Saturday, July 7, 2012

Take a Cue from The Amazing Spider-Man in Rebooting Your Blog Written by Gino Carteciano in Blogging Tips

The Amazing Spider-Man has swung into theaters across the world and so far, the general consensus is that it’s a good movie. Everyone and their children know that this movie is a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise previously led by director Sam Raimi and starred Tobey Maguire as the wall-crawler.

Some people think that it’s too soon for a Spider-Man reboot but we can all agree that director Marc Webb and star Andrew Garfield, the new Spider-Man, has done a tremendous job at re-introducing Marvel’s flagship superhero to the world. As bloggers, we can take a hint from how they went about this reboot, especially if we’re struggling to find our second blogging wind.

There will always come a time in your blog’s life when it will look and feel old, uncool, and maybe even irrelevant. That’s the time when you should consider giving your blog a shot in the arm by doing a reboot. It could be a simple redesign or a total restructuring of your writing style or vision. Doing a reboot simply means you are starting over without really starting form scratch. Here are some lessons in rebooting a blog from The Amazing Spider-Man.

Tweak Your Costume

While Spidey’s new costume is a lot darker, it doesn’t stray far from the classic blue and red costume. Let this teach you that a radical change in your blog’s design may not be the best course of action. If you already have an established look and feel, and more important, if you have already established your blog as a brand, a radical redesign may throw your regular readers off.

You can experiment with different design elements on your blog including your logo or your header image, but make sure that your new design sticks to your basic branding vision. You can keep the colors, update icons and images, or optimize the layout a bit, but keep in mind that it should look fresh while still being familiar. And of course, a redesign should serve other purposes instead of just achieving a new look.

Stay True to Your Voice

Spider-Man’s story has been tweaked a bit in The Amazing Spider-Man to keep it fresh and relevant to this decade, setting it apart from the narrative of the first three movies and the continuity of the comics. But no matter how dark and gloomy and dangerous it is compared to the previous Spider-Man interpretations, it sticks to the core idea of Spider-Man which is “responsibility”.

Rebooting your blog — whether you’re just redesigning it or you’re changing your writing style — does not mean you should abandon the ideas and the topics that earned you your current readership. Stick to your niche. You can branch out and include related topics to your niche or you can even change your regular editorial schedule, but don’t neglect your core topic completely. You can change how you do things but you have to stick to your voice.

Don’t Forget Your Peeps

Feeling the need to reboot your blog means you have already spent a considerable amount of time on it, which in turn means you have probably built a solid readership. It can range from a dozen people to hundreds of adoring fans, but the bottom line is there are people out there who already like reading your blog. Try not losing them after your blog reboot.

It could happen if you stray too far away from your original niche. It could happen if you completely change the look and feel of your blog’s design. It could happen if you decide to change your domain name and somehow completely forget to tell people about it. Just like The Amazing Spider-Man, you can attract a new audience without alienating your old one.

Take Chances

Marc Webb and crew gave us an edgier and less colorful version of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. They took a chance with this reboot which came only 5 years after the last film of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Trilogy. It’s too early to tell but so far, it looks like it paid off. Take this to heart as a blogger.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up, especially if you’re trying to keep your blog fresh and relevant. Step out of your comfort zone every once and a while and tweak yourself. Taking chances on a reboot may not always pay off, but there’s an equal chance that it will turn your blog into something truly amazing.

images via Columbia Pictures

Categories: Blogging Tips Tags: Blogging Tips, the amazing spider-man

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Add a global twist to your summer fun Five ways parents can get kids to 'go global'

ARA) - Summer doesn't have to mean taking a break from learning. In fact, you can use this vacation season to help your kids explore new customs and add a global twist to their summer fun. Whether toddlers, teens or somewhere in between, you don't have to trot the globe to open their minds and imaginations to the world. Here are some tips to help your family get started:

1. Explore a new language.
Consider learning a language together as a family through a community education course or a local cultural organization - you can even download language instruction podcasts or MP3s from iTunes and other places on the Web. If your children are younger, you can start by learning some fun words, phrases or greetings.

2. Sample cuisine from other countries.
Take your family out to a restaurant that serves food from a different country, or consider preparing world cuisine recipes together at home. Make this into a game for your kids. Give each child an opportunity to select a country, and prepare a meal representative of the culture. Whether it's Indian, Mexican, Japanese or German, you can learn a lot about a culture from its food.

