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Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Back to School Part III

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 31, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Donna Kakonge Ends Her Series on Students Preparing to Go Back to School – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Back To School Part III - August 31, 2010

Going Back to School? This ends the three-part series in going back to school for students of all ages. If you have not checked out Part I and Part II – you can find them on this magazine. Here are the tips for Part III:

  1. Make sure you sleep! It is extremely important to sleep and rest while you are in school. This will help to keep your stress level down and make it possible for you to concentrate on your studies.
  2. Keep your personal drama to a minimum. Things come up. Everyone knows this. Try to keep out of any personal drama around you in your family, as well as any personal drama happening at school. You are at school to study – really in essence not to do anything else.
  3. Keep out of the bars and avoid smoking – easier said than done, trust me I know. You will be much better off to lay off the alcohol completely and avoid smoking to deal with your stress while in school. Many of these bad habits are formed while you are in school. An entire dissertation could be written on this topic. Avoid becoming a statistic.
  4. Try not to miss classes. Try to go to all of your classes. It is important that you go and your professor will respect you for it. If there is a good reason why you must miss a class, let your professor know with as much notice as possible.
  5. Do not forget to enjoy yourself. Going to school will contain some of the fondest memories of your life. Enjoy it and be successful.

For more information about school and education matters – please check out The Education Generation at http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

Back to School – Part II

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 30, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Donna Kakonge Continues the Series on Going Back to School for Students – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Back to School Part II - August 30, 2010

Getting ready to go back to school? Here are some tips to help you out on your new journey:

  1. Food can be a big expensive while you are studying. There is a program called Foodshare that will allow you to get fruits and vegetables for as low as $12.00 CDN for an individual. This is a great way to keep healthy and stave off the extra pounds from the sedentary life of study.
  2. Join the gym on campus. Make sure that you join the gym on campus. You should try to work out as often as you can to deal with stress. If the location of your school is far from where you live and it is not convenient to work out on campus, try to do walking or any kind of sport that you enjoy. Even putting on music on your computer and dancing to it for an hour in your bedroom every day can show can real results.
  3. Take advantage of the health care plans available to you. You can usually get eyeglasses, dental cleanings and discounts on any medications you may be taking by going to school. Take advantage of it. If you are young, you will not be on your parents’ health plan forever.
  4. Watch the company you keep. Make sure that you make good friends while you are at school. Try to associate yourself with the hard workers. They will be a good influence on you. It is quite true sometimes that you can tell a person by the company they keep. Sometimes you may even be better off sticking to yourself.
  5. Enjoy the student discounts of the TTC bus service while you are a student. The TTC is going back to picture cards and discounts for students – to take advantage of this! You will save a lot of money by taking public transit such as the TTC, GO or the public transit in your area which is hopefully good, rather than driving.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when there will be Part III.

Back to School – Part 1

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 29, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Donna Kakonge Writes About Students Who Are Going Back to School – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Back to School Part 1 - August 29, 2010

What an exciting time it is for many people of all ages all over the world as they return to school for September. Being a teacher and student myself, here are some tips on how you can make your new learning experience, or continued learning experience its best:

  1. Get to know your professors: this is something that one of my former students told me about while he was my student and I was not even conscious that it did make a difference in his success. Of course, you need to back up your knowledge of the professor with hard work, however, it is important to build a rapport with your prof. If you cannot – then perhaps you should drop the course if you can.
  2. Organize your work early: make sure you set up folders on your computer that help to organize all your different courses and files for various assignments. Try to find out the deadlines for assignments right away and write them down. There really are not many good excuses for missing deadlines. If you know an assignment is coming up, try to do it in advance and you can even get help from your campus writing centre to improve your work. The people at the writing centres are experts and are almost as good as having your professor look the work over. Many professors are busy so sometimes this is not possible.
  3. Make sure you have the right tools for your learning job: make sure your computer is working well and that you have a good backup system for files, such as Dropbox.com where you can store the files on your computer for free at 2 GB and under.
  4. Show up to class on time!: it’s important to show up to class on time. You do not want to miss anything. You will also be making a very good impression and showing your initiative and eagerness.
  5. Try to participate in class discussions: some people are naturally chatty and participating in class discussions is not a problem. For those professors who create a safe, calm and open learning environment where all students no matter what feel free to discuss things – this is terrific. If you have a professor from hell, well…what can I say…I feel sorry for you. Try to make the best of it and try to think positive thoughts.

Well, this is just the beginning of the tips. Tomorrow there will be Part II.

Car Conference

In Beauty, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 28, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Dennis DesRosiers Writes About a Car Conference – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Dennis DesRosiers - August 28, 2010 - 1

By Dennis DesRosiers

Dennis DesRosiers – August 28, 2010

Once in a while, a really good idea comes along and this is one of them.

One of the forgotten elements or at least little talked about or understood elements of the restructuring of the automotive sector in Canada is the new car dealer. The average dealer in Canada has upwards of $8 million in debt tied to the survival of their brand and dealers are ground zero when it comes to the consumer and their changing tastes.

And radical changes are occurring on a number of fronts with respect to car dealers. For instance, 91 dealer groups ( 4 or more stores ) now control close to half of the vehicle sales in Canada an unprecedented level of power in the marketplace. Not only has dealer ownership changed but how dealers are financed and how they help consumers finance their vehicles is changing rapidly. Technology has always been a major part of dealer operations but the dealers are exploring new technology frontiers in pursuit of an elusive marketing edge. These and many other topics directly related to the new car dealer will be explored at this conference.

AND Maryann Keller has agreed to be the keynote speaker. Maryann is the absolute best analyst in the automotive sector anywhere in the world. Many will remember that she was the first speaker at all the incredibly successful Financial Post automotive conferences each year throughout the 1990’s and into this decade Maryann is always provocative and “spot on” with her comments. She has been deeply involved with one of the largest publically traded dealer groups in the US and I’m sure will have some comments on the future of dealers and dealer groups going forward.

So I encourage you to give this conference serious consideration for attendance. You’ll learn something if you attend.

Dennis

More information and registration is online at:

http://www.cadexcellence.ca/index.php/Registration.html

Or contact Kristina Silva directly at (905) 726-5448 email: ksilva@clbmedia.ca

Psychics

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 27, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Donna Kakonge Writes About Psychics – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Psychics - August 27, 2010

I have done some research into various psychic companies, and here are my findings.

In general, if you are into alternative spirituality paths – the best thing to do is to seek your guidance from within. There are websites such as www.facade.com that can help you to find your own answers for absolutely free. They have a number of tools you can use on that site, such as Tarot, Runes, and Numerology.

As well, if you are into Astrology, there are two very good sites, also for free. Astro.com is very good and without a subscription, you can find out your daily horoscope tailored to you. Another good site is Astrologyzone.com where Susan Miller will give you a monthly astrology report, plus a weekly report as a podcast that is sponsored by the Learning Annex.

If you are one of those people who believes you get what you pay for, there are two pretty good sites that are also a bit on the expensive side. Psychics Connect and California Psychics are expensive, however they psychics on these sites are not too bad.

