Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Shopping is fun except when it’s on a budget – for me at least. Anything that can make shopping a bit more affordable and a bit less guilt inducing (because the best shopping for oneself is usually guilt inducing) is welcome advice. With that, here are some great tips from Ms. Amanda Harper.

Who doesn’t love shopping for clothes? You go out with a full(ish) wallet, but empty hands. And come home with an empty wallet and wonderfully full hands. That’s right no pizza money left for the month, but plenty of pretty new shoes, and tops, and bottoms, and jewellery, and even more shoes. Of course it’s all fun and games until your bank manager contacts you and utters those horrible words designed to bring you back to Earth with a coccyx shattering bump.

“Miss Harper, I’m very disappointed to see that you find yourself overdrawn.”

Okay, admittedly that phrase was only used once with me, and it was 12 years ago, a time when very occasionally in the smaller bank branches the manager deigned to endure contact with the merely mortal. But the point remains. A day of clothes shopping can very quickly go out of control when you see that “must have” item, even though your bank balance only stretches to very gently allowing your shadow to briefly play with its shadow. And even then only if no-one catches you.

But do you know what? There is light at the end of the tunnel. Over the next three weeks, starting today we are going to outfit ourselves with some basic skills which allow shopping to still be fun, and a whole lot thriftier.

My Random Ruminations.

Who doesn’t love shopping for clothes? You go out with a full(ish) wallet, but empty hands. And come home with an empty wallet and wonderfully full hands. That’s right no pizza money left for the month, but plenty of pretty new shoes, and tops, and bottoms, and jewellery, and even more shoes. Of course it’s all fun and games until your bank manager contacts you and utters those horrible words designed to bring you back to Earth with a coccyx shattering bump.

“Miss Harper, I’m very disappointed to see that you find yourself overdrawn.”

Okay, admittedly that phrase was only used once with me, and it was 12 years ago, a time when very occasionally in the smaller bank branches the manager deigned to endure contact with the merely mortal. But the point remains. A day of clothes shopping can very quickly go out of control when you see that…

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While many car enthusiasts can rattle off any number of facts about the first occurrence of their favorite model, a designers first entry into the industry, or the first of many options to appear on a vehicle, there are many other firsts people rarely if ever consider. How many people know who the first woman driver was? What about the history of the first cab or police car? There are many firsts surrounding automobiles that have long gone overlooked which we never consider today because they are so novel. Read on to find out about what they are.

The first woman driver was Madame Levassor of Paris, France. Madame Levassor is better known by her former name of Madame Sarazin. From her first husband she acquired the Belgian and French rights to to manufacture the gas powered Daimler engine. It was however when she married Lavassor the following year and merged her rights with his company that they began making cars and she was determined to not just have one but drive one. In 1891 she began taking driving lessons and was photographed operating an auto the following year. While many may argue someone else had to be first besides her. and they may be correct, she is the first woman documented as driving a vehicle.

Staying in Paris, we can now examine the first recorded car theft, which is something most people assume or joke had to happen in Detroit. In June of 1896 a Pugeot owned by Baron de Zuylen was stolen from the garage by his mechanic while it was under repair. Of course the mechanic was easily caught because any automobile drew attention at that time, and a half repaired auto that conked out during its heist draws even more. It is safe to assume he baron looked for a new mechanic after that although that detail was never recorded.

In 1899 a car was first used in police work, making it the first police car, by Sgt, McLeod of Northamptonshire England. In an official capacity he borrowed a Mercedes Benz to chase down a man selling forged tickets to the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The top speed reached during the chase was a blistering 12 mph. The first car commissioned exclusively for police work however was a Stanley Steamer purchased by the Boston Police Department to replace four aging horses set for retirement in 1903.

The first taxicab actually came in a pair. In 1896 Droschkeinbesitzer Dutz from Stuttgart purchased two Benz-Kraftdroschkes for a total of 16,000 marks for the sole purpose of conveying people for a fee. Of course the idea caught on in a hurry and he had a competitor in under a year that blew him out of the water named Freidrich Greiner. Many argue that Greiner had the first actual taxicab because unlike Dutz, he had his outfitted with meters making them a true taxicab.

