Michael Card Songs – Don’t Keep Them in a Box

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Some Michael Card Songs that appear on certain albums appear to be written for a certain purpose. What if we expand their purpose? What if their value is NOT   unique  to a certain group or time of year?

1. Song of Jesus

Song of Jesus is written to be calming. It is supposed to help assuage fears and worries so that sleep might be attained. Did you stop having fears and worries when you outgrew your crib? It is possible, even likely, that your fears and worries increased the older you got. Song of Jesus has an encouragement to trust and rely upon Jesus. This is not a message outgrown.

This song is on Michael Card’s Sleep Sound in Jesus album. It is supposed to be a lullaby. It is a lullaby. But, why limit it to the lullaby category? As with many of the songs on this album, they are enjoyable for adults too.

Favorite line: “If He could cause the storm to clear, He’ll calm the tempest of your tears. If He could cause the dead to rise, at dawn He’ll open up your eyes.”

2. Joseph’s Song

Often sung during Christmas time, this song is written from the viewpoint of Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. He is wondering how in the world is he supposed to be the guardian of God’s son. Saint Joseph is overwhelmed. Joseph would not have been the first person and certainly will not be the last person to feel unqualified to accomplish what God has asked of her/him. His situation is profound. People can relate to being overwhelmed by their circumstances. However it does not stop being profound and relatable come January, February or even September. So listen to this one all-year-around.

The best line in the song is, “Father, show me where I fit into this plan of yours.” This sentiment is something many believers struggle with during any time of the year.

3. Come, Worship the Lord

This song is based on Psalm 95. It is a call to worship the Lord. The title of the Psalm in the Bible is “A Call to Praise and Obedience.” Michael Card was criticized for his work on this song. He probably would not have been if he had written it. Come, Worship the Lord was written by John Michael Talbot, a Catholic. The two combined their works in the album Brother to Brother. The album contained some of each of their songs and all of them were performed as duets by the praise and worship songsters.

Praising God is not limited to Catholics. Praising God is not limited to Protestants. Why would anyone who believes in God be offended by someone praising Him?

Favorite line: “Come, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, our Maker.”

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Carrying Cases for Your Laptop

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If you are always on the move and need to carry your laptop around, you must get a proper bag for your for protection as well as easy for carrying it while you travel.

But the question is, how to choose the correct bag for your computer as the market offers a lot of types of bag options. Bear in mind the importance of getting a durable and safe bag for your laptop. Then only you should think about the design and look as this type of bags might come with different types of design which might cause confusion to some buyers.

Some manufacturers try to capture the attention of the buyers by having some fancy colors and design on the bag, which is good in a way to provide more options to buys. In fact, laptop bag could play a role as part of the fashion.

There are few common things among all the bags. First is the main compartment in order for you to place your laptop. The compartment must be able to station your laptop and make sure it does not move while being carried around.

This is very important to protect the computer. If you have more than one laptop that you need to carry at a time, make sure you opt for one which consists of extra compartment that can fit your extra laptop and also provide the same protection as the main compartment.

Of course, make sure the bag is able to carry that weight or else it could be harmful for both of your laptop. Some laptop bags will come with strap inside the laptop bag. The strap is to be used to secure the position of the bag. Make full use of the strap to maximize the protection to the laptop.

Laptop bags would come with a number of compartments which you could easily store all the accessories such as mouse, cable, flash drive, external hardisk, stationary, etc. This is to make sure that all of the things are there when you need them. Compartment will be able to assist you organize them nicely without bring extra bags.

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Fairline Phantom 40 Boat Review – Boat Buyer’s Guide on Second-Hand Fairline Phantom 40’s

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Overview

The Fairline Phantom 40 is a very popular flybridge cruiser, held in high regard by boat owners and the industry alike. This boat combines the practicality required for serious, long-distance cruising with the spaciousness and comfort to accommodate four people with an exclusive blend of privacy and sociability. The Phantom 40 is a boat that should feature on the wish list of anyone looking for a second-hand family-friendly flybridge cruiser.

Who and what is the boat designed for?

