How to Dress for an Interview

July 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Jobs & Careers

how to dress for an interviewLanding an interview is exciting. Unfortunately, the hard work you put into applications and cover letters is now behind you and you must wow your potential boss with your smooth talking and appearance.

Dressing for an interview is just as critical as what you say during the meeting. If you arrive looking sloppy or unprofessional, the interviewer will be getting a clear message that the interview simply doesn’t matter to you. No matter what your personal comfort level with professional attire may be, be sure you know how to dress for an interview.

Professional Dress

Once you’ve landed an interview for a job or career in a professional environment, you must show up looking the part. Even if the office is casual, you are not yet part of the office staff, so you must dress on par with management or even above management.

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This means you should be wearing a suit, complete with suitable accessories such as panty hose for ladies or neckties for gentlemen.

Select a suit that is dark, but not necessarily black. If you don’t have a full business suit, it would be an excellent investment for the future. When you are shopping, be sure to buy a coordinated dress shirt, although white or ivory will always do, and a mens ties in a muted color or scheme. Dress shoes and dark socks complete the attire.

Remove your jacket while driving keep it from getting wrinkled, and be sure your tie is tied correctly and hanging at the right length. It should touch the top of your belt buckle. Tying ties and having it lie correctly can be irksome, so practice a few times before the day of or get help from a friend or family member. Before entering the interview, pull your jacket back on and button the top button. The bottom button should not be fastened.

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Ladies have a few additional options for basic attire. They may wear a pants suit or a traditional skirted suit. A classic dress may be acceptable as well, but be careful not to be too casual or even too formal. Jewelry should be kept small and classic and any makeup should be carefully applied and tastefully limited as to not distract from the interview itself.

Ladies should wear professional shoes, meaning no sandals or even open toed shoes. Pumps or classic flats are acceptable, as are boots with a pants suit. Even if you despise them, pantyhose should be worn with dresses or skirts as they are professional and bare legs are not.

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How to Replace a Window Screen

July 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to replace a window screenA torn window screen is a simple fix provided you have the right tools. When you’re ready to replace a window screen, a quick trip to the local hardware store and a free hour will be it takes to get the job done right.

Head to the Hardware Store

Get the dimensions of your torn window screen and then head to the hardware store. You’ll need a roll of netting, the rubber casing to hold the netting in place, a roller to work the rubber casing and a utility knife to make the cuts. A Craft Lite Cutter or similar product can handle a window screen and be an excellent investment for other household chores as well.

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Remove the Old Screen

Take the screen off of the window and lay it flat in the grass. Find a corner of the rubber casing inside the edges of the screen and gently pull it out. As you pull off the old casing, the torn screen will loosen and you can remove it. You should be left with a window screen frame.

Install the New Screen

Unroll your new netting and use your knife to cut a section of screen slightly longer and wider than your window frame. Measure out a new section of tubing and cut this as well. Place the netting over the screen and hold the end of the rubber tubing. Very carefully push the tubing into the recessed area of the screen being sure you are securing the netting in place at the same time. Getting one corner started is the trickest part of replacing a window screen, so don’t be surprised if it takes a few attempts or an extra set of hands.

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Once you have the corner installed correctly, use the special roller to gently roll the rest of the rubber tubing into place. As you roll, be sure you’re pulling the screen taut without stretching it or causing the window screen to bow. Again, it may take a few attempts. Finally, when all the tubing is in place, trim away the excess screen and tubing. Your window screen is ready to be put back in place.

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How To Clean Leather

July 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to clean leatherOne of the first fabrics that man fashioned to wear or use, leather has been a popular material from its beginnings. Leather is a beautiful, longwearing, breathable, natural fabric that has multiple uses, i.e., clothing, shoes, furniture, luggage, and vehicle interiors. This valuable fabric is an investment that will last for years if it is treated with care. Owners want to know how to correctly clean leather products because leather can be quickly ruined if handled incorrectly.

Leather hides can be categorized as belonging to several types, depending on the process to preserve the hides. The piece of leather can be smooth, suede, dyed in a variety of ways, coated, or tanned naturally. The dye used to color the fabric can be of different types that demand different handling. A product that works beautifully on one type of leather can permanently stain a different type. It is important to read any manufacturer’s instructions to understand what type of finish was used to create the item.

