Online Shopping Security Tips

Most people shop online nowadays. While the public is generally more savvy in terms of avoiding phishing and scams than in the past, scammers still find creative ways to trick people. Here are some useful tips for shopping safely:

Via: TrendMicro

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A Small Wedding

The purpose of a marriage ceremony is not for the glorification of a commercialized institution of wedding businesses. Regardless of what wedding magazines and people profiting from a bridal business model may attempt to convince customers of, a marriage ceremony is about love. It is about the glorification of a couple merging as one!
Focusing on the essence of a wedding can actually be more challenging if too much attention is placed on having a lavish wedding. A simple wedding can actually be more romantic and loving than a large and relatively expensive wedding extravaganza. A couple should already be happy and content together prior to a wedding. This happiness should continue through the wedding and, of course after the wedding. It is still the same couple after the wedding and the couple should hopefully be enhanced by the experience, not stressed by the planning or expense. It should be considered to be, in some ways, as a public statement of an agreement of two people to pair together for good.
Many wedding traditions actually have commercial origins. The concept of a diamond ring is one example promoted by companies in the beginning of the 20th century through popular media. Many people today seem to think that diamond rings have been the standard engagement ring for hundreds of years or more. Diamonds were certainly not as valuable prior to an advertising campaign that made diamond companies rich and diamonds a standard. This has caused moral issues in the regions where the diamonds are mined and diamond cartels like DeBeers have been artificially maintaining a high price for diamonds for many years. While the concept of a lasting stone as a symbol is nice, the rest of the process of involved in much of the diamond business has been something generally inappropriate for a wedding.
It is a wise idea, when planning a modern wedding, to make a choice for a more socially ecological solution on a global scale. This is to be seen as a return to a pure heart of wedding joy. Having a small wedding in a cozy and quaint chapel can be both more monetarily and morally pleasant. Additionally, it is much better for a couple to be able to continue forward after the wedding free from any financial obligations related to the wedding day. This can be a much better emotional springboard for a marriage to blossom from. Small weddings can be really big on heart, where large weddings occasionally seem to forget what is really most important.
Having a small wedding is something that does need to be done properly for the most romantic way to enjoy the occasion. Location is really important, as a small chapel or a garden in a romantic natural location can really make every other aspect of the wedding seem relatively easy. Natural is always in, especially right now, and it can be a really wonderful way to make a wedding amazingly romantic in an affordable way.
Remember that a small wedding can have a big romantic appeal.

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Super Savvy Sewing

Don’t be fooled into thinking that sewing is a thing of the past. Honestly, where we would be if clothing designers didn’t grow up with dreams of sewing their hearts out? We all could benefit from learning the basic sewing rules even if it is only to attach a missing button. When it comes to design and fashion women always know what they want. If we could all sew our favorite dress designs then designers would be out of business. When it comes to sewing and fashion you might be surprised at how easy it is to mimic today’s hottest dresses.

From Vera Wang to Milly these top ten dress designers know how to arrange pieces and fabrics to create elegant and abstract dresses. The only problem is that you can create these looks at home for a fraction of the cost as long as you take a few basic sewing classes. Designing cresses is not terribly hard. The patterns are either pre-designed or drawn-up. When it comes drawing and making your own patterns the idea sounds complicated but the actual task is not hard. When you find a pre-made design that you totally love, but you see one or two specs that you would like to alter, this is when the pattern-making diva in you should take over. Altering a pattern is like drawing simple blueprints. You pick your style and make additions. Add an inch here, throw a couple button holes there, move the zipper four inches to the left, and so on. When you are making fashion alterations are your best friend.

How awesome would it be to take the next runway look and knock the nine hundred dollar price tag down to less than thirty bucks? It is possible. But you have to put in the time. Nothing is ever finished unless you take it upon yourself to learn. Where would Tracey Reese and Shoshanna be if they never learned to sew? We all have the ability to create amazing dresses in our own homes; we just have to find the motivation to develop the skill. Some of the simplest sewing machines can be purchased for fewer than thirty dollars; threads and materials can be purchased for less than one dollar a yard. Once you price the differences between top dollar design and the simplistic option of self-design there is no comparison. We’ve all seen pages in magazines that show you cheaper options that resemble designer looks; you can create these looks for less than the discounted options. Don’t resist. Use that creative spark to engage in a hobby that will pay-off big-time!


