Sunday, July 24, 2011

Celebrations and Holidays

Who Wants To Party???

Everyone loves celebrations. Birthdays, New Year, Christmas, religious festivities, customary holidays and anniversaries are days set apart for the not-so ordinary stuff. It’s on days like these that families get together to share a great meal, exchange gifts, go on picnics and outings together or just spend time with one another.

Did I tell you that my cousin is getting married in September? I can imagine all the excitement she’s going through right now; planning her dress, and that of the entire bridal troupe. There’s so much work that goes on behind the scene in organizing a wedding… and I’m already planning what I’ll wear when I meet up with her. Lucky for us Helium has a lot of suggestions to help with weddings, and oh well… with any celebration for that matter.

Since its summer… let’s walk over to Charlotte Howard and ask her about creative summer solstice party ideas.; some that might have been take into consideration last month. Notice how she works her way around Shakespeare’s romantic comedy to lighten the mood and enhance the settings. Whoever thought Shakespeare would be connected with a summer party… but there you have it. Creative, don’t you think so?

It’s the holiday season. Schools are closed for the summer and kids enjoy themselves with a lot of added outdoor fun. Holidays can be chaotic with no regular time schedules followed. You wouldn’t want something to go wrong during the holidays, least of all a fire to happen. W. Diane Van Zwol lends her suggestions on ‘How to keep fire exits clear during the holidays’. In fact, I think we need to be aware of these suggestions for any time a fire is to happen, holiday or not.

I know Mother’s Day is over. Even then, we could all make use of these lovely ideas that Lokemun Magar has put forward for ‘Things to do with mom on Mother’s Day’. Perhaps it could also be a day you set aside to make mom feel special and happy.

Talking about gifts, here’s another interesting article on gifting: Christmas gifts for the man who has everything. Surely, if he has everything he needs, it could be quite a task finding the right gift for him. Thanks to Diane Quinn, we now have a few solid leads to follow. This article in fact made me think of the movie ‘Shall we dance’.

Now this is something I really enjoy: birthday parties. Birthdays can always be a blast. Take for example M.J. Joachim’s article - Milestone birthdays: Party favor ideas for age 40. See how creative she gets with her suggestions of gifts and food. I especially loved the ‘Forty-fied foods’ idea. Brilliant.

From birthdays to Thanksgiving, many of us are familiar with the Thanksgiving dinner and what would be served. How about switching over from a traditional dinner to something different? It shouldn’t be difficult, as Rex Trulove has done much of the homework on figuring out Food ideas for a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. You’d think this would be odd, but think about it, a non-traditional dinner would only make the day more memorable. You are sure to cherish it for many years.

Let’s not forget the animals that we cherish. Surely animal lovers too have their special ways of celebrating the holidays with their pets. And animal lovers feel for their pets, especially when it’s Thanksgiving and the table is laden with all kinds of delectable dishes. Conny Manero lends her voice in favor of animals with her article ‘Thanksgiving from an animal lover’s point of view’. I wonder if you will give a second thought to the turkey that’s served on the table right in front of you at Thanksgiving.

While it is still summer, there are many who choose to marry during this flowery and sunny period of the year. However, when the actual impact of the workload falls upon them, they begin to panic. One such activity during the wedding preparations is inviting guests. Doreen Martel has the right advice on creating a guest list for your wedding. As married folks will always tell you, it isn’t that simple. Take her advice and create that perfect guest list that will impress many and disappoint none, (well, unless you do not want to really invite somebody).

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, New Year and some much loved holidays are days that are constant on the calendar. You can plan for such events way in advance. But what happens when you have to plan something at short notice. These things do happen. Ask Robin Tidwell and she will tell you how to plan a wedding in one month. Boy, oh boy! One month!!! Imagine the confusion it can cause… but these events can happen and are planned on short notice if you follow Robin’s advice. She has laid out the plan clearly for all those ‘we must get married now’ couples.