If you would like to follow my journey with psychic readings and how I came to rely on my own connection with God, I have a series of books that may interest you. Check them out at http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

Decade in Review – Part 44 – WD Store Counts – 2000 to 2009

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 26, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Dennis DesRosiers Does A Decade in Review for Cars – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Dennis DesRosiers - August 26, 2010

By Dennis DesRosiers

Dennis DesRosiers – August 26, 2010

Attached are store counts for the major WD/Buying Groups in Canada for 2000 to 2009.

Warehouse Distributors/Buying Groups for those not knowledgeable about the aftermarket are the companies that own massive warehouses that distribute aftermarket parts to thousands of wholesalers across Canada ( if in the US they would be called Jobbers and are often called Jobbers north of the border as well ). These wholesalers, in turn, supply the approximately 20 thousand service outlets in Canada and these service outlets operate about 107 thousand service bays. With this many bays to supply you can see why Canada needs so many wholesalers.

We track 11 of these groups although some have consolidated in recent years so there are fewer players than what readily appears. In addition, we consider every new car dealer in Canada a wholesaler as well since they have become very active supplying aftermarket parts into the traditional aftermarket but these are NOT profiled in this analysis.

There has been a relatively slow growth in the number of wholesalers across Canada this past decade although some significant changes for any particular group. In 2000 there were 2,552 ( excluding car dealers ) wholesalers in Canada and in 2009 there were 2,763 wholesalers in Canada a relatively small change. Most WD’s have relatively stable store counts or declining store counts. The exception is Modern Sales Co-op who have seen their counts increase from 172 stores to 338 stores, Lordco out of BC/Alberta who have grown from 61 stores to 119 stores, PartSource who have grown from 27 stores to 87 stores and UniSelect who through acquisition have grown from 690 stores to 713 stores but also own Bumper to Bumper out West who add an additional 98 stores to their total. This makes UniSelect the largest WD in Canada by store count. NAPA with 577 stores would be the second largest WD and Modern Sales Co-op the largest Buying Group.

In my next note, I’ll profile some performance variables for this group of players which will provide a better understanding as to performance by market.

Dennis

ps. I’m still on vacation.

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc
Dennis DesRosiers
President
dennis@desrosiers.ca
80 Fulton Way Suite 101
Richmond Hill, Ontario
L4B 1J5
tel: 1-905-881-0400 – 13
fax: 1-905-881-7456
mobile: 1-416-543-8611
http://www.desrosiers.ca
AIM: Skype ID: SkypeIn #:
Add me to your address book… Want a signature like this?

State of Canadian Auto Manufacturing … one year later

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 25, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Dennis DesRosiers Does A Year In Review For Automobiles – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Dennis DesRosiers - August 25, 2010

Dennis DesRosiers – August 25, 2010

By Dennis DesRosiers

Well, it’s been a year now since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy with a billion of taxpayer dollars in their pockets. I looked at a long list of issues in the industry lately ( I’m on vacation as a write this … call me anal ) and the results with one exception were impressive … let us see now

. GM and Chrysler appear to be making progress out of bankruptcy …. check
. Ford is picking up market share … check
. some import nameplate brands are yielding market position to Detroit … check
. cost of manufacturing vehicles at the Detroit three has been adjusted downward and is now more competitive with the new domestics … check
. the markets in Canada, Mexico, and the USA are slowly returning to normal … check
. we haven’t noticed a supplier failure in months … check
. employment is returning to previous levels … NOT!!

Oh no, say it ain’t so Joe. The most important political variable in the automotive equation and the critical reason that our collective Governments dumped over a hundred $ billion into the Detroit three ( note: Ford got money to help meet new fuel efficiency requirements ) was to arrest declines in jobs. Indeed to increase jobs in the automotive sector. I haven’t looked at the US or Mexico but Statistics Canada has new employment numbers out for the year to date to the end of April and they are ugly … indeed very ugly.

We count four subsectors as part of the automotive manufacturing equation. Assembly of vehicles and automotive parts are at the core but we also put in motor vehicle body and trailer jobs and MTDM jobs ( machine tool die and mold ). Together they peaked at just under 200,000 jobs in Canada in 2001. Today they stand at 123,829 jobs a decline of about 80K and the lowest level since 1982. This is the fifth year in a row that automotive manufacturing employment has declined. The big loss was last year when over 34,000 jobs evaporated and panic reigned in Ottawa and Queen’s Park. But any politician that planned to pull a George Bush and stand on a frigate and announce “mission accomplished” had better wait for the next flight. Employment across all four industry sub-sectors continues to deteriorate this year. Close to 10,000 jobs have been lost compared to the identical period a year ago and remember a year ago the industry was in deep trouble so to be down from the depressed levels of a year ago indicates that the automotive and parts sector in Canada or at least the manufacturing side of the automotive sector is in seriously bad shape.

The assembly sector is the best of the bunch stabilizing at about 36K jobs down a bit from the lost year but no longer in a free fall. Still down over 21K jobs from their peak but at least stable. But the real job producer in this sector has always been the parts producers and they continue their free fall with employment down another 5,000 plus jobs this year. Employment in the parts sector peaked at just over 100 K in 2001 but since that time the auto parts sector has shed over 42,000 jobs with no end in sight.

And very troubling is the fact that one of the core capabilities in our automotive parts sector has always been its close link to the tooling sector and with the auto parts sector in the toilet this has devastated the Canadian tooling sector. The MTDM sector has traditionally been the most stable of our automotive-related manufacturing activities … rarely declining and usually slowly picking up employment. Between 1991 and 2006 this sector grew by 18K jobs to over 28K jobs. Virtually every one of them very highly skilled. Four years later in 2010, it is back to 1991 levels of employment. And most disconcerting is that these are typically the highest skilled jobs in the automotive sector. Canada was never going to be able to hold onto low skilled jobs but high value-added jobs seemed to be saveable. If Canada can’t hang onto high value-added jobs then vehicle and parts manufacturing in this country are in serious trouble.

Politicians should be very worried. We are seeing the willowing away of our vehicle and parts manufacturing sector and I quite frankly don’t see much ability for any politician to stop this. We don’t even know WHY these jobs are disappearing and until we understand this issue then any response by any Government will just be a shot in the dark.

My thoughts on this sunny day written from my secret vacation hideout.

Dennis

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc
Dennis DesRosiers
President
dennis@desrosiers.ca
80 Fulton Way Suite 101
Richmond Hill, Ontario
L4B 1J5
tel: 1-905-881-0400 – 13
fax: 1-905-881-7456
mobile: 1-416-543-8611
http://www.desrosiers.ca
AIM: Skype ID: SkypeIn #:
Add me to your address book… Want a signature like this?

Childhood Memories

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 24, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Childhood Memoires – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 24, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

The movie “Field of Dreams” said it perfectly, “if you build it, it will come” a line that can be used for almost anything.

