Official Blog

Are you interested in creating or adopting your very own virtual pet? You may have seen the new Webkinz plush toys that also come with a free virtual pet image of the plush animal. Many children are beginning to collect these pets as well as participating in the virtual world. Virtual desktop pets offer great advantages, especially if you have children who have an interest in getting a live indoor pet. They are completely maintenance free unlike real pets. If you do not want to have to worry about the hassle of cleaning after your indoor pets and ensuring that they are well taken care of, then a virtual pet may be the way to go.

In addition to the maintenance free aspect of having one, if you have a child interested in adopting a real pet, then by allowing them to experience caring for a virtual pet, they will learn how to better care for a pet overall. They will gain better responsibility and understand that pets require food, shelter, and love and cannot be neglected. Many of the virtual pet games will require that the owner feed the pet or take the pet for a walk so that they can do many of the same or similar tasks that would need to be done with a real pet. The owners can get additional points or rewards by doing these tasks or can see their pet’s health or abilities decline for failure to do their part.

If you worry about the expenses of caring for a real live pet like the vet bills, immunizations, or food, then this is something that is completely non-existent. Owning a pet can be very costly and if you do not have the money to invest in a pet, then you can consider a virtual pet. You can find many free pet sites to get you started.

If money is not a factor, but you do not want to deal with house training or cleaning after a pet, then this could also be considered to be an advantage as well. Maybe your kids have severe allergies and cannot live with the fleas and ticks that some animals may leave behind. Well, with virtual pets this is not a factor. As you begin to consider adoption, then you will see how convenient they are and how they can be great companions for all alike. Either way, you will not go wrong with your choice.

 

Accounting is usually seen as having two distinct strands, Management and Financial accounting. Management accounting, which seeks to meet the needs of managers and Financial accounting, which seeks to meet the accounting needs of all of the other users. The differences between the two types of accounting reflect the different user groups that they address. Briefly, the major differences are as follows:

    • Nature of the reports produced. Financial accounting reports tend to be general purpose. That is, they contain financial information that will be useful for a broad range of users and decisions rather than being specifically designed for the needs of a particular group or set of decisions. Management accounting reports, on the other hand, are often for a specific purpose. They are designed either with a particular decision in mind or for a particular manager.

 

    • Level of detail. Financial reports provide users with a broad overview of the performance and position of the business for a period. As a result, information is aggregated and detail is often lost. Management accounting reports, however, often provide managers with considerable detail to help them with a particular operational decision.

 

    • Regulations. Financial reports, for many businesses, are subject to accounting regulations that try to ensure they are produced with standard content and in a standard format. Law and accounting rule setters impose these regulations. Since management accounting reports are for internal use only, there are no regulations from external sources concerning the form and content of the reports. They can be designed to meet the needs of particular managers.

 

    • Reporting interval. For most businesses, financial accounting reports are produced on an annual basis, though many large businesses produce half-yearly reports and a few produce quarterly ones. Management accounting reports may be produced as frequently as required by managers. In many businesses, managers are provided with certain reports on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis, which allows them to check progress frequently. In addition, special-purpose reports will be prepared when required (for example, to evaluate a proposal to purchase a piece of machinery).

 

    • Time horizon. Financial reports reflect the performance and position of the business for the past period. In essence, they are backward looking. Management accounting reports, on the other hand, often provide information concerning future performance as well as past performance. It is an oversimplification, however, to suggest that financial accounting reports never incorporate expectations concerning the future. Occasionally, businesses will release projected information to other users in an attempt to raise capital or to fight off unwanted takeover bids.

 

  • Range and quality of information. Financial accounting reports concentrate on information that can be quantified in monetary terms. Management accounting also produces such reports, but is also more likely to produce reports that contain information of a non-financial nature such as measures of physical quantities of inventories (stocks) and output. Financial accounting places greater emphasis on the use of objective, verifiable evidence when preparing reports. Management accounting reports may use information that is less objective and verifiable, but they provide managers with the information they need.

We can see from this that management accounting is less constrained than financial accounting. It may draw on a variety of sources and use information that has varying degrees of reliability. The only real test to be applied when assessing the value of the information produced for managers is whether or not it improves the quality of the decisions made.

The distinction between the two areas reflects, to some extent, the differences in access to financial information. Managers have much more control over the form and content of information they receive. Other users have to rely on what managers are prepared to provide or what the financial reporting regulations state must be provided. Though the scope of financial accounting reports has increased over time, fears concerning loss of competitive advantage and user ignorance concerning the reliability of forecast data have led businesses to resist providing other users with the detailed and wide-ranging information that is available to managers.

