All posts by Sandra Langel

Crisis management strategies

Face it, things happen and in this day and age with technology and social media being what it is, the world seems to know in a nano-second. The situations that need to be dealt with can be anything from CEO illness and death to purposeful deceit and everything in between. Therefore, you should have a crisis management plan in place so that you will be able to quickly deal with negative issues and press and have your company on the road to recovery.

While no one wants to believe that bad things will happen, in order to properly deal with critical situations, you have to plan for them in advance. First, come up with ways to avoid them. However, this will not cover every potential problem. Therefore, you should have a written plan in place that includes specific actions that will be taken if/when a disaster occurs. It should protect any individual, whether they be an employee or not, who may be affected by the crisis. It should also promise to keep key audiences informed.

In order to fulfill these objectives, you should make sure that you appoint a spokesperson. If your situation is big enough, it may attract media attention. So that your company establishes and delivers one clear, consistent message, one person must be identified and prepared to answer questions and participate in interviews. If your company has a contract with a pr agency, this may be best handled by them.

Whoever is appointed to speak for the company in a time of crisis must be open and honest in order to help stop rumors from being spread and the media frenzy from spreading. Furthermore, this person is also charged with keeping employees informed so that business can run as normally as possible.

Your crisis management representative or your public relations firm is also charged with making sure both customers and suppliers are well informed so that they continue to do business with the company.

In order to make sure that everyone is well informed, it is best to update early and often. Do not allow rumors to fester before addressing them. If possible, address them beforehand so that they do not have time to spread. Be sure to include several social media channels when addressing the occurrence as it has become the way most people communicate.

Once you have addressed the situation, you need to implement a turnaround strategy so that the company can move on. It should include taking responsibility even if it is not yours to take and showing how your business will do better in the future so that the problem does not reoccur. Of course, you cannot prevent the death of upper-level management; you can have a plan to quickly have someone cover that position so that business does not suffer.

It is not the crisis that defines your company; it is how it is dealt with. You can lay down and let it devour you, or you can stand up, learn from it, and move on.


Oil and Gas right basics

One of the rights that most Americans enjoy along with their property rights is that of mineral rights or the right to be able to excavate what is under the land and make a profit from its sale. Most people do not realize or care about these rights until someone comes asking about them. Then, everything changes.

It is usually an oil company that either sends a letter or calls to express interest in leasing your minerals because they have reason to believe that they can find oil or gas there. You can then decide that in exchange for an up-front lease bonus payment, along with a royalty percentage of the value of any production, that you grant the oil company the right to drill and produce what is found below your land. In some cases, drilling never occurs and the lease is left to expire. However, you need to expect that a well may, in fact, be drilled.

If and when the oil company decides to drill, it may drill on your tract. As a surface owner, the oil company will likely suggest a site on which to drill. They will then notify you and offer to pay for damages that may occur on the surface, road usage, pipelines, etc.  Drilling may last anywhere from 10 to 90 days or longer. Completion of the well including perforating, hydraulic fracturing, installing production equipment and the like can take a similar amount of time.

As required by law, all oil and gas that is produced must be measured prior to leaving the well site. The gross volume from which you receive your oil royalties is calculated is based on this measurement. The customary industry standard requires that the Operator verify the measurements through a check meter for gas.  He or she can also check the levels in the oil storage tanks. If you are concerned about being shorted or cheated, bear in mind that it is in your Operator’s best interest to ensure proper product measurement.

When you receive your royalties, there may be deductions taken for making the oil and gas ready for sale. Common deductions include those for compression, dehydration, and removing impurities from gas.

It is in your best interest, when selling mineral rights, to ensure that there is a clause that allows you to negotiate, at least monthly, the price that the gas and/or oil are sold at. These are considered commodities and the prices are based on The New York Mercantile Exchange or (NYMEX) and are subject to daily swings in their value in the marketplace.

Bear in mind that Uncle Sam will stake his claim. State governments generally levy a severance tax when natural resources like oil and gas are severed from the earth. In general, the First Purchaser is responsible for collecting and accounting for this tax. It is usually collected during the normal monthly accounting cycle and should be easily calculable. It should also match the deduction shown on your royalty check stub. In addition, in many states, county governments collect a yearly ad valorem tax on producing minerals which owners are usually assessed and billed for annually.

