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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Kids May Be Getting Dumber By The Minute

In the past decade, the number of college grads who can interpret a food label has fallen from 40 percent to 30 percent. And not too long ago, a high school teacher out west handed out an assignment that required students to use a ruler. But she discovered not a single one of them knew how. Kids today seem way dumber than they used to be. That's because they spend all their time playing computer games and hanging out with one another on Myspace and Facebook.

They don't know the most basic stuff like who fought whom in World War II, how many pints are in a quart, and in some cases, even the months or the days of the week. The average kid spends nearly 9 hours  a day in front of computers, TV and  iPhones screens. Add in 8 hours of sleep and 7 hours in school, that just leaves 1/2 hour when their senses are not under siege while they take a shower. Technology was supposed to set us free, but it seems to be binding our youth to mundane, time-consuming tasks. Each day, kids send and receive more than 4,000 text messages each month or about 100 a day. Plus they have an average of 450 friends on Facebook.

Reading is highly unnatural in that it requires us to filter out distractions and focus on a  single task. But a study done at Stamford last year revealed that heavy users of multimedia have a very hard time filtering out distracting information. When the phone rings, their behavior is driven by that distraction. In fact, kids today are assailed by such a constant stream of input that they can't even remember what they see.

Here are some examples of how technology is effecting our brains.  Heavy computer users take longer than light users in moving between different tasks and have trouble tuning out irrelevant information. Computer  gaming can become literally addictive. Under the stress of playing, a part of the brain produces more endorphins, leading to euphoria. If a kid stops playing, the endorphin level drops and he has to play again.
Computer gaming over time also increases the level of stress, and releases stress hormones.

When kids multitask, their brains become wired for instant gratification. And that makes their attention span shorter. If you ask a kid a question, they get restless. That's because they're used to getting everything at a click. That's why they don't have conversations anymore. If they have something important to say, they text it.

On a final note, with Facebook, their cell phones and laptops,  kids don't ever have to be alone but they're always alone.  Research has shown that the more  they use the internet to connect, the more vulnerable they are to depression. Plus the incidence of depression has doubled among teens in the last decade. In addition, a quarter of all Americans report not having even one person they can confide in. More than half have no close friends outside their immediate family.         

Employers Are Spying On You At Facebook, Twitter And Linkedin

Remember that hazy trip to Cabo San Lucas with old friends a few years ago? Those margaritas were huge. You just had to post photos of them on Facebook, along with a few other Kodak moments. Then you mostly forgot about them.

Even if you don't recall all of the sordid details from that weekend of debauchery, your employer may know all about it. That's because a new company called Social Intelligence billing itself as a social media private eye will observe your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other online accounts on behalf of employers to make certain you're not a liability. Background checks involving criminal records and credit histories are typical and even expected of many major employers responsible for children, nursing homes or public safety.

But the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company takes this concept to a new level offering an automated tool that mines social media content for troubling signs. Search filters can be customized "to reflect corporate culture," and additional manual reviews are conducted by "social media experts."

A display tells the human resources manager in your workplace how many "negative" hits are uncovered, placing the names of both job applicants and active employees next to red flags like "drugs/drug lingo," "gangs," "poor judgment" and "demonstrating potentially violent behavior."

Social Intelligence is the latest in an ever-expanding movement by both corporations and government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, to use new communications tools for surveillance
purposes. Some of the most provocative examples yet emerged only in recent weeks.

The trend raises fresh questions about how standards enforcing privacy online can withstand the rush of data about you and everyone else that courses through the Internet.

After finally landing a job, the information gathering has only just begun. From there, Social Intelligence will carry out near "real-time surveillance" of your behavior with screenshots and customizable reports used to document activity and keep the front office informed.

Its marketing materials play into larger fears every employer could have. According to the company's website: Once employees have been hired, their online behavior poses a possible threat to your company. Employees may criticize managers or coworkers on a social networking site, post questionable photos on a blog, or regularly update personal sites while on the clock. Consistent monitoring creates awareness and strict adherence among employees, thereby reducing 'cyber slacking,' fraud and negative company publicity.

Internet.com pointed out Sept. 29 that Social Intelligence doesn't actively "friend" users to surreptitiously access more private posts online. The goal is to shield companies from job seekers and employees who turn out to be dangerous or untrustworthy. Litigation following violent episodes in the workplace can hinge on warning signs an institution may have been aware of in advance. But clearly bloodshed isn't the only thing Social Intelligence is promising to help prevent.

Government investigators, meanwhile, will quietly friend you and more generally use social media to seek out evidence of possible security threats and spy on political organizations.New documents unearthed recently in Pennsylvania show that state homeland security officials used Twitter accounts to watch people who had not violated any laws, including elderly anti-war protesters linked to Quaker activism.

The news came shortly after Pennsylvania's homeland security director resigned amid revelations that the state paid a private contractor thousands of dollars to monitor gay and lesbian groups, environmentalists and even a nonprofit tied to the governor. Findings from the surveillance were compiled in intelligence reports ostensibly designed to inform authorities about potential terrorism. But the public reacted angrily. Gov. Ed Rendell apologized, calling the intel-gathering "ludicrous" and insisting he wasn't aware of it.

Then in October, the Electronic Frontier Foundation obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit showing that the federal government created a special center prior to Barack Obama's
inauguration for analyzing oceans of data passing through Facebook, Twitter and other sites in an attempt to identify hazards.

Further records turned over to EFF revealed that federal investigators were taught how they could deceptively "friend" people applying to become citizens and snoop for relationship details meeting the
government's standard of a legitimate marriage. According to one internal memo:

Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of 'friends' link to their pages, and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don't even know. Once a user posts online, they create a public record and timeline of their activities.

In documents made publicly available earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security, officials described another new program for maintaining "situational awareness" that involved tracking social media sites and other online destinations.

Personnel at the department's National Operations Center scan the Web using dozens upon dozens of key search terms and phrases, among them "militia," "cops," "riot," "dirty bomb," "Mexican army,""decapitated," "Iraq," "radicals" and many more. The NOC stores and analyzes its results before determining what tips should be distributed to other government agencies and even private companies authorized to receive such information.

As for Social Intelligence, attempting to expose online criticism from employees could become its own liability. The National Labor Relations Board is arguing that condemnation of your boss on Facebook
doesn't justify termination. Lawyers for the labor board alleged in late October that an ambulance company violated the law when it fired an employee for disparaging remarks made on the Web. Observers are
calling the case ground-breaking.

You can check out the company snooping for employers at: http://www.socialintelligencehr.com/home

How To Make Venetian Rainbow Cookies For The Holidays

The holidays would not be the same without the almond sponge cake pastries known as rainbows or  tricolors which first originated in Venice.  For starters, you'll need:

12 Large Eggs, Separated
2 3/4 Cups Sugar
24 Oz Almond Paste
8 Sticks Butter Softened
5 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Red Food Coloring
2 Tsp Green Food Coloring
16 Oz Orange Preserves ( Smuckers will do fine)
heated and strained
8 OZ Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Beat egg whites in electric mixer until they hold stiff peaks. Add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until whites hold stiff, slightly glossy peaks, the refrigerate. Beat together almond paste and remaining sugar in mixer. Add butter gradually and beat until mixture is fluffy , about 3 minutes. Add yolks and beat until well combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour and salt and mix until combined. Fold in egg whites. Divide batter equally among 3 bowls; wearing gloves. (1) whisk red food coloring into one, and green into the other, leaving the third batch plain. Spread each batch separately and evenly, about 1/4" thick, onto 3 half-sheet  pans , each greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake until barely set, about 7 minutes. ( 2) When layers are cool, spread half the preserves onto the green layer. Invert plain layer over it and discard paper. Spread on remaining preserves , and invert red layer over it, discard paper. Wrap with plastic and top with a weighted baking pan. Refrigerate for several hours. Remove plastic and bring to room temperature. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, and (3) spread thinly on top layer. Chill in freezer briefly until firm. Cover with wax paper, place another baking sheet on top, then invert cake onto sheet pan and remove paper. Quickly spread remaining chocolate and return to freezer until firm. Trim edges, slice and serve.  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Best Coffee Shops In NYC

Best Tasting Stump Town Coffee Roasters In The Ace Hotel, 18 W. 29th St, between 5th Ave & Broadway, and http://www.joetheartofcoffee.com/ various locations around New York City
For Hanging Out www.MudNyc.Com 307 E. 9th between First & Second Aves 212-228-9074
For Doing Work  www.ThinkCoffeeNYC.Com 28 Mercer St, between 3rd  & 4th Sts 212-228-6226
For Work Space  www.CoffeeFoundry.Com Rent booth/work space for $15 hr lst hr $10 hr thereafter,
186 W. 4th St between Barrow and Jones Sts

