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How to Cover Up Ugly Formica Counter Tops in Your Apartment

One of the drawbacks of renting a house or an apartment is that a tenant often has little choice in the choice of carpet, paint, and Formica counter tops. While carpet can be hidden beneath rugs and the walls can be decorated with posters, a person is usually stuck with the counter top found in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Fortunately for those of us who rent, covering up a Formica counter top is not impossible project and can be done in a way that is totally reversible when the lease is up. If you can’t stand the looks of the counter top in your kitchen a day longer, then one of these easy makeovers may work for you. If you browse the best rated investment properties in Singapore, you will come across some of the best listings 

Contact paper

Contact paper is a special kind of paper with a self adhesive backing, and is a fantastic low cost way of giving an ugly Formica counter top a whole new look. These days, contact paper is usually called “self adhesive shelf liner” and is available in limited patterns at most discount department stores.

How contact paper works is that you cut the paper to the proper size, peel away the paper backing that covers the adhesive, and then stick the paper directly onto the Formica counter top. It you created a little wrinkle or are slightly off, the paper can be lifted and repositioned. What’s nice about using decorative contact paper is that most of it is washable, which makes it a great solution for kitchen counter tops. It is also is very easy to remove.

Shelf paper is priced between $6-10 a roll and comes in 18″ and 24″ inch widths. While the width isn’t enough to span the width of your counter top, it can be pieced together so that the seams aren’t very noticeable.

Aubuchon Hardware has one of the best lines of contact paper I’ve seen, with over 80 patterns in stock including some fantastic textured prints, plaids, and bold patterns. Amazon.com also carries a fine selection of contact paper by Decora, including a faux marble print that looks quite elegant.

Self adhesive “peel and stick” vinyl wall paper

Designyourwall.com carries an incredible line of contact paper that’s marketed as self adhesive vinyl wall paper. The patterns are as pretty as decorative wallpapers and are grouped by themes including metallic, solids, mattes, tile, wood grain, and decorative. Designyourwall.com even carries faux snake skin and red crocodile adhesive wallpapers for the more adventurous.

These self adhesive wall papers are easier to work with than contact paper because they don’t stick to each other. Most of the wall coverings offered by this company measures 18″ in width, and comes in 49 foot rolls which is enough to do both a kitchen and the bathrooms. These peel and stick wallpapers average around $65 a roll and are also washable, making them a terrific solution for covering up an ugly kitchen or bathroom counter.

Goji Berries Stay On Forefront Of Nutritional Scene

In the recent trend for health and especially preventative nutrition, many “exotic” fruits and foods have been discovered, tested and implemented for their nutritional benefits. Because supplements that provide huge amounts of antioxidants have not been around long enough to be tested and proven for their effects, scientists and doctors recommend eating foods that naturally contain antioxidants even more than they recommend any particular health supplement.

One of these recently rediscovered and popularized food items is the goji (pronounced “go-gee”) berry, a delicate red berry that has traditionally been grown in the Himalayan Valley of China, Mongolia and Tibet, and in the Chinese provinces of Xingjiang and Ningzia.

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, have long been used in Eastern traditional medicine to cure a variety of illnesses. Also, with their sweet flavor that many say tastes like a cross between a cranberry and a rasberry, the goji berry has also been used in Asia for centuries as a garnish or main ingredient in a recipe. Another common traditional use of the goji berry is juice, which can also be combined with tea to make a type of tonic.

The goji berry bushes grow several meters tall, and the delicate berries grow all along the stems. To harvest the fruit, the vines are gently shaken and the berries fall off. Often the vines are set out to dry in the sun so that the fruit gets slightly dry and chewy.

In the West, use of the goji berry as a nutritional supplement has blossomed in recent months and years. Goji berries are sold in capsule, dried and juiced form, as well as in various extracts, berry crunch bars, and cereals.

