Arts & Entertainment




Tourism promotion offers prizes for best travel stories

A new state tourism promotion encourages people to go beyond just putting their New Mexico vacation and other travel stories in their own scrapbooks, but share them as part of an online contest that will earn someone a $5,000 prize, as well as offer weekly prizes of gas cards. The New Mexico Tourism Department’s summer […]

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Indonesia lies at the border between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, allowing her to display one of the largest shoreline in the entire world. Its exotic beaches with fine white
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Yo-Yo Dieting

There are so many diets to choose from. Nearly every magazine I pick up has an article on dieting, and promises of quick weight loss. I know that permanent weight loss is only achieved by careful attention to both diet and exercise; that it takes planning and slow, steady weight loss. However, there is the sub-conscious thought that this time it just might work; that this fad diet is somehow a breakthrough which will allow me quick and effortless weight loss. I won’t need to count calories, spend a lot of time in the gym or months to gain the benefits I am seeking. This is the thought process of the yo-yo dieter.

Oftentimes a fad diet does work. Sometimes I can shed ten, fifteen or even twenty pounds in several months only to regain it in half of the time it took me to lose the weight. And, even worse, oftentimes the weight gain is more than the weight loss.

I know that yo-yo dieting is not good. I know that fad diets are not a solution to permanent, or healthy weight loss. But I have as yet not figured out why I continue to deceive myself. Why do I return to such a destructive behavior?

Each time I begin a fad diet, and the pounds begin to drop, I am rewarded. What a thrill to step onto the scale to see it falling. I am encouraged to continue whatever fad diet I am on until either I feel quite comfortable in the amount of weight loss I have achieved, or until I become totally involved in some other life issue which takes me away from my weight loss efforts.

I know I am not alone in this. I know many others who struggle with this same behavior. I have seen countless articles on yo-yo dieting and how so many people fall into this category. What I have not seen is a way to break this cycle. The dieting plans should be prepared after paying visit at site to gather all the essential information. Different categories can be formed through the people to reduce the fat from the body. The behavior of the people should be great to meet with the needs. 

Making a choice to follow a healthier lifestyle, to pay more attention to nutrition not a diet, adopting a regular exercise routine, these are all steps to eliminate yo-yo dieting. It sounds so simple, so understandable, and, actually it is. The difficult step is to make the decision, the choice, to make lifestyle changes. As with any change, it may take a way to establish these changes into a new daily routine. Perhaps a journal, a chart, making a contact with yourself, a partner, spouse or friend would help. Creating a way to establish regular reporting, either to yourself or someone else, may help establish new lifestyle patterns or behavior.

Understanding the habit of yo-yo dieting is not enough to change this habit. The only way to lose weight permanently and safely is slow, steady concentrated effort. Making a commitment to healthy nutrition and regular exercise is the answer. The pounds may not be lost as quickly as with fad diets, but knowing that they are being lost, and that you are living a healthier life should help to encourage you. The regular exercise may even cause the loss of fat, building of muscle and better fitting clothes as well as improved over all health. What do you have to lose?

Weight Loss Support Groups in Houston, Texas

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows it can be a hard, long process with a lots of ups and downs. Having a network of support can be vital in your achieving your weight loss goals. I have found some great support groups right here in Houston, Texas to help you on your weight loss path. Some ups and downs can be noticed when people is consuming the resurge pills. The establishing of the goals is necessary to get effective results in excessive weight reduction from the body. Experts assistance can be taken to select the right pills for reducing the weight with ups and downs.

1) Weight Watchers 

This nationally known weight loss giant has helped many people reach their weight loss goals. Not only do they offer recipes, food and nutrition plans but they have wonderful support groups. If you check out their website you will see where you can search for local support groups by zip code. The calendar will list local Houston groups and the day they meet and time, you will even see a place to click on them to contact them individually for more information.

2) Exercise 

On their website you will see they have message boards, events and groups for weight loss support. On their home page of their website here you will see where you can search Houston, Texas and find support groups that are convenient for you. The chat rooms and message boards are also great for weight loss and exercise tips. This is an excellent website if you are very interested in exercise and nutrition they have some wonderful information.

