Friday, September 30, 2011

Ashitaba or Tomorrow Leaf Can Do Wonders!

My mom shared with me one miraculous plant which she now takes and says it has the power of healing. This plant is called “tomorrow leaves” (Ashitaba  in Japanese and ‘明日叶’ ming re ye in Chinese) and is called as such because it grows greatly so much in abundance; once you pick or harvested one today, tomorrow you will see it regenerate and start to grow a new life. I'm not exaggerating here! My mom can prove to this testament. I remembered the time I heard this from her, I laughed and laughed…so hard!

How was it discovered?
Very coincidentally. One day, a Japanese medical doctor was in a trip to Hakkajima, Japan and encountered this plant. He picked some and ate it. He was suffering in his last stage of lung cancer that time. He noticed that the leaf gave him great relief from his illness. He had such improvement in his health until he was finally cured.

As his interest grew, he did a more thorough research and discovered that the leaf has abundant organic elements. He wrote all the data of his research including his experience with taking it in day by day. He also discovered that tomorrow leaves can be considered as herbal medicine, as it can cure a lot of other illnesses/disorders, including the following:

Lung, Cough, Asthma, Digestive System, Intestine, Kidney, Kidney Stones, Urinary Tract Bleeding, Liver, Gall Bladder, Hepatitis, Gall Bladder Stones/ Help suppress growth of cancer cells,  Haemorrhoids, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Blood Poisoning, Septicaemia, Fertility problems, More balanced  blood cells/ Help in recovery of bone injuries, External wounds, Skin Allergy, Rheumatism, High Cholesterol levels, High – Low Blood Pressure and Diabetes

How to take it? The friend of my mom who is growing tomorrow leaves / plants in his own backyard suggested these options:

  1. Use 1 to 3 fresh leaves, wash with salt water, rinse with clean water, chew the leaves and drink water.
  2. Use 1 or 2 fresh leaves, wash with salt water, rinse with clean water, cut in small pieces, add to fruit juice. Drink a cup of it 1 to 2 times a day.
  3. Boil about 4 dry leaves dry in water, drink 1 cup size 3 times a day. Leaves can be eaten after boiling.

Note: Do not drink any tea after taking the leaf. If you really feel like it, allow four hours before taking tea.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Paint or Wallpaper: Which is Better?

Everyone has their own preference but there are times when one might be better than the other.

In older houses where the walls have damage that would require extensive and possibly costly repair, it is more advisable be to use wallpaper. Wallpaper can camouflage the damage nicely, as a wall covering. It's also better to use wallpaper for walls that are bowed or have ripple effects to the finish as it attracts the eye to the pattern and distracts from the flaws in the wall structure.

However, if your house is occupied with many small children with the high possibility of them damaging the walls (write or scratch on them), repairing wallpaper can be extensive! Given this case, you might opt to choose paint because painted walls would be easier to clean and/or fix when little hands have done their thing.

Paint is also better if you're the kind who likes to change things up often. Repainting a wall is cheaper and easier. Painting also offers the ability to coordinate the furnishings easier. (Neutral colors can still be rich and pleasing.)

Also consider the fact that paint can be applied anywhere. Semi gloss can go in a kitchen or a restroom while satin, eggshell and flat paints can go anywhere else. In contrast, wallpaper is not as that versatile. Applying wallpaper near areas of high steam or humidity is not recommended, so kitchens and bathrooms would not be a good idea. Wallpaper removal tools use high concentrations of steam to weaken the adhesive on the wallpaper that is why applications in those areas should be discouraged.

Another plus factor for paint is that painting walls can be done by anyone, even children. Just lay down floor protection and brush or roll away! Applying wallpaper is more complicated and probably not something you want the little ones to help with.