I had grown up with a computer engineer as a father and a busybody great cook as a mother, having sports in that mix was in the interesting mix. Usually, it is the parents that put the kids into sports, but for me, it was the other way around. I remember when I was 5 years old I had gotten my first red wooden bat and a plastic glove and playing ball with my dad in the backyard, and he was the one that looked nervous and not sure what to do with it. As much as I loved computers, baseball was a passion of mine and had never really stopped. For myself, it is harder to tell you what I did yesterday and give you key details to an even 15 years ago. It is just the way it goes; also you choose what you want to remember on a subconscious level. Out of all the memories that I have as a child most of them were filled with love and adventure. We do grow up and new priorities start to take place and put what we once loved on the back burner, but I am still that kid at heart that likes the things I did as a kid. Playing in the sand, going roller-skating, eating oversized sundaes and so on, I miss the little things that I never appreciated when I was a young child.

It is great to build new memories as we grow, granted that is what we are supposed to in life if we live with old memories they just become boring, but how often do we really make the effort to do something new when old is easier?

If we can try and do the things we loved and do something different with it, I truly believe that we can make ourselves happier today, tomorrow and in life. It is a nice thought that a plan could go into action if we choose.

What is your childhood memory?

Reunited

In Beauty, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 23, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Friends – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 23, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

Do you ever wonder where your friends from the past are now? Friends do come and go throughout the years, and it is natural to go different directions during your life. There are those that do stay around, and then there or those who move away and hope to see again but you just never know. I have always had a hard time keeping friends and still do, I try to stay out of the drama and the gossip. It is desperately hard to not get in the middle of peoples relationships, even though you can’t help but want to help and fix peoples problems.

As you grow and mature it would be nice to keep the good friends in and detach from the unhealthy friends. However, when the unhealthy friends start getting healthy and want to start a friendship again you begin to wonder why you had left in the first place. Last night I was faced with this dilemma and I had gotten quite nervous over it. Since I have been back in Canada I have 3 friends from before that I keep in contact, the rest are all new and solid friendships have been formed. I receive a phone call from one of those 3 friends that a mutual friend is back in town and would like to go for coffee. My brain immediately turns to “here comes trouble” and started getting quite anxious and nervous. It had been three years since I had seen this friend and even though there was no bad blood between us, I was a different person back then as to I am now and was not sure if she had changed. To be open-minded and willing to seek out the possibility that people do change for the better my nerves started to calm down and hugs and kisses were given all around.

My friends at one point were all shadows how the disappear and reappear but never stay for good. At one point friends were like socks to me, where you would just keep loosing one, and have the other, and by the time you couldn’t find a matching pair you ended up throwing out the socks. I had come to a point in my life where I did not want to do that anymore, that the manipulation, lies, deceiving, backstabbing needed to stop. Risks are a must when it comes to life, but when it affects the heart no one really knows how to handle it, because it is pure emotion.

The main reason why I had kept my social networking site was to hold on to certain people even though I would never talk to them, just to see how they are doing. Now it just seems like distant stocking, if you are not really going to contact the person why have them there in the first place? This is something I think about, it is hard as it is to have a group of friends that you do stay in contact with, let alone those who are staring in the distance and not sure if they are staying or leaving. It is important to remember whom you want to hang around and have friendships with and if people come back into your life that is okay just don’t be afraid to question it from time to time.

ID Please!

In Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 21, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Government Identification – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Written By: Jennifer Winters

Driving, drinking, gambling is only a few examples of when one would require government photo identification. If you do not do any of these outings, it would seem pointless to have ID with you.

In Ontario a health card is not sufficient enough for proof of who you are, even to open up a movie account to rent movies you need two pieces of ID. I for one do not drive, I do have my G1 (learner’s permit) for the sake of having identification on me. I usually leave it at home, so last night was no different. I had gone to a concert in an open field trusting I would not have to have proof of who I was. I was right until my friends had decided to go to a bar and dance the night away. I am almost 27 years old and I thought the getting “carded” would have stopped. I had only brought the necessities to the concert (blanket, water & a sweatshirt), why bring anymore? It didn’t even cross my mind to bring more than that, I feel foolish yet I am getting tired of having to bring more cards with me when I don’t even do the “drinking, driving, gambling” when I go out. As we were walking to the bar, the security guard was asking for ID left right and center, so we decided to try another place, luckily the next place did not card and we were allowed in. This was all to listen to music and dance, the embarrassment to try and sneak in and be legal about it was funny. So the next time you go out and you think it is not important to bring ID, do not go with your instant, BRING YOUR WALLET!

Inked!

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 20, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Tattoos – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 20, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

It seems that wearing the latest fashion, or keeping up the styling hairdo, it is tattoos that have made the list of things “you must have”.

The only difference is tattoos don’t come off, so make sure it is what you really want. I started getting inked back in 2006, and it far formed a fashion statement or a cry for help. I knew my fairly would not approve, so possibly a rebellious statement, but it became much deeper than that. People get tattoos for all kinds of reasons, and if it is for fashion then well, to each their own as my grandmother likes to say. The most crucial thing to remember about tattoos when you are ready to get one is to make sure that you know what you are getting. I had gotten a tattoo from being inspired by a guitar hero song and the lyrics that I thought I heard was “treat yourself to happiness” I am glad that is what I thought it was, because after I got my tattoo I thought it would be best to check and the actual lyrics were “drink yourself to happiness.” Extremely relieved that is not what is printed on me considering I do not drink anymore. My sister had once told me a really funny story that I must share with you. She was talking a friend of a friend on how he had gotten a Chinese Tattoo that what he thought stood for “family, earth, and nature” something to that extent and had ended up getting “Chinese food on Sundays.”

People get tattoos for all sorts of reasons, sometimes there is none other than pure boredom, but it is an expression of art and it doesn’t really matter what other people think of it, as long as you know that is something permanent and will most likely go to the grave with you if you do not want to get it permanently removed. I know I would much rather get a tattoo than getting my eyebrows waxed any day.

I stick by the phrase “once you pop you can’t stop” in reference to tattoos. They can be highly addictive and it becomes a craving to get more. Reality series in the tattoo world is all over from LA ink, to Miami Ink and my favourite an A& Especial “inside the real tattoo.” It is nice to see that there is something on TV for everybody to watch, something of a different flavor, for those that are getting sick of people eating bugs and jumping on big balls. Seeing someone getting inked and having him or her share their story behind it, can be sentimental and inspiring. There is truly nothing wrong with that at all.

Shoes, glorious shoes! (Originally Published on Neatfreak Blog)

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Shoes – Photo Courtesy of Fotolia

Clare Kumar - August 13, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Yes, shoes are glorious, but more often than not, storing them can cause less than glamorous feelings. If you’re feeling footwear frustration, you’re not alone. I often get questions about how and where to store shoes, and especially now we’re in winter, beautiful boots.

Here are some tips to get your shoes in order. Read through and keep in mind your personal habits to determine which options will work with your lifestyle and storage space. Of course, you have to also factor in your love of shoes and the degree to which that influences the amount of indoor real estate you devote to them.

