Category Archives: Blog

5 Ways To Make Money With One Article

I write articles for executive coaches and business consultants. They use different versions of my articles in their own newsletters, with their own names in the byline. When they purchase an article, they get reprint rights, but not exclusivity. But since they are in all parts of the country, and the world, they don’t bump into others using the same article. They are also free to change the article.

This formula can be used in any industry. Let’s say you are a veterinarian. You know a lot about pets, and about your vet clinic clients. You can easily write articles that appeal to your customers who are pet owners. You may already write and publish a regular newsletter with articles that appeal to your clients and potential clients.

What’s to stop you from writing your article to suit the needs of other vets who need to send out a newsletter? You post a brief synopsis of this article on your website for vets, offering it to them for a fee. They buy the reprint rights, and it gets used by hundreds of other vets who want to save themselves time and energy on their own newsletters.

That is one way of making money by writing articles on the Web, but here are four more ways, all from the same article.

This same article is revised several times in several lengths. It can be sold in three different lengths, for example, 2000 words to form a 4-page newsletter, 1000 words for a 2-page newsletter, and 600-700 words for electronic email ezines. That makes three more ways to sell the same article.

You also take that same article, change the title, make it more personal adding your own experiences, including your personal details and website links. You submit it to article directories on the web.

This version of your article with your name on it gets picked up – this time for free – by other websites looking for content. Each time another website publishes your article on their site, they link back to your site. The more incoming links you have to your website, the higher value the search engines give you.

This means you will start coming up higher in the search engine rankings when people type in key words in Google or one of the other search directories. That is a fifth way to make money from the same article. This technique is more indirect. Your article is being used for free, but the linking power will drive new customers to your site.

Finally, you can use this same article, or another altered version of it on your own website and blogs, to attract new clients to you. Having quality content on your site and on your blogs will ensure that readers appreciate your expertise and use your services, or buy your products.

Here’s a bonus idea for making money from your articles: compile a group of articles about the same topic, format them into a PDF e-book, and sell it on your site.

You probably have knowledge and expertise in your own field that others would pay for, in order to have quality content for their own newsletters. This method requires good writing skills, or you can hire a professional editor to help you.

It also requires you master the art of marketing on the web in order to reach potential buyers of your articles. To market successfully, you can submit your articles to the many article directories on the Web, and quickly build traffic to your websites and blogs.

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Holiday Gift Ideas | Scrapbooking | The Gift Of Memories

Holiday Gift Ideas | Scrapbooking | The Gift Of Memories.

The holidays have always been a time for family, for friends, for reminiscing and for making new memories. A perfect gift for Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthdays or any other holiday is the gift of those memories. Every family has a treasure trove of photos and other memorabilia stashed away in boxes, drawers and old albums that are falling apart.

Scrapbooking is a way to organize all those photos, postcards, programs, menus, matchbooks, pressed corsages and other pieces of family history in a beautiful album that will be looked at and treasured for years to come. Bringing all those things together in an album often comes to mean almost as much to those that create the gift as it does the person it was created for.

Scrapbooks are a very warm personal and sentimental gift. They can light up any holiday celebration. Once the gift has been opened you’ll find everyone spending hours going through the book and remembering all the wonderful times and the people that have passed through their lives. Photos that bring back memories of weddings and birthday parties, the program from your daughters first ballet recital, the matchbook from the restaurant where you and your future husband had your first dinner. All these things make the scrapbook a gift that will be cherished.

Putting together an album has come a long way from the days of the slipping the pictures under a plastic sheet or, for those of us old enough to remember, sliding the edges of the pictures into the little black paper corners that are glued to a black construction paper page. Modern scrapbooking is an art form. Scrapbooking doesn’t take any special skills. With a little patience and the proper tools you can build a scrapbook that you would be proud to give as a gift to anyone.

With beautiful decorative papers for the pages, special scissors and other cutting tools for decorative edges and designs, stamps and other supplies you can custom build a beautiful piece of family history. Scrapbooking is something the entire family can take part in. Even a young child can enjoy helping. Just the memories that are jogged and the stories that can be told while organizing the items for the book make the project worthwhile.

There are websites that can walk you through the basics, there are community classes for scrapbooking and there are people you can find through your local paper, the yellow pages or on the Internet that will be glad to build your scrapbook for you.

Another option as an alternative to the album is to gather all the photos together, put them in some semblance of order and take them to a place that will put it all onto a video tape or DVD for you, unless of course you’re lucky enough to have the knowledge and skill to do so yourself. This also has the advantage of keeping your photos safe from deterioration due to age or normal wear and tear.

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Unique And Uncommon Holiday Gift Ideas

Unique And Uncommon Holiday Gift Ideas

Ever do a gift exchange with your family? How about Secret Santa with your co-workers? Or even watched in anticipation at a friends or child’s birthday party? The excitement builds and everyone can’t wait to see what unique holiday gift ideas the rest have gotten, and you just know that this year is going to be different.

Finally the time to open the gifts has arrived, and you watch as all the gifts are opened and to everyone’s disappointment, the presents are the same old ones from last year, and the year before, and even before that one.

It appears that there is no uniqueness to anyone’s gifts anymore. Ties, socks, even underwear has become second nature to some gift-givers. To others, you receive watches, earrings and other jewelry, and even kitchen utensils. And for those who were in a hurry and could not make up their mind, a simple card that said they thought of you on this special day.

So this year you want to be different. You swear that the person who receives your next gift will not have to suffer with a boring gift that took very little thought to purchase. You sit down and start to brainstorm what unique holiday gift ideas you can come up with to really surprise the entirety of the celebration party.

To start with, there is your female co-worker, Jane. What unique holiday gift idea can you come up with for the woman who loves gardening and especially loves to receive roses? Well, to start, a glass crystal rose would be a perfect compliment to her cubicle’s decor, or even her own windowsill at home. Yet another unique holiday gift idea would be a Chia-plant herb garden. This way she can show off her green thumb, while also using fresh herbs in her cooking.

Next comes Ted, your boss. He always appears to be in a bad mood and very rarely smiles. Ted is always given ties and accessories for the ties he receives, and every year he takes the gifts cordially but never wears the ties he’s been given. This year, as a unique holiday gift idea, you decide you’re going to give Ted something he can really use and be proud to display.

You notice that he always has a cell phone, the new PDA he just acquired, and his iPod that he loves to use to unwind during slow times of the business. So you decide a multiple electronic charging station is just the unique holiday gift idea you’ve been looking for.

So, you’ve taken care of the office, but what about your spouse? What unique holiday gift idea can you give your wife or husband. You scramble to think of the best, most unique gift for your spouse when it comes to you like a brilliant spark.

For those of us who have wives, the perfect unique holiday gift idea is a digital picture frame that can show multiple family photos all in one location. However, for those of us who have husbands, a wonderful idea is a portable propane grill that attaches to the hitch of the truck for true tailgating occasions. Both spouses will love showing these items off, as well as using them quite often.

Finally, you have the grandparents. They brought you into this world and reared you up right. A unique holiday gift idea for them is only natural to want. So with a lot of love an consideration, you figure a nice new pair of slippers that have a pair a bright lights built into them would make walking to the bathroom at night, or even to the kitchen for a late snack, much more safe for them.

You sit back and think how you are going to be the envy of all due to your creative genius and the creative holiday gift ideas you were able to give.

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Organize And Plan | Choosing A Professional Organizer

The past decade has seen life become increasingly sophisticated yet far less labor intensive for most of us. If you want to get and stay ahead, make use of professional organizer services, or what I call ‘efficiency services’.

We outsource more and more tasks in our home to other companies just as if our home life was a business. A few of the efficiency services that you probably use include: Delivery services, car wash, launderette, various home maintenance, etc.

Now more of us can afford for those chores to be taken care of by others, what is there left for us to do? How can we use our money to maximize the opportunity of our time? That is where professional organizers come in.

Imagine what a professional organizer working for you could do for you personal organization. Everything comes from organization. As a professional organizer I consult with many people to organize everything in their life, organize goals, organize home, organize time, etc. I have chosen three core tips to help you choose a professional organizer that is suitable for you personally.

This may seem strange but I believe the skill of listening is one of the most important that a good professional organizer can have. If the professional organizer can not fully and completely listen to everything you are about and where you are coming from they will never be able to take you to a level of personal organization that satisfies you.

Choosing a professional organizer can be a cause for anxiety itself, which defeats the point of organization services. So here are some key insider tips from a professional organizer, on how you can choose a good professional organizer for your own style and way of doing things.

Make a list of 10 or so professional organizers by doing a search online or in a phone directory. Contact them by phone or email and let them know you are contacting 9 others to find one suitable for you. This lets them know they can not ‘hard sell’ you.

Take a look at their website, read some of their articles, and read their reply email or hear them out by phone. Tell them you still have the others to contact before making your decision. A good professional organizer will approve of your organized approach.

On your check list you need to score them on ‘How good they listen to you and hear you out’. ‘How interesting and thoughtful they’re products and articles are’. ‘How they’re email response made you feel about them’.

Those three factors alone will give you enough to be able to at least make a short list and might allow you to choose a professional organizer in no time at all.

In modern life I believe time becomes so precious to the potential of opportunities and experiences life has to offer. Using a professional organizer will allow you to maximize the life opportunities you can take advantage of.

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5 Minute Guide On How To Create Income From Your Private Label Rights

5 Minute Guide On How To Create Income From Your Private Label Rights

PLR or Private Label Rights facilitate total control over content. This means that you can freely distribute, change, add or remove some parts of an original article without making any reference to the author or publisher.

A little modification in the original material and you are off to go and claim it as your own with your by-line.PLRs come in handy for people who are having difficulty in creating their own content or simply those who have no time to build one. Aside from that, there are literally hundreds of ways you can stretch PLRs limits.

For instance, if you are planning to release an eBook about Arthritis you could simply grab PLRs relating to your niche. Private label rights products may include text, graphics and source codes which will ultimately help you in branding yourself.
Here are few ways on how you can do with your PLR products.

  1. You can split the product into several modules and create mini eCourses. This is proven effective if you have a good mailing list. Try to create an interval between courses. We do not want to suffocate your clients by dumping them too many courses in a short period of time.

2. If you can split them, you can also combine them as well. This will create an entirely new product waiting for your disposal. Create some new interesting headers and sales letters. Products like these can command a higher market value. You can also opt in for physical deliveries to your customers. There are several online sources which can automate the printing and delivery freeing your time and worries. A hefty price range from $200 to $900 is not bad at all.

3. It is also a great way to create a new niche Website or blog. You would want to take a little effort to rewrite them. By now, there will be hundreds of similar websites all with the same content even if you had just downloaded them. Monetize your Website by incorporating Adsense to it.

4. An autoresponder is a great tool to let your clients know that your site is not dead. Take your PLR content piece by piece and send them occasionally. New products and services can also take advantage of this great tool.

5. You can set up your very own membership site by providing constant content to your members in monthly basis. Check your PLR product licenses if it does not prohibit you from doing this.
There is no easy money in the Internet. If there is, then everybody would be a millionaire. However, hard work and motivation would help you earn the income you have been aiming for.

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4 Hassle Free Ways To Write How To Articles

4 Hassle Free Ways To Write How To Articles

You want to get your e-mail newsletter started, but you don’t want to be burdened with writing articles every time you turn around. Fact is, writing how-to articles isn’t that much of a hassle once you have a system for it.

Creating short, how-to articles allows you to:

  • connect with your audience
  • position yourself as an expert, and
  • increase sales

Bottom line: Give clients information they need and you’ll be the first person they’ll think of when they run into challenges.

Consider creating a template for your e-mail newsletter articles that will fit the needs of your audience. Ask yourself if they want detailed information, or if they’re happy receiving broad ideas that will allow them to tailor the information to meet their specific needs.

If they want specific info, you could always include a teaser paragraph in your newsletter and then provide a link at the bottom of that paragraph. The link can lead to more detailed information about the subject your that audience is interested in.

Once you understand the needs of your audience, place your information in article format. Here’s a system I’ve often used to produce quick, informative articles.

