December 1, 2012

Mind Maps

Improving your Mind Maps

Your Mind Maps are your own property: once you understand how to make notes in the Mind Map format, you can develop your own conventions to take them further. The following suggestions may help to increase their effectiveness:

Use single words or simple phrases for information: Most words in normal writing are padding, as they ensure that facts are conveyed in the correct context, and in a format that is pleasant to read. In your own Mind Maps, single strong words and meaningful phrases can convey the same meaning more potently. Excess words just clutter the Mind Map.

Print words: Joined up or indistinct writing can be more difficult to read.

Use color to separate different ideas: This will help you to separate ideas where necessary. It also helps you to visualize of the Mind Map for recall. Color also helps to show the organization of the subject.

Use symbols and images: Where a symbol or picture means something to you, use it. Pictures can help you to remember information more effectively than words.

Using cross-linkages: Information in one part of the Mind Map may relate to another part. Here you can draw in lines to show the cross-linkages. This helps you to see how one part of the subject affects another.

Journey to self-confidence

The first step involves getting yourself ready for your journey to self-confidence. You need to take stock of where you are, think about where you want to go, get yourself in the right mindset for your journey, and commit yourself to starting it and staying with it.

In preparing for your journey, do the following things:

Look at what you’ve already achieved:

Relive your life so far, and list the ten best things you’ve achieved in an “Achievement Log.” Perhaps you came top in an important test or exam, played a key role in an important team, produced the best sales figures in a period, did something that made a key difference in someone else’s life, or delivered a project that meant a lot for your business. Put these into a smartly formatted document, which you can look at often. And then spend a few minutes each week enjoying the success you’ve already had!

Take a realistic look at who you are:

Use a technique like the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats [SWOT] Analysis to take a look at who and where you are. Perhaps reflecting on the list you prepared above and reflecting on your recent life, think about what your friends consider to be your strengths and weaknesses. From these, think about the opportunities and threats you face. Make sure that you enjoy a few minutes reflecting on your strengths!

Think about where you want to go:

Setting and achieving goals is a key part of building self-confidence. To do this effectively, you need the big picture of where you want to go in life. See our article on goal setting for one approach to this. Inform your goal setting with your SWOT Analysis. Set goals that exploit your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, realize your opportunities, and control the threats you face. And having set the major goals in your life, identify the first step in each. A tip: Make sure it’s a very small step, perhaps taking no more than an hour to complete!

Start managing your mind:

At this stage, you need to start managing your mind. Learn to pick up and defeat the negative self-talk which can destroy your confidence. And learn how to use imagery to create strong mental images of what you’ll feel and experience as you achieve your major goals – there’s something about doing this that makes even major goals seem achievable! And then commit yourself to success!

The final part of preparing for the journey is to make a clear and unequivocal promise to yourself that you are absolutely committed to your journey, and that you will do all in your power to achieve it. If as you’re doing it, you find doubts starting to surface, write them down and challenge them calmly and rationally. If they dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great. However if they are based on genuine risks, make sure you set additional goals to manage them appropriately. Either way, make that promise!


Cortisol belongs to the main group of hormones known as stress hormones because their release is increased dramatically during physical or emotional stress. As cortisol pours into the bloodstream during episodes of stress, its action is on liver cells that convert fats, proteins, and stored glucose (known as glycogen) into glucose for additional release into the bloodstream. Again, this helps to prevent interruption in the supply of fuel the brain needs from the circulating glucose in the blood.

Cortisol’s action is to promote normal function of other body tissues by helping to regulate blood-glucose levels during either external environment changes or during fasting or starvation. Its heightened secretion occurs only under stress. Cortisol acts like a two-way light bulb. It displays a minimal amount of light normally, but it can immediately switch into a greater luminescence when more juice stimulates it.