You don’t have to be a real estate expert to have heard of release agreements. A release is one of the most common types of contracts in the world of law. They are used to allow a company to use someone’s image for commercial use. However, a real estate release agreement isn’t quite the same thing. In most cases, releases are used by prospective buyers to release the seller from the mortgage or liens they have on a property so that the property is debt free. The form is extremely short and is often only one page when presented. Let’s take a look at a typical contract requiring a seller to obtain release of mortgage on a property.

The first part of the contract clearly outlines the date that this agreement is being signed, the names of both parties involved in the transfer of the property as well as any spouses of the members involved in the agreement. The second part of the agreement outlines the terms and conditions that the property in question is under. It goes over how much debt the property has attached to it and whether the property has a mortgage debt or a lien debt associated with it. It also outlines the purchase price of the property and how that purchase price can now be used to pay off any and all debt associated with the property. This type of form is used mostly to ensure that the seller will eliminate all debt from a piece of property when the sale is complete as agreed upon in the original sale agreement. Some people consider this form to be a bit redundant, but you can never be too careful when it comes to legal wrangling and property.

The final part of the agreement only requires the signer to include their names, the amount of the total debt still present on the property and finally, the amount that is being paid off. Much of the contract will simply be pre-typed text, often a template, that outlines the seller’s responsibilities once the sale is finalized.

If the buyer and seller of the property agree beforehand, a real estate release agreement isn’t necessary. It could be part of the original sale agreement that the buyer is responsible for paying off any existing debt on the property and not the responsibility of the seller. Since every legal agreement is different and many of them have their own unique provisions, some real estate release agreements can vary considerably from the one outlined here.

In conclusion, the real estate release agreement is a safeguard instituted by the buyer to ensure that a piece of property that has debt associated with it is paid off in full with the money gained during the sale by the seller so that when the final transfer of the property is finalized, it is debt free. It is vital that this agreement be included if you are buying property that has debt attached to it.

 

Who doesn’t like to splurge when they are on vacation? Why would anybody prefer to fit their enjoyment within a budget? Everybody wants to make the most of their vacations, and watching your budget while vacationing does not make for much fun. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a little luxury in your life. For many vacationers, the uncertainty of how much a vacation will end up costing leaves them apprehensive about traveling. There are over four hundred all inclusive hotels and resorts spread around the Caribbean which are expressly designed for people who want to be pampered and to enjoy world-class food, drinks, and activities without having to worry about busting their budgets. All inclusive vacations give vacationers the option of making the most of the money they have available – and their popularity, with guests returning year after year, attest to the fact that all inclusive is an ideal choice for most vacationers. You pay one upfront price at the beginning of your vacation; and after that you can forget about money and just enjoy yourself.

There are different types of all inclusive vacation resorts which cater to different types of vacationers. Some are designed for families; others for couples, singles, and even gay people; and each resort has special activities, programs, entertainment, and events which cater to its particular clientele. There are even hedonistic all inclusive beach resorts which offer nude beaches, swimming pools and hot tubs; and even nude marriage ceremonies! Just as there are many different types of all inclusive resorts, the services and activities offered differ from one resort to another. Some all inclusive packages include only the airfare and lodging, whereas others include meals, drinks, entertainment, tours, and transfers. There are other packages which include all meals, drinks, and activities, but not airfare. It is usually cheaper to pick an all inclusive vacation package which includes the airfare instead of spending for airfare separately (unless you have frequent flier miles to use up).

The chief criticism of all inclusive vacations is that most guests never leave the resort since everything is provided right there, for free; so people don’t really interact much with the local people and culture. Of course, all inclusive vacations are not for everyone. If you are the type who likes to get away and poke around on your own – and you are not overly worried about how much money you are spending – then all inclusive isn’t for you. However, most all inclusive resorts offer tours to cultural and scenic attractions in the area, and many devotees of all inclusive take advantage of these opportunities to use their hotels as a base from which to explore the surrounding area, and then return at night to relax in the lap of luxury once more. Since so many people’s travel budgets have been slashed in the past few years, all inclusive vacations are more popular than ever before; all inclusive vacations are the perfect solution for people who want to enjoy themselves to the max within a strict budget.

 

The 21st century has been the age of so many technological breakthroughs and advances, technologies aimed for one purpose and that is to make the lives of people better by helping them become more efficient in their work. One such technological breakthrough is computer technology.