Advantages of using closed loop butane extractors

Closed-loop extraction processes vary somewhat depending on the manufacturer. A common design uses a blasting chamber where butane is shot at the cannabis flowers and leaf trim material. This is done within the fully contained and thick walls of the butane extractor. This is done in order to extract the resins and results in a layer of sticky brown or dark yellow fluid that is then put into a vacuum oven so that it can undergo a process known as purging.

Purging is done by depressurizing the oven, thereby creating a vacuum. This vacuum causes the butane to bubble and the unfinished concentrate is pulled until it bursts. The gasses are then removed by the vacuum and captured for reuse. This process removes not only residual solvents, but also most impurities.


The oven is then heated and the product is left for around eight hours in order to allow for any lasting residual traces of butane or other impurities to cook out of the concentrate through evaporation. The BHO is then allowed to cool before either being used.


The use of closed loop butane extractors has increased in popularity for a number of reasons. For one, it is the best, most efficient method for extracting THC. Furthermore, when set up properly, it provides the right amount of safety and control so that one can yield the highest quality products possible.


Additionally, a closed-loop extraction setup provides a much greater degree of safety than open blasting. While proper ventilation is always necessary, closed-loop or not, this process is completely sealed so that no butane escapes into the surrounding environment. Therefore, users avoid filling the room with butane and possibly starting a fire or causing an explosion.


Furthermore, since closed-loop systems prevent butane from escaping it does not evaporate into the air. In fact, some systems offer the ability to recover butane. This allows it to be reused in additional cycles.


Due to increased interface time between the raw marijuana and butane, a more complete extraction is created. This type of BHO extractor also allows for more precise control of temperature and thus leads to fewer plant fats and waxes making it into the solvent. In turn, with less fat and wax to remove, there is no need to “polish” or de-wax.


Finally, many users agree that the most powerful, best flavored, and most beautifully pleasant concentrates have been produced through the use of closed-loop extraction. This is because the vacuum purge removes enough butane so that it could not be considered dangerous to anyone.


Concentrates are not 100 percent legal, even in states where marijuana is. However, regardless of that, the advantages of using closed-loop extraction have created the ability for some states to be able to come up with regulations that will impose industry standards and require the use of closed-loop extraction for the safety of everyone.


If you have never used a butane extractor before, please ask for assistance, read up on it, and do everything possible to educate yourself before you do so.

How to Set a loose diamond

The time has come in your relationship to take the next step. You have been dating for over a year and living together for almost as long. Both you and your significant other are getting restless and something needs to change. You either need to break up or get engaged and start planning a wedding and a life together.

If you decide that this is the person you want to be with for eternity, then you need to propose. In order to propose, you need an engagement ring. An engagement ring is a major investment, and it is expensive, too. Therefore you need to do some research before you step into the store.

First, see if you can find out what your love wants when it comes to a custom engagement ring. While you could come right out and ask, that would both spoil the surprise and let them know you are going to “pop the question.” If you do not want to let the cat out of the bag, then you will need to enlist the help of family and friends. They should be able to find out his or her preferences for you without giving anything away.

One of the best ways to purchase an engagement ring is to buy a loose diamond separately from the setting it will be placed in. In order to do so, you must first decide on what type of metal to have the ring made from. You can choose white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold, as well as platinum, just to name a few.

After you have selected a metal, you then need to decide how many prongs should be used to hold the gemstone in place. You can have four or six. The more prongs, the less likely that the diamond will come loose and need to be reset. If your fiancee to be does a lot of work with his or her hands, you may want to have the stone set in a bezel setting, as it is the most secure.

You next decision is the style of the ring. The most popular are pave, which has small diamonds set on both sides of the ring, halo, where the big diamond is encircled with smaller diamonds, and cathedral, where the stone is raised above the sides of the ring. Another setting that is becoming popular is the three stone setting. A three-stone setting is when  two large accent stones are placed alongside the center stone. However, three-stone rings can also have smaller accent stones.

