Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Natural Remedy For Depression and Anxiety

One of the big problems about antidepressant meds such as Xanax, Paxil and Celexa is that they can have a disastrous effect on a person's sex life and I know quite a few people who actually go off the meds before they have sex. This is just one of the issues of these drugs in that their side effects are sometimes more troublesome than the actual condition they are trying to heal. Small wonder that more and more people are seeking a natural remedy for depression and anxiety. It just goes to show that once you take drugs which alter brain chemicals radically, you may end up changing some other essential elements in that rather complex organ.

Usually when people refer to a natural remedy for depression and anxiety, they think of things such as yoga, meditation, physical exercise, diet, or herbal and homeopathic remedies. I want to look at two of these in this article, diet and herbal remedies.

The most popular and effective drug as a natural remedy for depression and anxiety is St. John's Wort and there is good reason for this. First, in about 20 clinical trials, this herb was shown to be just as effective as the antidepressant meds and moreover, it produced fewer side effects. In fact the side effects of this herb are mild and include dizziness, and fatigue. Compare that to weight problems, addiction risks and loss of libido and you understand why many depressed people steer clear of the anti depressant meds. Not to mention increase of depression, suicidal thoughts and hostility and mania in some patients.

Did you know that if a woman takes oral contraceptives over a period of time, there may be a Vitamin B deficiency in her diet which can impact on depression. Some studies actually showed women who had this problem were much less likely to benefit from the anti depressant meds. A few changes in diet can make all the difference but many people are not convinced. Just think that the brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin which govern our good mood and sense of well being actually need healthy brain function to work properly so we have to feed it with the right type of foods. For example, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables). Add to that the ESA essential fatty acids, especially Omega 3 found in fish (such as mackerel, salmon and anchovies) or fish oil supplements if you cannot cope with all that fish or are worried about pollutants such as the dreaded mercury.

As you can see, just by taking a herbal remedy such as St. John's Wort and a few changes in diet, you will be well on the way to avoiding depression and anxiety and if you are already suffering from this scourge, remember that this is the most natural remedy for depression and anxiety that you can choose.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Your Money Goals for 2010

Can you believe 2010 is almost here!? It’s nuts. Since New Year’s Eve is just around the corner I thought we’d create some money resolutions.

My own money resolutions this year include cutting out even more conventional items for green items which can cost more but not if you plan well. Also, I need to set aside more cash in savings. I’d like to have a total emergency fund set up, and don’t quite yet, so I need to work on it.

What are your 2010 financial goals?

Travel Tips for 2010

Travel tips for 2010 can come at any time of year, but why not make them new year's resolutions? This annual project began in advance of 2002. Reader interest that year prompted more resolutions in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In no particular order of importance, here are five more travel tip resolutions to shape your 2010 plans.

I will avoid high-priced shore excursions on cruises

Cruise lines offer shore excursions that you can charge to your running shipboard account. Although convenient, these day trips often prove to be overpriced. Consider whether the convenience really merits paying a huge premium each day of your cruise. Many times, it does not. Cruise lines will encourage you to book their shore excursions -- which are usually "selling out quickly" and will even say that should you arrive late from one of their trips, the ship will wait for you. Recognize these ploys for what they are -- scare tactics. Read more about how you can arrange your own shore excursions at great savings.

I will acquire travel accessories that help me avoid baggage fees
Travel accessories designed to lessen your baggage load are a natural outgrowth of what's happening in the airline industry. Baggage fees are trending ever upward, and there are more of them every month. Airlines have discovered a gold mine of revenue, and travelers often feel helpless as they try to avoid the charges. But one light bag on any trip should be every budget traveler's goal. To avoid fees for over sized or overweight baggage, consider putting some of these products to work with you.

I will buy discount theme park tickets before I leave home
Theme park vacations draw the contempt of many refined travelers, who point out that there are many better things to experience in this world than long lines, crowded rides and overpriced fast food. But the truth is that many of us find ourselves traveling to a theme park for various reasons. Those long lines for tickets can be avoided by checking online to see if the park offers discounts and printable tickets in advance. Six Flags, for example, offers discounted tickets for its theme parks that you print at home and bring to the location of your choosing.