Computer technology has grown in great proportions starting from a computer with a size that of a room to a small well-designed palm top computer. Computers nowadays have become an indispensable part of the lives of people, especially at work, at companies, businesses, schools, offices and even in homes.

It has made the world smaller, but has it made our world better? It would then lead us to ask whether computer technology is good or bad. Now let us try to look at first some of the bad effects. With the advent of computers and with the internet it has become easy to access pornographic sites, children are more exposed to explicit content; some students would lose focus on their studies as they play computer games. The number of obesity cases has increased and it has been attributed to too much computer activity that led to less physical activity among a number of people.

On the other side of the coin, computers have opened a whole new world of possibilities. It is now easier to gain information on world events; you can even find a job in the internet; you can spread advocacies to a vast number of people all over the world; and most importantly it is now easier to be connected with one another even if you are on the other side of the globe.

Computer technology, just like any other material on earth has been created with a common good in mind. Just like a knife, it has been made to cut and slice food to speed up cooking time for people but it can also be used to kill people, and you cannot ban the use of knives in order to stop killing. And so you can’t blame computers for the problems it may have caused for it is the people who use them who caused the problem. It has disadvantages and advantages that must be taken into consideration.

But the problem is not computer technology itself; the problem resides on the people who use it. Computer technology is generally good for it can bring in a lot of good if it is used properly, but can do great harm if used unwisely.

People have choices on how they make use of earth’s resources, and that choice will determine how certain materials will affect people, be it good or bad.

Located between Panama and Nicaragua in Central America, Costa Rica boasts a proud culinary heritage. Many scorn Costa Rica food selections for being high in saturated fats, but in actuality Costa Ricans are far more active than other cultures.

Costa Rican’s, locally called Ticos, never eat excessively. Limiting their portions is one way they stay so healthy. Also, lunch is the most important meal of their day. In fact, like many Latin nations, businesses and schools close down for a couple of hours at lunch so that employees and students can go home and have a leisurely meal with their family. This allows both a strong focus on family life, but also on slowing down a meal. In America, a typical school lunch lasts a mere twenty minutes at most and work breaks are usually an hour tops, so many must eat at their desk or machine. A Costa Rican’s lifestyle is completely different.

Costa Rica food often revolves around rice and beans, such as Gallo Pinto, a dish that translates to “Spotted Rooster”. Gallo Pinto is a dish that includes black beans at a three to two ratio to rice. Also added are onions, garlic, and salt. Meats are eaten sparingly, while beans provide a high content of fiber. Fiber can help counteract the saturated fats. Costa Rica food choices rarely include dairy or cheese.

As Costa Rica has water on both sides with the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean to the east, fresh seafood is always available. Unfortunately, the seafood is also extremely expensive as the country exports the bulk of its seafood. Chicken, pork, and beef are the more popular meats. Costa Rica food supplies use organ meat as well; so expect to find dishes involving stomach, brains, and other organs on the menu. Other staples of Costa Rica food choices include fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and a variety of beans, fruits, including plantains, and rice.

Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, is packed with outstanding restaurants and cafes. In San Jose, one can experience bold foods and beverages. Staple beverages such as sugarcane soaked in hot water are second only to the nation’s delicious Costa Rican coffee. Drinks mixing corn meal and milk are also common. Plantains are similar to bananas in appearance, but they cannot be eaten raw. Plantains are pounded flat, battered, and fried tender.

As one travels to other regions, the choices for Costa Rica food also decrease and become more traditional with the beans and rice dishes. Beans and rice dishes are usually served alongside a carrot and cabbage or lettuce and tomato salad. Sometimes Arroz, (fried shrimp or chicken), are found on the table instead of beans and rice. The salads are typically larger than the portion of beans and rice and that helps the Ticos to stay fit.

It is possibly to choose healthy selections of Costa Rica food. Stick to plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy the delightful blend of culinary flavors.

 

If you are one of the legions of people who have acquired, or are about to obtain a new pet snake, then you are also about to have a rewarding experience. Snakes have a lot to teach us. A properly maintained terrarium can be a work of art – many are prominently displayed in homes – so long as the snake keeper keeps some essential information in mind:

· Be sure you give your snake enough heat – that means enough for the snake, not you. A snake is best kept at warmer, summer temperatures of 85 – 100 degrees F, unless being cooled for hibernation. Temperate zone species may tolerate a 30 degree drop in temperature at night, but tropical species rarely do well with such fluctuations.

