Friday, April 27, 2012

Beauty




When you think of the world’s most beautiful woman, who comes to mind? Is it Beyonce, recently named “Most Beautiful” by People Magazine, or is it your best friend, wife or girlfriend? Or maybe you think of someone else famous like Megan Fox or Charlize Theron. Whoever comes to mind, just know you’re wrong. According to some scientists in Great Britain, subjectivity has got nothing to do with and this lovely lady pictured to the left, Florence Colgate, is the most beautiful woman based on facts and figures. Reported in a recent article on Gawker, Colgate was recently named Britain’s Most Beautiful Woman because her face is an example of near perfect symmetry. Yes, that’s right, in this photo where she is (supposedly) wearing no makeup, you can see that the 18-year-old, blonde, Caucasian woman is indeed attractive, but why is a whole different story. If beauty is all about symmetry and ratios and other things that sound absurd when you really think about them, why do those with the crooked smiles and gap teeth even bother? To this I wave my hands and say “phooey”, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What are your thoughts?


Are you staring at a perfect face?


PS: I feel bad for this woman who will now be subjected to being picked apart by everyone who cares about the "mathematics" behind beauty.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bringing in the Bacon




No, it’s not spam, but it is associated with a pork product.

Search engine optimization has a bad name in many circles. It is synonymous with spamming much in the same way that racial, lifestyle, and religious stereotypes work; the few bad apples make the normal, honorable “SEOs” look bad. With that said, this isn’t about them.

People are getting more involved with their websites and they often ask what they should be focused upon to get their search rankings higher. I always tell them the same thing, and it’s held true since 2007. In fact, it’s become even more important.

Bacon.

Bacon is the key to SEO when it comes to business owners or non-SEO tech people. It’s part of every good SEOs arsenal but it’s the one thing that truly requires no SEO or web development knowledge. Everyone can work with bacon.

It’s not literally bacon, of course. It’s the concept of having something extra that normally enhances but rarely stands alone as a singular factor. It adds flavor to the website, makes it more appealing, gives it the flavor that search engines crave, draws us in with its smell when cooking, enhances the flavor of everything it touches, and engages directly with our taste buds.

How does this translate to SEO that business owners can do themselves? It’s simple.

Bacon represents additional content, the type that may or may not be linked in the navigation menu but that exists solely to bring value to people who see it. It’s not the standard type of value that people associate with their websites. Most look at value as offering resources or advice that pertains to their industry.

“Bacon content” is different. Its value is brought about from a different angle. It’s not necessarily a part of the website that people can normally get to without knowing the URL, seeing it on social, or emerging in search. In essence, it’s simply extra content.

Good bacon adds flavor to the site. The content can be a cool collection, an amazing video, a strong infographic, or unique written content. It can never be insincere, unnatural, or copied. Collections are not copies. For example, Chicago Toyota put out a page with high-quality images of the city that they compiled. That works. That’s bacon.

Thick bacon gives substance. In the example above, there’s a lot of content but not necessarily a lot of substance. It’s not “thick” bacon. Infographics and articles can offer the thick cuts that search engines love. Don’t forget, bacon doesn’t have to be thick to be good but it’s nice to have a thick slice or two every now and then.

The smell of bacon can bring people to the table. Similarly, the enchantment of quality bacon content can bring people to the website. These aren’t necessarily customers, but they might just share the page which is the end goal.

The enhancement factor is similar to the flavor factor but works in reverse. By enhancing the website, bacon content is able to give the search engines something juicy to sink their teeth into, not just from what’s on the site but the reactions through social media.

Engaging bacon (sounds scary, actually) is the concept that some bacon is able to take on a life of its own and start working with and through people. This is the most rare component of bacon content and is normally unplanned, but when it happens search magic can take place. This is one with obscure examples that few would recognize but the best real-life example of how it worked was the Old Spice Guy. It went viral online and off. People started watching it, waiting for it, talking about it – in essence the Old Spice Guy “optimized” a faltering deodorant brand and revitalized sales as a result.

Anyone can find and post bacon content, which is why it’s the most important thing non-technical and untrained SEOs can do.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Night Thoughts

It's just after 11PM and I am laying in my bed. The sheets are clean and the bed is made. I still have my socks on but that's OK, I'm not really in bed... I'm just on the bed. My lower back is moaning with relief; it can finally relax. It's been a busy day.

As I pulled into my parking lot today for the 8th time I realized that I feel more relaxed when I have a busy weekend of things I enjoy then a weekend of slow movements and thoughts. Yesterday, I spent most of the day watching movies from under a blanket. I ate about a dozen pancakes and a handful of jelly beans. I was irritable because I hadn't accomplished anything. The most I had done all day was rush home, have a bath, get changed and then rush back to my spot in the coach.