So what are the particular health benefits of this tasty and healthful berry? Many claims are made of the effects–those who sell goji berry products say that they preserve youth, increase sex drive, prevent or cure cancer…But of course not all these claims can be easily backed up, much less proved. But there are definite antioxidant and other healthful properties of the goji berry. You want to find out what those are? See this here. This website will provide you with the right information and facts that you need about nutrition.

For one thing, goji berries are extremely high in Vitamins. They have more beta carotene than carrots, more iron than a steak, more Vitamin C than oranges and grapefruit. They also are a great source of the B Vitamins, and are rich in potassium, 18 types of amino acids and polysaccharides, which help the immune system. The “cancer-fighting power” of goji berries is one of the greatest claims made of them by those that sell the berries. This is due to the berries’ high antioxidant content. And indeed, the berries have very high levels of antioxidants: more than five times higher than other high-antioxidant foods likes prunes, raisins, blueberries and kale.

Goji berries shouldn’t be seen as a cure-all, but along with other foods, especially fruits and vegetables, they can be a great part of a healthy diet and nutrition-conscious lifestyle.

Social Media in the Business Environment

Social media is the use of online communication tools. Through the Internet, social media is a tool that allows businesses to create personal space. Social media allows a business to have a presence online, form a connection to an online community, communicate on certain topics, voice their opinions with people who have common interests. Businesses can create information about their products or services through social media without spending a lot of money.

Social media uses Web 2.0 technologies that allow businesses to communicate in real-time. Businesses will be able to post and receive messages within minutes. Social media can be in the form of a wiki page, Facebook page, Twitter or LinkedIn account.

Advertising

Social media allows a business to advertise their product or service for the entire Internet community to see. Social media helps businesses reach many people in the online community. Based on how the businesses advertise themselves people will be able to view their social website on the local, state or international level. Businesses can use social media to let visitors know their website exist online and how their company function.

At a small price, businesses can use social media to promote their company. When businesses are involved in social media they are creating a façade of their product or service for the Internet community. Businesses are displaying their merchandise, promoting and displaying their product. Moreover, there are businesses that are interested in getting Instagram followers free in order to improve their reach and credibility of their brand. Making this an effective marketing strategy. 

Consumer Connection

Social media allows businesses to connect to a broader audience in terms of how they market their product or service. Businesses can use social media to form partnerships with other businesses. Businesses will be able to place ads through websites that have common interests and send out instant messages about their product or service online to persuade customers to visit their website.

Businesses can create surveys and opinion polls, then display the data on their social media website. Pepsi has begun offering grants to individuals and organizations through its Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi lists the grants and asks people to vote. People can vote on a grant idea by signing into Face book or Yahoo. Based on the people’s vote Pepsi will donate money to these individuals or organizations.

Since social media is in real-time and information can be retrieved within minutes businesses can see how well they are meeting customer needs. Customers can use social media to communicate directly with the business to express their concerns and make suggestions. Allstate insurance has a twitter account where customers are able to post messages about the company. Based on customer feedback Allstate insurance can change company policies or make adjustments to help meet customer needs.

Benefits

Businesses can benefit from social media by being in touch with their customers on a daily basis to know how their product or service is doing in the market. Businesses will be able to make changes based on customer feedback. Businesses will also bear witness to how competitors are doing online with their social media outlets.

11 Tips For Promoting Android Game Like a Boss

Are you looking forward to launch your Android game soon? Hey, that’s great! But, as we all know scores of Android game developers are launching their games almost every day and the competition is actually tough. To ensure your app gets its desired limelight and exposure and downloads, you have to have a solid marketing plan today. If it’s your first app, then you must be having a hard time figuring out the best possible promotional app for your app. Don’t worry, that’s normal. Much to your convenience, the post below offers a brief on the pro marketing tips to follow while promoting your latest Android app.

Get landing page

Although it’s not suggested always, yet a professional landing page is great to spread the word about your app. The app will definitely be featured o app store but every other app is there. You have to get some extra real estate space for your app to create more channels for exposure. A customized landing page is one of the first things that you would need here. But having the landing page isn’t enough. You need to be careful of the branding part as well. There will be textual contents as well as videos on how the app functions. Then, you must also add screenshots on the unique selling points and the major features of your app. Make sure the landing page design and aura are in tune with the specific vibes of your app.