The Fairline Phantom 40 is a power cruiser built to cross large expanses of water with ease. It features wider side-decks, heavy-duty hand railing, deeper flybridge steps, elevated helm position, and many other sound, sensible design decisions. This boat is a good choice for anyone who enjoys sharing their love of luxurious high-performance cruising with friends and family.

What commentators say about this flybridge cruiser

The Fairline Phantom 40 is strongly influenced by the runaway success of the Phantom 50, drawing upon many of her design insights.

The distinctive ellipses that characterise the Phantom 40’s exterior and interior give her a graceful yet purposeful air that will stand out, even in the busiest of marinas.

The Fairline Phantom 40 perfectly captures that elusive blend of privacy and sociability that is the secret behind successful onboard entertaining.

Model variations

If you’re thinking of buying a used Fairline Phantom 40, you can choose from a range of variations.

  • The Phantom 40 (Mk1) launched in September 1994, with 68 built up to December 1996.
  • The Phantom 42 was launched in 1997, following a facelift, and ran until December 1999, with 116 built in this version.
  • These early models were fitted with a choice of Volvo TAMD63L engines (318hp each) or Volvo TAMD63P (370hp each).
  • The Phantom 40 (Mk2) ran from January 2002 to September 2009, with 118 built.
  • This model was originally fitted with Volvo TAMD63P (370hp each), replaced by Volvo D6/370 (370hp each) or Caterpillar 3126 (426 hp each)

Specifications

  • Length of hull (bow to aft end of bathing platform including gunnel): 39ft 6in (12.04m)
  • Length overall (including gunnel): 41ft 1in (12.52m)
  • Beam (including gunnel): 12ft 11in (3.95m)
  • Number of berths: 4 – 6
  • Draught: 3ft 2in (0.97m) unloaded
  • Height above waterline (including arch + navigation light mast): 14ft 10in (4.52m)
  • Transport height (approximate): 14ft 3in (4.35m)
  • Dry weight (approximate): 11.4 tons (11,600kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 220 gallons/265 US gallons (996 litres)
  • Water capacity (including calorifier): 99 gallons/118 US gallons (450 litres)
  • Engine recommendations (twin): from 740mhp to 870mhp

What’s great about the Fairline Phantom 40?

  • Good stability.
  • Excellent visibility from both helm positions.
  • Easy to manoeuvre.
  • Hulls are stronger than any other competitor, according to Fairline.
  • Large fuel capacity.
  • Very secure.
  • Quality finish inside and out.
  • Spacious interior, with two good-sized heads.
  • Plenty of storage.
  • Luxurious design.

What to look out for on a pre-owned Fairline Phantom 40

If you’re buying a used Phantom 40, our engineers have reported some things to watch out for and potential faults that might occur on this boat from time to time.

  • Access around the engines is tight.
  • When taking the radar arch down for transport, the boat is prone to water leaks and electrical problems affecting the items on the arch. This will show as staining of the head linings in the saloon and dark discolouration of the cherry wood panels. To avoid the problem, ensure that the build up/break down is carried out by a professional when transporting the boat.
  • Metal blinds in the saloon can suffer from corrosion.
  • Cherry wood panels can “bloom” if the boat has had excess humidity. A white sheen will show behind the lacquer.

Keeping your Fairline Phantom 40 in shape

When buying a used Fairline Phantom 40, regular scheduled servicing and attention to some minor points will keep your craft in top condition.

Regular servicing

Carry out regular engine and drive servicing in line with Fairline’s recommended intervals for the Phantom 40.

Maintenance

  • Check the steering reservoir is up to pressure.
  • Keep the bilge dry to avoid humidity and condensation.
  • Always keep batteries well charged.

Laying up

  • When turning off fridges, leave doors open to avoid mould.
  • Put the windscreen nets on to keep out the harmful UV that will bleach the wooden surfaces.
  • Keep the flybridge covered with a tonneau or console cover.

Model-specific repairs

The Fairline Phantom 40 is not known for needing specific repairs more frequently than other boats.

Why buy a pre-owned Fairline Phantom 40?

This boat offers a great balance of performance, luxury, spaciousness and practical design. The Phantom’s secure, sea-going qualities and refined comfort will give you, your family and friends enjoyable, safe and luxurious cruising, wherever you sail.