In conclusion, for me I would rather paint than cover the walls with wallpaper. I just feel like wallpaper is so ancient, but paint is so plain (?). Nevertheless, I'd give a very slight nod to the paint.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Be Your Own Branded Product to Get that Job

Have you stumbled upon an interviewer who is quite different? This is one who does not go through the questions on the paper or the list and instead asks you to "market yourself in five sentences." I have. Even if you will not meet this at all, it's best to be prepared.

When you apply for a job, what does your resume say about you? Mine says I have three years of experience in information technology, much of that in management. But that’s all that it says.

In the new job marketplace, employers are absolutely inundated by resumes from the huge number of people looking for work. They just glance at the sheets and continue to the next candidates'. So how can you get your resume to the top of the stack noticed?

How to be Wanted

Look at yourself as a product, like Apple or whatsoever. This will give you a whole new range of opportunities in the workplace.

What makes Apple, well, Apple? There are a couple more of companies who design software, mobile phones and other digital next-generation technologies. But why do people reach and become gaga over Apple instead of the other brands?

Apple does it by advertising itself as filling the needs of the buyer, especially user interface wise. It's the friendliness and ease of use. It's slogan says, "Think different."

Your search for a job, from the employer’s perspective, isn’t about you but about them. What benefit will they get if they buy your product?  They don’t care about what you can do or have done except how it benefits them.

So you need to brand yourself. You do in the world what only you can do, and there is no one who does whatever it is you do the way that you do, and you have umpty-x number of years of experience at doing it. Although that’s powerful stuff right there, it doesn’t mean anything to a potential employer. They look at those resumes that say “here’s a need you have, and here’s how I can fill it.” The resume that catches their attention is the one that makes it easy for them to see the benefit in hiring your over the other candidates. They read the ones that have a strongly branded product.

To be a brand, however, you need to think outside the box. Do a SWOT analysis of yourself. Look as deeply into the company as you can and place yourself in their shoes. Who would you want to hire for this job if you were them? How can you adapt what you do to help them?

Finally, there is one more thing that Apple has that the others don’t: confidence. The new employment market is very much like a retail market. You will do well if you can focus on what a potential employer needs and aligning yourself, your brand and your unique way of doing business to fulfill that need.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What is Considered Normal Hair Fall?

Every time my mom sweeps the floor, she'd comment sarcastically in question form: "Is this a house or a parlor/salon?" She often suspects that it's me who's the culprit, the one who contributes to the vast number of hair on the floor. But I always beg to disagree. How can she tell that when she, my sister and I all have long hair? I would joke that we should conduct a DNA testing to see and really confirm who among us in the house has hair strands falling the most.

Just recently, I watched a TV talk show and learned more about hair fall. It's said that it's just normal for average humans because hair fall is a normal process. In this process, daily fall of about 50-100 strands of hair is considered normal. 5-15 strands of hair will fall automatically every day whether you do anything or not!

And just like anything else, hair has a life cycle (of three to five years). Even if we don't comb our hair, at any given time, five to 10 percent of our hair will fall off so that new and emerging hair will push the dead ones out of their follicles. The hair will grow back, don't worry. But this cycle time is not constant. It varies according to age, sex, family genes or lineage, medications, hormonal state, stress factor, diseased condition, and etc.

How to Prevent Hair Loss

The denser the hair, the more hair will normally lose per day. I have gone through a free scalp test two weeks ago and found out that my hair is not dense. Lucky me? Also, my hair is thick and healthy. Advice is keep a nutritious diet for strong, dense and healthy hair. Take an iron-rich diet; consume bananas! Also, as hair contains keratin, you need to have a proteinaceous diet.

Second thing is about hygiene. Maintain a clean and good hygiene on your scalp to strengthen the roots of hair. Fight signs of dandruff right away by using appropriate shampoo.

In conclusion, it is quite simple to have healthier hair. A person with such desire will have to work hard on his/her diet and will have to manage a healthier diet and lifestyle in the same way. Beautiful hair is a symbol of elegance which enhances your appearance. So work at it! : )

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eating Vegetables Can Fight Depression?