Today, I was up... I was active. I had people to see, things to do and I did almost all of it.

And I feel good. I am tired and satisfied.

This morning I watched The Office, and and Erin are together now. He went and picked her up and drove right back to Scranton, NJ. On the way home they stopped to break-up with his current girlfriend. The story was when he did, he did it in a cowards way-- he lied, didn't admit his true feelings for Erin and just made things happen in the easiest way possible.

The cowards way. It was wrong and as they drove away, Erin was deflated and Andy appeared weak. He turned around, Went back to his ex-girlfriend and proclaimed the truth. He was actually in love with Erin! It indeed make matters worse but in the end, he fought for Erin. He was proud of her and was willing to sing it from the mountains.

And I cried.

This isn't real, it really can't ever be. But it's fun to get caught up in it all.

My eyes are getting heavy, the curtains in my bedroom are open just enough that I can look at the lights from the Calgary tower.

It's the same every night and sometimes I pretend that I'm looking out my window at The Eiffel Tower though they don't look alike at all. I just like to pretend. And that's OK because it gives me sweet dreams.

And on that note, I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is Monday and it's the start of another busy week.

I have one beautiful remark before I go to sleep.... I am in new birth control to help with my crazy PMS time. This is the weekend that I get hit with the saddest sadness, the most anxious anxiety, and the craziest of thoughts-- this weekend I wasn't. I was normal. I was grounded. I felt like how I do all the rest of the time. It's amazing and I can't believe how good I feel! I just had to report that.


Joy!

xxoo

B.

Friday, April 13, 2012

15 International Food Etiquette Rules That Might Surprise You

 

In Thailand, don't put food in your mouth with a fork.

Instead, when eating a dish with cooked rice, use your fork only to push food onto your spoon. A few exceptions: Some northern and northeastern Thai dishes are typically eaten with the hands—you'll know you've encountered such a dish if the rice used is glutinous or "sticky." Also, stand-alone items that are not part of a rice-based meal may be eaten with a fork. But, says Leela Punyaratabandhu, a food writer who blogs at SheSimmers.com, the worst thing to do at a traditional, rice-based meal would be to use chopsticks. "That is awkward and inconvenient at best and tacky at worst," she says.


In Japan, never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice.

Between bites, your chopsticks should be placed together right in front of you, parallel to the edge of the table—and nowhere else, says Mineko Takane Moreno, Japanese cooking instructor and co-author of Sushi for Dummies. (If there is a chopsticks rest, you use it, putting the tips you've been eating with on the rest.) But sticking them upright in a bowl of rice is even worse: During funerals in Japan, the rice bowl of the deceased is placed before their coffin... with their chopsticks upright in the rice. So what would she rather see: Someone doing that at a meal, or asking for a fork? Mineko doesn't hesitate. "Asking for a fork," she says.


In the Middle East, India and parts of Africa, don't eat with your left hand.


In South India, you shouldn't even touch the plate with your left hand while eating. That's largely because the left hand is associated with, um, bodily functions, so it's considered to be dirty. In fact, says Foster, don't even pass important documents with your left hand. A lefty? Then it's okay to use your left hand—as long as you take your right hand out of the game.


At a traditional feast in Georgia, it's rude to sip your wine.

At what Georgians call a supra (traditional feast), wine is drunk only at toasts. So wait for those... and then down the whole glass at once. On the upside, says Georgia-based photographer and videographer Paul Stephens, the glasses tend to be on the small side.


In Mexico, never eat tacos with a fork and knife.

Worried about spilling refried beans and salsa all over your front? Tough. Mexicans think that eating tacos with a fork and knife looks silly and, worse, snobby—kind of like eating a burger with silverware. So be polite: Eat with your hands.


In Italy, drink a cappuccino only before noon.

Some Italians say that a late-day cappuccino upsets your stomach, others that it's a replacement for a meal (it's common to have just a cappuccino, or a cappuccino and a croissant, for breakfast). Either way, you won't see Italians ordering one in a café at 3 p.m.—and certainly not after a big dinner. Do so, and you'll be instantly branded a tourist. If you need that coffee fix, though, an espresso is fine.



In Britain, always pass the port to the left—and remember the Bishop of Norwich.

It's unclear why passing port on the left is so important; some say it has to do with naval tradition (the port side of a boat is on your left if you're facing the helm). Regardless, passing the decanter to the right is a big gaffe. So is not passing it at all. If you're at a meal and the decanter stalls, then ask the person with it, "Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?" If they say they don't know him, reply, "He's a very good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port." It sounds weird, but it's true. This is such a nationwide tradition, the Telegraph wrote an article on it.


In France, don't eat your bread as an appetizer before the meal.

Instead, eat it as an accompaniment to your food or, especially, to the cheese course at the end of the meal. That said, one thing that would be a faux pas anywhere else—placing bread directly on the table and not on a plate—is perfectly acceptable in France—in fact, it's preferred.