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There are general rules for how to clean leather, however. These rules apply to how to clean car upholstery, belts, purses, jackets or other clothing, as well as furniture, luggage, and leather shoes. All leather needs an environment that is not too wet, not too dry, not too hot, or not too cold. Any extremes in the atmosphere can cause irreparable harm to the hides.

Let’s start off by identifying two types of leather. There is finished leather and there is unfinished leather. It is very good to know what type of leather you have so that you may treat it properly. Finished leather consists of the finer leather on coats or purses. Luggage and leather furniture is usually finished as well.

On the other hand, you have unfinished leather items as well. Unfinished leather consists of work gloves, garden gloves, boots that you use for work, biker bandannas, horse saddles, any type of saddle, basketballs and footballs.

Let’s start with cleaning finished leather. To clean finished leather, you must get a lightly dampened cloth with a dab of moisturizing bath soap (dove) on the cloth. Rub the leather in a circular motion and make sure that there is not too much water on the cloth. You don’t want to stain the leather more because of an access of water. After wiping the leather until the stain is gone, you can then take another dampened cloth to wipe off any soap residue. Remember, DO NOT us water to wipe the leather clean. After cleaning the leather with the second dampened cloth, you can now wipe it clean with a dry cloth and hang the leather product to air dry. It’s a good idea to apply a leather conditioner to the leather once it is dry.

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To clean unfinished leather, you will follow the same steps stated above. However, you must use “Saddle soap” instead of moisturizing soap.

Remember when removing spots from leather, always test any cleaning method on an out-of-the-way spot first.

One tip for removing spots from leather is to dip a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and rub the spot. This can work for removing ink spots (figure B) as well. If this doesn’t work, you can use non-oily cuticle remover. (Note: That is "cuticle" remover, not nail-polish remover.) Leave it on overnight and wipe it off with a damp cloth.

To remove normal spots from leather, use the following Royal homemade recipe:

1 part lemon juice
1 part cream of tartar

Simply work the paste into the spot with a soft cloth, and if soils remain after working it in, let it sit for a few hours. Come back and apply a little more paste, work it in and wipe clean.

Instructions for more targeted stains

Grass Stain:

1. Mix 1 cup of water with moisturizing soap.

2. Moisten a cloth with the mixture.

3. Apply cloth with a circular motion on the stained area

4. Wipe clean with another cloth dampened by water only

5. Let air dry

Mildew stain:

1. Mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol with 1 cup water.

2. Moisten a cloth with the mixture and wipe the affected area.

3. Let air dry.

Ink stain:

1. Spray the affected area with hair spray.

2. Then wipe it off with a clean cloth.

3. If a leather garment has been soaked in water, let it air dry

slowly and naturally.

4. Keep it away from heat sources.

5. Once it is dry, restore its softness with a leather conditioner.

6. If leather shoes have been soaked, insert shoe trees to restore their shape and let them air dry.

Grease stains:

1. These can be removed by blotting the excess grease with a clean cloth.

2. Second, sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the affected area.

3. Let the item sit for at least 4 hours before wiping off the powder.

Blood and urine spills:

These can be removed by blotting off excess moisture with a clean, damp cloth. Let the item dry slowly away from heat.

Gum that has become stuck to the leather:

1. You can remove it by rubbing a plastic bag full of ice cubes over it to harden the gum. The gum will then be easy to pull off.

2. If there is any residual, heat the area with a hair dryer and rub off the gum with a clean cloth.

Salt stain:

1. Make a solution of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water.

2. Moisten a cloth with the vinegar solution and dab it on the affected area.

We have outlined how to properly take care of your leather possessions in this article. Leather is a delicate item and can last forever if taken care of properly. We understand that some stains might entail more than just a cleaning. Do not hesitate to hire professional leather cleaner to help you. Remember to ask that professional for a guarantee that your leather will come back that way that you would like it. They need to be legit. They need to return your article back with the same color that the item was in the beginning. If they cannot help with these simple items, then you might need to get a second opinion.

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How to Make Christmas Table Decorations

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a table for xmasThe shopping is done, the tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, but something is still missing. When all your guests gather around the table for the Christmas dinner you have spent hours preparing, what will they see? A bare tabletop? Let’s hope not. With a few simple touches, your dinner table can become a showcase for some beautiful Christmas decorations.