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Looking For A Juicer Under $100?

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Oster Juicers are famous for being an affordable juicer that gives quality juicing results. Often called “the best juicer for beginners” these juicers are among the cheapest juicers in the market today, all models being well below $100.

Other advantages of the Oster brand besides the price include easy clean-up and storage, a reasonable noise level and a chic design. These qualities make it an ideal start-off juicer for anyone considering juicing as part of a healthy life-style. The motor is sturdy; it can handle even the toughest of veggies and fruit, like pineapple, beets and celery. The large feed chute ensures you spend minimal time on pre-cutting of the products.

The Oster juicer parts are dishwasher safe (except for the motor of course) so clean-up is a breeze according to consumers juicer reports. The small size of the Oster models makes them great for storing in small spaces.

When you do buy the Oster, note that some of the models come in white only, which tends to accumulate stains over time. The company provides a recipe book that can give you some inspiration as to what to do with the pulp and juice. Oster brand has different models suitable for heavy duty juicing like the daily juicing of large a family, or small juicers which are cheaper and can be used for occasional juicing. The Osters make a great gift idea for someone who needs a healthier lifestyle. In fact they are one of the best-selling brands before Christmas.

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Doctor Who: The Card Game, Card Game Review

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Doctor Who holds the Guinness record for the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, airing from 1963 till today. For those unfamiliar with the show (really inexcusable I might say!!) Doctor Who (or The Doctor) is a humanoid alien, a Time Lord, whose planet has been destroyed and is travelling through space and time with a time machine called TARDIS, exploring the universe and helping the helpless. TARDIS looks like a blue British police box, a common sight in Britain during the 60s when the show first appeared. Through the years, it has become a trademark of the show. Doctor Who has faced many enemies through the course of the show, the oldest and most significant ones being the Daleks, an alien race whose sole purpose is to destroy all beings inferior to them. Martin Wallace, a well-known independent board game designer from U.K., undertook the challenging task of recreating the atmosphere of the show in a rather simple card game. Let’s see how the game measures up to its theme and how appealing it is in general as a card game.

Game Overview

Although I am a huge sci-fi fan, I’ve seen very little of the renowned show. However as I sat down to play this game I had in my mind the general concept of “The Doctor”, his time-travelling machine and the atmosphere that the game should have. In my point of view, the fact that I’m not a hardcore fan of the game neither totally ignorant of the theme, makes me more suitable to write an objective review of the game. Let’s go through the basics of the game for starters:

In Doctor Who: The Card Game, players take the role of Doctor Who and his companions, trying to defend locations from various enemies but they also take the role of the “bad” guys, by sending enemies to attack other players’ locations. During each of their turns, players will have the opportunity to perform a number of actions, which involve playing cards. There are four different types of cards in the game:

  • Locations. Players will have to fight for the control of their own locations as well as their opponents’. Each location is worth a number of victory points at the end of the game.
  • Defenders. Defenders will be used to defend a player’s locations. There are actually 4 defenders, all based on the Doctor Who TV-series, each one with their own defense strength: The Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory and River Song
  • Enemies. Players send enemies to their opponents locations, trying to gain control of them. The enemies are well known races and monsters from the Doctor Who universe like The Daleks, Cybemen, the Sontarans and Davros. Each enemy has a different attack value.
  • Support cards. These are allies, special gadgets or events that will help a player or hinder his opponents.

At the beginning of the game, each player must pick a color and get 10 counters of the appropriate colour (5 DALEKS and 5 TARDIS). Daleks are used to indicate that we have placed an attacking enemy at an opponents’ location, whereas TARDIS are used to show that we have successfully defended a location of our own. Each player also gains a starting location which is chosen randomly. The player having the highest value starting location becomes the first player. All cards are shuffled in a face-down pile and 5 cards are dealt to each player except the player sitting to the right of the first player, who receives only two cards. There are also thirty time tokens in the game, which are set by the side of the draw deck.