The landing page would not only help to gain exposure for your app but would also spread the word for your brand or company as a whole. As an app developer, you are surely going to develop many more apps in near future. If you can gain footage for your brand with the first app, it will be handy for easy popularity of your future apps as well.

Catchy icon and slogan

What’s the first thing that your potential users will see about your app? The  icon or logo and also the slogan. So, if you don’t come up with a cool icon and slogan, you won’t be able to attract users. No matter how great the app features are, if the icon isn’t hooking enough, people are going to look past it. It’s because, your potential users are not being able to know about the stunning features of the app at a first glance. They only find the icon or slogan and hence you have to make sure they are attractive enough.

Count on social media and online forums

The social media sites and online forums draw enormous traffic in the contemporary digital world when people are taking up their almost every discussion online. Thus, if you can promote your app on these portals, you can be guaranteed of solid exposure for your app.

Launch in several stores

Yes, you will definitely launch the  Android app on Google Play Store. But, that’s not the only portal to launch an app and secure mass downloads. There are many other online stores where you can launch your app to gain a larger exposure for the application.

Plan a PC version

There are hundreds on Android mobile apps today that allow PC playing for players. For example, you have The Blockheads or Offroad Outlaws PC. If you restrict your app solely to mobile users, you will be limiting its level of exposure and user base. There are a lot of passionate gamers today who love to play on PC. Besides, you aren’t always extremely relaxed on road to play games on-the-go. Thus, PC game playing is still popular today. If you offer your app for PC gaming too, you will be able to reach out to a broader section of players which will do wonders to pique the popularity quotient of your app.

Offer a free version

Humans are naturally drawn to freebies. Nobody wants to waste hard-earned money on something which one hasn’t tested yet. But, if you offer a free version of the app, your potential users might be interested to check it out. After all, a free app means they have nothing to lose here. You can offer free access to the app to draw crowd for the initial days. Then, you can return to paid version when your app has already gathered sizeable exposure and popularity.

Otherwise, you can have two versions in your app- free and paid. The free version will provide basic features while the paid one will offer more advanced features. While you will advertise the app, stress more on the “free” part.

Approach influencers

Influencers are the leading figures from your industry with a large band of followers. If you can approach influencers and they agree to speak about your app on their profile- your app will get exposure to his huge band of followers. The biggest influencers charge real high- if you are on budget look medium influencers. They too have a sizeable number of followers.

Go for reviews

One of the first things that a potential user will check while contemplating about downloading a new app is “review”. But it’s hard to get multiple reviews organically on a new app organically. But don’t worry, there are review sites which are ready to help with paid reviews. Find a one that caters to Android market and is followed by a large number of visitors.

PR marketing could be helpful

Press Releases are one of the most effective forms of marketing a product online, including an app. There are dedicated PR sites that help to market and promote new launches. You can get a PR written by a professional writer and get it published in a leading PR site.

Count on YouTube promotion

Visual content works faster than textual contents anyday. Thus, you should create video contents for your app and publish them on YouTube with proper video description in text. You should further publish that link on your social media page or forum section or PR article or anywhere you mention the app.

Go for crowdfunding campaign

You can also put up your app on a crowdfunding platform. Write an attractive pitch and highlight the coolest features and the uniqueness of your app. Crowdfunding platforms not only help big time in raising funds for a listed product. These portals are followed by people all over the world which ensures huge exposure for your app as well.

Final words

You might be tempted to release an almost-done version of your app to create the hype. Well, don’t do that as that’s not handy for the approval of your app in the mass market. The bottomline is never submit an incomplete application as it could be misleading for the aspiring users. In fact, the incomplete application might even reduce user ratings and destroy chances of positive publicity for the app. It’s to stress here, Google Play’s algorithms will rank an app higher provided it gets great ratings from users in its initial stages. But, if you submit an incomplete app and if it draws users’ wrath, it will blow up the download count of the app big time.