The first installed car radio was in the passenger door of a Ford Model-T in 1922. Eighteen year old George Frost who was the president of his schools radio club in Chicago Illinois hold the honor for this first. Again this is something many people argue couldn’t possibly be a first, but the distinction they say is that the radio Frost installed was actually a fixed part of the vehicle, not something which was temporarily added to the vehicle and then removed later. It all comes down to the semantics as they say.

Finally the first documented automobile related fatality was Mrs. Bridget Driscoll on August 17, 1896. While at Crystal Palace in London, Mrs. Driscoll was run over by a car, fracturing her skull, driven by Arthur Estell who worked for the Anglo-French Motor Company. The report states that Mrs. Driscoll became panicked by other vehicles on the road and that Estell couldn’t see her because those same vehicles blocked his line of vision. The speed at impact was 4 mph, and the court ruled it an accidental death.

Those are a few of the forgotten firsts in automobile history. Some are amusing, one is tragic, but they all hold a place in the record books. Some dispute the validity of these claims, but none seem to be able to document anything that changes the record. However you view them is up to you, but at least you have a little more background about the early days of the automobile.

Fans of going green have a new hero in Chinese researcher  Dr, Yen-Hsun Wu who has discovered a new secret in the field of luminescence. As far fetched as it may seem, it was discovered that by implanting gold nanoparticles in the leaves of trees can induce luminescence in them. What that means in basic terms is that the fusion of mineral particles with a leafy plant can make the plant’s leaves glow in the dark.

The discovery was not by accident entirely as research in the field of bioluminescence is hardly anything new. What has always been slow going is matching a stimulant agent, in this case gold nanoparticles, with a plant that responds to the stimulus in  productive way. That all tales a considerable amount of time making the process something which for most would be beyond tedious. When results are successful, as in the case, the discovery can potentially be world altering.

Why the discovery is said to have the potential to be world altering is due to the long reaching ramifications that are now possible. Imagine driving down a street where there are no streetlights, but rather rows of strong healthy oak trees whose leaves shed enough to illuminate the road. Imagine the global reduction of power demand if just applied in that one way? Imagine not needing lamps in your home because a plant on the end table does the job just as effectively. The possibilities are mind blowing and awesome – and for now they are just possibilities,

Currently, gold nanoparticles implants have only been tested on Bacopa caroliniana plants and shown luminescence. There are still slews more to try, but it is possible not all plants or trees will respond as positively. In the Bacopa caroliniana plants that were studied, high wavelength ultraviolet light triggered the transformation by creating  blue-violet fluorescence.

As exciting as it all is, the reality of luminescent plants grown on demand may be decades away under the best case scenario. Everyone involved with the project along with the RSC have been very cautious to make a point of being clear that while this is a major discovery, there is no knowledge of how tinkering with nature may impact the growth and life-cycle of plants and trees, how long the effect may last, or in general anything beyond the discovery itself.


Did you know that you can create a toolbar for your website / blog
that includes all of your own content and most visited sites? I didn’t
but my husband did so when I told him I was spending a lot of time
logging-in to my DES blogs, facebook, twitter and other social media
accounts and finding the websites I visit on a daily basis, he kindly
said to me “no worries, leave it with me and I’ll sort something out for

I’m no expert but he is and as per magic and in no time he created a DES Awareness toolbar
where I could easily in just one click have access to all my “DES
stuff”. Many of you won’t need this but if like me you need to have
access to all the great work DES advocates around the world are doing in
just one click you may be interested in downloading and adding this Free DES Awareness Toolbar to your Bookmarks menu. Or you may decide to create your own customized toolbar. Here are some of the benefits:


Free DES Awareness Toolbar.

via Free DES Awareness Toolbar.

Going to a concert is far different from the old days. Actually with so many aging rockers doing their third farewell tour and so on the music has remained the same, the process of getting into the show is far different. Billy Joel once said “the good ol’ days weren’t always good” but when it comes to buying tickets is that true?

Recently I decided to do something nice for the extended family, I wanted to take everyone to a concert. A couple golden oldies were performing on the same bill I knew we would all enjoy and after a quick conference my thought ended up being correct. As the group was going to consist of eight people I had an idea the price may get high very quick. I went on line and began looking for ticket information.

Quickly I was directed to one source that was billed as the ticket outlet for the venue we would be visiting. I was beside myself to see they had a special offer which was for four general admission seats for only seventy five dollars. I couldn’t believe I would get eight tickets for a hundred and fifty dollars. My disbelief proved itself to be with merit.

