How to Use SWOT Analysis to Formulate Strategies

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Using SWOT Analysis as a tool to formulate Strategy is one of the most effective tool in Strategic Planning. It is a factual analysis due to its extensive data collection and analysis of the data collected. It is effective because the analysis covers a wide spectrum of business environment during data collection. Its takes into consideration external business environment as well as internal capabilities.

This is perhaps the most powerful usage of SWOT Analysis in the Strategic Planning Process. I am going to show you how to used the four factors of SWOT to develop Strategies

Assuming you have collected several data pertaining to the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Then you will use them to formulate strategy. Not sure how to do it? Don’t worry, I take you through the steps.

Step 1 – Evaluate the surrounding

Let’s take a moment to think about both of us as the coach for two teams of football teams.

Before the game starts, you and I have certain strategies that we want the team to follow. As the game progresses, there is sign of difference between the two teams in terms of the game as well as the condition of the team members.

Step 2 – Identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Now, it is time to evaluate the teams in the four factors of SWOT. Lets take the following examples as the result of the evaluation:-

Strengths – Your team is full of fighting spirit

Weaknesses — One of your team members is hurt

Opportunities — Your opposition team seems to loose stamina

Threats — Your opposition team is full of energy

Note: Some of these factors seem to be conflicting each other. For the purpose of this step, this conflict is ignored.

Step 3 – Pair the SWOT factors to formulate strategies

Now, you would start to formulate strategies in the four categories. Namely:-

    • SO Strategies (Strengths and Opportunities Strategy )
    • ST Strategies (Strengths and Threats Strategy )
    • WO Strategies (Weaknesses and Opportunities Strategy )
    • WT Strategies (Weaknesses and Threats Strategy )

In this case, your strength is ” your team is full of fighting spirit ” and paired with your opportunities is ” Opposite team is losing stamina” . With this scenario, what would you do? Perhaps you formulate a strategy to ” ATTACK “. There it goes, you just formulate a attacking strategy.

Then you do the same procedure for SW Strategies, WO strategies and WT strategies.

Step 4 – Evaluate the strategic options

At the end of this paring of SWOT factors, you would have end up several strategic options. Do a quick evaluation of each of these strategies to the extent of meeting the company objectives.

Step 5 – Selecting Strategic Options

At this step, you would have a long list of strategic options. Too many strategies to implement may not be practical. Therefore, you need to shorten the list to perhaps maximum three strategies.

After you have completed all the 5 steps to use SWOT Analysis to Formulate Strategies, you have a list of strategies for you to implement to your business.

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Source by Dr LM Foong

Art Deco Style Engagement Rings

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Thanks to the recent Deco resurgence, Art Deco Engagement Rings are once again in vogue.

Brides-to-be are becoming more vocal when it comes the style of engagement ring they would like. The thinking is that if I’m going to be wearing it my whole life – I want to love it!

And women want to be unique, yet be elegant, stylish and classy all at the same time.

They want to express themselves and the jewelry they choose to wear is an extension of their overall look and style.

Art Deco engagement rings are popular because they meet the needs of today’s modern woman – they’re both elegant and unique.

Deco style is quite eclectic, which suggests that the variety of ring styles would appeal to many different women.

They’re also in limited supply, which makes them all the more desirable.

Characteristics of Art Deco Engagement Rings

One of the biggest jewelry trends of this era was bold, bright colouring – emeralds, rubies, sapphires, yellow diamonds were popular stone choices.

Traditional diamonds were also quite popular and typically set in gold or platinum.

The easiest way to recognize a vintage engagement ring is by its angular or geometric shape. Triangles, rectangles, squares and oblongs were very popular during the 1920s and 1930s. The classic Princess, Emerald and Baguette cuts are your best choice if you want a classic Art Deco shape.

For the unconventional bride-to-be deco offers some unusual options as well: rings embellished with pearls, quartz, onyx and jade. Although these unusual rings are harder to find, they are well worth the search in my opinion.

Also, look for wedding bands with chevrons or zigzag pattern to complement the stunning engagement ring.

To learn more, visit Art Deco Jewelry.