3) Methodist Weight Management Center

This center ran by Methodist Hospital has been helping patients in Houston, Texas lose weight for 25 years. At you will see they have weight loss programs, blogs, newsletters, diet and nutrition and much more. When you click on the patient section you will see four locations for their support groups click on whichever one is the best location for you. This is where you will see a detailed calendar for that location including their group times and what topics will be discussed at that meeting.

4) Weight Loss Meet up Groups

At this website on the home page you will see it is solely devoted to finding a group in the area you are specifically searching for. After you choose weight loss you search from your zip code and it will bring up a list of weight loss support groups. I tried a zip code by my home and my husbands work and came up with quite a few options since Houston is such a large city. They have some excellent groups that will also help you find a group if you have special interests like a raw food diet.

5) spark

When visiting this website at I was pleasantly surprised at all the wonderful information they have to offer. They have tools to help with nutrition, diet and fitness plans, calorie counters and a large support community. They have support groups that they call spark teams where you can find a weight loss support group by age, weight issue or medical condition. You can see all the have to offer at

With all of these helpful weight loss support groups I have found her in Houston you will have all the support and inspiration you need to meet any weight loss goal you have.

Guide to Saving Money During the Summer Season

Saving money is a task everyone wants to improve on. The summer season is a little harder to save money with the kids out of school, air conditioning, and extra appliances running. A few simple changes during the summer can put extra money into your bank account.

Installing or upgrading to an energy-efficient central cooling system, containing an Energy Star label, will help reduce the electric bill tremendously. If you can’t afford to purchase a new cooling system there are some cheap tips to cool off. Try leaving the windows open to let the nice breeze of summer flowers flow throughout the house. Fans are great at cooling you off during the summer heat wave and use little electricity. Make sure to turn off as many appliances as possible to reduce any unwanted extra heat.

Household appliances are difficult to manage as all of them are run by electricity and it is a harrowing time as the bills pile up at the end of the month so before looking up blaux portable ac reviews, it is much better to reduce spending it on unnecessary and futile reasons.

Summer is an excellent time to plant a garden. Planting fruits and vegetables not only will help you get that bikini body, but also will save you money on trips to the grocery store. Eating from an organic homegrown garden is healthy, fun, and easy! Once you grow a garden full of yummy vegetables break out the grill! Grilling will save you electricity and water. Who doesn’t love grilled food on paper plates in the backyard? Kids can cool off in the swimming pool, while mom and dad create a family feast.

Make sure to check your local utility company for special offers. Many gas and electric companies offer rebates of up to $200 or more towards energy-efficient upgrades such as water heaters, insulation, roofing, and windows. Not only can you save money this summer, but you can also make money! These deals offered by the gas and electric companies are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Deals are calculated by the number of energy efficient upgrades you make to your home. Financing and assistance programs are also available to give you a jump start.

Waiting until the afternoon to complete chores will save money as it’s often cooler at that time. Although, summer is a great time to dry the laundry outside letting the clothes absorb the natural scents. The hot summer sun works to our advantage if we know how to use it. Placing a few tea bags in some water and letting it sit out in the sun, while you hang the laundry, will make delicious summer tea. While your making tea why not set out some of those tomatoes from the garden? Cut tomatoes and placing them into the sun will make tasty sun-dried tomatoes to accompany any grilling party. Sprinkling a little sea salt and olive oil will help bring out the taste of the sun-dried tomatoes.

By simply modifying household appliances and habits you can save money this summer. Not only will your wallet be happy so will the environment! Don’t let the summer heat burn you. Use these tips to maximize your profits during the summer season.

Horror Scopes Tips


Death stalks you this month like some kind of big, creeping monster intent on giving you an agonising poke with his scythe. However, look out for an old flame who may contact you this month with a proposition so depraved that you’ll be immediately forced to take a bath in an attempt to cleanse yourself of the very idea.


Following the terrible beatings of last month, you probably wish you’d been stillborn. Unfortunately for you, last month will seem like a piece of cake compared to the abuse coming your way this month. If possible, try to avoid speaking to anyone at all because no matter how hard you try, you’re still going to annoy them and end up getting the kicking you deserve.