Finding Your Way Back To Saying Yes

Not too long ago we went through a very empowering stage that made it okay to give ourselves the permission to just say, no.  We proudly practiced saying no to going to the wedding of a distant relative or acquaintance; no to babysitting our neighbors kids on our only day off; no to putting in a few extra hours at work to help a co-worker finish a project; and no to just about anything else that we did not feel particularly compelled to do.  If something did not directly impact our life or situation, we were vigorously persuaded that the time had come to reclaim our voices, and use them to say no, without feeling guilty.

The scales have officially tipped, and it now seems that we have forgotten that we used to say yes so much because we got something very valuable out of it.  And now it has been gone so long that we only feel the void where it used to be, but rarely can put our finger on what’s missing.  What is missing is the pleasure we used to get from giving of our time and of ourselves to help to others.  What is also missing is the sense of balance in our lives that kept us from becoming fully absorbed by our own problems and fears.

Not only have we become fully entrenched in saying no to others, but we have also let that selfishness spill over to our own needs and desires, and have become accustomed to scaling  down to doing only what serves a functional purpose.  In other words, we have stopped doing things for the simple pleasure it gave us or others, and have fallen into a dangerous rut.
We are in danger of wasting time that we can never get back.  We are also in danger of missing out on the opportunities that can lead us to greater things; those things that we would have no other way of knowing about.

Constantly passing up the chance to get out of our own reality, and more fully experience our sacred connection to the rest of the world, is just as bad, if not worse, than over extending ourselves.  There is no absolute set of rules that we can reference to find where our harmony lays, but to find it we only need to look within ourselves.  Our feelings about the things we do will tell us if what we are doing is enhancing our lives.

When we are presented with an opportunity to do something for somebody, it is perfectly okay to stop and think about it for a moment; so that we have the chance to see it for what it is, beyond being a favor asked of us.  It is also a good idea to see things that we have a chance to do for ourselves for what they are, and not like another obligation.  If the chance comes up to do something that we have been putting off or haven’t made the time to do, we may have to talk ourselves into it at first, but we will be so happy we did. It’s amazing how the word yes leads to the words thank you.


The Gift of Giving is Receiving

Why is it that we can so easily give of ourselves but when tables turn and we find it impossible to accept the gift of giving from others? Are some of us just more vulnerable when we are offered gifts of giving? Is it pride that steps up and rears it’s head at the gifts of another? Or could it be dignity? That proud reserve that comes into the light when we are offered a hand, or a gift, from another.

No matter the origins of the refusal it is almost imperative that we begin to crest over that hill of acceptance and see the world for what it is. When another person offers of themselves, just as you may have done for others in your life, they are giving of their heart. They offer of themselves so that one can benefit and be fruitful with the gift. Often we see the gift as a slap in the face, a hit on our personal affairs, but why? When we give gifts of the heart do we not feel a wonderful sensation, a genuine sensation, of love for another? Then why is it that we feel so strongly towards refusing another this special feeling for us?

The act of gracious receiving is as important as giving. This statement being true pushes us towards the realization of acceptance. By allowing another to grace your life with a gift of giving you are honoring that person just as you honor the gift given.

When I was a child I knew a family who was in peril. Their home had no electricity, their vehicles had been repossessed, and their home was going to be taken from them. I remember my Mother speaking with the Pastor of our family church and requesting that this family be given a gift of money. This was immediately accepted by the church and a check was written. But the next Sunday when the gift was presented to the Father he became enraged. He stormed from the church, accused my Mother of prying into their business, and after that day they were never seen in the church congregation again. I learned a valuable lesson that day. If those that we love know that we are hurting, struggling, and their intention of helping us is rejected then who is hurt? Noone involved is blessed.