In China, don't flip the fish.


Although you might be used to flipping over a whole fish once you've finished one side, don't—at least not when you're in China, especially southern China and Hong Kong. That's because flipping the fish is dao yue in Chinese, a phrase similar to "bad luck." Plus, says Foster, "to flip the fish over is like saying that the fisherman's boat is going to capsize." The most superstitious will leave the bottom part untouched, while others will pull off the bone itself to get to the bottom.


In Italy, don't ask for parmesan for your pizza—or any other time it's not explicitly offered.

Putting parmigiano on pizza is seen as a sin, like putting Jell-O on a fine chocolate mousse. And many pasta dishes in Italy aren't meant for parmesan: In Rome, for example, the traditional cheese is pecorino, and that's what goes on many classic pastas like bucatini all'amatriciana, not parmesan. A rule of thumb: If they don't offer it to you, don't ask for it.


Don't eat anything, even fries, with your hands at a meal in Chile.

Manners here are a little more formal than many other South American countries. So while it might be the most practical to just pick up those fries with your fingers, don't do it. "The greater need is to identify with European culture, so food is [eaten] with a knife and a fork," Foster says.


In Korea, if an older person offers you a drink, lift your glass to receive it with both hands.

Doing so is a sign of respect for elders, an important tenet of Korean culture. After receiving the pour with both hands, you should turn your head away and take a discreet sip, says Stephen Cha-Kim, a Korean-born worker's rights advocate who regularly visits family in Korea. "To this day, if anybody hands me anything, both hands shoot out instinctively," Cha-Kim says. Similarly, don't start eating until the eldest male has done so (and don't leave the table until that person is finished).


Never mix—or turn down—vodka in Russia.

The beverage is always drunk neat—and no, not even with ice. Adding anything is seen as polluting the drink's purity (unless the mixer is beer, which produces a formidable beverage known as yorsh). But there's another faux pas that's even worse, says Foster: when you're offered the drink and you turn it down. Since offering someone a drink is a sign of trust and friendship, it's a good idea to take it. Even if it is 9 a.m.


When drinking coffee with Bedouins in the Middle East, shake the cup at the end.

Typically, anyone Bedouin—or Bedouin-related—will continue to pour you more coffee once you've finished unless you shake the cup, meaning tilting the cup two or three times, when you hand it back. It's such an important tip, says Middle East-based freelance correspondent Haley Sweetland Edwards, that last year, Bedouins she was eating with in Qatar made her practice it until she got it right.


In Brazil, play your tokens wisely.

At a churrascaria, or a Brazilian steakhouse, servers circle with cuts of meat and diners use tokens to place an order. If a server comes out with something you want, make sure your token, which you'll have at your table, has the green side up. If you don't want any more, flip it with the red side up. Since the meat can be never-ending, it's important to strategize—if you leave that token green side up you could end up ordering a lot more than you intended.



written by Amanda Ruggeri
Borrowed from Budget Travel

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reduce the Stress



Six ways to kick your stress habit:

1.Cut down on the cardio.
If you still have time to hit the gym, focus on strength training instead.“Cortisol wears down your muscle tissues but strength training will build them back up again,” explains Natasha Turner, a Toronto-based naturopathic doctor and author of The Carb Sensitivity Program. Aim for 30 to 40 minutes of high- intensity circuit training —then stop. Exercising for longer periods may actually jack up those dreaded stress hormones.

2. Load up on vitamin C and omega-3s.
“Research shows vitamin C may help reduce feelings of stress. Your adrenal glands have some of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in your body,” says Turner. “And fish oils are essential if you’re under stress because they help protect your brain from the damaging effects of cortisol.”

3. Drink less coffee.
It may seem counterintuitive to skip your java on a stressful day, but too much caffeine will only make you more anxious, says Dr. Esther Konigsberg. “Try camomile tea instead — it’ll help calm your nervous system.”

4. Sleep naked (in a really dark room).
Reducing your body temperature and eliminating all sources of light enhances the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, says Turner. She also suggests hitting the sack as early as possible.

5. Download a meditation app.
Experts agree that meditation is one of the best stress-reduction strategies.“Even taking five minutes a day to clear your mind and focus on breathing is beneficial,” says Turner. Don’t know where to start? Try an app like Simply Being: Guided Meditation for Relaxation and Presence (iTunes, 99¢) and choose from guided meditations varying in length from five to 20 minutes.

6. Eat well — and often.
Skipping breakfast or waiting too long between meals can trigger cortisol production, says Turner. Eat a meal or snack with protein, carbs and healthy fat every three hours to stabilize blood sugar and prevent out-of-control snacking. Chronic stress may increase production of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which can lead to overeating.