How to Become a Kansas Plumber

Kansas does not have a state plumbers license. Rather, each city or county in Kansas has the authority to set up its own requirements for the licensing of plumbers and plumbing contractors. Because it is not feasible to check the requirements of every single city in Kansas, the best thing to do is get a general sense of local Kansas plumber requirements. An aspiring plumbing expert can then map out a plan to become a professional plumber in the state of Kansas.

Step 1:

Check the requirements for plumber licensing and registration in the cities and counties where you anticipate doing work as a plumber. Although you will not necessarily be able to predict your own future, you at least will have some sense of what you will need to do to become an independent plumber or plumbing contractor in Kansas.

To check local requirements, look for the city or county building department. This office will go by different names but is generally the office that provides construction permits.

Step 2:

Engage in various activities that will improve your chances of getting a license in various Kansas locations. Such activities include various educational classes, apprenticeship programs and the like. In many states, the key way to get a license is to attend an apprenticeship program and to work under the supervision of a licensed plumber.

Of course, any courses in plumbing or related subjects in college or technical school can give you a leg up in reaching your goal of being a plumber in Kansas. You can also rely on some information that you can find online. There are reliable websites that you can go to for more ideas about the service. One of these websites is https://www.advanceddrainsandplumbingrepairs.com/.

You can ask local plumbers how they got their training as a plumbing profesional. An apprenticeship program may even exist in your area. Even if it doesn’t, it is common to get employed by a plumber to get hands-on training. It’s just that it would be helpful to take some classes first to improve your chances of getting hired by a Kansas plumber or plumbing contracting company.

Another thing that can be very beneficial is to find the right study resources. Many Kansas local building departments may require you to pass a plumbers exam. For example, many cities require you to pass a plumbing exam from the International Code Council or some other organization before getting a local Kansas plumbers license. Ask local plumbers about study resources, and always ask the exam administrator about exams references if local Kansas areas where you want to work as a plumber require a test.

Step 3:

In addition to education, experience and testing, it is important to keep in mind that you will be running a serious business with financial management involved if you become an independent plumber. This means you need a good financial record so you can get liability insurance and other similar requirements. Some Kansas cities or counties might also require you to post a contractors surety bond. This is not so much a step as it is a lifestyle. Keep your nose clean from financial and legal troubles because you are going to need credibility and may even have to pass a background check to get a license as a plumber in Kansas.

Understanding Wastewater Treatment

So you flush the toilet and that’s that, right? Not quite. For those who are connected to a public wastewater system, the following article will describe the process that wastewater undergoes.

Up first is the collection system itself. To carry away the wastewater, a conduit is needed. The wastewater is conveyed to the treatment plant by a gravity main and/or a pumping station. A typical pumping station basically has a dry well (for the pumps) as well as a wet well to collect the wastewater. As the wet well fills, floats and switches activate the pumps and conveys the wastewater to the treatment works.

At the entrance (inlet) of a typical treatment plant, a bar screen is employed to remove large debris (rags, wood etc.) and a grit chamber slows the flow rate down to approximately 2 feet per second so particles like egg shells can be removed. You don’t want that kind of stuff in the pumps. Other grit removal machines employ centrifugal force.

At the primary treatment stage, large settling tanks are constructed and sized so as to allow the solids to settle out as a sludge at the bottom of the tanks where it is removed for either further treatment or complete removal and disposal. The average settling time in these tanks is two hours. Approximately 20% of the suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is removed in this phase of treatment. The definition of “BOD” is as follows: The amount of oxygen required to stabilize organic matter at 68 degrees fahrenheit in 5 days. It is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/l) or parts per million (ppm).