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Source by Marta Etynkowski

Wushu Chinese Self Defense Or Performance Martial Art?

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Wushu is the official martial art taught in the People’s Republic of China. Wu Shu (“War Arts”) is practiced by millions in China, and is included as part of the training for all police and military personnel. Though it is a form of Kung Fu which has been taught in China for centuries it is a rigid system, and has no attachment to any of the mystical beliefs of the past. The government is more concern with physical aspects of the martial art and spiritual beliefs been replaced with propaganda, and political training which take up much of the student’s training time. When a student is not taking part in political training they will take part in group and partner exercises as well as weapons practice.

Contemporary Wushu was created in 1949 as part of the communist government’s attempt to create a national sport, and though the people were more than happy with the styles of martial arts they had already. All previous forms of Kung Fu were outlawed and even the Shaolin monks were greatly restricted. In recent years the government has tried to take the politics out of sports, but with limited success because of how repressive the government is in general. Still tournaments have been running since the early 1990’s, and the sport is practiced outside of China. The two Wushu forms that are practiced are Taulo and Sanda, but neither is suited for self defense.

The hand movements are called Ba Ji, tumbling moves are Di Tang, and Tung Bi is full arm movements. The animal katas are called Xing Yi. The weapon katas for Wushu includes a large number of different types of swords, the nine-section whip, three section staffs, spears, and other ancient Chinese weapons. The central Committee of National Physical Culture must accredited all students and teachers who must embody the ideals of communism. At first glance Wushu looks impressive with a large number of moves and a large selection of weapons in its arsenal to choose from in battle. The art would seem to be a good choice to study until closer examination. For all its flash this form of Kung Fu lacks substance and won’t stand up in real world conditions.

Taulo is considered to be a form of Kung Fu, but isn’t at all like any of the effective martial arts forms of the past and is like gymnastics. It is a point based systems where points are given out based on performances that can last from two to twenty minutes, and there is no contact. While traditional weapons like swords, butterfly knives, and staffs are used they’re light weight versions and they and the routines are useless in combat. The programs are broken up into barehanded, short weapons, and long weapons portions, but include jumps, flips and other impressive routines. This style of Kung Fu is completely useless when it comes to self defense, but is a good form of entertainment.

Sanshou or Sanda the Chinese combat sport based off of Chinese boxing, wrestling, and kickboxing. Originally, the military used it as a way to test martial arts, but it developed into a competition sport in the early part of the twentieth century. Sanda draws from Lei tai martial arts matches where competitors fought barehanded or with weapons on a high platform. Fights would continue until death, injury, or one of the competitors was thrown off the platform.

In Sanda today a competitor can still win a match by throwing their opponent out of the ring. Striking and grappling are allowed, and it is much more aggressive than Wushu which it is often paired with in tournaments in China. The military has their own version of Sanda, but the sport version restricts a number of moves including elbow strikes, chokes, and joint locks. When competing internationally Sanda practitioners have fought in many style-versus-style competitions against Muay Thai, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do fighters.

Unlike the Japanese art of Jujutsu which is pragmatic Wushu is more about looking good while you perform the art. A typical student will do many impressive leaps, back flips, and strikes, but while doing so leaving themselves open to attacks, because the art lacks any real defense. In dealing with an armed attacker a Wushu student will be unprepared unless they’re carrying a weapon themselves (it isn’t very practical to carry a Chinese broadsword or spear with you on your morning commute).

If a student of combatives and hand to hand self defense was to encounter a Wushu student the combatives student may take a few initial hits, but would quickly close with the Wushu student, and would throw or grapple them and take control of the fight. If the Wushu student was armed with any of their traditional weapons they would find themselves disarmed with their weapon in the hands of the fighter who used practical self defense techniques. In the end Wushu is a performance art, and at best a combat martial art that would only get you in trouble in a street fight. The art even has its critics among modern practitioners of Kung Fu who say the government has stripped all tradition and practically from the art.