Cortisol is manufactured in the adrenal cortex, an outer layer of the adrenal gland located above the kidney. Adrenal glands are paired, just as the kidneys are. They are physiologically known as endocrine glands. Endocrine glands are glands that produce hormones. The adrenal glands themselves are controlled by other regulatory mechanisms that reside within the brain. Cortisol and its counterpart, cortisone, both exhibit anti-inflammatory properties on body tissues. Their properties are simulated by cortisone or prednisone injections given by doctors for their patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or allergies. However, excessive levels of these natural or man-made hormones over long periods of time can contribute to unwanted conditions such as bone loss and a depressed immune system. Another unwanted condition of cortisol during stress is its ability to scramble our appetite control mechanism causing us to make poor food choices when we’re hungry. Its greatest effect on appetite is its association with serotonin, a significant messenger in the brain.

Continually excessive release of cortisol will reduce the brain’s ability to utilize glucose effectively. This creates two problems. First, it forces a person to eat increased amounts of sugar to try to offset this reduction. Secondly, free-radical damage occurs to brain cells as the cortisol exposure over time becomes toxic. This can interfere with memory and learning ability and can also increase anxiety. Elevated chronic levels of cortisol have also been associated with depression and weight gain.

Balanced Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is about balance. At one extreme, we have people with low self-confidence. At the other end, we have people who may be over-confident.

Good self-confidence is a matter of having the right amount of confidence, founded in reality and on your true ability. With the right amount of self-confidence, you will take informed risks, stretch yourself (but not beyond your abilities) and try hard. By contrast, if you are under-confident, you’ll avoid taking risks and stretching yourself; and you might not try at all. This means that you’ll fail to reach your potential. And if you’re over-confident, you’ll probably take too much risk, stretch yourself beyond your capabilities, and crash badly. You may also find that you’re so optimistic, that you don’t try hard enough to truly succeed.

So, self-confidence needs to be founded on reality: realistic expectations, your skills and experience, and the effort and preparation that you are willing to put in to reach your goal.

A ‘’sweet’’ addiction?

The Dominating Presence of Sugar

• Sugar satisfies a desire for a sweet taste
• Sugar is conveniently stored
• Sugar is cheap
• Sugar gives texture to food
• Sugar is addictive

Our consumption of refined sugars and syrups has increased by thirty percent since 1970. No other food ingredients have found their way into more foods so consistently and increasingly than the refined sugars and syrups. These products continually make their way into our foods because of our wide acceptance of prepared meals and our craving for sweet tasting substances.

Our present sugar consumption is now accepted as an addiction. The dictionary defines addiction as the surrender of oneself to a habitual or compulsive desire for something. But sugar addiction is not an affliction of a few people. It is also not just an addiction afflicting obese people only. Sugar addiction is afflicting our entire population from infancy to old age. This fact truly situates sugar consumption as a most serious affliction of pandemic proportions.

Building Self-Confidence

Develop the self-confidence you deserve!

From the quietly confident doctor whose advice we rely on, to the star-quality confidence of an inspiring speaker, self-confident people have qualities that everyone admires. Jack Welch once said: “Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach. It lets you take greater risks and achieve far more than you ever thought possible” (Capitalism Magazine, 2002). This powerfully conveys the enormous role self-confidence plays in achieving greater success in whatever you do.

Self-confidence is extremely important in almost every aspect of our lives, yet so many people struggle to find it. Sadly, this can be a vicious circle: People who lack self-confidence can find it difficult to become successful. After all, would you instinctively want to back a project that was being pitched by someone who was nervous, fumbling and overly apologetic? On the other hand, you might be persuaded by someone who spoke clearly, who held their head high, who answered questions assuredly, and who readily admitted when he/she did not know something.

Self-confident people inspire confidence in others: Their audience, their peers, their bosses, their customers, and their friends. Gaining the confidence of others is one of the key ways in which a self-confident person finds success.

The good news is that self-confidence really can be learned and built on. And, whether you’re working on your own self-confidence or building the confidence of people around you, it’s worth the effort! All other things being equal, self-confidence is often the single ingredient that distinguishes a successful person from someone less successful.

What’s Up with Sugar?

Aside from our preference for sweetened foods, why has sugar dominated the food market to such an extent? It is conveniently cheap and effective. There are three important aspects of the convenience of sugar usage, whether it is as sucrose, corn syrup, or dextrose (obtained from corn), which have helped to establish its inexorable presence in today’s food supply.