My sister got married within a couple of months of meeting her groom. Before we knew it, she was also out of the country with him. Talk about weddings happening before you can say Jack!

Weddings on short notice… now you have it figured out. How about budget-controlled weddings? Oh don’t we wish we wouldn’t have to spend so much on just one day. Yes, one day. How about we take a look at Vickie Gross’ article - Cheap wedding ideas: Tips for getting married in your own backyard. Now this is something that has actually been followed for many years before community halls and town halls came into existence. And it isn’t a bad idea too, as it deducts the costs of hiring a hall and outsourcing a lot of the work. Think of how much you can save.

While we are still on the subject of Weddings, Kristen O’Riorden talks about the best jewelry gifts to give to your bridesmaids. As Kristen advices, it could be based on what they are going to wear or how the bridesmaids are going to set their hair. A lot of the ‘looks’ factor can be taken into consideration.

Writer for the week

Olivia Bredbenner needs no introduction. From nursing to Creative Writing, Olivia has also spent a considerable amount of time contributing to the Celebrations & Holidays Channel. She is a versatile and talented writer who goes to no ends to make you comfortable, welcome and cherished as a fellow-writer and friend.

Some of her notable contributions to the Celebrations & Holidays Channel are:

Reclaim the holidays

Helping your kids write a letter to Santa Claus

New Year’s resolutions for a better life

This is a pic of my grandparents. They celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on Jan 12, 1998. Now that's what I call a celebration; 50 years of togetherness, companionship and love. Something worth remembering.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Motivating the mind to think 'BUSINESS'

Earnings are short; expenses are soaring high and all that we hear is ‘there’s not enough to keep us going’. Unemployment is on the rise and with added number of broken families, expense splits have only doubled.

There has to be a way to deal with this crisis and one of the main ways to battle this is by turning to one's own resources and talents. Well then folks; let's do it together.

It's Time to make a difference in our lives and we're going to do it the business way. Let's get down to BUSINESS.

Business is all about the money. You invest funds to gain funds... or you invest time and talent to reap monetary benefits. Business involves the execution of an individual or collective plan that may vary from simple to complex operations and projects.

Writer of the Week

“Dedicated, focused and determined to deliver the highest possible value, Christina Pomoni is constantly getting the job done. Talk about the economy dipping or improving, and you pick her interest. Christina is a professional who dedicates most of her time online as a professional writer; her expertise ranging chiefly from Business, Personal Finance, Investing & Banking and Careers to even channels like Computers & Technology and Arts & Humanities. An honest, hardworking and highly-driven writer, Christina is an awesome person to interact with.”

People are constantly involved in some form of business strategy or another. It may range from Small, Home-based businesses to Large Enterprises consisting of many employees. As the gradation of improvement increases, so does the gradation of complexity. Likewise, the risk and gamble involved with a business can make or break your financial score. Lets take a look at some main features involved with setting up a business and running it. While this might be green turf for the business mind, this might also be a window, opening to possibilities for those unfamiliar. This comes especially handy when you're clutching at straws, almost sinking, and looking for some means to add pennies to your coffers.

Are you interested in starting a business of your own? Calvin Merrick gives us his ideas on how you can start a business without money.

Without money????

Yep, that's right. Without money.

Fact is, there are so many things we can do without money. I have a sewing machine and am skilled at sewing. The opportunities to earn via sewing clothes are open right there for me. All I have to do is harness this skill. Similarly, if you are skilled at artwork, maybe it’s time for you to start a class to teach little kids how to draw and paint or do little crafts activities. Initially it might not pay you well, but the investment costs are only your time and skill. Especially handy when one's unemployed, I must say.

On the flip-side, should you require to invest funds into a new business, government grants and loans come in handy, especially for women-owned and minority businesses. John Garger walks us though "Are Government Grants real or Hype?"

Oh.. you tell yourself that you're either not a woman or you're not eligible for a loan. What then are your start up costs? Anyone starting a business has to be forewarned and prepared for all costs involved with a business venture. Perhaps "The True Costs of Starting Up a Small Business" by W. A. Swan can shed light on what could otherwise be a very worrisome start.

