Lafayette Grapevine

The Blog

70 – 80% Of Women Do Not Wear The Right Size Bra!


Every woman knows the difficulty involved in finding the right bra. Questions like What cup Size are you now? What style do you require? Seem to never end!
Well…First and foremost it is essential that you know your correct size. A badly fitting bra can lead to back problems, muscle tension, and even headaches. If you are in your teen years, the strain caused by a badly fitting bra can lead to permanent problems with posture and even back pain. So that?s why teens should be fit by a bra expert at least twice a year or even after every noticeable growth pattern.

Your first consideration should be the reason you need the bra; is it for athletics, coverage, comfort or support? There are different types and styles of bras made for specific types of bodies and physical activities. Although it would be nice, no one bra can do it all; you have different bras for different jobs. A Sexy bra for those intimate private moments or a Sports Bra for when you want to perform arduous exercise.

First Bras

Training bras are for younger girls who have just started to develop breasts and are not able to fit into standard size bras. Age is not the concern, rather its getting the right fit and support for your breast size.

Wireless Bras

Light support or wireless bras usually have no Underwire and are sometimes the preferred choice for those with smaller breasts. They are less constricting and more comfortable than full support bras. As they are wireless they offer less shaping and more freedom than other bras. You can find the padded and unpadded variety; what you choose is a matter of personal preference.

Underwire Bras

Full support or underwire bras usually have an underwire or plastic boning holding them up. It doesn?t matter what breast size you are, however it is a must for those with larger cup sizes. They also are available in padded or unpadded varieties.

Push Up Bras

Sometimes referred to as padded bras and more famously attributed to the Wonderbra as seen in celebrity pictures. They lift the breasts and add more shape to them with extra padding. There are some more innovative versions around that use silicone inserts or water sacks to enhance your look even further. They are known to “lift and separate” the breasts, creating a full cleavage and most importantly offer lots of support.

Plus Size Bras

Plus size bras have finally found a home away from the unsightly bras of yesteryear to the sleek and sexy bras of today. From sports to sexy to your everyday bra, plus size bras are know available in many styles and brands. You can get extremely feminine lacy plus size bras, or bras finished in satin, silk, lace and cotton, under wire and strapless bras.

Sports Bras

Probably the least flattering and sexy in the bra family but ironically the most important one for growing teens to have. As well as offering full support, they also stop the breasts from moving during strenuous activity. The tissue in your breasts is very delicate and growing tissue especially needs to be protected during high impact exercise.

Nursing Bras

Your breasts start changing shape from the fourth month of pregnancy. As a result, most women find their previous bra too small. Purchase a nursing bras close to your due date or shortly after your baby arrives, because your breasts will grow larger toward the end of your pregnancy and when milk comes in. Consider buying a bra that has flaps and can be opened and refastened easily. Since milk leakage is inevitable, it also makes sense to buy nursing pads to protect both your bra and clothes. It is always better to buy 100% cotton bras, as cotton is a breathable fabric. Synthetic fabrics trap moisture and encourage bacterial growth and soreness.

Mastectomy Bras

These types of bras are designed with pockets in the cup area to hold a breast prosthesis. There is a wide range of styles and colors available. The silicone breast prosthesis simulates the natural breast with regards to its shape and weight. The prosthesis?s main advantage of is that it provides symmetry and balance to a persons body, who has survived from breast cancer. Wearing the right prosthesis is primarily important to your ultimate comfort level. With a superior fitting prosthesis, and a well-made and fitted mastectomy bra, you in turn will help to balance your posture and provide fortification for your chest and breast cancer scars.

Now you know the importance of the bra and the many types available, you should know firstly what size you need and how to determine that size. The following article gives you an insight into how to measure your self and the importance of a well fitted bra.

Read More

Guide to making your pet food at home


Are you a pet lover? As a pet owner no doubt you want to give the quality and healthy food to your pet for the best care possible. Best care means feeding your pet the nutritious diet you can.

Many pet owners prepare their pet’s food at home. By preparing your pet food at home you can save up to 80% and it’s easy; making pet food at home is probably a lot less time-consuming than you may have thought. With hundreds of websites offering free pet food recipes online, it’s now easier than ever to make your own pet food.