The first step in any organizing project is to decide your goal. Is it to make sure you can display prize footwear? Do you simply want to clear the front doorway of shoe clutter? Do you want to be able to access your full assortment of shoes easily? It’s your goal. Decide what it is and keep it in mind as you go through the process.

Next, assess your storage space. Look around with fresh eyes and consider all your options – entranceways, closets, under beds and the backs of doors are all shoe storage options. Measure the spaces and get an idea of how many shoes and boots can be accommodated.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the storage options that exist.

Shelving – Ideal for near an entrance or inside a closet, stackable shelving provides flexible and easy access to everyday shoes. Expanding models ensure that no space is wasted. The top shelf is the ideal spot for boots or high-top shoes. Keep them standing tall with boot inserts. If putting shoes on display, choose a shelving colour that complements your space. You’ll find shelving comes in a variety of materials including plastic, wood, metal, and combinations with fabric.

Shoe boxes – A shoe box is ideal for shoes that are delicate or worn less often. I recommend recycling the original shoe boxes (or using them in drawers as inexpensive drawer dividers) and using stackable boxes of uniform size. Choose clear boxes if you like to see what’s inside, or for quick recognition add a label or photo. Seldom-used shoes can be stored safely in boxes on upper closet shelves.

Hanging shoe storage – Look for a sturdy model of adequate width to hold your shoes. Use them in hall closets or in the bedroom. If you have free sections (ha!) they are also ideal for outdoor accessories such as gloves and scarves.

Over the door shoe storage – Ideal for lighter footwear with low heels, use over the door storage in places that can accommodate the extra width on the back of the door without impeding your access or movement in the space.

Under the bed – This is a perfect option for high boots which can be placed on their sides under the bed. Look for zippered bags to protect footwear from dust.

Clare Kumar Knows About Shoes – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

Female shoes, boots and handbags

Covered Bins – Bins with lids are ideal for off-season storage. They preserve your footwear and can be stacked to maximize space in storage areas. Before placing shoes or boots in bins though, make sure they are wiped clean and polished if necessary. You will also want to stuff paper into any large cavities to prevent crushing. Layer paper between levels to protect shoes from scratching each other.

Decide which of the options works for you and then translate that into the number of pairs of shoes and boots that can be reasonably stored. That means without cramming them in!

Now for the hard part – it’s time to figure out if your shoe collection will fit comfortably, or if it needs to go on a diet. Ask yourself these questions to help cull your collection. You really do have the answers.

a) How does the shoe or boot make you feel?
b) How often do you actually wear them?
c) How well do they work with your current wardrobe?
d) What is the condition of the shoe? Is the leather still supple?
e) How much room do they take?

When shopping for shoe storage, measure or take your largest shoe along with you to make sure it fits. Employ these tips and your shoes will be smiling back at you.

Clare Kumar is the Owner of Streamlife – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

Here’s a little twist from “Oliver”…

Shoes, glorious shoes!
What wouldn’t we give for
That extra bit more —
That’s all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
On shoes,
Magical shoes,
Wonderful shoes,
Marvellous shoes,
Fabulous shoes!

TEN TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL GARAGE SALE (Originally Published on Neatfreak Blog)

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Effective Garage Sales – Photo Courtesy of Fotolia

Clare Kumar - August 13, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Garage sales are a great way to give unwanted items a second chance. They take some effort but can pay off handsomely for you or in the form of a much-appreciated donation to the charity of your choice.

If you plan on holding a garage sale as a means of passing on unwanted items, here are a few tips to ensure success.

1. Gather items for sale. Go through your home in the weeks before the sale to collect items for the sale. Take a really good look at items throughout your home, and invest in making some tough decisions. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Price everything. Price items as you collect them using removable stickers (available from office supply stores). Set prices at 1/3 of what it would cost to buy the item new.

3. Box-like items for easy setup. Use boxes to contain like items and store them until the sale. Label them so you’ll know where to unpack them come sale day.

Clare Kumar Can Help You to Have a Great Garage Sale – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

pretty closet

4. Display items for easy shopping. Set up tables to display small items. Making items easy to see and assess makes them more likely to sell.

5. Wake up early. Be prepared for an early start. Garage sale shoppers are early birds!

6. Provide packaging for bought items. Have newspaper available to wrap fragile pieces and shopping bags on hand for people to carry items away. It’s a great way to pass on all those bags you’ve been keeping.

7. Provide proof an item works. Be able to demonstrate that electric items are in working order. An extension cord can help, but be sure it doesn’t become a tripping hazard.

8. Make change. Have small bills and coins available to provide change. Note this amount before you start selling so you can determine the true proceeds of the sale.

9. Sell safely. The Health Canada site has guidelines on what can be sold safely at garage sales: http://hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/cons/garage_e.html The US Consumer Protection Safety Commission keeps an up to date list of recalled items so you can avoid selling items which may cause harm to others or a liability for you. http://www.cpsc.gov/

10. Have a plan to tackle any leftover items. Heavily discount or even give items away at no charge as you near the end of the sale. Deliver remaining items to your local charity. Whatever you do, don’t take them back in the house! In Canada, you may choose to support the Yard Sale for the Cure which funds the fight against breast cancer. Sales will takes place this year on Saturday, May 29th across the country. Find out more at http://www.cbcf.org/en-US/Home/YardSale.aspx and as they say,

Clare Kumar is the Owner of Streamlife – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

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“Lose the clutter. Find a cure!

At the end of the sale, be sure to pat yourself on the back. Not only will you have edited your own belongings to keep the best, you will have given your unwanted items a second life as someone else’s treasures.

Avoiding Moving Madness – 5 Tips to Address the Stress (Originally Published on Neatfreak Blog)

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 16, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Having a Hassle-Free Move – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Clare Kumar - August 13, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Moving is known to be one of the most chaotic and stressful events you can go through. Studies show up to 25 percent of people move each year. If this year it’s on your agenda, read on for tips on minimizing the anxiety related to a move.

1. Build your master move checklist

There will be a multitude of things to do whether you are moving around the corner or across the globe. If you try to keep everything in your head you can become quickly overwhelmed.

Build a binder or electronic folder to keep all your moving information together. Create sections for the movie calendar, the master checklist, contacts for moving services and contractors, and related documents.

2. Determine where you need help

Assess your checklist and identify all the things that you have time, strength, energy and know-how to accomplish. Mark the items for which you will need to enlist help.

A lot of time and energy goes into a move. If you have ample time and physical strength, you may be able to accomplish most things on your own. If however, you have little free time or if you require specialized services, such as those for moving pianos or grandfather clocks, it will be important to hire help.

3. Decide your budget

Moving is not only stressful, it can be expensive. Plan in advance to make sure you aren’t caught with rush fees close to the move.