Straight answer: I have not personally proven that this is true because I'm taking vegetables all year round. But studies say that a higher intake of vegetables combined with your doctor’s recommended treatment prescription can go a long way to shun your misery. 

Background: Depression is a mental state that results when a person feels that what he/she is doing is simply not enough. This is experienced when a person is beset with peer pressure, prolonged sadness and serious problems that just "can't be solved." Worse things happen when this illness affects his/her mind, body, mood and casual thoughts that sometimes it can lead to suicidal attempts. If not treated properly, depression can last for a long time, like weeks, months or even years.

Depression is considerably hard to diagnose because the symptoms are those that occur in some who may not suffer from depression at all. These symptoms include loss of appetite, overeating, constant sadness or anger, anxiousness, a sense of helplessness or feeling of worthlessness, low energy, fatigue, insomnia and trouble in concentrating or remembering things.

First thing that comes to mind is to ask the depressed person to go and consult a psychiatrist, a doctor who can help advise and treat the mental patient professionally. For natural remedies, your regular diet (food intake) can help. 

Vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals which are key sources for brain and nerve functionality. In order for your body to be healthy and get the minerals and nutrients it needs, you need to ingest high quality vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus at least thrice a day, but some doctors even recommend up to six times.

Just keep in mind that raw vegetables have a higher nutrient and mineral content than cooked, so it's better to eat them fresh whenever possible. I remember us growing up, our parents used to feed us raw carrots. Try to make half of each of your meals some kind of vegetable to ensure you are getting ample amounts of nutrients and minerals.Vegetables are not like a happy pill or magic supplement that can easily take depression away. It won’t instantly cure depression, but it also won't hurt if you give it a try.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How to Kill Nervousness Before and During Presentations

Do you often get butterflies in your stomach when thinking about presentation and public speaking over a crowd of people? Do your palms get all sweaty? Does your mind go blank when you think about your opening introduction?

You know what, according to the speaker of a seminar I've attended in IBM on "Effective Presentation Skills," public speaking is the top second fear of people, while the first being death. This means that generally people would rather die than speak in front of the many.

So are you one of these people who are doomed to presentation panic or paralysis? Some people will tell you to picture everyone in the audience in their underwear. Then you will not be as stressed since the people in the audience should be more embarrassed than you. However, I personally don't use that technique because I think it is overrated and it does not work for me.

Here are some suggestion for you to overcome that debilitating nervousness and deliver a speech that can wow the audience or at least may leave them feeling satisfied:

1. If you have been notified in advanced and asked to prepare a presentation, prepare for it well. Revise the subject and develop conceptual clarity on every single point that should be covered. If there are any doubts, find answers and use resources available in the library, online or your trusted reference people. If you are think that you have understood the subject by heart and feel it so deep within, then half the battle is won.

2. Rehearse the presentation in your room once or twice. If you can have a friend or family member to help you by sitting through the rehearsal, it will be even more fantastic. But even otherwise, a rehearsal without an audience can also be good enough to convince you that things are under control. You can face a mirror to see how you project yourself--not only the voice but also hand gestures and other natural body movements.

3. Avoid sleeping late at night if you have your presentation the next morning. A good night's sleep will ensure that you are fresh and alert to handle the challenges of the presentation.

4. When you go for the presentation, relax. Breathe in and out. Say your prayers. Tell yourself that you have done the best preparation possible and you will now try and do an excellent presentation. Forget about the outcome. Forget what people will say at the end or think during the talk. Focus on the job at hand with a calm frame of mind. There may be a drying of the mouth in the beginning but it will pass away soon and you will end up doing a very good presentation.

5. Focus and look at one person during the presentation. Establish eye contact. Smile whenever possible and/or necessary.