While preparing food for your pet does not need salt added to their diet as the natural salt in the food is enough for them. It’s a good idea to always add a grain, such as Kibble, wheat germ, cooked oatmeal or whole wheat bread to meat dinners. For dogs use 75% carbohydrate foods (grains and vegetables) to 25% meat; for cats use half carbohydrate foods to half meat.

You will find, once you begin making your own pet foods, that it is really relatively simple and you will save some money as well. Remember that all pet foods should be served at room temperature; don’t serve food cold from the refrigerator nor hot from the stove.

Homemade pet food should take a ridiculously small amount of your time. As a general guide meats should be raw and vegetables must be finely chopped in a food processor or by a hand grater.

When it comes time for feeding, it is important that you let your dogs and cats eat as much as they want at the time of feeding. Once their body becomes nutritionally satiated, they will cut their food intake, sometimes by half the amount, and go on a maintenance diet. Incidentally, you should know that cats should be fed three times a day, while an adult dog needs only one meal a day.

To get started, find a good book with pet food recipes and use it to start preparing simple meals. You can also get free recipes from many websites online.

Read More

How to defeat terrorism


Stopping terrorism is not like gambling, in poker there are different variables that can affect the outcome but it fighting terror the only way to win is to fight to the end.

Many people thing that the terrorist feel they have been wronged by something or someone and that giving them something will end the fight be it land or money, but history has repeatedly shown us that by appeasing the terrorists we are only giving them what they want, and prolonging the fight. They will continue to take everything they are given but they never stop wanting more.

An example of this is clear in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Israel allows the PLO to return to the west bank and Gaza and form the Palestinian Authority, Israel supplied weapons and the Americans provided training to the Palestinians so they could start a army to fight crime and terrorism.

Israel was repaid by the terrorists by suicide bombings in malls, restaurants, clubs and busses.

More recently Israel pulled all Jews from Gaza and gave all the land to the Palestinians. The Israelis left behind infrastructure and greenhouses, which could have been used for businesses by the Palestinians. The moment the last troops were out of Gaza the terrorists destroyed what the Israelis left behind and again repaid them with rockets on Sderot and Ashkelon, two Jewish cities bordering Gaza.

Many of you are thinking that these problems were brought on by the Israelis stealing Palestinians land, but what was it that the United States did that angered Al Qaeda?

Many will say it is because America has troops in Saudi Arabia where the two holiest locations to the Muslim people are, these people are wrong. This fight is not about the terrorists wanting America out of the Middle East.

In 1991 when Saddam Hussein Invaded Kuwait, Saudi Arabia was worried and was looking to get help to protect its oil fields. Osama Bin Laden offered his assistance to help protect his homeland with the help of his Mujahadim, who had helped protect Afghanistan from the Russians in the 80’s.

But rather then gamble on Bin Laden’s holey warriors, the Saudis asked for help from the United States, and this wounded Bin Laden’s pride. Now Bin Laden is on a quest to show the world that he is the true protector of Islam, do not be fooled this is a war of religion.
The only thing that has ever worked is not to try to negotiate with these people but to fight them with force. You will find that with any military action against terrorists once you start to make some headway they will start to yell about a Hudna or temporary cease fire.

When you are in a poker tournament and your opponent is almost out of chips, do you back off and let your enemy regroup or go all in and force him out.

The Only way to defeat terrorism is to fight terrorism whenever and wherever it shows its head, and to never let up on those who would use terror to forward their goals.

Read More

How To Lower Your Cost Of Gas & Travel


Are you sick and tired of watching the price of gas go up on a regular basis? Have you had enough when it comes to traffic and the inconvenience of travel? Would you like to reduce your travel related stress while at the same time reducing your costs as well? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, read on…

After hearing so many people recently complain and moan about the high price of gas and the inconvenience of travel, and after recently observing gas prices go over $3.50 per gallon, I finally reached my breaking point when I saw a news report about the airlines thinking of offering “seats” which will allow the passenger the pleasure of standing throughout a flight! I knew at this point that the time had come for me to let the traveling public know that there is an alternative.

An automatic calculator will show you how much money you are currently spending on gas, as well as how much Middle Eastern oil you are using up. In addition, instead of “just adding salt to the wound”, I also offer a solution to help individuals reduce their cost of gas and travel by implementing an inexpensive technology.