Identify and obtain quotes for key services which may include:
• Preparing for a Move – de-cluttering
• Packing
• Moving Items
• Move Management
• Storage
• Cleaning
• Unpacking

Clare Kumar Writes About Moving – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

Clare Kumar - Moving - August 16, 2010

4. Plan your move schedule

Most people I’ve worked with carrying a lot of the to-do’s in their heads and fear missing a deadline. Keep appointments and deadlines straight by noting them on a calendar. Work backward from your move date to ensure you have time to complete everything.
Remember to allow some extra time for things that take longer than you estimate. For packing belongings, a good rule of thumb is to allow a week for every room. It’s a good time to edit your items too, so you’re not packing and moving things you no longer need.
Work with your checklist to ensure every item has a date beside it. Tick the item off when it’s completed. Not only will you keep the project organized, you’ll create a sense of accomplishment – a nice thing to have when it feels like there is still much to do.

5. Prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally

As someone who has moved about 20 times, I know that advance planning really does help. Even with the best of plans, however, moving remains stressful. Moving day will be busy because there’s no way to avoid so much needing to happen at one time. We know it demands a lot of physical strength. What some are surprised by is the emotional strength required to let go of a home, a place that you’ve invested your time and energy creating memories. Prepare yourself for this by photographing or videotaping your home as it is before you begin packing.

Now for some practical advice. Sleep well the night before. Keep hydrated and have snacks on hand to get you through the day. Wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothing to keep you safe and well.

Clare Kumar is the Owner of Streamlife – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

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Good luck with the move!

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Send me your moving stories and successes.

WHY HOME STAGE WITH A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER? (from Streamlife Newsletter – April 2010)

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 15, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Home Staging – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

Clare Kumar - August 13, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Preparing for and living through a move is one of the most stressful things one can do. The benefits of staging a home to sell are now almost universally understood. If you want to maximize the sale price of your home and the speed in which it sells, staging is critical.

Staging involves three steps:
1. The consultation – guidance on what is required to present the house in fine form

2. The preparation – repairs, maintenance, cosmetic updates and editing possessions to ensure the home’s assets are showcased

3. The presentation – final touches to position furniture and add lifestyle elements to engage the targeted buyer

There can be a long list of things to do, especially in Step 2. One you really don’t want to rush is the editing of your possessions. You can create problems by hurrying through the process of clearing out everything which does not help sell the current home, without giving thought to what you really ought to keep for your new residence and lifestyle, or what you need for day-to-day life.

Clare Kumar Can Home Stage Your Place – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Clare Kumar - Staging - August 15, 2010

If you place everything in a storage unit, you may expend energy and money moving and storing items that you could have gifted, donated or sold. You also feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to go through these items at a later date, perhaps in a smaller space. It can be better to make the tough decisions as you prepare for the move. Some of these decisions can be emotionally challenging.

Herein lies the benefit of working with a Professional Organizer. Effective Staging focuses on driving up the value of the sale. Professional Organizers focus on how you live. Organizers understand how to plan and execute a move, what you’ll need to live comfortably through the move, and how to plan effectively for life in a new space. A professional with combined Organizing and Staging skills will give you sound advice to increase your financial return while taking into account your current and future lifestyle needs, ensuring peace of mind.

Allow time for the process and seek professional guidance when you need it, and you can minimize the stress of moving.

Clare Kumar is the Owner of Streamlife – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

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Clare Kumar is a Canadian Certified Staging Professional (CCSP®) and a Silver Leaf Member of the Professional Organizers in Canada.

An Organized Office is a Productive Office (Originally Published in Neatfreak Blog)

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 14, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing an Office – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

Clare Kumar - August 13, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Investing time in getting organized may sound like the last thing you need to add to your “to do” list. However, just as you can spend money to make money, did you know you can spend the time to make time? And who doesn’t need more of that?

Simply answer the following questions to organize your office space and boost your productivity:

1. What exactly do you do?

Assess the activities you engage in and determine the office furniture and storage tools required to support them. Your processes may have changed since you first set up space, or you may have inherited a space that worked for someone else. To be most productive, your office space should be designed so that you are comfortable completing your work. That means if you spend a lot of time writing, make sure you have a space conducive to it. If you hold in-person meetings, you will want to create a comfortable space for guests.

In my work as a Professional Organizer, I often see binders piled up in filing cabinets, or papers piled up on bookcases. Look in your office for “mismatched” systems which are often difficult, if not impossible to use. To avoid information pile-up, know how you like to retrieve information and ensure your office storage systems reflect that.

Clare Kumar Can Organize Your Office – Photo Courtesy of Fotolia

office

Think about
• types of furniture such as desks, tables, chairs, and stands for computer peripherals
• storage pieces such as drawers, filing cabinets, bookshelves, desktop file folders and lateral sorters
• functional equipment such as whiteboards, bulletin boards, coat racks, keyboard trays and footrests

2. What goes where?

Just as with regular real estate, with office ‘real estate’ it’s all about location, location, location. Areas at arm’s length must be considered prime space. Desk surfaces should be reserved for projects you are actively working on. Often-used office supplies should be close at hand, ideally in drawers that are part of or near your desk. Drawer organizers are effective at corraling smaller supplies making them faster to retrieve.

Reference materials and seldom-used supplies can be stored further away in filing cabinets, on bookshelves or in storage cupboards. Archived items are used least and can, therefore, be stored in the most remote locations.

Peripherals such as fax machines, scanners, backup hard drives, routers and their cables should be stored and managed so as not to create a busy environment in your immediate working space. Cable management systems can help create both visual orders by reducing chaos, and functional order by making it easy to identify each item.

3. What about comfort?

A comfortable space is a productive space. It pays to be aware of proper ergonomics when selecting furniture and storage pieces. Ensuring desk surfaces and keyboards are at an ideal height can improve comfort and avoid repetitive strain injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome and rotator cuff tendinitis are just two examples of injuries which can result from of poorly configured workstations. Not only will you suffer a loss in productivity, you could end up with permanent damage.

Chairs are not one-size-fits-all, so if you spend a lot of time in one, it is worth understanding just how customizable they can be. Look for height and chair back adjustability, a seat pan that fits your body and armrests that can be moved to best support you.

To make telephone use more comfortable consider speakerphones or headsets. Locating printers a few steps away will encourage more mobility in your workday.

Lighting should also be examined. You’ll want a mixture of ambient lighting and task lighting for focused work. Natural lighting cannot be over-rated. For every hour of focused work whether it be writing or on the computer, take five minutes and look out a window. Your eyes will thank you.

So go ahead, invest the time in getting organized. It’s one investment sure to pay itself back day after day.

Clare Kumar is the Owner of Streamlife – Photo Courtesy of Claire Kumar

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Clare Kumar is the founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company. Clare works with business owners and employees to drive greater productivity and peace of mind through being better organized at work and at home. An industry expert, Clare is also creating new products to help people take the ‘bumps’ out of their day. If there’s something you do every day that’s slowing you down, she wants to hear from you.

Organizing Dad’s Closet – Part One – 5 Key Storage Strategies (originally published at www.neatfreak.com/blog)

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 13, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Dad\’s Closet – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

Clare Kumar - August 13, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Although most men don’t seem to be concerned about the state of their closets (yes, I know there are exceptions!), almost all men appreciate order in the house. Here’s some advice on how best to manage a guy’s stuff – in two parts. The first installment explores key strategies for storing dad’s duds. The second will take you through a guys garb item by item and provide recommendations on how best to store each one.