Sunday, December 5, 2010

15 More Incredible Must Know Travel Tips

1. Before You Go Join every airline's frequent flyer program from jet Blue to Continental's One Pass even if you fly just once a year.  In any situation, from better seating to bumping passengers off flights, the airlines always pay more attention to and take better care of the passengers they consider loyalist, whatever their mileage balance. 2. Buy One Way Tickets   These days, there's no price difference between buying a one way ticket and a return. It's way smarter to buy two one-ways. That's because if the first leg goes unflown, the second is automatically cancelled. So if you miss your flight, you end up shelling out for two replacements. Keeping them separate avoids this problem. 3. Get The Best Fares at http://www.kayak.com/and  www.Hipmunk.Com 4. Make Photo Copies & Photos Whether you travel domestically or abroad, make photo copies of your passport and ID and stuff them in your hand luggage in case you lose the originals. It makes them a lot easier to replace.  And while you're at it, snap photos of your luggage and keep them handy on your cell phone in case your luggage is lost. Airlines often complain that traveler's can't describe a lost bag which makes it harder to find. 5. Never Pack A Single Suit Case For Each Family Member For more than one person, never allocate a single suitcase. That's because if dad's case is lost, he's not left with nothing to wear but mom's swimsuit. Instead, divvy up clothes for each family member across s the cases so no one will be left shirtless. 6. Check Your Hotel's Website  Most hotels list comprehensive amenities. So you can avoid lugging around an iron or hair dryer when you don't need to. 7. Watch Your Books Watch how you pack books. That's one big reason why TSA guards search your luggage. A column of stacked books shows up on X-rays as a blank space. That triggers a search by hand. So pack your books in layers across the case rather then piled up. 8. Remember 311 The 3-1-1 rule which limits you to 3 one ounce containers in a 1 quart zip lock bag. One clever way around this is to use solid shampoos and sunscreens from http://www.lush.com/ 9. How To Handle Cancelled Flights Planes are cancelled for a lot of reasons besides weather.  Weather issues rarely result in refunds.If the airline has to nix a flight because of mechanical or labor issues, you're entitled to the next flight to your destination on ANY airline, rather than the same company's next scheduled route. For cost reasons, that's what they're likely to offer you. If so, politely decline and ask to be "FIM-ed". That stands for Flight Interruption Manifest which is the code for switching to another airline's schedule. And no matter what, minimise your plane problems by standing online at the ticket counter while calling  your airline's customer service HQ on your cell phone. Work with whomever you reach first. 10. By A Lounge Pass When there's a delay or a snafu, shell out $25 for a lounge pass. Besides buying you drinks and a comfy chair, it will mean you have quicker, easier access to desk clerks than the chumps stuck in line at the main airport. It's also a family stress buster on Christmas Eve. 11. Avoid Outdated Guide Books When you buy a guide book, flip to the small print and check out the publication date. If it's more than 2 years old, it may be outdated. Plus guidebooks sometimes  hit the book shelves a year after their printed. So watch out. 11. Best WiFi Reception Since a  few airports offer free WIFI reception, it may be spotty. So just lurk outside the airport lounge and piggyback off the gratis signal offered to VIPS. 12. Avoid Credit Card Fees If your traveling overseas, most credit card companies levy fees on foreign transactions. Only Capital One levies NO handling fees and fair exchange rates. 13. Beef Up Your Memory Buy the biggest memory card your camera can handle even if you rarely need to empty it. Holiday snaps pile up quickly and its a pain to ration out how many snaps you can take. 14. Insider Info The best way to get on the ground insider info is by having breakfast at a local sit down cafe and linger over your coffee. Forget Starbucks or other chains. Wait  staff folks are least rushed at breakfast  and will often like to chat up a friendly guest. This is especially true if you come back more than once. 15 Survive The Language Barrier  Even if you flunked high school French, just carry a small note book and pen. No matter how rough your sketch, people will get the gist of what you're trying to convey. A

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Top Ten Turkey Mishaps And How To Avoid Them

1. Forgetting To Defrost  Soak your frozen turkey in a brine solution. Unwrap the packaging, rinse well and place in the sink or large container , breast side down. For a 16 pounder, dissolve 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt in 2 gallons of cold tap water. Change the brine every 30 minutes. This trick should halve your defrosting time to 15 minutes per pound.

2. Dry Turkey Breast  Your turkey is being overcooked. Make sure  you use a meat thermometer and remove the turkey from the oven when the temp reaches 155 F. Once out of the oven, the bird will continue to cook and the temp will rise to 165F. Remove the stuffing from the cavity immediately since a stuffed bird retains more heat.

3.Turkey Breast Is Too Dry  After cooking, soak the breast in pan juices ASAP. Otherwise, douse with gravy or save it for turkey day leftovers.

4. Turkey Skin Is Not Crisp Either rub the skin with softened butter or extra virgin olive oil and then season before roasting, OR salt the skin of a thawed turkey and let it air dry overnight in the frig.

5. Turkey Lacks A Golden Hue You need to baste it more. With  a brush or basting bulb, coat the turkey evenly all over with pan juices every 15 minutes for the last hour of roasting. If the top is browning too much before the bird is cooked, just cover it with a piece of foil.

6. You Forgot To Take Out The Giblet Bag Even if you do, the turkey is safe to eat. In the future, rinse your turkey inside out and you'll find the bag before you cook it.

7. No One Knows How To Carve It First, you need a sharp knife. Then cut off each leg and slice the band of skin connecting it to the body. Then twist the drumstick to pop out the joint and slice through. Next, wiggle the thigh bone to find the joint and slice through. For the breast make a deep horizontal cut above the wing joint,then make  perpendicular slices. Slice behind the wing joint to remove it.

8.Not Enough Breast Meat For Everybody  Just cook an extra turkey breast along side your bird.

9.Safely Cook Stuffing Inside The Bird To make sure your stuffing is safe to eat, insert an instant read thermometer in the stuffing when it comes out of the oven. If should read 160 F. If not ,then make sure you transfer it to an oven safe dish. Don't serve from the bird. That way you can pop it back in the oven  to get up to 160 F. 

10. Attend A Home Coming Game And Cook Your Bird Too Just roast the bird cut into parts. This only takes an hour for a 12 pound turkey.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

No Brainer Thanksgiving Treats Everyone Will Love

Basil Butter  Just blend 1 cup chopped basil into 1 pound of unsalted butter and a pinch of salt . Then its good to go on the Thanksgiving dinner table or in a glass jar as a gift with a hand written label. Cheap glass jars and  blank labels are available at the dollar store. Be sure to wash and dry the jars before putting anything in them.

Honey Walnut Butter Simply blend in a food processor 1 pound of butter, 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and a 1/4 cup of  walnuts. Just serve with store bought or homemade apple bread. Or just present in a glass jar as a gift with a hand written label.

Chocolate Bark You'll need a 10 ounce package of chocolate chips, 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil, 1 tsp. of peppermint or almond extract, some nuts, dried fruit and candy bits.  Just melt the chocolate chips in the microwave at 50% power for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add the veggie oil and the extract. Stir in the nuts, dried fruit and/or candy bits. Then spread it out on a baking pan lined with greased foil. Let it harden in  the frig for about 2 hours. Then break apart and serve . You can also place the bark in a small gift bag lined with white tissue paper from the dollar store and give it out as gifts.

Orange Cello Vodka You'll need 7 medium navel oranges,( preferably organic) One 750 ml bottle of plain  cheap domestic vodka, 2 1/2 cups of water, and 1/12 cup sugar . use a veggie peeler to remove the peel from the oranges in long strips.  Save the oranges  for a snack or another use.  Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith and discard. Place the orange peels in a 2 quart pitcher or a large glass bowl. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap.  Steep the orange peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature. After the 4 days are up,  in a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to  a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for about 20 minutes. Then pour the syrup over the vodka  mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer. Then discard the peels, and transfer the orange vodka into another bottle with a funnel. Then serve as an after dinner drink.  You can pick up a large cheap bottle, a funnel and gift labels at a dollar store for $1 each.Or  buy several smaller bottles to use as gifts. Hand write your own labels and place on bottles. Make sure you wash and dry the store bought  bottles before putting  the orange vodka in them.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Buy Late Model Cars At Deep Discounts

Take your time when buying a car if at all possible. The bigger the hurry, the more you'll end up getting fleeced. The tactics and strategies we are about to suggest are far more effective if you control the purchase time-clock rather than the dealer. Here's what to do:

Once a dealership purchases a car, it anticipates holding that piece of inventory for 60 days or less. The goal of the dealership is to earn a 10% profit on every car it sells, so cars are typically priced about 20% above their initial purchase price. As you determine the next car you would like to purchase, do some research before you make your purchase.

Begin by comparing general prices through online sites such as http://www.autotrader.com/ , http://www.edmunds.com/ and http://www.kellybluebook.com/  about 3 to 4 months  before you are ready to buy your new vehicle.

Discover This Dealer Trick and Save Big Money

Dropping ads on trading websites is one dealer tactic to gain attention for their inventory and to determine what the consumer feels is a reasonable price to pay. For example, if the car is listed on the dealership’s own website at $23,900, the dealership likely owns the car for $20,000, and it may list a ‘Buy it Now’ price of $22,900 on Ebay while offering a list price of $24,900 on Autotrader.

This type of stealth marketing can be effective for the dealership for when the consumer does not do sufficient research, he or she may simply purchase the car on Ebay for $22,900 even though the car could have been bought through a salesperson for less.
 Timing Is Everything

Since the car industry operates on a 60-day inventory cycle time, dealerships begin reducing prices of their automobiles after the first 30 days if these assets have not sold. This is mainly due to applicable holding costs (and depreciation) as the dealership is paying interest on all of the cars that they have remaining for sale. Therefore, if you start monitoring the make and model that you want to purchase about 120 days in advance of your buying time frame, you will notice how the prices may drop by about 10% over a 60-day period.