Centerpiece

The centerpiece will be the focal point of your table, at least until Aunt Mary starts telling embarrassing old family stories. While you can purchase a fresh or silk flower arrangement, a sculpture or figurine of some kind, or a potted poinsettia, there are other options that you can assemble yourself on a budget. Try filling a pair of clear glass hurricane lamps with cheap and colorful glass globe Christmas ornaments. You can also use a vase to hold peppermints or small red and green candies. Use the candy to support a classic taper candle or a small group of artificial flowers fitting for the winter season.

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Napkin Rings

A great opportunity to add a personal touch to your table is with your napkin rings. Napkin rings can be a pricy investment, or they can be a creative outlet of your holiday spirit. For a basic approach, cut one inch segments from the cardboard tube inside your wrapping paper. You can cover these with the wrapping paper itself, or paint or color the cardboard. Hot glue a small ornament to the top of the napkin ring. Another option is to string festive beads or buttons on a piece of elastic. Whatever you create, your guests will appreciate the time and creativity you invested in this Christmas decoration.

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Placecards

For large or small crowds, use placecards to not only help guests find their place at the table, but to showcase your holiday spirit. You can adapt gift tags to be placecards, or glue rectangles of wrapping paper on a stiff backing and write guests’ names on your homemade place card. Another option is to cut a Christmassy shape such as a star or bell out of cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil. A permanent marker will have no problem writing on the surface, making a lovely placecard.

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How to Decorate a Patio

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a patioA patio can be a lovely extension of your home, or it can be a big bare slab of concrete. The difference is just in the decoration. With a few simple touches or even a sizable investment, you can make an outdoor living area that will be a joy to spend time in or entertain on.

Consider Your Budget

The main thing to consider when beginning this process is your budget. How much do you have to spend on this project? Can you afford a makeover or are you just in the market for a few inexpensive touch-ups? If you have the money, you can hire a landscaper to surround your patio with lush vegetation, some shady trees, or some cheery floral annuals.

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Or, you can invest in some durable patio furniture like a table with an umbrella and matching chairs, an outdoor bar, or outdoor fireplace or chiminea. Perhaps you want to take your culinary flair outside and you choose to invest in an outdoor kitchen or gas grill. Don’t be discouraged if these ideas are out of your budget. A few less extravagant purchases can make a difference, too. Once you have an idea of what you can afford, you will be better prepared to make a plan to decorate your patio.

Choose a Theme

Some people choose to have a central theme with their patio decorations. From garden gnomes to birdhouses to dragonfly décor, a theme can bring your decorations together for a more well-thought-out effect. Without a theme, you can still decorate tastefully, or you may end up with a motley assortment of uncoordinated items.

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Go Shopping

Once you have a budget and a theme, it’s time to start shopping. You may want to look for decorative pots in which to grow some herbs, flowers, or greenery. Perhaps the relaxing sound of running water sounds good to you and you want to shop for a little fountain. There are a large assortment of figurines and ceramic or metal decorations to adorn your garden. Don’t forget to find a centerpiece for your patio table! From candles to outdoor wall hangings, you have limitless options to express your style and transform your patio into a showcase for your creativity.

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How to Select Flooring

July 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to select flooringThe flooring in a home is arguably the most important style element. Deciding what type of flooring to install should not be done rashly or without considering all of your options. Each kind of flooring material is suitable for a multitude of different purposes, so before you install something you’ll regret a year from now, be sure you know how to select flooring.

Use of Space

The first thing you need to consider is how you will use the space. A bedroom might call for a different flooring option than a kitchen, although some options such as laminate flooring make sense for both. Is the room large and spacious or small and dark? Light, airy rooms can easily handle dark flooring, whole small spaces benefit from lighter flooring options.

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Traffic Patterns

Next consider the amount of traffic that passes through the room. Bedrooms receive relatively small amounts of foot traffic while entryways and family rooms receive plenty. Carpet in rooms with heavy foot traffic will become worn down quickly and need to be replaced. Heavier choices such as Pergo flooring or tile will last for decades without showing signs of wear or tear. Save carpet for rooms with little traffic, or at the very least, consider leaving a stretch of tile or hardwood where most walking occurs and carpet in the space where more sitting occurs.