3. Embrace international media.
There are endless opportunities to learn about the world right at your fingertips - from watching an international news program to downloading international music. Take advantage of rainy days or cool summer nights to enjoy movies that are set in other countries. Search your TV listings for travel programs. And of course, you and your kids can read books together about far-off places.

4. Reach out to friends to share stories.
Ask friends, neighbors and colleagues who have lived in or traveled around the world to share their stories and experiences with your kids. Show the kids you are interested in learning about the world too by trading traditions and cultures over family barbecues or get-togethers.

5. Host an international exchange student.
Hosting an exchange student is a great way to broaden your children's worldviews. You can host an exchange student for a few weeks, a few months or a full school year. This unique experience will not only give you an opportunity to introduce your children to new customs and cultures, but will challenge your kids to learn about, appreciate and share their own culture and traditions. You can welcome a student in the fall and use this summer to prepare for their arrival. Use any of the above ideas to get ready for your international guest.

Families interested in hosting a high school exchange student can contact EF Foundation for Foreign Study, the United States' largest exchange organization, at effoundation.org or 800-447-4273.

Learning about the cultures and people of the world begins at home. Whether it's talking about world events, hosting an exchange student, or just enjoying delicious new foods, by helping your kids develop broad worldviews, you're also giving them a world of possibilities.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Erect your Dream DIY Conservatory yourself by Diyconservetory

Conservatories have become the latest trend in home improvement. People are looking forward to having conservatories in their home in a positive way and admire the comfort and space they offer. It is really difficult to get this ambience in low budget, but definitely not impossible. The best way to cut down the cost on conservatories is simple- build your conservatory yourself. Don't get surprised I will tell you how.

By cutting down the cost, it does not mean that you should go for cheaper or poorer quality. It will be total waste of time and money. One can stick to Self Build Conservatories and save a lot of money. The best thing about this is that nearly all the designs are available in form of DIY kits. You can choose one according to the exterior and space around your house. Opt for famous lean to DIY conservatories if you have a bungalow, or go for traditional Victorian and Edwardian DIY conservatories. To make a better selection you can search online for some conservatory samples and designs to match your home.

Some companies now offer complete freedom in choosing a DIY Conservatory kit. You can get a kit depending upon your specifications so you don't need to compromise on any front. If you like the size and frame of a B shaped conservatory but want something different in shape like the gull wing then you can simply state that to the vendor to get your own custom built DIY Conservatory kit.
Combine your creativity with standard designs to meet your dream conservatory. Half of your work will be reduced if you are lucky enough to have a patio or veranda to build your conservatory on. This will reduce the laborious task of laying the foundation. You can plan your design according to the existing elements of your home and garden. Conservatory should be designed in such a way that it blends with the house rather than look odd standing out.

Building a DIY Conservatory requires a set of skills. Mere confidence is not sufficient, one has to be skilled and experienced because after all erecting a conservatory is a construction task. It is possible that you may be sound in some areas while some areas may create problem. In such circumstances you can distribute the work among your friends or a neighbor. Even if you have to hire someone to do certain tasks, you still save some money that would be otherwise spent as labor charges?

Make sure that you buy a standard self build Conservatory kit. It should consist of all the required parts and a manual that you will have to follow. You may also need assistance in between the task, so enquire about the customer assistance services they can provide. The work would become much easier and fun if you get your family members or close friends to join you in your project. Choose Self Build Conservatories from http://www.diyconservatories.co.uk/ now to build your dream conservatory yourself.

About the Author

When choosing a diy conservatories prices kit, a decision has to be made regarding the materials. The frame could be from uPVC, a softwood like pine, aluminum or a hardwood, with the latter being the most pricey, classy and long-term durable. Safety glass and double glazing are optimal,diy conservatories often enough Polycarbonate will serve as a replacement, which, in the case of a brand material like Lexan may arguably function as well or better.
So visit us at http://www.diyconservatories.co.uk/ and get the best value for money deal.