· Never, ever use your snake to scare somebody! Many people are afraid of snakes, some pathologically so. Using a snake to scare a person is irresponsible of you, may cause injury to another person, and is traumatic for the snake.

· Be sure to feed your snake an adequate diet at appropriate intervals. Snakes under 3 feet in length should generally be fed prey about the size of an adult mouse once or twice a week. Larger snakes take more or larger prey at less frequent intervals. Truly large snakes may eat only once per year, but these are not snakes for novices.

· Do not handle snakes after feeding, or until they have digested their meals. If a snake is handled too soon after eating, it is often likely to regurgitate the meal, and may refuse to feed for many days afterward.

· Snakes must shed their skins, but they do much better if you do not help them. If the snake has been fed and watered well, it will grow, and the old skin is carefully broken by the snake and shed in one piece. If a snake sheds in patches, it may be dehydrated or have a nutritional disorder.

· Do your homework! Buying a snake is not the same as knowing how to care for it properly. It is your responsibility to learn about your snake and any special needs it will have in captivity. For example, unless you carefully teach your snake otherwise, many have specialized diets: garter snakes eat fish and frogs, hognose snakes eat toads, and corn snakes eat small rodents and eggs.

· Get a snake veterinarian lined up now. Snakes have a slower metabolism than us mammals, so they may manifest symptoms long after contracting an illness. Waiting to find a qualified vet until the snake is ill may be too late.

· Clean the snake’s cage as it becomes dirty – don’t merely wait for Saturday morning. Only use appropriate disinfectants for a snake cage. You may use rubbing alcohol, soap, and specialty products available at your pet shop. Do not use chlorine bleaches or industrial cleansers such as Ajax or Comet, because their residues are often toxic to snakes. Lysol is particularly dangerous.

· Always wash your hands well with soap and water after handling your snake or the cage accessories. Snakes, like most animals, may harbor dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella.

· Okay, now go watch your snake and have some fun!

 

As you go about your quest to live a healthier lifestyle, it is not only essential you consider the foods you are putting into your body, but also the beverages you are taking in as well. The fact of the matter is even slight dehydration can have a profound influence on how you feel and function on a daily basis.

Learning to recognize these signs before they get too serious may just help you prevent unwanted issues before they start. Most people know thirst as the main sign, but there is more to be on the lookout for.

Below are four key signs of dehydration not so recognizable that you will want to keep your eyes open to…

1. Headaches. You know the pounding throbbing headache you sometimes have? Perhaps the problem could be attributed to dehydration. Most people are fast to write their headache off as just a normal occurrence, but it may not be. If you are chronically dehydrated, you may be experiencing headaches far more frequently than someone who isn’t.

Take in a glass or two of water and see if that doesn’t give you relief.

2. Sleepiness. Chalking your mid-day sleepiness off to only getting seven hours of sleep the previous night instead of your usual eight? Sleepiness can also be a sign of dehydration. Ideally, you will want to start your day off with a large glass of cold water and then keep the water coming in beyond that point.

By doing so, you can ensure you are putting your best foot forward regarding combating drowsiness during the day.

3. Muscle Cramps. Feeling those muscle cramp more often? Or perhaps you are getting those annoying muscle twitches as of late. Both can be attributed to lack of sleep. When you are not well hydrated, your muscle cells are not functioning normally, and you may be more prone to experiencing irregularities with contractions.

Muscle contractions are especially common during exercise, so if you have to take a stop during your run because of a bad leg cramp, it may be time to drink up.

4. Lightheadedness. The last sign you could be suffering from dehydration is feeling lightheaded. Lightheadedness comes on because your blood pressure is low, which is also a sign of not enough fluids entering into your body.

When dehydration occurs, less total blood volume will be circulating throughout your system, which then causes overall blood pressure levels to lower.

Take in a glass of water, and that should fix things almost immediately.

There you have a few of the not-so-obvious signs you may be suffering from dehydration. Are any of these impacting you?

 

Do you love chocolate? Do you also love fine foods, baking and cooking? If you are only looking to improve your chocolate skills by making dishes at home, you can start with the many cookbooks on the subject. To be a simple chocolate maker, you can start at home, go to a continuing education class, or attend some classes at a local junior college. But if you are looking to really cash in on your love of chocolate, you may want to become a Chocolatier.

