How Would You Like to Compete With a Royal Wedding?

Spring brides all over Britain have been thrown for a loop by the announcement of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Once the April 29, 2011 date was set, ordinary women who had already been planning their weddings for the last weekend of April suddenly realized that their wedding would definitely be playing second fiddle to the grand event. What’s an ordinary bride to do when she comes to find out that a royal wedding will be upstaging her big day?

While there is something kind of neat about sharing a wedding anniversary with a royal couple, there are also a lot of headaches associated with it. Brides who had previously selected the April 2011 wedding date which was chosen by Prince William and Kate Middleton are facing an uphill battle to keep their wedding in the forefront of anyone’s mind for that special date. After all, the royal wedding will be a national holiday in England – how many of other women can say that about their wedding dates? The reality is that many of the wedding guests may be wishing that they were watching the royal wedding, when they are attending the one to which they were invited. For that matter, the bride herself may be interested in seeing the royal wedding on television!

So what is an ordinary bride to do when she realizes that her wedding will be in competition with the wedding of the year? One option is to change the wedding date. That is not as crazy as it sounds, especially for brides who were planning to get married anywhere remotely near Westminster Abbey or on any of the streets in the vicinity. Remember the legions of fans who lined the route which Lady Diana Spencer’s carriage traveled to take her to her wedding to Prince Charles? Surely that kind of scene will be repeated when Kate Middleton makes her approach to her wedding site in her custom bridal gown and royal jewelry, with all of the accompanying security and traffic snarls which you would expect. The ordinary bride who is getting married on April 29, 2011 may well find that just getting to her own wedding is a major struggle.

Of course, not every bride will be able to switch her wedding date, especially if deposits have already been made on the venue and vendors, so there will be plenty of women who share the royal wedding date. In that case, there are essentially two options: to either ignore the fact that there is another, more famous, wedding taking place at the same time, or to really embrace the royal wedding and to celebrate Kate and Prince William’s marriage along with your own. Show a film of Kate and Prince William’s vows at your wedding reception. Name the reception tables after famous places in the royal couple’s life (St. Andrews, Kenya, Westminster Abbey, etc.). Rather than trying to ignore the elephant in the room, embrace it.

Brides who wish to keep the focus on their own weddings despite the shared date with the royal wedding would do well to plan an event in a very different style. Competing with any royal wedding head to head in terms of style is an impossibility for most regular folks, so don’t even try! No matter how fabulous your wedding gown and custom bridal jewelry, they will not be instantly copied around the globe. No matter how happy the bride and groom are, their radiant faces will not be put on commemorate plates or postage stamps. So instead of attempting to put together a celebration with a grand style, go a different direction. Host an ultra-modern cocktail wedding in an art gallery or throw a picnic reception on a lawn out in the country. And of course, take heart that despite all the excitement of the royal wedding taking place on the same day as your own wedding, your family and friends will still be just as happy for you.

Finding a Good Tattoo For Women is a Lot More Difficult Than You Think

I wish you good luck on finding a good, quality tattoo for women, because you will probably need all the luck in the world. Without help, the average surfer is going to see nothing but the same generic junk over and over again. Now, this is easily reversible if do two simple things. Finding a good tattoo for women shouldn’t be so difficult and I’m going to help you make sure it isn’t.

If this isn’t making a whole lot of sense right now, don’t worry, because it’ll be crystal clear in a couple moments. The fact is that an overwhelming portion of the public (around ninety percent) is not finding even “one” gallery that has fresh, quality tattoos. It’s almost mind boggling how much this happens. This is until you find out “why” it is happening. The number one reason is because everyone relies way too heavily on search engines to find a tattoo for women.

Men do this to, as it is the entire population as a whole. Search engines just don’t work when looking for quality art. It’s that simple. Instead of getting a nice list of top notch galleries, you get this awful, random list of galleries that have nothing but the same generic junk as the next site. These are the same cookie cutter designs that have been aimlessly floating proud the web for what seems like nine years.

None of these places are taking the time to update their inventory, so that their visitors get to pick from quality stuff. All they care about is stuffing their site with as much content as possible, no matter how generic the tattoos are. Now, if this is the type of tattoo for women you want, you can continue looking for them this way, because it works. If you truly want to see the world of quality tattoos out there, you need to take a step back and use another searching method.

The good news is that there is something that can be done, which is just as easy as using a basic search engines. I am talking about forums, which can be sensational tools in finding amazing tattoos and the artwork for them. To find a good tattoo for women, all you have to do is spend a little time inside of some of the bigger forums. They are always going to have tons and tons of past (and present) topics revolving around tattoos. This is where you can get an inside peek at where people all over the world are finding quality artwork for their tattoos. People share link after link to the hidden galleries they uncover, which are usually the ones that take pride in having the best artwork possible. It’s that simple.

Looking for a good tattoo for women can be somewhat of a dirty chore sometimes, but it doesn’t have to make you go insane trying to wed through 1000’s of generic designs.

Henna Tattoo – An Ancient Practice to Adorn Women

Henna is a tropical flowering plant that comes from the Arabic word for Lawsonia Inermis pronounced as hina. It is a tall shrub or small tree that usually grows in Africa, Southern Asia and Northern Australia. The leaves of henna produce red-orange dye used in coloring the hair and tinting the parts of the body such as the hands and the feet.

Henna tattoo is an ancient Indian Body Art also known as Mehendi or Mehndi. It is an art that uses henna plant as an ink or color to intricate ethnic or contemporary design and exotic patterns traditionally applied on various parts of the body specifically the hands and feet of women in preparations for special ceremonies.

Since the late Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean, Mehndi is practice to adorn young women’s bodies as part of holiday and social celebrations. Early context shows that according to Ugaritic Legend of Baal and Anath, henna is used for marriage and fertility celebrations. The women are seen marking themselves with henna to prepare in meeting their husbands. Between 1500 and 500 BCE, paintings and statuettes of young women have been discovered. Their hands, nails, palms, and soles have markings and ancient patterns. Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians and Christians celebrated marriages with henna to adorn the bride and often the groom as well. Traditionally, henna tattoo or Mehndi is used as a symbol of love and joy. It is a pre-wedding ritual to bring good fortune and happiness to the couple. It is said that the women will used as much henna to put different patterns like flowers and the names of their husbands. According to beliefs and traditions, marking the women’s bodies with henna attracts prosperity, love, healing and protection.

Nowadays, although henna tattoo is popular and more often used for women, men seem to find it a nice alternative to permanent tattoo. It is a painless and temporary process of tattooing. Mehndi or henna tattoo only lasts within one to four weeks. It is not a lifetime commitment. The design you have chosen today might be out for the next. Henna tattoo can be removed and be changed if a person has it wants another cool and unique design.

Wedding Photographers – Market to the Bride But Don't Forget the Groom

There are few absolute rules in the world and the following is by now means universal, but when it comes to weddings, the bride usually chooses and values the wedding photographer. Despite this fact, don’t forget the groom for he also plays a role.

What does this mean for your marketing plan? Your pictures should appeal to the bride. Men and women often find different stories appealing. This fact is evidenced by the numerous movies that are marketed primarily to women and those marketed primarily to men. If the industry thought the movie would appeal to swaths of both genders, in its own self-interest it would have marketed to both. A wedding photographer needs to follow the example of the movie industry and produce contact information that strongly appeal to the bride.

What is an example of how this can be implemented? Find out what is the age range in which most women in your area get married and get feedback on your pictures from those women on which of your pictures are the most compelling. Create a web gallery of the 20 pictures YOU find the most compelling. Send out a link to the gallery to friends or family who are in that age range and ask them to pick the two pictures which most strike a cord in them. You will begin to see a pattern arise of which pictures get most highly ranked. Put those pictures on your website and other promotional material. A comment on the type of pictures that will likely win out in this selection process: Brides want to see pictures that make the bride look beautiful. Usually the bride looking beautiful is important to the groom as well. How good the man looks, while important to a bride, is not as important as how the man is interacting with the bride. He should be looking deeply into her eyes or admiring her from a far. A chemistry between the two should be readily apparent. These types of pictures, from my experience, most often appeal to the bride.