Friday, January 13, 2012

InnCov Stretch Ceilings - Modern Solution for Modern Interiors by: Gitana Stonkiene

With offices getting to be increasingly bigger and the noise amounts that arrive with a larger office, companies of ceiling tiles have launched acoustic tiles which ensure to reduce the quantity of noise pollution that floats all over the office.
Along with limiting the noise, there are also tiles which help to increase the sum of all-natural light in a space, meaning on people cold winter season mornings you never have to rely just on the synthetic lights. If you are fed up of looking at a dull drab ceiling as you lean back in your workplace chain shopping for inspiration, why not invest in 1 of the beautiful collection of suspended ceilings that are currently on the industry. Not only will they strengthen the sound and lighting within your workplace, but they'll also boost the glimpse of the workplace as well.
The only element of a suspended ceiling program that you can see is the tiles. As this kind of, it is desirable that they are attractive in their appearance. As nicely as aesthetic attributes, there are other criteria you have to bear in brain previous to choosing a suspended ceiling tile hygiene, acoustic properties, fire resistance between other folks.
Naturally in a bacteria delicate surroundings these kinds of as a hospital or health laboratory, you are going to want a tile which is probably to harbour and develop the least feasible variety of germs and bacteria.
There are ceiling tiles which can actually break down harmful airborne substances into non-essential components. These tiles lessen uncomfortable and wellness threatening emissions from development resources, cleansing agents, cosmetics, meals and cigarettes.
As piece of the production procedure of ceiling tiles there will inevitably be some residue or dust existing on some of the tiles. Tiles created for healthcare environments have been specifically constructed not to release any of these micro-particles.
Tiles have also been formulated, by an anti-microbial treatment method to resist against bacteria and fungi.
Sure applications demand suspended ceiling tiles to have some type of acoustic property. Whether that be sound absorption, sound attenuation or sound reflection. Yet again, ranges of ceiling tiles have been created to fill this require so regardless of whether you just want to prevent your noise disturbing your neighbours or you are hoping to make presentations in a massive auditorium extra conveniently heard by those at the back, there is a tile for your desires.
Fire can devastate a making and there are strict rules which you ought to conform to in business, home business and residential premises so it is necessary, if you have a suspended ceiling, that it conforms to these expectations to steer clear of fines and far more importantly stay away from any fire risks.
All over again, fire resistant ceiling tiles have been designed to adhere to these requirements and minimise the fire chance with tiles owning been tested and certified for up to sixty minutes fire resistance under steel beams and timber joists.
It is probably that the a single area of your office which doesn't get a excellent offer of focus is the ceiling. In most scenarios, unless of course a bulb goes in the lights, it is very likely that the ceiling is ignored thoroughly, and why shouldn't it - following all there is not a fantastic deal that can be carried out to it other than adding a coat of paint.

About The Author

Earned praise for supervising the creation of Easter candy in West Palm Seashore, FL. Invested a number of years analyzing toy trucks in Ohio. What will get me heading now is obtaining to know carnival rides in Pensacola, FL. Enthusiastic about training tinker toys in Ocean Town, NJ. Spent a yr studying rubik's cubes in Orlando, FL. Invested university summers composing about inflatable dolls with no outside aid.Why Must You Get Drop Ceiling Tiles, Why Must You Get Drop Ceiling Tiles, Drywall Vs Drop Ceiling for Basements, Why Ought to You Get Drop Ceiling Tiles

Thursday, January 12, 2012

All Natural Homemade Paint

Filed under: Crafts, Essential Skills, Know-How, Crafts & Celebrations

Looking for a gentle alternative to chemical-based interior paint? Stir up this simple, four-ingredient recipe.

homemade paintMilk paint transformed this old cassette cabinet into a charming powder room organizer for storing towels, tissues, and toiletries. Photo: Joe Provey, Home & Garden Editorial Services

Cavemen did it. The early Egyptians did it. American Colonists did it. And even today, many people are rediscovering the art of making interior paint for the home.
In an age of store-bought paints with high performance finishes, you may ask yourself, why make paint? For me, it's the natural, handcrafted look -- along with the satisfaction of being self-reliant. For others, it may be because homemade paint is the greenest and least toxic alternative possible to traditional paint. Homemade paints aren't based upon petrochemicals and they're far less toxic than commercial paints -- even the many zero-VOC paints now emerging on the market.

homemade paintThe ingredients for homemade paints vary. This recipe consists of lime, water, pigment, and milk. Photo: Joe Provey, Home & Garden Editorial Services

The easiest to make and least expensive homemade paints consist of milk, lime, and pigment. For additional body a filler, such as chalk powder or plaster can be added. My preferred recipe is simplicity itself:
-- Hydrated lime (available at most home and garden supply stores)
-- Water
-- Pigment (powder or liquid)
-- Whole milk (at room temperature)

homemade paintMix lime with water using a putty knife or plastic spatula. Photo: Joe Provey, Home & Garden Editorial Services

1. Fill a container with one to two cups of hydrated lime. Gradually add water and stir until you have a thick paste.
2. In a separate container, do the same with the pigment powder. For a small batch like this, 2 to 4 tablespoons of pigment is typically sufficient.
3. Gradually add milk to the lime paste until you achieve the consistency of sour cream. Then add the pigment paste and mix thoroughly.