This form of Kung Fu is a sport and shouldn’t be relied on for self defense. It should also be noted that Colonel Fairbairn who fought in 600 non-training fights during his time as a police officer in Shanghai China made an extensive study of many Chinese martial arts including Kung Fu didn’t incorporate them in his many books on fighting and self defense. Fairbairn would base his many books on his experiences, and what he learned at the Kodokan while earning his black belt in Judo. The lesson is winning the fight is more important then looking good and losing the fight.

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Bonsai Tree Meaning

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A lot of people wonder about the meaning behind the bonsai tree. Well, let’s start with the meaning of the word itself. Bonsai, first of all, is a Japanese word and could be translated as ‘a tree in a pot’. The art of bonsai growing, however, did not originate in Japan but in China. It started over a thousand years ago and at that time the trees were called ‘pun-sai’. The art of pun-sai growing was called penjing.

 

It is believed that in those days, people were trying to create the trees that look like dragons, serpents, birds and other animals. All of these forms are deeply rooted in Chinese myths and legends.

 

Later on, when the Japanese learned of this new art form, the meaning changed as well. The Buddhist monks that brought bonsai growing to Japan viewed these trees as a symbol for harmony between nature, man and soul. With that, the form of the trees also changed. Gone were the bizarre and grotesque shapes of twisting serpents and fierce dragons. From then on the bonsai were all about harmony, peace and balance. They started to represent all that was good.

 

Buddhist monks had a great influence on the art and practice of bonsai growing that has never quite disappear. Even these days a lot of books that are dedicated to bonsai gardening and are published in the western world talk about meditation and zen. They will describe how growing a bonsai requires a meditative state and how all the pruning and cutting should be approached with a zen-like state of mind.

 

That being said, most of the bonsai tree meaning was lost to the general public in the last couple of decades. Most westerners now look on these trees as merely a decoration; a little touch of Asia to put in our homes. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not.

 

However, if you do become a bonsai artist and start growing your own trees, instead of just observing them or buying trees that someone else has made for you, you will find that taking care of bonsai still possessed a spiritual note. You will have to connect to the tree, understand it, see where it wants to grow and then gently direct it into the desired direction. You will have to find balance between what you want and what a tree is willing to give you. You will have to find patience inside of you and allow a tree to dictate how fast it wants to develop. And throughout all this process, you might discover something new inside of you. You might discover that indescribable thing that has captivated so many. With that, you just might find your own meaning of bonsai trees.

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The Difference Between Combative Training and Martial Arts

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Getting the facts straight

 

Recently, I was checking the sales ranking for my book on Amazon.com, when I noticed I have finally received a customer review on Amazon. After reading the review, I found myself humbled and dumb founded. The customer who reviewed my book on military knife and hand to hand combat was obviously a practicing martial artist.

He appeared to be one of the “Know it all” types as well. Although much of his review on the layout of my book may be spot on; I was amazed at his blatant ignorance in not knowing the difference between combative training and martial arts. In his own words,”Though the author may know what he is doing in this book, you may already as well. If you took some sort of M.A. class for any period of time that was worth anything, then you would have learned most if not half of these techniques for knife fighting. “ I must agree with him on this.

If you take some sort of  martial arts class for any period of time; that is worth anything; eventually you may learn half of the techniques in the book. Although I clearly state in the book that my attempt is not to teach specific techniques, but use techniques as a vehicle to drive home principles; and  I admit that there are countless numbers of techniques one can learn, not simply limited to my book. This guy  “Cliff” is the example of how many can not distinguish the difference between martial art and combative training.

Distinguishing the difference  

Before one can truly distinguish between a martial art or combative training, they must reflect upon the origin of today’s practiced martial arts. The term “martial art”, refers to a war like art; with martial referring to war. It is true that ages ago during the conception of today’s martial arts, the countless numbers of systems and styles were born from military drills and close quarters battle of the time. During the ancient times without the aid of today’s modern weaponry and fire power, soldiers were forced to engage in battle with clubs, swords, daggers, spears and often hand to hand. Warriors of those times began to develop tried and true systems of both armed and unarmed combat, much like today. They understood that military units must gain muscle memory in their tactics of choice and saw the need for regimented systems of combat. The methods and techniques of their day required ways to dismount riders off horse back and break or penetrate wooden armor. It is quite obvious that in today’s combat environment those techniques would be obsolete. Through out generations and over the centuries the ancient arts have been passed from master to student and master to student. The once effective and powerful combative training of the ancients has become an antiquity.