When meeting with couples sell your work to the bride but don’t forget the groom. After all, with any luck, a significant chunk of change from their assets are going to be paid to you for your service. Help him to see the value he will be receiving by investing in photography. Help him to see that the wedding photos is (at least for this particular couple) a once in a lifetime experience – one that can never be replicated. It is important that he see the value in your work. More than one groom has vetoed the bride’s choice of photographers because he didn’t see the value in the service. Helping him come on board with the bride’s choice is one way to prevent a potential conflict between the couple and capturing marital harmony is after all what the service of wedding photographers is all about!

Choosing Your Ideal Wedding Flowers

As well as everything else to be planned for your big day, you need to choose your wedding flowers, which for many brides is one of the most enjoyable selections they get to make while arranging their wedding. While some women prefer to have a very personalized bridal bouquet, others see their wedding flowers as a chance to keep their overall wedding theme running through every aspect of the ceremony.

A wedding bouquet is the finishing touch to your bridal dress, and a well designed one will enhance your ensemble, bring out your best features and coloring and complement your bridesmaid dresses as well. Wedding flowers are also one of the most prominent features in photographs, so make sure you are happy with them as they will be in your memory for a long time.

There are whole galleries online of wedding flower ideas to help inspire you, and some places allow you to buy bridal bouquets online directly for delivery on the day, which can be very convenient and cost-effective. There are plenty of forums and florists on the Internet which can give you starting points for flower arrangements and color ideas, and you can also look at photos of other weddings, bridal magazines and even in the window of your local florist to get your imagination going.

If you have a wedding theme idea, think how to integrate that into your bridal bouquet and other flowers. For example, you could add some shells to a beach wedding theme, or some sprigs of holly for a Christmas wedding theme. For colors, it is a good idea to have a swatch of your bridesmaid dresses to make sure you can get matching or complementing colors for both the blooms themselves and any wraps or ribbons.

You might want to pick one or two types of special flowers which you would like to feature; perhaps they have a special meaning for you or are associated with memories of yourself and your groom, or others in your family. However it is still a good idea to work within the seasons depending on when you are having your wedding party. Although popular choices like roses and lilies are usually available all year, many other flowers are seasonal so prices will fluctuate. If you want an out of season flower in your bridal bouquet you could have it imported but this can be very expensive so it is best to stick to locally sourced blooms if you can.

How to Find a Unique Black Wedding Dress

A Black wedding dress can be so stunning. Imagine a hand beaded full bodice black wedding gown with a corset styled back. This bridal gown would have lots of Swarovki crystals all over the black skirt.

This is what I call a very memorable moment of exotic beauty. Many women, perhaps have never given any consideration about the beauty of a black wedding dress.

Now if you’re looking for some gowns there are some awesome bridal gown stores in the United Kingdom that carry black wedding dresses.   You can do a search for these by using the word gothic wedding dresses.

A lot of the shops in the United Kingdom can also ship to other countries so make sure that you call and ask about shipping. Now if after all the searching you still don’t see what you are looking for you can always have someone make you a unique black wedding dress.

When you hire someone to make you a wedding gown, your gown will now become unique and you can have it designed your way.

Make sure you are planning ahead if this is your decision to design your gown. You will want to shop around for the fabric to make sure you are finding what you are looking for in black fabric.

There are some designers like the Alfred Angelo dress gallery who can order a dress from his gallery in black. Imagine if you decided to go with an awesome black wedding dress. The colors that go with the color black, often seem to look more beautiful and vivid in contrast to the color black. For instance, if your wedding is going to be around Christmas time, you can have a black and gold wedding.

Everyone in your wedding party would be wearing black with gold accents. This is a wonderful holiday look. Now if you decide to get married around Valentine’s Day your colors could be black and red. The colors black and red together are very bold and rich looking.

Take a minute and imagine yourself carrying some beautiful red roses as you walk down the aisle in that beautiful black wedding dress. Always remember this is the day that you express your ideas with your love ones.

Henna Tattoo – A Prehistoric Pattern of Decorating Women

Henna, also called hina, a tropical flowered plant, a tall bush or tiny tree, its name originating off the Arabic word Lawsonia Inermis, normally grows in Africa, Northern Australia and Southern Asia. Its leaves yield red orange dye applied in tinting the human hair besides hands and feet.

Fresh leaves of the henna plant are dried and crushed to a fine powder. Mehendi, the multicultural art of henna body decoration has become an alternative to the everlasting traditional tattoo. Henna is a challenging medium for the artist. If you would like to learn more about applying henna, browse over to the makers of Mehendi Information page since the skin is the largest organ of the body and it is important that we are kind to it. Henna has been used for coloring the hair. Henna hair colors are herbal and hence safe to use. Moreover, they keep your hair cool.

Tattoo off henna is an old Indian Body Art called Mehendi, which employs henna plant to ink or tinting to complex patterns, otherwise referred to as modern day and alien patterns conventionally utilized on different parts of our body particularly the ladies’ hands and feet to mark any special celebrations.

Since the early Bronze Age of the Eastern Mediterranean and ancient context of Ugaritic Legend of Anath and Baal, mehendi is applied for wedding and fertility festivities with women found marking themselves as preparation to meet their spouses. Between 1500 -500 BCE, statuettes and pictures of young women with their hands, nails and feet with markings and old designs were discovered. Henna tattoo or mehendi is worn as a mark of love and happiness and Hindus, Jews, Zoroastrians and Christians feted the marriages by adorning the brides besides he grooms with henna as a pre-marital besides other festive rituals to shower happiness and bright fortunes to the couples. Beliefs and traditions indicate henna makings on women’s bodies pull healing, love, happiness and protection.

Of late, men too find henna as an alternate option to permanent tattoo as it is painless besides being temporary due to its lasting property extending to maximum 4 weeks. Besides the constant change in designs enable its easy removal.

History of the Wedding Dress Part 2

Prior to new medicine, a long and healthy life was not really that easy to attain, but other people attempted to make sure that they had outstanding chance for success by following superstition. Many superstitions grew over the years around weddings, to bring about the brides happiness in her new house and of course to guarantee her fertility. The colour of the wedding gown was believed fashionably to bring luck to the couple.

White, or a form of white, was, after all always the favourite and symbolised a woman’s virginity and virtue in the face of her imminent change of circumstances. White, though, was not always the favourite choice and was considered not practical for most purposes. Blue (worn by a bride in 1870, whose wedding dress is displayed in the London Museum), with its connection to the Virgin Mary, represented a robust image of purity, which, by tradition symbolised faithfulness and never-ending love (this gave rise to the reason that sapphires were used in engagement earrings). Brides, who wore blue at their wedding, believed that their husbands would be faithful to them, so even when the wedding dress was not blue, they would ensure that they wore something blue on their wedding day. This is where the tradition that has survived to present day, came from.

Another popular colour was pink; this was considered very appropriate for a May wedding. Pink flatters most complexions and is associated with the bride’s girlhood, but a few superstitions said it to be unlucky, as the quote state “Marry in pink and your fortunes will sink”! Mrs Joseph Nollekens was very much considered fashionable in 1772 in her saque gown made from brocaded white silk embellished with delicate crimson flowers. She also wore shoes made from the similar material, which had heels of three and a half inches (approx. 8cm). Deeper shades of red were unquestionably taboo by the Victorian era, with the reference to scarlet ladies and hussies.

One of the most unpopular shades was green. This was thought to be the colour of the fairies, and it was considered bad luck to call the attention of the little people to oneself through a time of change. Green was also linked with the lushness of verdant foliage and it was believed that it could cause rain to spoil the wedding day.

Reminiscent of the days of homemade clothing, any natural hue of brown or beige was once considered very bucolic. And the saying is “Marry in brown you will live out of town” and implied that you are going to be country bumpkin and that you would never be able to do well in the city.