And what exactly is this “inexpensive technology” that I mention here? Well, it is what I call browser based Video & Web Conferencing. With browser based Video and Web Conferencing, all you need is an Internet connection and an Internet browser and you can meet with other people. If you wish to be seen, you will also need a web camera or “webcam”, which is available for $15 and up at electronics stores (Best Buy, Circuit City), as well as office supply stores (Staples, Office Depot). If you want to be heard, you will need either a headset or a microphone and speakers. The best part about browser based video and web conferencing is that since a browser pretty much comes with EVERY computer purchased, this means you can hear and see people no matter where in the world you or they are located – even if you or they are vacationing in a hotel! As long your meeting “guest” has Internet access, they can be part of your meeting.

Browser based Video and Web Conferencing can save all individuals (and especially the business traveler) money, time and aggravation and has actually been around for several years now. In my mind, the fact that people are wasting their money, at over $3.50 per gallon, driving to appointments, and unnecessarily spending money on airline tickets and hotels when there is a viable alternative available is not only wrong, it is un-patriotic!

In addition to lowering the cost of gas and travel, browser based video and web conferencing can also help families stay together and “whole”. It is unconscionable that parents have to travel and be away from their children and loved ones when they can accomplish the same tasks of meeting with their customers, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world without leaving the comfort of their home or office.

Read More

Helping Your Money Last… After Your Last Paycheck


A look at different ways to afford retirement

Today’s seniors can expect a longer retirement than their parents. That means more years to finally do what you want to do, including travel and hobbies (not to mention spoiling the grandkids). But a longer retirement also means more years of money going out and no paycheck (or only a small one) coming in. That’s why seniors need to be smart about how they pay for their retirement years.

“You really need to have a strategy to make sure your savings last,” said Lee Bowman, National Coordinator of Community Affairs at the FDIC.

To help you set or adjust your own plans for affording retirement, FDIC Consumer News offers this look at some different sources of money, including some potential pitfalls to avoid. But first, remember that this is general guidance only. Your own need for retirement money will depend on factors such as your health-care costs or whether you plan to earn part-time income. As with any major financial decision, be sure to consult with financial advisors and loved ones to decide what strategies are best for you.

Social Security and Pension Benefits: Your first order of business: Determine when the best time is to start tapping this money. For example, if you start receiving your Social Security benefits before your “full” retirement age (which could be anywhere from 65 to 67 under current laws), your benefits will be reduced permanently, and perhaps significantly, from what they would be at your full retirement age. And if you receive Social Security benefits early, but you continue to work and your earnings exceed certain limits, your benefits will be reduced even more until you reach full retirement age. On the other hand, if you delay collecting Social Security until after your full retirement age, you can continue to work and still get your full retirement benefits, or even higher benefits, no matter how much you earn.

Here’s basic guidance from the Social Security Administration (SSA): “As a general rule, early retirement will give you about the same total Social Security benefits over your lifetime, but in smaller amounts to take into account the longer period you will receive them. There are advantages and disadvantages to taking your benefit before your full retirement age. The advantage is that you collect benefits for a longer period of time. The disadvantage is your benefit is permanently reduced.”

Employer pension plans usually have options somewhat similar to those of Social Security. Contact your employer’s personnel department for guidance.

No matter when you decide to start receiving your benefits, remember that it could take several weeks to receive your first payment. Also consider having your payments deposited directly into your bank account so you don’t have to worry about a check getting lost or stolen in the mail.

IRAs, 401(k)s and Other Retirement Savings Plans: As with your Social Security and pension benefits, you may want to delay tapping into your retirement accounts as long as possible so they can continue to grow to cover unexpected medical costs in the future or to protect the inheritance for your heirs. However, if you need to supplement your income, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and other retirement savings can be a good source.

Before you start withdrawing money from your retirement accounts, most financial planners suggest setting a target annual withdrawal rate. Make it low enough to avoid depleting these funds too quickly. You can fine tune your withdrawal strategy each year, preferably with the guidance of your financial or tax advisor. For example, if your personal situation changes, you can adjust how much you should withdraw.