When choosing a setting for a loose diamond, remember to take into account both the cut of the stone, as well as its size. In addition, do not hesitate to ask your jeweler for assistance. He or she is the expert and should be able to direct you on how to make the perfect ring for that perfect person. Once the ring selection is complete, you can then move on to determining the best time and place to ask for his or her hand in marriage.

Difference between commercial plumbing and commercial HVAC

There is a high demand for people to become technicians in the areas of both commercial plumbing and commercial HVAC.  Both are relatively high paying, do not require a college degree, and have similar work environments.  In addition, both careers have several paths that one can take to become licensed in the field.  Moreover, both fields require licensing.  You can either go to trade school or enter into an apprenticeship and learn on the job.  However, there are many differences between the two, as well.

An HVAC technician can be called on to design, install or repair an HVAC system. They are also commonly asked to then connect those systems to fuel and/or water supply lines, as well as install electric wiring and controls for the system.  He or she may also be asked to test the individual components of the system in order to ensure that the unit is working properly.  Additionally, an HVAC technician can be called on to measure a system’s energy usage and make recommendations on how to improve a system’s energy efficiency.


HVAC technicians who have additional training and certification in refrigeration may also be called on to create, install or repair large commercial refrigeration units.  Either way, if you go through a training program at a technical school in order to become an HVAC professional, there are other specializations that may be acquired.  These include working with solar paneling as well as working with water based heating systems.


Technical school courses to become an HVAC technician take less time to complete than a formal apprenticeship.  In addition, technical schools also offer training in related skills such as computers and electronics.


While there are two different types of commercial plumbers, they can all be called on to install pipes, fixtures, and hot water heaters.  They also inspect, test and repair pipe systems and pipelines.  Commercial plumbers that work for construction companies need to be familiar with both state and local building codes and ensure that a new building’s water and sewage system is in compliance with these codes.  Commercial plumbers that work for manufacturing companies and industries should be familiar with installing, maintaining and repairing pipes that carry water, steam, air, acids and/or waste byproducts.


When it comes to becoming a plumber of any kind, an apprenticeship is the most common form of training.  However, in order to get into the field this way, you will be required to finish an exorbitant number of hours.  Technical schools that offer plumbing courses often teach safety tips, local plumbing codes and regulation, as well as blueprint reading, math, applied physics, and chemistry.  While job growth in this field is over 20%, plumbers who know how to weld will find even more employment opportunities than those who have not learned this particular skill.


Regardless of the field that you are looking to get into, no one job is better than another. You should consider the requirements for each field and determine which line of work best suits both your  interests and your talents.

Why you need window treatments

While window treatments are a cost effective way to update any room, they still are not cheap.  Therefore, many people wonder if they are necessary or if the window can remain naked and bare.  While there are some windows that can go without any blinds, shades, or shutters, most cannot.  There are a variety of factors that go into determining whether a window should be covered, and what it should be covered with.


First and foremost, many windows look unfinished when there is nothing on them.  Even if you add a simple vinyl shade, it could help make the room look complete.  The exception to this rule is picture windows and windows that are placed mainly for decorative purposes.  When in doubt, cover it up.


Another important factor when determining whether or not a window needs to be covered is the amount of privacy you desire.  If you do not want the world to be able to see your every move, especially after dark with the lights on, then it is best to get some sort of covering for your windows.  Bear in mind, the heavier the fabric, the more privacy you will have.  Some shades are even noise resistant and will help limit what people hear as they walk past the windows of your home.  Not only will they not be able to see, they will not be able to hear, either.


Fading and sun damage are other factors that contribute to the need for blinds, shades or shutters.  Even adding a sheer blind or shade to a window will help block some harmful rays from damaging your home furnishings while still allowing you to see out and get some natural light to come in.  After all, furniture and rugs are expensive to replace.

However, if you like to sleep late or have a baby that naps during the day, you may want to opt for blackout shades or blinds, especially in the bedrooms.  Blackout shades and blinds can block up to 100% of light from entering a room with the simple addition of a piece of thick black fabric.


