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Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Cruise Ships, Industry | 0 comments

Blow Hot or Cold: Choosing a Destination

The most popular cruise ship destination is the Caribbean. However, during the hurricane season which is half the year (June to December) it is not such a good idea unless you plan to reprise the role of Tom Hanks in Castaway. In that case, better bring your own volleyball.

But there are other destinations for cruise ships that work just as well. If you really want a warm place in the sun, you could consider cruises that go to the Galapagos or Hawaii, which is usually good the year-round, although the best time to go to the Galapagos is in April and May. The Mediterranean (French Riviera, Spain, Italy, Greece) is also a good bet, as well as the South Pacific (not the movie; French Polynesia). You could also try Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and other ports along the Mexican Riviera. And here’s a bit of trivia: the MS Pacific also known as the Pacific Princess as featured in the television show The Love Boat was an actual cruise ship that sailed to the Mediterranean. Sadly, it ceased operations in 2008 and was sold to a break up company in 2012.

Moving on.

If your idea of a great cruise ship vacation is to watch the seals and penguins play in freezing water, you could try booking a berth on a cruise ship headed for Antarctica, but it can be pricey and you are out of luck if you want to travel between April and October; there are no cruises operating there in those months. Alaska is also a cool place to go if you like to look at fjords and glaciers, and do a spot of dog-sledding. Another cold option is Norway, where the fjords are truly awe-inspiring, or perhaps the Baltic Sea where you get to see Scandinavia at its maritime best.

There are many more destinations that you can choose from. The important thing is to do your homework before you make any kind of commitment, and to do your preparations well ahead of  time to ensure an enjoyable experience.

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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Industry | 0 comments

Leaky Pipes: When Your Business Can’t Afford to DIY

ALD PlumbingWater damage is a very real problem for businesses and homeowners, and when it is due to plumbing leaks it makes it doubly difficult. First of all, plumbing is (should be) hidden under floorboards, tiles, walls and often embedded in concrete, or under slab, which makes it hard to check. Secondly, once you determine that it is a leak, you have to get at it, and that can entail wreaking havoc on your home if you don’t know what you’re doing. Third and worst of all, if you don’t find all of them, you could be looking at damage at the foundation level. The smartest thing you can do if you suspect plumbing leaks is to get a professional plumber on the job.

In Texas, plumbing leaks are a significant pet peeve of homeowner insurance companies because it is often blamed for loss of foundation integrity. Insurers turned to experienced plumbers to determine if there is actually a leak in claimant’s houses because they have the expertise and equipment to do it. Once it is determined that a leak is present, insurers often help homeowners in paying for repairing the leaks to eliminate the higher costs of foundation repair.

As a homeowner, it is prudent to nip the problem in the bud by calling in a professional plumber as soon as a leak is suspected. There are certain signs you can look for, especially in the bathrooms, where most leaks occur. These include:

  • Persistent mildew and mold on non-shower walls and corners
  • Blistering or peeling wall paint or paper
  • Warped or stained walls, ceilings or floors
  • Musty or earthy odor

If any of these signs appear, don’t waste time in wondering if you have a leaky pipe. Call in a reputable plumber in your area to test your plumbing for leaks. If you do have them, have them repaired at once. You will save more money in the long run.

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Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Industry | 0 comments

The Growing Field of Marriage and Family Therapy

Prevention is the best medicine. This is true for both physical and relationship problems. Most people go into a marriage believing that love conquers all, but oftentimes romantic and familial love is simply not enough. Conflicts and issues may arise where the failure to properly communicate can lead to the erosion of relationships despite the persistence of true and abiding love.

Take for example Ed and Mary, who have three sons. The eldest son, Jason, is a happy-go-lucky, irresponsible 18-year-old who wants to have fun at all costs. Jason often clashes with Ed, who finds his son’s ebullience excessive and disruptive. Mary, who is also fun-loving, tolerates Jason’s behavior, which sometimes results in arguments with Ed. The younger children, Dale and Mark, tend to emulate Ed but are also influenced by Jason. The whole family is solid and loving, but the interrelationships can become problematic, especially for the younger children.

In the instance above, there is no real problem – yet. A qualified marriage and family therapist would be able to identify patterns of behavior, causes of conflict and communication strategies that can prevent a better understanding and stronger bond between family members. An experienced therapist may need between 5 to 20 sessions with family members in turn and as a group to come up with a program that would help the family. The primary goals of marriage and family therapy are to improve relationships and promote healthy communication.

The role of therapist is not an easy one. The skill set required to make a good therapist includes the ability to listen contextually, discern subtleties in speech and behavior, direct conversations, recognize and categorize patterns, and analyze what type of therapy would best suit the situation.

Aside from personal attributes, a therapist must also have the academic background to undertake the responsibility of conducting sessions. The various theories behind the counseling techniques would be something they are conversant with and know how to use.

Having a string of letters after one’s name is not enough; they should be the right letters. In Texas, the licensing for marriage and family therapists is comprehensive, so you will want someone who is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and possibly also as a Professional Counselor (LPC).

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Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in Industry | 0 comments

Advances in Cosmetic Surgery

Many of us use the terms glibly, but the plastic in “plastic surgery” has no connection to the moldable, man-made organic solids that is widely used today. However, the term “plastic” was first used in 1632 to refer to neither; it was an adjective based on the Greek word plastikos which it turn came from the word plassein which means “to mold.” Between the two, the term “plastic surgery” was coined first in 1818 by Karl Ferdinand von Graefe in his book Rhinoplastik. The term “plastic” in reference to the pioneers of your Tupperware was first used in 1905.

It should also be noted that plastic surgery is a specialty in medicine the encompass not only cosmetic surgery, which is by far the most well-known form of it, but also reconstructive surgery, microsurgery, burn treatment and hand surgery. However, they all have one thing in common: the purpose is to correct.

Modern techniques in plastic surgery developed in leaps and bounds when anesthesia and antibiotics became established, making the procedures less painful and safer. During World War I and II, plastic surgery alleviated the plight of many soldiers who suffered horrific facial injuries and severe burns. The most common procedure is skin grafting, in which healthy tissue from one part of the patient’s body is transferred to another part for various reasons. While these procedures were necessary for normal functioning, in most cases today the procedures carried out are considered “elective” and aim to enhance the appearance of the person.

Not all of us were born with the perfect cheekbones, or just the right chest size. And while it may seem an expensive luxury, it is undeniable that the chances of success in life and career are significantly improved when one is physically attractive. For people in specific careers such as modeling, some cosmetic surgery is necessary to maintain their employability.

One must be careful about choosing where to have plastic surgery done, however. The Internet is awash with horror stories of botched nose jobs and leaky breast implants. Consult with a plastic surgeon who has a good reputation in your area to make sure you get the beautiful results that you want.

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