In the next stage, two of the most popular secondary treatment methods used are trickling filters and activated sludge systems. In the trickling filter method, the effluent from the primary settling tanks is distributed over a bed of certain medium by moving pipe laterals in a circular motion continuosly from a central hub. Microbial action treats the wastewater as it contacts the medium downwards. In the activated sludge system, the primary tank effluent flows into large aeration basins or tanks and mixes with the bio-mass (called mixed liquor) that is already present. A simple way to describe this process is as follows: Under excess aeration, the solubilized organics are metabolized into carbon dioxide, water and new bacterial cells. Elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus are altered during this treatment phase. Nitrification takes place in the warmer temperatures. A certain amount of this bio-mass is returned back into the basins to keep the microbial population healthy. Some of the bio-mass is removed (wasted) from the basins periodically to maintain the same aforementioned balance. Approximately 80% of the suspended solids and “BOD” are removed in this phase of treatment.

Using water softeners both for commercial and industrial can be quite expensive. Hence, it is advisable to always look for the best commercial water softeners at a discount price.

If there is no tertiary treatment required by the regulatory agency, the effluent from the secondary system enters the disinfection phase before it is discharged into the receiving stream or deep-well injection. Some plants employ chlorination; some use ultraviolet bulb systems. Nowadays, dechlorination is employed after chlorination because chlorine can harm fish. Some very small treatment systems use sand filters for their tertiary treatment, thereby producing a very high quality effluent, especially for a smaller sized receiving stream.

The subjects of odor control, proficient operations and cost-effectiveness cannot be discussed here in this limited article. As far as this writer is aware, pharmaceuticals and some chemicals may not be removed from the treatment plant. It is very important to remember that no one should flush any pharmaceuticals down the toilet. As far as the commercial users of wastewater systems, it is of paramount concern and consequence that no illegal dumping of chemicals ever takes place, ever.

Author’s note: This writer is a former licensed wastewater treatment operator having commenced with an apprenticeship in the United States Air Force.

Risks And Benefits Of Cbd Oil Or Canabidol

There is wide variety of health benefits that CBD oil can deliver to our health. Some of those are the following

Drug withdrawals and quitting smoking

Over  the years, there are promising evidences that suggest CBD as an effective substance to help people quit smoking and drug. There was a published review in Neurotherapeutics claiming that CBD can be very helpful in providing treatment to people with addiction disorders with opiod.

Epilepsy

CBD oil is also believed to be an effective treatment for epilepsy. In fact, CBD (Epidiolex) has been approved by FDA as a therapy for two rare conditions of epileptic seizures in 2018. In America, CBD (Epidiolex) can be prescribed as a medication for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These types of seizures are considered to be challenging to control with other types of medication. Only CBD has the ability to treat these seizures.

Cancer

Another health benefit of CBD oil is its ability to fight cancer. According to the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, there is a found evidence that the spread of cancer can be prevented significantly using CBD. The compound of CBD has the ability to suppress and destruct cancer cells growth.

Anxiety Disorders

CBD can also be used as a treatment for mental health diseases like anxiety and depression, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. There are characteristics of CBD products like cbd capusles uk that can fight depression and other mental problems.

Just like a coin with two sides, CBD has also two sides, the good and the bad. While CBD has several health benefits, there are also some  risk in the compound. Some of the cbd for chronic pain cons are:

  • Breathing problems
  • Infections
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reduced urination
  • Symptoms related to the central nervous system
  • Liver problems
  • Rashes and other sensitivity reaction

While FDA has already approved the use of CBD in some medical cases, researches noticed the above-mentioned adverse effects in clinical trials. Also, in contrary to some research about the ability of CBD to treat anxiety and depression, some studies claim that CBD has a risk of worsening suicidal thoughts and depression. Hence, it is advised that it is of great importance to monitor anyone who is using CBD for signs of mood change.

Overall, there are several contradicting studies about CBD. Thus, the evidence of such studies are still not enough to finally and totally approve or disapprove CBD as a treatment for wide variety of health problems. As of the moment, the two rare cases or types of epilepsy are the only approved diseases by DFA that can be treated by CBD. As a customer, you should be guided that taking medicine that is not approved by DFA can be risky. Thus, it is recommended that before buying any medicine, it is important to always consult with your doctor or medical provider to ensure the legality and quality of the medicine that you are taking.