There are a few principles to keep in mind when storing clothing. Ask yourself the following questions when deciding how to store his wardrobe.

Clare Kumar is the Author of This Story – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

1. Accessibility
How easy is it to access the clothes, especially those used most often?

Clothes should be easy to see and retrieve. If closets and drawers are cramped, consider relocating off-season or special occasion clothing to another closet or a covered garment rack.

Allowing space between each item will help keep clothes wrinkle-free. After all, who wants to spend time re-pressing a shirt?

2. Clothing Care
Does the method of storage ensure the garment retains its shape, colour, and integrity?

Suits are best stored on sturdy hangers with shaped ends to support the suit’s shoulders. Reserve wire hangers for dry cleaning, not long-term clothing storage. Wire hangers are not sturdy enough for daily use with most clothes and get tangled easily. Look for a dry cleaner that will take them back for recycling.

Knits are best folded to retain their original shape.

Consider garment bags and cedar-scented wood to keep pests away from woolen garments. Covered under-the-bed storage options are perfect for off-season sweaters or bulky items.

3. Efficient Use of Space
Are you making the best use of the available storage real estate?

For More Information About Clare Kumar Check Her Out on Google – Photo Courtesy of Clare Kumar

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Men’s clothing tends to be more uniform than women’s which leads to the more efficient use of space. Use a second hanging bar to create two levels of storage. Raise the top bar to a level comfortable for you to reach, often higher than the standard installation height of 63 inches. Hang pants on the top level folded in half on pant hangers. The bottom bar should be high enough off the ground to provide clearance for dress shirts. Hanging them in this configuration makes it easier to see the pants.

Perhaps the existing garment storage options don’t suit dad’s preferences. For example, if he likes to fold t-shirts instead of hanging them, consider creating more shelf space by building in shelves, adding drawers or hanging fabric organizers in the closet.

4. Ease of Selection
Is the closet lit well enough to identify each piece?

While the dark colours commonly used in men’s wardrobes provide a rich, appealing environment, they actually make it harder to see clothing. Add lighting so you can easily identify garments and tell dark colours apart. Navy looks a lot like black in a dark closet!

5. Out of Commission Clothing
Where should you keep the clothes that can’t currently be worn because they are dirty, need alteration or repair?

Often overlooked is a place to put dirty clothes. Make room for a laundry hamper, bag or basket in or near the closet to ensure dirty clothes don’t pile up. Add a tote bag to collect dry cleaning and clothing to be sent for repair or alteration.

While dad’s closet may be out of sight, it is surely not out of mind. Employ these key storage strategies in designing a father-friendly wardrobe management system.

Highway of Heroes Unveiled by TPS

In Beauty, Business, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on August 12, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Police - August 12, 2010

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FNS Youth To Unveil Highway of Heroes Mural August 12, 2010, 11am-Coroner’s Office, Toronto
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Toronto Police Service
News Release

Media advisory, Thursday, August 12, 2010, 11 a.m., Coroner’s Building laneway, 25 Grenville Street Highway of Heroes Mural Unveiling

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 – 5:00 AM
Public Information
416-808-7100

On Thursday, August 12, 2010, at 11 a.m., in the laneway at the rear of the Coroner’s Building, 25 Grenville Street, Jessey Pacho, Mentor Artist, and youth mural artists from Flemingdon Neighbourhood Services will unveil their Highway of Heroes tribute mural.

The mural is located at the rear of the Sushi Sky Restaurant, 478 Yonge Street.

The theme of the mural is a call for peace and to respect and honour our fallen soldiers and their families.

Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne and members of the Canadian Army Veteran (the C.A.V.) will be present for the unveiling.

Flemingdon Neighbourhood Services would like to thank the Toronto Police Service Legal Graffiti Art Coordinator Constable Scott Mills and the City of Toronto Graffiti Transformation program for funding the mural. The Graffiti Transformation Program is an annual community investment program addressing youth unemployment and opportunities as well as neighbourhood improvement.

Please visit Facebook and YouTube for more information.

Constable Wendy Drummond, Public Information

Automatic Headache: When Dealing with Phone Companies

In Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 12, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Phone Companies – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 19, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

I can see the attraction of the Amish lifestyle, where there is no electricity and telephone communication is rarely used on a daily basis. Although the simple life may not always be simple, I am sure they never have to deal with phone companies and try to not yell at the poor soul on the other side. Telephone service providers are like Politicians; they say they are going to make things better an easier, going to make their plans less confusing and consumer friendly. I have become quite bitter with service providers these days; even working for one it was frustrating. I liked the “emergency only plan” easy to understand no hidden fees, and then came “My 5”, “Local City”, “Unlimited Social Networking Plan, See restrictions” and so on. When did it get so complicated?

The biggest issue isn’t so much the plan that gets confusing; it is the people that are the customer service call centre that really does my head in. Before you can even talk to a person though you have to go through an automated voice contraption for at least 3 minutes, which doesn’t seem long on a pay as you go plan it is. As someone who has a speech impediment trying to get out the word and hearing “I’m sorry we missed what you said” I have to yell “customer service, human being, anybody” until the voice says “alright, we didn’t understand what you said so I will put you through to a representative”. At this point, I am starting to get cranky that I haven’t even started with my problem. When a customer has a complaint it can go either way if they are calm chances are the representative will be more eager to help them. If they come running in accusing the rep, chances are they will be rude back or not want to help, especially in a call center scenario.

This past month alone, the agony and frustration that is completely avoidable if the call center reps would listen. I understand they get hundreds f phone calls a day and most of them are rude people. However for the ones that are not rude, just need to get an understanding of their bill, help them out. The customer service representatives in the stores can’t help you after you have your plan and contract. They will always redirect you to the call center and you will be on the phone for at least 20 minutes ready to throw the phone out the window. This doesn’t always seem like a bad idea. The last time I was on the phone with a service provider, I was explaining how my phone was dropping out and how in a really important “emergency” type call it had dropped out. The response I got on the other line was “Well, that’s life what are you going to do?” The old me would have chewed her out and made a scene, instead, I hung up and had to process what had just happened.

If I didn’t rely on communication as much as I did I would like to not use a phone every day. I could give myself my own challenge and keep my phone at home for an entire day but I know it wouldn’t happen. Could you do that?

If it doesn’t fit… DON’T WEAR IT!

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 9, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Clothing – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 21, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

As summer is here fewer clothes are being worn in public.

I am all about “feeling comfortable in your own skin” however I do not need to see everyone’s bits hanging out? Yes, it is hot, but there are clothes that are suitable to wear when the weather is hot. I am the last person to know anything in fashion as I feel like I should have a membership to Wal-Mart and Winners. Places like those still have tasteful articles of clothing. I was driving around with my sister yesterday stopped in traffic as a younger lady was crossing the street, both of our eyes did the “gaze”, her shirt was really short, shorts looked like a scarf, and she had the gladiator shoes on. Sadly being judgmental with a response “what was that?” We had a good laugh even though it was at her expense, it wasn’t so much the fashion I had a problem with, but it was the self-image that I had questioned.