Safety tip: Despite the relative low toxicity of the ingredients, wear vinyl gloves and a dust mask when working with lime and pigment.

homemade paintGradually stir milk into the lime paste until you achieve a consistency of loose sour cream. Photo: Joe Provey, Home & Garden Editorial Services

ADDING PIGMENTS TO HOMEMADE PAINT
You can buy pigmentsat many hardware and artist supply stores. Avoid using pigments made from toxic compounds, otherwise you'll defeat the purpose of making your own paint. Some common toxins used in pigments include cadmium, lead, mercury, and cobalt. Here's a good online source for non-toxic pigments. You will have to experiment with pigments to achieve the color you want. Be sure to buy plenty of white pigment, as you'll be using a lot of it. It comes in two forms: titanium dioxide and zinc. The former is a bit more opaque.
You can make many of your own colorants using natural ingredients but the process is a lot more time-consuming than making paint alone. Also, the colors produced through home-brewed dyes are more subtle than store-bought pigments. If you do want to make homemade pigment, try these methods:
-- Add water to steel wool for a red rust coloring.
-- Try simmering everything from berries and vegetables to bark and leaves to create the dyes. Blackberries, for example, make a strong dye.
-- Brew coffee or many tea to create neutral tones.
-- Boil peach or crab apple leaves for greens.
-- Use store-bought juice concentrates, such as blueberry and cranberry, to create pleasing tints.

homemade paintUse a natural bristle brush to apply the milk paint, and allow it to dry for a few hours before recoating. Photo: Joe Provey, Home & Garden Editorial Services

ADDITIONAL TIPS ABOUT HOMEMADE PAINT
-- Milk paint is not as scrubbable as its commercial cousins. In areas subject to spills, apply a protective coat of shellac or oil finish. If you choose the latter, stay green with a plant oil-based finish.
-- The shelf life for milk paint is short. Store unused paint in the refrigerator. It can be used until the milk sours. Brushes clean easily with soap and water.

SEE ALSO:
Before & After: Aging Furniture with Milk Paint (Design*Sponge)
Paint Color Trends to Move On From (ShelterPop)
Create a Crackled Paint Finish with Plain School Glue

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DIY Life
Publisher: Joe Provey Saturday, 10 December 2011 20:30:17

Vinyl Replacement Windows by: Christine Dunbar

Your home is probably your most valuable asset, but to maintain its value you need to make continual improvements. One of the most substantial renovations you can do to increase the value of your home is to install vinyl replacement windows. Homeowners are realizing that vinyl windows can dramatically improve a home's external appearance. They can also add to a home's value because they block external noise and help to conserve energy - two features that today's home buyers are looking for. They are a relatively easy project to complete, and are becoming more and more affordable.
In order to get the most benefit from a window replacement project, you'll need to take two important steps.
First, come up with a realistic budget. A window replacement project doesn't always go as smoothly as planned. Take the time to research the wide variety of replacement windows on the market and what the installation project will involve. Before you begin, it's important to look at the costs of different brands of windows and decide on the features you want and need. You should also determine if there is any part of the project that you can do yourself. This can result in significant savings. One of the smartest things to do is to talk to other homeowners who have done replacement window projects. This is probably the best way to get an accurate idea of how much is really involved. One thing you don't want to do is replace windows on a room-by-room basis. It might save you a little money, but the results will be less than appealing and can detract from the house's exterior appearance.
The second step is to find a qualified and reliable contractor to complete the project. While replacing vinyl windows can sometimes be a do-it-yourself project, taking on every window in the home can be an overwhelming job. A professional can usually get the job done faster and is better able to deal with any installation problems that come up. You might be able to save some money by doing a part of the project yourself, like removing and disposing of the old windows. Be very careful to choose an experienced and reliable window installer. Always check references and talk to previous customers. Ask to see before and after pictures of the contractor's projects. Be sure to ask how many replacement window projects he has done and what his experience has been. If you live in the Houston area you can visit Superior Window Company (http://www.superiorwindowcompany.com/vinyl-replacement-windows.html) to get answers to a lot of your questions.
Vinyl replacement windows are a substantial home renovation that can have a huge impact on the value of your home. They are an important feature and it doesn't pay to skimp on quality just to save a little bit of money. Better quality windows will provide more benefits in the long run, including higher energy efficiency and an attractive, updated home exterior. Take the time to look through all the options before you decide on a brand or a window distributor. This is one project where quality should take precedence over a low price. Remember that better quality windows will pay for themselves over time with the benefits they provide.

