Amazing Spider-Man 2

If you knew anything about me, you would probably note that I’m a massive Spider-Man fan. I have various posters around my room, multiple ticket stubs from the Marvel movies and heck, I’m even drinking out of a Spider-Man cup right now. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to play Beenox’s latest Spider-Man game, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for the Xbox One. Usually, I’m apprehensive about playing a movie tie-in game, but he’s my favorite hero. Even if it’s an average game I should be able to look past its faults, right? After playing the fairly short campaign, I have to say this Xbox One iteration of the web-slinger should have been squashed.

When you first stumble into the game world, the opening sequence is a recap of Uncle Ben’s death from the first film. Of course, it may be hard to recognize who the characters are just because of how different they look to the source material. Here, Peter Parker looks more like Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, especially with the jacket they’ve got him wearing. The opening scene is total filler and doesn’t add anything to the overall story.

Speaking of the story, it’s a complete mess. I understand that it’s a movie tie-in, and the developers might not get the full script from the accompanying film, but at the end of the day the plot here is just too hard to follow. The movie itself is already busy, but when the game adds their own villains from the comics into the movie, the main antagonists from the film get put on the back-burner.

My main beef with the primary storyline followed by the game, is that it completely omits Gwen Stacy from the entire experience. Gwen is Peter Parker’s greatest ally, and in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 film she plays a massive role. I don’t understand why we needed Uncle Ben, who isn’t even in the movie, more than we needed Gwen Stacy. Just a bit of a head scratcher there, but one of the many problems with the convoluted story.

Once you get use to the scrambled plot, you’ll take notice how funny the dialogue is. This isn’t a good thing unfortunately. What I mean is that the dialogue could have been written by a four year old. My favorite exchange is when Peter Parker first meets the dangerous hunter Kraven in his swank New York apartment. Kraven explains how he wrestled a grown tiger and how much it angers him to see the endangered animals hunted and killed. All the while, directly behind Kraven there is a tiger pelt adorning his couch.

Thankfully, the gameplay itself isn’t as hopeless. Spider-Man moves with incredible agility and web-slinging is now mapped to both the left and right triggers. There are minor issues such as the need to be pin-point accurate while traveling, but the game’s ‘Web Rush’ mode helps with that. The city feels more alive than in the previous Spidey games but it’s still ultimately a poor man’s GTA. Honestly, the most fun I had with the game wasn’t the combat, it was simply just swinging from one side of the city to another.

When the fisticuffs finally start happening, you’ll notice just how clunky the entire combat system actually is. With Amazing Spider-Man 2, Beenox tries to copy the outstanding melee combat of Rocksteady’s Batman titles. What you’ll get here is sloppy, broken, glitch-filled anarchy. I was fighting the camera harder than I fought any of the bad guys. Even with the clunky viewpoints and the floaty combat, the game was never challenging. Throughout the short six hour campaign, I managed to die only once and that’s because the batteries in my controller died.

When you’re not busy fighting random gang members on the street, you’ll have some of the web-slinger’s most famous adversaries to contend with. During the boss fights, you’ll rarely have anything to worry about with their mechanics. It boils down to mostly dodge the incoming assault, then mash on the attack button until you win. Granted, like Arkham City, once you defeat a boss you’ll unlock new equipment for your hero. Ionic webbing and seismic blasts to be exact, both skills are just ways to defeat the cannon fodder later in the game and both are incredibly lame.

If the story and the combat wasn’t enough to make you turn off your console, the atrocious visuals within the game might. While playing through the game on the Xbox One, I felt that this game was more on par with a PlayStation 2 launch title. Mouths move out of sync, clothes have less pixels than Pong and the environment looks something out of Rampage on the Nintendo 64. Visuals usually won’t make a game great, but when the …

The Health Benefits of Sunglasses

Did you realize sunglasses protect you from more than cataracts? There are several significant benefits to wearing sunglasses every time you go out into sunlight.

DRIVING GLARE

Sunglasses with 100% UV tinting cut down on glare from reflected sunlight. This reduces squinting (and the wrinkles it causes), and can prevent certain migraines and headaches brought on by bright light. But the real benefit comes when you’re driving: glare from a road can temporarily blind drivers. UV tinted sunglasses allow you to avoid this potential hazard. And you don’t have to choose dark lenses: pale amber or other light colors work just as well to prevent glare, as long as they are 100% UV tinted.

BLOW DRYING YOUR EYES

Wind and air conditioning can dry out your eyes, causing discomfort, redness, itchiness and soreness. In cars, air conditioning often feels best when it’s blowing near your face – and that means into your eyes. Wearing sunglasses – even when it’s not sunny – cuts down on the effects of air blowing directly into your eyes.

CATARACTS

Don’t forget cataracts – one of those ailments you don’t really think about until it’s too late. Long term excessive exposure to UV rays can cause cataracts in your eyes. Symptoms include blurred vision, light sensitivity, double vision, needing brighter light to read, and fading of colors. Wearing sunglasses regularly can prevent or slow the development of cataracts, so it’s never too early to start.

Source by Jesse Rows

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wearing Sexy Clothes to Work

What clothes must you choose when going to work? Albeit the lack of dress code, even if you can go in the premises of your work building casually, it should be thought about what clothes to wear and what not. 

As of the 21st century free thinking and individualism is highly encourage, however there are certain restrictions in office wardrobe that one should abide.  If you stand for a formal company, then your attire must be suitable.  How about controversial garments at the office?  When you need to show your femininity or your masculinity in your fashion style, will you stop or will you go? 

Sexy outfits draw attention. Is it not that the purpose of such clothing? If you stride into your office clad in a skimpy little skirt and bold garments alike, surely you will be on the spotlight.  People in general delight in hearing nice things about them and an expose cleavage can definitely let you be showered with praises yet there are times when you might have placed yourself in jeopardy by donning up way too aggressively.

But you must learn your own rights and whatever clothes you wear it is never an excuse for someone else to sexually harass you. It is highly essential to put your appearance into great consideration, especially if you have to talk to clients most of the time. When you are working, you must embody the ideals of the company you work for, not your personal perspective. 