  1. Begin with an identifier paragraph.

This is an introduction to the subject. Just let people know exactly what you’re getting at.

  1. Tell them why they should be interested.

This is where you just get into the reader’s world. You will what you’re talking about help them do their jobs better? In essence, that’s all people really want to know.

  1. Give short, realistic pieces of advice.

You have so much to say it’s hard to fit it into short bits of info, but do it you must. Otherwise you’ll lose your audience’s attention. Try to stick to the points that have the most impact or the ones that are completely opposite to what people in your industry are currently doing.

  1. Wrap it up.

One of my mentors used to always say to me, “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em. Then tell ’em. Then tell ’em what you told ’em.” No, he wasn’t senile. His advice actually worked. At the end of every article I just wrap up what I’ve said by reviewing the key points of the article. It’s called a “takeaway.” What’s the one thing you want the audience to take away from your article and implement in their daily work lives? Once you’ve answered that question, you have your final paragraph.

Whatever you do, keep it short and simple. Sure we may want to use sophisticated language if your audience craves that, but you’d be surprised. When reading e-mail especially, readers won’t mind short, concise words and phrases. And that’s especially true if those words and phrases add more to the bottom line and/or help them become more efficient.

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5 Reasons To Start Writing A Research Paper

Half summer is gone. You had enough time to experience its beauty and enjoy the long-expected freedom to the fullest. Another half is ahead. Don’t you think it is high time to settle down and find the way to make your studies in the coming year much easier?

Writing a research paper will be the perfect match for this objective.

Do not feel like writing a research paper? Then leave your feelings aside and let your mind work instead. Then you will definitely see that there is great use in writing a research paper on vacation. In fact, writing a research paper in summer has far more benefits than you could imagine.

Reason #1

In the middle of July going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and common outing to cafes does not seem exciting and cool anymore. The little treats you dreamed of a couple months ago now seem run-off-the-mill and dull. It is high time to make changes in your daily activities.

Don’t you find writing a research paper a nice alternative to got-used-to activities? You could start looking for research paper topics, do a preliminary research and come out with an outline for your paper ahead of everyone else in your class. In other words, you could start writing a research paper and still enjoy your vacation at the same time.

Reason #2

You must have heard from your forerunners or learned it from your own experience that writing a research paper is a tiresome and time-consuming task. It involves creating drafts, thinking of a good research paper topic, developing an outline, and writing good introduction, body and conclusion.

As your workload at school increases every year, you will be spinning like a soccer ball, trying to meet a deadline, find relevant information, and fulfill all requirements for research paper writing when time finally comes.

However, you can escape the trap so many students fall into and write a research paper without deadline pressure by simply starting your work on it in summer. It is a proven way to escape a rush before the deadline and write a reward-winning research paper.

Reason #3

Another consequence of the huge workload at schools and colleges is that quite often students do not find enough time to explore their research paper topics from cover to cover. Not only the students get poor grades for their research papers and leave loads of information beyond their attention, but also find the assignment dull and tedious.

If you do want to have the outstanding knowledge and derive satisfaction from your research paper, start writing it in summer. You can explore the research paper topics in libraries, figure out which one is to your liking, come out with research paper ideas or make some other preparations.

If you continue the work on the research paper on a regular basis during the studies you will get the desired effect, namely a deep knowledge of the subject under consideration.

Remember that knowledge you gain today is a nice investment in your future.

Reason #4

Do you know that people with books in their hands seem to be more intelligent, smart and broad-minded? Actually, they create a far more positive image than those who dislike reading. Why am I saying this? Itís just that you can turn this fact to your own advantage.

Let us make it out. Your major tool in writing a research paper is either a book, or a note book. Take them everywhere with you and who knows, probably, they will help you meet your sweetheart or just make a useful acquaintance. Moreover, people around will pay more attention to you, which can greatly help boosting your self-esteem.

So, arm yourself with a sophisticatedly-named book, like ìPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of Londonî, and be sure to knock out the person you are aiming at 🙂

Reason #5

Last but not least, writing a research paper in summer can boost your confidence and self-esteem greatly. Think what a great sensation it is when you know that your summer was not spent in vain and you managed to overcome your own laziness. It may inspire you to other challenges that will lead to great success.

Moreover, your parents, friends, and teachers will be astonished when you will be boasting of your achievements on the 1st of September. Surely, you will impress everyone with your thoughtful approach to your academic writing.

Hope these reasons assured you of the importance of writing a research paper in summer and you will spend the rest of your vacation with your future research paper in your mind.

Of course, it doesnít mean that you should beaver away at studies round the clock. Summer is still summer. It is meant for fun and recreation. Still, make sure that you spend the vacation with some benefit for your studies, namely writing a research paper!

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Enduring And Timeless Holiday Gift Ideas

Enduring And Timeless Holiday Gift Ideas

Throughout our lives, there are certain constants that always remain. Whether it is a simple black dress that goes with anything, or the suit blazer that can be worn with a T-shirt, a collared shirt or even formal wear. Or even how a pair of jeans always remains in style – there are always a few timeless items that never truly grow old. This article is to help you with some timeless holiday gift ideas that are sure to last more than a lifetime.

One timeless holiday gift idea is the gift of music. Young or old, if they have an interest in music, supplying them with a musical instrument can be a wonderful investment in their lives. Some of the more popular musical instruments are the piano and/or electric keyboard, guitar, violin, flute, recorder and drum set. Even though it will take time for the person to learn how to play the instrument, once learned it will be a gift that continues to give, possibly for several generations if passed down the ranks.

Another popular and timeless holiday gift idea would be that of handmade or heirloom jewelry. From the stunning pendants to the glittering necklaces, jewelry has always remained with us. Although there does exist what some would call fashion jewelry, there remains a simplistic and yet elegant charm to the designs of old. Jewelry also seems to become a tool for passing down family stories and heritage, and thus fits nicely into the timeless category.

For those who are believers, a wonderful and timeless holiday gift idea is that of the Good News, also known as the Holy Bible. For quite a long time, passing down the Holy Scriptures from Parent to Child has been an important tradition, and one never taken lightly. The old family Bible, although tattered and torn and perhaps even worn in a few places, it is a special part of the family and is more precious to them than gold, silver or even platinum. Bibles and other such books always make a smart and timeless gift to give.

This leads us to another timeless holiday gift idea in the form of a book: photo albums and scrapbooks. Whenever a natural disaster strikes and someone’s home has become destroyed, when asked what they miss the most out of their belongings, it is always the family photo album. Photos hold our memories with them, and help remind us of where we came from and what we have become. Thus small, handmade collections of special photos are always a welcome and timeless gift to receive.

Of course, one tradition that will always be a smart and timeless holiday gift tradition will be that of making and giving away baked goods made from the heart and family recipes passed down from as far as the family can remember. The number one requested item out of these baked goods are always chocolate-chip cookies. No matter what, the smell of cookies cooking is a welcome scent, and one that always brings a smile to our face. And who can forget making sugar cookies with our mothers and grandmothers for the special holiday occasion?

Finally, the most timeless holiday gift idea of all is that of giving money. When all else fails, money is seldom, if ever, turned away as a gift. No matter how fashion and technology changes, money or it’s equivalent will always remain as a good and thoughtful, and especially timeless, gift to give. In fact, money is the number one requested item no matter what the holiday season being celebrated is!

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Why Crafts Are Still A Wonderful Holiday Gift Idea

Why Crafts Are Still A Wonderful Holiday Gift Idea

Whether it is a birthday, an anniversary or even a federal holiday, the number one thing on everyone’s mind is: what on earth am I going to give away this year? Most of us when trying to figure out our holiday gift idea first think of how much money we have, and what that money can buy. Yet a few of us out there start to see all sorts of possibilities of what we can make to give our special someone(s) that is sure to be cherished more than a store-bought item.

The first type of person looking for a crafty holiday gift idea is what I like to call the needle worker. Needle workers enjoying sewing, embroidery, or other such needle arts. Depending on the occasion, they may choose something small, such as sewing napkins and potholders or cross-stitching a magnet or a small, simple picture or a key-chain. For occasions that require a bit more, embroidering a larger picture or sewing a cherished item like a handbag or bath robe are great holiday gift ideas.

The next crafter are those who knit or crochet. Holiday gift ideas that a quick and inexpensive would include, but are not limited to, winter hats, scarves, gloves and/or mittens. A more intimate gift would be a poncho or slippers. However, for those who have the time and want to give a larger gift, afghans are the way to go. With all the different ways one can incorporate color, texture, and different designs into their afghans, the holiday gift idea is sure to be cherished for many years.

Besides the crafting arts considered more on the feminine side, there are also those holiday gift seekers who are into woodworking. Some examples they may come up with are small picture frames, carving a small statue of something their friend or family member would be quite fond of, such as fish, birds or even a caricature of themselves. Larger projects for holiday gift ideas would be creating a headboard for a child’s bed, a jewelry box for the wife, or even a spice rack for the cooking enthusiast.

Tangents of woodworking would be wood-burning and basket-weaving. Wood-burning may not seem like such a great holiday gift idea, but when you receive your name or favorite saying as a sign you can display, you realize how personal the gift truly is. And we all know that gift baskets are always a crowd favorite when it comes to holiday gift ideas – but how many people can truly say that the basket itself was made specifically just for them?

One last crafting area I would like to offer as holiday gift ideas: The painting arts. These arts include such things as oil and water-based canvas paintings. Having an art piece creating by an endearing friend is sure to be passed down in the family, and the painting will always be worth much more than any mere price tag due to the love put into it. Yet another painting art would be airbrushing. A still hot holiday gift idea is airbrushed T-shirts, and when one is created by someone you know, it feels just a little better when wearing it.

The point to all these options is this: taking the time to make something for someone else will always beat out anything that is merely bought. It may not always appear that way at first, but over time the gifts that leave the most lasting impression are those made for us by those who loved us enough to make their very best holiday gift ideas for us.

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5 Ways A Reader Can Respond To Your Article

When reading your article a reader can get warmed up and react to your article in several ways. A responsive reader will want to:

1) Visit your website link in the resource box

This is probably the most common response people seem to go to, even if it is the wrong one. People are so fixated with wanting their readers to go to their websites and buy straight away.

Tell me something, how many strangers on the Internet have you brought something from because they just told you a great story? None right? You have to preheat (or presell your readers) the oven before you can ask for their credit card details.

Sending your readers to your website will usually result in a lower sales percentage straight off the bat. That is of course if you are selling them anything at all. If you were selling them something, the best bet would be to send them straight to your newsletter signup link in your resource box.

But if you are sure you want to send them to your website, the best way to do that is to tell your readers (in your article) that if you go to your website (in your resource box), there is a free gift (of value) they can get, just by visiting your site.

Make sure if you do this, it’s not a blatant plug for a product and the gift is of real value, or very few publishers will publish your article, and fewer readers will respond to you in the future. No one likes being sold straight off the bat, and by giving them a free gift, or getting them to give you their email address some way is the best way to go.

2) Visit your affiliate link

This one is quite tricky. For starters, some publishers don’t allow you to put affiliate program links in your article at all, and if you do, they have to be completely in context and it must be one brilliant article, but that’s not a problem. You can of course put an affiliate link in your resource box, which would be allowed straight away.

3) Subscribe to your mailing list.

This is one of the better options. Why, because when they sign up for your mailing list, they are giving you permission to contact them via email on a regular basis. It would be very hard in your article to announce your mailing list in context of the article, as it would come off as a blatant plug, so the best bet would be to include your subscribe email address in your resource box.

Send them to a splash page where you can capture their email address. Or let your readers to send a blank email to your autoresponder/mailing list email address and subscribe from there. Give them a free gift, something of value.

4) Refer your article to others

If you want your readers to refer your articles to other people, here is what you do. (This is a good idea if you have affiliate links in your article)

You send them to a website, with a refer a friend script. This website also has your previous articles on there as well in an easy to use site. You see how many possibilities there are.

By giving them something in return with value, like a free 5-day course, you get them to refer your article/website to their friends.

5) Contact you personally

If you want people to contact you personally, don’t make them dig through a website to find your contact details. At the very least, put your email address in your resource box, if not your business phone number.