If one of the cars that you have been monitoring appears to have been sold, then call the dealership and ask if that unit is still available. The dealership may advise that the vehicle has recently been sold and you can nonchalantly ask for its selling price.

When To Low-Ball A Car Dealer

What you will notice is that the original advertisement price was probably reduced after 30 days and after speaking with the dealership, it will probably be apparent that the final selling price was less than the lowest advertised price. It is also important to note that dealerships will, at times, take a loss on their inventory depending on the situation, so don’t be afraid to offer 20% less than the list price. The worst they can say is ‘no,’ but you could end up receiving the car for 15% less than their asking price.

In the event that the car has been on the lot for 60 days or more, dealership manages essentially have three options; they can further reduce the price, move the automobile to another dealership for new advertising, or sell the car at one of the national auto auctions (where they likely originally purchased the vehicle). In any event, selling the car to a consumer at a lower price than they own it for is sometimes the best-case scenario, as the added cost of transportation or auction fees could cause greater losses for dealerships than a reduced price. And they miss the opportunity to gain a happy customer.

How Your Timing Gets You The Best Price

Since the car business is based on commissions and monthly sales quotas, complete your research ahead of time and then go to the dealership on the last day of the month, just a few hours before closing time to make your offer. You will be amazed how quickly a salesman may be willing to make a deal and even give up some of his commission to make sure the deal is finalized.

Since salesmen typically earn much of their income from bonuses based on sales volume, they have little problem giving up part of their commission if selling one more car will qualify them for their monthly incentive bonus.

Don't Buy A New Car

Buying a late model pre-owned (used) car from a reputable dealer is the best way to save money. Here’s why:

* Today's cars are engineered to last much longer than they used to. Most dealers only sell pre-owned cars that meet far more rigorous standards than in years past.

* New car buyers take a huge depreciation hit for essentially driving the vehicle off the lot – 20% or more. You never get this money back.

* Lower insurance costs, particularly on collision coverage.

Avoid Trade-Ins

Another issue worthy of consideration is whether to trade in your current car. If you have the time and the means, avoid trade-ins at all costs. Better to sell your existing car individually and avoid giving the dealership more leverage/wiggle room in the overall exchange.

A clean purchase without the distraction of haggling over the "value" of your trade-in is far preferable. Sell your vehicle on Craigslist or other car trading post and walk into the dealer on your date of purchase free and clear. The salesman will have less opportunity to wear you down, and he will enjoy less maneuvering room. It reduces the angles he has to deflect your pressure tactics, which involve superior research and impeccable timing as suggested above.

Never Rush

Above all, remember to never be in a rush when buying a car. That's how car dealers get away with high mark-ups. All the blustering and negotiating in going toe-to-toe with a car salesmen can be an exercise in frustration if you haven't properly prepared.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How To Find The Jobs Of The Future

http://www.ama-assn.org/ lists 80 careers in health care and provides a directory of 8,600 accredited institutions in those fields. Nurses, techs and docs are in high demand. To become a home health care aide requires only short term training and that filed will grow by 50% by 2018.

www.Nrdc.Org/Energy/Greenjobs provides a primer on clean-energy companies that are the biggest players in the field. Between January and March 2010, 83,000 clean energy jobs were created.

http://www.jobnob.com/ showcases jobs with startup companies. Many of these new companies will be looking for staff.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Best East Coast Salvage Shop Where You Can Furnish Your Home On The Cheap And Protect The Environment

If you want to spruce up your home but are short on funds, then head over to Build It Green! NYC in Astoria , NY. This 18,000 square foot warehouse is stocked from everything from movie props to antique lighting to wooden doors. In fact, its all  materials that would have ended up in a landfill if it weren't for the staff at this nonprofit. Recent finds included a pool table for $50, church pews for $200, and antique and designer appliances. for more info see http://www.bignyc.org/  or call 718-777-0132. Its located at 3-17 26th Ave, Queens, Astoria, NY .

How To Get A Great Face Lift Without Losing Face

The American Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that over 94,000 people got face lifts in 2009. 89% were gals and 11% were guys. But the journey between thinking about getting a lift and can be fraught with concerns. That's because there is no way to judge how it will turn out and you can't  re-return if you don't like it. Plus the problem is compounded because women won't tell you where they had it done. You can opt for less invasive treatments like botox but they can only do so much. But if you're beginning to look like a shar-pei, then you need to see a plastic surgeon.

There are many variations of  a face lift but it is just  a resection of sagging skin and muscle from the neck to the mid face. That's one operation. A brow lift and  eye surgery are different procedures at additional cost.
A skilled doc will only do one face lift a day which takes about 5 hours. None of it is covered by insurance  and there is a two week downtime before you can return to work.  In some cases it may take 3 weeks for the swelling to go down.

Keep in mind a plastic surgeon trains as much as a heart surgeon. He or she must go through one or more years of specialized surgical training on top of the general residency requirements. Yet, anyone with an MD after their name can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon.  That's why credentials are so important. What you want is a doc that's either board certified in plastic surgery or facial plastic surgery-meaning that the doc is an ear, nose and throat surgeon with specialized cosmetic training. Its a plus if they have aesthetic surgery fellowships.
 That's why only a handful of master surgeons do the majority of lifts in either L.A. or NYC.  Usually,  a skilled doc will only do one face lift a day which takes about 5 hours. Also, make sure you ask your prospective surgeon how many face lifts he or she does a month. You want to hear at least 15 or more. Not one or two.

 Next, visit the waiting room. A busy surgeon will have a least several post-operations waiting to see him. Also, check the docs before and after photos. The reason you do this is that you want to get an sense of what the docs  idea of beauty is. That's because you can end up with a great surgeon and be disappointed if your idea of beauty is different than his or hers.

 Plus a great number of surgeons do a lift that tightens the skin only. You want a surgeon who tells you that he is doing a lift on both the skin and the underlying muscle. This takes extra skill and training. But it generally lasts longer and avoids the bad face lift look.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon you can start by going to your nearest library or bookstore and looking at Americas Top Doctors published by Castle Connolly-9th edition. Also, you can check out these links:

http://www.castleconnolly.com/doctors/results.cfm?source=nymetro&mag=28&speccode=073   or see  


Insider Method For Getting An Unfair Discount At NYC Department Stores

At the Tourist Center counters at Bloomingdale's and Macy's, just show an out-of-state ID for an instant  store wide discount of 10% off. That might be 10% off on top of any sales that may be in progress.  Since no record is kept of these coupons, you can get them anytime you visit NYC.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How To Land Cheap Flights For The Holiday Season

Go To The Source: Airlines try to bypass online travel sites by posting discount promo codes on their home pages. So start your search for deals at the carriers'  sites.  Google It: If you can't find codes on an airline's site, then do a web search with the airlines name and the term "promo codes". You'll be surprized by what you find.  Leave It To The Pros: www.AirFareWatchDog.Com scans countless sites for "promo codes" and posts unpublished  discount codes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Get A Solar System On The Cheap

Instead of buying a solar energy system, lease one. In some places, you can get a $30,000 solar energy system  for about $141 a month on a 15 year lease with no upfront cost. Plus you'll typically see a 10% to 15% drop  in your electric bill every month.  But make sure your lease allows you to sell excess energy back to the grid and that your rate is locked in over the life of the lease.  Also, make sure the provider passes along the federal residential energy credits and local incentives back to you in the form of a lower monthly lease rate.  And if you can afford it, make sure you have the option to prepay the lease. Prepaying even a portion of your lease can double or even triple your net savings. To get more info and ideas visit
www.SolarCity.Com ,  www.Sungevity.Com and www.SunRunHome.Com .  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Secret To Roasting Carrots

Most of the time when you roast carrots, they come out dry and shriveled.  That's because they contain more  pectin than any other vegetable or even some fruits.  So it takes a long time for this complex carbohydrate to break down. The solution is to precook the carrots covered in foil. This creates a heat stable form so the carrots will stay moist even after you turn up the heat and give them a tasty carmelization. This process works well even when parsnips, fennel, and shallots share the pan. Here's a great recipe you might enjoy:

Roasted Carrots And Shallots With Lemon And Thyme

Ingredients:  1lb carrots, peeled and halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise to create even pieces- 6 medium shallots- 1tsp chopped  thyme leaves-2 tbsp butter, melted, salt & ground black pepper- 1 tsp lemon juice

Adjust oven rack to  middle position and heat oven to 425  degrees.  In a large  bowl, combine carrots, shallots, thyme , butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and toss to coat.  Transfer carrots  to foil or  parchment lined  rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook stirring twice,  until carrots are well  browned  and tender, about 30 to 35  minutes.  Toss with  lemon juice  , transfer to platter . Then salt and  pepper  to taste.  Serves 4 to 6.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Save Big Time On Cruising Alaska