But we are not robots and it is only humane for us to crave to be unique. There is no company that prohibits wearing of sexy outfits so long as your presence does not ever bother your colleagues and clients. You can showcase your femininity or masculinity sans donning up provocative outfits. By just simply accessorizing and styling up to accentuate the natural assets of your body, you can achieve more praises compared to wearing an unfastened shirt or killer heels. So long that you maintain a balance in your style between very exciting and very dull, you should be great. 

Your fashion sense and the clothes you wear do not make you who you are, but we get judged by our clothes and style in real life. There are numerous surveys claiming that when people do not dress appropriately for their line of work, others conclude that most likely they do not carry on their duties sincerely. Perhaps these findings are just slightly overstated, yet there is another general notion among company employees.

If one wears too sexy outfits, it can mean that this girl or guy wants to find someone to have relations with. And this act is usually deemed inappropriate an even unethical in the workplace.  Albeit a female or a male with sexy clothes and actions is believed to be promoted quickly, truth be told, the opposite actually happens. If you fail to embody professionalism in your looks, people will not consider you a professional.  

Source by Irsan Komarga

Buying Sunglasses for Yourself

Here's a fact- over $ 2.5 million was spent in USA alone to purchase 270 million sunglasses. You might be a traffic cop, a student, a banker, or a biker, but those cool shades have become a part of you. Often times, sunglasses are bought because they look 'cool'. With brands like Bausch & Lomb, Vuarnet, Oakley, Killy, Hobie, Serengeti and many more, offering sunglasses in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs … who can blame you? The trend has done on and it looks like it is here to stay.

In all seriousness, sunglasses should be bought with the aim of protecting your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When sunlight that is reflected of snow or sand hits your eyes you could get a case of 'snow blindness'. In worse case scenarios, ultraviolet radiation can cause permanent retina damage and cataracts. UV rays can affect you even when you are not standing in broad daylight. These rays can come through even on a cloudy day. People who have a history of cataracts and retinal dystrophies should be extra careful to use suitable sunglasses.

Different people buy different sunglasses depending on their occupation, style, gender and general fancy. For example, people involved in high-impact sports may opt for the Polycarbonate lens, which does not shatter easily. Polarized sunglasses are chosen for those who love water sports because it takes care of the glare factor. Mirrored glasses are also a hot favorite for people skiing the slopes or swimming.

If you need to buy a pair, do not judge the sunglasses by its price. An expensive pair may not protect your eyes but will only give you a glamorous look. When buying sunglasses it is wise to make sure that they have a UV coating. Also note if the brand tells you to what amount it blocks UV rays. Ideally UV rays should be blocked 99% to 100%. Mirror coated sunglasses look very trendy, however, not all mirror-coated glasses block harmful UV rays. Gradient tints also look fashionable and come in two varieties- single gradient and double gradient. Each is used for a different purpose but does not protect you from UV rays unless it has a UV coating.

Today's market offers wrap around sunglasses, which allow complete protection for your eyes especially from wind and debris. Photochromic sunglasses adjust the darkness and light depending on the light outside, but could take about thirty seconds to adjust accordingly.

You can choose from a wide selection of sunglasses that come in different colors. Years ago, black was considered the standard and it is still very popular. With designer sunglasses sporting the stands, you now have reds, greens, blues, yellows and several other shades. The sunglasses you choose could be dependent on your social circle and personal preference. Some people believe dark black sunglasses will protect your eyes. It will not without it has a UV coating, which happens to be colorless. If you already wear glasses you could get your doctor to prescribe prescription sunglasses or you could opt for photochromic glasses.

Source by Kirk G Bachelder

How Would You Describe a Jewelry Box?

This question might seem idiotic to some, but to many, a jewelry box is a symbolic and practical item with an emotional appeal that is almost mythical. Talk to any jewelry store specialist or wedding planner and the mundane answers you expect to this question are nowhere to be found in the discussion.

The wedding or engagement ring set jewelry box, with its tiny two piece hinged encasement is the most popular item to come to mind when the subject of jewelry boxes comes up. Although this is the most common and mass produced style of ring holder, the jewelry box industry is filled with alternate designs, sizes and materials used to make the containers of the most beloved items we own.

There are jewelry boxes for single, personal ring and necklace storage or display. There are commercial jewelry showcases and transport jewelry boxes with advanced protective security features, and everything in between. There are even several collections that contain jewelry box selections that are designed and themed especially for children and teens. Far more than a simple trinket holder, a jewelry box can even be a vehicle for personal expression or a display box for children as in the classic musical jewelry box with a dancing ballerina inside.

No matter what materials, features, or design standards are included in the making of a jewelry box, the end result can be as impressive, expressive, or as subtle as the valuables contained inside. Little thought is usually paid to the jewelry boxes that often carry and secure some of the most important life defining mementos of our existence. We have the professionals in the gem and jewel industry worldwide that have spent there entire lives contemplating the best design and use of the six sides (or more) that surround our treasures ornaments. It is thanks to them that many men have not proposed by pulling a ring out of a paper bag.

Whether purchasing an enclosure for a newly bought jewelry piece, or a necklace display case for our mother, knowing what styles features and material components comprise these holders of fond memories people, times, and places, can greatly improve the overall emotional impact, practicality, and durability of a chosen gift.

Especially for the women in our lives, the jewelry box can be a source of great pride and comfort. Display cases can show off while at the same time protecting mother’s favorite rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, allowing memories of good times to be put on show, if even for themselves.

Security and jewel protection features, though purely practical in nature, can illicit a feeling of emotional calm for the owner, as they can rest assured that all they hold dear is safe, sound, and undamaged within.

Far more than just a box, far more than just a shell, a jewelry box can bring joy and happiness to the people in your life you love most.

Source by Hillary S. Pike

The Secret to Healthy Cooking: I Bet You Didn’t Think of This

If you are a healthy cook, I can safely assume you are already enlightened about the importance of eating healthy. What makes food healthy? Yes, it is the choice of ingredients, which is right, but there is one secret to healthy cooking that not everybody knows — it’s healthy cookware. Interestingly, the cookware is what ultimately determines the health of the food!