I will consider using social media to save money on travel
A social media resource such as Facebook or Twitter might not mean much to you at first glance. But Twitter became widely popular in 2009: It's a platform on which people post 140-character observations about any subject you can imagine. Not interested? Consider that airlines are using Twitter to link to their best fare sales. Hotels and resorts are getting in on the act, too. Start your own social media account. Use Twitter to monitor writers and Web sites that specialize in budget travel. Follow companies that post their best deals and get a jump on those elusive low prices.

I will learn from airline bankruptcy cases
In these difficult economic times, many businesses are fighting to survive. This is abundantly evident in the airline industry. Budget carriers such as SkyEurope did not survive 2009. There were lessons to be learned in the aftermath of SkyEurope's demise, not only for the industry, but for the individual budget traveler. Take a look at five simple lessons you should learn that will help you avoid financial loss when an airline with which you've booked tickets suddenly goes out of business.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

SES Chicago: Internet Marketing Tips for 2010

Here we are near the end of 2009 and at the last Search Engine Strategies conference of the year. While many conferences are down in attendance, SES Chicago actually beat last year’s numbers by about 100, according to Matt McGowan, VP, Publisher & Head of US at Incisive Media, the company that owns SES.

There are many ways to get value from attending a conference but one that is especially important, and often overlooked, is the ability to connect with industry thought leaders and ask important questions.

While roaming the sessions, exhibit hall and networking events at SES Chicago, I did just that and decided to use my trusty iPhone 3GS to capture some insights on what marketers should be focusing on or considering in 2010.

Clearly, iPhone videos should be taken in bright light and close quarters, but these didn’t turn out too bad and they include great tips ranging from online reputation management to measuring social media ROI to the importance of testing what’s new but mastering the basics:

First up is Muhammad Saleem, a social media maven that works with the Chicago Tribune. He’s successfully built a tremendous social media profile as a “power user” on many difference services. Muhammad and I talked about what social media marketers should focus on for 2o10:

The rate at which social media and search intersect is mind boggling with the deals struck between Google and Twitter, Bing and Twitter, Bing and Facebook, Google and MySpace, etc. I talked with digital marketing guru Aaron Goldman of Connectual about his take on the future of search and social:

Another dimension that marketers need to focus on is the rapidly changing nature of digital content distribution channels and how to optimize for them. Best selling author, keynote speaker and conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg and I talked about these challenges and how to manage chasing “shiny objects” vs testing what’s new and the importance of mastering the basics.

The social web makes a lot of information about individuals and companies transparent, whether we like it or not. Online Reputation Management is increasingly important as service providers find new ways to help consumers discover, consume and share information online. The author of “the book on ORM – Radically Transparent” and founder of the social media monitoring service Trackur, Andy Beal and I talked in his Penthouse suite at the Hilton (actually it was Matt McGowan’s) on the importance and challenges of ORM in an increasingly social web.

The sheer volume of information about how to best market online is staggering. Staying current is key and without a foundation of knowledge to build upon, new insights can be fragmented and strategies incomplete. Aaron Kahlow, fouder of Online Marketing Connect and the Online Marketing Institute talks about the importance of training and mastering the basics of internet marketing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ten Tips for Landing Your First Job

Beginning your first job search doesn't have to be a frustrating experience, according to John Petrik, dean of career services at the DeVry Institute of Technology campus in Addison, IL. During his more than 25 years with DeVry, Petrik has become an expert in employment trends and worker retention and has guided thousands of students through the career maze.

"Students are often intimidated by the thought of the first post-graduation job hunt," Petrik said. "But that process can be easier than they think if they remember the basic job search rules."

Petrik's ten basic job search rules include:

Showcase your grades. Grades are still important to potential employers. In Petrik's experience, about 50 percent of employers look for a 3.0 GPA or better.
Get out into the real world. An internship or part-time co-op job tells employers that you have already experienced a real-world work environment and know what to expect.
Communicate well with others. No matter what career path you choose to follow -- from nurse to computer programmer -- you have to have solid written and oral communication skills to get a job.
Network, network, network. Most grads land jobs through people they know -- not by answering newspaper ads. So, make a list of your own contacts, such as professors, family and friends, and add to it by attending career fairs and other professional associations and activities.
Be computer literate. It's the information age - you need to be able to demonstrate solid computer literacy that's relevant to your field.
Put your best resume forward. A resume should be a concise, error-free, reader-friendly, one-page document that can be easily scanned.
Research. Take the time to learn about the company you are targeting by visiting its Web site or researching the company at the library.
Use examples. Using specific examples from school or internships to answer questions about your experiences paints a clearer picture of your strengths and skills for the employer.
Smile! It's hard to smile when you're on the hot seat -- but a smile during an interview shows enthusiasm for the position and the company. Potential employers might interpret a non-smiling face as a lack of interest.
Show your thanks. A thank you note following a phone or face-to-face interview reinforces your interest in the position and the company.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top Searches for 2010