You can think that most people are also nervous as you as they give out presentations. It always helps me to think that everyone gets anxious, and we are all only human. Even if you make a small mistake, chances are, no one will even notice. Just let it go and keep going. If you make a big mistake, laugh it off like it is no big deal. It could even be the highlight of the presentation, or even a joke that could break the ice. Just relax and you'll do fine!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dress for Success and Land That Job!

You have rehearsed for your interview, researched about your dream company enough and appeared to be passing in all qualifications required for the job. Still you didn't get it. Aside from the company's own reasons (like maybe there's something more qualified credentials and experience wise), perhaps it was your business apparel choice that made that man behind the desk turn up his nose.

Regardless the place or environment of the workplace you're applying for, you should always wear appropriately. This is because, according to many image consultants, dressing up is also one important factor that can make or break your chances of getting the job. Remember first impression lasts, and physical appearance and neatness count.

Here are the things you should do:

Analyze the atmosphere of the company that you're applying to. Is it a laid-back atmosphere? Are there a lot of cleaning duties or stocking tasks involved? Is it a high-class establishment where employees are like in a contest of best dressed?

Investigate by popping in one day to observe what other employees are wearing. Talk to former employees about the expectations of the business's supervisor.

If you are applying for a position with a big-league business (such as a bank, high-class retail store, investment company, etc.), wear nothing short than high-class polished business-class apparel. Even if you are in your 20s, dressing as if you are 10 years older will give you a mature and professional air.

To Women: Classic business attire is a white button-down blouse or polo, a long black skirt or dress pants, panty hose and black flat shoes or closed heeled shoes. This may be a far cry from your usual clothing, but remember, you are trying to present your best professional image and not your personal tastes.

If you wear contact lenses, put your glasses on instead. Your hair should be tied back in a bun or tightly-secured pony tail. Make-up should be minimal. Please avoid wearing bright eye shadow or bright red lipstick. Career apparel is all about looking smart and sophisticated and being able to pull it off.

To Men: A nice knit sweater with a collared shirt underneath might suffice for career apparel for the interview. If not, stick to the traditional pin-striped button-down long sleeved polo with a solid tie and khaki or black dress pants. Please don't wear sports shoes or rubber shoes! Also remember to polish your shoes well.

If you are interviewing for a more relaxed establishment (like a pet store, newspaper delivery or fast-food restaurant) or for a physical labor job, dressing in black tie career apparel may be a bit over the top. Instead, opt for comfortable career apparel within reason. Wearing blue jeans is an interview taboo.  To appear more interesting, go for casual tan corduroy or cotton pants and a long-sleeved knit top. Keep it simple, but make sure you appear clean-cut, well put together and polished. For women, add a pair of small gold or pearl earrings and avoid dangling ones. For men, flourish with a nice wrist watch.

While career apparel is important in impressing your prospective boss, be sure to adlib extras that will make your face memorable. Smile a lot, speak clearly and concisely, be knowledgeable about the expected work duties and above all, be courteous and polite.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why There are No Seatbelts in School Buses

Seat belts are one of the biggest instruments which play an important role in road safety. But why do school buses don't have seat belts for the children? Here are some possible answers:

As school buses are made to be used by the students, bus manufacturers might have thought that drivers will not run the bus at high speed. Hence, the children will be safe regardless. But oftentimes, drivers don't worry about these things and this results in casualties.

The bus manufacturers might have foreseen that children who are required for school bus service are those very, very young of age. Therefore, there would be no practical way to enforce their use, and/or they would probably not be used. The kids could be so mischievous that they will simply disconnect the seatbelts on the seat and sit down on top of them.

Another thing is that seatbelts would add expenses to the cost of school buses, with no returns until someone happened to survive a tragedy by wearing one. How unlikely is that to happen? Granted, if it saves a life the cost would be hard to argue with, but since arguably nobody would use them, the costs are prohibitive.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Top 3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Laptop

Before buying a laptop, make sure that you did your homework thoroughly. Prices of laptops are no easy deals, so I'm sure that you are hoping that this laptop will be with you (as your "best bud") for a long time. Best advice is "have an end in mind." But if you're confused and lost on what laptop to buy, reviewing these important factors will be quite helpful:

1. Price

Check out and compare prices. Laptops are all over the board when it comes to price! You don't need to spend a ton of money to get a good laptop. Window-shop around first to see what is out there and what you can afford.