Conventional cookware made from metals are innately reactive and food is a biochemical substance consisting of nutrients that are in the form of oxygen, hydrogen halogens, acids, and bases. The heat while cooking acts as a catalyst and makes metals leach ions that react with nutrients and contaminate food. Similarly, ceramics are full of chemicals and oxides in the raw material and in the in the glazes/enamels used for finishing. There’s an easy way to test this – yes you can actually check what’s leaching from the cookware you’re using right now with a simple and reliable home test (information towards the bottom).

Again, the choice of cookware determines the purity of the food. Your cookware also guarantees its nutritional worth – you must have heard how people say cooked food is nutritionally lacking? While that is true, little research has been done to find out why and if there’s anything that can be done to prevent it. In reality, the issue is not so much with the process of cooking as it is with the cookware. Metals and ceramics cook with a harsh and destructive heat that dissolves nutrients while cooking.

Steam is essential water-soluble nutrients, it’s stuff the body needs to replenish every day. With the harsh heat from conventional cookware, steam is all but lost from food, leaving it lacking in one more way.

As we’ve seen here, in order for food to be healthy, your cookware needs to first be healthy – one that is non-reactive and is perfect for keeping your ingredients free from toxins. And it should also cook with gentle heat and retain steam. While looking for a healthy option, I came across a cookware that greatly resembles the historical ways of cooking – pure clay cookware. All-natural clay is a pure gift of nature and when made the right way, makes provision for all these features.

Alkaline Baking Soda Test to Check Toxicity of a Cookware

  1. Boil 2-3 cups of water in any pot, when it starts boiling add 2 tsp of baking soda, boil for 5 more mins. Turn stove off.
  2. Wait till cool enough to taste then taste the water (take a sip). If you taste metals, that’s what you’re eating! If water has a rubber/paint taste it’s the chemicals from enamel/glaze.

As a control, stir 2 tsp of baking soda to 1 glass of water and take a sip – you will taste just the baking soda. Truly non-toxic cookware would leach nothing into food.

If your cookware fails this test, it simply means it is leaching toxins into your food.

Source by Sharon Ray

Buying Jewelry For Your Girlfriend – A Practical Guide

If you’re a man, you’re probably not much into jewelry. Most men, by and large, aren’t. Nevertheless, maybe it’s your girlfriend’s birthday or it’s Christmas or (heaven forbid!) it’s Valentine’s Day and you’ve decided you want to give your special girl the gift of jewelry. Good for you! It’s a wonderful choice, assuming, of course, that you already know that your girlfriend loves and appreciates nice jewelry. Okay, so now what?

Step One: Decide how much you can comfortably spend. Or, if you’re rolling in money, decide how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re barely scraping by, don’t beat yourself over a lack of funds or get the idea that unless you put yourself into dire financial straights over this purchase, you aren’t loving her enough. That’s nonsense, and any woman worth her salt will tell you so. When it comes to jewelry, we gals know that it’s not a guy’s cup of tea, that they are out of their depth and probably afraid they’ve made the wrong choice. We get it. And we appreciate the fact that you’re willing to try.

Step Two: Once you’ve got an idea of your budget, decide what form this jewelry gift will take. Will it be earrings? A necklace? A bracelet? A ring? If money’s a concern, earrings or a pendant necklace, especially if we’re talking about fine jewelry, are probably the most affordable pieces of jewelry. For the uninitiated, you can translate ‘fine jewelry’ to mean anything that has a K in it – as in 10k gold, 12k gold, 14k gold, etc. Earrings are pretty self-explanatory. A pendant necklace usually means a precious or semi-precious stone or two in a gold or silver setting, suspended by a chain of the same metal.

By the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with opting for a piece of fine jewelry that’s 12k gold or even 10k. The gold content is distributed throughout the jewelry piece, so put aside any fears you may have that the gold will ‘wear off.’ If it’s all you can comfortably afford, it’s fine. And it will look good, too. This is supposed to be a token of affection and thoughtfulness, not a test of how much you care nor a measure of how much she’s valued. We’ve got to lose this notion that someone who receives an 18k gold ring is more loved than someone who receives a 10k ring. It’s ridiculous.

If the budget can’t accommodate a gift of fine jewelry, then consider Sterling silver jewelry. There are many beautiful Sterling silver pieces available, many with gorgeous semiprecious gemstones. Or you can stick with straight Sterling, no gemstones, and find your dollar will go quite far. For the same amount of money you’ll pay for a pair of, say, diamond stud earrings, you can probably buy your girl a completely new wardrobe of Sterling silver jewelry.

When you deciding on what kind of jewelry to buy, please take your girlfriend’s style into consideration. If she runs around in pretty, feminine dresses and delicate clothes, a big, chunky hammered silver and turquoise bracelet probably won’t go over well. And if you know she hates dangling earrings, for Pete’s sake, don’t get her any! It doesn’t matter if she wore dangling earrings one time and you loved it. She’s got to love it. The gift is for her enjoyment, not yours.

Caution: How to say this nicely? Stay away from giving rings unless you mean business. Women get gifts of jewelry a lot throughout their lifetimes – it comes from friends (both male and female), family, co-workers, bosses – all sorts of ways. And it’s all fine and acceptable because most of what we receive is along the lines of ‘impersonal’ jewelry – the earrings, the pins and brooches, the necklaces, the bracelets – none of which conveys anything beyond, “Hey I like you and I think this’ll look good on you.” Rings are an entirely different matter – especially gold rings. And when you shove that little ring box under our noses, our hearts start to pound. Either with dread (if we don’t like you much) or with excitement (if we like you a whole lot). But it pounds. Because a ring, for whatever reason, is a vastly personal piece of jewelry coming from a man. It sends a message. Believe me, even in this day and age of enlightened communication between the sexes, it sends a message. Unless you’re up for it, stick with earrings or a nice bracelet.

Now let me complicate things a bit: The whole previous paragraph admonishing against giving rings goes out the window if your girlfriend is the type that’s into sterling silver and semiprecious stones. Sterling silver jewelry is more casual (picture silver and turquoise or silver …

An Introduction to Handbag Manufacturing

Where Do Handbags Come From?