Unspeakable horror and torment dogs you at every turn this month. You may become implicated in a murder you had nothing to do with but try not to worry. A man in a suit will bring some good news about an inheritance but there will be little time for jubilation as you will have a funeral to arrange.


Stay away from animals this month. If they’re not biting you, they’re scratching you and if they’re not do that, the furry critters are getting you into trouble in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. A perfectly innocent interaction between the neighbour’s dog and yourself could see you being ostracised by the entire community leading to an endless torrent of filth being pushed through your letterbox. Trusted Teller should tell the truth about the horoscope and kundali features of the person. The matching of the requirements will be great to get the perfect partner. The information should be accurate and true to get the correct and desired results within a budget. 


Your lengthy dry spell in the sex-department will come to an end this month as a wild night on the town could lead to a painful, joyless encounter in the town park on the way home.


A recent business deal will go pear-shaped at the start of the month resulting in the loss of most of your belongings. In the event that you left homeless, ensure that you have enough money left to buy a sleeping bag, raincoat and a mangy old dog to cuddle on the cold, lonely nights.


A heated disagreement at a friend’s house will leave you with a corpse to dispose of and a web of deceit to weave. Trust no-one as it could cost you dearly so be sure to dig more than one hole just in case. However it’s not all bad news, there could be some cake coming your way on the 22nd.


Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, your good deeds will just fly back in your face as each turns into a disaster in its own right. As such, you should be very wary about helping old ladies across busy roads.


As you sit surveying the burning embers that were previously your house, you’ll wonder what the hell you did to deserve it all in the first place. Maybe you should consider getting a qualified electrician in to check that bit of rewiring you did, especially if you constantly get home to find the living room full of hazy, blue smoke and the cat half-dead in the kitchen.


A babysitting blunder could leave you with a lot of explaining to do if you’re not careful so be sure to stick to your story and not draw unwanted attention to yourself. Don’t make any lavish purchases with your money either as you may need it to flee the country.


Despite the excremental troubles of last month now seeming like an awful, distant memory, do not be fooled. Stools abound once again this month as you slip and slide through pile after pile of dog mess. Be very wary of using the toilet at other peoples’ houses and always check that they have an adequate flush mechanism before unloading. After all, you don’t want to leave their bathroom in the same state that yours is currently in.


Hello!!! Nice to see you’ve finally come out of that coma you slipped into after last year’s birthday celebrations. Under no circumstances try and ride your bike this month. You will have forgotten how to do it and as such will end up back in a coma.

Great Ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts Under $50

Finding a Mother’s Day gift for the most important woman in your life can be frustrating. It’s hard to know what to get for a woman who often has everything that she needs. Here are just a few ideas to get mom out of the Mother’s Day drudge, and maybe endear you just a little more to her heart.

After a long hard day at work most mothers want to spend some time relaxing. Many women choose to take long baths in tubs full of bubbles. If this sounds like your mother why not purchase her a gift basket that will fit the occasion? The Bubble Bath Indulgence Gift Basket from has a retail price of 49.99 and includes many great products that will help mom take a load off after a heard day. Included are a bath pillow, eye mask, loofah sponge, body cream, hand lotion, and soap. This is a perfect Mother’s Day gift for the mom-on-the-run.

Sometimes, it’s all mom can do to get out of bed in the morning. Luckily for her the coffee pot is ready and waiting. If your mother loves coffee why not surprise her with the gift of the Connoisseur’s Coffee Gift Basket from For 49.95 this gift will brighten mom’s morning. Available in regular or decaf this gift basket includes four varieties of Gevalia Coffee and stainless steel canister for stoage.

Mom always wants her home to smell great so why not give her a product this mother’s day that will help her fill the house with scent. Purchase two of the large 22oz Housewarmer Candles from Yankee Candle. These strong fragranced candles retail for around $23 each and in just a few moments fill a room with scent. They can be purchased at Yankee Candle Stores, authorized retailers and at With 9 new fragrances just unveiled for summer you will be able to find something to please mom’s nose. The choice of the people should be great to meet with the requirements with innovative corporate gifts. The doors can be added in the corporate field to get the desired results. The allotment of the time and efforts should be great within a budget. 