One of the greatest secrets of  Northwest travel is seeing Alaska by ferry. Nine state run ferries, known as the Blue Canoe cruise the  same 950 mile Alaska Marine Highway System that the luxury ships do. Plus they venture into many unspoiled places they don't.  One way fares begin at just $375 and you can hitch a ferry ride starting in Bellingham, WA. Unlike a cruise ship, the ferry system allows travelers to stop off at harbor towns whenever and for as long as they like.  For more info see http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtml
for ferry and cabin fare rates or call 800-642-0066.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hate To Be Put On Hold? Lucy Phone Can Help You For FREE

Lucy Phone promises that you'll never wait on hold again. Here's how the free service works: You type in  the toll-free customer service number you want to call at http://www.lucyphone.com/ , on Facebook or through your iPhone app. You enter your phone number and click "Start". In a moment, your phone rings. It's Lucy, who asks you to press 1 to connect with the company you want. Once connected, you navigate the customer service menu. When you get to where you want to go, if you're put on hold, you press "**" and hang up. You then go about your business while Lucy Phone keeps your place in the customer service line. When an agent becomes available, he or she is asked to press 1 to reach you. Your phone rings and then you're connected. Lucy Phone is great for calling the IRS, Social Security, Motor Vehicles and other bureaucratic  state and federal government lines that put you on hold forever.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Reverse The Tide Of Government Waste In NJ

www.JoinTheCampaign.Com is a non-partisan public service initiative to get 5,000 citizens to participate in the leadership of their communities to reverse the tide of government waste. The Citizens' Campaign, launched in 2004, works to cultivate a culture of service and develop a new generation of leaders - leaders who put service over personal gain. They recruit, educate and mentor new leaders. Through live events and online classes, the Citizens' Campaign has educated thousands of New Jerseyans in how to navigate the power structure of government and to exercise leadership beginning with their own hometowns.

The Citizens Campaign educates citizens how to enter four powerful non elected leadership positions, including appointed office service, political party service, citizen legislator service and citizen journalist service.

The Citizens' Campaign also devises innovative government solutions that support good government and open the doors for citizen service. They have led the successful fight for the adoption of pay-to play protections at the state level. New Jersey now has the strongest state pay-to-play reform law in the nation.

For more information, click on the link above.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chemicals You Can't Wash Off

Systemic pesticides are chemicals that are actually absorbed by a plant when applied to seeds, soil, or leaves. The chemicals then circulate through the plants tissues, killing  the insects that feed on them. Use of these pesticides on food crops began in 1998, and has steadily increased during the past 10 years. Unlike traditional pesticides, you can't wash or peel off systemic pesticide residues because  they're in the  plant's tissues  not on their  exteriors.

  The  four main  systemics used on food crops are members of the nitroguanidine/neonicotinoid group of chemicals. They have been implicated in the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has killed millions of bees. Imidacloprid can be applied to many veggies including tomatoes and leafy greens right up to the day they're harvested. Thiamethoxam was first approved as a seed treatment for corn in 2002.

Plus these products have been approved for use on most veggie and fruit crops. Clothianidin is used as a seed treatment on canola, cereals, corn and sugar beets and as a soil treatment for potatoes. Dinotefuran can be applied to soil or sprayed on leafy greens, potatoes, and cucumbers. When the Pesticide Action Network reviewed the results of pesticide residue tests conducted by the USDA from 1999 to 2007,numerous samples contained residues of systemic pesticides. For example, 74 percent of conventionally grown fresh lettuce and 70 percent of broccoli samples showed imidacloprid residues.

The U.S. EPA has launched a comprehensive review of the environmental safety of imidacloprid, but we won't know the results until 2014. In February 2009, California's Department Of Pesticide Regulation cited reports of eucalyptus nectar and pollen with imidacloprid levels up to 550 parts per billion, or nearly 3 times the 185 parts per billion needed to kill honeybees. And deadly levels of of these systemic poisons are even showing up in leaf guttation drops. These are water droplets that plants sometime exude.

According to a 2009 report in the Journal Of Economic Entomology, "when bees consume guttation drops, collected from plants grown with neonicotinoid coated seeds, they encounter death within a few minutes." Equally disturbing, it appears that nitroguanidine pesticides can persist in soil for 500 days or more.  Right now, there is no scientific evidence that says foods laced with these pesticides will hurt humans. But when we let a novel, man made chemical loose in the food chain, we can't be certain of what will happen next.  This new contamination of our food supply is yet another reason to grow and buy organic.      

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How To Treat Common Ailments Naturally

Many medical  authorities disparage medicinal herbs. Critics say herbs are ineffective, unsafe, and  unregulated.  Like drugs, medicinal herbs can cause harm. So to ensure safety, always consult your doctor before taking or mixing herbs with prescription medicines. Or you can read the ABC Clinical Guide To Herbs. Since its $80, see if your local library has it.  Or check out the natural medicines database at http://www.naturaldatabase.com/ .

Now anyone who calls herbs dangerous may be misinformed. The University of Toronto did a 30 year study of drug side effects in hospital patients. They estimated that drug side effects kill over 100,000 US hospital patients a year and cause over 2 million serious non-fatal problems. This makes drug side effects the nation's fourth leading cause of death . The true number is actually higher since this study  focused on hospital patients and not the public. Also, these deaths occurred when drugs were administered as approved by the FDA.

Before approving new drugs, the FDA requires drug makers to prove them safe and effective. Such tests aren't required of herbs leading to claims that herbs are unregulated and are therefore unsafe. But FDA pre-approval studies usually involve only a few thousand people. Many side effects only turn up in one user in 10,000 to 50,000 people or more. So these problems don't emerge until the drug is widely used by people who are unaware that they are guinea pigs. Since so many side effects show up during the 5 years after approval, the FDA requires drug makers to rewrite warning labels on half of the new drugs that come out on the market.

Although drugs are heavily regulated, it doesn't guarantee their safety. In fact ,hundreds of studies show that when compared to herbs, drugs always cause more side effects. Some critics claim that herbs are not as strong as drugs. This is true. But rather than herbs being too weak, drugs are usually too strong causing sides effects. If you'd like to try herbs instead of drugs, do some research. A good place to start is the Physician's Desk Reference ( PDR) For Herbal Medicines.  You can buy it online at Amazon for $47, read it at your local library or check it out at a local health food store. 

When you've decided on what herb to take, then check out www.PennHerb.Com Philadelphia. They stock over 400 medicinal herbs and spices in capsule, bulk, powder and  extract form. Plus they stock  over 7,000 heath remedies. For a free hard copy catalog, or info on herbs,  call 215-632-6100 Mon-Fri 8:30am - 5pm EST. For orders only call 800-523-9971  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Best Websites For Helping Schools

www.DonorsChoose.org lets public school teachers nationwide post info about classroom projects that need funding. If you donate money, you'll receive photos of projects being carried out, a cost report, and thanks. www.AdoptAClassroom.Org provides criteria for selecting an under served classroom. Donors get an expense report, thank you packages and students' artwork. You can also support students directly by visiting the classroom or chaperoning field trips. www.WeGiveBooks.Com  provides children's books to literacy organizations while enlisting adults to read with youngsters. Participants choose a title to read online with a child, and a physical copy of the book is donated to the chosen organization.   

Best New Canned Gourmet Beers

BACK IN BLACK IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco. Has smooth flavor with hints of grapefruit, lemon, orange and licorice with color of India ink.   SELF-RIGHTEOUS ALE by Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA has a balance of bittersweet chocolate and resiny hops. INIQUITY  by Southern Tier Brewery , Lake wood, NY, has a rich fudge-cake flavor ahead of the prickly hops. 

Best Gourmet Foods Trucks In USA

Los Angeles: http://www.bigmista.com/  Miami: http://www.gastropodmiami.com/  NYC: www.Twitter.Com/JenAndOutlaws   Portland, Ore: http://www.thefryingscotsmanpdx.com/ St.Paul, Minn: www.Twitter.Com/ChefsShack1

At Last! A Free And Easy Diet Trick That Really Works!

A new study says the most effective way to lose weight isn't by taking pills or adopting extreme diets. It's by drinking water before meals. Nutrition researchers at Virginia Tech found that subjects who drank 16 ounces of water-about two glasses-before each of their three daily meals lost 50% more weight than the control subjects did. The study volunteers, 48 overweight and obese men and women, were put on a low calorie diet for 12 weeks. Half were given no instructions about what to drink. Half were instructed to drink two glasses of water shorty before their meals.  The first group lost 11 pounds on average. But the water group lost more-15.5 pounds on average. Plus the diet seems to stick. A year after the study, the water drinkers  had continued the regimen on their own and lost additional weight.      

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Europe's Best Outlet Malls

If you're going to Europe, make sure you check out the best outlet malls the EU has to offer. Here are the locations: DUBLIN: http://www.kildarevillage.com/ Round trip bus transportation from center city Dublin is only $15US. BARCELONA: http://www.larocavillage.com/ Round trip bus fare from Placa Catalunya Is $15 US. FLORENCE: This stores at this outlet reads like the who's who of Italian fashion. Simply know as "The Mall", its a round trip SITA bus from center city for about $8US. Check it out at: http://www.themall.it/ LONDON: London's outlet mall is called Bicester Village. A 75 minute round trip ride by bus from central London will set you back about $28 US. For more info see: http://www.bicestervillage.com/  PARIS: http://www.lavalleevillage.com/fr_FR/ has 90+ shops that hit all the designer high points. The round trip bus fare from Place de Pyramides is $27US.