Have you ever wondered where your designer handbag came from and what went in to making it? And how does a handbag go from an idea to a finished product and why do they cost so much?   Bringing a handbag or purse design to life is an involved process-and the higher the quality of the bag, the more thought goes into its creation. The process usually begins with a sketch; however before any drawings can move into production, the designer needs to consider the latest handbag trends to ensure that the finished product will fit into current styles, meet consumer demands and offer enough differentiation to make the bag unique from others on the market.  

A skilled pattern maker will use the drawings to create a paper model or prototype of the bag and an official pattern that will be used to create the entire luxury handbag collection. But before the bags can be made, the materials and colors must be selected. For example, one handbag could come in several colors or types of leather, from soft, calfskin leather to ostrich. The silhouette plays an important role in selecting the type of leather; a structured shoulder bag should use a more durable and stiff leather while a hobo or slouchy handbag would use softer, more pliable leather.  After the materials are selected, a leather cutter will cut the leather for each handbag and prepare it for stitching. This is a delicate process that requires a skilled leather worker, which contributes to the cost of an authentic handbag. Each piece must be cut perfectly to correspond to the handbag pattern-only an experienced leather cutter will know how to best work with specific types of leather to ensure that the end result is perfect.  

The next step in making a handbag is stitching. A banconista or assembler will recreate the paper handbag model from the leather cutouts. The leather is either hand-stitched or stitched with a sewing machine. This job requires the utmost craftsmanship to be able to stitch fine, straight seems on leather, in particular more rigid leathers-one wrong stitch would leave a permanent mark in the leather, ruining the entire piece.  The more details the handbag has-like hardware, and inner pockets-the more complicated the fabrication process. The final quality of a handbag is determined during this stage of the process. Any mistakes will affect how the bag looks and will hold up over time.  The next stage is the finishing. The bag will still look different than the prototype, as it is missing hardware, zippers or closures.  During this process, each handbag is inspected for defects and all hardware is added. The leather handbags are now ready for shipping. Each handbag is individually wrapped in a cloth bag ad shipped to the customer or boutique.  

Handbag Costs 

As you can see, manufacturing an authentic handbag is a lengthy and involved process. The cost of a handbag is determined by:  

  • The prestige of the brand
  • Quality of materials used to make each handbag
  • The experience of the leather artisans
  • Production and facility costs

So the next time you’re shopping for a new luxury handbag, you’ll have a better understanding of what goes in to creating the finished product. 

Source by A. Covington

Stairlift Accessories – 5 Accessories That Will Make Your Stair Climber Ride More Comfortable

When you are thinking of buying a stairlift, or a stair climber, there must be a good reason for it. Either your strength has been reduced or you have been injured so it is not easy for you to walk up and down the stairs. A home stairlift brings you back the ability to travel between floors effortlessly. You will be able to enjoy your home and your living there again fully.

Additionally, the stairlift accessories might be something to look into. They could further assist you in accomplishing the daily tasks in your home and conserve your energy further.

You will find five stairlift accessories reviews here: Newspaper holders, Grocery carriers, Hinged rails, Sit and stand or perch frame, and Weather tight seat and unit cover.

Newspaper holders

You want to keep your hands free while riding the stair lift. It is just safer that way. Many stair lifts offer attachments, or add ons such as a newspaper holder.

Grocery cariers

Some stair lifts offer a large, metal basket as a side attachment to the chair, with several dozens of pounds carrying capacity. Such baskets are perfect for carrying groceries and other heavier items with you. Again, you will be able to keep your hands free while in transport.

Hinged rails

Sometimes it is necessary for the rail to extend into the hallway, or over and across a door. This is not desirable as it hinders the traffic through the hallway or through that door. So a hinged end-rails can be implemented. The hinged end-rails will rotate along the hinge back onto the rest of the rail, removing themselves as an obstacle in the hallway or at the door. The rails can be hinged for as long as the stairlift is not in use.

For added convenience, motorized hinged rails are available. The electric motors will help you with extending and retracting the hinged rail as needed.

Sit and stand, or perch frame

This is another very useful accessory for some people. If you are hard of sitting, or if you are having trouble bending your knees to sit properly, a sit and stand or a perch frame is very helpful. It enables you to stand or perch instead of sitting when necessary. The frame consists of a bar that you can hold on to during the ride, and an additional safety rail that you can also use. Another use for the standing or perching frame is when the stairs prove too narrow to be able to sit in the chair lift comfortably.

Weather tight seat and unit cover

The weather tight seat and unit cover mostly makes sense for outdoor stairlift only. It prevents rain, dirt and sand, and wind to affect your unit and reduce its life span. There is no covers available for the rail so to keep it in good shape, frequent vacuuming or sweeping is recommended.

Source by Jason Stark

Just What Is UV Protection On Sunglasses And Why Is It Important

Sunglasses are great in more ways than one. They can compliment your appearance while preventing you to have to squint while outside on a sunny day. But sunglasses are not simply a fashion accessory to be taken lightly. They are actually of major importance for protecting our eyes from the sun's UV rays which can lead to diseases of the eye when exposed to them over time.

The ultraviolet radiation element in sunlight is divided into two basic areas – UVA and UVB. Sunglasses block both of these types of rays. What exactly is UVA and UVB you ask? Well, UVA represents the ultraviolet radiation that passes through the Earth's ozone layer, reaches our skin and can lead to premature aging. UVB are also ultraviolet rays, but are absorb, in great amount, by the ozone layer. Still, they are very harmful and can contribute to the cause of skin cancer and cataracts.

The lenses of a pair of sunglasses should be dark enough to reduce the glare of bright light, but not so dark that they distort colors in objects, and obviously not so dark that they inhibit your vision. The point is that as long as the lenses are properly tinted, your eyes will be protected. You do not have to go 'crazy' looking for lenses that are so dark that they not only block out the sun's UV rays, but block out the actual sun itself.