I usually wear what fits and what is comfortable, but for the life of me, I cannot see how thong like buckled up shoes, shorts that no longer look like shorts, and belly hanging out make someone feel good. Then my mind went “well maybe she doesn’t, which is why she is doing it”. The judgmental me turned very quickly to how society views people from the outside looking in. This is coming from someone who wears her crocks proud outside, and I get mocked for it daily, and my response is always “I don’t care about the style, they are comfortable”. Which I will stick by through and through if it is comfortable and you feel good to do it. However that girl, she did it I guess, if she wanted the attention and got people thinking about it well she sure did. I guess I am confused on why we just dress to impress everybody and want to scream out “look at me please”. I realize this is a touchy subject for some, and this is not to second-guess what you are wearing or what will people think because it shouldn’t matter what other people think.

I suspect in a way we are all seeking a little attention just to be noticed to know we aren’t really walking this road alone, even though we will have are books buried in our faces, music cranked up so loud we can’t even here the trucks honking. My favorite part of the year us beach season where the bathing suits (lack of bathing suits) come out. There are certain people in this world that should not be wearing “mankinis.” I still go with the saying “flaunt it and be proud” but we don’t need to exhibit everything. This is just my opinion, not a fact. The truth of the matter is as much as we want to be left alone; I can see the appeal for wanting to get noticed.

Something to Write About!

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 8, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Writing – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 23, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

Writing can truly be the essence of a new beginning for people.

A reality of seeing the words you write is usually the truth of how you feel. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for all of those words that you write that is the source of your feelings. It is never too late to journal when it is hard for people to express themselves out loud. Journaling can truly save lives, yes it is an extremely private thing, and usually, the thoughts are for no one to ever read but you. For those that do not have the ability to express their words verbally it must be extremely frustrating, and for those who are able to talk, we take for granted how valuable a pen and paper really is. I remember on every winter vacation that I took with my parents years ago I was to buy a new journal book with every intention of writing in it. I would get to about the 5th day and had stopped. That went on for 10 years, and then I started with writing entries on the computer, and then started with the blogs. Once again I had stopped, and I was trying to figure out why am I stopping the one thing I love. If you have ever felt like an outsider looking in, or never felt apart of it difficult to feel like one could engage in conversation. Anais Nin once wrote, “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” If we didn’t have writing as a tool there would be no music, no great speeches from presidents (some we could do without), yet all done by writing it out first. It is very easy to get lost in writing, and some are way beyond the average Joe. However, that is needless to say we all can’t pick up a pen and paper every day and write what is on our mind even if doesn’t make sense.

It’s Right Around the Corner. Is it?

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Knowing Toronto – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 11, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

How well do you know your own town?

If you have lived in the same place for your whole life, it would seem like second nature to give someone directions. There are some that just can’t give directions to save their life. Toronto being the tourist site to be during the summer time it is normal for people all around the world to come down here. If someone would ask me, (A native of Toronto, I would be sending them on a chase. It had pondered my mind today, with the G20 in place, people were asking me what is the best shortcut and I wasn’t able to help them. It is the opposite for me, when I go on vacation I tend to know where I am going after a day or two, I kept on asking myself why is that? Yes, we all work differently, some like the adventure of asking around, and some like to have every detailed planned when they go away. It is like when you are in your hometown you hardly visit the touristy places because “you have your whole life to see everything”. Yet last year was the first year I had ever gone to Toronto Island. I am making an effort now to do all the things that visitors do so when someone does ask me for directions I will be able to direct them. How many of you really know your town? I had asked about 10 friends today that question and only half of them were able to tell me directions. It is more common then you think. Sometimes I feel I should be the one holding a map. Just a few weeks ago I was going on a random adventure with a friend to the Harbourfront, and it took us over an hour, WE LIVE HERE. This is sad, and a true reality at the same time. It is reassuring to know I am not the only one that gets lost in my own city that I live in. It is extremely embarrassing to come to this conclusion, that a tourist is more likely to not get lost than myself.

The Theory of Daddy’s Girl

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 6, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Maria Jonas is the Author of The Theory of Daddy\’s Girl – Photo Courtesy of Maria Jonas

Maria Jonas - August 6, 2010

Women who are prostitutes, politicians, businesswomen & beauticians all have one thing in common. They are all “Daddy’s Girls.” The book The Theory of Daddy’s Girl presents an obscure but simple formula for raising successful women.

The Theory of Daddy’s Girl features Myia J and several other writers, including leading experts such as Ken Canfield of Pepperdine University’s Center for the Family and media artist Karen Taylor-Good, a Grammy-nominee. A portion of the book’s proceeds will benefit The Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Author Robert Greene says in The Art of Seduction, “We all have the power of attraction-the ability to draw people in and hold them in our thrall,” and the power of attraction has everything to do with the “Daddy’s Girl Theory.” Through a full-color compilation of real-life stories gleaned from the guests of Maury, Jerry Springer, and various popular court shows, author Myia J teaches fathers everywhere how to keep their little girls out of abusive relationships and out of boardroom romance.

Cover of The Theory of Daddy\’s Girl – Photo Courtesy of Maria Jonas

Maria Jonas - August 6, 2010 - 1

The Theory of Daddy’s Girl is available on Amazon.com.

I Can’t Hear You.

In Beauty, book reviews, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 5, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Hearing Impairment – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 5, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

Sirens, shattered glass, and babies crying are all sounds that a deaf person is unlikely to ever hear. Unfortunately in today’s society ignorant people still exist and fail to acknowledge that people who are deaf are no different than anyone else. Gratefully, there is a Deaf community that is simply a group of people that share and express their concerns, language, and experience.

A personal interest in the Deaf community brought me to a beginner’s class on how to sign, as this is one of the methods to communicate. Being an outsider of the Deaf community I realized I wasn’t that different as far as the concerns and frustration. I am a person who stutters who constantly struggles to communicate and it is a great concern and can bring down my self-confidence when someone laughs or makes rude remarks. The difference is I can hear what they are saying; it does not make it any less hurtful or demoralizing. It is enlightening to know that with a stutter community there is a Deaf community that gives people a chance to address their concerns on their personal development but in a social aspect as well. There are athletic, book, social clubs all over Canada for deaf people to be a part of.

Primarily those who are in the Deaf community use “signing” as a method to communicate. At one point in time, there were all different types of “sign languages” depending on the country. Today ASL (American Sign Language) is known as the “continental” language and for those who do sign, it is most commonly used. Like any other language, it takes time and patience to learn and can be confusing. There are schools that have been developed over 150 years ago for those who were born deaf or grew up to be deaf. Those who are apart of the Deaf community and who do use the sign as their primary language have the ability to teach on to others who do not sign but have a great interest to do so.

Gaining knowledge and experience in general is a study of its own. Learning a language because it is the only way to get through life and succeed, as a member of society is another thing altogether. That outside of the Deaf community taking speaking and listening for granted, even as a stutterer who struggles daily I do as well. Having the opportunity to join forums, blogs, and groups online about the Deaf community and being welcomed is wonderful as well as taking a class that allows me to communicate properly with others who sign.