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Organize And Plan | Family Friendly Solutions For Your Children’s Homes

Organize And Plan | Family Friendly Solutions For Your Children’s Homes

The first step is finding room for the stuff. Kids come with a lot of gear, from the time they are babies until they are out the door and into their own place. In the meantime, you have to find ways to accommodate everything from strollers and building blocks to hockey sticks and Barbie collections.

The first step is finding room for the stuff. Kids come with a lot of gear, from the time they are babies until they are out the door and into their own place. In the meantime, you have to find ways to accommodate everything from strollers and building blocks to hockey sticks and Barbie collections.

When there is a place for everything, there is a better chance that the stuff will get put away. Don’t waste closet space. Add a shelving unit and storage bins, and put up hooks on the back of the closet door wherever possible. The small dresser that served your young child can be put into the closet at a later age.

Childrenís beds often come with storage compartments underneath, and nightstands can have either drawers or shelves. When children share a room, bunk beds and sleeping lofts are obvious choices for saving space. Teenagers, especially those 6-footers, may very well need a full size bed rather than the standard twin. Again, think storage space underneath or headboards that incorporate storage space.

Even if your school-age child has a computer desk, he or she may still not have enough room for spreading out books and binders at homework time. Consider a large desk if there is room, or maintain an open policy about using the kitchen or dining room table for homework. But remember that a young child’s feet should touch the floor to prevent restlessness, so if the dining room chair is too tall, use a box or stool under their feet.

Toys and sports equipment can be kept under control by using storage chests, large plastic cubes, or shelving units with bins. Hall trees often come with a storage bench, and are a great solution for coats and boots and skates. Save yourself a lot of trouble by painting children’s rooms rather than using wallpaper. Children quickly grow out of cute prints, and new paint is a simple solution for changing tastes.

Keep living room and family room furniture looking good by choosing fabrics with a high thread count and tight weave that clean easily and hold up to hard use. Flat weaves are better than textured fabrics for durability.

The new microfibers are a good choice for surviving kids and pets, and nothing is easier than slipcovers that can be removed and washed. By the way, sectional sofas are very versatile, able to adapt to any room and comfortable for everyone in the family. Add a set of nesting tables that can be handily moved from room to room for games and projects.

Don’t trip over the stuff of family life. There’s a way to make everyone happy . . . especially Mom.

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Ways You Can Profit From Giving Your Writing Away

Ways You Can Profit From Giving Your Writing Away

I recently made an important discovery that I just couldn’t wait to share. You can make money by giving your writing away. Yes, it really is true.

This isn’t some “get rich overnight” scheme or some trick to get you to lay out a bunch of money for a “turn key business“. You have to do the work yourself and it will take some time to set everything in place — but anyone with an elementary grasp of the English language can make this work!

Giving your writing away to web sites, blogs, ezines, and newsletters can really make you some serious cash on the internet and I’m not joking. I have been writing professionally for two decades and I never thought I’d make more by writing for free but I am.

In fact, I make more money giving my writing away than I did selling my articles and columns. That’s right. The truth is that I’m making more money writing part-time for free than I did in any of my full-time paid writing jobs and that includes advances and royalties from the publication of three novels.

It really is not a difficult or complicated business model and one any competent writer, or anyone with the ability to string a decent sentence together, could replicate or modify to suit their purpose. I am a writer not a business person, but I know this is working for me and that it could work for you, too.

And let me share one last terrific benefit of this writing business — you can write whatever you want. You aren’t dependent on some editor’s whim or assignment.

You don’t need to worry about tightly focusing your work to fit within a publication’s editorial guidelines. You are in total control — you write to suit yourself in terms of topic, approach, and tone. And you’ll make more money doing that then you ever did when you tried to write for someone else. I promise!

Now go out there and give your writing away!

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Top 5 Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

Top 5 Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas.

When we find that the days are approaching towards the next festive holiday or special occasion, we all get the dreaded feeling of not knowing what to give out as a great holiday gift idea. We worry that whatever it is that we choose for the person or people we have in mind, there is no way that they will be truly happy with what we bring. That is, until you remember the old saying that items made from the heart last a lifetime and are always the best gift to give.

So you sit down and start to think over this holiday gift idea, and which one you should do for this special celebration. You pound your mind trying to think how you can beat out all the other gifts as the top prize this person has received.

You imagine how you become the envy of all the other givers, who are now wishing they had thought of this holiday gift idea first. The only problem is, you doubt you know what the most popular homemade gifts are, so you scour the Internet in hopes of finding some simple yet extravagant patterns or recipes you can make for this holiday.

As you search you start to notice how pictures keep coming up in a recurring theme as the hottest holiday gift ideas ever since acid-free paper was born. The first idea you get in your head is how you could take pictures with your digital camera of the event in question, buy a multiple picture frame from the nearest superstore, and bring your picture-printer with you so that by the end of the night you may present the item as the last and most perfect gift. This would indeed be the last laugh and memory of the evening, but this leads you to your next idea.

Whenever you have wanted to keep the memories and feelings of an eventful moment of your life, you remember how your mother or best girlfriend would make scrapbooks of the event. As an extra-special holiday gift idea, you could get together pictures of some great times with this person, as well as stickers and other items to remind them of wonderful times gone by. But what if you don’t have any pictures of this person, what ever are you to do? Well, a tangent of the scrapbook called a dream board is also an amazing holiday gift idea.

A dream board, also called a vision board, is where you place the items you want on a poster board and hand it up where you can see it everyday. Ever since The Secret has become popular, a vision board has become yet another hot holiday gift idea to give.

You realize you can decorate the board with whatever the theme of this person’s dreams are, such as money for wealth, palm trees for travel, or car keys for a new vehicle. This could be a fun project to make, but you wonder if you really know what this person wants. You mark this holiday gift idea as a distinct possibility, but move on with your research until you find a blog talking about Vanna White.

You find out that Vanna, a star from the Wheel of Fortune game show, is an avid crocheter and loves to make afghans as presents for everyone in her family and circle of friends. However as a popular holiday gift idea she recommends lap-ghans or baby blankets.

A lap-ghan is pretty much half of a full afghan that an adult uses to keep their legs warm at night. This would be a cool gift that would be received well, but you still want to see what lies at your favorite on-line recipe sites.

Baking goods have always been the biggest homemade gift that is given out, whether it be cookies, pies, or cakes. Being that this is going to be a potluck, and that these gifts are given out all the time, you are about to give up on this idea until you find a new trend: cookie, brownie and other such baked goods’ dry ingredients are placed inside mason jars, topped with fabric, a small wooden spoon, and the recipe. This way, the recipient of the holiday gift idea can make the item whenever they want it. You decide that this is the way to go for this occasion, but are thankful at the information you now know.

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Why The Price Of Your Holiday Gift Idea Does Not Matter

Why The Price Of Your Holiday Gift Idea Does Not Matter

If you were to ever go out and ask what someone’s biggest concern was when choosing their next holiday gift idea, you would find that the overall perception is one that price matters. That is to say, most everyone feels that the more something cost, the higher it’s value to not only the person purchasing the one who had the holiday gift idea, but also to the person who is to receive it. This perception could never be more further from the truth.

First off, when thinking of your next holiday gift idea, you must understand that money in and of itself is worthless. That is correct – the money you have to spend on a gift is worthless. Now, at first blow this might hit you as a bizarre statement that is hard to grasp, but stay with me. Think of this: If you were to go to another place where your currency was not accepted by the country you were visiting, what would you do?

Now I know what you are thinking: But I am not traveling to another country that does not accept money for items to purchase. This statement does not pertain to me. I am here to tell you that yes indeed it does, and here’s why: Even if you decide to give cash as the holiday gift idea to the recipient, is this -really- the gift in and of itself? No! The money is being given so that the recipient may buy something they really want.

This is why gift cards have become such a hot commodity in our culture now more than ever before. It does not truly matter if it is $10, $25, $100 or even more – the fact of the matter is the reasoning and feelings behind it.

I do not know of one person who has ever opened their gift to find a gift card inside complain that it was only good for $10. Unless the person is truly shallow, the reaction I have seen towards this holiday gift idea is that of joy and surprise. To them, this is free money to one of their favorite places. And even if it won’t buy the expensive item they really want, it brings them closer to achieving that result.

However, let us not forget the physical holiday gift ideas as well. One thing I was taught by my own mother was that those who are wise know where to shop for deep discounts, but at the same time know when to keep quiet as to the price.

Allow me to explain this statement a bit more. What my mother was saying is if you can find the item the person is wanting at a discount, don’t feel bad about it – just buy it. When you give the item away, it doesn’t matter how much it cost you. All that counts is the joy the item brings to the person receiving the holiday gift idea.

Some places that have become popular for buying your holiday gift ideas on-line at discount include the Amazon bookstore, Overstock warehouse and New Egg computer store. These options help buyers purchase holiday gift items at a great deal – sometimes quite a lot less that purchasing at retail prices. Yet the biggest secret of them all when coming up with holiday gift ideas are dollar stores.

Dollar stores have increased in popularity, and are always sprouting up almost as much as a new convenience store or fast food restaurant. What many people don’t realize is that your holiday gift ideas can quite often be found residing in these stores for ridiculous prices way below their original price. There are those who don’t yet have these types of stores, so one last option exists for them: outlet malls.

An outlet mall is a great way to say on your holiday gift ideas. Whether it is name brand shoes, clothes, and even accessories such as watches, purses or perfume, you are sure to find some fabulous deals at these locations. But not only clothing is available – Electronic goods, books, and even children toys will be found awaiting the smart shopper. So remember, it’s not the price that counts with your holiday gift ideas, it is the meaning behind them.

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Organize And Plan | Five Steps to Get Rid Clutter and Organize Your Home

Organize And Plan | Five Steps to Get Rid Clutter and Organize Your Home


A pact, according to Dictionary.com is “a formal agreement…such as one between nations.”

Well, I want you to have A-Pact with your clutter. Although this turns into more of a battle (that you win)…it’s a great way to remember the steps to organization.

Here’s what it means and how it works …


A pact, according to Dictionary.com is “a formal agreement…such as one between nations.”

Well, I want you to have A-Pact with your clutter. Although this turns into more of a battle (that you win)…it’s a great way to remember the steps to organization.

Here’s what it means and how it works …

A–>ASK

Ask yourself what you want out of the room or area you’re going to organize. What are the goals of the room? What are you shooting for by getting organized?

And the thing is, you want to dig a little deep into how you want to benefit. This will help you get motivated and work towards the final goal.

For instance, if you’re going to start the process of organizing paperwork in your home office, the question is “why do I want to organize this space?”

The answer could be “I don’t ever want to have a late bill again” or “I want to find any document in less than two minutes.”

Once you’ve answered the question, then move onto step 2…

P—>PILE

What you do in this step is pile “like” items together.

In your closet, you make a pile of all your shirts.

Another pile of all your pants…

Or let’s say we’re in your home office (or wherever you do keep paperwork.)

Start with your file drawer, or grab a pile if that’s what you’ve got for a “filing system.”

Put each piece of paper in “like” files. For example, all the insurance paperwork will go together. All of your 401K paperwork goes in another. All medical expenses from the present year in another.

A—>ANALYZE

Next you go through the piles and break them down even more, this time into two piles of “treasure” or “trash.”

I like to assign each category with treasure or trash so there’s no in between. No room for “I’m going to decide on this later.”

No, decide right there and then if it’s either staying or going.

No in between.

Now the thing is, the trash doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to the garbage.

That step comes next… and remember the saying, one man’s trash (or junk) is another man’s treasure.

next…

C—>CASH-IN

This is where you go through the “trash” and break it down once more, deciding what can be donated, what can be sold, and what’s going to the dumpster.

Next step is where you get organized

T—>TIDY UP!

This is where, once you’ve gotten all the “trash” out of the area, you organize the items you’ve decided to keep.

Tidy up, put it back in an ordered, organized fashion.

When you’re organizing, always keep like items together whether on a shelf, in drawers or in any other type of storage you’re using.

Have items you use more frequently be more accessible and within reach, too.

