Friday, October 19, 2007

Travel Answers Serenade

Travel Answers

Here are the answers to this season's most frequently asked questions:

Internet Issues

Q: Am I missing something if I don't use the Internet to research and book my vacation?
- Peter T., Winnipeg

A: Opinions on this vary widely, so let's start with researching. The Internet is one of the easiest ways research destinations and it makes planning a breeze. Paying money over the Internet is the larger issue, although millions of people are doing it every day. Its main strength as a booking instrument is the ability to find unpublished accommodation at attractive prices. Buying from a Web site is not a guarantee however of the best price available. There are comparative deals with traditional channels too, including travel agents who can give you face-to-face advice and will be your advocate if something goes wrong. The middle ground is a Web site that offers the option of "live" personal assistance. If you do buy on-line, a general rule of thumb is to buy from a Canadian source, in Canadian dollars. If prices are quoted in a foreign currency, double check that your conversion mathematics is correct.

Cruising Comfort

Q: On cruise ships do we need to worry about a lot of second-hand smoke?
- Jane R., Barrie, Ont.

A: It depends on the cruise line and where you are sailing. Europe, Mediterranean and Asia Pacific cruises have more relaxed smoking rules, but if you choose any of the mainstream, American-based cruise lines, chances are you will not encounter second-hand smoke until evening in some of the clubs and bars. Restaurants are generally smoke-free but the casino is not. Cruise advocates will tell you that the ratio of non-smoking areas has been increasing with every new ship. If a non-smoking environment is a top priority however, choose one of the Caribbean cruises offered by the MS Paradise. It is the only totally non-smoking cruise ship in the world and this season passengers can book either an Eastern, or Western Caribbean itinerary. The luxury, US$300 million, 2,052-passenger MS Paradise delivers a commendable cruise experience and is one of the more recent additions to the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet.

News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.

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Download Bigger Web Page Verse

Get FASTER Download Times By Making BIGGER Web Pages!

As a webmaster you already know how important it is that your web pages download fast. In a nutshell, if your pages are slow, then you're losing visitors. And if you're losing visitors, you're losing money.

To speed up your download times, most web design experts will suggest that you optimize your GIFs and JPGs so that they download faster. They'll suggest that you make your images smaller or remove them altogether. Or they'll simply suggest that you put less stuff on your pages.

All of these methods work. The problem, however, is that they all involve doing things that you don't want to do. You don't want to squeeze any more quality and color out of your images. The same goes for your content - you put it there because you want it there. Basically, there's only so far you can go with these approaches before you really start to ruin your page.

Fortunately, there's one way to get your pages opening faster without having to compromise your images or your content. This is a simple and effective method, but one that is rarely discussed by the web design experts.

To understand this approach, it's important to recognize the difference between "perceived" download time and "actual" download time. The perceived download time is the time it takes to have enough stuff displayed on your page for the visitor to be able to start studying your content. The actual download time is the time it takes for the entire page and all its contents to be fully downloaded.

The perceived download time is the one that really counts. Why? Because once your visitor has something before his/her eyes to read or look at, then there is much less risk that he/she will click away because your page is taking too long to load.

So how do you improve your perceived download time?

Simple, you break the content of your page down into two or more tables.

You see, web browsers will not start displaying the contents of a table until it has compiled the entire table to the end. Once a table is compiled it will display, and the browser will start compiling the next table.

That means that if you place the entire contents of your page inside one big table, the browser will have to compile the entire contents of your page before anything will be displayed. The result: your visitor spends all that time staring at a blank screen.

However, by putting some of the content towards the top of the page into a table of its own, the rest of the page can be downloading farther down, while your visitor is busy studying the stuff that's already displayed.

I've used this method to great effect on my own website. I went from an actual download time of up to 20 seconds (staring at a white screen) down to a perceived download time of rarely more than 3 seconds (often as low as 1 second)!

The ironic thing is, my page is now bigger (in terms of Kilobytes) than it was before I made the change. That's because 2 tables take more HTML than one.

But boy has that extra bit of HTML paid off!

Make a test page now and try it out. Your hit counter will thank you for it!