If you are more serious about the art of making chocolate, you can attend a culinary school to learn the trade. Learning how to transform the raw cocoa bean into chocolate is usually the first step of a chocolatier. Chocolate makers take chocolate in its original form, the bean, and then transform it into delicious candies and baked goods. Chocolates will range in sweetness, butter fat content and extra ingredients.

Becoming a Master Chocolatier

You can pursue your chocolate obsession as a chocolate maker, a culinary pastry chef, a confectioner or Master Chocolatier. A chocolate maker might be self-taught, but a culinary chef or Master Chocolatier will require specialized training.

To become a pastry chef, one will need extensive training at one of the many Culinary Institutes around the world. Any university that offers culinary programs or a specialty school will normally have a pastry program. As a pastry chef you will gain knowledge of the entire industry including baking, chocolate making and confections. Some schools offer specialties in chocolate but most are broad based.

Many of the institutions offer programs that run from bachelors degrees in Applied Science to first level certificates of knowledge. Different opportunities will open for those who hold a degree as a Pastry chef. A pastry chef can learn to specialize in chocolate or choose to branch out into other culinary avenues, such as baked goods.

The last phase of learning the skill of chocolate making is to become a Chocolatier. Chocolatiers specialize in chocolate, as well as dishes that have chocolate as one of the main ingredients. Once you achieve this level you will be able to deal with chocolate in all forms!

There are only a handful of schools in the world that focus only on the art of making chocolate. Once you attend such a school you will graduate as a master chocolatier. These schools area scattered all over the world, including Belgium and South Africa. These programs teach every aspect of chocolate making and the chocolate business. In the US, the Arts Institutes of America and American Culinary Institute have pastry chef programs where chocolate making is part of the curriculum.

 

Not unlike other businesses, hotels have been forced to step up their game as people travel less and, when they travel, their budget is smaller in a still lagging economy. While the goal is always full occupancy and high occupancy rates, all hotels have unoccupied rooms that need to be filled. Hoteliers realize that their hotel are each one among many and that consumers have a variety of hotel options to choose from. Hotels realize that part and parcel of maintaining their occupancy rates is offering the right amenities at a competitive rate in order to attract new guests and retain returning ones. In the lodging industry, hotels must be ahead of current trends in order to better their occupancy rates which means being mindful of hotel supplies guests prefer as the mind their budgets.

Hoteliers start with the premise that most hotels offer the same basic hotel supplies and amenities such as complimentary toiletries, durable ice buckets and functional hangers. They offer the basics in an effort to make a guest’s stay comfortable by offering the conveniences of home. While the definition of “basic” hotel supplies will vary depending on the hotel class, most hotels provide drinking glasses, either plastic, an ice bucket of either shatter proof plastic or faux leather and an iron with ironing board. Hotels compete with one another for business. The amenities they offer are part of that competition which is why guests find many hotels in the same general area and price range with the similar amenities and hotel supplies.

Depending upon the sophistication of the hotel itself, guests may define ‘basic’ differently. Absorbent towels, bed linens with higher thread counts, bowed shower rods, and heavy duty wooden luggage racks become basic, expected hotel supplies in mid-grade hotels. Because they’re constantly competing for guests in order to maintain their occupancy rates, hotels are constantly striving to best their competition. This is truer the more sophisticated the hotel as they know consumers have a wide variety of options and the standards such as drinking glasses and coffee service are no longer enough. Instead, hotels must study what the new basic is and add it to their repertoire of hotel supplies and amenities in order to impact their occupancy rates.

5 Star hotels and resorts are on a unique plane in every way from the level of guest services they offer to the list of available conveniences and amenities offered to attract guests and increase occupancy rates. Microfiber bathrobes and slippers, monogrammed glass tumblers, video game systems and fog free shaving mirrors are among the high quality hotel supplies offered to guests at resorts and luxury hotels. They hope, and the numbers tell them, that by offering amenities that are above and beyond the basic hotel supplies provided by their competition they’ll not only attract and retain wealthier guests but increase their occupancy rates as well.

It’s a given that hotels, regardless of their rating and price point, want to please their guests by offering the best possible hotel supplies and amenities. However, when hotels are reviewing the amenities they may offer guests, deciding which specific hotel supplies they’ll offer will depend in part on their budget and what prior hotel guests have indicated they’d like to see or be likely to use. Hotel supplies are an intrinsic part of the hotel experience and their impact cannot, and should not, be under estimated as they can affect occupancy rates. All else being equal, the right hotel supplies can make or break a guest’s experience.