Depending upon the climate where you live, you may need additional insulation for your home.  This can come in the form of window treatments.  Many, including honeycomb shades, are designed to keep the heat in during the winter and out in the summer.  Regardless of where you live, insulating shades can help you reduce your energy bill, and therefore, your carbon footprint.


Finally, blinds and shades and other window coverings, as well can help keep your home safe and secure.  This is especially true if you invest in motorized blinds or shades because they can be controlled via smartphone.  Motorized blinds and shades can also be programmed to go up and down depending upon the amount of sunlight or simply at random times during the day.  Therefore, you can make it look like you are home when you are not.  This will deter would-be burglars from targeting your home.


How a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Works

If you are a new resident to either Colorado or Washington State, then you may be unaware of how a medical marijuana dispensary works.  This is due to the fact that they are the only two states to legalize the drug for both medical and recreational use.  Some other states do allow cannabis to be used for some medical issues, such as extreme cases of epilepsy, but it is still difficult to obtain the drug in those states.  Therefore, traveling to Colorado or Washington becomes a necessity.


First and foremost, you need to know that these businesses usually work on a cash only basis.  This is because the federal government has not legalized marijuana.  Therefore, it is not legal for banks, which are backed by the federal government to be in business with any marijuana sellers, whether recreational or at a medical cannabis dispensary.


Many of these facilities work on a system of collective gardens and donations.  This means that many different patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana work together and pool their resources.  Once your doctor writes a prescription for medical cannabis, you may become a member of as many collective gardens as you like.  As a member of a collective garden, you may have the medical marijuana in exchange for a monetary donation.


When designated as a collective garden, a medical marijuana dispensary can grow cannabis for itself as well as for its members.  This means that there are plenty of plants to produce plenty of product to keep the store front well stocked.  In addition, those who choose to grow their own can then come in and try to sell it through a donation system.

Private sellers often try to sell edible products made with marijuana as well as oils made from derivatives from the plant and find there is usually more money in selling these products, than the plants or dried products.  Therefore, they will then try to specialize in one or two products and sell those to various dispensaries around town.


Medical marijuana dispensaries often sell two types of cannabis. There is satvia which makes a user feel upbeat and indica which has a sedative effect and is often used as a painkiller.  The two kinds can, and usually are mixed together.  Patients then have to find the right blend to solve their particular problems and with as few side effects as possible.  It may take several combination attempts until the best one is found.


If you have recently been prescribed medical cannabis, be sure to bring your paperwork and your card with you when visiting a dispensary.  Also, be ready to fill out plenty of paperwork.  If you do not know where to find a medical marijuana dispensary, do not expect to see an ad in the paper or on TV, instead, you should look in alternative weekly papers and on the internet.  While there, you can check out the Yelp-like website for dispensaries and research the right blend for your ailments.

Different types of survival kits that everyone should have

Survival kits are tools and items needed in the event you find yourself in an unexpected outdoor survival situation. Some of the most common and useful items can be found in most survival kits.  These include compasses, fire starters, flashlights, knives, fishing hooks & line, and water purification tablets.


There are different types of survival kits for both short and long-term perseverance.  You can choose between a store purchased survival kit or assemble one yourself.  In addition, there are also different types of survival kits for the military personnel as well as several different civilian survival kits.  Regardless of whether you decide to buy or assemble a bag to help you live if you get lost while hiking or camping, you need to make sure it contains the right tools and items needed for the type of terrain and environment that you will be operating in.


For example, if you are going to be in a place with snow, you will need to carry extra clothing, a warm sleeping bag and snowshoes.  On the other hand, if you will be hiking through a dense forest, then you need a snake bite kit, insect netting and plenty of repellant along with the other essentials needed for survival.


Regardless of which type of survival kit you choose, it should contain the following emergency essentials:


  • Waterproof matches and kindling to start a fire. The fire will keep you warm and give you a way to signal for help and cook food.
  • A compass to help you figure out which direction you should be going in. Most compasses do not need batteries, so they always work.
  • A flashlight so that you can see where you are once the sun goes down.
  • Fishing line and hooks to catch food including fish and birds.
  • A knife for both safety and for cutting up the food you cook.
  • A water bottle and water purification tablets. Staying hydrated is important.  If you run out of drinkable water, you can make more.
  • A first aid kit so that minor bumps, bruises and cuts do not slow you down.