Living today and keeping up with social status has become outrageously unrealistic and is comforting to know that anyone can overcome any challenge or obstacle and has the chance to be themselves. Just by being at work I have had many instances where fellow co-workers “pass on” customers who are deaf to myself because they feel that they cannot sell to them and that it is a waste of time. Obviously, this is a false statement, and people who are deaf are by far the furthest thing from unintelligent. However, there are those who are deaf that would strongly benefit from school, or surrounding himself or herself with people who do sign. This is not always the case, there are those that would prefer to right or use verbal expressions, which they are entitled to. The Deaf community has the ability strengthen people for who they are not what they have.

Work Cited:
1. The Canadian Encyclopedia Online. Deaf Culture (2010). Web.

Walking to Dreams

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 4, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Childhood Dreams – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 7, 2010

Written by Jennifer Winters

As a child, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I always went with what everyone else said: A firefighter, a policewoman, a doctor. When really none of these things did I ever inspire to be.

At a young age do you really know what you want to do or who you want to be? Dreams are like clouds, they are scattered up in the sky, some are brighter than others, and some are darker, it doesn’t mean we still can’t reach for them. I am pretty sure Brittney Spears didn’t say my biggest dream is to get popular and then become one of America’s “pop disasters. Or something a little more realistic, no one really dreamed of being a high school drop out and barely making rent. If dreams didn’t exist reality wouldn’t really be what it is. Over a slow period of time we discover what we are good at, and things we should maybe lay to rest. I was offered a job being a financial advisor this afternoon, not a dream nor an aspiration, and trying to convince myself, well this is fast money it will be great I don’t have to worry and so on. If something is too good to be true, it probably is, there is no harm taking a peek at it, just knowing when to walk away. After many years of struggling with who I want to be, jumping from career to career at barely 30, I had to stop and do that “map of your life” chart to figure out who am I? Self-believe is going to get you far to your dreams. I still want to get on the red carpet and win an award, it is duo able, but am I willing to do the work to get it? Probably not, I, however, do want to help people and build a house for humanity within the next few years. This is not to win an award, but something I have always wanted to do. We live in such a world of (can’t, won’t, don’t,) that we sometimes forget that we can. We only have the present to make the future, in my opinion, I would rather fall on my face falling knowing I tried to do whatever I was I wanted to, rather than finding a faster way to do it. There are always two roads to go down, just pick the one that suits you!

Would You Like Fries With That?

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Restaurant Reviews, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 3, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Customer Service – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Jennifer Winters - August 8, 2010

Written by: Jennifer Winters

Since when did retail get into the same category as fast food joints?

No one really wants to get hassled when walking into a store, do they? YES, the economy is a little rough right now and businesses are suffering from it. That does not give them the right to push and push customers into a sale. This should give employees more reason to respect customers and give the show the trust and respect, as they deserve. Personally, working in a retail environment for close to 11 years you get to see all walks of life, customers, and staff. As much as I hate the phrase “customer is always right” it is true and the only way to earn money is by showing them your product is worth of value without shoving it down their throat to do so. From an employee point of view there are always the “special customers” however, we really don’t know what happened in their life five minutes before they walked in. Treating them badly only gives them more reason to walk out and have a bad taste in their mouth. Commissioned retail stores are a killer indeed, and the moment a customer finds that out they are hesitant to buy because they are not sure if you are really there for them. I have desperately tried t avoid working for a commissioned based store because then the problem lies within the staff. From experience, they become greedy and are only thinking about the paycheck at the end. The expression that was used often in those kinds of stores was “we don’t work on commission only incentives” which was a good exit strategy for me to leave. If you don’t love what you do it is very hard to reason with yourself why you are there in the first place. I was always taught to develop a lifelong clientele because you never know where you will be in the future and it helps to have contacts no matter what filed you are in. No one really wants to live poor and from paycheck to paycheck, but wouldn’t you rather have your morals and values intact while doing so? Working in a retail environment is very duo able without ripping people off, backstabbing employees or being cutthroat to customers and employees. Stay true to yourself, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!

“Put that thing back where it came from or so help me”

In Beauty, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on August 2, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Jennifer Winters Writes About Cleanliness – Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Winters

Written by: Jennifer Winters

There is a difference between being a messy person and a dirty person.

A dirty person leaves food, muddy clothes, doesn’t flush the toilet etc… Rather than a messy person who just doesn’t put things back where it is supposed to go in the first place. When a messy person does these things they begin to have piles and piles of crap. Which then starts to evolve and they can get very frustrated because they don’t know where they put anything. The funniest thing about the messy person is that if someone else moves something they will reply “why did you move that I can’t find it now” A dirty person, on the other hand, can start to lose sign of the simple things and daily living chores which becomes a whole other issue. These two kinds of people can very well be very kind-hearted, respectable and productive members of society, however, when it comes to their house it is behind closed doors. How many people have lied on a resume that says “neat, organized, efficient?” This statement could very well be true if you are talking from a professional perspective, but if your boss were to come into your house what would they find?

CARN 98.7 FM is on the Air – Listen Now to the test broadcast!

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on August 1, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Toronto, ON, Canada: After many unforeseen delays and obstacles, CARN Radio is proud to announce that it commenced the testing its 98.7 FM frequency on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 10am EST. CARN is aimed at serving Toronto’s vibrant Black and Caribbean population in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding communities. Tune in now to listen – 98.7FM!!!!

“This is a great day for our community,” says Fitzroy Gordon, President of CARN. “We wish to thank everyone for their patience and support while we worked tirelessly to make this day a reality.”

In April 2006, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) approved a new radio license for CARN Radio subject to it having an approved airways frequency. The frequency chosen after much technical and engineering testing was 98.7 FM. There is a Canadian broadcast rule which stipulates that in order to use a second adjacent frequency one must receive permission from the incumbent broadcaster. In this case CBC Radio 99.1 FM is the incumbent broadcaster.

Not being able to get permission or support for the CBC, CARN had to lobby the Federal Government of Canada in its quest to get support for this second adjacent license. Finally, in July 2009, the Government of Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration & Multiculturalism, and The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, granted CARN Radio permission to conduct broadcast testing of 98.7 FM.

Toronto’s Black & Caribbean community held a celebration on Sunday, September 27th, 2009 to a packed house of well-wishers including politicians, the media, and church leaders to highlight the success that CARN had achieved thus far.

CARN’s broadcast testing is comprised of a music-only format, with occasional announcements, while its engineers work out technical matters. Before the switch was turned on, Fitzroy Gordon said a prayer of thanks to God for His greatness and for this historic day for CARN. Mr. Gordon then flipped the switch turning on CARN 98.7FM at 10am. The first song to be played was the international anthem “One Love” by Bob Marley.

Please contact CARN with your feedback and/or media queries at carnradio@gmail.com.

Regards,
Fitzroy Gordon
President – CARN
carnradio@gmail.com

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