1. Refined syrups and sugars can be stored for long periods and they are not subject to spoilage. In fact, they can help to retard growth of some microorganisms. A can of soda can stay on a shelf for months without the loss of taste. A sweetened fruit beverage can be kept in a refrigerator for weeks without a change in quality. Can you say the same thing about milk? How about fresh orange juice? Refined sugars and syrups can be frozen, heated, and mixed at room temperatures without a change of properties. Therefore, sugar can be added to any processed food, even from a sugar bowl, without harming the taste of any food. A frozen dinner when cooked will not lose its content of sugar. A bottled sauce poured over a baking roast will not lose its flavor. A packet of sugar added to iced tea or hot coffee would still be sweet. Catsup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, peanut butter, pickles, ice cream and bread will still hold their sweetness. Long-term storage is not a deterrent to sugar consumption.

2. Sugar is cheap. Any food product containing lots of sugar or corn syrup is of relatively low cost by weight and by calories compared to other flavoring products. Everyone wants to eat well, but most times food selections are based on price or taste. Usually the lower the price, the higher the sugar content. Unfortunately, this leads to improper food purchases that are not based on nutrient or caloric value. It also has led to purchase choices of sweetened food products over natural foods.

3. Sugar gives foods texture. It helps to impart bulk to baking products. It creates a smoothness to foods and beverages without any negative aftertaste. Sugar helps to brown microwaveable foods and make them more colorful. Sugar can also disguise the presence of fats in food. Ever try eating a really plain donut without any sugar glaze? Which feels smoother? Ever eat a plain bagel? It’s smoother than a very plain donut, right? Well, a bagel has lots more sugar in it. A lot of tomatoes go into a jar of tomato sauce. What keeps the sauce from tasting too acidic after long storage? Yes, it’s sugar to the rescue. What keeps canned foods so palatable? That’s right. It’s added sugar.

These three reasons have given the boost to an industry-wide acceptance of sugar. This is why it can be found in practically every processed food.

November 29, 2012

What Are Some Bad Things For My New Tattoo?


Once it is healed, there is very little that will screw up a tattoo. The one exception is prolonged exposure to sunlight. (the other is scarring, but that is patently obvious).


Well, unfortunately it is. The newer inks are better at resisting fading but whatever you do, if you spend lots of time in bright sunlight your tats will fade (over a lifetime, not over a week). Best to try and keep them out of bright sunlight. No one wants to become a cave dweller just to keep their tats looking good, so just use some common sense. Think of your tat as an investment--slather on that sunblock so it doesn’t turn into a dark blob.

Our culture has erroneously labeled the tan as healthy. Did you know that your tan is your skin’s way of dealing with the damage caused by the sun? It’s like the formation of a scab when you have a cut. You will pay for your years of sun exposure when you are in your 40s and 50s.

Leathery, wrinkled, dry skin with freckles and liver spots. Melanoma. Skin cancer. Regular visits to the dermatologist. Like I say, “There’s no such thing as a healthy tan!” Take it from a Hawaii local! I’ve seen my share of melanoma here, and they’re not even from surfers or beach bunnies!

Some people have gotten angry at me about this, telling me that they have a seasonal disorder that requires them to get some sun. A little bit of sun is okay (and it gives you a dose of Vitamin D). But all you need is a few minutes’ worth. Tanning booths are not good for you! They are not regulated by the FDA, and the staff that work at these salons have been known to give out patently false information.

Many salon operators will suggest dosages far exceeding industry recommendations, and the FDA would actually prefer that these booths be banned altogether. Do not believe the salon operators who tell you there is NO damage caused by their UV rays. There are indications that tanning booths emit rays that cause the type of damage that only shows up years later, when it is difficult to fault any one operator. Their industry motto is “tan safe.” There is no such thing as a SAFE tan, folks. Sorry.

Getting ''INKED'- Medical conditions that preclude from getting a tattoo

Are there any medical conditions that will preclude me from getting a tattoo?