Each player, during his turn, may play as many actions he wants, limited only by the fact that at the end of his turn he must give to the player on his right 3 cards. Extra cards may be bought during a player’s turn using time counters, that can be gained with a number of ways. Available actions a player may do during his turn are:

  • play a location card in front of him. He receives a number of time counters as indicated on the card
  • play one or more defenders on a location owned by him. The defender cards are played face-down on a location, leaving part of it uncovered so as the value of the location is not hidden. You cannot play two or more of the same Defender card on a given location
  • play an enemy card on an opponents’ location. In contrast to defenders, in general, only one enemy may be placed on each opponents’ location (exceptions do exist). The enemy card is placed face down near the location under attack and the attacking player puts a DALEK counter on the location under attack
  • play a support card
  • discard one or two cards to gain a time counter for each card discarded
  • buy cards by paying five time counters for each one
  • put one or more cards in the reserve. Players may put up to 2 cards in the reserve (face down in front of them) in order to use them in a later round. The size of the reserve may increase using certain support cards

There is no cost for playing any of the cards a player owns and players can perform any number of the above actions. A certain action can be performed more than once. At any case, the active player must end up with 3 cards which he must give to the player on their right. At the end of a player’s turn, he draws 2 cards from the supply and puts them in his hand. After the first player, play continues clockwise as usual.

The most interesting point in the game is combat, which occurs whenever a defender and an enemy card have been played at a given location. All defender and enemy cards are then revealed and their strength is compared. If the defender’s total strength is equal to or greater than the attacker’s, the defender wins. All attackers and defenders are discarded and the defending player puts a TARDIS counter on the location card to indicate that it is under the Doctor’s control. If the enemy wins, all defenders are discarded and the attacker must discard one or more enemy cards with total strength less or equal to the total strength of the defender.

The game ends when a player has all of his DALEK or TARDIS counters in play or when the Game End card is revealed (it is initially put on top of the 20 last cards of the draw deck). In the first case, the game ends immediately, while in the second one an “End Game” period starts, during which players continue to take turns but are obliged to take a single action and they don’t draw cards at the end of their turn. They don’t pass cards to the player on their right either of course. This period ends when a player cannot perform an action. Then all players count the victory points on their locations that are not under attack plus the enemy locations they have their DALEK counters on. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

Components

The game’s components are cards and tokens. The tokens are standard cardboard ones with nothing special to be comment on. The cards however deserve a special mention as they are all beautifully illustrated with much attention to detail. The colors used in the illustrations carry the feel of the game and all pictures are of high detail. All cards enhance the theme of the   game  and the artwork is so awesome that truly captures the eye and sets a  unique  atmosphere, especially the location and monster cards. Design of the components leaves really nothing more to be desired. 9/10

Gameplay

Usually one has not many expectations regarding gameplay when it comes to such “small” games. And when I say “small” I mean having few components and a short duration, usually called “filler” games. It is truly a big accomplishment when a game designer manages to produce a game of enough complexity and depth that can appeal to hardcore gamers out of so little material, while also keeping the mechanics simple enough for more casual gamers. From this aspect I find Doctor Who: The Card Game a rare gem that deserves a place in everyone’s game library, no matter if he is a Doctor Who fan or not or if he is a casual or hardcore gamer. The game starts aggressively right from the start, when everyone’s put down his starting location. The concept of playing cards for free, that means without having to pay a cost as it is usually done in most drafting games, gives a refreshing tone to the gameplay and allows players to develop their strategy with more freedom.

Choices are hard in every round as during each turn players have 5 cards in hand but must hand out to the player on their right, 3 of them. That is the core of the gameplay and the mechanic that gives the game a strategic aspect and depth that you will all appreciate. Which cards should you play and which should you pass? The idea of having a reserve is also interesting and adds to the depth, giving you the opportunity to set your game up the way you want in future turns. Another aspect of the game that I liked is the way conflicts are resolved. Enemies and defenders are placed blindly and are revealed only when both are present on a given location. Very clever idea that maintains a feel of suspense, as you never really know if you have won a location until the conflict is resolved. It feels that Martin Wallace has hit the nail on the head with this one, reminding us how talented he truly is! 9/10