2. Performance

Performance is very important when it comes to any computer. Conduct a simple survey among your friends who are laptop-users to know roughly which brands or models are those which routinely have problems. Of course, you don't want an independable laptop. You can also read online testimonials and descriptions in trusted review sites.

Also covered in terms of performance aside from speed is the battery life. This is the measure or number of minutes the battery can last if it isn't charging. See if there have been a number of complaints about the battery with the laptop that you are thinking on getting. If there are no complaints about the battery in general but you're a mobile person and need a battery that will last longer, buy an extra battery that is compatible.

Next in line for your checking is memory. If you aren't saving very much files or one who's not games-savvy/addict, you can get away with a smaller memory capability. Otherwise, find a unit that can hold a larger size of tray for memory. Ask if the laptop can be inserted with extra memory chips and how large memory it can support.

3. Quality

How is the quality of the laptop? You don't want a laptop that heats very fast. Be sure that you check out the warranty, too.

Lastly, be sure to purchase a good anti-virus program as well so that you laptop is safe from hackers, spammers and viruses.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Best All-Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth

Some people want whiter teeth to impress their date, prospective employer in a job interview and/or other special occasions and gatherings like weddings. But do normal people around us really care how white our teeth are? I've heard from somewhere before that the more yellow the teeth, the healthier they are. So why bother? (I say a little yellowish can be okay, but not stained blackish huh.)

Moving back onto the topic...My dentist said that the best way to whiten your teeth is to brush twice a day at least, preferably using a reputable toothpaste such as Rembrandt. Other ways are to use whitening strips, trays, or whitening gels. Just make sure that you read the instructions as directed. And be careful, as overuse of these products can be detrimental also.

Moreover, I actually watched the Tyra Banks show about a year ago. She suggested that strawberries and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (and a pinch of seasalt) is a good home remedy to brighter teeth. But too much of these though will cause mouth pain and weakened enamel. Lemon juice is to whiten teeth as lemon has bleaching properties. Tip is to put a few drops on your toothbrush and brush particularly on stained spots. Another idea is to rub a mixture of dried and powdered orange peels and bay leaves on teeth to reduce discoloration.

All these you can do for your pearly whites, without going to the dentist. Good luck! : )

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How To Clean a Non-stick Frying Pan

Some non-stick frying pans usually have instructions inserted at the back of the pan on how to clean it. However, these cleaning instructions are not working for other pans out there. Onto the right path to cleanliness, what you can do is simply not use any special equipment.

Just use warm water and soap. As for which kind of soap, the usual dishwashing liquid present in grocery stores will do. When you come to the part where you have to scrub the pan, I would advise you to use a soft sponge because you don't want the surface of the pan to have scratches.

If you have burnt residue that is stubborn to get rid off, I suggest that you soak the pan in a few minutes or overnight (depending on the residue). If there's too much oil or fat on the pan, first wipe it out with some kitchen roll or paper towel. Removing the oil residue or fat with metal or wooden slices is a big no no. You can also add one-half cup of vinegar before completely washing it off with soap and water.

Then, your non-stick frying pan will be smooth and shiny as it is!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is Life Insurance a Good Saving Plan?

Anyone who tells you that life insurance is a saving or investment plan must be the one selling it!

Basically, life insurance is not a good saving plan. Why? Take liquidity as a factor. The insurer would never allow you to withdraw the full amount of your "savings" in the first place, since this is to cover fees and even non-payment of premiums. Secondly, the money would not be available on demand; you'd have to wait a few days for your policy loan to be processed. Therefore, in using life insurance as a savings plan, you have far less control over your savings portfolio and the fine print can trap you.