I hope by now you are encouraged to think of stepping into something to make ends meet. You know, there are so many things we can do to earn more income, but half the time we're just too scared to even think about it. So then.... what would it be next once we think of starting a business?

There are many options for a business venture. Sometimes it can be based on the place we live in. For example, M. J. Joachim describes how you can start a business in Wisconsin. This can apply to wherever you are and not necessarily to Wisconsin alone.

Other options can be based on things that you CAN DO as a business. Adam Clark has a lot of suggestions to offer as the Best home-based businesses for stay at home moms. Ladies, there's so much that we can do. Identify your skill or talent and you're off to a good start.

I can see you still haggling between options and wondering if you really should get into a business venture. Or even still.... "Will others pay for my services or products?" It could be that you require guidance of how to study your market. In other words, you need to know what you can sell and who will buy it. Proven methods over a period of years have given rise to research tools such as the "Pestle Analysis" Use this tool to gauge your customer base, your product or service range and to modify your plans accordingly. Using this tool at the start of a business will lessen business risks to a large extent.

Uh oh... did we just say Business Risks? Yep. Business Risks can and do occur if you do not plan your start right. But then again, all is not lost. You have to take some risks to achieve some gains. And many times, the larger the risk, the larger the gains (or the loss). However, if you want to minimize your risks, you have to do a bit of homework about your business setting.Understanding the different approaches to Risk Management outlines the basics or the importance of identifying and assessing risks.

By now.. you’re are all set to launch your business. So let's turn our attention to Shaheen Darr. In '10 secrets to success in franchising', Shaheen reveals the most important tips to succeeding as a franchisee; ie., should you want to partner with another business. At the same time its also important to know 'what successful businesses have in common'. Being armed and geared and prepared can get you a head start in comparison to businesses that start out without any specific goal in mind.

Ok... here's assuming you've started a business and it's off to a great start. You're full of enthusiasm, energy and drive. The honeymoon period is almost over and then you see that you're in for the real deal. You're business has grown a bit, you've hired a few employees and your services or products are coming along just fine. Well, almost. Somehow there are just too many loose ends to tie up and the whole business structure doesn't seem to be balancing out as you planned.Leigh Goessl steps in with her advice on 'Essential management skills' that any enterprising individual should be skilled at. There you have it.. all spelled out for you. What more do you need?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Automobiles, Vehicles

Image credit: Conny Manero



Welcome to the world of Automobiles!

The best toys that man has ever created fall under this category. From cars to auto rickshaws (do you know this vehicle?) to tractors, trucks, SUVs and more…. (oh yes, buses too), automobiles have and still hold captive all who cross its path.

Did you know that there are about 80,000 components that have to be assembled together to create a Formula 1 Race Car? Just imagine, even if a 0.1% error occurred during the process of assembling the car, it would involve 80 components to be misplaced, wrongly used or omitted. Even a 0.1% error could cost a life. Hence in the assembling of a Formula 1 car, only cars with a 100% compliance audit leave the factory. Such is the level of perfection.

Check this out. Wouldn’t you want to own such a car if you had all the money in the world… for yourself? Think about it. This is what $206,000.00 can get you. Keep guessing or read this article to find out. Top ten most expensive cars by Michael Bock. That’s just some list. Dream on, folks…. You just might own one someday.

Everyone is wary of immediate expenses when thinking of servicing a car. But on the other side, it’s a revealed fact that you can 'Minimize costs with routine car maintenance'. Thom W. Conroy has it all figured out as you will see in his article.

Talk about a passion for motorcycles / motorbikes. The youth are especially fond of driving their bikes at insanely high speeds… (“it’s a man’s thing”.. they say), especially to race one another or to impress a girl. Or middle-aged men to return to the days of their youth(?). Perhaps Mike Horgan's article ‘Common causes of motorcycle accidents’ should trigger some warning signals and make you aware of common accident-prone areas and points.

