A Look at Picnic Gift Baskets

Picnic gift baskets are a great gift for just about anybody who likes the outdoors and who likes to eat. Most people enjoy the idea of picnicking, but haven’t invested in the supplies to be able to do so. You can personally add some extra enjoyment to their spring, summer, or fall by giving them the necessary supplies to enjoy a picnic outdoors.

Virtually all picnic baskets are picnic gift baskets. The style that comes to mind when people think of picnic baskets is either wicker or rattan. These classic weave-type baskets are egg-shaped, bowl-shaped, or bundle-shaped. You can buy them built for two, four, six, eight or more people, depending on how many you are looking to impress.

If you want to buy a picnic gift basket for the new neighbors in town, try giving them a non-traditional basket. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and your hipness for choosing something so different. Some picnic baskets come with a backpack full of supplies, allowing you to hike and then picnic with ease.

These non-traditional picnic basket backpacks often come with quality, solid, nylon shoulder straps, and contain everything required for a fine picnic for two, including plates, salt and pepper shakers, a bottle stopper for wine bottles, silverware, napkins, a corkscrew, picnic blanket, and a cutting board.

A Look at Personalized Aprons

When we look at the historical picture of aprons throughout time, we know that they originated from a functional need to keep clothing clean and to be able to carry utensils and kindling wood. Over time, however, aprons have evolved into somewhat of a fashion accessory with people enjoying personalized aprons.

Personalized aprons can come in many forms. Since these are customizable, the customer can tell the manufacturer or seamstress exactly what they would like to see. Some people like aprons that don a saying such as “Karen’s Kitchen”, or a simple, yet catchy phrase that defines their cooking persona.

The embroidery of aprons is also very popular. This form of personalizing aprons is usually a little more expensive than the simpler screen-printing but offers an heirloom of sorts. People who are serious about their cooking enjoy embroidered aprons as gifts for all occasions.

Companies that offer personalized aprons often have a huge selection of styles, colors and sizes to choose from. In addition to adding a name or cute catch phrase, these companies often have a selection of artwork to further personalize the apron. If you are a cat or dog lover or have some other enthusiasm or hobby, you can be assured that a pattern is available to fit your personality. Online specialty shops are perhaps the best place to shop for personalized aprons. Many companies offer personalized aprons for as little as $10 each. For this reason, personalized aprons make great gifts.

Aprons have certainly evolved over the years. Although they have been used for thousands of years for a variety of purposes, modern aprons are usually fun, colorful and portray a personal message from the wearer. Personalized and embroidered aprons are wonderful gifts for loved ones who enjoy a little spice in their cooking attire.

A Look at Pain Relief for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic disease that affects the musculoskeletal system. Symptoms vary widely among sufferers, but generally include muscle and joint aches, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches and tenderness in several of eighteen specific areas, or “trigger points” on the body. Fibromyalgia is often overlooked by sufferers as the inevitable result of a busy schedule and everyday stress. When patients do seek treatment, doctors often misdiagnose fibromyalgia as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, or another musculoskeletal condition. It affects women far more often than men, at a ratio of about ten to one. While some cases result from a specific trauma, more often the exact cause is unknown.

The first step to fibromyalgia pain relief is being properly diagnosed. The condition is not completely understood by the medical community, and there is no specific course of treatment. Most advice given to patients reads like a weight-loss program, recommending low-intensity exercise, drinking lots of water, and reducing mental and physical stresses such as those caused by saturated fats, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, meat and sugar.

Anti-depressants are often prescribed as part of the treatment, which elevate the mood of the patient. Muscle relaxants and sleep aids may also be recommended. Since fibromyalgia sufferers are often found to be low in manganese and magnesium, both of which help balance thyroid function, nutritional supplements may prove beneficial as well.

Physical therapy is another essential component for fibromyalgia pain relief, as it teaches patients methods of walking, stretching, and exercise that reduce muscle tension and fatigue. A physical therapist will also teach patients how to make use of ergonomic tools in their daily life, like padded chairs and special keyboards designed to minimize muscle strain.