The intense shades of yellow have varied in popularity. During the eighteenth century it was considered THE fashionable colour for a short time and many would wear it for their wedding day, like a bride of around 1774 whose wedding dress is in the Gallery of English Costume in Manchester. However prior to this time yellow had been related to heathens and non Christians and would not be worn in church as it was considered an unholy colour!

A very common colour wedding dress, for brides from lower class families, was grey, mainly because it was a very useful colour that could easily be re-used as Sunday best, being considered extremely well thought-of. Mary Brownfield chose grey twilled silk as suitable, as a maiden woman of 32 years at the time of her marriage in 1842. Grey was associated with women in domestic services during Victorian times, and they would frequently be supplied with a brand new gray dress once every 12 months by their employer. The deeper shade of gray or black was banned, as it was linked with mourning and of course death. As a matter of fact it was once seen as such a loathsome harbinger of bad luck, that in a few places even the wedding guests were not allowed to wear it. A recent widow would adjust her mourning dress for a red gown for the wedding day, to protect the bride. At the same time this deepened the aversion towards red, which was once considered as bridal mourning.

For the brides who were compelled by personal economics into wearing a dress which would soon become their every day wear, would embellish it for their wedding day with temporary decorations. In fact up until the nineteenth century, ribbons were tied into bows or “love knots” and loosely affixed to the wedding dress. “Bride Laces” as they were called would be pulled off by the wedding guests during the wedding reception, and would be kept as wedding ceremony favours, or souvenirs. This practice steadily died out and was replaced with flowers instead. Guests could be given floral button-holes to put on, and the bride may wear flowers in her hair either as a corsage or garlanded around her Wedding Dress, otherwise she can carry them as a bouquet. Myrtle and Rosemary were two of the early favourites. Orange blossom became fashionable in the 1830s. This practice has, in fact, remains to present day – Regardless of how simply dressed; many brides will have included a flower or two somewhere within their outfit! Charlotte Pennell married George Hill in 1910, when she was nearing 40 and never had any intention of wearing a “once only” dress. However she did embellish her fashionable attire with a posy of flowers in her hat and had a matching bouquet.

The “conventional” wedding attire as we now know it now first appeared in the latter part of the eighteenth century. With the beginning of mechanically made fabrics and inexpensive muslins being imported from India and with styles inspired by the classical world, by eighteen hundred a white wedding gown with a veil was fashionable choice. As was usual with fashion, it started in London and soon extended to other cities and eventually to the country villages. This new fashion was given the royal approval when Princess Charlotte wore this style of attire at her marriage to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in 1816. Queen Victoria in 1840 selected Honiton lace and white silk for her wedding which made it the fashionable rule. Also setting new fashion, the Queen was to be one of the first royal brides to have had bridesmaids carry her train.

Even a bride in the nineteenth century, who decided to wear a white wedding dress, would have expected to wear her dress again. For the season of “bride visits” she would visit close family and friends and as a newly married woman, she would wear her wedding dress, with the decorative flowers and train removed. A more affluent bride might then modify the bodice of the outfit (frequently made independently) and re-trim it for evening attire or for any other occasion. Queen Victoria herself took off the lace overskirt from her dress and regularly used it again, she was to wear it over a black silk gown for her Diamond Jubilee festivities over 50 years later.

Up until the Nineteen Twenties wedding gowns were always in fashion, just more elaborately embellished than standard and maybe slightly more modest than the most daring fashion. During the 20’s however, there was a complete revolution in all women’s clothing, where skirt hemlines rose from just above the shoe to well above the knee. To begin with wedding dress styles followed and brides would show their ankles; however as skirts grew ever more shortened, it seemed that some felt that it was not suitable for services in church and most brides gave preference to full-length wedding dresses. This choice of either following the seasonal fashion or reverting to a full length wedding dress and train led to the devolvement of completely separate style during the twentieth century which would sometimes echo but more often diverge from mainstream fashion (like the Vionnet couture design of 1926).

This change was magnified by the interruption caused by the Second World War due to clothing being rationed, uniforms were everywhere, and light-heartedness was looked down on. At the end of the war, fashion returned and brides were evermore keen to wear long wedding dresses made from sumptuous fabrics for their wedding day. This trend took place irrespective of the growing popularity of casual wear, easy wear apparel and trousers for women. As fashion has developed into a more at ease and sporty attire, wedding fashions have deviated further, so much so, that although each decade’s brides can be easily distinguished through the fashion then in vogue, it is not because of the fact that that the fashion’s resemblance to typical fashion.

Super Sexy Tattoos For Women

If you are like most, trying to find a sexy tattoo for women can be a daunting task. You can be like everyone else and go to the tattoo parlor and try to find something that suites your needs and wants but first, who has time for that and second, do you really want a tattoo that has been on thousands of women already?

Before you can find a sexy tattoo for women you first need to decide where you put the tattoo. Where you place the ink on your body will determine the style and size you can go for. Listed below are some recommendations of where to put a tattoo and the largest recommended size you should do so you can still pull of the sexiness of the tattoo.

Lower Back: This is a great place for a sexy tattoo as it can be seen with a sexy shirt of bathing suite. If you place a tattoo here you would not want anything larger than about 5″ by 5″ unless you are doing a wider tattoo such as a vine or script. In these cases, you can spread the width of your back but it still should not be more than about 4-5 inches high.

Wrist: Wrist tattoos are super hot but I would suggest really sleeping on this one. Depending on the job you have it may be frowned upon having a visible tattoo on your body. Wrist tattoos should be no large than the size of post-it note and I would stay away from dark colors just in case you need some skin cream to cover it up for social events such as galas, church and weddings.

Ankle Tattoos: Ankle tattoos are crazy sexy and you would want to follow the same rules as the wrist tattoo. At the ankle however, you can go a bit bigger if you choose. The most common type of tattoo for the ankle is one that wraps the entire area such as a band.

Now where do you find these sexy tattoos?

Now that you decided on a location the best place to find a tattoo is online. But wont your search bring up unoriginal designs? In most cases yes. That is why if you want to find a unique, clear tattoo you can print out online I would recommend joining a tattoo membership site. These sites do have a onetime low cost but it is good for life. Each day new tattoos are added and if you do not find something you like you can post a message in the private forum they provide you.

Guide To Meeting Women – Top 50 Places To Find Your Next Girlfriend

A common question I get asked is “Tony, I want to start working on this stuff but I don’t know where the heck to start meeting women.” I totally understand. There isn’t exactly a Google Maps showing where all the hot women in your city congregate. One thing you have to understand is you can meet women anywhere. If you walk down the street or go to the grocery store, there are always opportunities presenting themselves. However, I’ve compiled a massive list of places to meet women. After going through this list, you will have ZERO excuses not to go out and start meeting women.

Before I get into the list, here are a few caveats:

Don’t Be a Creep – Meeting women should be a secondary benefit of going to the places listed on this list. Go to these places for the sake of trying something new, not to hunt for women. For example, go to an art walk with a couple of your friends because it’s cool new thing to do. Don’t be the creepy guy that’s going only to hit on women. That’s weirdo behavior.

Bring a Group of Friends – Always try and gather a group of people to go with. When you meet women, it’s like she’s joining the fun party that’s already going on. However don’t let this stop you if you can’t find anyone to go with. Nothing is wrong with going to the places alone.

Type of Location = Type of Woman – Where you find a woman will directly correlate to the type of women she is. For example, women at hardcore punk rock dive bars will probably be much different from women you’ll meet at a local church. Therefore, have an idea of the type of women you want to date, then go the places they normally frequent. If you don’t know, the be open to trying out everything on the list.

No Order of Importance – There isn’t a particular order of importance of places on this list. Some will pop out more than other to you, but be open to try everything out. There is no one place that is better to meet women than others. You can meet and attract women ANYWHERE if you’re a cool guy.

You Can Meet Women Anywhere – Guys think they have to constantly go to bars or clubs to meet women. In actuality, you don’t have to deviate too far from your existing routine. If you walk down the street or go to the grocery there are always opportunities to meet new women.