So there you go…

Have A-PACT with your clutter today, okay?

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Organize And Plan | Healing Addiction to Clutter

Organize And Plan | Healing Addiction to Clutter

One of my clients told me that she was trying to help her sister get back on her feet after her sister had been laid up with an illness and lost her job. Her sister’s house had always been a mess, and had become so filled with clutter that there was no place to walk or sit.

One of my clients told me that she was trying to help her sister get back on her feet after her sister had been laid up with an illness and lost her job. Her sister’s house had always been a mess, and had become so filled with clutter that there was no place to walk or sit.

My client, Rebecca, offered to buy her sister a car if she would clean up her house. Rebecca even offered to help her sister clean up the house. Rebecca was shocked when her sister refused the offer, even though she desperately needed the car. He sister was unwilling to get rid of the clutter.

Why was the stuff so important to her?

Underneath all addictions lies fear – of emptiness, helplessness, loneliness and aloneness. Addictions are a way to feel safe from feeling these difficult and painful feelings, and an addiction to clutter is no exception. Itís all about having a sense of control over feeling safe. Clutter, like all addictions, provides a momentary feeling of comfort. However, as with any addiction, the clutterer needs more and more clutter to maintain the illusion of safety and comfort.

When my mother died and my son was cleaning out her house, he discovered huge amounts of clutter. While my motherís house always looked neat and clean, the cupboards and drawers were filled with clutter. My son told me he found 6 broken hair dryers in one cabinet. Why would my mother want to keep six broken hair dryers?

My mother grew up during the depression and always had a fear of not having enough. No matter how much she accumulated materially, she never felt that she had enough. The six hair dryers made her feel safe from her fear, even if they didn’t work.

Carrie has trouble throwing things away, especially magazines with ìimportantí information in them. She subscribes to many magazines but, being the mother of three small children, doesnít often have the time to read them. So the magazines pile up and pile up. Carrie hopes at some point to have the time to read them, but that time never seems to come.

When asked why she won’t throw them out, her answer is, because there might be something important in them and I don’t want to miss it. Carrie fears missing out on some important piece of information, information that may give her the peace she is seeking. It makes her feel safer and in control to have all the magazines around her with their important information, even if she never gets to read them.

When we don’t feel safe on the inner level, then we try to make ourselves feel safe on the outer level, and clutter is one way of doing that. Whether it’s things, such as hair dryers, or information, such as in magazines and newspapers, clutterers do not trust that they will have what they need. In addition, clutterers may be resistant people who see messiness and clutter as a way of not being controlled by someone who wants them to be neat.

Healing The Addiction To Clutter

Clutter is created and maintained by a wounded, frightened part of oneself, the wounded self the part that operates from the illusion of having control over people, events, and outcomes. As long as this wounded self is in charge of the decisions, the clutterer will continue to accumulate clutter as a way to provide comfort and the illusion of control over feeling safe, or continue to be messy as a way to resist being controlled.

Healing occurs when the individual does the inner work necessary to develop a strong, loving adult self. A loving adult is the aspect of us that opens to and connects with a spiritual source of wisdom, strength, and love. A loving adult is capable of taking loving action in our own behalf.

The loving adult operates from truth rather than from the false beliefs of the wounded self, and knows that the comfort and safety that clutter seems to provide is an illusion that no matter how much clutter accumulates, the clutterer still feels afraid. The loving Adult knows that safety and integrity do not lie in resistance. Only a loving adult who is tuned in to the guidance provided by a spiritual source and capable of taking loving action in one’s own behalf can create a sense of inner safety.

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Key Points To Remember When Writing For The World Wide Web

Key Points To Remember When Writing For The World Wide Web

While many writers are eager to write for the Internet, it is important to consider the key differences between writing for a traditional print audience and an Internet audience. Keeping these three points in mind will help you achieve success with your Internet writing ventures.

Writing for the Internet is different from traditional publishing formats in three essential ways:

~ Audience
~ Format
~ Lifespan

It is important to consider each difference while writing.

While audience is always a key consideration for any writer audience consideration is a primary factor for Internet writers. While the basic considerations of audience (who do you expect to be your primary reading audience?) remain the same there are some important differences.

First, it is important to remember that in traditional publications your audience is somewhat captive. Once they have actually picked up or purchased a print media they are likely to at least give it a few pages before ditching it. However, on the Internet the audience can move away from your words with a click of the button so you need to be focused and on target.

You can’t take time for a slow buildup or meandering discussion. If you (the writer) do not seem to be delivering the goods then the reader will simply move on. This does not mean you need to cater to the lowest denominator but it does mean that you need to know your audience as well as how to respond to that audience’s needs and desires.

Another important point is that many Internet readers scan documents quickly before committing themselves to reading. It is important to write clearly and concisely as well as use punchy headlines and subheadings as well as catchy introductions and conclusions as these are key points for scanning.

While at first glance Internet documents appear to mimic traditional print documents there are many major differences. One of the most important is the entry point. A search engine may deliver readers to some point in the middle or end of your document.

If you have written a coherent and cohesive piece then those readers may well move back to the beginning to read properly. In response to this, and the scanning readers mentioned above, it is best to break longer documents into several stand-alone pieces that can work together as a whole or as separate documents if approached in that manner.

Finally, an important difference between traditional publications and Internet publications is lifespan. While the apparent lifespan of many electronic documents appears to be fleeting that is not in fact true. Newspaper and magazine articles in print publications may only be current for a day, week or month but be archived on the Internet.

Internet publications are frequently archived on the Internet for years. So while it is important as a writer to be fresh and current also keep in mind that your reader may access your words at some undetermined point in the future.

Keeping these three key points — audience, format, and lifespan — in mind when writing for the Internet will help you achieve greater writing success.

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This Holiday Gift Something Special | Give The Gift Of A Star

This Holiday Gift Something Special | Give The Gift Of A Star

It’s that time of year again. Valentines Day is fast approaching and you are at a loss as to what to get for the love of your life. You have already learned the hard way that Valentines Day is NOT the time to buy her a frying pan or a vacuum cleaner, but what can you do to show her just how special you think she is? Candy? Boring! Flowers? Nah! Perfume? Not again.

What you want is something special and clever and unexpected. Take a look on line and you’ll find that there are dozens of companies out there that for a fee will be happy to help you out by naming a star after your beloved. Those fees range anywhere from twenty-five dollars up to over a hundred dollars,

In return for your hard earned money you will receive anything from a simple piece of paper showing that you named a star in her honor to elaborate maps and certificates some even come framed.

The gesture is sweet. It’s not your every day ordinary gift. It paves the way to other gifts, like a nice telescope (all the better to see her star!) It clears the way to a romantic evening sitting on the balcony with soft music in the background sipping wine and gazing up at “her” star.

Stars have been named by Hollywood celebrities for their significant others; they have been named in memory of loved ones and heroes lost. They have been named for parents, children, favorite teachers and even pets.

However, before you decide this is the perfect gift you need to understand one thing – it is a novelty gift. It is not going to be recognized by any official organization and there is nothing stopping twenty other companies from naming that same star for dozens of other people.

There is not going to be an official book anywhere that has an entry of your star, its location and its name. That is not to say that some of the sites don’t actually keep a record of the stars they “name” and publish their own “book”. Just that it isn’t officially recognized by any astronomer’s organization anywhere.

At best some of the more ethical websites do state that it is a novelty gift, but not too many explain that by novelty they mean it isn’t in any way shape or form official. None of the sites will tell you that only the International Astronomical Union can officially name stars and other objects in space and with the exception of a small number of extremely bright stars they are all given numbers not names. Many of the sites work very hard to make naming a star sound like a bona fide, official actual entry into a log of all the stars.

That is not to say it isn’t still a clever gift that can be appreciated and enjoyed, particularly if the recipient happens to have an interest in astrology or just enjoys an excuse to curl up with a glass of wine and do a little star-gazing with the love of her life. Just know what you are and are not buying.

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5 Reasons Every Writer And Author Needs To Start And Own A Web Site

5 Reasons Every Writer And Author Needs To Start And Own A Web Site


If you are serious about your writing, in fact even if you aren’t, you need a web site. Let me repeat that — every writer needs a web site! If you don’t believe me then here are five very good reasons why:

  1. Your web site can serve as your showcase and portfolio. It can include your biography, experience, and writing credits as well as copies of your work or better yet–links to your published work. So many queries today are done electronically and it much easier to simply include an url for editors or prospective clients to visit than to try to attach copies and/or a long list of urls on various locations.

2. Your web site can be your creative outlet. Perhaps your bread-and-butter writing is in the financial field but you really enjoy writing poetry or about fly fishing. Then you can publish those pieces on your web site to receive exposure or simply to reward yourself for a job well done. Who knows, you might even find yourself with some new paying assignments in these fields!

3. You can demonstrate your expertise in your particular field or fields by demonstrating the number of articles you have written in that area as well as any experience and/or education you may offer in this field. Listing your articles or putting a selection on your site will get your name linked with various key words surrounding that topic in the search engines.

4. For writers, your name is your brand and you need to continually have your name out there and furthermore you need to have it connected with your areas of expertise. The more articles and essays you have published on the web then the more times your name gets out there for readers, clients, and editors. Owning your own web site (deannamascle.com for example) is like owning your own billboard on the internet superhighway.

5. You can earn money with your own web site and your writing even without getting paid by publications. Place Pay-Per-Click ads on your site or sign up for some affiliate programs to advertise on your site. Depending on the size of your site and the traffic you attract this may become a major new source of income for you!

I hope I’ve convinced you that a web site can be an asset to your writing career, but I must warn you that web mastering can be very addictive to us creative types. Don’t let it overtake your writing time. Start out simple and build over time so you can work out a good balance between your writing and your webmaster chores.

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The Worst Gift Ideas Ever

The Worst Gift Ideas Ever

All of us have heard at one time or another seller or buyer beware – but in this case, the saying now becomes gifter beware. Many of us give with the best of intentions, but never realize that the gifts we are about to give are truly nightmares – or worse – in disguise. No one ever means to make such a mistake, but these do occur and we are here to help you avoid these mishaps. The following are the six worst gift ideas ever to cross our paths.

The first and biggest of the six worst gift ideas ever to give is the item that tries to give a subtle hint for what you consider a needed change in this person’s life. We think this is a polite way of doing it, but all in all we cause more pain and trouble than it is worth.

Some examples of these types of gifts are things like books for losing weight, an audio book on helping someone with their memory, or even a book on finding the right guy or girl. For the recipient, all they experience is you calling them fat, stupid, and unable to meet good people for relationships. The gift causes pain and depression – the opposite of the intention you had for it.

The second of the six worst gift ideas ever given is giving something that shows how little, if any, thought you put into your gift. This happens more often than people like to admit to, and this is why it is number two on our list.

Some examples of these gifts would be giving body jewelry to someone who doesn’t even have an ear pierced, an ‘I believe in Xenu” T-shirt for a Christian, or even a box of chocolates for a diabetic. If you truly don’t want to put your heart into giving gifts, then don’t even bother – those you call friends will appreciate it.

The third out of six worst gift ideas ever thought of would be the extremely large books often referred to as coffee table books. The typical thought when giving these books is that the large wrapped item will make the person so much more happy – but upon opening this tome of a book, almost always the person is anything but happy. Books can be a great gift, but remember that in this instance, regular sized or even pocket sized is better than extraordinarily huge.

Fourth of the six worst gift ideas ever attempted is giving a gift that the person has no way to exchange or even be able to give away. We all want the recipient to love our gifts, but we can’t get it right 100 percent of the time.

So please, do not give a gift from a specialty shop that does not exist in the recipient’s part of the country unless you know for sure they want this item in question. If you don’t, the person has the potential to be quite angry and disappointed in you and your gift.

Of the six worst gift ideas ever to see the light of day, number five may appear harmless enough, but don’t allow it to fool you. We all forget a holiday or special occasion and find ourselves desperate to come up with a gift. We know we don’t have enough time to go out and purchase something, and making something is out of the question.