The Good Side and the Bad Side of New Jersey Apartment Complexes

There are several reasons why more and more people are choosing not to rent an apartment in New Jersey. First of all you just don’t seem to get what you are paying for. The among of space that you end up getting in an apartment that cost thirteen hundred dollars or more, can seem like a joke, compared to what you can receive in other states. Of course you will find that private listings can be just as high, but in some cases they can be more affordable than choosing an apartment complex. Many of these complexes with charge you a non-refundable credit check fee. This fee can cost you anywhere from twenty to thirty dollars per adult. Even if one of the adults does not work they will still end up charging you for that individual.

For handling affairs relating to money, one has to be street smart not only through action but by mind as well because it is an important aspect of a personality to deal with rental issues and New Jersey complexes are not bad by any margin, quite the contrary. So to pay the rent, be it $20 or $30, it is well worth it as the complex gives the distant feel of a Parc Central Residences complex in a Porsche US location and there is nothing bad in sweating it out to pay for it.

Second what they don’t seem to tell you in their brochures or advertisements is the fact that once you fill out and application and submit your credit check fee, you will still have to pay a deposit. This deposit is for them to place the apartment on hold so that no one else is able to rent it until they find out if you have passed the credit check or not. The good thing about this amount of money is that you will get it back if you are not given an apartment due to bad credit. The problem many people have is that this so called reservation fee can cost you as much as three hundred dollars. This amount seems pretty ridicules especially since it could take them several weeks to find out if you are accepted or not. If you are accepted this money will be applied to your first months rent. If not than that just wasted a few weeks out of your time and you will still have to wait for them to issue your refund check.

Before you submit any application to any complexes you should go over the entire process with them from start to finish. They should be able to tell you exactly how and when everything will be processed. In some cases they will even tell you before you fill out an application what their credit score requirements are. This way if your credit does not meet the criteria you will not waste your time filling out an application. Of course there are only a very small amount of complexes which actually do this. The other thing that many people seem to complain about is the management staff, and the maintenance staff. Many people have found that once you get into the apartment trying to find someone to fix something is just as difficult as getting the apartment in the first place. Your telephone calls are often answered my machines. Even if you leave a message many find that it takes weeks for them to get a response. Some people have found that they never get a response at all. Of course not all apartment complexes in New Jersey are like this, but it seems that the majority of them are. Make sure that you check online for any apartment reviews that will tell you what other people have had to deal with when it comes to renting an apartment in New Jersey.

DIY Fashion … Without All the Work

Ah, to be an artist of fashion – a true fashionista, able to do everything from imagine a one-of-a-kind design to whipping it up in no time at all. Who wouldn’t like to be able to design their own handbags or lingerie? To show off their unique style – and to be able to do it without any of the labor involved. 

Three companies are aiming to allow customers to do just that: You design your own handbags, dresses, or lingerie and all the hard work is done for you. Sound cool? Then in order to try this, all you need is to follow luxurytastic and read luxurytastic replicas reviews that will guide you with the whole process of creating your unique designs. 

Elemental Threads: Handbags Made to Order

Elemental Threads (or eThreads) launched in Connecticut earlier this year and boasts of more than 60,000 ways to design your own custom-made handbag. Every fabric offered is limited in quantity, so you get not just the style that’s all your own but in a material that very few people will ever have seen. Talk about unique.

Creating your own handbag is a matter of ease that a child could do. You begin by visiting the website – www.elementalthreads.com – and click the Start Designing button. What you’re presented with are a series of bag styles all in tempting blank white canvases, ready for your imagination to run wild with. There are totes, pouches, ring bags, and clutches to choose from ranging from $16 – $75.