Michael Hopkins is owner of BizzyDays eBook Publications. Download Brand New Original eBooks for FREE at:

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Web Site Design Writing No-No Ode


Related Themes: Essay, Essay Writing, Writing Job, Writing Short Story, Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Job, Internet Job, Writing Job Description, Work At Home, Extra Income, Technical Writing Job, Poetry Contest, Short Story Contest, Songwriting, Songwriting Contest, Writing Lesson, Writing Software, KEYWORD, Writing Skill, Writing Fiction, Writing Contest, Effective Writing

10 Web Site Design And Writing No-No's

1. Don't load your web site with a lot of high tech clutter. Your visitors may miss your whole sales message.

2. Don't use unnecessary words or phrases on your site. You only have so much time to get your visitor's attention and interest; make ever word count.

3. Don't make the mistake that everyone will totally understand your web site message. Use descriptive words and examples to get your point across.

4. Don't write your strongest point or benefit only once. You should repeat it at least 3 times because some people may miss it.

5. Don't push all your words together on your web site. People like to skim; use plenty of headings and sub headings.

6. Don't use site content your target audience isn't interested in. If people are coming to your site to find info about fishing don't include soccer content.

7. Don't use 50 different content formats all over your web site. Use the same fonts, text sizes, text colors, etc.

8. Don't use words your web site visitors might not understand. People are not going to stop and look in a dictionary, they will just go to another site.

9. Don't let selling words and phrases go unnoticed. Highlight important words and phrases with color, bolding, italics, underlining, etc.

10. Don't forget to use words that create emotion. All people have emotions, people will have more interest when they are emotionally attached.

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Men Mood Swings Too Poem

Men Have Mood Swings Too

Most men think of food simply as energy. It provides the fuel needed to get through a busy workday, play sports, spend time with the kids, do the yard work and walk the dog. Yet, few men realize that what they eat - and when - has a serious impact on their hormonal health including everything from mood swings and depression to anxiety and fatigue - particularly as they age, according to Sam Graci, nutritional researcher and author of the new book - The Food Connection: The Right Food at the Right Time.

According to Graci, as men age their hormonal health changes dramatically as testosterone levels are depleted and estrogen levels rise, known as andropause. What men eat - and when - affects the major hormones that help keep men emotionally fit - testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.

These hormones not only control sex drive, energy levels and mood swings, they are critical to building and maintaining lean muscle mass and strong bones.

News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.

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Finding the Dress Serenade

Finding the Dress of Your Dream at a Price You Can Afford

Inspired by my own search for my wedding dress, I decided to write this article because it turns out you can get lucky if you research and are patient. I started looking for my dress a few months before I got married and I found the dress I loved, but it was $800. My dress was really simple and this was not in my budget, so I got the company name and the style number and searched everywhere online and off for this dress. Finally I found it offline for $499 at a local bridal shop. But them I was looking for flower girl dresses in a popular department store catalog and imagine my surprise when I saw my dress for $299. I couldn’t believe it. I know I lucked out, but maybe with these tips you can too!

1. Be patient.
You can definitely wait to buy your dress. With all these different companies selling that on dress, you can search to find the best dress. Unless you’re buying a Vera Wang original, do a little hunting!

2. Write down the designer and style number or dress name.
This is important for your research.

3. Research.
Look everywhere online and off for your dress. I found my dress online for a couple of lower prices before I found the $299 dress. A lot of online companies offer dresses at rock bottom price. You can find accessories very cheap online also. Search for “Discount Wedding Dresses”.

4. Look at the wedding dresses from popular department stores.
These stores can sell the same dress at lower prices because they have the buying power.

5. Have a style in mind, but don’t get stuck on one particular dress if you can.
Learn the style that looks best on you. I say that looks best on you because originally I wanted one of those poofy Cinderella dresses but I tried one on and it made my hips look huge (and believe me I don’t need any help!). So, I tried on different dresses and chose the style that looked best on me.

Good luck on your search and have fun planning your wedding!

Kristie McDaniel Author of the E-Book: Do Yourself A Favor: Easy and Affordable Wedding Favors You Can Make Yourself! On sale at

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Who Cares Single Moms! Opus

Who Cares What They Say About Single Moms!