So we look through what we own and give the special someone a gift we ourselves were given before, or even something we had bought for ourselves. The problem is the immense guilt you feel after the fact for doing so. Remember, even items that at first appear free to give away – there is always a cost.

Finally, the sixth worst gift idea ever is the one where you buy the item, actually wanting it for yourself, but you figure the recipient will not want it and will give it back to you. Please know this: this type of plan will always backfire on you, and is horrible to attempt in the first place! If you want the item, buy it for you – or you will be ending up buying two when you could have only bought it once.

Always remember the golden rule: Buy for others, then buy for you as well. You will both be happy!

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Holiday Gift Ideas | Unusual, Unique And Special Gifts

Holiday Gift Ideas | Unusual, Unique And Special Gifts.

When find yourself with someone on your holiday gift list who is difficult to buy for, sometimes your best bet is to go for something out of the ordinary.

Gifts that work to bring about harmony and peace in the environment are sure to please. From simple gifts of candles, crystals, and CD’s that play the soothing sounds of wind, rain and babbling brooks, to salt lamps, singing bowls and Zen sand gardens, the choices are plentiful.

You can choose jewelry made of amber, an organic gemstone that is professed to draw negative energy and turn it to positive energy leading to health and well being. Most people, when they think of amber think of the honey colored or the milky white but amber can also be found in brown, red, blue, black and green. You can also buy gifts of jewelry made out of the crystals for your astrological sign. Chlorite quartz is another healing mineral said to cleanse ones aura and makes a gift that is beautiful to look at.

On the more unusual side would be a gift of a negative ion producing lamp made of salt crystal rock. This rock naturally ionizes the air by releasing negative ions (electronically charged molecules of oxygen) thereby removing things like pollen, dust and animal dander from the air.

The core of the piece of salt crystal is hollowed out then a light bulb is placed inside. The resulting heat from the light bulb starts the ions flowing into the air. Even if you aren’t interested in the healing qualities of the lamp, you end up with very pretty pieces to display on your dresser or end table.

We all know our moods and our health can be greatly affected by sound. Dissonant , loud sounds cause tension and if too prolonged can cause ill health. Other sounds energize the body and relax the mind. Singing bowls fall into this category.

They are made from a mix of metals from the Himalayas, Tibet and India. When you strike and/or rub the bowl with a wooden mallet the multi-octave tones that are produced will relax and heal your mind as well as your body. Hand made bells called Rustic Noah Bells are believed to scare off bad spirits. Hang them near your home for good energy. The beautiful deep tone of the larger bells provides a superb sound to accompany your meditation.

In the Feng Shui shops you will also find a large selection of clothing to wear when meditating, books, videos, prayer flags and lots of different oils to energize the body mind and spirit. You might also be interested in the Chakra Bears.

Legend says that when the sun shines through the mist in the Smokey Mountains it forms a beautiful rainbow. Every twenty years this rainbow touches the earth and rainbow Chakra bears are born. Each color has a different purpose. For instance the blue bear will listen with endless patience while the yellow bear’s purpose is to make you successful.

Visit a store that specializes in Feng Shui products and you will find gifts of aromatherapy, incense, table top fountains, mirrors and plenty of books to explain the theories behind everything.

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Holiday Gifts | Tickets, Gift Certificates And IOU’s

Holiday Gifts | Tickets, Gift Certificates And IOU’s.

One way to handle the “what to buy” dilemma at the holidays is by purchasing a pair of tickets to an event that you know the recipient will enjoy. Especially nice when you are getting something that they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. I say a “pair” of tickets because most events are better if you can take someone with you.

A pair of tickets or a season subscription for any playhouse for those who like watching plays. They don’t have to be Broadway, or even off-Broadway, productions. There are a great number of amateur playhouses (some that also serve dinner) and many communities, colleges and even some high schools put on performances that are highly enjoyable. The same goes for concerts, check your local chamber of commerce to see what your community offers. There’s nothing like an outdoor concert under the stars to help shed the day’s tension quickly.

Another possibility is a pair of tickets to any sporting event from football to racing to hockey. They don’t have to be tickets to watch a professional team to be appreciated. You can find local AAA teams, college teams and high school teams that are just as much fun to watch, if not more so, than any National League team. The tickets are a fraction of the cost of the big leagues and the variety of food, beverages and souvenirs will rival any pro stadium.

Getting NASCAR or Indy tickets can be nearly impossible and very expensive. Local tracks offer stock car, sprint car, and demolition races that will get your adrenaline going just as well for about $10-$15 dollars and most tracks will allow you back in the pit area after the races so you can talk to the driver’s and get pictures of your favorite cars. This one is great for entire families. Even young kids love to watch the cars run and you haven’t seen anything until you’ve watched buses run a figure eight race!

Gift certificates are a great way to go when you really don’t know what to get. You can get gift certificates for just about any store or restaurant. If you aren’t even sure what stores and restaurants they frequent you can get a gift certificate from most chambers of commerce that are good in any place of business in the city that accepts checks.

A gift certificate for a service is also nice. A day at a spa is a welcome gift for anyone, (even men like the pampering of a good massage). Facials, manicures, pedicures, massages, steam baths, and mud packs in just about any combination you could want.

Have a set of new parents on your list? Sit down at your computer and design an I. O. U. from you entitling them to one evening or one day’s babysitting. Do you have young children who need a gift for grandma? Let them design an I. O. U. for a hug and a kiss, or they can make one for their parents gifting one hour helping with housework or one car wash or anything else that strikes their imagination.

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Holiday Gifts That You Can Give All Year Long

Holiday Gifts That You Can Give All Year Long.

Sometimes a one-time gift just isn’t what you are looking for. You want something that will keep on giving throughout the year. Enter the “Of the Month” clubs. There is an incredible assortment of “Of the Month” clubs.

One of the more widely known is the “Fruit of the Month” club. For a set fee your gift of fruit is delivered on a timetable of your choosing, once a month, every other month or 3 – 4 times a year. Each delivery is a case consisting of one or more different fruits. The fruits are sometimes exotic, sometimes seasonal, and always delicious. They average around $30.00 – $40.00 per month.

For the hops and barley lovers that you are shopping for, there are numerous “Beer of the Month” clubs. Also on a timetable of your choosing, your gift of two six-packs made up of 2-4 different beers from one of many domestic or international microbreweries is delivered. Often the gift includes information on the breweries that the beers came from along with suggestions for foods that the beers will complement. These beer clubs also average about $30-$40 per month.

For those people on your gift list who prefer the grape to hops and barley, there are “Wine of the Month” clubs where for about the same price as the fruit and beer you can send 2 bottles of wine from award winning wineries around the world. You can specify all white, all red or a mix.

Cheese, sausage, pepperoni, ham and pineapple, you name it! There are several sites that offer “Pizza of the Month” clubs for the pizza lover’s on your holiday list. Most of these clubs send 3 -12″ pizzas, which are delivered frozen. You will receive one deep dish and two thin crust pizzas each month. Prices range around $40 – $50 per month.

Is the love of your life hooked on chocolate? Then the “Chocolate of the Month” club is just what you’ve been looking for. For less than $25 a month a one-pound box of some of the finest chocolate in the world will be delivered right to their door.

For those times you don’t want to send food or liquor there are the “Cigar of the Month” and “Flower of the Month” clubs also. These would run you anywhere from $25 – $40 per month. The “Flower of the Month” club will deliver a themed bouquet of fresh cut flowers and the “Cigar of the Month” club sends a selection of hand rolled cigars from around the world.

No matter what your gift giving needs you will probably be able to find a “club” that will suit you. There is the “Pasta of the Month” club or the “Lobster of the Month” club. You can choose from the Cheesecake or the Cookie of the month club. You can opt for ice cream or salsa, coffee or tea, bbq or hot sauce and for those who prefer non-edibles the “Necktie of the Month” club and “Movie of the Month” club.

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Holiday Gifts | Storm Chasing And Adventure

Holiday Gifts | Storm Chasing And Adventure.

Is your significant other a “thrill seeker”? Is it hard to get them to come away from the window during a storm? Are they the last ones down to the basement when there is a possibility of a tornado? Do they watch the weather channel’s storm stories over and over again? Have you watched the movie Twister until you know the entire script by heart?

Then you have a prime candidate for the gift of a storm chasing adventure. Storm chasing although definitely not inexpensive, is without a doubt a once in a lifetime thrill. The trip can run well over $2,000.00 – which usually includes lodging but not food or transportation to and from the base motel. Some companies will offer you discounts for things like booking more than one trip, room sharing or filling the last couple spots on a trip.

Tempest Tours and Silver Lining Tours are just two of dozens of companies that offer storm-chasing trips. These companies use storm chasers with years of experience. They offer trips of one to two weeks. Before the actual chasing starts there is classroom type instruction so you will know what to expect and what is expected of you.

There are usually at least half a dozen guests in each trip. Besides being instructed on the art of storm chasing you will find you also learn a great deal about meteorology and the discipline necessary to be a successful storm chaser. Although the staff does try to figure the times you will need to head out the night before you do have to be able to be ready to go on a moments notice.

You will normally leave in the morning and your leaders will recalculate your target throughout the day as new weather information becomes available. Most companies operate within Tornado Alley (Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming Colorado, New Mexico and the Dakotas).

During the time between storms the instructors will take you sight seeing through miles of gorgeous scenery. Some days the chase will continue after dark when you will be awed at the sight of fantastic lightning displays. Even though some companies provide you with a video of your trip you really want to make sure you have your own camera equipment with you.

You will spend 10 exciting days living the life of a storm chaser. Although no one can guarantee that you will see a tornado, due to the fact that trips are scheduled during the peak storm season you can be pretty sure you will at least see some incredible storms.

If by chance the person on your list is an avid storm fan but not quite daredevil enough to want to actually get in a car and chase them, there are numerous videos, books and virtual storm chasing CD’s out there to keep them happy for many holidays to come.

Storm chasing is a holiday gift that will be re-lived and remembered for many years to come.

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Holiday Gifts | Parachute Jump, Adventure And Fun

Holiday Gifts | Parachute Jump, Adventure And Fun

If you are looking for a gift for someone who isn’t afraid of heights, has a good amount of daredevil in them, and doesn’t find anything wrong with jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, this is one gift that will earn you eternal gratitude.

This is just the holiday gift for that special someone who you know has always wondered how it would feel to just jump out of an airplane, let alone fall 10,000 feet. A single tandem sky dive session will run you an average of about $200.00 which includes instruction that runs about half an hour and one jump.

That is also what makes the tandem jump such a great gift, since it is a one-day event, you get the opportunity to see how much you really enjoy it without investing a lot of time and money learning to dive on your own, then if you complete the jump and find yourself wanting to get back up there and do it again you have the option of signing up for classes where they will teach you everything you need to know from packing your own chute to landing in your target.

The tandem jump is done while you are harnessed to a professional diver who helps control the fall. You will undergo on the ground training and perform the jump the same day. You start out taking a plane up to around 10,000 feet.

At that point you will jump and free-fall for several thousand feet at approximately 120 miles per hour. Contrary to what most people think free falling doesn’t make your stomach roll like a roller coaster might. It’s more like floating on a cushion; similar to the feeling of buoyancy you get in the water but to a much greater degree.

After the minute or so of free fall you toss the toggle, which is attached to the pilot chute, into the airstream, deploying the canopy and float to the ground. There is no worry that you will forget or freeze and not open the chute. If you don’t open it when you should the instructor will use hand signals to let you know what you should be doing.

If you still don’t react the instructor will deploy the chute. Most schools also have a device that will automatically deploy the chute at a certain point if it hasn’t been manually opened. Now that you are floating downward you have time to relax and enjoy the scenery, while the instructor helps you guide both of you down to the target where thanks to new technology you can make a nice soft landing.

This wonderful holiday gift of skydiving will provide you with an entire spectrum of emotion. You start with the anticipation as your plane climbs. Then there is the excitement and adrenaline rush of the jump which is followed by the exhilarating yet tranquil feeling of the descent, ending with the pride and satisfaction of accomplishing something that up until now has only been a pleasant daydream.

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Holiday Gifts | Pets And Animals

Holiday Gifts | Pets And Animals.