Some patients choose to incorporate alternative treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy into their treatment. While the efficacy of these natural treatments has not been carefully studied and quantified, testimonials of fibromyalgia sufferers indicate that all of these alternative treatments may help alleviate symptoms of the disease. Whatever patients decide upon, it must be remembered that there is no simple cure for fibromyalgia, and a comprehensive plan that address mental and psychological symptoms and promotes healthy lifestyle habits is the most direct method of obtaining fibromyalgia pain relief.

A Look at Nail Salon Equipment

The type of equipment required for a nail salon is different than that of a salon that solely offers hair styling services. This equipment can be just as costly as outfitting a hair salon, depending on the style of the pieces and materials used in manufacturing nail salon equipment.

There are several pieces of specific equipment that will typically be utilized in a nail salon. A manicure table is the most common piece of nail salon equipment found in virtually all nail salons. A manicure table is similar to a common desk and it allows a nail technician an ample, steady surface area to perform work on a client’s nails. Basic manicure tables feature storage drawers, a padded hand rest for comfort, and swivel casters. Additional features of higher-end manicure tables include vents, built in electrical outlets, and polish racks.

Typically, manicure tables are made of a wood laminate for durability and easy cleaning. Nail dryers are a separate piece of nail salon equipment that are often placed on a manicure table to allow the client to fully dry their nails after receiving a fresh coat of polish. Manicure tables are available through a large number of retailers and can vary in price from under $100 to over $1,000. The price is usually dependent on the features the table offers and the materials it’s made of.

A pedicure spa is a staple in salons that offer pedicure services. Pedicure spas are designed to offer a client extreme comfort while a nail technician performs a pedicure. Pedicure spa systems typically consist of a padded chair for extra comfort that often features a rolling back massage. These chairs are attached to a foot spa where the client can indulge in soaking their feet, prior to receiving their nail treatment. Foot spas often feature jets that offer a full foot and lower leg massage for ultimate relaxation. New pedicure spas typically cost between $3,000 and $4,000. An additional piece of nail salon equipment that is used in conjunction with a pedicure spa is a technician’s stool. This low stool allows the nail technician to face the client and provide nail treatment. These small pedicure stools are often easily adjusted to the correct height for each technician and client.

Nail salon equipment varies from extremely basic, inexpensive, equipment to costly high-end equipment featuring the latest in accessories. As with new equipment, there is also a high demand for used nail salon equipment. Used nail salon equipment may be a good option for a salon owner who is just starting out or values simplicity. Used nail salon equipment can offer huge cost savings to the buyer. When buying used equipment it is important to ensure that all adjustment mechanisms and electrical parts are in proper working order prior to making a purchase.

A Look at Medical Billing Services

Medical billing services cover a wide range of activities but the main goal of any medical biller is to process physician super-bills (treatment description) and file claims with insurance companies to ensure that their clients are paid the proper amount in a timely fashion.

A typical medical billing business, working independently from a hospital or clinic, uses medical billing software to input clients’ new billing data and send it to the appropriate insurer, while also adhering to all the appropriate laws and standards. Medical billing services also include answering patient and insurance company questions and concerns, and follow-up in the case of overdue payments. Using the medical billing software at their disposal, medical billing companies often generate reports for their clients so they can see a cash flow analysis and discover what insurance contracts are making them money and which ones are not.

Medical billing services combine the skills of interpersonal communication, bookkeeping, office and computer skills, with basic medical knowledge to provide clients with an accurate and efficient method to be reimbursed for their services.

Other medical billing services can be to provide information to a client on how to more effectively manage their practice. Physicians and hospital/clinic staff often find themselves at odds with one another over billing issues, especially when it comes to how to process billing information. Medical billing businesses sometimes offer training to teach hospital and clinic employees how to more efficiently and correctly process claims and follow-up on collections.

A Look at Make-Up Infomercials

Using a variety of female celebrities, infomercial producers have once again created a huge market where none existed. That’s not to say that make up products didn’t exist. They did. And they were a multibillion dollar industry long before anybody ever thought of infomercials.