Moreover, life insurance is not a saving plan in the first place, although the plans are usually based on guaranteed interest rates. Life insurance is designed to insure you against an unwanted risk caused by an unfortunate event, by protecting those who are dependent on you financially.

Some life plans have savings or investment portfolios attached that use part of the premium to accumulate a cash value. This is because nowadays, as the market goes more and more competitive, insurance companies are coming up with different scemes that include savings to encourage you to purchase the insurance plan. With this type of life insurance, you can kill two birds with one stone: take care of your dependents and save up money by getting a whole life policy that will accrue cash value.

If you are worried about your loved ones needing money upon your death, then it's advisable to get an affordable term life insurance policy and save your money in some other kind of account where it is more accessible to you if you need it.

In other words, the best option is to keep your savings and life insurance separate. Use term life insurance (with no cash value) when necessary. Only if you need or desire permanent life insurance should you even buy cash-value policies. Never do so for the "savings" or "investment" though. You would likely regret it, as advised by the insurance professional I just consulted to.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Life" in 2 Words Only

A challenge: How would you describe life if you were to utter only two words in your last breath?

I give you 50 examples:
  1. A Gift
  2. Amazingly Unpredictable.
  3. As Is
  4. Be Yourself
  5. Birth---Death
  6. Bitter Sweet
  7. Blessings, Taxes
  8. Chain Reaction
  9. Challengingly Repetitive!
  10. Complex Composition.
  11. Creative Choices.
  12. Deadly Adventure
  13. Discoveries Daily.
  14. Do It
  15. Eternal Promise
  16. Ever Changing
  17. Exquisite Adventure.
  18. Fantastically Complex
  19. Free Flow.
  20. Graceful Chaos
  21. Happy Smile :)
  22. Heart Beat
  23. I Am
  24. Incredible Journey.
  25. Inspiring Others
  26. Jesus Christ
  27. Lessons Learned
  28. Let'S Eat
  29. Lovely Challenge
  30. Multiple Temptations
  31. Nerve Tester.
  32. Newest Baby
  33. No Replay
  34. No Rewind
  35. No Regrets
  36. Not Death :P
  37. One Stage
  38. One-Way Ticket
  39. Organized Chaos.
  40. Phenomenal Illusion
  41. Plain Short
  42. Predestined Power
  43. Progressive Exploration
  44. Roller Coaster
  45. Shared Experience
  46. Simply Happens
  47. Stressful Tranquillity
  48. Temporary Existence
  49. Trial....Error
  50. Wild Ride
Now it's your turn. Think about it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Can Crunching Flatten Your Stomach?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: You cannot "spot reduce" with exercise. To flatten your stomach, you need to reduce body fat through diet. Exercises like crunches will strengthen your abs but not make them flat.

Report from an insider: A research from by the University of Mass in 1984 proved that after doing thousands of sit-ups or crunches every day for consecutive 27 days, there wasn't any significant reduction to belly fat.

So why am I still doing it like crazy? (I do about 100-300 crunches a day.) This is because abdominal crunches can help flatten abs, but only in combination with cardio and a healthy diet. A fat person can have the strongest abs in the world, but if he or she has a horrible diet, then you will never see a flat stomach or six pack.

All of the crunches in the world will not get you firm if you have belly fat on top of it! Cardio intervals (e.g. walking, running, bike riding, swimming or hiking) are necessary, as well as toning all parts of your abs, such as obliques.