These items should be kept in plastic bags that zip closed and can then be placed in your pockets for easy carrying.  There are also vests and bags you can purchase to make carrying your survival kit easier.

It does not hurt to keep these items in your car, and home, as well because you never know when tragedy can strike.  Having these items in your car will help you live longer if your car should break down and having them at home will make it easier if you live in an area where tornados or earthquakes occur.  Both earthquakes and tornados can come without much warning and these items will help you persevere until help arrives.


If you have pets, you may want to set up a survival kit for them, as well.  This way they have food and water if you both get lost or encounter tragedy together.

Roofing terminology every homeowner should know

Before you hire a roofing company to replace your aging, leaking roof there are a few steps you should take to ensure that you do not get ripped off and to ensure that you know what the contractor is talking about when they discuss your roof and its replacement. First and foremost, you should research to make sure that the roofing contractor that you hire is licensed, insured with both worker’s compensation insurance as well as general liability insurance and has a good reputation.  Look at the company’s website as well as their social media presence to see how they are rated.  You can also look at review sites like Google or Yelp, as well as the Better Business Bureau to find out how well the company is doing.  You should research at least three different companies before making a decision as to who to hire for the job.  In addition, there are a number of terms that you should know so that you can have an informed conversation when you discuss the cost of the new roof and the work that will be performed.  
  • Shingles.  These are the materials that make up the top layer of your roof.  They are made of several different materials and come in a variety of colors, styles, and textures.  The most common tiles are made of asphalt.  You can also get shingles made of wood, slate, or cement.  In addition, the shingles can be interlocking, self-sealing or laminated.  Interlocking shingles are good for windy climates.  Laminated shingles provide good insulation and self-sealing helps to prevent leaks.
  • Flashing. Metal pieces used to prevent water from seeping around intersections or projections in roofing, including chimneys, vent pipes, and valleys, as well as joints that occur at vertical walls.
  • Pitch/Slope. This is the incline that your roof has.
  • Roof Deck. This is the first layer of roof.  It is attached to the frame of your home. It should be inspected for damage and may need to be replaced when you replace the shingles.
  • Felt/tar paper. This is the layer between the deck and the shingles.
  • Square. This is how your roof is measured.  One square is equal to 100 square feet.
  • Drip edge. This is an L-shaped metal strip that lets the water run off the roof so that it does not end up under the deck and eves.
  • Eave.  The horizontal edge of a sloping roof.
  • Coverage.  This is the amount of protection provided by the overlapping shingles.
  Knowing these terms will make it easier for you to understand the work being done on your home.  This way you will be able to ask informed questions of the roofing company working on your home once you get the estimate in writing along with the guarantees and warranties being offered.  Be sure the estimate is broken down so that you know what you are paying for and indicates what may change the cost of the job.