Does mom like to garden? Has she been talking about buying a new tree to plant in the back yard? Well why not show up on her doorstep Mother’s Day morning toting that tree or plant she has been coveting? If you don’t know exactly which one she wants pick up a gift card and offer to take her to the local nursery or home center to pick out the tree or flowers of her choice. Of course, you might get roped in to helping mom do the planting but seeing the look of accomplishment on her face when you get the planting done will be worth it.

Wouldn’t it be great if mom could carry around all of her favorite digital pictures without having to lug her camera or computer with her? Now mom can show of small versions of her favorite digital pictures or her children and grandchildren with miniature versions of those expensive LCD digital frames. Retailing for around $30-40 each these devices fit in the palm of your hand and most attach to mom’s keychain. Now anytime someone asks how the kids are doing mom can hand over this handy Mother’s Day gift.

What mom doesn’t enjoy a cookie with her morning coffee? Consider purchasing a Mother’s Spring Blossom Bouquet from These treats are unique because instead of the blooms being flowers they are actually cookies. Prices vary depending on the number of cookies in an arrangement and the container they are packaged in. Whatever you decide mom will be amazed by the cleverness of this gift.

Another great gift for your mom, step-mom, or even grandmother is the gift of comfortable pajamas. The folks at Pajama Gram have been helping people find comfortable soft pajamas for the women in their lives for years. Many styles are under $50 and mom will be excited about putting them on at the end of the day. Consider the Leopard Lounge Pajamas , The Super Mom Pajamas, or even the Ming Floral Sleeveless Pajamas.

It might seem like you are cheating if you send mom flowers but if you choose something unique like an orchid mom will know you were thinking of her. These thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts are available from most home improvement retailers but if you want to make sure you are getting a good quality bloom that will stand the test of time order from Pro Flowers. At you can buy mom a beautiful white orchid in a gold vase for under $50.

Is your mom a movie buff? Does she always complain about the rentals costing too much or the fact that they never make it back on time? Is she tired of paying those pesky late fees? Why not get her a gift subscription to Netflix. At you can order mom three months worth of unlimited movies where she can have three at home at a time for right at $50. Now when mom wants to watch a movie all she has to do is go to the mailbox.

Picking out a book for mom is always difficult. It’s hard to tell if she has read the latest book by her favorite author if there is a book she has been dying to buy but hasn’t had the chance to make it to the bookstore yet. Why not get mom a gift card to one of the big book stores in your area? Barnes and Noble or Borders offer many styles of designs on their gift cards and mom will love the fact that you thought of something original rather than the same potted plant you have been giving her for the last 10 years.

The bottom line is that no matter what you decide to get your mom, make it thoughtful. Something as simple as a single card can make the perfect Mother’s Day gift, if you write the right words inside of it. Mother’s Day gifts are a great idea, but a Mother’s Day, “I love you,” counts just as much.

Can You Make Money with Google Adsense?

If you are looking for a way to earn decent passive income online, you might have considered trying to make money with Google Adsense. If you’ve been hesitating this guide will help you get started with free or low cost ideas. You might not become a millionaire, but you can turn a hobby into an income stream.

The first step is to sign up for Adsense if you haven’t already. You can do this easily at Google. You do not need a website to apply. When you are finished, Google will give you a code that you can use on websites. This code will display ads from Google Adwords that are relevant to the content on your site. If people click on the ads from your site, you’ll make money.

Most of these ads don’t pay too much money. You might get a nickel from some topics and a dollar for others. Since you need one hundred dollars in your Adsense account before you will receive a check from Google, it can take time before you will receive your first check.

People who make a lot of money from Adsense typically have several sites up. Does this mean that you should go for quantity instead of quality? No, having quality content is the most important feature. If you have quality content you will make more money than you will if you just spam the internet with Adsense pages. Your visitors will appreciate your website if you provide them with the information they need and they are likely to be return visitors or recommend your website. You will rank higher in the search engines if you have an informative, up-dated site. Most of the work is setting a site up, so once you have one site up and running you can then focus on quantity and building more sites.

Google Adsense is not only for people who own websites. If you aren’t technically minded or don’t want to spend the money for hosting and a domain name, you can start a blog and put Adsense on your blog. An easy and free way to get started is with Blogger. Blogger is owned by Google and you can set up a site in minutes. If you update your blog a few times a week you will start to get visitors who may click on the ads.