The standard UV protectant level in the sunglass industry is UV400 – across the board – which protects the eyes from 98 per cent of the sun's ultraviolet rays. And statistics based on testing results from inexpensive sunglasses as compared to the more expensive brands show that even sunglasses in the $ 5 and below range, provide the same amount of protection as the more expensive variants. So, the good news is, you do not have to pay more for the best level of protection. And for those who wear prescription sunglasses, something else you might be interested in knowing is that the UV level is the same for both those and the store bought versions.

And for even further comfort and assurance, you may be happy to know that sunglass manufacturers have to follow certain FDA regulations. They have to comply with impact requirements – not saying that sunglasses must be completely shatterproof, but that they will at best, withstand a moderate impact. Sunglass manufacturers also have to follow labeling regulations. No doubt if you've ever bought a pair of sunglasses in your lifetime, you've had to peel that removable sticker off the front of one of the lenses either before you put them on or afterwards when you realize that something's obstructing your view.

They say you get what you pay for. Well, if you pay for a pair of sunglasses, you're paying for good eye health.

Source by Gray Rollins

Diamond Necklace – 3 Tips on How to Choose One and Get the Most For Your Money

The most common type of Diamond Necklace is a single diamond set in a 14k gold basket mounting that hangs on a simple chain. In the jewelry industry this is known as a Diamond Solitaire Pendant. For the readers of this article, our buying advice is aimed mainly at this type of single diamond pendant, or necklace.

1. How to choose the right diamond size: most people can not visualize diamonds by weight, so here is a handy starting point. A 1 Carat diamond is the same diameter as the flat top of a standard pencil eraser, a little over 1/4-inch or 6.5mm. Worn on a choker length chain, this size diamond will command attention and convey status upon the woman that owns it. Depending upon the diamond quality a 1 carat pendant will cost from about $1,200 to $5,000.

For those of us on a budget the good news is that almost any size diamond can look beautiful and appropriate when worn as a necklace. There are a few basic guidelines that you should consider before you purchase. For example, a 1/4-carat diamond will look precious and correct on the neck of a woman 24 years old or younger. A 1/2 to 3/4-carat diamond is appropriate for a woman up to her late 30’s, especially if she is a petite size.

Consider the character and style of the woman as well when choosing your diamond size. The fashion minimalist woman who wears simple black or white clothing, as well as the tailored woman, can wear a smaller diamond. On the other hand, for the extrovert woman who wears layers of vivid colors, the smaller diamond simply will not look correct.

2. How to judge diamond cost versus quality: the cost of your diamond will be determined by what is commonly called The Four C’s: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight as measured on the GIA rating scale. While there is much to be read on these characteristics, the following is a very brief guideline that will result in a beautiful diamond at the lowest cost.

For diamond Color, the best value is G-H-I. The higher grade colors (D-E-F) will cost you up to twice as much, and the average person will not perceive a noticeable difference. The lower color grades (J-K and below) will exhibit a definite dirty-yellow cast.

For diamond Clarity, any diamond rated SI or higher is considered “eye clean”. This means that you don’t need to invest in a VS or higher Clarity diamond because the difference can only be discerned under 10-power magnification. The best value is often an I1 Clarity diamond with minute white crystal inclusions. The cost difference between an I1 Clarity grade and a VVS Clarity grade can be as much as 400%. Although bargain prices can be found on the lowest Clarity grades of I2 and I3, the majority of diamonds in this grade will appear either dark or very dull and cloudy.

For diamond Cut, choose either Excellent or Very Good grades. The hand of the Cutter is what breathes life, fire and a shower of scintillating colors into a diamond. No matter what the other characteristics are, a Poor Cut diamond will appear dull and lifeless. At the end of this article, you will find a link to a single page that compares prices of 48 different quality and carat weights of diamond solitaire pendants.

3. How to choose the right style and length of necklace chain: the chain most commonly sold with a diamond solitaire necklace is an 18-inch.5mm link chain. Most retail jewelers choose to sell it because it lowers their cost. Unfortunately this is a poor choice since it will easily break and 18 inches may be too short depending on the woman who wears it.

In terms of chain width and style, the better choices are a 1 to 1.75mm twisted rope, or a 1 to 1.5mm box link chain. Perhaps the most elegant choice is a 1 to 2mm round snake chain. These chains are well worth the difference in price since they both enhance the look of your necklace, and they will secure the diamond safely on your neck. Don’t accept a standard lightweight link chain because sooner or later it will break and you will lose your diamond.

In length, a solitaire diamond should always be set on a “choker” chain which would be between 18 and 23 inches long. The neckline of a woman will depend on her body shape and size, and the chain should match. Here is a simple rule for determining your chain length: the diamond should rest in or just below the small depression of skin between the collarbones. For many women a common 18-inch chain will place the diamond on their thyroid cartilage, and this is …

Mirror Tinted Contact Lenses

Mirror tinted contact lenses are among the radical innovations introduced with today's technology. Surprisingly however, while being a fresh concept, mirror tinted contact lenses could have experienced decades ago with its not-at-all-new technology. But they did not.

Mirror tinted contact lenses are the largest hype and the hottest topic of interest with today's party loving Americans, and the attention it's getting is what made the innovation fresh. And even without those typical undue revelries, these fancy and crazy eye wear are getting second looks as useful proponents suited for daily use.

Mirror tinted contact lenses can be tailored even to reflect UV rays, much similar to sunglasses. It can go even further, darkening in texture if there is too much light, while lightening in the absence of such. It can also be adapted to cater particular needs, such as color enhancing contact lenses that afford more vision to objects. One instance is using yellow enhancement contact lenses for tennis play that would brighten yellow objects like the ball while muting other colors. Same physics would apply with baseball players; a streaking white ball will be easier to spot in a fraction of a second while using specialized lenses. If truth be told and barring production complications, MaxSight will be available for interested ball players that will help filter out blue light so that the white ball stands out better in a moving environment. This blue light filter is similar to the technique employed while filming Sleepy Hollow, where the movie was showing significantly dark and eerie atmosphere even while being shot in clear daylight.