Starting in the early twentieth century with the advent of movies and their subsequent side affect – beautiful stars! – make up companies have been designing products to make average looking women look better. Or at least think they look better. Make up has been a staple of upscale department stores and high priced boutiques right from the very beginning of the retail business. Even in the early days, make up products had their own departments. Salesgirls were hired who exhibited a youthful, sparkling appearance. They would grab women by the hand, lead them to the sales counter, apply a bit of this, a dab of that and a puff of something else for free and then make the sale. Early products were marketed in the usual manner – for their value in improving your appearance and their price.

The first make up celebrities in the pre-infomercial era were not the stars that women were trying to emulate but the heads of the Hollywood make up departments who made the stars look so glamorous. And so the likes of Max Factor, make up master to countless female celebrities (and men too, by the way) and the most successful line of make up products were born. Later on the celebrities themselves, sensing a huge cash return for the use of their face, put themselves on various lines of make up products available in stores. When their looks faded, when their careers stopped humming along, the make up products disappeared as well.

And then came infomercials. All of a sudden there was a way to get women interested in buying make up products over their TV sets and was it ever successful! Sensing right from the outset that the products had to be celebrity driven, producers came up with a way to market their products to women all over the world via the TV set. Faded and fading stars from the music business, movie business and TV business jumped on the bandwagon to sell make up and other beauty supplies to American women by the truckload. Here’s the hook that they used: the make up infomercial and the products were not completely celebrity driven. The celebrity was merely there to endorse the products supposedly used on her over the years to keep her looking younger and more beautiful. But the product itself was created by, bore the name of and was demonstrated by the make up artist who had labored for years applying make up to countless beautiful celebrities. The make up artist was not a beauty herself but a “regular” woman who merely worked on celebrities. Hence, the housewife watching in Des Moines, or Chicago or anywhere was not made to feel ugly or less than glamorous.

In fact the celebrity was usually somewhat demeaned on make up infomercials as they would often appear on the show without any make up on. You would be channel surfing and a close up shot of a celebrity you know would appear on the screen and you’d stop, you’d notice she didn’t look so good. You’d wonder what happened and you’d start watching the infomercial. And you’d hear her talking endlessly about how her appearance, her look, her beauty was predominately the successful work of the artist and her line of amazing products while the artist was applying make up to her face and transforming her right before your very eyes.

And furthermore, YOU!, Miss American Average Woman, could have these same products that celebrities have been using for years to make movie magic happen, the secret stuff known only to Hollywood insiders, delivered right to your door in a few days for the low, low price of…well you get the idea. What a concept! Don’t get the beautiful celebrity, with the face of an angel, to sell the product. Have the average looking make up artist sell the product while the beautiful celebrity is transformed from average looking to gorgeous right before your eyes! And of course, the celebrity was an equal or even majority partner in the profits from the line, picking up millions along the way for a days work, sitting in a comfortable chair, in air conditioned splendor, having make up applied to their faces. As the man said – Only in America!

A Look at Maui Wedding Cakes

Since Maui and Hawaii in general have been blessed with the most wonderful fruits and flowers, the best cakes on the island tend to take advantage of them. There are companies on the islands that have been creating designs and recipes for wedding cakes for over 50 years. Many have received worldwide acclaim. Several, in fact, have created wedding cakes for the rich and famous for weddings not even held in Hawaii.

The cakes are produced to order and then flown to their final destination to be enjoyed at the wedding reception as if it were happening right on Maui. In addition to the fabulous fruits and flowers available, there is an abundance of dairy products from some of the happiest, healthiest herds of cattle anywhere in the world. These natural items, unequaled in quality anywhere else in the world, combined with the talents of Hawaiian cake makers, are responsible for some of the best Maui wedding cakes ever.

There are creations available from Maui wedding-cake producers that simply can’t be reproduced anywhere else. Sweet pineapple butter cream fillings, decorated with some of the most beautiful flowers are a mainstay of the better cake makers. Frostings made from freshly picked sugar cane, grown a few miles from the bakery, can’t be duplicated using packaged products from your local supermarket – even if they originated from Hawaii.

For the adventurous, there are flavors and fillings available made from eclectic combinations of fruits and flowers that are as unique and wonderful as any found on the planet. No matter what you desire for your Maui wedding cakes, you can rest assured that it will be of the highest quality, made from ingredients that were still growing a few hours before they reached the oven and that there is no other place on earth that such a wonderful creation could have been produced.