If you are hoping to be successful with Adsense, you must take the time to think about and research a good topic to write about. First, you want to make sure to write about something that you enjoy. Do not write about the stock market just because you think it’s a good money making topic. If you don’t enjoy what you are writing about you will not be motivated to keep an updated site and visitors will lose interest. So choose your passion to write about. In addition to passion, it’s good to write about something that people are interested in. Be specific. If you have a blog about weight loss, your site will get lost amongst all the other weight loss sites. Instead, have a blog about five minute weight loss strategies.

Finally, be sure to read the rules when you sign up for an Adsense account. Do not jeopardize your check by breaking the rules. Never click on your own ads and never ask anyone to click on the ads. It’s not fair to the advertisers and Google will shut you down. Just like when you download Evergreen Wealth Formula 2.0 to help you learn how to make more money online, even though it is a reliable tool that a lot of people use, it is still important to make sure that it is the original program and not a scam.

Although it might not make you millions, Google Adsense is a great way to get started with making money on the internet. Starting a blog for free and putting ads on the page can turn one of your hobbies into an income stream.

Instant Weight Loss, a Modern Myth

The main reason people are looking for weight loss plans and programs is that they have gained too much weight. There are many factors to consider in how fast a person gains weight, such as genetics, lack of activity, overeating, eating the wrong foods, and so on.

The sad part is that most of us expect to just be able to get rid of extra weight, without any effort, realize this: There is no overnight solution for quick weight loss. The rate that a person experiences weight loss is similar to how it was gained.

Levels of weight loss

There are many levels of weight loss, and most are temporary. If you starve, you will lose weight rapidly, however this is risky and could lead to other health problems. Not to mention that shortly after ending the starvation the person would eat as before and gain it all back.

Permanent weight loss requires a long-term effort and life change. This means that the person will have to not eat as they were, control the amount and quality of food that gets eaten, as well as embark on some sort of exercise routine. For knowing about the instant results, a check can be made at resurge reviews available at online search engines. The information provided through the reviews should be true and correct for the benefit in weight reduction. A budget can be prepared for spending money at the purchase of the pills. 

Rapid weight loss is possible with extraordinary effort. Eating only minimum calories, taking supplements to make up for what the body does not get in food, and an extreme exercise program will cause the weigh to melt off faster.

Weight loss takes commitment

To lose weight and keep it off requires a lifetime commitment to your good health. This means that you will take care of your whole self, and not just your appetite.

Most people hear the word diet and cringe, and when the words diet and exercise are used in the same sentence, they really cringe and groan. Why is that? The answer is that it means consistent effort over a period of time.

One cannot expect instant results when it comes to weight loss, it will take time and effort. Lower the calories that are eaten, and burn off the ones that are stored on your body.

Lifetime commitment

This means that to get permanent weight loss you have to make a permanent change in your life. You cannot diet for a week and have massive weight loss; it does not work like that.

With a good exercise plan and a sensible diet, a person can easily lose two or three pounds a week. Depending on how overweight a person it this means it could take many months or years to get down to the weight they should be at for their height and age.

Once you are at the correct weight range for your body type, you need to maintain your exercise and sensible diet to keep yourself at that weight you just worked so long and hard for.

You can succeed with weight loss, and as you melt off those pounds, you will feel better and be able to live a happier and healthier life.

An ultimate guide to choosing a New King Mattress!

Choosing a new mattress and replacing the old one is an exhausting process. You need to navigate to websites and stores and know about the springs and foam. First, determine the amount you need to spend on mattresses to help you take a good nap. No doubt, numerous mattress companies have gained customers’ trust by offering them free trial periods and convenient shopping. Nowadays, people prefer online mattresses buying, but it is not accurate for everyone. You must look for Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Cooling Cover and get a good cool sleep. 

Let us know why:

Shop Online

While shopping online, there are fewer choices, so you won’t get confused in making decisions. Additionally, you don’t need to move and can shop from home. You need only to check the size, quality, and price of the mattress and order online. There are mainly two payment options: Cash on Delivery or Pay Online. The price is usually less than the retail stores, but websites may ask for delivery charges. You can get the mattress box at your doorstep and get the money-back guarantee. 