Every end of the year, people spend more time on the internet more than anywhere in the world connecting with friends, sending greeting cards, shopping online, searching for a new job or simply planning for the year ahead. A couple of years ago, here's a compilation of things that what most people are searching. Do you know what they'd be searching by 2010? Well, let's take a look at the trend a couple of years ago and from there we could guess or predict what could be the top searches by 2010. Top Search Trends of 2008

Heading into the end of 2008, is holding steady as the 4th most used search engine and the 7th largest Internet property overall in October 2008 (according to ComScore Media Metrix), with 70 million unique users and topping over 683 million total searches. While that only accounts for 4.2% of overall search share, it still puts Ask just ahead of AOL properties.

With the release of Ask’s most popular search queries in 2008, the fourth-place search engine proves its original model of question-based queries is still popular with users, citing that “searchers enter their queries in the form of a question three times more on Ask than on any other search engine.”

2008’s most “Asked” questions

1. How do I get pregnant?
2. How do I lose weight?
3. How do I write a resume?
4. How much is minimum wage?
5. How much is my car worth?
6. How do I change my name?
7. What is the meaning of life?
8. How do I register to vote?
9. Why is the sky blue?
10. How do I download videos?

Perhaps the weight loss questions are in someway related to post-pregnancy weight, perhaps a side effect of women trying to change their names after getting married in 2008. Or Ocho Cinco followers were looking for tips. Some searchers may be looking to sell their cars if writing a good resume didn’t pan out and they had to take a job for minimum wage in this tough economy. Alongside more esoteric questions, the practical question about registering to vote seems to be tied to the most obvious search trend, related to the U.S. election this year.

Politics and economy drive searches

After purchasing the virtual spelling bee site in May 2008, noted these buzzwords as the fastest-rising vernacular amidst citizens trying to understand the political and socio-economic climate. Sarah Palin’s pet name for John McCain won out as the most popular word of the year, or so we assume, as long as TopGun didn’t put out an anniversary edition DVD. Movie-goers were more likely interested in searching for the meaning of the word “Solace” in the most recent James Bond title. The very recent cyclone in India may have been responsible for a last minute surge in searches for the devastating weather event, which some might link to environmental factors.

1. Maverick
2. Socialism
3. Economy
4. Recession
5. Radical
6. Cyclone
7. Solace
8. Realtor
9. Environment
10. Potholes

Top 10 “Real Deal” searches of 2008

As social media infiltrated daily life, consumers turned to Ask to help make sense of the economic crisis, as searching for deals and money-saving tactics ramped up, with popular words like “credit score” and “coupons” popping up for the first time ever in Ask’s general list of popular searches.

1. Dictionary
2. MySpace
3. Google
4. YouTube
5. Facebook
6. Coupons
7. Cars
8. Craigslist
9. Online degrees
10. Credit score

Queens of the teen scene

Disney divas Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Jamie Lynn Spears gave several female celebrities a run for their money in the Top 10 celebrity searches of 2008, leaving just a couple of teen boys to share the remaing slots.’s most popular celebrity (general) searches

10. Victoria Beckham

Whether or not Jaime Lynn’s and Bristol Palin’s teen pregnancies, plus the Massachusetts high school pregnancy pact helped spur one of the most asked questions of the year is unknown, but older and wiser celebrity moms won the contest for biggest bump in baby searches. Four of the ten were over the age 40 in 2008.

Ask’s most searched celebrity baby mamas in 2008

1. Angelina Jolie
2. Jessica Alba
3. Jamie Lynn Spears
4. Sarah Palin
5. Jennifer Lopez
6. Christina Aguilera
7. Halle Berry
8. Nicole Kidman
9. Salma Hayek
10. Gwen Stefani

An Olympic defeat

In an unusual turn of events, Michael Phelps didn’t take home the gold medal from Ask, despite taking home a record eight gold medals in the Beijing China Olympiad this summer. Instead, NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson took home the checkered flag. Meanwhile, NBA superstars and members of the “Redeem Team” gobbled up slots in the top Athlete and sports icon searches of the year. Tennis star Serena Williams just barely broke the Top 10, the only female athlete to do so. Interesting that A-rod didn’t make this list, yet Madonna made it to the top celebrity searches.