Aside from that, mirror tinted contact lenses have been garnering attention for some time already for cosmetic reasons. By large, the orders for mirror contact lenses are non-corrective, called Plano lenses, and are frequently disposable. Perhaps the biggest influence for these type of mirror tinted contact lenses came from Riddick from the movie "Pitch Black" and its sequel "The Chronicles of Riddick" where the most striking feature of the anti-hero is his silver tinted eye referred to a number of instances, as eyeshine.

Source by Milos Pesic

Dry Cleaning – Where It All Began And How It Can Benefit You

For as long as people have been wearing clothes, people have also been washing clothes. Whether you're someone who lives depends on a washing machine to push through mountains of clothes, or if you're someone who enjoys the simple method of a good old hand wash, this is always a weekly choir that we can not escape from. In modern days we now have dry cleaning at our finger tips and there's such a variety of services to choose from, but how did it all begin?

The history of dry cleaning stems back to 79 AD in Ancient Rome, where early cleaners were labeled as "Fullers". They used a combination of ammonia, lye and a clay called "fuller's earth" to absorb dirt from their garments.

In the 17th – 18th Centuries cleaning methods began to develop and cleaners would use non – water based solvents to remove unwanted stains like soil from a range of different garments. In 1985, Jean Baptiste Jolly was a French dye-works operator, who recognized the potential in using petroleum-based solvents like gasoline and kerosene, to remove stains instead. This service was the first manifesto of 'dry cleaning' that still offers the familiar service we use today. However as the petroleum solvents caused so many explosions and fires due to flammability, strict government regulation had had to be set in place.

Due to this, a dry cleaner from Atlanta named William Joseph Stoddard, developed a white spirit solvent as an alternative to the gasoline based solvents that were highly flammable. From here on out clearing methods continue to evolve. Although in 1939, World War II lead to petrol shortages which mean that Tetrachlorethylene (perchlorethylene), commonly known as perc, became the most popular solvent. It was non-flammable and provided the highest standard of cleaning power, and thanks to this professional cleaners were allowed to move back into the cities.

Now days, at home you would typically wash your clothes in a washing machine and then tumble dry them, however a Dry Cleaning machine takes both of these processes and combines them into one.

Garments are placed in the core of the machine within a washing chamber known as the "basket" or "drum", which is perforated and rotates within an outer shell that holds the solvent. The chamber is filled with one-third of solvent and starts to rotate, keeping the solvent temperature at 30 degrees Celsius. During the course the solvent in the chamber (also referred to as the "cage" or "tackle box") is passed backwards and forwards through a filtration chamber and the cage itself. This is known as the wash cycle.

Before any garment is washed it must be thoroughly checked for any foreign objects that may be reflected in the pockets. Items like plastic pens will easily dissolve within the solvent which in turn may damage and ruin the garments to the point where they need to be disposed of. The rule of dark colors to be separated from light colors is still applied as the dye can shed when exposed to the solvent. Before any dry cleaning takes place, items must be checked against their compatibility as a lot of fastenings are not normally solvent proof, or just might not be able to withstand the wash cycle. If this is the case then they will either be removed and attached back on after the cleaning has finished, or will be protected where possible.

After the wash cycle comes the rinse cycle, where the garment is rinsed with a fresh distilled solvent, which advances discoloration from soiled particles. Then after the rinse cycle, the machine begins the extraction process, which gathers all the solvent for reuse. Once the solvent has been drained the drying cycle takes over and the garments are tumbled in warm air that flows through the basket. In modern dry cleaning machines use a closed-loop system which means the chilled air can be reheated and re-circulated, resulting in a reduction in air pollution and higher solvent recovery. Once the drying cycle is complete the aeration cycle cools the garments and continues to remove any further passages of solvent. The garments are then ready to be pressed and finished.

Although the powerful method of dry cleaning has been highly related to remove stains with one wash, not all stains can be removed simply by dry cleaning. Some stains will need particular treatments such as specific spotting with solvents, using a stream jet to blast the stain, or a good soak in a specialized stain remover, all of which will need to have been acted before the item is put through the wash cycle . Garments that have been soiled for a long time are even more troublesome when it comes to stain removal, yet if successfully removed there is a reasonably hood that …

Babydolls – Innocent And Yet Naughty

Stroll through the lingerie department and you will see that baby doll lingerie is hot. There are demure satin and lace sets and more risqué sets. What is even more fabulous about babydolls is that they are more affordable than other styles of nightwear. So you can have your risque lingerie and your comfy set too.

Lingerie today comes in every imaginable fabric from satin to pure 100 percent cotton. Lace is no longer irritating to the skin, but soft and subtle. Elastic isn’t stiff but equally stretchy and comfortable. It is a good time to be a woman shopping for lingerie.

Baby dolls lingerie conveys an innocent yet naughty look. When shopping for a new babydoll set, determine the message you want to send to your man. You want to be seen as a pretty princess, choose a lace babydoll. Are you trying to tempt him into bed? Go with a sheer babydoll set. Going for the naughty look? Try perusing the adult exotic lingerie selections on the web.

Beautiful lace baby dolls can be found just about anywhere from discount stores to high end boutiques. The lace elements are usually found in the bodice and along the bottom of the gown and detailing the panties. Often lace is combined with silk or satin. However, some lace babydolls are just that, they are made of lace fabric. They give your viewer a delightful peek a boo hint of your skin. The all lace sets are usually very soft and comfortable to wear.

Sheer babydolls have sheer fabric in the gown. The bodice may be made of lace or satin. But it can also be sheer. The panties may be solid or sheer as well. Sheer fabric is very erotic as it can be seen through but there is just a hint of barrier. This gives your lover something to look forward to taking off of you. When purchasing sheer babydolls, be sure they fit properly. Sheer fabric does not have much give in it and will feel restricted if the item is too small for you.

When shopping for adult exotic lingerie, a baby doll is still a great choice. Exotic lingerie tends to be more revealing and isn’t really designed as sleepwear. However, this should not stop you from considering it. Every woman needs at least one piece of exotic lingerie. We often think of men buying exotic lingerie for us, but why not buy a piece for yourself? Are you planning a weekend getaway or maybe a long vacation? Go lingerie shopping and surprise him with risque lingerie pieces such as a baby doll with a tiny thong.