1. Social Media Sites (Facebook) – I know many guys who’ve seen ENORMOUS success meeting women through social media sites like Facebook. There’s definitely an art and a science going this route so do your research on how to go about messaging girls without coming off as a creep. However when you have it down, sky’s the limit to the amount of women you can meet.

2. Coffee Shops – Women are ALWAYS at places like Starbucks or Caribou Coffee either grabbing a quick drink, with another cutie friend of theirs or just getting some work done. These are very low-key place to strike up conversation.

3. Local Colleges – If you live by a college, this can be a GOLD mine for young, single and hot women. My recommendation is to go during summer school. There aren’t too many people on campus so girls are ALWAYS looking for new people to hang out with.

4. Book Stores – If a girl is browsing through a book section you know a little bit about, it’s very easy to walk up and start talking about the subject. Tip: Weekend afternoons and weekday evenings is when you’ll find the most women at book stores. Book stores are often times empty otherwise.

5. The Gym – Women who regularly go the gym are definitely the type you want to be hanging around. They take care of their bodies, are self-motivated and often times are extroverted… All GREAT qualities in a girlfriend.

6. Museums & Galleries – I’m not going to lie, museums & galleries won’t be the most target rich places during the weekdays. However, on the weekends these places can be PACKED with women to strike up a conversation about whatever gallery you happen to be in.

7. Laundry Mats – Women are bored out of their minds at laundry mats and because of this, are more willing to talk when a guy such as yourself approaches. This is a golden opportunity because you’ll often have up to 2 hours of time to hang out while you both wait for your clothes to be ready.

8. Local Swimming Pools – Women in bikinis… Hmm, need I say more?!?

9. Beaches – Again, a no-brainer.

10. Pet Shops – Many women who have dogs and cats will go to pet shops regularly to get supplies or food. This is the perfect opportunity to ask a situational opener like “Hey, have you tried this type of dog food? I’m taking care of my buddy’s dog and I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve officially assigned you to help me…”

11. Hardware Stores – Although you may think hardware stores are testosterone driven, many women will frequent these stores for garden supplies and random knick-knacks for the home.

12. Ikea – Not only is this a great place to meet new women, this is one of my favorite places to bring girls out on dates. You can goof around and pretend you are newlyweds shopping for furniture. When meeting women, just go up to them and ask “Hey, I’m looking to get new furniture for my room and I need a woman’s opinion. Can you help me out?”

13. Restaurants – Restaurants are a FILLED with women to meet. Here’s the caveat: Don’t approach women when they’re eating. It’s just rude interrupting someone while their enjoying their meal so approach before she gets her meal or after she’s done eating. Usually there’s a bar in the restaurant you can transition things to.

14. Churches – I’ll be honest with you. Some places (i.e. Night Clubs) are where you’ll tend to find certain type of women to hook up with. Other places (i.e. Churches) are where you’ll find quality women you can settle down for the long-term. Church often times hold social events filled with many quality women to meet.

15. Supermarket – Some guys complain that they never have enough time to meet women. If you go grocery shopping then you have no excuses. I guarantee you’ll find a handful of women to approach at your local grocery store (especially if you live in a big city). Tip: Weekday nights and weekends are the best time to go. Anytime else you’ll find moms or old people.

16. Social Circle – This is the ultra traditional route the majority of guys rely on. Meeting women through a mutual friend is the number one way guys find their girlfriend. You just can’t beat this because a woman thinks so positively of you after a solid introduction from a friend.

17. On The Street – If you live in a city, there are a plethora of women rushing through the streets during the daytime. I lived in Chicago and in the summer, I’d always find more and hotter women walking down the street than I’d see in most night clubs.

18. Fitness Classes – If you’re currently working out alone, start going to fitness classes asap. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. You’re going to work out anyway, so might as well do it alongside a group of women at a spinning or kickboxing class.

19. Dance Classes – If you’ve rarely been physical with a woman, I’d suggest going to dance classes. With styles such as Tango, you’re forced to be up close and personal with your dance partner. It will also teach you first hand how to physically lead women, albeit on the dance floor. My personal favorite is Salsa. There’s usually a lack of guys at Salsa classes, so you’ll have your way with all the women taking turns to dance with you.

20. Tanning Salons – If you’re pale, you need to start tanning. I’m not saying you need to look like the newest member of Jersey Shore, but giving your skin a little color makes you look livelier. Oh and by the way, there are an INORDINATE amount of women at these places.

21. Hair Salons – Like tanning salons, the woman to man ratio in hair salons is staggering. If you have the money, getting your hair styled is definitely worth it. Actual professionals work at these places who can style your hair better than you’ve eve imagined.

22. Makeup Stores – You might think going to a makeup store is the equivalent of getting your balls sawed off, but most makeup stores holds stuff for men such as cologne. This is the golden opportunity to ask women them their opinion of different colognes.

23. Malls (clothing stores) – Malls are another place filled with cuties. Again, another perfect opportunity to approach women for their opinion on a particular clothing style your thinking about going with. There are lots of teenagers scattered in malls so make sure the women you are talking to are actually… well… of age!

24. In The Building of Your Work – I know lots of guys who’ve met a lot of women just by walking up and down the different floors of their office building. If you happen to work in a big building, chances are there are many women just as bored as you are dying to meet new people. Tip: Go on your lunch break. This is often when you’ll see the most traffic inside the building.

25. Parties – Parties are my absolute favorite on this list. It’s THE perfect atmosphere to meet new women. You’re having fun with your friends, she’s having fun with her friends and the atmosphere pumps her state up with all the music and drinks. Everyone is talking everyone so going up to her is almost expected.

26. Yoga Classes – Go to a Yoga class even if you’re not looking to meet women. There are so many benefits. You’ll improve your strength, flexibility, posture, breathing and generally become a more centered person. Like dance classes, yoga has a disproportionate amount of women to men. Plus, yoga classes teach women to contort themselves in all sorts of different err… Yoga positions.:-)

27. Book Signings/ Discussion Groups – Women tend to gravitate towards certain authors. For example, Chelsea Handler has an ENORMOUS female readership of ages around 18 – 35. If you manage to find a book signing or a discussion group of readership for these type of authors, you’ll feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

28. Modeling Events – Modeling agencies often have social mixers for those in the industry. Find out where they are and find a way to get in. I’ve personally been to a few myself and of all my years, I’ve never seen so many hot women in one room so damn open to meet new people.

29. Acting Classes – Acting classes are something you should be going to regardless of meeting new women. It will develop your voice, help you think better on you feet (especially Improv classes) and generally improve your self-confidence. There are of course many women that attend these classes.

30. Bars – I HATE when people say women don’t want to meet men at bars. Yes it’s true, women dream of meeting their “Prince Charming” serendipitously like in all the romantic comedies they’ve been brain washed by. However, in the real world cool guys are hard to find and women are ALWAYS open to talking to one. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a bar, a grocery store or at a freakin’ funeral.

31. Clubs – Lots of pros and cons with clubs. Pros: they hold the highest concentration of hot women in one room. Cons: dark, way too loud, intimidating and most women’s “I’m better than you” meter are off the charts. Bottom Line: since there are so many women that won’t remember who the hell you are, it’s the best place to work on game.

32. Lounges – Lounges have the best aspects of both the bar and club world. They’ll have the attractive women clubs tend to hold, while keeping the mellow atmosphere of bars.

33. Strip Clubs – You probably won’t find the future mother of your children at a strip club, but it’s a GOLDEN opportunity to interact with women who are VERY attractive and probably have tighter game than you. Being able to transition the strippers focus off your wallet will teach you many conversational skills you couldn’t develop otherwise.

34. Online Dating Services – I’ve heard mixed reviews from sites like Match and eHarmony. My take is guys who don’t see results with these sites tend to dabble. They’ll try it out for a few months, won’t put much effort it, then cancel their account soon after. Like anything, you’ve got to put the work in and stick it out in order to see results.