Shop from retail stores

If you want a wider variety and want to feel the mattresses before buying them, go for retail stores. Most of the time, there are sales on mattress shops, or you can also negotiate and get a mattress at a lower price. Many stores offer to get a new mattress in exchange for the old one. You can easily check the mattress’s quality at the ship and pay after checking the size and quality. 

How to choose the perfect King Mattress for your bed?
Usually, there are three popular types of mattresses: Foam, adjustable, and innerspring. All types of sleepers have different choices in choosing the right material. Other than the firmness and type of mattresses, there are many other factors that you should consider. 

  • Set your budget

Before walking into a store or choosing a website to buy a new mattress, set your budget. You must have bought earlier and know the range of mattresses. In online and retail stores, there will be several mattresses with quite high and low range; you need to set a budget and buy the mattress that falls in your range. There are some guidelines that you must follow:

  • Don’t buy the cheapest mattress to save money.
  • Focus on getting higher quality, even if it cost a higher price.
  • King/Queen size beds usually cost more than normal ones.
  • Choose the best type and material of the mattress.

You should know the best types of mattresses before buying them. 

  • Innerspring

Innerspring is the traditional form of mattress that provides many great benefits. People prefer to buy innerspring because it is the most affordable option available and provides the best comfort for overall health. Another best fact is that these mattresses last for decades as these are highly durable. 

  • Latex

These types of mattresses are used for high comfort and amazing cooling. Latex mattresses offer a good bonus and responsiveness too. It has been known that the latex form is extracted from the Hevea-Brasilenis tress that provides the incredible raw material for diverse products. Latex mattresses are preferred by people who desire bounce, good cooling, and high responsiveness. 

  • Memory Foam

Memory foam was developed by NASA, which acts as a safety material that can be used in plains and trains to protect passengers and pilots. This type of mattress provides high support and comfort to the body. People inimitably conforms to every edge of the body that is pushed into the foam. It is highly suitable for every sleeper and every body type. If the sleeper needs cool sleep at night, then memory foam may not be suitable as this material retains heat. New ways have been found to keep this less heated. 

  • Decide your sleeping pose and firmness.

Everyone has their way of sleeping. Some people sleep on their back, stomach, and side, accordingly, you must consider the type of best according to your need and preference. Think of your ideal sleeping position and then decide the firmness of your new mattress. 

  • Back

Back sleepers highly consider the support and firmness. Your body will cause back pain and tend to sink if the mattress is soft. You need a mattress that provides support and is pressure relief. 

  • Side

Side sleepers are the ones who experience pain and discomfort in their shoulders and hip joints. It is caused due to inappropriate bedding. Side sleepers must go for softer option as it provides an equivalent division of pressure on all the sides. 

  • Stomach 

Stomach sleepers must change their way of sleeping as it is considered the worst sleeping position. You must never consider too soft mattresses as it will cause a curve in your spine, causing neck and back pain.

How Social Media Has Changed The Way I Interact With Professional Athletes

I’ll never forget the adventuresome days of my youth: Legos, falling out of trees, over-eating, failed attempts at skateboarding, and, of course, endless letters written to my favorite star athletes. In the days before electronics and social media teamed up to rob a sizeable chunk out of my normal development, I proudly took up the pen and paper in the name of passionate fandom. And for a period of at least six years, I bombarded many helpless and indefensible mail rooms located at professional sports complexes across the country.

These handwritten professions of my love and fealty were challenging in many ways. For starters, I had to scope out a worthy recipient. The young Sherlock Holmes within me knew there was a plethora of other lonely youths constantly pining for the attention of the most recognizable football and baseball players. Because of this, I set my sights on athletes whom I assumed were occasionally jealous of their All-Star or Pro Bowl counterparts; the players whom I pictured gazing blankly toward the fan mail bin after a tough game, wondering if anyone was truly out there.