Even in today's sophisticated society, single parent families are often stigmatized and thoughtlessly perceived as not entirely as functional as two parent families. Most single moms can verify how such of a stigma seems to linger over our heads like some dark, ominous cloud. For instance, men assume because we have children, we are desperate for husbands, schools believe us to be operating with a disability and very few churches have created ministries exclusively for us.

I could go on.

By some, our families are viewed as abnormal, incomplete or fragmented. Our homes are called “broken” and are indirectly associated with producing defective or maladjusted children. The sad reality is that the majority of the people who raise these criticisms have had limited exposure with successful single parent families and are narrowly interpreting “so called” research written by people who know little about us or the “human” side of our families. Allow me to be among the first to tell you that contrary to popular opinion, most single moms succeed wonderfully at raising healthy, happy well-adjusted children. In numerous categories, our family types outshine our two parent counterparts.

By no means am I glamorizing single parenting as an ideal family situation. Two-parent families do create a continuum of support invaluable to healthy youth development.

Nonetheless, the story doesn’t end there.

Our families, however, do possess some specific, undeniable strengths that effectually enable us raise healthy, well-developed children. Our one-parent families tend to create a less troublesome environment than that of some of our two-parent families. For example, parents in a distressed two-parent family are often overwhelmed with maintaining a healthy marriage and can easily overlook the emotional and developmental needs of their children. Likewise, two parents in emotional duress inadvertently model an unhealthy, undesired model of family life in plain view their children. Growing up in such an atmosphere can influence harmful patterns and cycles of broken relationships throughout generations!.

On the other hand, single parent families don’t fall victim to such pitfalls. Ideally, we can engineer stability and emotional wellness within ourselves without the added worries connected with or caring for a spouse. In short, all we have to worry about is ourselves! Within our homes, our children see no arguing or witness power struggles between the two authority figures.

As a result, many single parent homes are better equipped to provide a relaxed, fun home atmosphere for children to grow, develop and thrive. It has been stated that children of healthy single parents frequently acquire competencies and valuable life skills that prepare them to be productive, independent adults. Also, if functioning well our families tend to be to be closer and cooperative with one another.

Undoubtedly, our family structure does have its fair share of challenges, but none of them are fatal. Yes, ideally a child should have two healthy, well-balanced parents but it doesn't always work out that way. So we must accentuate the positive and go on to excel as mothers, flourish as women, and produce healthy young people despite being single and despite the prejudices against our family types. So, hold your head high and embrace who you are and where you are during this "single parent" season in your life.

Teri Worten is a freelance writer as well as the founder of the online contemporary magazine for single moms and all women - Gotta Be Me Girl.Com! You can visit her site and read more articles at

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Hair Style Verse

Hair Style Magazines? Dont Waste Money, These Are The Best

It's no secret that there is a lot of misleading beauty advice out there. So, where should you turn for the latest styles, trends and advice? A good place to start is with a leading, reputable hair style magazine or black hair magazine.

When you choose one of the leading hair style magazines or black hair magazines over other publications, you gain access to the latest trends and insider secrets in the beauty industry. No longer will you have to wait until a trend becomes popular and dozens of people are wearing it before you catch on. By subscribing to a hair style magazine, you can keep your eye on the upcoming styles and get them before anyone else.

So, which style magazine should you buy? Here are reviews of five of the leading hair style magazines to aid you in your decision (and details of how you can get them at discounted prices):

"American Salon. American Salon is the leading hair style magazine among professionals. Inside the pages of this magazine are insider trade secrets, trends and techniques that have just been introduced by top-of-the-line beauty professionals. Here you can learn about the latest innovative products and beauty treatments, the newest cutting and color trends, and other tidbits of knowledge at the same time that the professionals do. While this magazine is great to keep informed of all that is going on in the beauty industry, it is not ideal for choosing your next hair cut. Filled with industry jargon and how-to articles, most of the information contained in this hair style magazine would not be fully appreciated by a non-professional.

"Celebrity Hairstyles. If you're looking for all of the hot styles worn in Hollywood, Celebrity Hairstyles could be just the hair style magazine to bring it all together for you. Ever wonder how Hilary Duff and Faith Hill got those softly tousled locks? Wonder no more. Not only is this hair style magazine full of color photos of the latest celebrity styles, it also has technical how-to information that you can take along with you to the salon.