The differences between Invisalign and clear braces

There are many options available when it comes to visiting the orthodontist and having a malocclusion fixed.  The choices available to you depend upon the diagnosis given to you, as well as its severity.  These options include regular metal braces, braces with colored brackets and/or colored rubber bands, lingual braces wherein the brackets are placed on the back, tongue side of the teeth, wireless braces, clear braces and Invisalign.   Many people believe that clear braces and Invisalign are the same things.  They could not be more wrong.  In fact, they are not even used to fix the same problem and replacing one with the other may create more problems than are fixed by wearing the device.  Therefore, it is best to discuss all of your options with an orthodontist before deciding which one is right for you and will take the least time to fix what is wrong with your mouth. Clear braces are often referred to as ceramic braces because the brackets are made out of ceramic material.  They can either be made clear or they can be made to match the exact color of your teeth, thereby camouflaging them and making them less noticeable.  Clear braces work the same way metal braces do.  The brackets are bonded to the teeth and connected by a wire.  The wire puts pressure on the teeth and pushes them into proper alignment.  Those that wear either metal or ceramic braces need to return to the orthodontist every month or so in order to have the wire tightened.   Invisalign, on the other hand, is a product that is similar to a clear retainer which shifts the teeth into place.  You wear the device for approximately 22 hours each day and only remove it to eat and brush your teeth.  You will get a new aligner approximately every two weeks in order to properly align your teeth.  Treatment can take up to a year to complete.   Both products are transparent.  However, since Invisalign does not have brackets, it is a bit less noticeable than clear braces.  Be that as it may, you have to be disciplined enough to leave it in your mouth for 22 hours a day and not take it out except when eating, brushing, and flossing.  Ceramic braces have been known to stain teeth when mixed with foods and drinks such as coffee and curry.  In addition, ceramic braces can cause irritation to the lips and cheeks until scar tissue is developed and may seem brittle to the touch.   Furthermore, while Invisalign can treat some minor issues of crowded, crooked teeth, as well as gapped teeth and a minor over, under, or open bite, there are a number of problems it cannot treat.  Braces, whether ceramic or metal, need to be used if you suffer from cross bites, malocclusions, very crooked teeth, and many other issues that plague the mouth and jaw.   Both Invisalign and clear ceramic braces are good options for those not looking to call attention to the fact they are trying to fix their teeth. However, there are big differences between the two treatments. Depending on your diagnosis, one treatment may be more appropriate than the other.  A consultation with an orthodontist can help determine what type of treatment might be best for you.  

How American Minerals helps mine owners

As you walk through your mine and look at your employees, you know that it may not be long before you have to close down operation.  You are running out of money.  There is little coming out of the mine and what does come out does not get sold for as much as you would like or need.   If you could only get the money to open another mine in another location, you know that there is a plentiful amount of another mineral that pays well.  Then you remember another mine operator telling you about a mineral company that will pay you to open a mine for them.  Once it is up and running you either give them a percentage of the sales of the mineral or a specific amount of the mineral at an extremely reduced cost.   He told you that dealing with the royalty company was easier than dealing with a bank and having to get a mortgage.  You do not need collateral to get money from a mineral royalty company.  You just have to be willing to pay them back over time with cash or product.  In addition, they will assess if the area is viable for mineral mining so that you do not have to risk it by yourself. You decide to go see someone at American Minerals and ask them for help maintaining your current mine and opening another.  You keep the overhead of the employees, the insurance, and anything else that you need to keep the mines going.  They survey the land where you want to start a new mining operation and they look over your current mine and your finances.   Within a week or so, they get back to you and let you know that while they will help you with your current mine, they have another area where they would like you to mine and not the one you wanted.  They take you out to a farm and ask you to mine for minerals underneath it.  They ask you to try and keep damage to the surface, the crops, animals, and buildings, to a minimum.  In return, they want a percentage of the minerals at a 95% discount.   You take the agreement to your attorney and your financial advisor and once they inform you that it is a good deal, you sign the contract and get ready to begin.  You are excited at the prospect of a new mine and a new mineral.  You begin excavation shortly after to see what you can find underground.   Once you hit pay dirt and find a substantial amount of a mineral, you start dreaming about what you will do with the profits once your employees and the mineral company are paid.  You dream about a vacation, fixing up your home and maybe redoing the bathroom, and saving for your children’s education.  You know that your employees are appreciative of the extra income and the security of knowing that their job is once again safe.

Celebrity Engagement Rings

If you and your significant other have been discussing getting engaged, then he has probably asked you what type of ring you want.  If you are unsure, one of the best ways to get an idea of what you want to wear on your hand for the rest of your life is to look to celebrities and see what their engagement rings look like.  This will give you a good idea of the latest styles, as well as what not to wear.  Just do not take marriage advice from them, as many of their unions end up in divorce.


One way to go is to use an heirloom engagement ring and pass on a piece that is just as important to the family, as it is to you and him.  This is what Prince William did when he proposed to Kate Middleton.  He presented her with the same engagement ring his father had given to his mother.  This made the moment, and thus the engagement, even more special than it already was.