Pets are wonderful. They cheer you up when you are down, keep you laughing, and love you no matter what. There is very little more heartwarming than seeing a child who has fallen asleep curled up next to a puppy.

Pets are a very common gift for children at holidays. Puppies and kittens at Christmas, baby ducks, chicks and bunnies at Easter and so forth. What child’s eyes wouldn’t light up at the sight of a brand new baby animal to hold and hug? The promises to love, feed and take care of the new additions to the family flow like water.

The critters are soft, warm and fuzzy gifts for certain but, and it’s a big but, they all grow up and in just a few short weeks are no longer cute little puppies but big romping barking dogs, the cuddly little kittens have turned into large aloof cats. The baby ducks and chicks are no longer soft and fuzzy, but big, noisy and messy, and those two bunnies, Fred and George turned out to be Fred and Georgia!

Pets are a long term commitment and buying a pet as a gift should be a well planned and thought out move not a spur of the moment decision based on emotional reaction.

If you are honestly thinking of getting someone a pet for the holidays (even if it is not for a child) be sure it is something you would do even if there were no holiday involved.

Make sure the gift fits. If the primary responsibility of caring for the animal is going to fall to a young child you don’t want to get a dog that will quickly grow to the size of a small pony which the child wouldn’t be capable of handling.

You might also want to make sure you expose your child to other people’s pets for decent lengths of time before buying a pet, so if by chance they have allergic reactions to animals you will know before you bring one home for them to fall in love with. This will also give you the time to convince them that they would really prefer a turtle, lizard or something else that doesn’t have dander.

Keep in mind those animals, like babies, cost money way above and beyond the purchase price. Food, leashes, food, collars, food and water bowls, training supplies, food, toys, vet bills, food, licenses and tags, and more food!

There is a great deal of time that has to be invested in most any pet and the holidays are not always a good time to be doing that. The hustle and excitement of a houseful of friends and family may not be the ideal setting for a new puppy, kitten, or any other young animal.

A better idea might be to cut out a picture of the pet you have in mind and put that in a card and make sure the child understands that as soon as the holidays have passed and things have gone back to a normal relaxed state they can help pick out the newest member of the family.

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Holiday Gifts | Home Parties, Festivities And Celebrations

Holiday Gifts | Home Parties, Festivities And Celebrations.

Shopping the stores for holiday gifts can be a real hassle what with the stores being so crowded, and shopping online you really don’t get to “see” what you are getting.

Home parties have come a long way since the Tupperware Party days and they are no longer something you “have to go to and buy something” because your sister-in-law is hosting it – they are a great gift buying venue. Whatever you are looking for there is probably a home party that will provide it.

No crowds to fight they bring the product right to you in the comfort of your own home where you can see exactly what you are buying, they deliver your order to you and best of all you can pick up several items at little or no cost to you!

Hosting a home party is simplicity itself. You can contact any company online or by phone and they will give you the name of a representative in your area or you can go to parties demonstrating the kinds of products you are interested in and let the representative know that you are interested in hosting your own party.

The latter has the added benefit of giving your host credit for a booking, which usually results in their being eligible for free, or discounted items. Once you have picked a date for your booking the representative will either give you invitations that you can send out or some will just take your guest list and they will send the invitations out for you.

The day of the party all you have to do is make sure you have enough seating and a table for the demonstrator to display her items on and have some drinks and snacks handy. How fancy you get is up to you. You can just serve some chips and dips or you can make appetizers and put them out. One of the advantages of the parties that sell food products are they bring lots of food samples for you and your guests to try.

The demonstrator will come in and set up, do her demonstration take all the orders, figure out how much you have coming in free or discounted items, let you know when the delivery date is. Some companies deliver everything to the hostess and she delivers them from there and others deliver directly to each person who places an order.

So many of the companies have branched out and sell a great variety of items that you can probably do a lot of your holiday shopping at one or two different parties. There are companies that sell clothing and lingerie, cookware, bake ware, food products, jewelry (including “pearl” parties where everyone gets a chance to pick an oyster and if your oyster has a pearl you get to keep it – of course they are hoping you will pick one of their settings to put it in!), country style furnishings and dÈcor, wrought iron dÈcor, candles and the list just keeps going.

There is one last advantage to doing your holiday shopping at home parties; you may very well run into one that you like enough that it could become a part or full time income for you!

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Holiday Gifts | For The NASCAR Racing Fan

Holiday Gifts | For The NASCAR Racing Fan.

Is your husband a NASCAR fanatic? Does your girlfriend count the days until it’s time for the Daytona 500? When your child hears the numbers 8, 24 and 48 does he automatically think Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson? Are more than half the products in your home sponsors of a NASCAR team? Are you looking for the perfect gift but just don’t want to buy another T-Shirt, hat or 1/24th scale car?

Give your race fan the thrill of a lifetime with a gift certificate to any one of a dozen race schools. For as little as $100.00 to several thousand dollars you will give a gift that will never be forgotten. Not even Santa could do better!

For the NASCAR fan there is the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Dale Jarrett Driving Racing Adventure among others. These classes are held on real racetracks in real Cup cars. The Richard Petty Driving Experience holds their classes at tracks like Charlotte, Atlanta, Las Vegas and many others. .

At the Richard Petty Driving Experience the beginner level runs between three and four hundred dollars. For that your speed demon can hop into a race suit, don a helmet climb through the window of a Cup stock car (remember the doors don’t open) and tear around a mile, mile and a half or two mile track for 10 laps. When you arrive, there is a half hour briefing and you are driven around the track while they explain the different driving lines. Then you hop into your car and get ready to go out onto the track.

The instructor is in the lead car with two or three cars behind him each containing one student. Once out on the track, as long as you are keeping up, the instructor will push his car faster (going up to around 165 mph).

If any student runs into a problem or just cant keep up with the others another instructor will drive out onto the track and pick them up so the others can continue at a higher speed. After the laps have been completed and you have returned to pit road and left your car you are presented with a print out showing your average lap time, fastest lap and mph for each lap.

For a few extra dollars you can also have your picture taken in victory lane. This level is usually required before going on to any of the other levels which increase up to classes that span a whole weekend running more than 80 laps under actual race conditions at night with the other students. .

For those who would really like to know what it feels like but aren’t ready to drive the car themselves each track has a “ride along”. The ride-along usually runs around a hundred dollars and is exactly what it sounds like – you get into a car that has had a passenger seat added with an instructor and take three very quick laps (about 165 mph) around the track.

They send two cars out at a time and each one takes its turn passing the other so you can get an idea of how close they drive and how close they come to each other when they pass.

Have non-NASCAR race fans on your gift list? There are also driving schools for top fuel, open wheel, corvettes and just about anything that goes fast!

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Holiday Gifts | Food In Baskets, Bottles And Boxes

Holiday Gifts | Food In Baskets, Bottles And Boxes.

Gifts of food, whether home made or store bought are always appreciated. You can buy decorative boxes, all sizes and shapes of baskets, or use bottles ranging from empty liquor bottles to the standard Mason jar. Visit your local resale shops or check on-line auction sites for great deals on baskets, bottles and boxes.

For those of you who love to bake, whipping up a couple dozen of five or six different types of cookies and boxing them with a pretty bow make a delicious holiday gift for friends, family or even your child’s teacher. Kick the gift up a notch by adding some homemade candies.

Need a gift for people who love being outdoors, pick up a nice inexpensive picnic basket and add a bottle of wine, some cheeses and crackers with a small cheese cutting board and a couple of pretty wine glasses for a classic gift. They’ll remember you for years to come each time they use it.

Empty liquor bottles that have been cleaned are perfect for making a gift of flavored oils. Drop any combination of things like herbs, garlic, and hot peppers into the bottle; add oil and cap it with a cork or a pourer.

A pretty bow around the bottle is all the gift-wrap you need. Most kitchen stores sell bottles of different shapes and sizes filled with all sorts of things, beans, peppers, herbs, pastas and oil that are strictly decorative for tables or countertops. You can quite easily make your own. A pretty gift bottle filled with colorful food items will add a decorative touch to their tables long after the holidays.

Has a friend or family member ever told you how much they love a particular recipe of yours? Find a nice basket, fill it with all the ingredients necessary to make the recipe, type the recipe out on a recipe card (they come plain and decorated), you can even find wire flower or butterfly shaped standing recipe card holders that you can add.

Or you can add candles and holders to use for a romantic dinner. You can layer mason jars with the dry ingredients for a favorite soup (the beans, rice, pasta, seasonings etc) everything except the meat and the water. Again, you type up the cooking instructions, tie the jar with a bow and you’re ready to go. A small square of gingham cloth placed on the jar opening before closing the lid adds a pretty touch

For an even more personal touch (makes a wonderful anniversary gift for a couple you care about) you can use your computer to make a gift certificate (or you can make it by hand) entitling the recipient of your gift to a meal cooked, served and cleaned up after, in their own home.

You go to their house with everything you need, cook the meal, serve it, clean up after yourself and leave while they enjoy a relaxing romantic dinner (or for someone you know well breakfast in bed served on trays complete with a rose in a bud vase and the morning paper).

If you don’t care for the do it yourself approach, there are websites where for around $100 you can have the fixings for a romantic steak and lobster dinner for two delivered and that includes the pot! Everyone loves gifts of food.

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Holiday Gifts | Crafts And Art Projects

Holiday Gifts | Crafts And Art Projects.

Craft gifts are available just about everywhere, from small craft shops to large malls, to state fair craft booths. You can buy them, you can make them yourself or you can give a craft kit and open up a whole new hobby for the people for whom you are buying.

There are specific “holiday” themed crafts such as wreaths for Christmas, straw scarecrows and corn husk wreaths for Thanksgiving or more general crafts like birdhouses and dollhouses complete with miniature everything, which can also make great holiday gifts.

Ceramics is a relaxing hobby that allows for great creativity and personalization. There is enough in the way of simple projects that even the beginner can put together a beautiful array of holiday gifts. You can start from scratch using poured pieces (green ware); cleaning, painting, firing, glazing and firing again or you can buy pieces that are already cleaned and fired (bisque) paint and glaze them.

There are an almost infinite number of different pieces to choose from. You can make statues, candy dishes, lamps or chess sets. You are really only limited by your imagination. Children love painting on bisque (much easier for a child to work with as it isn’t as easily broken as green ware) Check your local phone book for ceramic shops to find the ones that offer lessons and in no time you’ll be making gifts people will cherish.

You can find Santas and pumpkins, turkey platters and figurines of Uncle Sam. You can put together a base topped with several figurines and make it into a night-light or dresser lamp. In fact you can find something for just about any holiday as well as for other gifting like showers and birthdays or anniversaries.

If you don’t have time or the inclination to make your own there are ceramic pieces for sale in just about every store you go into. There are decorative plates and glasses, vases and jewelry boxes, dolls and figurines.

There are all kinds of sets of figurines; storybook characters, wild west towns, the entire cast of Star Wars characters, complete Christmas villages, entire renaissance worlds with castles, wizards, trolls, dragons, kings, queens, knights. The best part about some of these is that you can buy one piece for each holiday building the set slowly or buy it all at once.

Other great crafts for holiday gift giving are knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch and sewing. Scarves, sweaters, potholders, Afghans, dresses, shirts and the list goes on. Change the color and the design and you can have a gift for any holiday. When you knit, crochet, sew or cross-stitch a piece for someone you can personalize it in the colors and styles that you know suits them.

You can always hook a rug or pillow. There are complete kits that come with a preprinted canvas the hook and all the yarn you will need or you can buy a piece of canvas and draw your own design, buy a hook and your yarn and you’re good to go.

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Holiday Gifts Ideas | Books, Movies And Music

Holiday Gifts Ideas | Books, Movies And Music.

One thing you can be fairly certain of is that you can always find a gift of movies, music or a book for anyone on your holiday gift lists.

Movies are sold everywhere from Blockbuster Video Rental stores to Walgreen Drug Stores. You can find movies in convenience stores and grocery stores. Many of the larger retailers, like Wal Mart, have bins of “bargain” priced movies and if you don’t mind digging through them you can find some really good movies at rock bottom prices.