A Look at Marble Chess Sets

Marble is considered to be one of the great building materials in existence. For many centuries it has been used in the construction of buildings ranging from monuments, to temples, to palaces. Marble is sturdy as well as beautiful and can be carved into nearly any shape. The artist’s imagination provides the only limitation when using marble as a medium for a chess set.

Marble chess sets are also among the most beautiful. They are expertly crafted because the pieces are carved individually and often with extremely fine detail. Marble chess sets can come in a variety of colors but the most common combination is black and white. Black and tan, green and white, and red and white are just three of the unique color combinations also available. The marble itself looks stunning with its rich color, fine grain, and beautiful natural swirls. Marble chess sets often look like miniature monuments.

Many people purchase marble chess sets as decoration. They buy the set in colors that compliment the rest of the room and leave the set displayed on a table or pedestal. This is a good option for people looking for a unique way to show their appreciation for chess while adding character and class to a room.

However, marble chess sets are not just for decoration. The pieces are sturdy and heavy enough that they will not break except under extreme conditions. Marble chess sets are weighted to insure that the pieces are well balanced and will not fall over. The marble chessboards are also heavy enough so they can be used outside.

Marble chess sets are beautiful as well as functional. They look like miniature sculptures and are designed for play as well as for their appearance. A fine marble chess set is perfect for both decoration and regular use.

A Look at Luxury Down Comforters

For those striving to create a bedroom retreat, a haven from the rest of the world, luxury is a necessity. Along with good color choices and fine furniture, a lavishly dressed bed is top priority. One of the most important ingredients for an extravagant bed is a luxury down comforter, and price is no object.

Down comforters are made from a variety of materials. They can be made from the down of ducks or geese. The most luxurious, though, are those made from goose down. Goose down is heavier and produces warmer, fluffier, and more luxurious down comforters.

Different geese produce different qualities of down. Eiderdown comes from the Eider duck of Iceland. As you can imagine in such a cold climate, the Eider duck has a very full and luxurious down, resulting in a warm and fine comforter. Eiderdown has to be hand harvested from Eider duck nests, making it difficult to acquire. At around $7000, its price reflects that quality and rarity.

Siberian goose down is considered the best, and is available for around $1000. Siberian goose down is known to have superior warming power, and is fluffier than all other varieties.

In shopping for luxury down comforters, one of the most important things to consider is the fill power rating. Fill power refers to the comforter’s fluffiness, the higher the rating, the better. While any fill rating over 550 is considered good, the more luxurious down comforters often have ratings of over 800.

Thread count is another important consideration. The thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch. Again, the higher the number, the better the quality of the comforter. A high thread count means the comforter will be softer, lighter, and less likely to leak filling.

The comforter cover material is less important because the comforter itself should be covered with a duvet. However, some truly luxurious cover materials exist. Some comforters are covered in silk or Egyptian cotton for optimum softness.

A Look at Laser Toners

Laser toner is the ink for laser printers. It is an extremely fine synthetic powder (usually plastic) packed into a cartridge. You insert the cartridge into your laser printer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the printer goes to print a page, there are several steps to the process:

1. The printer receives an image from your computer.

2. Lasers project the image onto an electromagnetic drum.

3. The drum is charged positively and negatively, and at varying levels of charge, according to the image.

4. The drum attracts the four colors of toner in the cartridge according to the charges the colors are attracted to. The four colors mix to create any of millions of colors.

5. The drum rolls the image onto a page of paper, the page goes through a heating device to melt or burn the color onto the page, and the page is ejected.

This process uses up a lot of laser toner. Typically, a laser toner cartridge will yield a few thousand pages before needing to be replaced. The drum, too, eventually wears out from all the positive and negative charges it gives off, and needs to be replaced every 10,000 – 30,000 pages. Some printers are made with cartridge-and-drum replacement units in mind, while other printers are designed to separate the cartridge and drum. This way, when the cartridge runs out of toner, you don’t have to replace the longer lasting drum with it. This saves you money.

You can buy laser toner from your printer’s manufacturer, a computer supply store, online, or at any of a number of other types of retailers. To save money, you might want to consider buying in bulk.

Three of the most popular brands of laser toner are HP, Brother, and Samsung.