If you are not like royalty and antique engagement rings are not your thing, then maybe solitaire diamonds in modest settings are your thing.  If it is, you can look to Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Kardashian, and Beyonce, to name a few.  All three women sport epic solitaire engagement rings.  Elizabeth Taylor’s ring is emerald cut, as is Beyonce’s, but in a split-shank setting and Kim Kardashian’s is cushion cut.


You can also choose to place a loose diamond in a setting for a more elaborate choice in engagement rings.  Need some design inspiration, look no further than Nicole Richie who had her diamond placed in a halo setting with tiny diamonds all around the big one.  If that is too much bling for you, then look to Grace Kelly.  Her ring from Prince Rainier of Monaco had a simple setting that flanked the center diamond with two baguette cut diamonds.


Though she has yet to make it down the aisle and say, “I do,” Miley Cyrus has recently been spotted wearing her engagement ring, again.  Her diamond sits is a unique setting that is all her own and may inspire you to try something different, as well.  No worries, it is not a gaudy as some of the outfits she has been spotted in recently.


If you are still unsure as to what will look best on your hand, it is best to either go with your guy to pick it out.  This way you can see what jewelers are currently offering in the way of engagement rings and the styles that are currently popular.  You will be wearing this piece of jewelry for a long time, so it has to be perfect for you.


If you simply want to drop hints that it is time to move the relationship to the next level, then go and look at rings by yourself.  Then, when he proposes, you will be sure to get exactly what you want.  With your help, either by being with him or through subtle suggestion, he will know just what to buy to begin your life together.

What are water purification systems?

If you are concerned with the quality of the water that is entering your home and that you and your family are consuming every day, you may want to look into the different water purification systems that are available.  Water purification systems will not only improve the quality of the water in your home by reducing health hazards such as bacteria, chemical pollutants, and other toxic substances, it can also help remove nuisance problems, such as odors or hardness.   Before deciding if you home needs one of the many water purification systems on the market, you should have your water independently tested to find out if it contains bacteria or other contaminants.  This is especially true if you water smells, has an odd color, or leaves a film on everything it touches.  You may find out that you simply need to go through a water softener installation and do not need a water purification system.   There are several water purification systems to choose from if it is found that you do, in fact, need one.  First and foremost, there is disinfection.  This is done through chlorination, pasteurization, and ultraviolet light or boiling so that harmful bacteria, viruses, cysts, and worms are removed so that they do not make you or your family sick.  However, chlorination can be harmful if too much is used.  Pasteurization is expensive, ultraviolet light does not kill cysts or worms.  Boiling water makes it taste flat.  The only one of these disinfection methods that continues after the process has been completed is chlorination.  With the others, nothing is left behind to kill subsequent parasites that may enter the water. Another way a water purification system can help is through microfiltration which takes particles like sand, silt and clay out of the water.  They often do no catch tiny micro particles and must undergo maintenance periodically.  They can be set up for the whole house or to one single faucet.   Activated carbon filters absorb impurities from the water as it passes through a carbon cartridge. Activated carbon filters are generally used to eliminate odors and make the water taste better.  They also remove organic compounds and residual chlorine. The filters cannot remove most inorganic chemicals, metals, microorganisms or nitrates.  In addition, carbon filters also remove radon gas, many dissolved organic chemicals, and trihalomethanes.   A carbon filter can be used in conjunction with an oxidizing filter.  An oxidizing filter can also be used in place of a water softener because it removes iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide which is what causes the water to smell like rotten eggs.  Neutralizing filters remove acids from the water, including limestone.   Last but not least is reverse osmosis and distillation.  Reverse osmosis removes over 90 percent of minerals and biological contaminants.  Distillation heats water until it becomes steam. Distillers remove bacteria, minerals, trace amounts of metals, many organic chemicals, and nitrate.  Distillation is a slow process and five gallons of water become only one gallon of distilled water.

How to buy custom cabinets

Congratulations!  You have decided to give your kitchen a must needed a makeover.  The best place to start is with the cabinets.  While the possibility may seem endless, you decisions will give you an excellent return on your investment and the payoffs in making it easier to work are beyond compare.