35. Singles Mixer Events – If you live in a bigger city, they’ll usually hold mixers for singles. When I lived in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art held an event where thousands of twenty and thirty somethings came each month to meet new people.

36. Yelp.com or Metromix. Events – These sites are the absolute best resource you have at your disposal to find places to meet women. From restaurants, to bars, to various events, these sites are on top everything and anything social in your city. Tip: One day out of the month, set aside time and browse through these sites. Calendar in a cool new thing to do each day of the upcoming month.

37. Dog Parks – Dog parks are littered with women and their dogs. Striking up a conversation is too easy if both your dogs are playing with each other. Also, you can tell a lot about a woman by the type of dog she own. Believe me, a woman who owns a Poodle and a woman who owns a German Shepard are two completely different people.

38. Speed Dating – Speed dating can be a powerful way to not only meet women, but to improve your conversation repertoire. In less than 2 hours, you could potentially have chatted with 15 different women. It’s like going to the basketball gym to work on your jump shot. If you mess up or meet a girl you’re uninterested in, there’s always a new girl around the corner.

39. Amusement Parks or Local Fairs – These are a preferred destination for couples, but there are still many single women hanging out at amusements parks or local fairs. What’s great about these places is the opportunity for an insta-date. Approach, converse, then once she’s attracted transition things by going on one of the rides with her.

40. Co-Ed Sporting Leagues – These are fun not only to meet women, but to just have a freakin’ good time with friends. The type of women that gravitate towards activities like co-ed softball or volleyball leagues tend to be athletic, low-maintenance, and overall fun women who are into sports… pretty much all the qualities guys look for in girlfriends. 🙂

41. Weddings – I don’t know what it is about weddings, but they always seem to hold single women. When you factor in the open bar, the music and the fact that another one of the woman’s friends got married leaving her feeling VERY single, it’s like hook-up city.

42. Cooking Classes – I’ve heard mixed reviews with cooking classes. A few of my buddies went expecting to find women like those hot chefs you see on The Food Network. They were pretty disappointed when they realized they were the only ones under 50 in the room. 🙁

43. Concerts – Here’s a tip: Most women in concerts are so focused on the stage it doesn’t make sense to approach then. In actuality, the best time to meet women is when you’re in line to buy food and drinks. Lines are painfully long and women are often times by themselves. These are THE best conditions to strike up a conversation.

44. Sporting Events – Use the same tip I’ve laid out for concerts. More than likely you’re rooting for the same team so starting a conversation about something relevant to the game is a golden opportunity. What’s great with sporting events is there’s usually tons of bars surrounding the stadium. If things are going well, continue the action by bringing her to one of these bars.

45. Art Classes – Women love art and more than likely there are art classes held somewhere in your city. The guy to girl ratio at the classes are ALWAYS favoring so take advantage of this.

46. Art Walks – Cities will often hold outdoor exhibitions where local artists display their work for the public. Many times there’s bands playing, local pubs serving drinks and most importantly all sorts of women perusing through the booths. Again, a perfect opportunity for an insta-date.

47. Community Service – You shouldn’t be doing community service just to pick up chicks. That’s just downright sleazy. However, if there is a organization you want to get involved in, often times a side benefit of this is meeting the kind, warm-hearted, compassionate women who are also involved.

48. Organized Trips – Organized trips are a great way to meet women because right off the bat you both have a solid common interest. These can range from scuba diving, bird watching, bus tours, hiking and mountain climbing. Also, these types of environments are very low-key so you can really get to know the woman you meet.

49. Meetup.com Groups – There are an endless amount of special interest groups where members meet up regularly. Many of these groups are FILLED with women. Go to Meetup.com and search the groups in your city. What’s great about this is you can see photos of the groups and find which are filled with women before even going to a meeting.

50. Wine Tasting Events – GREAT place to meet elegant, classy women. Believe me, after going to countless dive bars attempting to talk with drunken girls belching the night away, it’s reassuring to meet a more sophisticated type at wine tasting events.

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Fashion Styles That Make You Look Taller – Knowing How to Dress to Make You Look Taller

You are one of many people who really want to look taller. You have tried almost everything to make you look taller, but they’re all failed. Well, if you are described by these sentences, just don’t give up your hope. Many people just don’t know that there are some fashion styles that can make you look shorter. So, this article will show you the way to look taller, and trust me, it’s easier than you think.

Before talking about the fashion styles as mentioned, there is something that you should learn about your bone health. Do you ever know that your bone health has a big effect to your height? Well, it has. So, frequently exercise is important, along with having a good food. Avoid doing this can make you shorter than before, really.

Well, you have the right to think that this is impossible. Since when we are first born, we have only gristle, not solid bone. But, as we are growing, this gristle fortify to form solid bones. And when we are teenager, the end of our long bones are plated by the growth of gristle. This helps our growth spurts.

However, if you don’t have any good foods during these important years, you actually can suppress your growth. So, which is the food that I am talking about? It’s easy. Just try to eat foods rich in calcium, amino acids, calories, and protein. This is to make sure that you can grow as much as you can. Especially, when you are teenager because this period has a lot of changes that is important.

When you get older, your bones get weaker because of the lack of exercise and having poor foods. Besides, your bones start to shrink because of the low level of calcium. So, having a good food will keep your bones strong and healthy. Don’t forget to regularly exercise also. This can be helpful too.

Now, it comes to the fashion as previously stated. If you want to look taller, try to wear darker or solid colors clothing, since it covers your waistline. Do not wear white shirt with black pants because this will emphasize your middle. In addition, wearing vertically striped clothing can help looking taller. For women, if you want your legs to look longer, try wearing vertical striped stockings.

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Why You May NOT Want to Use Your Health Insurance for Counseling

Why not use your health insurance for counseling? Isn’t that what it is for?

Perhaps.

But using health insurance for mental health services is a little different than other medical issues. Sometimes mental health issues are not covered by your health insurance. Once you use your health insurance for mental health, you will have a mental health diagnosis on file – a mental health disorder/mental health illness must be on the insurance claim in order for insurance to pay for treatment. This will be in your permanent medical record.

Of course you want to consider using your health insurance for counseling, but there are some good reasons for you to consider why you may not want to use your insurance for counseling services.

Why doesn’t my counselor accept my health insurance?

Many counselors choose not to accept health insurance for very good reasons. They want to focus 100% of their time in treating you. If they accept health insurance, there is a lot of extra work involved in accepting insurance, in addition to agreeing to work for a discounted fee. The counselor may spend hours on the phone getting benefit information, authorizations, or following up on claims payments. The counselor has to wait a month for payment from the insurance company. The counselor has to file progress reports with the insurance company. The counselor is required to submit treatment reports and other details about your medical history with the insurance company.

It’s not that counselors don’t like insurance companies, or don’t want you to use your insurance (we have health insurance too!), but many counselors prefer to focus 100% of their time and energy in helping clients, rather than doing paperwork for insurance companies.

But this isn’t the only reason counselors may not be in network with your health insurance company.

The other reasons are more compelling, and you need to consider them BEFORE you decide to use your health insurance.

Many counselors prefer not to work in network with health insurance companies so that they can better protect your confidentiality. Any information (claims, reports, or treatment plans) filed with health insurance leaves the protection of their office and their locked files and your personal, private, emotional information is outside of your counselor’s office. In order for any insurance company to reimburse or pay for counseling (both in network and out of network), you must be considered “ill”. You must be diagnosed with a mental health illness or disorder. If you are not ill enough to warrant a diagnosis, then insurance will not pay for counseling services. If you do qualify for a mental health diagnosis, your illness will be listed in your permanent medical record. Many counselors don’t like this “medical model” of declaring someone ill, so they choose not to accept insurance because they want to focus on their client’s strengths, and not label them as mentally ill.

Do you want to be considered mentally ill? If you have a mental health diagnosis already, because you have been to counseling or psychiatric appointments in the past, find out what your diagnosis on file is. If you already have a mental health diagnosis, this may not be a concern to you, but if not, you may not want this in your medical record.