Get A Round Trip Ride To Atlantic City For $3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every Monday, from 8am to 9:15 am, Stout's Bus Service will give you a round trip ride to Atlantic
City For $3 and drop you off at the Tropicana Casino. So you can take the bus, go swimming or shopping,
and spend the day. There are various boarding locations in Hamilton, Ewing, Yardville, Columbus, and Roebling, NJ . Call Stout's at 609-883-8891 and dial Extension 61 for more info on boarding locations and departure times.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to prepare a FLAWLESS risotto

This a recipe for risotto with pears, goat cheese and  freshly crushed black peppercorns


4 cups vegetable stock ( recipe follows )
8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 cups of Carnaroli rice ( may substitute Arborio rice)
2 cups white wine
2 cups peeled and diced pears ( about 2 pears ) preferably Bosc pears
Salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp of butter. When it begins to sizzle, add the shallots, and cook, stirring about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, and cook, stirring occasionally  
until the wine has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add enough simmering vegetable stock to reach about 1/4 inch above the rice and cook stirring until the liquid begins to simmer. When the rice absorbs almost all the liquid, add another ladle of stock. Continue to cook in this fashion until all the liquid has been added. (14 to 16 minutes total ) Reduce heat to low. Add goat cheese , pears, and remaining 5 tbsp of butter, and give  the mixture a couple of stirs. The cheese and butter should melt, and the risotto should take on a smooth consistency in a minute or so. Add salt and crushed black peppercorns to taste.   Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Ingredients For Vegetable Stock      

2 onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 stalks celery
2 leeks, halved lengthwise ( white and green parts)
5 qts ( 20 cups) water
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

In a  large stockpot simmer vegetables, water, and salt for 15 minutes, skimming surface of foam and particles. Add herbs and simmer for another 20 minutes. Strain the stock, and discard solids.
makes about 15 cups. Since you only need 4 cups for the risotto, freeze the rest to make more risotto later on.

Secret ingredient to the South's finest fried chicken

Ingredients: 3 lbs organic, free range chicken cut up into 8 pieces
                     1/4 cup kosher salt
                     4 cups buttermilk
                     1 lb organic lard
                     1 cup flour
                     2 tbsp cornstarch
                     8 tbsp ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter
                     1/2 cup organic country ham pieces
                     1/2 tsp salt
                     1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

The night before, place chicken in a large bowl and set aside. In a large pitcher, combine kosher salt with 6 cups of water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour salted water over chicken pieces until they are submerged. Cover and refrigerate over night. In the morning, drain chicken pieces and rinse chicken and the   lbowl. Return chicken to bowl and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
About 1 1/4 hours before serving, combine the lard, butter, and ham in a large heavy skillet. Cook over  low heat, skimming as needed, until ham is lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove ham and brown bits from fat. Increase heat to medium high to bring the fat to 335 degrees.

In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper, mix well. Dredge chicken pieces thoroughly in flour mixture, then pat well to remove excess flour. Working in batches, (do not crowd pan ), place chicken pieces skin side down in fat. Cook 8 to 10 minutes on each side, until chicken is golden brown, and cooked through. Drain on crumpled paper towels. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature or cold. Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

7 New Identity Theft Scams You Need To Know

1. Watch Your Back When you're in line to pay at a supermarket or a department store, make sure the person behind you is not using his cell phone to snap a photo of your credit card as your using it. 2. Check Your Check Book & Credit Card Balances Once A Week  Identity thieves can do a lot of damage in the 30 days between statements. 3. When Bills Are Late You should be concerned since they might have been stolen.  4. Watch Your Garbage Identity thieves fill their trunks with garbage and sort it out later. Make sure you shred all sensitive documents like old paid bills, checking account deposit slips, job or loan applications, credit card checks and offers for new cards before you throw them out. 5 Watch Your ATM If you see something that doesn't look like it belongs on an ATM, walk away. It might be a skimmer to capture your pin number. 6. Don't Sign The Back Of Your Credit Cards Instead, print these words on the signature strip: "ASK FOR PHOTO ID". 7. Never Use A Credit Card To Pay A Utility Bill ID thieves will call your utility company and say: "I thought I paid this bill, but I can't remember. Did I use my Visa or Mastercard? Can you read me back the number?" You'd be surprised what utility workers will reveal to strangers posing as you.       

Friday, August 13, 2010

How To Enjoy Fresh Peaches Out Of Season

Supermarket peaches are usually hard and flavorless. They are picked so green that they don't ripen once you get them home. However, real peaches are super juicy with great flavor. During peach season, which is July and August, local farmers markets usually sell ripe peaches. Even when shipped from a neighboring state, they are almost always better than what you find in a supermarket. Here's a  remarkable way to enjoy fresh peaches out of season. Drop the ripened peach in a plastic sandwich bag, zip shut and toss it in the freezer. When you want a fresh peach, just run the frozen peach under water for a moment and the skin will peel off. Slice the peach into a bowl, wait until the iciness is gone, and enjoy the next best thing to a fresh, ripe peach just picked form a tree.    

Friday, August 6, 2010

TRADE SECRETS! Butcher,Hat & Boot Maker

If you'd like to hone your artisanal skills without devoting a lifetime to the craft  then check out these resources. Shoemaking : www.ShoeMakingClasses.Com  NYC  Call 646-823-0084. Weekned workshops $795.    
www.JCCManhattan.Org  334 Amsterdam Ave between 75th & 76 th Sts, NYC  646-505-4444.  Shoe making class $455, pattern making class $295.  www.ShoeMakingCourse.Com Various Cities  $1495-$1795.
pattern making course $250. Butchering: www.JeffreysMeatMarket.Com  120 Essex St between Delancy and Rivington Sts, NYC 212-475-6521.One class $75, two $140, three $195. Millinery :www.Artikal.Com
$55-$150. 510 E. 12th St, between Aves A & B, NYC 212-260-0278.  www.FitNyc.Edu FIT, D Bldg, lower level,  Seventh Ave @ 27th St, NYC  212-217-3334. $387.50.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

When Its Summer,It Pays To Be A Jerk!

Here's a great authentic Jamaican Jerk marinade that you can use on chicken, beef pork or fish. For the best flavor ,try using whole allspice berries and black peppercorns and crush them with the bottom of a heavy pan or in a coffee mill before adding to your food processor. If you want less heat, use jalapenos  peppers in place of Scotch bonnets. Here are the ingredients:

1 bunch green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths, 4 garlic cloves, 1 (2 inch) piece of peeled fresh ginger, 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon of ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of coarsely ground pepper, 1 to 3 Scotch bonnets or habanero chile peppers, stems and seeds removed, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, juice of 4 limes ( 6 tablespoons) 1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil. This is enough for  3 pounds of chicken, beef, pork or fish 

 Place all ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor. While the processor is running, slowly add a thin stream of oil until the mixture becomes thick. Save 1/2 cup of the marinade for drizzling over beef, chicken pork or fish during cooking. Place your meat or fish and a good amount of marinade in a zip top plastic bag and marinate at least 2 hours or over night in the frig. Prepare your grill and follow cooking times for various meats or fish.  

A New Cancer Test Could Save Your Life

A new test called AMAS or Anti-Malignin Antibody Screen can detect early cancer cells of all types.
It has an accuracy rate greater than 95% and with a second test, its accuracy shoots up to 99%. Keep in mind that AMAS cannot be used to diagnose cancer on its own. But it is a remarkable breakthrough for the detection of cancer cells, which taken in conjunction with other factors, may help doctors arrive at a more concrete diagnosis.

If you suspect that you may be at risk for cancer because of family history or other factors, tell your doctor about this test. Chances are he's never heard of it because it hasn't been heavily promoted. If he refuses to give you this test, you can contact Oncolab, Inc at 800-9CATEST or www.Oncolabinc.Com

Why Heavy Exercise May Put Your Heart On Shaky Ground

According to some doctors, there is no relationship between exercise and longevity. Actually, there is no conclusive proof that vigorous daily exercise for its own sake does anything but destroy health.

According to an article in Circulation, the the journal of the American Heart Association, regular exercise did not make one iota's difference in rates of age related physical decline study of more than 800 male and female subjects of various ages.

Measured by periodic tread mill tests over an average age period of 8 years, both the exercisers and otherwise healthy non-obese sedentary types, , experienced a 20% decline in aerobic capacity for every decade past age 70.

That means despite what running shoe makers, sports drink makers, and gym owners tell you, heavy  exercise does nothing to stave off the natural reduction in physical strength and stamina that comes with aging.

The Paradox Of The Exercise Craze

Enlargement of the heart, known as cardiomegaly, is considered a healthy sign in athletes. But in the rest of us, its considered to be a serious sign of heart disease. Does this give us any clue as to why super athletes die young from heart disease? Many athletes also have irregular cardiograms that would be considered serious signs of heart disease in most of us. But since they're in shape, its considered benign.

A case in point would be Pheidippides the first marathon runner. He ran from Marathon to Athens which is 26 miles, to announce the Greek victory over the Persians. He delivered his message and then dropped dead. Things have changed much since then since marathoners are still dropping dead at the finish.