Also review your retirement portfolio — your mix among stocks, stock mutual funds, CDs (certificates of deposit), bonds and so on — to be sure it’s well-diversified.

Another caveat: If you have retired, every year after age 70 ½ be sure to take out at least the minimum required distribution from your tax-deferred retirement savings plans (except Roth IRAs) to avoid large IRS tax penalties. (If you are still working at 70 ½ or later, you do not need to start taking minimum distributions from your employer’s plan until April 1 of the year following the year you finally retire.)

“Remember, you only have to withdraw the money, you don’t have to spend it,” said Heather Gratton, an FDIC Senior Financial Analyst. “If you don’t need the money you can reinvest it somewhere else, such as in a bank savings account.” She added that, because each person’s situation is different, it’s best to discuss your strategy with your tax or other advisor.

Read More

Have You Seen These Important Safety Tips For Online Shopping?


Shopping is an activity that is necessary in our lives. Many people spend a small percentage of their day doing some type of shopping, be it for food or some other essential items. Online shopping is when a consumer purchases products or services through the Internet. Approximately 68% of online Americans say they think internet shopping saves them time.

We’ve all heard how great shopping on the Internet can be, and that you can get things far cheaper, as the shops don’t have to pay expensive overheads. At the same time, most internet users express discomfort over a key step in online shopping – sending personal or credit card information over the internet. The good news is that consumers are now taking proactive steps to protect themselves to ensure safe online shopping.

Here are a few informative tips about online shopping that I’ve learned through my experiences.

1. Before you give your payment information, check that the Internet connections you will be using are secure and that the website encrypts your card number so it can’t be read by others.

2. Always print out your order confirmation and save your receipts into a separate folder marked “receipts”, even if you lose or misplace your paper receipt you will have a back copy up should you need a refund.

3. Some con artists try to lure consumers to their fraudulent Web sites by using corporate names or Internet addresses that are very similar to those of legitimate, well-known companies.

4. ShopSafe is a consumer guide for online shoppers. All shops listed on ShopSafe have had their security, delivery, range of goods and prices checked. If you ever have any difficulty communicating with a merchant who is listed on ShopSafe, all you have to do is contact them and they will do their best to contact that merchant on your behalf.

5. Remember, before you make a purchase or a payment, read the information on the Web site regarding your right to stop payment or the company’s refund and return policies for damaged goods or faulty service.

6. Check the web site to make sure there is a privacy policy posted, and that you’re comfortable with the way your personal information is treated under that policy. Also, only provide the minimum information needed to complete a transaction, don’t divulge your Social Security number, credit card number, address, phone number or other personal information unless you’re sure the Web site is legitimate and you know why that information is needed.

7. When shopping online through a Web or online auction site, look for a feedback section on the site to review comments on the seller based on previous transactions.

8. Don’t do business with any retailer that does not provide its physical address and a contact telephone number for customers.

9. While you’re shopping online and you become dubious about a merchant, if the Web site appears to be suspicious or if the offer seems “far too good to be true,” trust your instincts. As my mother used to say “when in doubt, don’t”.

10. Contact your state’s Attorney General’s office (see “Government Agencies That Can Help”) or the Better Business Bureau and ask about the merchant’s reputation. Using the website address of the company you intend on ordering from, check their record with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is funded by more than 375,000 business members, and the system has provided 60 million instances of service to consumers and businesses. Web sites that display a BBB On Line trademark, indicates the retailer meets high standards for good online business practices.

11. Search for trustworthy businesses using keywords that are part of the business name or that describe the products or services they offer this will ensure that they are legitimately selling the product or services they are advertising.

12. If you should receive an email claiming problems with your order or account, and asking for your personal financial information, do not ever respond to them, legitimate businesses will never send this type of email to you.
If people’s worries about security of personal information were eased, the pool of online shoppers would be greater. It is so easy to compare prices, there are no queues and plenty of parking spaces online. One important piece of information about shopping online and paying online from home—it can be safe and easy, but before you begin to shop online, you’ve got to do your homework, don’t be fooled and entrust your personal and financial information to just any Web site.

Read More

How Much News Is Good News?