Counselors also do not like releasing information to others to protect your confidentiality. Once a claim is submitted to the insurance company, who knows how many people take a look at it and rubber stamp it while it travels through the system? If insurance pays for any counseling sessions (in network or out of network), then the insurance company has the right to audit your complete file. They can request copies of counseling notes, assessments, and other personal emotional information to determine if you really are “sick enough” to warrant their payment. They can deny services to you if they think you aren’t sick enough or if they think your counseling is not “medically necessary”.

Additionally, there are many counseling issues that are not even covered by insurance at all. Stress management and anger management are usually not covered. Marriage counseling is usually not covered. Certain medical conditions/mental health conditions may be excluded (such as attention deficit disorder or adjustment disorder). Even if your illness or disorder is covered by your insurance plan, they may limit the number of visits they will cover (sometimes only 20 per year), and they will set a maximum amount they will pay per calendar year or in your lifetime.

Additionally, counselors prefer not to have someone in the insurance company telling them how to treat their clients. Insurance companies can decide what type of counseling is covered, what diagnoses are allowed, and how many times the client needs to come before they are cured. Many counselors prefer to work directly with clients to serve their needs, without interference from an insurance company.

Using your health insurance for counseling services can also affect your security clearance, life insurance rate, employment, or future health insurance coverage.

For the above reasons, I recommend that you be informed about using health insurance for counseling. You may choose to file anyway, but be an informed consumer.

  • Be an informed consumer.
  • Know your mental health diagnosis.
  • Talk to your counselor about the diagnosis.
  • Ask your counselor about your treatment reports.
  • Decide if you have, or want to have, a psychiatric illness.

If you have clinical, severe depression, anxiety, or other issues, then you probably already have a diagnosis.

But if you are stressed, having relationship problems, or trying to figure out your purpose in life, your symptoms may be minor, and you may not want to have a mental health diagnosis in your records.

Once an insurance claim is submitted to your health insurance company, your diagnosis becomes part of your permanent medical record, and can affect future life insurance, preexisting conditions, or the cost of private health insurance.

Classic Home Furniture Styles

Classic home furniture styles endure the test of time. While trends come and go, the materials, construction, lines and proportion of classic furniture ensures that the styles will retain their popularity. Decorating a home in classic designs gives homes a look of permanency, history, and tradition. Here are several house furniture styles that have become classics in interior design.

English Style

The English style is a collector’s dream-come-true. The look features armoires, curio, and china cabinets to showcase collections, frequently those of glass or china. Wood is the prominent material in homes decorated in the English style, from paneled walls and wood flooring, to wood living room furniture and wood-framed bed canopies. The English style also features upholstered furniture in fine fabrics, often with plaid, paisley, striped or floral patterns.

The color palette for the English style includes strong, saturated colors like crimson, forest green and navy blue, as well as a heavy use of gold and golden yellow. Dark wood is favored over lighter woods like pine and oak, and the strong color palette helps balance the deep, rich tones of mahogany, walnut, and cherry. The scale of a large English manor is reflected in a modern use of the style with an oversized mirror, chandelier or floor-to-ceiling window treatment.

French Provincial

French Provincial furniture is influenced by the ornate style of the French Court of the 1600s and 1700s, as interpreted by the period’s less affluent merchants and peasants. The scale, lines and proportions of the home furniture echo those of Louis XIV and Louis XV, but with a decidedly country feel. French Provincial furniture has a handcrafted look, with a heavy use of cane and wicker. White painted furniture also suits the French Provincial style. Strong blues and yellows are popular, as are more muted shades like terra cotta and rose. Home furniture stores may refer to this style as French Country.

Romantic Style

While the Romantic style does not encompass a particular historical period, due to its enduring charm and appeal, the look has achieved classic status over time. A predominant use of fabric dominates home furnishings in the Romantic style. Textiles can include rich, textured fabrics like brocade, but most often feature lighter fabrics, such as silk, lace and chintz. Painted furniture with smooth, arcing lines are popular choices for the style, as is furniture upholstered in floral patterned fabrics. Pastels comprise the Romantic style’s color palette, with white used as a unifying element.

Both online home furnishing retailers and home furniture stores offer a variety of classic furniture designs. When shopping for classic home furniture styles, identify the style by its characteristic use of material, textile and line, to ensure that the furniture you buy best reflects the style’s signature look.

About Oxy Fuel Cutting Machines

Just like welding, cutting is also an important process in heavy duty industries. Cutting is an important procedure as the accuracy and the clean finish is important for any process. When a metal piece of solid thinness is cut, the cutter must make sure that the machine used to cut is as efficient to make a clear cut without any chip or cracked finish. Same ways metals sheets of thinner thickness must be handled carefully. Therefore the importance of a proper cutting machine is equally significant just like a welding machine. Among the other cutting machines, Oxy Fuel Cutting Machines are one of the latest, and let’s see about them in brief in this article.

Oxy fuel cutting is one such procedure which makes use of pure oxygen for the purpose of cutting metal sheets like that of steel. The point behind the procedure is the oxygen that reacts with the steel; this is where the reaction happens which gives rise to iron oxide. The combustion process happens with the help of fire, which actually heats the steel to a high temperature, which is calculated to be just about 1800 F. The 1800 F is the temperature at which the pure form of oxygen used in the Oxy Fuel Cutting machine is made to flow in a steady stream and this reaction is the one that creates the perfect cut.

Oxy Fuel Machines are nothing but metal cutting machines that work according to the above procedure by having oxygen as their fuel. The important point to note down in this method is that. These machines take help of the high-velocity, high-temperature that the oxygen gas gives when heated. The cut is actually made because of the ionized oxygen gas which falls out of the nozzle of the welding machine at a very high velocity. The velocity of the ionized gas is the force that is behind the necessary heat that is provided to melt down the metal sheet. The perfection of any cuts made out of this Oxy Fuel Machines is too high and is the main reasons why technicians prefer these machines for cutting steel metal sheets.

It is not that we have just one single model of Oxy Fuel Machines in the market. There are several kinds of Oxy Fuel flame Machines that are available in the market these days and each has their own specialties. Portable cutting equipment or plasma cutters, shape cutting machines and profile cutting machines are some of the Oxy Fuel flame Machine. If you were thinking that the Oxy Fuel flame Machine are fit only for cutting steel, then you are wrong, you can even cute electrically conductive metals such as aluminium and brass with the help of these machines. As the perfection of these oxy fuel machines is higher they are widely available as shape cutting machines. These shape cutter machines are in general used for the purpose of cutting metals into varied shapes as we desire like circular, flanges, squares, rectangles, straight line and much more.

Building Your Own Talent Pool: 8 Challenges and 8 Possible Solutions for the Banking Industry

Banks manage financial assets and the success of that management is dependent on the capabilities of the persons who manage those assets.

Therefore growth in this sector is dependent on effective management and leadership capacity and dominance in retail services is directly related to the expansion of the branch network through which the bank’s retail products and services are distributed.

The central departments or bank headquarters form the nerve center of the bank by providing direction, developing new products and services, handling high value investments, treasury management and credit activities. However, it is through the network of bank branches that the retail services developed by the central marketing function are distributed. The network of branches acts like the five senses as well as the arms and the legs of the body by sending critical information from the field to the central departments and executing the corporate strategy by successfully linking the needs of the public to the products and services developed to meet those needs.

The quality and the quantity of that exchange between the branches and the central departments have a great impact on the ability of the bank to leverage its products and services in the market. Simply put, the branches are the points of sales for all the retail products and services developed by the bank. Even though sophisticated, high-value products and services are facilitated by the central departments concerned, the ‘retail services’ are the ‘Cash Cow’. A bank’s ability to expand its branch network through which its products and services are distributed is therefore critical to its growth and profitability.