We are independent individuals, but we all have underlying dependant qualities. The true blessing come when those qualities of life blend and we become strong, secure, interdependent individuals who gain the capacity of full love and accept the love of others. If the secret of life is giving and receiving, but we only acknowledge one, we miss out on a huge portion of the secret and the blessings that come with it.


When is the Best Time to Exercise?

There has been quite a bit of curiosity surrounding the ideal time to exercise. As well, there has been an equal amount of controversy to argue morning vs. night, and vice versa. Is there an answer to this common question? When is the ideal time to workout?

Apparently there are nearly an equal number of advocates for bright and early workouts as there are people pushing to support evening workouts. It was once a given that waking up and working out in the wee hours of the morning was the ideal time to fit in that aerobic jumpstart to the rest of your day. First of all, working out in the morning will trigger the metabolism and begin burning calories at a healthy rate early on in the day, and hopefully last throughout the better part of the day. It also seems to be the most opportune time for people to actually stick to their newly created regimens. Studies have shown that people who work out in the morning are more likely to stick to their exercise routines than those who have not selected a particular time to exercise each day, or who have chosen afternoon/evening workouts.

The initiative to promote morning workouts has since been questioned, and even slightly dismissed. There has recently been a transition in focus onto convenience over anything else. This answer is the most operative based on the vastly different needs of people who juggle families, careers, and social lives. It is important for every individual to find what works best for him or her. By choosing to work out in the morning, or in the afternoon, simply based on what specifically feels most comfortable and convenient, the likelihood of maintaining the workout routine is all the greater. Continuing the exercise will produce the greatest results, thus rendering this solution the most practical.

Recent studies, however, have actually concluded that working out in the afternoon or evening may be able to provide tangible results when answering the long lingered question as to when to exercise. Researchers reveal that the body reaches its highest temperature in the afternoon, most often around 2 pm – 4 pm, which creates a prime physical condition for the body to reap the most beneficial results of exercise. As well, the body is proven to be stronger in the afternoon. A recent study conducted over a period of 10 weeks compared experienced weight trainers given 45 minute cardio exercises plus 45 minutes of weight lifting, four times a week. Half of the subjects trained in the morning (before 10am) and the other half in the evening (after 6 pm). Results indicated that the test subjects who worked out in the evening had an overall 3% increase of lean muscle mass with a 4% decrease of body fat. The test subjects who worked out in the morning showed neither a decrease in body fat, nor an increase in lean muscle mass. Though the reasoning behind these results is not for certain, it was speculated that the body is stronger and more equipped to push harder during a workout in the afternoon. It was also surmised that the weight loss was most likely a result of the increased metabolism during a time where it would otherwise naturally begin decreasing for the night.

In conclusion, yes; the ideal time to workout may differ for everyone. We are all different individuals who lead very different lifestyles. Ultimately, finding the time to work out and create an actual daily routine towards a healthier lifestyle is positive no matter what. However, if you are serious about getting the most out of each workout, you may consider the afternoon or evening; where you can really reach your optimum potential all the while reducing the risk of injury. It is a great moment to look forward to each day, a welcome stress reliever, and may also help you sleep better. After all, there is always coffee in the morning. You may as well have a natural pick-me-up for the afternoon too.


How To Never Look Your Age

Until the age of twenty-one, we do everything possible to look older than we are, the older we can make ourselves look the more we get to do and the happier we are.  Sometime after turning twenty-one we stop trying to look older, we don’t have to try anymore it is happening every day without our help.  Then one day, as we pass a mirror and catch a glimpse of our reflection we realize that we look different than we did as kids and we start to wonder if it is a good thing or a bad thing.  Suddenly we start doing things that take us back to feeling like we did before we got older and that seems to help take our minds off of our looks.  Then, before we know it, we find ourselves in the very odd place of trying to look younger.

When we first notice this new feeling it is still unclear why we are feeling this way in the first place.  It could be a lot of things, maybe our kids our getting older.  Maybe we stopped carded to buy alcohol.  Maybe we noticed a few grey hairs or lines on our faces that never used to be there before.  Whatever the reason, all that is a hundred percent clear is that we don’t want to look our age, we want to look younger.