One medical study involved 10 cases of sudden death among runners. The researchers discovered severe coronary atherosclerosis is the most common cause of death among marathon runners.  The researchers pursued these findings among 24 cases of joggers, not marathoners, but joggers. Thirteen died while jogging, and six soon after jogging. All but one had severe coronary artery disease.

Consider this Swedish study. A total of 315 heart attack patients were divided into two groups. Half received exercise training and half no exercise. There was no evidence that the exercise group fared better than the control group in terms of death rates or rate of recurrence of heart attacks. A Canadian study came up with similar results.

A Little Exercise Goes A Long Way

 The key to maintaining muscle mass is balance. In young adults there's a healthy ebb and flow between the buildup and breakdown of muscles that helps maintain that balance. But that's not the case with the elderly. Instead, the muscle breakdown continues unabated while the buildup process slows down considerably.

So the best way to keep muscles strong is to get moderate exercise. Some doctors recommend that if you're over 65 you should walk one mile round trip once a day. And if you want to keep your body fit and strong, there are plenty of low impact exercises you can do to keep fit.

If you're unsure about which exercises to do, you can go to a gym and tell one of the trainers that you want to strengthen your muscles. Tell him or her the specific areas you're interested in working and let the trainer know that you don't want a comprehensive muscle building program. If the trainer asks why, tell him that's  all your doctor recommended. If he or she tries to sell you a lot of bodybuilding capsules, don't waste your money. Moderate low impact exercise is all you need to keep fit.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Best Flea Markets In NYC

Best For Bargains: West 25th St Market, year round, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. For more info see
www.HellsKitchenFleaMarket.Com  Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market, 52 W. 116th St, between Fifth Ave and Malcolm X Blvd. 212-987-8131 Daily 10am-8pm.  Best For Antiques:  Green Flea Market, Columbus Ave between 76th and 77th Sts, 212-239-3025. April-October: Sun 10am -6pm. November -March: Sun 10am-5:30pm.  www.GreenFleaMarkets.Com  The Antiques Garage, 112 W. 25th St between 6th & 7th Aves. Year around Sat-Sun 9am-5pm. www.HellsKitchenFleaMarket.Com Best For Jewelry & Accessories: East 67th St Market, E. 67th St between First & York Aves , 718-897-5992, Year around Sat 6am-5pm. http://www.east67thstreetmarket.org/ Best For Emerging Designers: The Market NYC, 268 Mulberry St, between Houston & Prince Sts, year around, Sat-Sun 11am-7pm.
www.TheMarketNYC.Com Best For Vintage: Hester Street Fair, Hester St @ Essex, April-December, rain or shine, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. www.HesterStreetFair.Com     

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cool Off This Summer With A Frozen Hot Chocolate

The key to making this recipe work is that you need to make real homemade hot chocolate to get a  cooked carmelized quality. Second  you need to let the hot chocolate chill completely before blending . If not , it melts the ice too rapidly and you're left with  watered-down cold chocolate milk. You'll need 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 ounce of water, 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 1/2 ounces of Godiva chocolate liqueur, 3 mini marshmallows for garnish, gourmet chocolate pieces for optional garnish. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, sugar, water, cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir constantly until its starts to boil. Then place in refrigerator until completely cooled.
Combine the cooled hot chocolate and chocolate liqueur in a blender with 4 ice cubes. Blend until smooth.  Add and blend additional sugar if needed. Pour into cocktail glass. garnish with mini marshmallows and chocolate pieces if desired.

NY'S Best Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches

RonnyBook Milk Bar, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave @ 15th St,( 212 ) -741-6455 $4,  Dessert Club ChikaLicious 204 E. 10th St, between First &Second Aves, 475-0929 $2.50,  Three Tarts Bakery & Boutique, 164 Ninth Ave @ 20th St, 462-4392  $4.25, The Meatball Shop, 84 Stanton @ Allen St, 982-8895 $4.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Asian Burgers & Mayo That Will Have Your Guests Begging For More

Mayonnaise 3/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup EACH finely chopped Thai basil, cilantro, and scallions 2 Tbsp lime juice BURGERS 2 lbs ground pork, 1/4 cup Asian or Vietnamese fish sauce, 4 tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar, 1 tsp of Asian chili sauce, 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter, 2 tsp EACH grated fresh ginger and minced garlic, 1/2 tsp ground star anise, 6 rectangular sandwich rolls, 6 butter lettuce leaves . Preheat a hot charcoal grill or gas grill to medium high. Combine all mayo ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers. Place fish sauce, sugar, and chili sauce in a large bowl, mix well. Add pork, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, and star anise. Handle the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Just mix well. Form mixture into 6 oblong patties to fit the rolls. Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on rack, cover, and cook, turning once, about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through on a instant read thermometer that registers 155F. Spread roll bottoms with a thin layer of mayonnaise.Place a lettuce leaf, then a burger and a generous dollop of mayo on each. Add roll tops and serve.

Gourmet Burger ,Mayo & Salad Recipe That Will Impress Your Guests

Rolls: 6 Kaiser Rolls Mayo 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 4 cloves garlic crushed, 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp EACH of cumin, paprika, kosher salt & harissa*( * hot red pepper paste used in North African cooking-if you can't find it locally-you can make your own-click on link for recipe: www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Harissa-Sauce-107098 6 Tbsp olive oil,1 cup of mayonnaise. Combine all mayo ingredients except mayo in a food processor and process until well blended. Transfer to bowl and stir in mayo. Cover and refrigerate until assembling burgers. Carrot Salad 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp EACH ground cumin and kosher salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp EACH ground cinnamon and crushed red pepper flakes, 2 Tsp olive oil, 1 Tsp chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 tsp honey, 1 lb of carrots peeled and grated. In a bowl combine lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, paprika, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes mixing well to combine. Add remaining salad ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until assembling burgers. Burgers 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck, 1/2 lb of ground lamb, 2 oz EACH of dried apricots and pitted dried dates diced, 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro and 3 Tbsp fresh mint, 2 tsp EACH of harissa and kosher salt, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper,1 tsp of minced garlic, 1/4 tsp EACH of ground fennel, ground coriander,and cayenne. Romaine lettuce for garnish. Combine all burger ingredients in a large bowl, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Form mixture into 6 equal patties to fit the rolls. Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on rack , cover, cook turning once, about 5 minutes per side for medium. During last few minutes of cooking, place rolls cut side down on the outer edges on the rack to toast slightly. Assemble Drain carrot salad and squeeze out extra moisture. Spread generous amount of mayo on the cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place shredded romaine, burger, and some carrot salad. Add roll tops and serve.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How To Surf Safely On Public Wi-Fi

FACT: Absolutely nothing is safe on open Wi-Fi. But in a coffee shop, airport, lounge or library, people routinely surf the net or read their e-mails without thinking twice. So the first thing you can do is stick to a webmail system that uses HTTPS when you log in. But after you sign in, your webmail system usually switches back to HTTP because it reduces computer strain on their servers. That means everyone who is on the same wireless network can read your e-mail content. The only exceptions to this if you were viewing your e-mail on a corporate system or using Gmail. That's right, Gmail! Right now, the default setting in Gmail detects suspicious login detection algorithms and makes Gmail a standout for secure wireless surfing. So if you've been thinking about dumping your AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo account, now is the time. If that's too much of a hassle for you, then set up a Gmail account and have ALL your e-mails from other accounts forwarded to it. Then when you read your e-mails on a wireless network, the whole world won't be watching. Also watch out for a common misconception among business travelers. Most of them think that commercial hotspots that you pay by the hour or by subscription are more secure that free Wi-Fi hotspots. That simple is not true! So if your company offer VPN or a virtual private network connection, then take advantage of it. If it doesn't, you can download a FREE program called Hotspot Shield from www.AnchorFree.Com This company offers its own VPN software that you can install on your laptop prior to using a a public Wi-Fi. Once you enable it, it encrypts all of your traffic through a tunnel to a Hotspot Shield and then out on the Internet. It works just like a corporate VPN but its 100% FREE!

Mobile Phone Security Alert

Imagine sitting in a cafe and closing an important business deal by phone. After you hang up, you get a text message from a stranger referring to the deal and asking money in exchange for silence. According to university researchers, cells phones make excellent surveillance devices. And its done through the implanting of malware. So, in general, always be suspicious of phone downloads or ringtones as they could harbor spyware. Fortunately, major antivirus software makers offer tools that protect against phone malware. But one start up company offers a FREE mobile security tool that offers a suite of mobile firewall, mobile data backup,and the ability to wipe a lost or stolen phone remotely. Go to www.MyLookOut.Com and get it now for free.