Learning Curve

Despite the many interesting mechanics of the game, rules are kept simple as they should be for a game of this category. The 12-page rulebook can be read within about 10 minutes (in reality the rules are only 9 pages and there a lot of pictures too). At first the mechanics of the game may seem a bit strange but after playing your first game, you will have it all figured out. 7/10

Theme

The game’s theme is supported in every way in the game. From the intuitive TARDIS and DALEK counters to the characters used as Defenders and Enemies and the support cards. The locations all reflect the theme of the game, some set on earth and others on alien planets. Characters from the most recent episodes of the famous TV show are used as the defenders, while the biggest enemies of the doctor have been chosen to serve as the enemies in the game. Support cards feature objects used by the Doctor throughout the years along with special characters and events that boost the thematic character of the game. During my first play, I constantly felt being a part of the Doctor Who universe, I was completely drawn to it. The only thing that felt a bit strange is the fact that you are playing with the “good” guys in general but when you send enemies to opponents’ locations, you take the role of the “bad” guys. That feels a bit strange, disorients you and takes back some of the immersion. I think it would be better if roles were more distinct but that would probably lead to a whole new game. The fact remains that after playing for the first time, it really made me want to catch up with the TV show, maybe try to find some of the older episodes too. 9/10

Replayability

Doctor Who: The Card Game has enough depth and strategy that will ensure that you will have the desire to play it at any given time. It could surely act not only as a filler game but as the main game at the table, with consecutive plays. It’s that addictive! 8/10

Fun:

I really had a lot of fun, playing Doctor Who. There is enough player interaction through attacking your opponents locations and defending your own from attacks and there is a lot of suspense too as you wonder what enemies / defenders your opponents have placed on locations. Every aspect of the game seems to contribute to the fun factor, from the intuitive drafting mechanic to the illustrations on the cards and the feel of the theme. Time will pass fast, with this game, as you constantly have hard choices to make, endless unknown enemies to fight and control of the various locations will change many times during the game. Pure fun if you ask me! 8/10

Pros:

  • A Doctor Who game
  • Excellent support of the theme
  • Simple rules
  • Awesome artwork
  • Gameplay with depth and strategy

Cons:

  • It feels strange to play both as the Doctor and his enemies

Recommended for: Everyone including hardcore “Doctor Who” fans (Whovians)!

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Does Karate Really Help Longevity? Why Does Data Not Support It Across 118 Masters

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There has now been a study done on the issue of longevity across karate styles in concert with data crunching by a University of South Australia academic. It was done as karate is perceived by practitioners as lifespan extending, however the sport and art is unique in a number of ways given its injury rate, life-long stresses and training culture. So given that the vast majority of karate-ka that have been polled over the years believe that the art fosters a long life, highlighting the stereotype of a ‘Yoda’ like old and wise master, it was worth re-visiting as this may not in fact be the reality.

The study involved:

– multiple doctors spanning medical research, clinicians a psychologist & karate practitioners

– data that shows that lifelong karate practice in different styles has different effects on lifespan, including:

– regional effects (East, West, post WWII until today & comparisons to karate-ka born in the 1800s)

– differing types of inflammation and how it possibly ties to karate longevity

– sparring, drills, ude tanren and kata like sanchin how do each of them really impact longevity

– dojo cultural considerations

– the effect of the developed karate persona & combative environments on longevity

In particular the data shows that all karate styles’ masters, on average, die young since WWII. However the exploration of the many variables and links to style types as well as noting some differences is key (and evidence based practice approach by region, style and era). For example, the data for the masters who lived in the 1800s is somewhat unique, and attributes of training today provides possibilities as to why that it is the case. Data spanned 118 karate masters (8th dans, style founders, style successors etc.) to analyse the links to shortened lifespan in karate styles and factored in: injury rates, diets in regions, psychology and combative factors and stance/practice types.

In some ways the general idea of this existed in the 1800s despite today’s almost universal spin that martial arts results in long-term health as a core theme. Supporting this are some interesting statements on the topic by passed masters such as Itosu of the 1800s, Shito-ryu’s Mabuni, Asai of Shotokan who openly stated health may not go hand-in-hand with budo.

Understanding the pluses and minuses for certain ways of doing karate inside all of the styles from Shotokan, Goju to Shito-ryu, is key for many who have health as a central theme.