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle should be a third consideration. Pets and small children can wreak havoc on hardwood and carpet. But carpet is more comfortable for playing on the floor with young children. If you are looking for easy flooring, avoid hardwoods as they require more maintenance than laminate, tile or marble. If you entertain frequently, those same options are great for cleaning up spills and keeping mess to a minimum.

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Flooring Aesthetic and Comfort

Once you know your basic needs and style, consider the aesthetic and comfort of the various options. Hardwood flooring is beautiful. It can warm up any room, but you must be willing to work to keep it looking that way. Carpet soften a room and makes it feel cozy, but will need to be replaced in about five years to keep it looking at its best. If you spend time playing on the floor with children or pets, carpet is a nice option, but if you prefer a cleaner, more modern look consider hardwood, laminate, or even stained concrete flooring.

Flooring Cost

Finally, consider cost. There are options for most flooring choices in every price range. Some, such as hardwood and bamboo flooring, will be more expensive as a whole than basic carpet or laminate. Your cost should be figured over the number of years the product will last as well as any potential impact in home value. Home values are positively impacted by quality flooring choices, so it might make sense to maximize an investment.

Carpet will need to be replaced and hardwoods must be refinished periodically which can impact cost calculations as well. Once you have a rough idea of how much to spend per square foot and a material you like, invite a professional over to give you an estimate or speak with a supplier about installing flooring yourself. Once you’ve made your decision and had your new flooring installed – celebrate your home’s new, refined look.

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How To Increase Your Home Value

July 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how do I increase the value of a homeRead a home decorating magazine or watch a cable-TV home improvement show, and you might easily conclude that any upgrade will pay off when you sell. This is simply not so because even in good times, not all projects have widespread appeal. You’ll earn back virtually your entire investment in a kitchen or deck, but less than 75 cents on the dollar if you add a home office or sunroom, according to "Remodeling" magazine’s annual cost vs. value survey.

What’s worse, some renovations can even hurt you in the eyes of home buyers, a costly problem if you hope to sell in a softening market like today’s.

The Swimming Pool:

In some areas, especially hot-weather spots like Arizona and Florida, a pool is a must-have. In the Southwest, adding one boosts your home’s value by 11 percent on average, according to a National Association of Realtors study. But elsewhere it can just as easily turn off buyers, who worry about affording the upkeep and insurance. And if the most likely buyer of your home is a family with small children, think long and hard before installing a pool.

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"People with younger children may be leery of houses with pools for safety reasons," says Barry Graziano, a real estate agent with Prudential Rand Realty in White Plains, N. Y. "I’ve had families walk away. A pool can cut down on the number of people who will want to buy your house."

The Addition:

You’ve thought about how that great room and master bedroom wing will let the family spread out. But what you probably haven’t considered is what the space will look like from the outside.

"A badly designed addition can kill your resale value," says Sal Alfano, the editorial director of Remodeling. "People focus on the floor plan and the flow, but not on how it fits into the neighborhood or even the house itself."

Watch out for boxy, poorly detailed additions and be careful of a style that will look dated when you throw your open house. Spotting the trend that’s on its way out is trickier than you think. While it is easy to assume that sleek red European kitchen cabinetry is tomorrow’s harvest gold fridge, other design staples that seem like sure bets can quickly drift into obscurity too.

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That’s what Mark Johnson, a Whirlpool design manager, says is happening to stainless-steel appliances. "For a period of time, people aspired to a commercial kitchen" he says. "What I am seeing is more interest in warmer finishes."

You want a design trend with legs. Johnson says custom panels that dress appliances in maple or mahogany finishes are likely to remain popular for several years. Also, think about the materials for hardware like hinges and light fixtures. Polished brass or anything shiny is out. Brushed nickel is a better option. Johnson is betting that oiled-bronze finishes will take off next.

The Jacuzzi:

The elaborate master bath is okay, but the big circular tub with 15 jets that can pulse or massage is risky.

According to Holly Slaughter, brand manager at RealEstate.com, you’re better off with an oversize shower that has a rain showerhead and multiple jets (think of it as a car wash for humans).

Baby boomers have little time to spend hanging out in the bathtub, and parents with small kids prefer a conventional tub. Ultimately, don’t expect a future buyer to pay up for the luxury you considered an essential.

