a percentage of the profit generated from the sale. The idea is, you promote something and when it sells you get a percentage of the profits. An experienced mentor will be running the coaching program, will know all the ins and outs and will fast-track you into receiving weekly pay checks from affiliate marketing.

My advice to you is don't be like me, spending months learning how to crawl on the Internet, as compared to days learning to fly under an affiliate coaching program. I am now making money every day through affiliate marketing.