You should probably do some weight-training, too, as that will help your body burn calories and fat efficiently, ergo help you keep your tummy flat while exercising those specific muscles. Drinking lots of water will also help you burn up to 100 calories a day.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How to Save More Money While Buying More Groceries

Generally, basic instinct tells that we should stock up on food we usually consume when they're on sale. Yes, many food ingredients can be purchased in bulk during seasonal peaks in production at a discount. Once you buy this seasonal product in bulk, work with your creativity with different ways to prepare it in your meals. Adding more to this, Mr Money Mustache shares a further developed logic of cost-efficient grocery shopping with his food algorithm:

  • If the product is overpriced, leave it there at the grocery store. But when you really really need it, just purchase the minimum possible amount you can live with.
  • If the product is regular-priced, buy an amount to last until your next grocery trip (minimum is one week supply).
  • If the product is under-priced, buy at least enough to last until the next expected sale (a month, maybe).
  • If the product is dramatically under-priced, buy a nearly infinite amount, limited only by shelf life of food and available stock on shelves.

Personal tip: Think about the product also (the benefits, I mean, of buying too much when there's a 50+% discount). If the price of bananas hit rock-bottom, you can't really benefit. But if cereals or oats dropped to an all-time low, then buy at least a year's supply. If it's soda, then don't buy so much as the tendency is that you'll be drinking more. On the other hand, if it's detergent, then buy as much as you can/want to because you won't use more just because you have more. Here I'm not only concerned about your health but also your consuming habits. :D

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Other Side of Fairytales states that fairytale is a noun which means "a story about fairies; told to amuse children." So fairytales, huh? What about them?

People say they’re overrated, and they’re nothing but lies. This and that, and in a five worded summary: just plain ridiculous at times. But in reality, they really aren’t that far from the truth. Because however different the circumstances, by in large, the subtext applies to every aspect of our lives.

Simply, all fairytales are nothing but analogies to far greater simple tragedies in life--whether they be taken from an actual life incident and tweaked for the minds of the young or just a subconscious thing. OK, let's get more psychological this time. Now's a bit late but my brain is still functioning so bear with me. :) Here goes:

I don't really know much fairy tales. So let me just cite three of my most favorite Disney fairytale classic as examples and strip them down to a basic idea which you may not have thought of--the spark that started it all.

1. Aladdin

In my perspective, it's a story about a girl and a boy, Jasmine and Aladdin. Both wanted more out of life. Both were trapped by social status and controlled by money or lack thereof. Both of them were outcasts on opposite sides of the social spectrum.

On one hand, you have society questioning the worth of the poor, and on the other, we have them questioning why money would make anyone miserable. People might think money is everything, and if you have it, you should not be complaining. However, in the story, Jasmine didn't want more; she wanted something different, and so she was condemned for that. As was the case for Aladdin: when you don’t have the money, you spend your entire life striving to be noticed, as both a human being and a respectable young man. Look at them and the society we're living in today. What's the difference? What's the similarity?

2. Beauty and the Beast

Stripped down, the story is about a beautiful girl (named Belle) being mocked for wanting an education instead of a marriage. Do you remember those cartoons where there is a little white angel flying above a character's right ear whispering "Do the right thing," while a red and black little devil hovers over the left ear urging the character to "don’t listen, do what you want"?

Exactly this I feel happened to Belle. “Why would you want knowledge when you can easily seduce any suitor you please and have him give you the world?” said the devil, the poor ignorant soul. That’s what they whisper when a girl is lucky enough to get what she wants. The story tells that beauty is a substitute for education. If you have looked past that and saw only that a beauty can fall in love with a beast and appreciate him because of his kindness and vice versa, then now you can also consider this angle.

3. Rapunzel

Basically, it's about a girl who was trapped in her house, given everything she wanted and whatever she needed and told they were all done for her protection. The world cannot be trusted, they say. You’re constantly being told that you’re special, and then on one fine morning, you realize that it’s nothing but a lie, one to keep you sedated and away from thought, because thought is always of suspicion. It's something just not to be easily trusted.

So, it begs the question, where exactly are the lies, the fiction and the silliness? People only see what they see. There isn't more to any story. There is no other side.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Online Banking: Boon or Bane?

Escape the long queues and hours of waiting to face your favorite bank teller, by learning that moving with the times is not always as difficult as you imagined.