After choosing the style of bag you like, you get to pick the fabric and hardware. Everything is done with point-and-click ease; just hovering over a fabric swatch shows you how the bag will look in that material. The fabrics themselves are full of options – choose from canvas, cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, or a specialty palette and you have even more delicious choices. Everything from what snaps, zippers, and lining can be customized – and you can choose different fabrics for the upper and lower portions of clutches or the body and handles of totes.

Coming soon to eThreads are wristlets, necklaces, belts, and notebooks. Be uniquely styled in a full array and you can say … “I designed this!”

StyleShake: Dresses, Tops, and Skirts Made Your Way

Talk about a way to create a wardrobe that will never – ever – be duplicated. StyleShake lets customers get creative by designing their own clothes. Starting with a selection of quality fabrics and working with pattern pieces that fall together like puzzle work, you can have new duds delivered to your door from London in as little as 10 days.

Starting the design at StyleShake (www.styleshake.com) requires a few minutes of (optionally) inputting your measurements so you’re guaranteed a perfect, tailor fit. Then, you can proceed to choose between designing a dress, a top, or a skirt. Next, you can choose between cotton, linen, silk, or silk metallic fabrics in a range of colors.

From here, the design gets real fun. You’re presented with a virtual mannequin on which your style comes together. When designing a dress, you choose every section in a natural progression from the top to the neckline, the waist, and the bottom. Then you can choose trimmings from belts to bows to stones. Shirts begin with the basic style of shirt, continue to neckline and sleeves, and end with trimmings ranging from belts to collars and frills. Skirts begin with the waist, continue to the bottom, and end with trimmings like belts and pleats.

Add to the designing fun a community atmosphere and you have a winning site. By registering with StyleShake, you can store the designs you create as part of your profile. Members can then rate and comment on your designs, or you can browse other members’ creations to serve as inspiration for your own.

Evlove: Intimate Apparel Designed By You

Evlove Intimates (Evlove is “evolve” spelled backward) was born out of Jenny Dombroski’s desire to allow you to create intimate pieces that are unique to your own style. Based on the idea that the lingerie you wear is an expression of you – or how you want to feel on any given day – Evlove lets you have fun creating your own look with custom-crafted lingerie made just for you.

By visiting Evlove Intimates (www.evloveintimates.com) and choosing the Design Studio link, you’re presented with an array of lingerie to begin designing. This is an easy – and fun – 3 step process that begins by choosing between a cross bralet, g-string, thong, panty, triangle cami, boyshorts, wrap bralet, scoop cami, or chemise.

From here, it’s like playing with digital paper dolls. You begin with fabric choices in a variety of tempting (and flesh-loving) styles before moving on to trims that include bodice accents and strap ribbons. Top it off with appliqué accents – satin or organza bows, flowers, and sequined flowers – and you’re ready to preview or modify your finished piece.

Evlove even has a home party service, at no cost, that is promoted as being a unique bachelorette party idea, or a completely different girls’ night out. The parties last 2-3 hours, accommodate up to 20 people and brings with it the full selection of almost-do-it-yourself possibilities offered on the website. Plus, the host of the party gets a special gift and a discount on any order they make.

How To Select a Competitive Swimming Team

It happens every four years following the Olympics-an athlete or group of athletes will have such an outstanding run at the games that millions of kids want to go for the gold themselves. Last autumn, local swimming programs were inundated with new “Be Like Mike” wannabes who wanted to glide through the water like Phelps. Chances are your child was one of them.

Swimming lessons, however, can only take an athlete so far. How do you know if your child is ready for competitive swimming, and furthermore, how do you select a team that will benefit your budding athlete? Along with your swimming team make sure that you get the very best one piece swimwear online that would help you and your team by giving you an edge in the competition.

The lure of winning championship medals is what draws parents and children alike to the sport of competitive swimming. Joining a swim team entails much more than that. For one, swimmers endure hours of practice before even participating in a competitive meet. Secondly, the swim team offers a sense of camaraderie and personal achievement as well as the opportunity to hone a set of athletic skills that will remain throughout a lifetime.