Keep Clear Of New Craig's List Scams

Check Fraud You list a used piece of furniture for $100 on Craig's List and a scammer calls you and says he will be out of town. So he mails you a check for$250. When you ask him about it, he apologizes for the mistake and asks that you wire him the over-payment. Plus he'll throw in a few bucks for your inconvenience. The fact is, the check is fake and you'll be out $150+! Employment Fraud Two common scams are asking for up-front training fees and gathering personal info under the guise of "background check"purposes. You'll either get beat for the training fees or have your identity stolen in a NY minute. So watch out for job offers that post great salaries, requiring little or no experience, or that involve fees, or telecomuting without meeting your boss or hiring without any interview. These are BIG RED FLAGS!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Why You Should Avoid Buying Chinese Garlic

In 2006, the average wholesale price of Chinese garlic was about 35 cents a pound. Then large amounts were dumped on the US market at 7 cents a pound which is below its production costs. Right now, Chinese garlic is being dumped all over the world, and right now, garlic farmers all over the world are going out of business because they cannot compete with the dirt cheap price of Chinese garlic. In California, garlic farmers cut their production from 160 million pounds of garlic in 2003 down to 95 million pounds in 2007. There are only five garlic growers left in New Zealand and Thailand's garlic production is down 20%. And in 2000, China suspended imports of South Korean cell phones in retaliation of Korea's sharp increase in garlic tariffs. So the Chinese are not dumping cheap garlic all over the world because their nice guys. The plan is to put everybody out of business, dominate the market, and then charge whatever the market will bear. And here's something you didn't know about Chinese garlic. Its not as tasty or nutritious as Garlic grown in the US. That's because the root of the garlic contains disease and pestilence that might spread in the US. So the roots are gouged out before they get here. That's why there's a concave gouge at the bottom of Chinese garlic. Plus all Chinese garlic is irradiated before it gets here so the process kills all the taste and nutrients. So make sure you avoid buying Chinese garlic whenever you can. And in light of what they're doing in the garlic market,it might be a good idea to avoid buying any kind of produce grown in China.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Must Try Asian Grill Recipes

Baby Back RibsServes 4. Get 4 racks of true baby back ribs ( each 3/4 to 1lb) 6 cloves coarsely chopped garlic, 1 piece (2 in) fresh ginger,peeled and coarsely chopped, 1 tbs. sugar, 1 tbs. coarse salt, 2 tbs. honey, 1 tbs. soy sauce,1 tbs. Asian fish sauce or additional soy sauce. For the dipping sauce 4 tsp coarse salt, 4 tsp white pepper, and 4 juicy limes cut in half. To prepare the ribs remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack or ribs. ( some stores sell them already removed). If you have a large rack of ribs, cut each rack in half. Place ribs in a non-reactive baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Place the garlic, ginger,sugar,1 tbs salt and black pepper in a motor and pound to a paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, puree ingredients in a food processor. Work in honey, soy sauce and fish sauce or additional soy sauce. Spread spice over the ribs on both sides and let marinate in the frig covered from 1 to 4hours. For the dipping sauce, place 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of white pepper in neat mounds side by side in each of 4 tiny bowls. Place 2 lime halves next to each bowl. Then preheat your grill to medium. When ready to cook, brush grill grate clean and apply a thin coat of olive oil to the grate. Place ribs bone side down on the hot grate until then are golden brown and cooked through about 8 to 12 minutes per side. Cook a little longer for full size ribs. When done, transfer ribs to a cutting board and cut into individual ribs. Then arrange on platter for serving. Just before eating, instruct guests to squeeze 1 to 2 tbs of lime juice into bowl of salt and white pepper and stir until mixed. Dip ribs in sauce before eating. Beef Kebabs Serves 4. You need 1.5 lbs of rib eye steak about 1/2 in thick. 3 tbs light brown sugar, 2 tbs ground coriander, 1 tbs ground turmeric , 1.5 tsp ground cumin, 1.5 tsp freshly ground pepper,3 tbs Asian fish sauce or soy sauce, &3 tbs vegetable oil. Cut steaks into 1/2 in cubes without trimming fat. In a nonreactive mixing bowl, stir in brown sugar, coriander, turmeric, cumin, pepper, fish sauce or soy sauce, and oil. Let beef marinate in frig for at least 2 hours. Then drain beef cubes and discard the marinade. Thread beef onto bamboo skewers leaving the bottom half of the skewers for a handle. Preheat grill to high. When ready to cook, brush grill grate with a thin coat of oil. Arrange skewers on hot grate with a strip of aluminum foil placed under exposed ends of skewers to keep them from burning. Grill cubes 1-2 minutes per side for medium rare, a little longer for medium. Beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 F. Serve beef cubes with a tasty relish or fried garlic peanut sauce. Asian Cucumber RelishAsian Cucumber Relish Makes 1 to 1.5 Cups. Take 1 medium cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and take out seeds. Then take 1 shallot and mince to get 2-3 tbs or 1 scallion, white and green parts, trimmed and minced. Then get 1 small hot red chile, stemmed, seeded and minced. Put aside 2 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tbs sugar and coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Cut cumber into 1/4 in dices. Place cucumbers, shallot, chile, rice vinegar and sugar in a mixing bowl and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can make this relish up to 2 hours ahead. Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce Yields 2 cups. Ingredients are 2 tbs veg oil, 5 cloves garlic , 3 thinly sliced crosswise and 2 minced, 1 shallot minced, 2 strips lemon zest 1/2 in by 2 in, 1-3 small hot chiles stemmed, seeded and minced. ( for hotter sauce leave in seeds) 3/4 cups peanut butter, 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 2 tbs sugar, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce (optional) 1 tsp fresh lime juice, 1 tsp finely chopped cilantro, coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add sliced garlic and cook until golden brown or about 2 minutes. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon. Place on paper towels to drain. Add minced garlic, shallot, lemon zest and chiles and cook over medium high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in peanut butter,coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce if using, , lime juice and 3/4 cup of water. Reduce heat and gently simmer until sauce is thick and pourable about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in cilantro during last 2 minutes of cooking. Just before serving, stir in fired garlic. If sauce turns thick and pasty, add 1 tbs or so of water. Add salt and pepper to taste and more sugar and lime juice if needed. Coconut Grilled Corn makes a great side dish with the ribs or beef skewers. Serves 4. You'll need 4 ears of sweet corn,husked,3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 2 tbs light brown sugar, 1-2 bay leafs, 1/4 tsp salt. Combine coconut milk, sugar, bay leaf and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer gently until sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes.Taste for sweetness adding more sugar if necessary. Remove pan from heat and let mixture cool to room temperature. Preheat grill to high. When ready to cook, brush grill grate clean and apply thin coat of oil to grate. Place corn on hot grate.Start basting with coconut milk mixture after a few minutes. Baste several times until corn is nicely browned on all sides, about 2 -3 minutes per side, 8 - 12 minutes total, turning with tongs. Baste corn one final time, plate and serve.

Home Made Gelato Recipes From Florence, Italy

Plain Base First make 1 quart of plain base with 2 cups whole milk,1 cup heavy cream, 4 large egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar. 1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combine milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and stir occassionally so a skin doesn't form. Keep on heat until tiny bubbles start to form and the mixture reaches 170 F.( use a candy thermometer ) 2. In a medium heat proof bowl, wisk egg yolks until smooth. Gradually wisk in sugar until the mixture is a thick, smooth pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring them into the hot milk mixture while wisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stiring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and it reaches 185 F. DO NOT bring to boil. Poor the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature stiring every 5 minutes or so. To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the custard in it. Stir the custard until cool. Cover and refrigerate until very cold for at least 4 hours or overnight. Banana Gelato This requires 2 chilled ripe bananas,1 tablespoon sugar,and 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Make your Plain Base and chill. Place the bananas, sugar and lemon juice in a blender and add half the plain base. Blend until smooth, then wisk in remaining base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer's directions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a least 2 hours before serving. Lemon Poppy Seed Gelato Requires 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 reaspoons grated lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds. Make the Plain Base as directed. Then gently wisk in the lemon juice and zest into the base. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker container and follow manufactuer's dirfections. Add poppy seeds 5 minutes before the churning is completed. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Leave The Haggling To Someone Else

If you've ever bought a used car, the worst part of the process is haggling about the price. Now a new company has emerged that will do the dirty work for you and save you money which is www.Carsala.com Call or log onto their website and enter the make, model, year range etc. Carsala will then send you a report listings cars that fit your description. It also removes any damaged, wrecked or flooded vehicles from the search plus any dealers with bad business practices. You can select up to 20 cars for Carsala to negoigiate for you, including cars you found on your own. Pro hagglers take over and get you the deal in writing. Plus you get another report with all the negoiated deals and then you can take a test drive and complete the deal. Carsala charges 20% of the savings OFF the asking price which is capped at $300 for up to 20 cars. So if the asking price is 15 grand and Carsala gets you a price of $14 grand, you pay $200 or 20% of the $1,000 difference. Until Oct 1, 2010, Carsala is offering a $99 flat fee when you use the coupon code, KIPIE.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Five Ways To Avoid Or Dispute Surprise Medical Bills