Gone are the days when we are required to physically visit the bank to perform or check financial transactions. If you have a computer and Internet connection (which I bet 100% you have as you're reading this), then you have the key to unlock the greatest convenience online banking provides.

Learning the Ropes of Online Banking

Banks use a variety of names for their online services like PC banking, home banking or Internet banking. All these terms depend on the software of your bank, but the basics are quite similar for every one. Some banks offer more services than others. Examples of services include checking your account balance, transferring money between your accounts and paying your bills electronically.

Some banks also give you the possibility of trading mutual funds, shares, bonds and applying for loans. For others, it is even possible to follow up the value of all the mutual funds they offer and also the value of all the stocks in the stock exchanges worldwide.

Online banking can be done by everyone and everyone is encouraged by almost every bank. This system saves you time and also money because many banks ask lower fees for transactions done through online banking.

If in doubt, always ask your bank for reassurance of what protection they give their clients/users. A reputable bank will be able to give you a satisfactory code of practice and protection.

The Pros and Cons

Personally I consider its most significant advantage is that payments or investments can me made at any moment. You will have access to the site of your bank 24/7; you don't have to anxiously pay close attention to your bank's closing times for transactions. Another advantage is that you always have access to the site of your bank no matter where or which country you are in. Public places with Internet connection are present in every country. Just be assured and double check the security measures put in force by your bank to protect you.

On the other hand, one disadvantage of online banking is the learning process, which may take some time. Trust is another thing. For sure, you need to feel comfortable with this system of banking. You need to be sure that you clicked the right buttons! Transmitting the same transaction twice can have terrible consequences. You may end up making the same payment twice.

Most common hindrance and hesistance from online banking is the fear of safety. Tip: Install all necessary software for your computer like antivirus and antispyware. Don't underestimate the power of hackers! Don't share your password and your bank contract number that is used to execute your financial transactions. It is also wise to keep your security numbers in your home, rather than stored on your computer where they may be accessible to others.

Signing Up

Any online banking account requires a contract with your bank. Every bank has a different system, but you will always need to sign a contract and you need this number for logging in. The second step is a password and often a security number or code. Without these numbers, nobody can perform transactions with your account.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How Much Tip to Leave in a Restaurant

Have you ever wondered how much tip you really have to give for the service rendered by the waiter or waitress who attended to your needs? Or, have you ever felt guilty of not giving out any tip? I have been asking myself these and other questions at the back of my mind about "tipping."

Whatever is the world's standard amount for tips? Should the tip be based on total bill amount or the number of people being served?

I have attended a seminar before about social dining etiquette, and giving out tips happened to be part of our topic. In addition, I have read one book on restaurant etiquette and have surveyed some of my professional colleagues and asked them to feed my curio.

These are my findings:

The tip should be based on the total bill. It should be automatically given in response to the service provided. Good and friendly service from the attendant amounts to about 18% to 20% of the food bill. Servers are generally very underpaid and the only way they can survive is to get good tips. In this economy, if you have it, share it. Those at the bottom end of the pay scale need all the help they can get. Hence, if you feel that the service is quite excellent, have a philantrophic heart and tip a little more if you can afford it.

For mediocre service, (i.e. attendant not following up with the table's needs), you can pay 10% to 15%.

If it's a poor service, then you can just shell out a dollar or less as a polite way to say that you're not interested in asking for their service either. But if there's really something wrong with the service, it's better to speak to the manager.

As for social dining courtesy, never leave the server with nothing. But at the end of the day, it's still your call. The waiter or waitress might be 100% lousy that you feel they don't deserve to be paid even a broken quarter of a coin. If that's the case, which should be a very rare one, then don't. Just pray for them. :D

If you are in with a group splitting up the bill, include your share of tip based on the meal you ate. Be careful though of some diners already having service charges built into the bill, so make sure you're not tipping twice.