How to Buy a Baby Crib

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to buy a cribBabies can sleep in many things, but the most traditional bed is a full-sized crib. Other options include a bassinet, a play yard, a co-sleeper, or a Moses basket. But if you’re ready to put the nursery together, here’s how to buy a baby crib.

Assess Your Needs

Baby cribs come in many forms. Some are just a crib and others transform to toddler beds, and then headboards once the baby is grown. If you already have a full bedroom of furniture, you probably don’t need to buy a convertible crib. A basic crib will do for the two years before your baby is ready to graduate to the existing bed.

If you are starting from scratch and the nursery is bare, a convertible crib might be the best option. These cribs usually have matching furniture available, so you can purchase an entire bedroom of furniture and the crib will coordinate for years in one form or another.

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Assess Your Price Range

There are sturdy cribs in every price range. Some baby cribs start as low as $100 and are just as safe and sturdy as those that retail for $1000 or more. Find an amount that is comfortable for you. Remember, most babies are out of the crib by 30 months of age, so this is not a long-term investment unless you are buying a convertible crib or plan on using the crib for more children.

Start the Search

Begin searching for cribs that appeal to you. You can find cribs at baby specialty stores, large retailers such as Wal-Mart or Target, department stores, furniture stores and many online retailers. Many of the different locations carry the same brands of cribs, so it is wise to do a bit of price comparison before buying. You can also look for cribs at garage sales or baby resale shops, but be careful to check for quality and safety with used cribs.

Keep it Safe

Keep in mind the recommended safety guidelines for cribs. Your crib should have a drop side to allow you to get the baby in ad out of the bed safely. The level of the mattress should be capable of raising and lowering for safety and convenience. The mechanism that controls the raising and lowering of the mattress should be sturdy and foolproof to keep your baby or toddler from knocking it loose.

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The slats on a crib should not be more than 2 3/8 inches apart. This prevents your baby from slipping through or getting stuck. When the drop side is lowered, it should be 9 inches above the top of the mattress to keep the baby from rolling out. When the drop side is up, it should be at least 26 inches from the top of the mattress.

Give the crib a good shake in the store to check for stability. If it’s wobbly or rickety, pass on it. Your toddler will do more than a simple shake to this crib and you want it solid. Also check to see how snug the mattress fits inside the crib. If you can fit more than two fingers into the crack around the edges, it isn’t safe.

Keep it Easy

The drop side should lower quietly and easily – preferably with one hand since you’ll be holding a sleeping baby when using it. Try it out in the store a few times. A crib on casters will be easier to move around the room – a feature that is especially nice when trying to change the sheets.

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How to Protect Your Home

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Electronics

how to protect your homeYour home is your biggest investment, and your most precious items, including your family, are kept inside it. You want your home to be secure and here’s how.

A Professional Security System

Have a professional come to your home to consult with you about a security system. A system can be as simple as wiring the windows and doors so you know when one opens to a system of motion activated cameras and sensors. A security system uses a keypad that lets you set the alarm in the evenings and while you are away. If a door is opened, the alarm will trigger, but a quick code will stop it.

Security Monitoring

If the alarm is triggered, but the intruder doesn’t have your code, the system will continue blaring letting neighbors know something is amiss. You can also have your security system monitored by a company. With security monitoring, a company will call your home after a set amount of time following an ongoing alarm. If you turn the alarm off in less than two minutes, the company will assume you are present and all is well. If, however, the alarm goes on for more than two minutes, the company will call your home.

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If there has been some sort of honest mistake you can let the company know and they may be able to stop the alarm remotely with a pin or password. But if you don’t answer the phone or claim you need assistance, the monitoring company will immediately alert authorities to come to your home and investigate.

Outside Protection

Some of the best ways to protect your home are to keep intruders well away from it. A privacy fence and locking gate will help to provide a buffer around your home. Backdoors and sliding doors are often less protected than front doors, so a locking gate will help to keep intruders away from these more vulnerable access points.

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A camera and intercom system at your front door will allow you to see visitors before you approach the front door. The intercom will allow you to speak to them without having to crack the front door which might allow an intruder to force his way inside. Driveway alarms can signal when a car or person has entered your property giving you time to inspect your visitor for any suspicious signs.