About The Author

Christine Dunbar enjoys writing about a variety of home improvement topics. For more information, visit http://www.superiorwindowcompany.com/vinyl-patio-fiberglass-entry-doors.html.

What's in store at your supermarket: Top 10 food trends for 2012

 

(ARA) - Last year's high grocery prices had many Americans looking for ways to save at the supermarket. The upswing in prices over the past 12 months may have you wondering what will happen this year at your local grocery store.
In partnership with ConAgra Foods, industry expert, and "Supermarket Guru," Phil Lempert, predicts an interesting year ahead.
"We will continue to see higher prices, but we will also see all the different ways Americans love their food - in supermarkets, on television, at restaurants and now even on their mobile phones," Lempert says. "We are on the verge of what may be one of the most exciting and game-changing years in the food world."
Lempert advises consumers to watch for 10 major trends in their supermarkets this year:
1. Higher food prices - Last year's trend will continue, so consumers will place even more emphasis on ways to save money. In addition to already-popular methods like coupons and frequent shopper cards, you may want to consider using your mobile device to menu plan while you shop. Websites like ConAgra's ReadySetEat.com give you recipe ideas and can also help you find out which ingredients are on sale in your store.
2. The group experience will grow - Food blogs set a foundation for group experiences, food trucks tweet their locations, and flash food raves assemble underground at midnight. More Americans are choosing to eat and shop together in new ways. Mobile app marketers will offer "social rewards" for groups that shop together - think of it as the virtual version of warehouse clubs.
3. The baby boomer influence will grow - Last year, the first of the 76 million-strong boomer generation turned 65. Their influence on the supermarket will show up this year in increased healthful food options, wider aisles and lower shelves.
4. Increased emphasis on "farm to fork" - More Americans are interested in knowing where the food comes from. In 2012, you'll see more blogs and social media featuring farmers, as well as advertising and TV programs starring farmers as food experts. Hunt's tomatoes, for example, are grown in Oakdale, California and harvested at the peak of ripeness then flash-steamed to maintain the natural tomato goodness.
5. The end of the checkout lane - Tech-savvy options are gaining popularity, with consumers enjoying self-checkouts, comparing prices at nearby retailers, and taking advantage of the convenience of cellphone scanners, in-store interactive media devices, QR codes, RFID and mobile coupons.
6. Ethnic on the road - Food trucks are replacing gourmet and specialty stores as the channel to experiment and discover new food experiences - especially when it comes to ethnic foods. More often than not, these ethnic food trucks are operated by natives of the countries from which the actual cuisines being offered originated, and they have the ability and knowledge to share the heritage and romance of the food.
7. It's a man's (grocery shopping) world - Dads aren't just winning the bread; these days, they're also bringing it home from the grocery store. A Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that 41 percent of men are now preparing food for their families, as compared to half that percentage in 2003. Look for them to do more grocery shopping, too, Lempert predicts.
8. Extreme home cooking - More people will continue to eat at home to save money. Following the lead of extreme couponers, groups of everyday cooks pride themselves on making the most food for the least amount of money.
9. How sweet it isn't - Reduced sugar products and revised Nutrition Facts panels will be the biggest health claim in 2012. With the negative health effects of sugar and high fructose corn syrup gaining so much attention, look for a continued emphasis on reducing sugar in our diets. Food producers like ConAgra are responding by eliminating high fructose corn syrup from such staples as Peter Pan peanut butter and Hunt's Ketchup products.
10. Listen to your food - You judge the readiness of some foods (like microwave popcorn or grilled burgers), by the sounds they make. Multisensory perception will be one of the new "food sciences" in 2012, as psychologists and food scientists join forces to design, create and influence the sounds of our foods to convey freshness, taste and even health attributes.
For more information about Phil Lempert's 2012 predictions, visit SupermarketGuru.com, and for simple meal ideas made in 30 minutes or less, visit ReadySetEat.com.

What's in store at your supermarket: Top 10 food trends for 2012