Image credit: Malcolm Mittra

…And on the topic of motorcycles, Douglas Black gives us ‘An overview on the different types of motorcycles’. Those of you, who are bike-addicts, will find this information fascinating.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew how to change the oil in your car? I’m guessing that many of you already know this, but I was totally blank, well, until I came across this article. Autodude, in his article ’Changing Oil Guide for Beginners’, not only gives us instructions for changing the oil and oil filter, but also gives an overview of how to locate the oil filter and what type of oil to use.

Writer of the Week :

This week's pick is T. Scott Randolph. As far as his profession goes, Scott is a tattoos and piercing expert. But as a writer he is one of the managers for a couple of the Autos leaf-channels at Helium. A lover of motorbikes; Scott says… “I do actually build custom motorcycles. I build one, ride it for a while, sell it and build another. I do help my friends out when they want to "customize" what they are riding.” Apart from the Autos channel, Scott also writes to titles from the other channels, some of which involve a lot of research. Always willing to help, Scott may be contacted via his Helium profile.

WOMEN & CARS - irresistible combo

Be careful guys… women have it all figured out when it comes to you and your car. Ask Glory Lennon. She'll be able to tell you all about it. Here's her conclusion in 'Automobile charisma: Does it really matter what a man drives?'

Image credit: Dr. Antonio D'costa, Psychiatrist

Everyone loves the thrill of racing; Neck to neck, one trying to outdo the other. But what happens when the need for speed goes beyond control? As a warning April May Maple shares her advice on ‘Ways to avoid giving in to road rage’. If you like this article by this author, you will also like 'Sporty cars: Sporty colors'.

Echoing the poem ‘New Shoes’, here's a similar version about New Cars. Haven’t we all, at some time visualized ourselves in our dream cars? Well, I have.

New cars, new cars,

Red and pink and blue cars

Tell me what would you have

If they’d let you pick.

Sporty cars, dashing cars

Practical and simple cars,

Flashy , classy, dream cars

Get me something chic. (Amanda Dcosta)

Image credit: April May Maple

Those familiar with heavy traffic jams and especially the kind of traffic in India, are well aware of how much fuel is lost just trying to get through traffic. Maybe this will be of help for those in such situations... 'Top ten ways to use less gas' by Pamela Kay.

Image credit: Alexandra Heep

Ladies, are you on a car-buying spree right now? It doesn't matter what type of car you are looking for; Alexandra Heep lends her suggestions on 'Car buying tips for women'.

Fun corner:

List the many types of vehicles you have used for travel. It doesn’t matter if the pic is here. Make a note of it and you will find how fascinating travel can be. All those miles that you will not have to walk… or swim, in some cases. ;)

A few images contributed by my friend Lester Concesso are posted here. All these images are from around Vypeen & Cochin, India.

- This is a pic of a tug boat that is used to direct the course of the ship as it enters and leaves the port.

- A passenger liner, docked at the Cochin Port, India.

- The local ferry that transports passengers across the channel from Vypeen to Fort Cochin. I traveled by this for many years. Loved it.

- Junkar. It transports vehicles and people from across the islands to the mainland and back. ( Vypeen / Cochin. )

The lorry / truck - used to transport goods.

A hand cart that was very popular for transporting goods at one time. A fun mode for kids to have rides on (although not fun for the one pulling the cart).

- A cycle-rickshaw that used to be the means of transport at one time, now taken over by cars, buses and auto-rickshaws.

- Auto-rickshaw; one of the main modes of transport for an average of three persons.

This is a pic of a local bus. Not very different from what is seen around the world, yet a very important means of transport for the locals.

- this is a pic of a group of tourist bikers who visited Vypeen and cycled across from one end of the island to the other.

(I've not really planned for trains and airplanes for this post... but count that too.)

Avoid traffic tickets w/PhantomAlert for iphone

Amanda Dcosta - Writer,