1. Stay In Your Network This is the best way you can avoid extra charges. 2. Double Check Everything The first time you visit a doctor, always call to verify that he or she is in your network. Websites can sometimes be outdated and mix-ups happen. Also make sure before you're admitted to a hospital that you will be treated by doctors in your network. That way you won't be hit up for "balance bills". 3. Negotiate Everything Upfront If you know you must go out of your network, be ready to talk money before you are treated. Keep in mind that even in emergency situations, insurers only pay what they deem as "usual" and "customary" treatments in your area. So if your P.P.O pays 80% of out of network charges, that means 80% of reasonable and customary fees. If your doctor charges well above what the insurance company deems reasonable, you may be "balanced billed" for the difference. So ask the out-of-network doctor what the charges for your care will be. Than check with your insurer to see how their payouts match up. Armed with this info, you can negotiate with the doctor to accept the insurance company payment in full. If you want to use an out-of-network hospital, you'll also need to get pre-approval on surgeon's fees and other charges. 4. Negotiate Everything Afterwards Too When you get a balance bill, don't hesitate to call the doctor and ask why he or she feels the insurance payment is not sufficient and why you were not told about the extra fees ahead of time. 5. File An Appeal If you feel your insurance company is not paying its fare share, consider a formal appeal. (If you found this post helpful,why not click on the small "envelope icon" below and e-mail this post to ten of your friends or family members.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How To Get Out Of Almost Any Service Contract Without Penalties

If you agreed to a 2 year service contract on your broadband or smartphone service ,you may be able to ditch your obligation if your provider changes the terms after you sign up. In December, one phone carrier notified its customers of a 40 cent monthly increase on all lines and a $5 increase on accounts with spending limits. That constitiued a "materially adverse change of contract" as per the carrier's terms. So if your provider alters the terms of your contract and you want to break it, just contact the company in writing ( certified mail is best ) within the time period specified in your contract. It is usually 30 to 60 days. Make it clear in your letter that you are leaving because of the "materially adverse" nature of the change. P.S. If you found this post helpful,please forward it to your family and friends.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How To Learn Something For Nothing

www.AcademicEarth.Org This site offers the courses of 10 elite universities with 130 full courses and 3,500 video lectures. www.CNX.Org Connexions hosts more than 16,000 modules that make up a collection of say an algerbra textbook or a statistics course. www.OcwConsortium.Org This consortium represents 250 universities from around the globe that want to advance free educational resources. www.ItunesU.Com is the largest entry point into all of online education with nearly 300,000 audio and video files from more than 600 colleges around the world. www.YouTube.Com/Edu currently hosts about 300 universities with 200 full courses and 60,000 videos.

Friday, April 23, 2010

10 Best Donut Shops In America

1.Doughnut Plant -NYC Best bet: Creme Brulee. 2. Zingerman's- Ann Arbor, MI Best bet: Roadhouse Donut 3. Fractured Prune-Ocean City, MD Best bet: Black Forest Donut 4.Psycho Donuts - Campbell, CA Best bet: S'mores Donut 5. Glazed Dounts-Chicago, IL Best bet: Oatmeal Chocolate Stout 6.Dynamo Donuts-San Francisco, CA Best bet: Spiced Chocolate 7. Dreesen's - Easthampton, NY Best bet: Plain 8. Top Pot Donuts-Seattle, WA Best bet: Pink Feather 9.Stan's - Westwood, CA Best bet: Peanut Butter & Fresh Banana With Chocolate Chips 10. Sweetwater's Donut Mill- Kalamazoo, MI Best bet: Grasshopper

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Best Meal Deals In Paris

L'Argume, 15, rue des Fosses St.-Marcel;Phone (33-1) 43-31-86-48.Lunch 14-16 euros, Dinner 35 euros. Le Chateaubriand,129, avenue Parmentier,(33-1) 43-57-45-95. Dinner 45 euros. www.Bistrot-Jadis.Com ,208,rue de la Croix Nivert,(33-1)45-57-73-20Lunch 25 euros,dinner 32 euros. Yam'cha ,4, rue Sauval,(33-1)40-26-08-07. Lunch 30-65 euros,dinner 65 euros. www.Frenchie-Restaurant.Com , 5, rue du Nil, (33-1)40-39-96-19Lunch 21-25 euros,dinner 31-35 euros. www.LaGazzetta.Fr,29, rue de Cotte,(33-1)43-47-47-05.Lunch 16 euros, dinner 38-50 euros.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How To Sell Your Home Fast In A Weak Market

1.Choose A Broker That Can Sell To find the best broker,determine which realtor dominates your market by "For Sale"signs and recommendations by neighbors. Then call the sales manager at the realty office and find out who are the top 10% agents as measured by sales. These agents generate 90% of revenues for an office. So they are most likely to sell your house at the best price. Before you commit to an agent make sure he or she has sold several homes in your neighborhood at attractive prices. Also, make sure that no more than 6 months had passed between the time the homes were listed and sold. Then make sure the agent has a marketing plan tailored to your home. 2.Get Your Marketing Right Most home buyers start their search on the internet. So make sure your agent lists your property on the seven biggest real estate sites which are Yahoo, Craigslist ,Trulia, Zillow, Homes.Com ,Realtor.Com and MLS. Only real estate agents can list homes on Homes.Com, Trulia, Realtor.Com and MLS. Ads range from free to $300+ for first page positions, slide shows and videos. 3. Use Professional Photos Market reserach proves that photos influence buyers more than any other tool. Some agents will send out a professional photographer to take photos. If yours doesn't, you can hire your own for $100 to $500 depending where you live. 4. Clean Out Your Closets Neatness implies that you take care of things. Buyers may think that a messy closet means faulty wiring or plumbing. 5. Get Rid Of Clutter Eevery piece of junk reduces your homes value because buyers can't see past it. If necessary, rent storage space for a few months. 6.Let There Be LightBuyers want a bright house above all except location. So ditch the heavy drapes, wash the windows, and move furniture away from the windows. Then trim any outdoor plants blocking the sun. Paint the walls creamy white. And if possible, piant the outside of the house yellow. If you need to re-paint or change the siding of the house, make sure it's yellow. Yellow houses have the most curb appeal and sell faster than any other color. 7.Swipe And Deploy Attend an open house at a few new developments and take note on how the model homes are decorated. Then try to apply some of these latest decorating trends to your house on the cheap. 8. Price It Right The smartest strategy is to under price your house below market value. That's because buyers are looking for value when they buy. This also might force buyers into a bidding war over your house with one another. If you price high and then go low, buyers will sense your despiration and start making low ball offers. 9.Offer Incentives Giving buyers a cash incentive will give you an unfair advantage over other sellers. Offer to pick up part or all of the closing costs. Then advertise this in advance and more people will want to see your property. 10. Hold The Paper First fo all, one-fifth of all homes sold involve partial or seller financing. Second, buyers may not be able to qualify for a conventional mortgage because they may be self-employed or can't come up with 20% down. If you don't have a mortgage to pay off, and you aren't buying another house, or if you don't need the cash, this is a win-win for you and the buyer. You can charge 5% interest or more, and the collateral is a property you know and trust. The buyer gets to skip the hassle of applying for a mortgage, and saves on closing costs. The down payment also becomes negotiable. Plus you might be able to spread any capital gains you might owe over several years. Just make sure your agent or lawyer runs a credit check on the buyer and let your lawyer draw up a formal contract. Also, make sure your contract states the if the buyer falls behind on payments just one or two months,the buyer forfeits the down payment and you can take back the property.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

22 Things Restaurants Don't Want You To Know

1. Waiters are not allowed to tell a customer they don't like a dish 2.If you're looking for your waiter and another waiter tells you he's getting something out of the stock room, he's probably out back having a smoke. 3. If you order a frozen drink that's a pain to make,they'll tell you that they've run out 4.They put extra sugar in all the kids meals including the pizza dough 5. At most restuarants "specials" are things they must sell before they throw them out 6. Never order lemon with your drink since no one washes them and everyone touches them 7.If youb ask how many calories are in a drink, waiters are not allowed to tell you even if they know. They are told to say you should check online 8. In a restuarant, skim milk is almost never skim milk and 9 times out of 10. Even at the best places around, the breakfast buffet scrambled eggs are powered 9. If your food took a long time to come out, 9 times out fo 10 its the kitchen's fault. 10. If they say the desserts are homemade, they were homemade at a bakery a few miles down the road 11. A lot of places buy salad dressing on 1 gallon jars, add a few ingredients, and call it homenade 12. Afetr 8pm, all the coffee is cafinated since no one wants to clean two coffee pots 13. Don't call a place and ask to speak to the chef. If you really knew the chef, you'd have his or her cell phone number 14. If you want great service, use your waiter's name. And if you return, ask for your waiter by name even if he or she doesn't remember you 15. Never order fish on a Sunday or Monday since most fish deliveries are on Tuesday and Thursday 16. In some places, the salads are made up to 3 days in advance 17. If you don't like something, don't eat it, send it back right away and order somethin else. If you want to know if a restauarant is clean, check the bathroom. If its dirty, the kitchen is much worse 19. Watch out when the waiter comes over to fill your glass. If the pitcher touches the rim of your glass, you get to share all kinds of germs 20.If you have a problem, always ask to speak to the owner. Managers usually aren't allowed to comp meals and will take it out on the waiters 21. If you want to be known as a regular, go the restaurant on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 22. The two worst times to go out and eat is Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. Try to avoid eating out on these two days unless you like lousy service and an over priced food. To celebrate these two days, trying going out a few days before or a fews days after these two dates for a memorable meal. If you insist on eating out on these two days, then make sure the restaurant is high end and rated 5 stars. Outstanding restuarants are usually outstanding no matter what day you choose to dine.