If you have hemophilia. There is even a case of a man who was HIV positive who got a tattoo--if you are HIV+ however, you will want to inform the artist, since it’s the artist that is at more risk than you. [In the case of the HIV+ man, he was John Baldetta, a former nursing assistant at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, who got a tat on his forearm that said “HIV Positive.” He was suspended for three days without pay and told he could return if he covered up the tat. He refused and was subsequently fired, although he was not an RN and was not doing anything that would put patients at risk.]

However, it is best to let the artist know if you have ANY medical condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy, in case of an emergency. If you have multiple allergies, you can always have the artist do a “patch test” on you with the colors you want prior to returning for a regular tattoo. This is similar to patch tests done for perms and hair coloring, and will help you determine if your body will react to some of the pigments. Also, it is generally not considered a good idea to tattoo pregnant women.

Starting up a Business 101 - IV

Business? See whether you relate to any of the following most common reasons people give for starting up in business:

·         Being able to make your own decisions
·         Having a business to leave to your children
·         Creating employment for the family
·         Being able to capitalise on specialist skills
·         Earning your own money when you want
·         Having flexible working hours
·         Wanting to take a calculated risk
·         Reducing stress and worry
·         Having satisfaction of creating something truly of your own
·         Being your own boss
·         Working without having to rely on others

The two central themes connecting all these reasons seem to revolve around gaining personal satisfaction, which can be seen as making work as much fun as any other aspect of life, and creating wealth, which is essential if an enterprise is going to last any length of time.

Even when your personality fits and your goals are realistic, you have to make sure that the business you’re starting is a good fit for your abilities.

Business Assets

Safeguarding Your Business Assets

When you think of your business assets, you probably think first and foremost of your equipment or machinery, company cars, and so on. It’s important to make sure that all those assets are looked after and insured, as well as protected by alarms and locks to cut down the risk of damage or loss. However, if you’re in the business of inventing things or coming up with new ideas or you have logos or symbols that are a vital part of your business brand or image, those intangibles can be valuable assets. You can take care of most material assets, such as premises and computers, with insurance, but assets that fall under the heading of intellectual property are a lot harder to protect but even more damaging to lose.

Protecting your name

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but would your business be as successful if it was called something else? If you’ve worked hard to build a good reputation and your customers keep returning and sending referrals, your name is vitally important. For that reason, you don’t want anyone else using it and perhaps tarnishing it by selling inferior goods or services to the ones you provide. If someone is in competition with you and tries to use the same or a similar name as yours, you can take them to court and claim that they’re passing off their products as yours.

Of course, the last thing you want is to get involved in costly court proceedings, and you have to be sure that you have a good case. For example, the other company may not realize that another company with the same or similar name is doing a similar line of business. Try to negotiate before taking court action, but don’t wait too long before taking action or your good reputation may be lost.

Starting up a Business 101 - Employees

Taking on Employees

One of the most important decisions for any business owner – whether he’s a sole trader, in a partnership, or operating as a limited company – is when to take on employees. One minute everything is ticking along nicely, and then suddenly you have too much work to cope with and you need help. You have to make sure that you don’t do anything to contravene those rights, or you may find that your employees can make a claim against you at an employment tribunal. If the tribunal finds in favour of your employee, you can then face a bill for compensation.

Right from the moment you decide to take on a staff member, you have to stay on the right side of the law. If you need to talk things over with someone before taking the first steps, an adviser at Business is a good place to start.

Starting up a Business 101 - III

Working as a sole trader

Are you going to go it alone? You can establish yourself as a sole trader very easily. You don’t have to fill out a lot of forms, and you’ve got only yourself to answer to.

Most people who work on a freelance basis are sole traders, doing what they know best for a range of clients, as and when those clients need their services – say, a photographer who wants to work for himself rather than an employer. You can leave your job, make up a portfolio of your work or a brochure advertising your particular skills, and market your services to anyone you think might pay for them.

As a sole trader, you make your own business decisions; you answer only to clients, and the profits (and any losses) you make are yours. If you do make losses and run up debts, you’re personally responsible for those debts. If things go badly wrong, you may ultimately have to sell some possessions, perhaps even your home, to pay off your debts. Basically, as a sole trader, you’re running your business on your own. If you expand, you may decide to take on other people to work for you – as employees or as freelancers on short-term contracts – but the business is yours.