Perhaps unfortunately for many of these players, I was out there. And it’s likely that I spent many more hours than is healthy pouring out my sports-loving soul to these carefully-chosen targets. My army of snail mail marched dutifully across the map, delivering the general “hope-your-season’s-going-well” salute to the more detailed “diatribe-against-division-rival” rant. On occasion, I was also known for mixing in a few get-well-soon letters for athletes coming off injuries which might cost them anywhere between a week to a fortnight in playing time. With the increased followers through Massgress, there is development of confidence to interact with other people. The profile will provide an attractive and cool impression over the customers for business or clients for other person.

Another common obstacle to overcome was actually locating the correct address for which to send my scrawls of splendor. Because I was toiling in an era where the “internet” was a fascinating set of screeching sounds occasionally interrupted by a phone’s dial tone, my resourcefulness and creativity hit its all-time peak. By way of garage sales of and other fortuitous findings, I compiled a set of books, which featured hobbies catering to youngsters like myself. Thumbing past the instructions for model airplanes and other do-it-yourself crafts that I would never be able to do myself, there was a section for sports fans with fan mail addresses for many professional sports teams. While I probably wrote some letters to franchises that had long ceased to exist at the listed locations, it was largely sufficient for my paperwork purposes.

As might be expected, I received far fewer letters in return than I broadly disseminated to the wide world of sports. Many years later I became acquainted with the mystical “self-addressed stamp envelope” phenomenon, which could have greatly aided my cause. But nonetheless, each response I did receive made all the ignored replies irrelevant. One of my “get-well-soon” missives to then-Jacksonville Jaguars injured quarterback Mark Brunell was so appreciated that he sent me a handwritten thank-you note with two autographed football cards in return. Former Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell responded to my detailed thoughts on the minor leagues with a large autographed picture as well.

As the years went by and I started to interact with humans more willing to reciprocate dialogue, my letters to athletes started to wane. Or maybe it was just the rising cost of stamps. But thanks to the rapid advancement of the internet, fans of varying levels of extremism are now just several clicks away from interacting with athletes of all makes and models. The task at which I so arduously labored in my younger years has become incredibly simple today.

Many professional sporting icons have made an effort to keep the possibly-invasive 21st-century technology at arm’s length. But picking up the slack is large portion of younger athletes, determined to carry over their old social media prowess into their new mega-million dollar lifestyles. What was cool in high school ‘” Myspace accounts, 7.0 megapixel cameras, and iPod shuffles ‘” may be things of the past, but they are far from forgotten. Many of their popular successors are being embraced by young players eager to promote themselves but also interact with an expanding fan base. Through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and iPhones, some budding stars can share just about anything with the rest of the world with one push of a button.

This digital revolution has changed the game for the better. Gone are the days of my premature carpal tunnel syndrome and lingering exotic taste of envelope sealant. Instead of staring out the window and waiting for the mail truck to eventually plod up to the driveway, fan mail aficionados now can simply refresh their Twitter response page to check for a reply. What used to take weeks might now literally take seconds.

Finding these athletes and their social media addresses is far from complex. Google offers immediate results for a player’s publicized information, including personal websites and Twitter handles.

Of course, not all athletes will reply to all queries and well-wishes from their endearing cast of followers. But it certainly is easier hammer out a few keystrokes than going through the archaic method of handwritten replies which require much more time and energy in a demanding, fast-paced world.

One baseball twenty-something with impressive social media acumen is Florida Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison. Morrison is well-known for his witty banter on Twitter with fans, and virtually any topic is fair game. After first having some suspicions about how Twitter could improve is quality of life, the Kansas City native is now a trendsetter in the social media sporting industry.

“It’s amazing how many people take you seriously,” he told reporters in regards to his humorous nature on the site. “I don’t take it seriously at all.”

That carefree approach and willingness to cater to equally content-creative fans has rewarded “Lo-Mo” with over 32,000 followers, a number that climbs every day. He even used Twitter recently to raise $1,500 for charity by auctioning off a team-signed cast after he overcame a leg injury.

But Morrison is just one athlete whose fan mail inbox is now a giant virtual compartment capable of holding many more notes than a dusty plastic crate sitting in an unused corner. Players are catching on that we as fans genuinely enjoy the human quality of back-and-forth correspondence. When you see that player and root for him on television, it makes the experience much more fulfilling, even if he is on the wrong team.