Our first instinct will probably be to dress younger than we are, or how we used to dress.  This younger way of dressing will probably leak into the music we listen to, the way we speak, and the things we do for fun.  For a while we will imagine that these things are really making us look younger.  Eventually these things will stop having the effect of making us feel or look younger, it fact, they can end up making us just feel stupid.  It’s not that we can’t look younger, it’s because wearing clothes and doing things that are no longer our style robs us of our confidence and that is very aging.  We cannot get away from the fact that we have changed in many ways over the years, and that includes our tastes in clothes and everything else.

This doesn’t mean that we have to accept looking older than we feel and do nothing about it.  It is a fact that the way we look affects the way feel, and the way we feel affects the way we look.  So it is not something we should just ignore and not bother taking an interest in.  But how else can somebody look younger than they are without dressing and acting the part.

Becoming completely comfortable with who we are and who we’ve become, and having complete acceptance of ourselves is the best place to start.  This takes years off our face and soul.  Anybody who appears uncomfortable with their age looks even older than they are.  Dressing to impress ourselves is the next vital step.  Chances are we still have some of our old style with us from our younger selves.  There are parts of our personalities that never go away completely, and we should let them find their place in our new style.  Age really is just a number and we are a lot more than the numbers in our age.  Staying true to ourselves and never trying to go back in time or be what somebody else is will be a beautiful thing at any age.


Habits Versus Addictions

Not many people can tell you when their habit became an addiction. If they think about it long enough they will be able to confirm that a particular habit did take on a life it’s own and morph into being an addiction. There are some distinct differences between addictions and habits. Addictions are not limited to bad or unhealthy actions. They can include healthy actions, done in unhealthy amounts, in unhealthy ways, or in place of participating in the rest of their life. Addictions are not who a person is to begin with, but can be what defines them in the end.  

Anything can be come a potential addiction. Some popular ones include, food, sex, shopping, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, relationships, and even pain. “I have an addictive personality”, has become a very popular thing to say. People hide behind this. It’s like a cover or disclaimer to excuse their behavior. This is something that may be said while the addiction is still in the habit stage. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is also the tie that binds the person, to the benign thing or action, that used, or done in excess, will be the person’s undoing.  

There are plenty of people who engage in all of the behaviors that become the addictions of others, and do not become addicted to them. There is obviously a trigger that goes off to propel certain people into the darkness of their actions. While others enjoy life in a normal healthy way, unencumbered by the compulsion to repeatedly do things that ultimately make them unhappy.  

When an individual engages in a habit, they may recognize that they routinely take part in a certain activity, but can still feel whole and happy while doing other things as well. These people will more than likely be able to change the habit once they have decided it’s to their benefit to do so, and when they feel ready to. 

The person addicted to the same behavior will rarely, if ever, feel comfortable when not engaging in their addiction. It usually becomes their motivation for most of what they will do in the course of their day. If they are unable to participate in doing what they are addicted to they may experience great anxiety and depression. They could have actual physical withdrawal and can become very sick and despondent. Addictions will drive people to do anything to be able to get what they feel they need. They are painfully aware that they are not experiencing happiness or pleasure, at some point, later in their addiction, but feel that they cannot stop. Sometimes the only way for an addiction to be broken is to shock the system, by completely taking the person out of any reach of what they are addicted to. Or in the case of food addictions, have close supervision at all times.   

Addictions can be broken, as can habits. The difference is that once that line is crossed, there is usually no going back. Though the action can be stopped or controlled, it will be an issue that the person will need to be ready to have resurface at any time. Usually the longer the time in recovery, the stronger the individual becomes and the weaker their addiction becomes.

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Be Your Own Friend

The timeless quote “Know Thyself” is a valuable sentiment that has led millions of people to embark on a lifelong journey of self discovery. As children we feel that ‘knowing’ within us. We just Know that we know it all and that we could not possibly see the world any differently no matter how old we get. But of course, with age, comes that realization that tends to lead us to wishes of reversing time, in hopes of regaining that sense of all-knowingness and that higher self we once knew as children.