Today the ancient techniques of Samurai and  the fighting monks of China can be seen being practiced through training hall windows all over the world. The ancient forms and techniques that were once practical battle tactics have been manipulated by popular media and business ideology. Many practice the ancient martial arts for a plethora of reasons. Some of their reasons are for the very same reasons that the training was developed. People practice for fitness, protection and hobby. Others train simply to preserve the art. 

After World War II, the west was introduced to the Asian martial art craze. Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen were exposed to the Asian fighting arts of the Japanese and Philippines and wanted to learn. Many of the indigenous instructors or gurus realized the opportunity to make a buck from the naive westerners and began teaching watered down versions of the fighting arts. Often masters would draw out the training and add flashy, intricate and complicated techniques to the curriculum. It was the flash that would sell to the new western market. Soon even Hollywood would make movies with actors such as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris demonstrating their athleticism and prowess on screen.

Belt ranking systems were added to help new students feel as if they were progressing and not quit. The once effective techniques for ancient combat were reduced to nothing more than acrobatics with some self protection value. Many of the hidden techniques which were the pride of warriors of old were lost through the simple process of supply and demand. Modern technology and weapons only aided in losing the practical fighting techniques and turning the martial arts into a lucrative but provocative industry. Today there are martial art companies that place their clients on programs known as “black belt plans.”

People are forced into contracts that they can not afford to breach for a certain amount of time until they receive their black belts. During the early 20th century the “black belt” rank was respected by many for holding fighting prowess. Today that rank has lost much of that respect. All too often we hear about the black belt who got beat up by a boxer or street fighter. All too often a white belt student can completely annihilate their “black belt” Karate  or Kung Fu master during sparring in the training hall. Today the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has proven that the martial arts of old are obsolete to even today’s modern training methods. The MMA athletes of today , that hold no belt in any martial art would dominate over more than half of the practitioners of traditional martial arts.

Traditional martial artists often rely on archaic training methods and spiritual philosophies of a much more primitive time. Where MMA athletes rely on the most up to date drilling and scientific training ideologies. Much more is known today by the general populous on the matters of psychology, physiology, anatomy, physics and the economy of motion. It is the lack of the most up to date sciences that make much of the traditional fighting arts obsolete and inefficient. In essence it is the tradition itself that makes many martial arts training methods in effective and inefficient. Now that we have identified the martial arts, we should compare it to today’s modern combatives.

The combative training of today is a product of the military machine. Today’s military is more efficient and productive than any in history. The philosophy of doing the most with the least drives the war machine. In World War II Colonels Eric Anthony Sykes and William Fairbairn began to develop a new type of training for soldiers  based from their experience in Shanghai and the trenches of World War I. Close Quarter Battle (CQB) or Hand to Hand Combat was the norm in trench warfare and the soldiers fighting it needed to be able to quickly and efficiently kill and immobilize their adversaries. The two men realized that they needed to develop a system for training or ideology of training that would enable masses of troops with no prior experience in martial arts to learn hand to hand combat quickly in a matter of days, not the years often required by martial arts training. This training had to not only be learned quickly, but retained and trained quickly as well. Soldiers on the front and behind the lines needed to be able to react without thinking, relying on muscle memory. In combat the heart rate exceeds 180  beats per minute and all fine motor skills go out the window.

Sykes and Fairbairn realized that many of the extravagant “pressure points” used in traditional martial arts  would not be effective. They realized that pressure points were not effective for two reasons. One, the enemy may not feel it under the influence of adrenaline and two; the soldier will more than likely not have the ability of fine motor skills needed in order to strike the target. Therefore the modern combative training was simple easy to retain and concentrated on gross motor skill movement. Because in combat soldiers are all too often sleep deprived and under nourished the techniques taught needed to not rely on physical strength or athletic prowess. Today’s combatives are often known for the dirty fighting aspect, not found in traditional martial arts. The warrior codes from long ago no longer apply today, chivalry is dead. Because the combative techniques are taught to such a variety of fighting men who’s bodies are not conditioned to desensitizing training; the trainees are taught to strike with only the most structurally stable weapons of the body. A soldier can not afford  broken hands and feet on the battle field. It is for many of these reasons that combative training stands far apart from traditional martial arts.