I’m not sure if the timing of last month’s “news free zone” assignment could have been worse or better. Coming just two days after the devastating tsunami hit Asia, how could I realistically expect you to take a two-day break from the news? I wonder if it seemed a bit callous of me to suggest such a thing. But here’s the interesting part: when I sent out the newsletter, I was in the middle of a weeklong news strike and had not yet heard about the disaster. While the rest of the world was watching the tragedy unfold, I was engaged in the act of hibernation.

When I did hear about it, I pondered the implications of “missing” this huge event. As much as I’d like to imagine that my knowledge of the event might have had some positive effect on the region, I’m fairly certain that the people affected by the tsunami did not notice my ignorance.

On a more personal level, if I had learned about the tsunami when it first struck, the information junky part of me would have pushed for an aggressive campaign of information gathering. I only have to look back to the last Gulf war for an example. During the height of that war, I was logging over an hour each day of online newsgathering. Calculating it out, over the course of that war I spent over forty hours gathering information that is of limited (or no) use.

I’ll stop short of calling that time wasted for it provided me with a wonderful opportunity to reevaluate my priorities. And that experience has informed my actions regarding the tsunami. Instead of diving into the photographs, videos, stories and discussions of the event, I have limited my newsgathering to brief updates.

My pondering also led me to the question of value: what is the value of newsgathering? What benefit does it provide? How does it serve me, my family, my community, the people affected by a news event? Again, I asked myself of what use is the time I spend watching, reading, or listening to the news? As with my Gulf War newsgathering experience, it is difficult for me to come up with ways in which the gathering of information is of much use.

In this age of instant information access we have the capacity to become passive observers of events anywhere in the world literally within seconds. With that ability comes a risk and a challenge.

The risk is that observing geographically inaccessible events – especially tragic events -can create a sense of helplessness within us. My personal experience shows that the act of newsgathering sets up a self-perpetuating cycle of disempowerment: we watch the news, get upset by it, feel there is nothing we can do to help, get more upset, watch more news in the hope that it will get better. . . but it never does.

The challenge then, is to find a way to break that cycle of disempowerment and balance our desire to be informed with our desire to be present in our own lives and actively contribute to the improvement of our world.

How can we do that? Here are some suggestions.

The most important step is to limit newsgathering time. If you currently watch the morning and evening news on TV, try to skip one. If you listen to news radio on your commute to and from work, switch to music or books on tape for one direction. If your Internet homepage displays news headlines, switch to a news-less homepage and choose your newsgathering time.

The next step is to re-empower yourself, to shift from a place of helplessness to an awareness that you have the power to provide valuable support and assistance. You have specific skills and resources you can apply to places and people in need. Here are just a few ways to turn your talents into tangible support.

Send positive thoughts and prayers:

While this may not seem to be a “tangible” action, it is. You’ve heard of the power of positive thinking related to your own beliefs and goals, but that power extends to everyone in the world. Everything on this Earth is connected in ways that we are only just beginning to comprehend. When you consciously take time during the day to “beam” your positive thoughts and prayers to the people affected by tragedy, those thoughts and prayers are definitely received. You may not see the results of your actions, but you are providing a wonderful gift to those people.

Donate money:

While the life costs can never be fully measured, the financial estimate for the healing, cleanup, and rebuilding in the aftermath of this disaster is well into the billions of dollars. What you can give may seem insignificant compared to the total amount needed, but it is through the power of collective giving that significant help is provided. Many of our local stores have set up collection funds. When I add a $5.00 contribution to an $85.00 grocery bill, the effect on me is hardly noticed, but when Whole Foods combines the contributions from all of their customers, the impact on the lives of those in Asia will be considerable.

Volunteer locally:

By cutting down on your newsgathering time you will create a chunk of extra time. If you devote some of this “extra” time to local organizations, you begin to actively break out of the cycle of helplessness. When you serve food at a local homeless shelter, or feed an injured bird at a wildlife rescue center, or provide after-school tutoring to children in underserved neighborhoods, you are able to witness the immediate, tangible and powerful effect that you can have on the world.

Come up with your own ways of breaking the cycle. How can you empower yourself? What skills, talents or resources can you contribute to people and places in need?

Envision and create your ideal balance between newsgathering and active engagement. In the quote above T.S. Eliot asks, “Where is the life lost in the living?” Stop losing your life to the news and start living in the way that feels right to you.

Read More