Summer is a good time to try out the swim team experience as, for one, school is not in session, thus putting less pressure on budding athletes trying to determine whether the sport fits them. However, it’s also a good time to try swimming with a team because of the variety of programs that abound during warmer months.

“In summer you can find some very good developmental programs for year-round teams,” said Pat Hogan, director of club development for USA Swimming. “It’s a fertile recruiting ground.”

During the summer, many local park districts sponsor limited-time programs that run at outdoor pools. These are generally less competitive than year-round clubs, but the sight of dozens of swimmers performing laps up and down lanes of a pool can be daunting for a novice. Don’t worry. A thorough program, even at a more informal level will have a number of levels, allowing beginning competitive swimmers to ease into skills to be successful in practice.

Before your child jumps in, however, make sure he or she has the required skills. Each program has different requirements, but it’s a safe bet that your child should be able to swim the basic freestyle stroke comfortably 25 yards down the length of the pool.

“We like them (beginners) to swim the length of the pool in freestyle and backstroke and have the ability to develop a legitimate breaststroke and butterfly,” said Mark Townsend, head coach of the Naperville, IL Mavericks Swim Team.

For the uninitiated, the four basic swim strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Although freestyle is generally the go-to stroke for swimmers, parents should find a program that works on all four competitive strokes, even if your child shows an unusual aptitude for one or two.

“The reason why you want to have a program that teaches all strokes equally is that you don’t want to have a program where they are any false barriers to success,” said Hogan. “The swimmer who is a good freestyler at nine may have a good backstroke at 11, and a good butterfly at 13.”

Growth spurts are a time when swimmers tend to become better in certain strokes. Generally, Hogan noted, swimmers will become better in long-axis strokes-freestyle and backstroke-or short-axis strokes-breaststroke and butterfly. Instruction in all four is important because one does not know how a body will develop as it grows.

Time commitment is another consideration. Proximity is often a deciding factor for beginning team swimmers, but flexibility should be another consideration. Many teams will specify days for practice, i.e., Monday-Wednesday-Friday, or Tuesday-Thursday for beginners. Check, however, to see if your prospective team has coaches available for your level on every practice day. The idea is to allow your child to be able to get proper instruction for your time availability.

Beginning team swimmers should expect a time commitment of 45 to 60 minutes per session, two to three times per week to build stamina as well as refine strokes. Time commitments increase with the age of the swimmer as well as the ability level. Don’t be intimidated, either by the eight-year-old who can swim every stroke well and has outstanding competitive times. Your child will improve with consistent practice. Good clubs have levels that are appropriate for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced swimmers. The same goes for placing beginners in events at meets. When first starting out, competitive swimmers should be placed in shorter events, i.e. 25 or 50 yards, depending on age with swimmers of similar ability level before progressing onto more difficult ones.

The team’s philosophy is important, too. Although you want to see the progression over the various competitive levels, you don’t want a program that emphasizes too much too soon.

“Look at the goals and philosophy of the team to see how well their developmental program moves swimmers from one level to the next, “Hogan said. “For swimmers 12 and under the idea is to introduce them to the sport. The team should structure activities in such a way that younger swimmers can do other activities.”

Teaching stroke mechanics is also important to the core of the program, as is patience in a coaching staff. Children often don’t understand what they’re being taught the first time around. Emphasis on good technique is crucial. Other things to look for are a stable coaching staff and whether the club participates in USA Swimming’s Club Recognition or Club Excellence programs.

Swim team members compete in individual and team events. Individual events consist of swimming a specified stroke or a medley of all four competitive strokes while team events are relay races. The latter are generally freestyle relays, where everyone swims the basic stroke, as well as medley relays where each swimmer swims one of the strokes. Let your team’s coaches decide when your child is ready to enter a competitive event. You are not doing your child any favors by pushing them into an event when their stroke mechanics lag behind others on their level. While some children shrug off a sub-par competitive performance, others start losing interest when they are constantly trailing the field.