In summary  

 

The traditional martial arts, practiced today  was actually the combative training for the military of it’s time. Just as time changes, so did the training. Societies became more educated; moral values and codes have been altered. The world is not as spiritually guided or involved with mysticism as it was during the time traditional martial arts were conceived. The once effective combative techniques of their time, have evolved into an art form surrounded in mystique and the legends of old; enhanced by modern media. Today’s combative training is based completely on modern science and need for efficiency. It is of the utmost importance for combative training to adhere to these rules.

 – Simple general Principles  must be taught

 – Must not rely on power or athleticism

 – The focus is on destroying whatever the principal comes into contact with

 – Efficiency and economy of motion

 – Be able to be learned and applied in a very limited amount of time (Days or weeks)

In conclusion

 

 Combatives training today most definitely contains many of the techniques that one will learn in the traditional martial arts if they attend classes for any period of time. One might think of the two types of training as steak. One is chuck full of fat that is unnecessary and could clog your arteries, the other is a lean hybrid, that contains only the necessary nutrients to keep you going. After reading the review from this guy “Cliff” I immediately went to his profile to learn more about his point of view, so I could see where hes coming from. I wanted to know if his bashing of my book came from arrogance or ignorance. Where he was asked to type a blurb about his interests, contained one phrase.This was his interest“Wing Chun and the variety of ways it is spelled.” I immediately realized by this and the number of books with titles like “Kung Fu of Caine” Referring to the Caine from the TV series (Kung Fu), that this fellow was not completely familiar with the differences between martial arts and combative training. Therefore I wanted to write this article, with my best effort to demonstrate that when comparing martial arts training to combative training; it is like comparing apples to oranges.

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Source by Andrew Curtiss

A History of Japanese Xenophobia

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Japanese xenophobia should be understood properly prior to jumping to any reactive conclusions. Xenophobia is not really racism, although it can occasionally cross the line in Japan and both are occasionally evidenced. For Japanese society any xenophobia is more of a fear of the unknown and a fear of being overpowered by that which is unknown. In all honesty, many people in Japan are rather intimidated by other countries and also their relatively large people. It may sound silly, but it really does stem from the most basic things like physical size.

Due in part to historically taking the offense on xenophobia, the Japanese government has historically made some rather unwise choices internationally. The results of such choices have made the nation feel somewhat guilty and also somewhat worried about belated retaliation from its closer neighbors, in addition to simply feeling defeated. To go from a state of megalomania to a state of apocalyptic defeat is obviously rather shocking and, as a result, Japan is now much more cautious about its role on the world stage. The nation of Japan was also occupied after WWII and essentially had its entire culture exposed before a relatively judgmental Western perspective. Apparently as a result, some people in Japan also seem to fear exposure and being misunderstood or judged for their lifestyles.

Many things simply are drastically different in Western and Eastern culture. Japan is even quite unique in Eastern culture. To say one way of doing things is correct and one is incorrect would likely be primarily based on the cultural background of a viewer and thus it would be an inaccurate assessment. There are many things considered normal in most of Western society that are not generally considered acceptable in Japanese society, and also certainly many things in Japanese society which would not be acceptable in most of Western society. It is easy to understand why it could be somewhat more challenging to open up completely if there is a history of being judged for some of the most basic aspects of a society.

In addition to concerns about average physical size and a historical tendency for Western cultures to misunderstand and judge Japanese society, there are also basic differences in the general psychology of various societies. Japan has what is most likely the most obedient modern society in the world. There is no modern history of revolution and there are no riots in the streets. People are generally quite polite and Tokyo, although the most populated metropolis in the world, is possibly the safest city for a child to be in at any time of day or night. Purse snatching and the like are practically unheard of and are certainly uncommon. People will stand in herds at a street corner and wait for the light on the crosswalk to change to green, regardless of there not being a car in sight. It is understandable that there could be some concern over people from societies in which the cars don’t even stop at stoplights, as is common even in other parts of Asia.