Vigilance

Even the best security system is worthless if you fail to use it correctly. Set your alarm, maintain your monitoring service, and be sure you always close and lock all gates, windows and doors. Keep your car doors locked as well as these are easy access points and be sure to periodically test your alarm as well as all locks to see if anything has come loose or broken.

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How To Begin a Meditation Practice

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness

how to start a meditation practice The benefits of meditation are well documented and a quick search online will pull up a long list of reasons why we should make time to meditate regularly. Making the commitment to do so is another matter. Even with the best of intentions, annual resolutions to make meditation a habit, it is easy to let the busy-ness of life get in the way of slowing down to meditate and reflect. I offer the following suggestions to help you develop the discipline of meditation.

My first suggestion is that you make an investment. Obviously, in order to meditate, you will have to make the investment of some of your time. This is often the easiest way to avoid meditating because there are so many other "more important" things to do instead of taking a few minutes to meditate. But if you are serious about meditating it may help if you make another kind of investment. Look around your home and find a corner or area you can devote to meditation. Make it as pretty and comfortable as you possibly can. Buy pillows or a meditation stool. Often, when we make a financial investment in accomplishing something we are more likely to make the time to follow through on our intention. 

You may determine that you do not have the room to set aside even a corner for meditation. If this is the case, then your financial investment can take the form of a meditation cd or even some comfortable clothes to wear while meditating. By spending some of your financial resources on your intention to meditate you will be sending yourself a clear message of the seriousness of your commitment.

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My second suggestion is that you make a commitment. The more time you spend meditating the more you will reap the benefits of meditation. However, meditation is like exercising and if you try to spend an hour or more on your first time meditating you will very likely stop meditating long before you experience any of the benefits. At first, set aside five minutes to meditate. Sit comfortably in a chair or even sit up in bed. Or, if you are fortunate to have created a meditation corner or space for yourself, go there and get into a comfortable position. We have all seen people sitting, their legs crossed, feet resting on thighs, hands on knees. The truth is, we are not all comfortable sitting in this position and it is essential for you to find a position that is comfortable for you. You may find it possible to sit with your legs crossed for more than twenty minutes. If not, find a different position. Experiment until you find a meditation position that you can sit in for at least five minutes. 

You may choose to use a cd to help you time your meditation or you may want to set a timer and simply focus on your breath. It doesn’t matter how you do the meditation so long as you are comfortable. Thich Nhat Hanh also suggests that, when you sit in silent meditation that you smile softly. This helps the muscles in your face to relax. 

Sit for five minutes at first and only increase the length of time until you are ready to try sitting for longer. You may prefer to sit for five minutes on days when you are busy with work and save the longer practices for weekends (or whatever days you have the most time to commit to meditating). You may find certain positions only comfortable for a certain amount of time. Don’t beat yourself up if you can only sit in one position for fifteen minutes. Instead, remember this and, when you only have fifteen minutes to devote to meditating, sit in that position. Use your discomfort to your advantage.

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My third and final suggestion is that you make it uncomplicated. If you cannot afford to buy pillows or cd’s, if you don’t have the space to create a meditation corner, don’t worry about it. You don’t even have to schedule a time, necessarily. If you arrive at work a few minutes early, do not go rush to your desk. Instead, sit in your car or outside and begin breathing slowly, smiling softly, and allowing yourself a moment of meditation before your work day begins. You can do this again, when you get home, either sitting in your car in the driveway before rushing in to start dinner, or you may opt to go inside and sit down on your couch for five minutes. 

If you did nothing else towards meditating you will be meditating ten minutes a day. If you then add in two weekend meditations of twenty minutes each you will be meditation for over two hours a week. Does it still feel impossible to set aside that much time for meditation? If so, perhaps you need to re-read some of the information on the benefits of meditation to reinforce your reason for making the time your own.

There is one more thing I would like to encourage you to do; keep a notebook and pen handy. You may find yourself distracted by random thoughts, some of which you won’t want to forget later but now is not the time to focus on these things. Instead, jot them down in the notebook and return to your breath. It is also a good idea to pause, when you are finished with your meditation, to write down how you felt during practice. Did you feel warm or cool? Was there any tingling in your hands or a tension anywhere? Make note of any sensations, emotions, or whatever else may come up during a meditation. Record what works and doesn’t and, above all else, follow your intuition as it leads you in how you should practice your meditation.

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