"Hype Hair. When it comes to finding a leading black hair magazine, there is none better than Hype Hair. Called the "the style handbook for today's black woman," Hype Hair features up-to-date innovative hairstyles, interviews, contests and funky fresh hair styles. From the sleek and sedate to the funky and corn rowed, there is a style for everyone in this black hair magazine.

"Modern Salon. This hair style magazine is similar to American Salon in that it caters to professionals only. Featuring the latest trends and interviews with top professionals, Modern Salon takes a fresh and modern look at the beauty industry in its entirety including nails, make-up, hair, color, skin care.

"Short Hair Styles. This is perhaps the hair style magazine and black hair magazine that I have seen brought into the salon most often by clients. The pages of Short Hair Styles are filled with color photos of the latest color and cutting styles. In here, you can find a cut for any texture of hair and ethnicity. From the textured spike to the soft curled, there is really a short style for everyone in this magazine.

In addition to these hair style magazines, there are several women's magazines that offer great hair care advice. Vogue, Glamour and First are just a sampling of the many magazines that feature in-depth hair care articles and advice from top hair care professionals. For many, these magazines are the best way to keep up with current trends and style ideas.

These are just a few of the many hair style magazines and black hair magazines available, but they are top of the line. Whether you're a professional or someone just looking for a cool new style, you cannot go wrong with hair style magazines. And finally, the best news is that you can get most of them at heavily discounted prices. For further details check my website at

Michael Barrows' website gives great advice for good hair. Get your free ebook packed with hair style and hair care tips and advice, visit

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Single Mom Sex Ode

Sex and the Single Mom

Single moms, more so than anyone, have to be exceedingly careful about the type of man they select as life-long partners. No sensible woman wants to be judged soley on her appearence or sex appeal, right? Moreoever, who would even want a man mostly interested in sex without a real commitment, right again? These questions create an age-old conundrum. Exactly, how does one find a guy who loves them and only wants what is best for them? Let's take it up a notch. How do you resist those natural impulses to throw caution to the wind and break down and have sex?

For starters. . .

Read between the lines.

A wise person once said, Words carry a little weight, but actions truly reveal the entireity of a matter. When you meet a new guy, be especially observant of the kinds of things he talks about. Carefully listen to his conversation. Remember, you can usually learn plenty about a person simply by listening to them. If the conversation is laced with sexual innuendos, that is your "red flag".

Where’s the fire...

Be leery of physical contact early in the relationship. Someone who is overly "touchy" after knowing you for a short amount of time might have less than honorable motives. Yes, some guys are “touchy feely” with women. But think for a moment, if you marry a man who can't keep his hands to himself, you are asking for trouble!

Let get real, here. As single moms, it's only natural to enjoy the attention of men, but don’t allow loneliness or insecurity to propel you into a relationship that may bring pain later. You are far too precious for that, single mom.

Take your time with the physical stuff. Approach the dating relationship the same way you would with a platonic friend. Save the kissing or hugging until you really know the guy.

We often give away far too much too soon in our interpersonal encounters. Don't be the type woman that every guy in the neighborhood knows what it’s like to kiss and squeeze. Even if he says he loves you, remember that love waits. Love is patient, love is kind and real love will never disrespect you. Slow down, enjoy the progression of the new relationship. There's no fire, so hold your horses!

God’s plan for you...

God has a plan and it's not about pointless denial. His plan is first marriage and then sex after the legal, spiritual and emotional commitment. When you create a list of rules for your kids, you do so to protect them, right? Well, God is no different. He loves you and wants to spare you unnecessary grief.

There is forgiveness....

If for whatever reason, you have engaged in a sexual relationship outside of marriage understand that God still loves you. Our blunders don't make Him love us any less. He desperately wants to put the pieces of your life back together and make all things new again.

Living life "our way", guided by our emotions or feelings, always brings disappointment and shame. However, God specializes in such wounds. Allow Him to cleanse your pain and remove your guilt (read 1John 1:9). If you confess your sin, He WILL forgive it. He’s promised. The next and most crucial step is for you to forgive yourself.

Our children....

Our children rely on us to model appropriate moral standards. Most wise moms advise their teens to abstain from sex before marriage. We carefully explain to them the dangers of sex "now a days". We share how abstinence protects us against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Taking this into account, why should we want anything different for ourselves? Our children are growing up so fast. Our time with them is very precious. Let's not taint it recovering from unecessary love-related heartbreaks. Nothing is worse for children than to see their moms wounded, hurt, bitter and dejected.