The question arises – “What is that growth dependent on? And the answer is – “It is dependent on the human capabilities available in the form of individuals who have the skills, the knowledge, the experience and the personality to successfully manage newly established branches. Herein lies one of the major challenges faced by many banks: Their need and their readiness to open new branches both in the home country and abroad is frustrated by the scarcity of individuals who are genuinely capable of successfully launching a new branch or ‘turning-around’ an existing branch.

The purpose of this article is to explore some of the reasons for the scarcity and to suggest some things that can be done about it the in the short term and in the longer term.

8 Challenges and 8 Possible Solutions

Challenge 1: There is no training and development program designed specifically to prepare individuals to move from ‘competent employee’ to ‘competent branch manager’ with the requisite leadership skills.

Solution: Identify individuals with leadership potential as early as possible in their careers through various activities and through multiple sources and methods. For example, if ‘leadership’ is identified as one of the core competencies of the bank and it is fully integrated into the appraisal system at all levels, there will be regular feedback through the performance appraisal system. This feedback can be further validated through regular Assessment and Development Centers designed to identify talent in various areas. Once identified, a clear career path should be presented to these individuals and a systematic development program applied to ensure that we not only identify capable individuals but that we retain them. A clear career path with well defined requirements for moving from one position to another contributes very strongly towards the retention of ambitions and talented leaders. When linked to ‘Succession Planning’ there will also be a timeline that ensures adequate preparation for successors and minimal disruption of work due to sudden departures.

Challenge 2: The competition for talented individuals who have the potential to lead is very high because the demand far exceeds the supply. This increases cost because salary levels have to be raised in order to attract and hopefully keep the best talent.

Solution: Recognize that intelligent and talented individuals are looking for something more than just the salary. So make your bank one that attracts the kind of people you want. Intelligent individuals with leadership capability are looking for a credible organization where they can grow and where they are given the opportunity to contribute as well as enjoy the fun and challenge of working in that place.

Challenge 3: The type of person who is good at managing the branch operations and attending to all the administrative details may not necessarily be good at leading and managing a bank branch from a commercial perspective. Therefore the assumption that it is possible to promote the operations manager to branch manager and then bring someone up from the ranks to handle operations is simply not valid.

Solution: Recognize that ‘Work Preferences’ are an even more powerful predictor of job satisfaction and productivity than academic qualifications and experience. ‘Work Preferences’ must be measured, understood and built into career management and staff retention programs. A person who is good at one thing may not necessarily be good at another. The ‘Work Preferences’ that make a good operations manager are the exact opposite of those that make a good branch manager. When Operations Manager and Branch Manager positions are filled with individuals whose ‘Work Preferences’ are congruent with their skills and their roles it leads to complementary. This increases to a high degree the potential for a great performance. Therefore ‘Work Preferences’ should be factored into the recruitment, selection, career planning, talent management, and succession planning and retention programs of the bank.

Challenge 4: The ‘Critical Success Factors’ for the position of Branch Managers need to be redefined so they reflect current market realities. The branch manager certainly needs to have a solid foundation in the banking know-how that brings the highest revenues to the bank – Credit and Trade Finance. There are far too many branch managers that are not really able to discuss business affairs with their more sophisticated clients in a satisfactory manner. Moreover, many are also unable to adequately coach their staff on the effective preparation of credit files or trade finance documentation and credit.

Solution: Develop a rigorous testing and evaluation system in these areas and use it as a pre-requisite for promotion to the position of Branch Manager. In other words, if candidates for promotion to the position of Branch Manager are unable to pass a knowledge test and a practical skills assessment, they will have to develop their abilities and pass the tests and assessments in these areas before their promotion can go through.

This will contribute to building a sense of professionalism in the sector.

Challenge 5: There is little or no emphasis on the essential ‘soft skills’ for branch management. This includes the effective management of people – inspiring, motivating, developing and challenging them to get the best results. The soft skills are underrated in comparison with banking techniques, whereas they are equally important. Here there are a wide range of skills that are vital to success; the least of which are customer relationship management that goes beyond dinners and lunches or funerals and weddings. Business Ethics is another critical area that must receive attention in light of the recent global economic crisis.

Solution: Develop a set of corporate values and a clear set of interpersonal and managerial competencies that are ingrained into the psyche of every employee through an ongoing coaching and mentoring program. Train and develop your managers so that coaching and mentoring is part and parcel of their daily routine. As they communicate these values and build the competencies into daily behavior, they will contribute to the creation of a new corporate culture where those who do not fit will move out and those who do will move up. This will increase the supply of better qualified candidates for leadership and managerial positions.

Challenge 6: Many think of the Branch Manager as a Public Relations Officer or a Liaison Officer facilitating the exchange of documents and information between the central departments and the branch. In fact many banks have designed the job of the branch manager so that he or she is no more than an informed ‘button clicker’ authorizing transactions through the bank’s operating system. Certainly the ‘control’ function is a very important one and one that cannot be relinquished. However, it has to be considered in light of the role of the branch manager and the optimal utilization of capacity.

Solution: Answer the question of what exactly is the role of the branch manager and what is the most valuable contribution that such a manager should be making. Unless this question is discussed in depth and in light of the future strategy of the bank the role of the branch manager will remain vague and will by necessity be defined by the personal preferences of the individual occupying that position. Those who like dealing with people will become Public Relations Officers, those who like dealing with things and with numbers will become Controllers, those who like ‘challenges’ will become Demanding Bosses. Each role has its merit but the bank needs to decide which role it wants to emphasize and to select its managers accordingly. The important thing is that the decision must be aligned with the banks corporate strategy for growth and expansion.

Challenge 7: From the branch manager’s perspective the question always arises: “Do I have any real power or authority within this centrally controlled structure?” There is no doubt that there are those who will take charge and confidently communicate with the central departments and get the support they need and there will be those who perceive themselves as waiting for orders and are therefore not really responsible in the final reckoning.

Solution: This relationship needs to be considered and clearly defined including the identification of the inevitable ‘grey areas’. Some individuals will be able to rise to the occasion but are waiting to be invited or to be told that they do have permission of the ‘powers that be’ to interact assertively and openly with the Central Departments. They are on the same side.

Challenge 8: Branch Managers also ask: “Where do I go from here? What is my future? Do I remain a Branch Manager for the rest of my life?”

Solution: The answers to these questions are critical to attracting suitable candidates for the position. This is also linked to the role we want our branch managers to play. Are we looking for ambitious entrepreneurs with a solid ethical grounding who are prepared to go after promising opportunities? Or are we looking for ‘button clickers’ who will scrutinize the details, follow the rules and religiously adhere to procedures? Or are we looking for someone who enjoys being a Public Relations officer and gets along really well with people but lacks the solid banking knowledge that will yield high returns from these customer relationships?

This is an important decision as it will determine who you get to fill the position. If you don’t want to settle for taking the first ‘okay’ candidate, a decision must be taken.

Looking at these Human Capital challenges and solutions leads us to propose two main courses of action. One is to make the most of the current situation and the other is to be better prepared for the future. Below are the details on both approaches.

Short Term Human Capital Investment:Take advantage of the current crisis to recruit the talent you really want and to build a pool from which to choose in the future. In the Harvard Business Review you will find steps of consideration to ensure that when you do hire, you hire the right person, at the right time, with the right skills to ensure that when you need specific outcomes, your people are able to deliver.

Hiring Top Executives: A Comprehensive End-to-End Process

1. Anticipate the Need

  • Conducting ongoing, proactive analysis of future needs.
  • Continually evaluating the pool of potential talent.
  • Developing rigorous periodic forecasts of the company’s talent needs.

 

2. Specify the Job

 

  • Defining the specific demands of the job.
  • Specifying which skills and experience are relevant.
  • Identifying the team the candidate will need to work with or recruit.

3. Develop the Pool

  • Developing a large pool.
  • Including insiders, outsiders, inside­rs, outsiders, and outside-insiders.
  • Considering people on the periphery of the organization (employees in remote offices, consultants, suppliers, customers).
  • Tapping your networks and involving the right external partners.
  • Asking candidates’ peers for nominations.