For everyday sleepwear, baby dolls are cool and comfortable. Many women dislike long gowns as they tend to ride up as we sleep. This problem is solved with a baby doll. The next time you are shopping for new nightwear, consider a cotton or satin babydoll in a fun and colorful fabric. Throw out the tired out T-shirt and put it on. Your husband will be sure to appreciate it.

A quick word about your baby doll panties. The bottom pieces of babydoll sets come in all the styles that panties come in. This means you can have boy cut panties or a sexy thong. Usually the style of panty mirrors that of the baby doll gown. Really it is all up to you, go with what is comfortable or be adventuresome.

Babydolls are a fabulous way to be fun and adventuresome. They are hip, cute and affordable. Let’s go shopping today!

Source by Amanda Cotterill

Olympic Facts – Women's Basketball Olympic Tournament

Did you know …

Montreal 1976

Montreal (Quebec, Canada), one of the most beautiful and modern sites in the Western Hemisphere, hosted the First Women's Basketball Olympic Tournament in 1976. Six countries competed for the gold medal, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Japan. The international meeting was won by the women's national team of the Soviet Union (present-day Russia). A barely a year earlier, the Soviet team came in first in the VII Global championship in Cali, Colombia (South America) by beating Japan in the gold-medal match. Meanwhile, on July 23, 1976, America claimed second place in the multi-sport event after losing to the USSR (spearheaded by its international star Uljana Semjonova) 112-77, having earned the right to compete in the XXIII Olympiad by winning the First FIBA Women's Basketball Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at Hamilton (Ontario, Canada). The silver medalists were Lusia Harris, Cindy Brogdon, Susan Rojcewicz, Ann Meyers, Julienne Simpson, Patricia Head, Mary Anne O'Connor, Patricia Roberts, Gail Marquis, Nancy Lieberman, Charlotte Lewis, and Nancy Dunkle. The US team began its pre-Olympic preparation after winning the VI Pan American Cup in Mexico City in October 1975.

Moscow 1980

Under the leadership of Semjonova, the USSR, host nation, won the Olympic Tournament at Moscow in 1980, followed by Bulgaria (silver medal), Yugoslavia (bronze), Hungary (4th), Cuba (5th) and Italy (6th). It was the second Olympian win for the USSR (also known as the Soviet Union during Cold War). On the other hand, Latvia's giant Uljana Semjonova was the most outstanding basketball player at Moscow '80. For the next years, the 7-foot-1, 284-pound Semjonova was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield (Maryland), the first female player from the former USSR to accomplish that feat.

Los Angeles 1984

For the first ever, the US women's basketball squad captured the Olympian Championship in Southern California. The People's Republic of China collected the silver medal. The bronze medal went to the Republic of Korea; East Europe's teams did not take part at the 1984 Olympiad because of Moscow's boycott. On its way to the Los Angeles Games, the US team – with notable sportswomen such as Janice Lawrence, Cheryl Miller, and Lynette Woodard – won the IX Pan American Sports Games on Venezuelan soil in August 1983. In Venezuela, America defeated Cuba 100- 82 (43-38) to win the Pan American gold medal. A few weeks ago, they came close to winning the FIBA ​​World Cup on Brazilian soil.

Seoul 1988

On October 29, 1988, in South Korea's capital city of Seoul, the US women's team took gold in the Olympian event, after finishing first during the 1984 Games in Los Angeles (California). In the finals, they defeated Yugoslavia 77-70 (42-36). Nonetheless, the "most exciting game" was when America, led by its All-Star player Teresa Edwards, beat the Soviet Union 102-88 (50-39) on October 27 (semis). The States won the Olympian trophy with the following world-class players: Suzanne McConnell, Cynthia Cooper, Jennifer Gillom, Katrina McClaim, Andrea Lloyd, Victoria Bullett, Bridgette Gordon, Teresa Weatherspoon, Anne Donovan, Cynthia Brown, Mary Ethridge, and Miss Edwards . Two years ago, in 1986, they had won the global tournament in the Russian capital of Moscow. In the latter half of the 20th century, America's Edwards made history when she captured four golds in the Summer Games from the 1980s to the early 2000s: Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. Uljana Semjonova (Latvia), Hortencia Fatima Marcari (Brazil) and Edwards are considered the most famous female players in Olympian history.

Atlanta Games 1996

A miracle occurred at Atlanta 1996! Despite suffering a bloody civil war, where over four million people were slaughtered (and thousands of girls were raped), incredibly the African republic of Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of the Congo / DRC) qualified as one of the 12 best teams of the world in the Games of the 26th Olympiad in the States, giving an example to several countries in the Third World, from Peru and the Philippines to India and Brunei Darussalam. Without a doubt, it was the "most memorable moment in Zaire's sporting history." After receiving support from Dikembe Mutumbo, a Congolese-born American star player, the African team went to Atlanta. From an Olympian perspective, Zaire's team should be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Athens 2004

The 2004 Olympic Tournament was won by the United States of America followed by Australia (silver medal), Russia (bronze), Brazil (4th), Czech Republic (5th), Spain (6th), Greece (7th), New Zealand (8th) ), the People's Republic of China (9th), Japan (10th place), Nigeria (11th) and South Korea (12th). In the Greek capital of Athens, the States captured its third gold medal for the third time in a row – the most wins of the basketball Olympic tournament by a women's squad. Curiously, Nigeria's basketball player …

12 Easy Steps to a House Trained Puppy

Getting a new puppy is always an occasion for joy, but for first-timers, it can also be stressful. Of course, you want to get everything right, so that you and your new best friend can enjoy many happy years together, and that means training your puppy to become a good canine citizen. Before you get going on obedience training, though, start with house training.

How It's Done

You might think that house training is going to take forever, but the reality is that if you follow these twelve basic steps, you'll get the job done quickly – probably in just a few weeks.

1. Be Consistent

There is more than one way of house training a puppy. Just make sure that whatever approach you take, you stick with it.

2. Have a Routine

Dogs are happiest when they know what to expect, and what's expected of them. So set specific times for meals. Then, about half an hour after your puppy has eaten, put him outside, and wait until he's done his business. Then bring him back in.