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Lebron James
5. Michael Phelps
6. Tiger Woods
7. Allen Iverson
8. David Beckham
9. Muhammad Ali
10. Serena Williams

From there we can predict that there will be more searches for health related topics, celebrities and love for this coming 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gift Wrapping Tips

So you've finally bought a gift to give this Christmas. Now the tricky part would be wrapping it. You wish you simply had it wrapped in the department store, but hey it's a little late for that decision. Here's our step by step guide on wrapping gifts.

Christmas only comes once a year, but we still give away presents year round for plenty of other reasons and knowing how to gift wrap a present is therefore always a valuable skill to have. These gift wrapping instructions are for a rectangular gift box, but can be applied to any size or shape of box.

1. To wrap a gift, first gather your materials and lay them out on a clean, flat work surface. Remember to remove the price tag from the gift before wrapping it.

2. Place the box containing the gift along the length of wrapping paper and unroll enough paper to wrap it around the box, leaving at least a 2-inch overlap. Make sure there is enough wrapping paper at each end of the box to cover the ends completely when folded over them.

3. Use a pencil to mark where this overlap ends and cut the wrapping paper in a straight line at this point. Fold the paper or use a yardstick to guide you in cutting a straight line.

4. Eyeball the wrapping paper at the ends of the box. Trim away any extra paper so that the remaining flaps are long enough to cover the box but short enough to fold over smoothly into flaps.

5. Open the paper you've just cut and lay the box in the center of the unprinted side, top down.

6. Bring one lengthwise edge of the wrapping paper to the center of the box and secure it with tape. Turn the opposite edge of the paper under approximately 1 inch and bring this to the center of the box as well so that it overlaps the first edge, and tape it down.

7. Position the gift box so that one short end is facing you. Grasp the left and right edges of the wrapping paper and push the sides in so that top and bottom flaps are formed. Make sure the edges are pushed in as far as they will go without ripping the paper. Tape the edges to the box.

8. Bring the upper flap down against the side of the box, making sure the flap is sharply creased at its folds. Tape the flap to the box.

9. Bring the lower flap up against the side of the box. Crease and secure it as you did the upper flap.

10. Repeat for the opposite end of the box.

11. Position the package so the seamless side is facing down

12. Wrap a long piece of ribbon around the gift box lengthwise, then twist the ribbon at the lengthwise seam to wrap it around the box width-wise.

13. Turn the box over so that the seamless side is facing up and tie the ribbon into a bow on top of the present where the ribbons cross.

14. If you have a card, slide it under the ribbon and secure it with tape on the underside. If you have a gift tag, use the loose ends of the ribbon to secure the gift tag (if it has a hole in it), or adhere it directly to the gift (if it has adhesive on it.)

It's so easy and simple so wrap those gifts now!

Monday, December 7, 2009

China Christmas

Ever wonder how others around the world are celebrating Christmas? Do you know that even countries that are not fully Christian are also celebrating Christmas? Take China for example.

Although Christianity is unofficial in China, there are an estimated 10 million baptized Christians (about 1 percent of the population) who celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas time. The popularity of midnight mass has grown so swiftly over the past few years that most Catholic churches can not hold the numbers who come out Christmas Eve. While Christmas Day is not a public holiday, Christmas celebrations are becoming more popular in China itself. Particularly in urban areas, one can find Christmas trees, lights, and other decorations on the streets and in department stores. Attendance at Christmas Eve mass has also become more popular in recent years. With each passing year, the Chinese public is becoming more conscious about the significance of Christmas, and more and more people are beginning to participate and immerse themselves in the spirit of Christmas celebrations.

You might ask, what does a Christmas in China include? The Chinese have some similar traditions for Christmas like we celebrate here in the United States, but they also have different traditions that even symbolize the hopes of wealth for the coming year.

The foods served on a Chinese Christmas celebration are not what you find on most Christmas menus. Instead of the traditional turkey or ham such as is served here in America, a Chinese Christmas is celebrated with different foods.