If you aren’t bothered by the words “previously viewed” you can get some current hits for $8.00 to $10.00. With a diligent search and good timing you can get some great new unopened movies off of ebay for a fraction of the cost in stores. It’s also a good source for movies that are out of print.

Not sure what kinds of movies they like? Perfect time for a gift card. You can get a gift card for purchase or for rental. A really nice basket to make contains a gift card for movie rental, a box of microwave popcorn and a few candy bars.

You can also purchase some great boxed gift sets. Many of these sets, like the Lethal Weapon series, are made up of the Directors Editions which contain a lot of extra scenes that were cut from the theater versions and an extra tape with interviews, bloopers and other interesting information. Have a John Wayne or Will Smith fan on your list? There are several different boxed sets combining each of their movies or put one together yourself.

Not sure about their favorite movie, but you know they are addicted to the television show Boston Legal? A large number of the television shows release entire seasons in a set format. Does your spouse love watching Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel? You will find many of their shows and specials can be found on tape or DVD. Whether you are looking for VHS tapes or DVD’s you’re sure to find the perfect gift.

The same can be said for gifts of music. There are music stores where the selection is enormous and like the movies you can find CD’s in just about any store you walk into. With an idea of the type of music or the favorite singers you’re looking for you can put together a really nice gift without a lot of effort.

There are an amazing number of bookstores out there, ranging from the small corner bookstores to the mega chains with a cafÈ and reading areas that contain comfortable arm chairs so you can sit back with your cup of coffee and enjoy a good book. You aren’t limited to hard or soft cover books.

There are also books on cassette tapes and books on CD’s. There are even e-books that can be downloaded onto their computer and read that way. Love stories, detective novels, horror novels, westerns, science fiction, biographies, cookbooks, instructional books, children’s books. Your bookstore can be your one stop holiday gift shop.

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Holiday Gift Subscriptions

Holiday Gift Subscriptions.

Holiday shopping can sometimes be a real headache. Some people are incredibly difficult to buy for. What do you get for the person who has everything? The person who doesn’t seem to want or need anything? Or maybe you are in a position, thanks to those wonderful Christmas grab bags, of having to buy a gift for someone you really don’t know all that well.

A magazine subscription provides for a gift that has a nice personal touch yet doesn’t require that you know anyone’s shirt size or favorite perfume and as an added bonus can run you as little as $10.00 for a full year. With a little general knowledge of the kinds of things they like you can give a gift that they can enjoy all year.

Do they enjoy cooking? There are dozens upon dozens of food and beverage magazines on the market running the gamut from backyard barbecue to gourmet dinners. Southern Living, Taste of Home, Light & Tasty, and Diabetic Cooking just to name a few. Appetizers to desserts, diet advice, helpful hints, step by step “how to’s”. As a nice little extra benefit, this is a gift that can get you invited to a lot of really good dinners!!

Do you have someone on your list that is forever clicking away on his or her camera? Outdoor Photographer, Popular Photography or Shutterbug among others will keep them up to date on the latest information on equipment and techniques for less than the cost of a couple good steaks.

For sports fans there are more magazines than you can imagine. Football, golf, hockey, racing, tennis, and soccer – you name the sport you’ll find dozens of magazines for the fan. Stats, biographies, interviews with players, owners, coaches and announcers, the rundown on everything that is important to the sport.

There aren’t too many people who haven’t heard of Sports Illustrated, BASS, American Rifleman or ESPN the Magazine, but there is also Shark Diver, Watercraft World and Triathelete. Many sports magazines like the NASCAR Scene also have online versions of the magazines that you can subscribe to once you have a subscription to the paper version.

Without searching too hard you can find magazines for wine lovers, motorcycle enthusiasts, crafters and people who love to travel. Avid campers? Backpacker, Camping Life and MotorHome will provide them with hours of reading pleasure. American Woodworker, Country Sampler and Dollhouse Miniature will keep your favorite crafters busy for hours on end, possibly netting you a few really nice home made gifts in return!

Boy’s Life, Seventeen and CosmoGirl! are just a few of the magazines available for the teens on your list. Baby Bug, Children’s Digest and Disney’s Princess will give parents of toddlers plenty of “read to me” material.

Magazines provide, information and entertainment on just about any topic you can think of. No matter what kind of person you have on your holiday gift list you will be able to find an appropriate gift in a magazine subscription.

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Holiday Gift Ideas That Are Perfect For Men

Holiday Gift Ideas That Are Perfect For Men.

Although they hate to admit it, when it comes to men, they are like wolves in their own little packs, searching for their next prey. Men act in ways contrary to women, often seeming to approve of disgusting behavior and desires.

The more a woman tries to understand a man, then more confused she becomes about the way he acts and thinks. It is no wonder why women have such a tough time figuring out what to buy their male counterparts, whether it be a lover and mate, a husband, a father or a superior. This article should prove helpful with getting our female creative juices flowing.

Let us first begin with the hot stud we either have had our eye on for some time, or even have had the luck to date and enjoy being with. Holiday gift ideas that work well for him would be anything sports or electronic related. If the guy loves to watch sports, a wall mural or posters of his favorite teams or players would definitely send a good message.

If our guy is into physical activities, buying some of his gear such as snowboards, skateboards, footballs, etc are also a great gift idea. However, for the tech-head guy, stickers for his laptop or game console can excite them – or even a new mp3 player for them to play around with and show off to their guy pals.

However, our guys do grow up (even if just a little) and we get married. Holiday gift ideas for husbands and fathers of our children deserve something special as well. One idea would be to get him a beer gift basket that contains bears from all around the world.

He gets to relax and unwind, tasting a new flavor he would otherwise never get before, and you get to feel wonderful as the giver. Yet, some guys like only one kind of beer – so a great compliment to this would be personalized beer mugs. Just think of his guy friends seeing this great gift – he won’t stop talking about it and who gave this gift to him.

Of course, dads and fathers also deserve a wonderful holiday gift idea as well. Fathers have been there to encourage you to grow and helped make you into the fine woman you are now. Us women should never forget this fact, and need to show our gratitude for all they have done.

Oftentimes our fathers love to fish and hunt now that they have more time with us out of the house. So, why not give a gift from within this category? Try for instance a set of binoculars that has a digital camera built right in. Or how about a fishing rod attachment that uses sonar to find where the fish are? Technology has truly come a far way in regards to our dads.

This leads us to our grandfathers, or even how our fathers are becoming granddads soon. Grandfathers are a special breed of men who have made it far in their own lives, and deserve recognition of their status as a grandpa.

Some holiday gift ideas for these fine gentlemen would include movie collections based on the would wars, or even a collection of John Wayne films. Yet another idea would be grill set with tools and marinades for his meats, as well as a matching apron that has the grand-children’s faces on it so that grandpa may show off his pride and joy.

Finally, we lead to our male co-workers and those in authority over us. Although not as close as family, these men do spend quite a lot of time with us during our lives, and showing respect for their positions and contributions is always a wise choice.

Holiday gift ideas for these gentlemen would include personalized business-card holders, a monogrammed travel bag, or even a fine watch (the guys version of high-class jewelry). These men will thank you for your thoughtful gift, and will not soon forget you.

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5 Tips To Start Selling Your Self-Published Book Successfully And Quickly

5 Tips To Start Selling Your Self-Published Book Successfully And Quickly.


You have spent hours researching, writing and self-publishing your book. Now, you want to reap the benefits of selling it yourself, but where do you begin? Here are five simple tips to help you get started.

  1. Figure out your market.

Bookstores are lousy places to sell books, says self-publishing guru Dan Poynter in USA Weekend . Find the places where your audience gathers and sell directly to them. If your book is about cats, go to pet stores.

To start selling your book, take the time to research your target audience. Who will be interested in purchasing your book and sharing it with their friends?

Once you know your target market, look at the places they shop and spend their leisure time. What media venues do they watch, read and listen to on a regular basis?

Create a list of all potential organizations, business and groups. This will give you a good understanding of the online sites and brick-and-mortar locations where you need to focus your marketing efforts.

  1. Spread the word.

When you are ready to start selling, donít be shy. Talk about your book, carry a copy around with you and look for every opportunity to mention it. Also be ready to give copies away to influential people who will build buzz about your business.

If you are a good speaker, try to give presentations to groups catering to your target audience. You can partner with various organizations to promote your appearance and build word-of-mouth. This may include issuing a press release, giving books away during radio or television interviews or getting involved with charitable activities.

Speaking to local, target audiences is a great way to start building buzz about your products and services, says Melanie Rembrandt, small business PR expert and owner of Rembrandt Communications.

But in order to build credibility, you need to offer valuable information pertinent to your book is subject without being sales-oriented. You can always have a book-signing after your presentation to sell your books and meet potential customers.

Another trick is to leave a copy of your book at your local bookstore or library. If visitors pick up the book and read it, they will ask for a copy of it. Then, the person at the counter may contact you to purchase additional copies.

  1. Venture outside your target market.

After you have pursued all venues focusing on your specific audience, start marketing your book to other groups outside your target market.

Look for secondary sources that may be interested in purchasing your book as a gift for a friend, co-worker or family member. Perhaps you can partner with a business, charitable organization or hobby-group related to your book-topic?

Think ìoutside of the boxî and try to let as many people know about your book as possible. You can issue a press release, offer special discounts and create newsworthy events to draw attention to your book. And these activities donít need to cost a lot of money. You just need to think of some ways to stress the unique benefits of your book and take the extra time and effort to plan, coordinate and follow-through with your ideas.

  1. Take advantage of business relationships.

If you used an online publisher in developing your book, advertise on their site. If you used a local printer, ask if you can leave a couple copies at their front desk.

Visit all of your local establishments and leave some kind of information about your book. If you are a regular customer, most of these businesses will be happy to help you and the local economy.

And when preparing these leave-behinds, I think about the benefits for the business and customers. Perhaps you can print up small calendars, checklists, quick tips, bookmarks and other items that advertise your book while offering something of value to potential readers.

You may even be able to partner with various businesses to offer special joint coupons and discounts. Use your imagination, but always keep the benefits for the customer in mind.

  1. List your book online.

This may be obvious, but you really need to list your book online to reach the broadest possible market and increase buzz. Review your target audience and try to get information about your book posted on all of the pertinent sites they visit.

Also create a simple website. And don’t worry. Today, there are many services that offer cost-effective or free websites to self-published authors. You don’t need to be a technical genius or have a lot of money to take advantage of these services and create an online presence.

However, in your online copy, be sure to stress the unique benefits of your book and provide customer testimonials (for credibility). Also include some information about your background to help you stand apart from others in your genre.

Once your site is up and running, research free, press-release posting sites. Also look for online organizations that may be willing to post reciprocal links to your site to help build search-engine optimization.

These are just a few, simple tips. There are many ways to sell your self-published books. But you can start by focusing on your target audience, work the business relationships you already have and be creative. And soon, youíll be well on your way to being a top-selling author!

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Organize And Plan | Balancing Your Writing Career With Your Life

Organize And Plan | Balancing Your Writing Career With Your Life.


Writing is a solitary task.
Writing needs concentration and quiet.
Writing requires absolute commitment.

Are all there scary statements true?
What is more, is it possible to balance your writing career and family without turning yourself into a zombie?

Everything is feasible; I am the living example of it.

There is only one secret: TIME PLAN.
This is step one for the aspiring writer’s success. Without it, nothing can be achieved. How can you do it?

Simply make a rough plan of the time allowed to your writing project every day. It is highly important for the writer to know exactly WHEN he /she is going to settle down and write, feeling free of all the other responsibilities that he has.

I have made a simple schedule. You can work out yours according to your family needs.
Every morning just after breakfast, and as soon as the family have gone, I allow myself to work on my PC for one to two hours, depending on the workload of the day.

Then I go on with the house chores and all the rest of the family tasks till noon. At 2 o’ clock everybody is back so I serve lunch, but after that I have 2-3 hours free to work on my morning assignment. Thus, there is plenty of time to care for the family , while in the afternoons I still have time to go to my part time job in time , feeling satisfied I have worked at home on my project.