We knew exactly what we wanted to do, who we wanted to be, and where we wanted to go. For some reason, as we age, it becomes apparent that there are more choices and the we should discover a new meaning and new path for ourselves to accommodate the discovery of all of these new options. We are our own best friend as children and somehow that fades. Instead of knowing ourselves inside and out we become dependant on others for recognition and understanding. We lose our independence, pass far beyond interdependence, and end up stuck I dependancy.

We must regain that self-friendship. We must remember how wonderful it was to know ourselves and truly appreciate ourselves. We had dreams, like paved roads, ready to follow and we need to rediscover that path. To know thyself is to understand the what’s, why’s, and how’s of our life. When we were young we were pure love and pure hope and all of that hope and love was bottled inside ready to explode. And somehow the environment of adulthood taught us to forget why we are here.

Begin to rediscover your inner friendship. Begin by counting your blessing everyday. Be thankful for what you have. Then start erasing. Sit down with a pad and paper and have an ‘inside’ conversation. Let go of all of the old, innate, thoughts and pictures that have ended with your unhappiness. Think back to your childhood and remember those things that brought you the most hope and the things that radiated from you with precise knowing. Did you dream of being a nurse? A writer? A cartoonist? Embrace yourself for who and what you are and let go of all the impressions that were forced upon you. If you are living the life that someone else set-up for you, and you are miserable, then reconsider. It is possible for us to meet ourselves again for the first time, give a hug to your inner child, and learn the important lessons all over again.

Don’t live the life of someone else. Live your life as you wanted to live it. It is easy for us to veer off of our hearts path as we grow up, but when we take the time to make a new friendship within ourselves and start over, we can be amazed at how quickly our inner child reminds us of our forgotten dreams. Reinvent the friendship with yourself.

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Experiencing Jealousy

You are out having a great time when suddenly your smile begins to fade, your muscles get tight, and you are tense all over. Just that quick, a perfectly careless moment, takes on a completely different texture. An intricate tangle of feelings and emotions begin to intertwine deep within you. It feels like your heart and soul have been drawn into a rigid, unyielding, knot in the pit of your stomach. 

You aren’t dying, you only feel like you are. You are experiencing an acute jealous moment. Relax, it’s a perfectly normal emotion, and it usually passes pretty quickly. It happens to the best of us. Anybody who says they never have them, is either out of touch with their emotions, or not being completely honest.  

These are small, but significant wrinkles in time, so it’s important to understand why a perfectly calm, secure, good natured person could feel this way. One of the most common instigators is the absurdly hot girl or guy, that everybody wants to be with, or wants to look like. Or the co-worker who always seems to be a few steps ahead of everybody else. And everybody has a friendly neighbor with the, Better Homes and Gardens, yard. Sometimes none of these things will cause that familiar pang of jealousy. It just depends on a person’s state of mind and the situation.  Of course a really insecure person can get jealous of just about anything. That is not normal or healthy, and needs to be looked into. 

Having a bad day, or even a bad week, can set this emotion off. Whatever the reason this phenomenon takes place, it can be handled with grace until the urgency of the moment passes. Taking deep slow breaths and re-focusing our energy is very helpful. 

Every day, relationships are destroyed because of irrational jealousy or insecurity. The victim who forfeits their control, to the coveting of others, loses sight of themselves, and is blinded by the light of another.  

Each time this feeling is allowed to get a good workout, the control over our healthy thoughts gets weaker. There are people who are willing to go to any lengths to have what they see others having. Living like this brings only temporary satisfaction. The degrees of jealousy can vary from benign, to outright irrational and outrageous. Out of control jealousy can lead to stalking or worse. Some people adopt that old saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” as their mission statement. Not a good idea. 

It is wise to remember that there will always be somebody who is better at something, or has more of something, than we do. There is no way to be the best at everything, all the time. Everybody has there bad days and their good days. There is no reason to feel threatened by somebody else’s light. Be happy for it, as it may light your way one day. We all have our own light that gets as bright as we let it, if we let it.  

There is a saying that could qualify as words to live by. “When the grass looks greener on he other side of the fence, start watering yours more.”