While my handwritten letters are elements of a confused and blurry past, they were still a meaningful way for me to realize that athletes are people too. They check their mail like everyone else, and if something catches their eye, they might react in a way that is pleasing to the original sender.

And to the players who may have received some quite perplexing and possibly illegible handwritten letters from a span of roughly 1996-2002, I apologize. I am available for any follow-up questions you may or may not have.

Renting An Apartment With Crohn’s: Easy Access, Close Parking And a Good Toilet

When I moved from Nevada to North Dakota ten years or so ago, I had to find an apartment to live in during the time I spent looking for a house and waiting for the sale to go through. While like anyone, I looked for things like convenience, cleanliness, and other features, as a Crohn’s patient, I had a few other things to look for.

The first thing I wanted was an apartment on the first floor. I didn’t want to have to wait for an elevator or climb stairs to reach my apartment, in case I was in the midst of a Crohn’s flare and in a rush. I also wanted outside access to my apartment, because security is not a major issue in this safest state in the country.

Next, I wanted parking right in front of my apartment if possible, or at the very least, close to my apartment. I was really looking for covered parking next to my apartment or in front of it, because it was almost winter in North Dakota, and that means snow and cold. I wanted proximity and an outlet in case I needed an engine block heater, and I didn’t want to be scraping my windshield while simultaneously coping with a Crohn’s flare. There should be availability of the right flat for the students. The Penrose showflat will satisfy the requirements and need to get the best location to live in. The selection of the correct location should be done to meet with the requirements. The surface of the apartment should be flat within the budget.

As a Crohn’s patient, I needed a location that was as close as possible to my doctor’s office and a pharmacy. Since I live alone, I can’t count on having someone pick up prescriptions for me, and I never know when I may need a fast trip to the doctor. I also wanted a place near a grocery store, for much the same reasons I wanted it near a doctor’s office and pharmacy.

I really wanted a fairly new apartment, where I could be sure that I wouldn’t have to be calling the super or manager to come fix the plumbing a couple of times a week. After all, as a Crohn’s patient, I knew I’d be using the bathroom, specifically the toilet, more often than most tenants. I really wanted a place where I could have my dog (I only had one at the time, but she was big and shed a lot), too, although I knew that might be difficult.

Of course my Crohn’s-inspired dream apartment didn’t quite exist, although it came pretty close. I was able to find a ground-floor walk-in with a car port right outside my front door. It was a fairly new building, and the toilets had all been replaced with new low-flow toilets the previous year. It was furnished (a one-bedroom, it wouldn’t have held all my stuff; I had to put that into storage), so all I needed to add was a plastic sheet for the bed, just in case.

The move had caused some major stress for me, so both my Crohn’s disease and my depression were flaring. I was able to be fairly near the doctor’s office, but not a pharmacy that accepted my drug plan, or a grocery store. That created difficulties, but I found a pharmacy that would accept my plan and also delivered, so at least that part was resolved.

Thanks to my psychologist, I was able to have my dog; she wrote a letter stating that the dog was therapeutic and necessary for my mental health. It did mean a larger security deposit, but I got that back. I think this is a requirement for landlords under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That left groceries and an outlet for an engine block heater. I had to settle for a grocery store about a mile away (I can hear the laughter of those who live in big cities as I write that), and hope for a mild winter. It turned out that there were only a couple of days when my frozen car wouldn’t start, and none of them were days when I needed groceries.

I would have liked a brand new apartment and better security than parking lot lights and a guard who drove around the area during the nighttime hours, but I never had any problems, and the building was only about 10 years old. I appreciated the fact that it didn’t have new paint, because the chemicals given off by most paints used in buildings like that cause me to have both Crohn’s flares and headaches. It was certainly good enough, and having my dog with me instead of a kennel made up for anything else.

I suspect it may not be as easy for everyone to find what I did, but there were more apartments than renters at the time I was looking, which was a big help. If you can’t have everything, I think that the most important things are a first, or at least a second, floor location (even though I hate hearing people walking around above me!), and proximity to your doctor. Since no two Crohn’s patients are alike, these are just suggestions, and your needs may be quite different than mine; still, I can’t help thinking that the ability to get inside and to your bathroom quickly are probably important to all of us at least some of the time.