Custom cabinets come in a variety of styles and offer many storage and accessibility options.  They are also the most important factor in the design of your new kitchen and are the most visible.  Therefore, they are also the most expensive choice you will make when to comes to redoing your kitchen.  However, with the number of choices, you will find one to match your home and your budget.

The most popular style of custom cabinets available is known as shaker-style.  It is made of five pieces of wood.  There are four pieces that make the frame and a fifth piece is the flat center panel.  It is popular because it can be used in any style kitchen and can be customized based on the type of wood used, stains, paint color, and hardware.  Using a less expensive type of wood as the center panel and not having it painted will save you money.


Two other popular varieties of custom cabinets are that of the flat design and thermofoil cabinets.  Flat design cabinets usually come in either laminate or wood and if you choose the laminate type, you have a slew of colors and sheens to decide among.  Thermofoil cabinets are mass produced in solid colors and imitation wood grain.  They are the most cost effective, however, they are hard to fix if damaged.


Other less popular cabinet designs include distressed and antique.  The distressed look is great if you want an antique style kitchen and beadboard is a good choice if you are going for a cottage look.  However, you can also truly customized your cabinets by mixing and matching several different styles.


Once you have decided on a design style and color or finish, you then need to pick out the hardware and your accessibility options.  Hardware includes knobs and pulls.  They allow you to dress up your kitchen and truly make it your own.  Accessibility options include pull out tables, shelves, and drawer organizers.  This allows you to have access to an object in your kitchen you may not have had before.  In addition, you can also choose to lower the height of your cabinets and/or your countertop to make it easier to work.  This is especially important if you have any physical impairment.


Additionally, you can also add glass doors, plate holders, lights, valance bridges and spacers to make your kitchen truly your own.  These extras allow you to show off special collections and give your home extra panache.  Finally, the choice of a countertop will complete the look.  Find one that compliments your choice in cabinets.  Countertops come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors, based upon your preferences, as well as your budget.

Rules that come with Braces

As you may be aware, there are a number of dos and don’ts that come with having braces put on your teeth.  This list is designed to make the next 18 to 24 months more comfortable and also to ensure that treatment is not prolonged due to poor choices.  As always, consult your orthodontist with any questions or concerns that may arise in between appointments.

  • Pay attention when the orthodontist shows you how to clean your teeth and braces. He or she should show you the proper way to maintain a healthy mouth while you have brackets, wires and rubber bands in there.  Then, make sure you follow through and brush after each meal.  You also need to floss at least once a day both between your teeth and around the brackets.
  • Eat a healthy diet and watch the number of sugary soft drinks that you consume. Sugary sodas can leave spots on your teeth.  Furthermore, chewy foods like licorice can dislodge the brackets, as can foods like corn on the cob that you have to bite into.  Other foods to avoid include anything hard, crunchy, or sticky.  Cold foods and ice should also be avoided.  Be sure to ask for a list of foods that you cannot have while under the orthodontist’s treatment.  This includes whether or not you can chew gum as different doctors will advise you differently.
  • Use the wax and over the counter pain relievers as necessary. While it may not hurt right after the braces are attached to your teeth or right after the orthodontist tightens them, but in a day or two, your mouth may feel sore.  If that happens, you can take an over the counter pain reliever and rub your braces with the wax so that it does not feel like they are poking you.  This sensation will diminish once your mouth develops scar tissue.  You can also try swishing around warm salt water to eliminate the discomfort.
  • Your teeth are supposed to feel loose. That is ok.  However, a loose wire, bracket, or band is not.  Try to push it back into place, use some wax and call your orthodontist if this occurs.
  • Keep every follow-up appointment. This way, you will not only be able to ask all of your questions, you may even knock some time off of how long you need to wear your braces.  However, failure to be at all of your appointments may prolong your treatment time.  In addition, you should also keep your six-month check-ups with your regular dentist.  This will further ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy.
  • Once your braces are removed, be sure to wear your retainer as directed. This will ensure that your teeth do not shift and you will not need braces again in the future.  You can also enquire about a permanent retainer so that you do not have to worry about forgetting to wear it, losing it or throwing it away accidentally.  Also, remember to clean it as needed, as well.