In a way, Japan is like a clock and Japanese society generally seems to like to keep things running like clockwork. Thankfully the introduction and adoption of new ideas is part of what makes has made that clock run so well, and so Japanese society is still quite open to careful introductions. It just isn’t so game for any oversized unhygienic elephants to come trampling through its delicate clockwork.

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House Painting Odors – Getting Rid of the Smell

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Homeowners, especially those with small children, often ask me how to get rid of paint odors. It’s such a big concern for some folks that they’ll ask me about potential odor control before they even book the painting estimate.

The good news is that the evolution of house paint has come a long way with low-odor and even odorless lines for some applications. The bad news is there are still so many reasons to use the smelly stuff, especially if you’re repainting an older home. Alkyd (oil-based) and shellac or alcohol primers are especially effective in sealing water damage and old oil painted surfaces to upgrade them to Latex top coats. But they’re also very smelly with potentially long-lasting vapors. Even the most common low-odor alkyd paints often used today to repaint wood work can have a lingering odor for days under the most ventilated conditions.

So how do you get rid of the smell?

I’ve just received an email from a mother asking me that very question. Her young child’s room was painted almost two weeks ago and she’s left the windows open and the fan on ever since. Still, the paint smell is strong enough that she’s concerned about letting the child sleep in the room. The painting of this room involved a lot of priming to cover the dark brown oil paint used by the previous home owner. Since the color needed to be lightened up and the surfaces converted to a far more Eco-friendly Acrylic Latex, a common top brand Alkyd primer was used to give the whole room a fresh start. And although it had “Low Odor” printed on the can, it obviously was NOT odorless. To compound matters, all the woodwork had to be finished in a leading “Low Odor” brand of Alkyd semi gloss which produced a smooth lustrous finish as well as a migraine inducing vapor.

So what can you do? Well, there a few ways you can overcome these situations beyond obvious ventilation to control, eliminate and even prevent odors from lingering.

“An ounce of prevention”… Before there was such a thing as “low odor paint” we used to add a splash of vanilla extract to every gallon of oil paint to make it “low-odor”. It was cheap, easy to do and had no effect on the color. Now that low-odor alkyd paints are commonplace on the market, adding about a tablespoon of vanilla extract makes them virtually odorless.

Or, as in the case above, the painting is already done. It’s too late for vanilla and the smell won’t go away as quickly they’d like. What’s happening here is that the odors are being trapped in the walls while the paint cures and probably in all the fabrics and rugs in the room as well. They need something else to absorb them for good. So, here’s what I advised her to do. Cut up a few onions and place them in a couple of bowls of cold water. Put one of the bowls in the room and the other in the closet. As simple and crazy as it sounds, the onions absorb and actually eliminate the paint fumes and odors… sometimes as quickly as overnight!

I first learned this trick while creating a baby’s room about 17 years ago. I had spent about 5 weeks converting a badly crumbling and dusty old attic room into a nursery pending the baby’s birth. And as it turned out, the baby was born about two weeks early and was ready to come home just as I was finishing the project. The job required a lot of smelly primers and sealers to bury decades of neglect and water damage. As was customary in those days, I added vanilla extract to minimize the paints’ odor (and damage to my brain cells) but the smell wasn’t clearing up fast enough to bring the newborn in. The homeowner’s Nanny, who was moving into the bedroom next door (and who was also troubled by the smell) used a couple of bowls of cut onions in cold water over night and the smell was gone the next day. I couldn’t believe it!

I’ve recommended this technique ever since with great results. But it should be noted here that this example was in an empty room. In the case of a fully furnished room, as in our case above, you should consider airing out clothing, drapery, rugs or anything else which might be trapping the odors and give them a shot or two of Febreeze to do the trick nowadays.