4. Assess the Candidates

  • Using a small number of high-caliber, well-trained, properly motivated interviewers.
  • Employing rigorous behavioral event interviews.
  • Conducting detailed reference checks.
  • Including top stakeholders in candidate assessment.

5. Close the Deal

  • Demonstrating active support for the candidate’s interests.
  • Describing the job realistically.
  • Involving the hiring manager personally, not just HR, in closing the deal.
  • Ensuring that compensation is fair to other employees.
  • Involving C-level for top positions.

6. Integrate the Newcomer

  • Using veteran top performers as mentors.
  • Making sure the newcomer checks in regularly with boss, mentor, and HR even when no problems have arisen.

7. Audit and Review

  • Removing bad hires within the first year.
  • Regularly reviewing recruiting practices.
  • Identifying and rewarding excellent interviewers.
  • Holding all assessors accountable for the quality of their evaluations.

Source: Fernandez-Araoz, C, Groysberg, B and Nohria, N 2009, ‘The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad’, Business Harvard Review, vol. 87, no. 5, pp.79.

Long Term Human Capital Investment:

Identify, develop and retain top talent by using a number of structured and unstructured innovations in ‘Talent Management.’

Build Your Own Talent Pool

Forward-looking Banks today realize that what limits their ability to expand and develop retail operations is the availability of qualified managers to head new branches. The absence of an effective second or third line management layer within a bank means that the bank will face a succession crisis if there isn’t a swift and effective response to this reality.

The challenge is how to make sure that the right persons have been selected and that the path of their development and training will be one that properly prepares them to carry the bank into the 21st century. More importantly, will these individuals be ready to respond to the impact of the political, legal / regulatory, environmental and social changes in the world and in the region? Will they be prepared to handle the reality of borderless financial markets and the ever-increasing pace of technology driven change?

There is no doubt that banks already have or are actively recruiting high potential individuals to lead their banks into the future. The problem, however, is how to accurately identify and accelerate the development of these high potential people so that they can get to where you need them to be in 1 or 2 years instead of five or ten. The second challenge is how to retain them.

These are the challenges that this Bank Branch Manager Accreditation program addresses.

CRITICAL PROGRAM SUCCESS FACTORS

This is an ambitious program and dictates that we proceed with full awareness of the necessary conditions to ensure success.

  1. Full support and or commitment from top management.
  2. Selection on merit and competence so that the investment is made in the right people and the program is perceived as credible.
  3. Selection on merit and competence so that the investment is made in the right people and the program is perceived as credible.
  4. Address the expectations of all stakeholders to prevent misconceptions regarding the outcomes of the program.
  5. Develop a supportive succession and retention plan for those in the program and those directly impacted by them.
  6. Set a realistic budget for this project and demonstrate the high return on investment.
  7. Give the program the optimal time for successful implementation.

OBJECTIVES

The main purpose of this program is to prepare successful individuals to fit smoothly into the role of future Branch Manager of fast-growing banks that have a regional and or international client base. This will involve a number of subordinate objectives:

  1. Train and develop future Bank Branch Managers quickly, effectively and economically.
  2. Use techniques that will bring out the best in your staff and help you decide, without a doubt, where each one will perform best.
  3. Ensure that the development program is totally targeted to your bank’s culture and business strategy.
  4. Identify those who can deal with high change and high stress business environments.
  5. Differentiate the true team players from those who do better alone.
  6. Change your corporate culture to reflect the values and competencies that are vital to the future success and sustainability of your business.
  7. Provide real management experience at low risk to you and your staff.
  8. Involve more than one group in the change process to ensure maximum ‘buy-in’ or ownership of the development process.
  9. Increase the supply of qualified candidates and so reduce the risk of poaching by competitors.

The more we know of human nature and the workings of the human brain, the more we realize that the story of our lives is written in every cell of our body and shaped by every significant relationship. The importance of getting the right people in the right place and the right group of people working together cannot be overestimated. The right outcomes will seem to come as if by magic.

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The Critical Stage of CNBC Fast Money

This is a critical time for CNBC Fast Money with initial tests being conducted. It was noted that the CNBC rating has plummeted in the past years as cynical stock traders tried to escape the slowly crumbling industry. However, CNBC executives believe that the market is reviving to its old glory, even with the verge of new competition. How can we say that this US financial investing TV programis profitable?

Even though CNBC ratings might have been suffering from negatives, the network is still in high-revenue tier. Take note of its pretax income of about $ 270 million. With the US reserves and economic monitoring will continue to be the meat of financial talk shows, which is really the nature of the network’s plan to entice its viewers. However, this financial TV program is seen to be more appealing to a more natural type of consumerists or those traders who doesn’t give so much fuss about the weak points but just want to try venturing out with stocks and try to be rich. Is stock-picking important to CNBC?

The answer is yes. The kind of stock-picking in CNBC Fast Money is quite sensitive. In the past trading years in 1990s, CNBC received criticisms for including too many members in the panel who sometimes crazily peddling on stocks even without careful analysis. But CNBC defended that they had found a way to offer new responsible programs. However, the primary idea of the show will still revolve around turning money in the shortest period of time. What are expected changes in CNBC Fast Money?

Since news and analysis on financial trends have turned into measly commodity of the financial world, the network has to consider presenting news and financial information in the most innovative way without compromising responsible programming. The executive producers also want to include cultural relevancy on the program by providing access to the viewers and teaching them how to use such information for their stock trading. How could this happen?

Perhaps the secret of CNBC Fast Money is to widen its appeal without compromising its reputation among its advertisers. The network targets Class A and B market to maintain its standing as a major player in the business world. Fast Money TV program is indeed a primary network asset of CNBC. However, programming is in constant change with new ideas cropping up to develop the program and to implement changes. Talk shows and late night shows could be a challenge yet Fast Money is still a major TV phenomenon.

Organic Gardening Tips You May Not Know

There are some obvious organic gardening tips that most gardeners know, such as using compost and organic fertilizers. These are pretty basic organic gardening tips. However, there are a lot of other tips that are just as easy to follow, but not as well-known. The beauty of organic gardening is that it offers you a safe and healthy way to grow the plants that you want to grow, whether they are vegetables or flowers.

You could try organic gardening tips like using a Toad House. Many people do not realize just how effective toads can be in the removal of insects. A toad can eat 50-100 insects in one night. Encouraging these harmless creatures to take up residence in your garden can severely cut down on your insect problems without the use of chemicals. If you have children, they will love watching the toads in the garden too.

Organic gardening tips like using BEE-Allure™ Honey Bee Attractant can also help to increase the yield from your vegetable or flower garden. These can be even more important additions to your garden since so many honey bee colonies have been dying off in recent years. Honey bees are some of the best pollinators you could have in your garden. Many people worry about bees stinging them, but honey bees will generally not sting people unless trapped. However, for those people who are allergic to bee stings, this option may not be a good idea.

One of the most aggravating problems in your garden is keeping down weeds. You could choose to use an organic weed killing product or you could try Weed Barrier Mat. These mats can prevent weeds from growing between your vegetable rows so you never have to break your back pulling weeds again. Even if a weed killer is organic there is always the chance that it may damage your other plants if used incorrectly. The mats remove this worry.

Organic gardening tips can cover a wide range of issues that you find in your garden. Everything from insects that can damage your plants to better ways of ensuring that your soil is full of the nutrients your plants need. Earthworms are a great organic addition to any garden. They are natural aerators and their castings add nutrients to the soil.

The main reason that so many people are changing over to organic gardening is for the safety of their families. Organically grown food does not have the possible danger of chemical residues that can either be left on the outside of vegetables and fruits or absorbed into them. Chemical products also have a chance of leeching into the ground water that your family drinks. Chemicals can either cause illness or death in wildlife and pets that are roaming where they have been used.

As you become used to organic gardening, you will probably find some organic gardening tips that were not covered here. Most organic gardeners have their own favorite methods of ensuring the safety of the foods they grow.