Most sole traders are self-employed and are taxed as such by the regulated and appropriate tax office. You need to register with the regulated and appropriate tax office within three months of starting up. You can find more information on its Web site or from your local tax office, which is listed in the phone book.

You have to be careful because if you’re a sole trader and you do most of your work for just one client, the local tax office may not accept that you’re self-employed. It may decide that you’re an employee of that client.

November 26, 2012

Starting up a Business 101- II

In establishing a profitable and well-suited business, the easiest way to fill an endurable need is to tap into one or more of these triggers:

Cost reduction and economy. Anything that saves customers money is always an attractive proposition.’s appeal is that it acts as a ‘warehouse’ for unsold hotel rooms and airline tickets that you can have at a heavy discount.

Fear and security. Products that protect customers from any danger, however obscure, are enduringly appealing. In 1998, two months afterLong-Term Capital Management (LTCM), one of America’s largest hedge funds, was rescued by the Federal Reserve at a cost of $2 billion, Ian and Susan Jenkins launched the first issue of their magazine, EuroHedge. In the aftermath of the collapse of LTCM, which nearly brought down the US financial system single-handedly, there were 35 hedge funds in Europe, about which little was known, and investors were rightly fearful for their investments. EuroHedge provided information and protection to a nervous market and five years after it was launched the Jenkins’s sold the magazine for £16.5 million.

Greed. Anything that offers the prospect of making exceptional returns is always a winner. Competitors’ Companion, a magazine aimed at helping anyone become a regular competition winner, was an immediate success. The proposition was simple. Subscribe and you get your money back if you don’t win a competition prize worth at least your subscription. The magazine provided details of every competition being run that week, details of how to enter, the factual answers to all the questions and pointers on how to answer any tiebreakers. They also provided the inspiration to ensure success with this sentence: You have to enter competitions in order to have a chance of winning them.

Niche markets. Big markets are usually the habitat of big business – encroach on their territory at your peril. New businesses thrive in markets that are too small to even be an appetite wetter to established firms. These market niches are often easy prey to new entrants as they have usually been neglected, ignored or ill-served in the past.

Differentiation. Consumers can be a pretty fickle bunch. Just dangle something, faster, brighter or just plain newer and you can usually grab their attention. Your difference doesn’t have to be profound or even high-tech to capture a slice of the market. Book buyers rushed in droves to Waterstones’ for no more profound a reason than that their doors remained open in the evenings and on Sundays, when most other established bookshops were firmly closed.

Business tip

Checking the fit of the business

Having a great business idea and having the attributes and skills needed to successfully start your own business are two of the three legs needed to make your business stool balance. Without the third leg, though, your stool isn’t stable at all. You need to be sure that the business you plan to start is right for you.

Before you go too far, make an inventory of the key things that you are looking for in a business. These may include working hours that suit your lifestyle; the opportunity to meet new people; minimal paperwork; a chance to travel. Then match those up with the proposition you are considering.

Starting up a Business 101

Checking Viability

An idea, however exciting, unique, revolutionary, and necessary is not a business. It’s a great starting point, and an essential one, but there is a good deal more work to be done before you can sidle up to your boss and tell him or her exactly what you think of them.

The following explore the steps you need to take so that you won’t have to go back to your boss in six months and plead for your old job back (and possibly eat a large piece of humble pie at the same time).

Researching the market

However passionate you are about your business idea, it is unlikely that you already have the answers to all the important questions concerning your market place. Before you can develop a successful business strategy, you have to understand as much as possible about your market and the competitors you are likely to face. The main way to get to understand new business areas, or areas that are new to you at any rate, is to conduct market research. The purpose of that research is to ensure that you have sufficient information on customers, competitors, and markets so that your market entry strategy or expansion strategy is at least on the target, if not on the bull’s-eye itself. In other words, you need to explore whether enough people are attracted to buy what you want to sell at a price that will give you a viable business. If you miss the target altogether, which you could well do without research, you may not have the necessary resources for a second shot.