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Writing Tip – “Has Got” Has Got to Go

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Two phrases should be banished from the English language:

1. has got

2. have got

The contraction forms of these phrases – “he’s got,” “I’ve got,” etc. – should also be banned.

“Why this prejudice against these extremely common phrases?” you are probably asking. I’ll tell you why: It’s because they are unnecessarily long and tedious, like bad operas. They are weighed down by an unnecessary word, and that word is “got.” To illustrate my point, read the following sentences:

· I have got to go to the store.

· He has got to get over this.

· We have got to vote today.

Now read the same sentences without the “gots”:

· I have to go to the store.

· He has to get over this.

· We have to vote today.

You see? When you get rid of the “got” after a “has” or “have,” the world does not come to a stop. In fact, it’s a kinder, gentler world because it does not burden the reader with superfluous words.

The same goes for getting rid of “gots” after the contractions of “has” and “have,” as in …

· I’ve got it right here.

· She’s got a cold.

· They’ve got a grudge against gerbils.

Instead, write …

· I have it right here.

· She has a cold.

· They have a grudge against gerbils.

By following this strategy, you will not only make your writing more concise, but you will sound a bit more intelligent.

Please don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the word “got.” I like it. I’m the first to defend its well-deserved place in the English language. I’ve even written an article about it. But you’ll have to admit there’s something guttural – almost Neanderthal – about the word. If I had opened the door to my office this morning to find a horde of hairy sub-humans running around inside beating each other with clubs and smearing my books with bananas, I can easily image them grunting “Got! Got! Got!” as if that pretty much summed it all up. It is just that kind of a word.

Don’t abandon it, however. It’s sturdy and useful. Just don’t use it after “has” or “have.” As the headline says, “has got” has got to go.

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Boho Chic Bohemian Style

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Sandy beaches, music festivals, boho chic bohemian style for Summer 2017 season is filled with effortless shapes, bright oranges and pinks inspired by Florida sunsets. The modern boho chic girl has everything she needs and wants – love and harmony! She wears lightweight cotton tunics, loose-fit caftans, lots of crochet, sexy cuts and sheer fabrics. Everything looks sweet and harmonized and laid back luxe. Chunky jewelry, copper bracelets, mala bead accessories and vintage head pieces complete the story.

Boheme summer street and beach looks to follow and be inspired by include fashionistas like Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Nicole Richie. If you want to be more bold try maxi gowns made of lightweight rayon, embellished with tie dye prints. These dresses are ideal for summer beach getaways, music festival or just relaxed evenings. Go for slouchy styled boho pants with crochet tanks and use lots of accessories and semi precious stones. for a playful and bold look!

Be more creative, try mismatched floral tunics for extra boheme vibes. The lightweight kaftan tunics are ideal for covering your bikinis, perfect for the resort or yoga retreats. Maxi skirts in intricate prints and summertime blues are ideal for teaming with paisley print tops and cool lemonades. Try sheer tunics that can be teamed with ripped cut-offs. Seventies chic and disco inspired dashiki tunics are quite the trend. Wear a simple dress, but embellish it with cool accessories, boho copper bracelets to Indian necklaces and earrings.

Bohemian summer caftans in vivid floral and batik prints are ideal for yoga retreats and cruises. Easy slip on and cool comfortable loose fittings caftan tunics are a must have. Funky tank tops and flowing wrap skirts in exotic Indian prints will add to the boho fashionista style. Batik prints, tie dye tunic dresses in lightweight rayon, breathable clothing for the vagabond earth caring girl.

Over sized tunic dresses worn with cropped leggings or knee length shorts can be accented with a flowy printed scarf. Go wild with sunset colors or peaceful blues, lush cotton tunics with chikan embroidery from India can be worn as dresses, cover ups or loungers. Intricate hand embroidery makes each piece unique and perfect for only you.

Silk wraps made from exotic colorful vintage saris are beautiful coverups, earth friendly up cycled sari maxi skirts are dressy and chic for the barbecue dinner or a stroll on the beach. Summer time bohemian chic clothing can be dressed up in so many different ways, its your imagination unlimited!