Now sometimes, there are extreme cases where odors are simply not an option. Some people are highly allergic to the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) contained in paints and the tints used to color them. Some can become quite ill with even short term inhalation of the fumes. In these cases, you have to resort to the whole gamut of tricks:

  1. Before you paint, empty the room completely to make sure there is nothing that will trap the odors.
  2. Open all the windows before you open the paint cans and keep them open throughout the entire painting process.
  3. Add vanilla extract to your Alkyd, Alcohol or Shellac based paints. (Latex paints don’t usually need this step as they’re relatively low-odor to begin with).
  4. Place several bowls of onions around the room (as above) while you paint to absorb the fumes as they escape.
  5. When the painting is finished, seal and remove all paint cans, bag your drop sheets in plastic before taking them out through the rest of the house (or throw them out of the window if possible) to keep from spreading the fumes they’ve trapped indoors.
  6. Refresh your supply of onions in water as the old ones will have had their fill of vapors by the time your finished the painting.
  7. Keep the windows open and wait until the paint has fully dried and the odors have gone before you replace the furniture and other belongings.

Of course, these tips are offered in connection with interior painting but you should also try adding some vanilla to your paint when painting the exterior in Alkyd coatings as well. It saves the painter a lot headaches… literally. But whether inside or out, these simple ideas combined with some good old fashioned common sense should produce a fresh new look with clean, breathable air you can live with.

Happy painting!

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Source by Dee L. Potter

Muscle Weakness – How to Prevent This Menopause Symptom

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Menopause and muscle weakness is an inescapable fact of every aging woman’s life and dealing with the accompanying symptoms is an achievable goal through proper health management. Menopause and the problems that come along with it is largely dependent upon a woman’s genetic make-up, but equally responsible is the way she has led her life.

Her lifestyle, family history and the amount of exercise, diet balance and emotional well being she has maintained, are all contributing factors that determine her possible menopausal issues.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: Causes

The years after menopause can be happy and productive, if negative consequences, such as, muscular weakening, reduced bone density, irritability and joint pains are avoided through preventive measures. Muscular weakness is a common complaint of many women going through menopause and the likely causes are leading a sedentary lifestyle, smoking or poor nutrition before this change sets in.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: How to Overcome

As it is possible to prevent bone loss through timely calcium intake and magnesium supplements, combined with weight-bearing moderate impact exercises and strength training with weights, it is also possible to counter muscular weakness. Including vitamin D in the diet and exposure to adequate sunlight with the right balance of a healthy diet and regular physical exercise are factors that contribute to your overall fitness levels.

These precautions would also help prevent the early onset of muscular problems. The downward spiral for women after menopause usually occurs when body stability and flexibility has been neglected through limited movements. This in turn, varies the sensory motor activity and brings down optimal muscular strength.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: Muscular Mass

Menopausal muscular weakness occurs due to the loss of muscle mass that naturally happens as time goes by. Aging affects women sooner through muscular weakness, if they have not been exercising regularly or adequately and by the age of 70, women lose about 15% every decade. To combat this problem, it is very important that musculo-skeletal strength training is undertaken to help burn fat and stimulate bones. When this is done, minerals that keep them dense are retained and overall muscular and bone strength is maintained.

From the age of 30 onwards, there is a steady decline in muscle mass and women with no strength training lose between 5 and 7 pounds of muscle mass within 10 years. To be better equipped to bear up to the symptoms of menopause, it is essential for women to take up a properly designed strength-training program as this helps you to have more strength available per kilogram body weight. Your trained muscles remain stronger up to an advanced age and life after menopause can be as fulfilling as before.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: Prevention

To prevent muscular weakness during menopause, women should go for strength training, and schedule it for two to three times per week using weights, combined with aerobic exercise. This helps in building muscle strength, which affects bone density, balance and endurance. A program for each muscle group that addresses muscular tone, strength and endurance is very important to circumvent menopause and muscular weakness related to it.

Flexibility, balance and coordination increases through regular strength-training, and gentle yoga, Pilates and other stretching activities once or twice weekly can offset the challenges of core musculature. Breathing and other cardio routines, combined with this simple program bring general well-being and better chances of good health later in life too.