The areas to research include:

 Your customers: Who will buy more of your existing goods and services and who will buy your new goods and services? How many such customers are there? What particular customer needs will you meet?

Your competitors: Who will you be competing with in your product/market areas? What are those firms’ strengths and weaknesses?

Your product or service: How should you tailor your product or service to meet customer needs and to give you an edge in the market?

The price: What would be seen as giving value for money and so encourages both customer loyalty and referral?

The advertising and promotional material: What newspapers, journals, and so forth do your potential customers read and what Web sites do they visit? Unglamorous as it is, analysing data on what messages actually influence people to buy, rather than just to click, holds the key to identifying where and how to promote your products and service.

Inflated numbers on the Internet If you plan to advertise on an Internet site it makes sense to check out the sites you’re considering. Be aware that some sites publish a fair amount of gobbledygook about the high number of ‘hits’ (often millions) the site scores. Millions of hits doesn’t mean the site has millions of visitors. Some Internet sites increase their hit rate by the simple expedient of adding the number of pages each viewer must download to view the page.

Another mildly meaningless measure of the advertising value of a site is the notion of a ‘subscriber’. In Internet parlance anyone visiting a Web site and passing over their e-mail address becomes part of that company’s share price! It is rather like suggesting that anyone passing a shop and glancing in the window will turn into hard cash tomorrow. Any real analysis of Web site use starts with ‘page impression’, which is a measure of how many times an individual page has been viewed.

Channels of distribution: How will you get to your customers and who do you need to distribute your products or services? You may need to use retailers, wholesalers, mail order, or the Internet. They all have different costs and if you use one or more they all want a slice of the margin.

Your location: Where do you need to be to reach your customers most easily at minimum cost? Sometimes you don’t actually need to be anywhere near your market, particularly if you anticipate most of your sales will come from the Internet. If this is the case you need to have strategy to make sure potential customers can find your Web site. Try to spend your advertising money wisely. Nationwide advertisements or blanketing the market with free disks may create huge short-term growth, but there is little evidence that the clients won by indiscriminate blunderbuss advertising works well. Certainly few people using such techniques made any money.

A business plan

A business plan is a selling document that conveys the excitement and promise of your business to potential backers and stakeholders. These potential backers could include bankers, venture capital firms, family, friends, and others

Who could help you get your business launched if they only knew what you want to do? Getting money is expensive, time-consuming, and hard work. Having said that, it is possible to get a quick decision. One recent start-up succeeded in raising £3 million in eight days, the founder having turned down an earlier offer of £1 million made just 40 minutes after his business plan was presented. Your business plan should cover what you expect to achieve over the next three years.

Most business plans are dull, badly written, and frequently read only by the most junior of people in the financing organisations they’re presented to. One venture capital firm in the US went on record to say that in one year they received 25,000 business plans asking for finance and invested in only 40.

Follow these tips to make your business plan stand out from the crowd:

Hit them with the benefits: You need to spell out exactly what it is you Hit them with the benefits: You need to spell out exactly what it is you do, for whom, and why that matters. One such statement that has the ring of practical authority about it is: ‘Our Web site makes ordering gardening products simple. It saves the average customer two hours a week browsing catalogues and £250 a year through discounts, not otherwise available from garden centres. We have surveyed 200 home gardeners, who rate efficient purchasing as a key priority.’

Make your projections believable: Sales projections always look like a hockey stick: a straight line curving rapidly upwards towards the end. You have to explain exactly what drives growth, how you capture sales, and what the link between activity and results is. The profit margins will be key numbers in your projections, alongside sales forecasts. These will be probed hard, so show the build-up in detail. Say how big the market is: Financiers feel safer backing people in big markets. Capturing a fraction of a percentage of a massive market may be hard to achieve – but if you get it at least it’s worth it. Going for 10 per cent of a market measured in millions rather than billions may come to the same number, but it won’t be as interesting.

Introduce you and your team: You need to sound like winners with a track record of great accomplishments. Include non-executive directors: Sometimes a heavyweight outsider can lend extra credibility to a business proposition. If you know or have access to someone with a successful track record in your area of business who has time on their hands, you could invite them to help. If you plan to trade as a limited company you could ask them to be a director, without specific executive responsibilities beyond being on hand to offer their advice. But they need to have relevant experience or be able to open doors and do deals.