My mother recently told me, (relative to my health) 'a good mother takes supreme care of herself for the sake of her children'. I think the same applies to emotional health. Don’t run the risk of giving your body and soul away only to be left with an empty bed and broken heart. It really isn't worth it, single mom.

Teri Worten is a freelance writer as well as the founder of the online contemporary magazine for single moms and all women - Gotta Be Me Girl.Com! You can visit her site and read more articles at

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International Marriage Laws Opus

A Call for International Marriage Laws

I recently watched a CNN programme which centred on “kidnapped daughters” (from multicultural marriages) who were unwillingly given away in marriages in Islamic states by their fathers. Usually, the fathers were from these Islamic states. While pondering over why some states still refuse women their rights to choose whom to marry, the key question I am also trying to answer is “Which international law governs inter-country and inter-religious marriages?”

The real issue is whose belief overrides in an inter-country and inter-religious marriage. Should the father dictate the beliefs of his daughter till she is 18 or should the mother? Whilst love still stands as the basic foundation for a successful marriage, marrying a foreigner with a different religion/beliefs needs a more concrete foundation – such as a signed agreement.

Some women marry male foreigners without fully understanding his background, his beliefs …and most importantly, the beliefs of his people. Some may argue that when they married their husbands, he was a free thinker. This is true especially of westernized men. However, this most likely changes when the man has to return to his roots – his people and their beliefs….and they often return home.

So, which law protects children from inter-country and inter-religious marriages? Which written law states that the man cannot take his daughters back to his roots and marry them off to whoever he wishes? Which law states that a father cannot forbid his daughters to go home and visit their mother? Which international law states that a woman forced to have sex with a husband she was unwillingly married to is pure rape? Which international law states that a woman who has her passport seized by her father is denied her rights?

As the world becomes truly global, perhaps it is time the United Nations begun to look at International Marriage laws which protect the children from inter-country marriages. However, can these children truly be protected despite the political obstacles that prevail?

The obvious answer remains that the end to “kidnapping” is the establishment of international marriage laws which countries can be held accountable for. Whilst couples await these laws, it may be expedient to sign agreements in a court of law to protect unborn children. The question, then, is “whose court of law?”

Kemisola Yusuf - A Consultant who has a passion for supporting the Black Woman...

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Be Happy Poem

Choose To Be Happy...NOW!

The older I get, the more I realize that ninety percent of life is about choices. Both the choice to be happy or unhappy is mine. Sure, unforeseeable circumstances come and rattle our cages from time to time but it’s our decision how we choose to cope with them. We can resolve to allow the situations to defeat us or we can simply count it all joy.

Counting it all joy is not basically grinning through a rough circumstance. It’s much more. When we count it all joy, we recognize and seek God’s hand in the quandary. We accept that whatever happens in our lives that God is somehow working it out for our good. We remember folks like Joseph who went through insurmountable obstacles only to be immensely, deliriously blessed. This perspective brings joy unspeakable!

Let’s be frank. Happiness is not always going to "find" you. Therefore, you’ve got to passionately, intentionally, seek, chase and pursue it on your own. As you well know, there will always be people, systems and personalities trying to rob you of your joy and purpose. But once you find your joy, it's up to you not to let it elude you.

Whether you are recovering from heartbreak or coming to terms with a recent disappointment, resolve to maintain your joy in spite of it all. Don't succumb to the innate urge to fold up into a ball and withdraw from your world. This is not an option for the single mother. Our children need us too much. Instead, embrace your faith and rely on God to comfort you and bring peace while He restores your emotional equilibrium. Discover fresh interests by trying new things, meeting new people, reading some new books or embarking on a new hobby.

Choose to be happy, joyful and content at this very moment in your life. Take solace in knowing that your current position doesn’t predict your potential. You’re on your way some place wonderful! Make your plans, map your goals and continue on your happy, fun- filled course! Choose to be happy, today!

Teri Worten is webmaster of two popular websites designed to inspire, uplift and encourage any woman who chooses to overcome life's barriers to success and happiness. Visit her sites today at:

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