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Summer Is the Season of Mobile Search

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It’s Summer and that means that people will start coming out of hibernation and frolicking more (at least in the Midwest anyway). From patio to picnic more people will be turning to their phone and performing mobile search to find things to do.

To capitalize, you’ll need to be easy to find. That means it might be time to take a closer look at your mobile marketing strategy. Mobile marketing is more than just having a mobile website. It also means being easy to communicate with via a mobile device.

For example, when I land on your mobile website, chances are all I want to know is if you’re open or not and how to reach you. So, your phone and hours should be front-and-center.

With more than 8.4% of all global websites visits coming from a mobile device, you can’t risk losing me when I stop-by. Make it easy for me, please?

In the last twelve months, customers around the world have ordered more than $1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device,” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com (July 2010).

I know, I know, that’s Amazon. But you know what, those people that do business with Amazon also do business with you. They have been spoiled by brands like Amazon and now expect something similar from everyone. That’s a trend that will continue.

As smart brands continue to raise the bar, stupid brands will appear even more stupid.

Does not take a rocket scientist to get going either. Here are a few quick tips on how to make your small business more mobile friendly:

  1. Keep the most relevant information for customers on the home page and easy to find. Stuff like hours and a phone number are absolute musts.
  2. Consider building a mobile version of your website that can detect a mobile device when it’s loaded and serve a special “mobile friendly” website. If not a website, consider at least building a landing page dedicated to mobile.
  3. Think about the 3rd-party sites that most often appear in search. Yelp, SuperPages, Facebook all come to mind. Make sure that you’ve updated these platforms as well. They’re gonna show up so you might as well tend to them.

That’s a good start.

Later in the game you start dabbling with SMS campaigns and QR codes and jazz like that. For now, just master these basics and you’ll be more mobile in no time.

For more mobile usage statistics, check out this post.

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Memories Before and After the Sound of Music – Book Review

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Agathe von Trapp, born in 1913, is the eldest daughter of Baron Georg von Trapp. Agathe, her siblings and parents formed the famous Trapp Family Singers, which inspired the popular film, The Sound Of Music.This famous movie was based on books written by Maria about their lives and experiences from her perspective, which – of course – the movie producers had creative license with. After reading Agathe’s memoir, Memories Before And After The Sound Of Music, interest for Maria’s books will likely increase once again.

When I took on this project I reminisced to my husband about the bonding moments I had with my mother because of the movie; he went out and promptly rented the DVD from our local store. I think it is wonderful that the movie has survived all these years and can still be found on movie rental shelves. Memories Before And After The Sound Of Music is likely to experience similar success, simply due to how dear the family’s story has been to the masses.

The book is written as a non-fiction account from Agathe’s memory – as such, readers will see the changing times through the eyes of the eldest daughter of the family. Perhaps due to the fact that Agathe was a young adult at the time, the story does not include the causes of the turmoil. Her bitterness seeps through here and there – and at times, I got the impression that she had once harbored unpleasant feelings towards Maria and the movie producers, which seem to have healed. Agathe’s child-like adoration of her biological parents is apparent in their heroic and greater-than-life portrayal – but then, perhaps they really were like that.

Readers will find that Agathe’s book will travel farther back in time, before Maria entered their lives. The biography follows through to what happened after their escape and clarifies common misconceptions. I found it surprising that Agathe was 25 when the family left for America – the only “children” during the escape were those recently born from Maria.

Though this family’s story is definitely and inspiring riches-to-rags story, one cannot deny that this well-connected family certainly did not suffer like their countrymen. Isolated castles and mansions, pristine lakes and mountains, private farms, fully staffed estates… no, this was certainly not suffering, by any account. However, the war left the family with nothing but the loyalty and love of their fans and friends. This was enough for them to survive Ellis Island, find a home in America, record albums, go on tours and establish a successful music camp – which is operating today in Vermont.

As a fantastic bonus, the center of the book contains over 30 pages of photos of the family starting in 1875 through to images of the family today, including one shot of the next Trapp family singing group.

Author: Agathe von Trapp

Publisher: Publish America

ISBN 10: 1-4137-6026-0

ISBN 13: 978-1-4137-6026-2

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