Provide financial forecasts: You need projected cash flows, profit and loss accounts, and balance sheets for at least three years out. No-one believes them after Year One, but the thinking behind them is what’s important.

Demonstrate the product or service: Financiers need to see what the customer is going to get. A mock-up will do or, failing that, a picture or diagram. For a service, show how customers will gain from using it. That can help with improved production scheduling and so reduce stock holding.

Spell out the benefits to your potential investor: Tell them that their money will be paid back within ‘x’ years, even on your most cautious projections. Or if you are speaking with an equity investor, tell them what return they will get on their investment when you sell the business on in three or five years time.

Coffee Do's and Dont's

Some coffee tips for enthusiasts:

Never boil coffee - It causes bitterness. Coffee should be brewed between 195 and 205° F

Do not re-heat coffee - Make as much as you plan to drink, then brew fresh. Coffee holds it flavor at 170° F

Use freshly drawn cold tap water - If your water is not good, use filtered or bottled spring water. Never use distilled water.

Do not reuse grinds - This will produce a bitter brew.

Use correct grind - Too fine a grind will cause over extraction and bitterness and may clog your brewer. To coarse a grind will cause under extraction or watery thin coffee.

Use the correct proportion - 1 standard coffee measure of 7 grams of 2 tablespoons for each 6oz of coffee. Do not alter recipe, remember that grinding finer will result in bitter coffee and using less coffee will result in thin coffee.

Keep coffee on burner for no longer than 30 minutes - Use a thermos or airpot to keep coffee hot and fresh for longer periods of time.

Other Reminders:

·         Flavored coffees should only be ground in grinders designated for flavored coffee
·         Ground coffee should never be re-ground
·         Never grind green coffee, moist coffee, or non-coffee items
·         Always keep your fingers out of the grinders. Use a utensil to loosen beans if they are stuck to sides
·         Always grind all the beans you place in the grinder

Costa Rica

Bordered by sea on both sides, Costa Rica differs from its neighbors in many ways. It is a peaceful country with a democratically elected government and, since 1948, no army. The country is also relatively wealthy. Schools are free, and Costa Rica spends much of its budget on education. Life expectancy in Costa Rica is the highest in Central America. Exports include coffee, bananas, and sugar, which grow on the country’s fertile volcanic soils. The main port is Limón on the Caribbean coast.

Costa Rica was once covered with forests that included mahogany and tropical cedar trees. But its tree cover has been greatly reduced because forests have been cut down for lumber and to make room for coffee plantations. However, the government is aware that loss of forest also means loss of valuable plant and animal life, and it is now working to conserve its forests. Today, much of the forest is protected in reserves and national parks.


Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to grow coffee, and for more than 100 years this has been its leading export. From time to time this success is affected by falling international prices. Coffee is made from the fruit of the coffee tree, which grows best on well-drained soil.

Trees need a warm, but not hot, climate, and are usually grown in areas partly shaded with larger trees. They can produce good crops for 15 years.

November 25, 2012

Art with a Heart II - SINING GALING

Bahahgari’t iba pa’ng mga kulay
Ang ngayo’y sa aki’y nagbibigay kulay
Talino’t talento ng batang tulad ko
Ay aalagaan at payayabungin ko
Nang sa gayo’y ito ay tularan
Gamitin sa wasto at tamang paraan

Sing tibay ng moog, aking ipupunla
Iniukit sa mura ko’ng diwa
Na magbigay halaga sa angking talento
Iugnay ang sining sa kakaibang aspeto
Nalalaman ko ngayo’y pinagpala
Gamit ang kaisipang ‘di mawawala

Gabay ko’y mundo ng sining
Akbay ko aking galing
Lubos ang aking galak
Iba sa aking dating tahak
Naiiba sa’king munting hiling
Galing ko sa sining, nag-ugat sa SINING GALING!

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to 
Saint John 18:33-37.

So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, 

"Are you the King of the Jews?" 

Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?" 

Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" 

Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." 

So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."