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Source by Cathy Taylor

Cartoon Drawing Skill: Benefits of Having It

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Maybe like many you are a fan of cartoon shows. But it never occurred to you that you too can make beautiful cartoons. And this may be quite natural because there are so many other things to do for a young star these days! Apart from watching cartoon shows you can have fun with your friends, go and play football or you can even join Facebook and spend many hours just by socializing with other kids. So yes there is nothing surprising that you never thought of taking cartooning as a hobby or even a future profession.

Here I would like to play an agent who will trigger the thought of looking at cartoon making skill from a different angle. Let me tell you very frankly that as a hobby cartoon drawing can take up any other hobby head on because there are so many positive things that you can enjoy from this.

Let me list the benefits that you can have from cartoon drawing.

It can be very satisfying pastime or hobby which you can get started with easily. And it’s not physically demanding if you can write you can draw. And initially do not have too spent too much of time for this. So you can easily pursue this hobby without hampering your studies.

In fact your drawing skills that you will acquire in the process of making cartoons will help you in your studies. And the improved hand eye coordination and observation skill will serve you lifelong no matter what profession in future you choose for yourself.

And if you prove yourself good you can take up cartooning as your profession. Don’t be afraid because nobody in your close family has anything to do with cartooning. Truth is there are many established cartoon creators who are just first-generation cartoon artists.

If all this sounds good to you I would suggest get started with cartoon making, and start drawing. If possible get a cartoon drawing book and follow the instructions to the t. But buying a book is not a necessity because you can get started with online resources that are available for free. And in case you do not have access to a computer or Internet go to your local library. The library must have a book on cartoon drawing that you can use to get started.

Learn the basics and start using your imagination to make beautiful cartoons that no one has seen ever before and very soon you will be one of the most sought-after cartoon artists.

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Source by Tapan Sarkar

Rajasthani Painting – A Glorius Tradition of Indian Arts in Medival Period

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Rajasthani paintings were favorably nurtured in medieval India, with the encouragement and financial help from the kings of several independent states of Rajasthan. They were also termed as Rajputana paintings, as the land of Rajasthan was popularly known as Rajputana too in medieval India, between 16th to 19th century.

It was one of the most popular forms of medieval Indian art, parallel to the Mughal form of arts which received the maximum patronage during that specific period. But it differs from Mughal paintings in its choice of subjects, use of colors and the depiction of the human figures in those paintings. Rajasthani paintings were drawn mostly on religious topics, like stories of Radha Krishna or chapters from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The human figures all were shown to be wearing Hindu attires,more modest and pious in nature than the subjects of Mughal paintings which were much more boldly drawn and had no religious touch in them. The landscape paintings of Rajasthani form showed the rough and sandy features of the desert land of Rajasthan, while Mughal paintings emphasized on the background of colorful gardens and pleasant landscape as liked by the Mughal rulers.

Like quite a few other contemporary Indian art forms, Rajputana art also used several natural colors, derived from plant body parts, rocky minerals, even powdered precious stones and fine particles of gold and silver. These great artists never used any chemical colors to create their paintings. They crafted fine brushes from plant twigs and hairs from tails of squirrels to paint their pictures. The pictures were drawn not only on papers or canvas, but superb paintings had been made on the walls and ceilings of many famous Rajput palaces and forts built during that era, like City Palace in Udaipur. But the most impressive form of Rajasthani painting was miniature paintings; made mostly on silk, wood and paper; but some miniature paintings were also created on ivory and marbles.

Many schools of paintings flourished during that period, depending on their specific characteristics and the particular regions where they were developed. Some of these popular schools of Rajasthani paintings are Mewar School of painting, Marwar School of painting, Bundi paintings and Kishangarh paintings. Even Kangra and Kulu schools of paintings were included in the Rajasthani form of arts, due to their distinctive nature of paintings.

These paintings not only describe the religious beliefs of the Rajasthani people of that period, but they also give a proper insight into the social life of the people living during the medieval age. Thus they help everyone to get a clear picture of the royals as well as the general mass of Rajasthan, living at that era.

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Source by Lopamudra Sinha