In the evening I sometimes find an hour or so , when the family watch TV . This time I sit with them in the living room , having pre arranged to do the easiest tasks for my writing job, such as note taking or layout planning of new stories or articles. I use pen to paper and I don’t bother if I make mistakes. Next morning, there is plenty of time to revise them and complete them.

If this plan has been working perfectly for me, why not for you as well?
You only have to calculate when and how long you need to write every day. Of course , you must stick to your plan and never give it up , apart from very urgent cases. Remember that your work is also urgent, so never skip it.

If you respect your writing job, the others will do so too. What is more, they won’t feel neglected as you will give them your care and attention at the time they are around. Furthermore, your house chores will be done in time and you won’t feel overworked.

Many a times I used to end up with half burned meals and I felt extremely stressed trying to catch up with all the house chores before the family was back home. So, telling yourself ëIíll do it laterí, itís not the solution. ëLaterí will come in no time and you will find yourself in a very difficult situation.

Yet, no one will believe your excuses as you have been in the house the whole morning , and you will feel inefficient for no reason at all! “A little every day” is my motto, and, in the long run, everything is done and everybody is happy. Keeping your writing and family under control will make you feel satisfied and everyone, including you, will be happy.

Also, keep in mind that there is nothing odd if you work in unconventional places.
I sometimes find it stimulating to work in the living room with all the family around. Noise does not bother me, on the contrary, it brings me more ideas.

This article was outlined last evening while we were all watching a football match. Well, the truth is I did not watch much of it! I was absorbed in my new article, but that’s how this idea sprang out. I can perfectly work in a chatty setting. Have you tried it? You may come up with fresh ideas and great articles.

Finally, who says that writing can turn you into a zombie? Shatter the myth! It’s up to you to enjoy both your family and your writing career. Simply make a time plan!

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Holiday Gift Ideas | For Less Than Twenty-Five Dollars

Holiday Gift Ideas | For Less Than Twenty-Five Dollars.

In our fast-paced world full of high-speed everything, one thing that seems to be a prevailing factor in our lives is how so many things require so much of our well-earned money. From paying for the necessities, such as rent or mortgage, car payment, insurance, utility bills, as well as food and clothing, most of our checks seem to fly out the door.

Then there are entertainment expenses as well, including cable or satellite TV and even our Internet access. So when it’s time to figure out what holiday gift ideas we are going to give out this year, the decision becomes harder and harder on what makes a good gift to give.

In the past it was not uncommon for someone to receive expensive jewelry, watches, handmade clocks and other such prestigious items. Unfortunately for most of us, those days are gone, but we still want our holiday gift idea to make the person feel like a million dollars. The question thus becomes how to achieve this seemingly impossible feat.

Holiday gift ideas that cost under twenty-five dollars have the unfortunate stigma that they are somehow cheap and gaudy, not at all what someone should be giving away for the special occasion. This could not be any more untrue.

The fact of the matter is that being frugal in this day and age often times makes sure that most, if not all, of those on your gifting list actually receive something that they can cherish and enjoy from you. And truth be told the price oftentimes does not equal the true value of the heartfelt gift.

Take for instance most books. To the wise shopper, many of the popular titles, including even the new Harry Potter novel, can be purchased for less than $25. And for those who would rather listen to the book than actually read it, there are still bargains to be had. Literature in all its forms are wonderful holiday gift ideas, for even in fiction there are lessons to be learned and fantastical lands to escape into.

Another popular inexpensive gift to give is music and video. CD’s are still a popular holiday gift idea, but is more and more going into gift cards for iTunes and Rhapsody services. On the other spectrum is DVD’s and the movies, television programs and other such videos that the smart shopper can find still under the $25 range. For the adventurous shopper, with careful inspection and research they may even find DVD, CD and MP3 players for under this range as well, which many would be blessed to own.

Of course as a last resort for a good holiday gift idea, anywhere from five to twenty-five dollars in a gift card (or even a combination of gift cards) will always work. When your recipient gets the card, they will feel grateful for the thought you put into it because it shows them how much you care.

How does it do this? Quite simple actually: You show that you have listened to their wants and that you have gotten to know their desires over the time spent together, and thus you buy the cards for their favorite places. What’s not to love with this holiday gift idea?

So there you have three wonderful holiday gift ideas, all under twenty-five bucks. Just remember that if you use your imagination, you will find there is so much more opportunity with this seemingly small amount if you but just look for it! Happy bargain hunting and may your gifts be received with gratitude and love!

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Holiday Gift Ideas | For Those Less Fortunate Especially During The Covid Pandemic

Holiday Gift Ideas | For Those Less Fortunate Especially During The Covid Pandemic.

The holidays are a time to meet up with those you love and to celebrate your precious time together on the planet earth. All of us enjoy getting together with those we enjoy spending time with, and we appreciate the limited time we get to do so. However there is a sad side to our celebrating that many have no idea how to help with.

Every year there are those less fortunate souls who cannot afford to celebrate with their loved one’s. Many of these people don’t even have any loved ones left to visit, and thus they roam the streets alone. So many of us would like to show compassion and kindness to these people, but where do we even begin? How on earth can we make a difference in these people’s lives?

One of the greatest holiday gift idea we can give this holiday season that lasts much more than any game console or new exciting technological gadget is giving of our time. Volunteering at a local church, mission or food bank is a most rewarding experience, and I highly recommend it to all who read this. Watching these lonely, almost lifeless people light up with hope and joy, just because someone who cares and loves them has come into their life, is something amazing to behold.

Serving food and drink to these less fortunate souls is also an amazing holiday gift idea. This can be done at a soup kitchen, but if one does not exist in your city or town, then an alternative would be to make up some simple paper-sack lunches with a juice box, piece of fruit, and a simple sandwich inside.

If you are a believer, you could also include a scripture of how God love’s them, even in their time of need. Try this method and watch how blessed you feel when you know you have helped someone out who desperately needed it.

If giving of your time this way is not possible, another holiday gift idea would be to use your talents to create a gift. Making simple scarves and hats are easy patterns to master, whether you knit or crochet with yarn, or even sew with fleece.

Another needed item are blankets – you can find several non-profit organizations who will take donations of knit or crochet squares, or even finished quilt blocks, and then their volunteers sew the blocks together to make completed blankets. These blankets are so very needed for these unfortunate people, and your work will be greatly appreciated.

Another item you can make as a holiday gift idea to give away is stuffed animals. Unfortunately there resides several homeless children in this world, barely getting by while surviving with their parents on the streets and off of the trash scraps they find to eat that night.

Many of these children are desperate for a compassionate person, and the volunteers who give these handmade teddy-bears will tell you how a child’s eyes open up with renewed hope and life.

Finally, if you are not a talented creator, nor can you give of your time freely, consider helping other organizations such as Christmas Unlimited or Toys for Tots with your money or donated toys and clothing so that the parents who cannot afford to give their children gifts this Christmas will still have a miracle occur and Christmas be saved for their precious children. This can be an ultimate holiday gift idea – I should know. I was once one of these very children!

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Holiday Gift Ideas For That Special Lady

Holiday Gift Ideas For That Special Lady.

Whenever a woman is out with her girlfriends, they love to chat about any and all things going on in their lives. They go to the bathroom together to hold secret meetings about their boyfriends and to gossip about one another. And of course, women love to shop together. Unfortunately for men, this makes buying gifts for a special lady, whether it be someone we are interested in, someone we are dating, someone we are married to, or even our mother, grandmother, or boss – women confuse us when it comes to the right gift. This article should help alleviate this dilemma.

To start, guys who are interested in a lovely woman, or involved with one, here are some great holiday gift ideas for them. All woman love to be pampered, so why not indulge their needs? One of the ways to do this is by giving a hand and/or feet pampering kit. These kits typically contain lotions and other tools to make a woman feel pretty and loved by you. Of course, the next step from this would be a spa treatment for two – you and her!

The spa treatment is also good for those of us who are married to our fine wives. But it is not the only holiday gift idea that you can give your wife. Many of us have children, and any husband should be able to agree that what our wives go through in child birth and raising our children is not a simple task to say the least. So why not show how very proud of them we are by giving them jewelry that they can wear proudly as the mother of our children.

One such item would be the birthstone pendant or necklace, where the birthstones of the children, the mother and yourself are arranged beautifully. Of course, if you want it even more personal, having the names inscribed on a silver bracelet is another option. The most personal item would be the photo-bracelet where instead of having the pictures of her children in her purse or wallet, they are proudly displayed upon her wrist.

This wrist photo-bracelet would also be great to give your mother with all of her grandchildren inside. Unique holiday gift ideas abound once you see the potential. Mom’s will also appreciate items that they can show off while entertaining guests, while also helping the grandkids feel special when visiting their grandmother. Such items include personal photographic wall calendars, photos on pillows and even a photo montage collection.

These photo holiday gift ideas also travel over to grandma and all she has done as well. Grandmothers, and especially great-grandmothers are to be cherished for the short time they will be on this earth. Most of us have fond memories of our grandmother’s in the kitchen making a fine meal, or even more so working on a knitting or crochet project for a grandchild.

Why not show how appreciated she is, as well as her handmade gifts, by getting her a kitchen organizer or a personalized craft bag to hold all of her things so that she doesn’t have to look all over the house for what she needs when working on her current projects?

Finally, we come to those special women who are in charge of us: our boss (and even some of our co-workers). A business organizer bag would be an awesome holiday gift idea to give to them. However, an alternative to this would be a fanciful coffee or tea collection kit. This could be something simple such as a few boxes of their favorite flavors tied with a ribbon, all the way to an exotic mix of flavors from all around the world.

Whoever the lucky woman is, using these holiday gift ideas from this article is sure to make you popular with the special lady in your life. Just remember to have fun and always remain thoughtful!

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Gift Giving Superstitions and Legends

Gift Giving Superstitions and Legends.

Superstitions:

There are a lot of superstitions and legends involving the giving and receiving of gifts. For instance it was at one time considered bad luck to give a pair of scissors or a knife as a gift because it was feared that the act would “cut” the friendship in half. Therefore knives were never given as wedding gifts as it was believed they would lead to a broken marriage.

Also never give anyone a pair of shoes as a Christmas gift because they would make the person you give them to walk away from you. When you give someone a gift of a wallet or purse be sure to put some money into it, even if only a coin, to ward off bad luck. At one time bakers would throw in an extra roll when you bought a dozen as a “gift” in case any of the other rolls were too small. This “gift” became known as the baker’s dozen.

Urban legends:

Legends are told as having happened long, long ago whereas urban legends are set in contemporary times and told as having happened to people known either personally to the teller or to someone known by a person the teller knows. The places and names change as they are updated to fit current times and all carry a warning or lesson of some sort. There may even be some truth to the story although the people and places have been changed so many times that it becomes hard to determine what the truth actually was.

One such tale recounts a king’s offer of a gift to a famous golfer (sometimes the golfer is named other times he is just “a famous golfer”) who after first declining the gift asks for a golf club only to find to his amazement that the king has bought him an entire golf course.

In several different legends, although the people and circumstances change the story and its warning are the same. A son (nephew, daughter, niece…) is expecting a very expensive gift (car, house, inheritance…) from his father (uncle, aunt…) but receives a bible. In a fit of anger he throws the bible at the giver and leaves not returning until the givers death when he notices the bible from so long ago, opens it and finds the (key to the car, check to the car dealer, will leaving him everything etc.).

Then there are the one-up-manship legends. Two or more siblings vie to get the best gift for their mother (houses, cars, jewels) with one going to great expense to get a bird (myna, parrot…) that has been specially trained (to read the bible, sing opera, speak Italian…). The mother politely thanks all (while letting them know their gift wasn’t very practical) then speaks proudly of the child who had the sense to bring her the delicious chicken.

There is also a true story of two brothers who re-gifted the same pair of pants back and forth wrapped in very creative ways, from rolling them into a 3′ long 1″ wide pipe to stuffing them into the glove compartment of a car that they then had crushed and delivered in time for Christmas. The pants went back and forth for 25 years before they finally fell apart.

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