3. Be Watchful

Puppies need to be closely supervised, especially during house training. You should keep your puppy with you, and keep an eye out for signs that he needs to go potty (walking in circles is a tip-off).

4. Do not Ask for Too Much Too Soon

A puppy is not going to be able to control his bladder or bowels for very long. In fact, when you first bring your puppy home (usually at around 8 weeks of age), you can expect that he'll need to go outside every couple of hours. As he matures, he 'll have more control.

5. Plan for Frequent Trips Outdoors

If you can, take your puppy outdoors hourly, at least for the first few days. This way, you'll dramatically reduce the chances of accidents in the house, and you'll also be increasing the number of opportunities you have to reinstate the idea that you want him to do his business outside.

6. Separate Potty Time from Play Time

Do not hang around outdoors once the potty break is over – bringing the puppy inside right away. You can go right back out to play in a few minutes if you like, but what you're trying to do is reinforce the idea that the yard is where he's supposed to pee and poop.

7. Pick a Spot

You'll have great success if you choose just one place in the yard for potty trips (it will make cleaning up easier, too). Always lead the puppy to one spot. His nose will tell him that this is the right place.

8. Pick a Phrase

When you take the puppy to the spot you've chosen, tell him "Go potty," or another phrase you've chosen. Occasionally, he'll go to his special spot in the yard just by being told, without needing to be led.

9. Make Good Things Happen

Praise your puppy and give him a treat once you're back in the house – not while he's doing his business in the yard. You do not want him to think he's being praised for peeing or pooping; otherwise, he's not going to understand why he's not praised when he does it in the house. What you're teaching him is that if he does his business outside, something good will happen when get gets back indoors.

10. Do not Feed Before Bed

Two hours before it's time to turn in for the night, take away the water dish, and do not offer any treats. This way, the chances of accidents during the night can be reduced.

11. Use a Crate

When you can not be at home, put your puppy in a crate. Most dogs are related to eliminate where they sleep. Just make sure that the crate is not so big that the puppy decides that one area is for sleeping, and another for eliminating. Before crating, make sure he gets a potty trip out to the yard, and when you get back, take him outside again.

12. Never Punish

Do not punish your puppy for accidents. Some dogs take a bit longer than others to house train, but if you punish, you run the risk of the puppy trying to hide his mistakes from you.

The Final Word

House training a puppy takes a bit of time and effort, but it needs to be done. Just be consistent, praise and reward your puppy, and you'll probably be pleasantly surprised at how quickly it can be accomplished

Source by Kim Eliza

Family Relationships Under Fire

Lessons from the Front Line

I sat glued to the news conference as three wounded soldiers – Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Menard, Army Staff Sergeant James Villafane, and Army Sergeant Charles Horgan – recounted their experiences of coming under fire from Iraqi troops in civilian dress at the city of Nassiriya. Villafane and Horgan told about being struck by an incoming missile.

As I watched, I, too, was struck…by the similarities between their experiences on the battlefield and those of stressed-out families, “under fire.” Listen and learn from their experiences.

Lesson 1: DON’T BE CAUGHT OFF-GUARD; PREPARE.

Menard said, “We were very surprised. We were told that when we were going through Nassiriya that we would see little to no resistance. They weren’t rolling over like we thought they would.”

Realistically anticipate and prepare for the inevitable challenges your family will face. “Prepare for the worst,” while guarding the positive attitudes that “create the best.”

Lesson 2: YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS CAN BE MISUNDERSTOOD.

Villafane commented, “The amount of resistance, some of it I don’t understand. I mean, we’re there to help them to get them out of the regime. It was a shock that they would actually do that, given the treatment we try to give them. We try to treat them fairly.”

Know this! You can be misunderstood by family members, even when you have the best of intentions and are trying your best. Parents, it takes courage to make wise, yet unpopular decisions.

On the other hand, “meaning well” can’t substitute for “doing well.” Check your actions, being willing to openly consider what it’s like to be on the other side of you.

Lesson 3: DON’T MAKE MISTAKES ABOUT WHO YOUR ENEMY IS.

A group of Iraqi soldiers dressed in the civilian robes of nomad Bedoins opened fire on Menard as he and six other Marines approached them on a bridge in Nassiriya. Military enemies, pretending to be harmless.

Even more appalling was the account of the American soldier who allegedly threw the grenade that killed and injured people in his own troop. Yet, we’ve lost our sensitivity to the shock of similar assaults in our own families…daily “grenades” of hurtful words and destructive actions.

“Out there”, there are so many enemies to the wellbeing of family members. How can we hope to combat those if we spend our time fighting within our own ranks? What can you do today to mend family rifts?

Lesson 4: DON’T PANIC WHEN TROUBLES COME.

Sergeant Horgan told about how he worked to stay calm, though he had just been wounded by the enemy missile. He said that he was grateful that “training kicks in” and that he was able not to panic. “My foot may be gone, but I gotta move.”

When you are faced with an unexpected and distressing challenge in your family, don’t panic, reacting impulsively. Seek help if necessary. Don’t say or do things that make the situation worse in the long run.

Stop…think…plan…then act.

Lesson 5: PROTECT YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS, NOT JUST YOURSELF.

The way these well-trained, courageous soldiers behaved under fire is, to me, the greatest of our lessons in family teamwork. Listen in, and examine your own habits and actions.

Horgan, whose right leg and foot were ripped open when he was blown from his gunning position, described his thoughts when he saw the incoming missile: “Oh, my God, I’m gonna die. I gotta warn my buddies.”

Villafane quipped, “It’s not being shot at that so bad. It’s being shot that really sucks!” (Can you relate to that?) Despite the horror of what they had experienced, the three wounded men all said they felt a sense of guilt about leaving friends behind in Iraq. Horgan told reporters, “I’m relieved that I’m out… Nobody can be shot and say, ‘Wow, I really want to go back out there. That was great.’ But I’m kind of sad that I’m not with the guys who protected me. My friends protected me when I needed them. I joined to serve my country. But when I was there, I was fighting to protect my friends.

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