I registered for an account with the provider, followed the confirmation links and within minutes I had my credit card information out and ready to go. I clicked on the icon for the special package. On the next page I clicked quantity times two for a total of eight tickets. Everything looked good and I confirmed. This is where things got weird.

The next page showed me an invoice. I noticed the price was not for A hundred and fifty dollars but just over three hundred and forty dollars! I was shocked. I checked the invoice and there I found the kicker. The convenience fee. A charge of just over seventeen dollars was placed on each ticket. The convenience fee was almost more than the tickets were supposed to be. I was still puzzled though and couldn’t figure out how the number was still that high.

I kept poking around only to find out the special four pack was not available to everyone, only those using a specific credit card like citi-card or some such thing. Therefore a four pack was just the same as regular price only that it guaranteed all the seats would be together. I have to admit for eight tickets that had a face value of twenty five dollars each I was appalled. There was no way I was going to pay a seventeen dollar convenience fee per ticket, especially tickets I was printing out at home.

The next morning I got up a bit early and ran through some errands and drove the thirty miles to the venue to buy tickets directly. Even the time and gas consumed would well make up for saving that dreaded convenience fee I reasoned. I walked to vacant ticket window, asked for eight tickets and pulled out two hundred dollars. The young lady took the money, placed it back down and said the total was two hundred and fifty six dollars. I looked at the sign which listed tickets as twenty five dollars, shook my head to recheck my math even though I knew it was correct and just stared back as if to ask “what?”

The girl pointed to another sign barely visible from the outside which announced a seven dollar venue fee is added to each ticket. I asked why they didn’t just add seven dollars to the ticket price and that be the ticket price. She looked at me as if I just asked her to explain a history of the advances of quantum mechanics in twenty words or less. I hated doing it but I paid the extra fee and had my tickets in hand.

Granted I’m not a big concert goer anymore, but I totally missed when all these extra charges for my convenience were added. I didn’t find it convenient to spend over one hundred and thirty dollars to print my tickets out at home for an event a month away. I still fail to see why I need to pay extra to buy a ticket that was in all honesty already high for a pair of bands having maybe three original members left between them that haven’t been relevant in maybe twenty five years.

What I learned is there is just no trusting concert promoters, not that they were always considered of great repute. I found it almost costs more to pay the fees on line just to buy a ticket than the ticket is even worth in some cases, and the idea of face value on a ticket even from the window is just a dream. In this case I must disagree with Mr. Joel, the good old days were better.

“Stop that you’re going to go blind!” How many people remember their parents saying that when they even had the slightest thought that masturbation may be occurring under their roof. The fact is masturbation doesn’t cause blindness, nor is it evil or some sign of sickness. Since before anyone began recording history, masturbation has been a part of life, a normal healthy part of life in fact, yet so many of the myths surrounding it are horrendously negative.

For years parents, clergymen, grandparents, and even teachers charged with sexual education classes told everyone masturbation was bad for them. There really is no basis for it, in moderation masturbation is actually a good thing. It releases pent up sexual energy. It poses no physical threat to a person, but if it becomes an obsession then it definitely is a mental problem. Masturbation to that degree though is decidedly not the norm however. Now that we know it poses no physical harm and is definitely not going to make you go blind, what are some of the other common myths surrounding masturbation?

Some people still purport that only males masturbate. This is completely false. During puberty males and females indulge in them self at a pretty close to equal rate, although girls tend to start just a hair older than boys. As puberty ends however, men do audition the finger puppets at a higher rate than women, and women tend to masturbate even less when in a sexual relationship. Men on the other hand tend to keep up a fairly regular rate of activity.

Many kids believe that adults don’t masturbate, especially married adults as they assume they can have all the sex they want. This is false, on both counts in most cases. Adolescents do tend to masturbate more than the average adult, but reaching the age of majority certainly does not end self gratification. While this myth is nowhere near as common as it once was thanks in large part to the easy access of pornography online which has plenty of examples of adults partaking of this activity.

Masturbation makes you weak is the all-time classic perhaps. This goes hand in hand with “women weaken legs.” For decades, probably centuries, athletes were told that spilling their seed prior to an athletic event would make them weak. Some reports claim it actually makes athletes stronger in the very short term, most say it creates no change. The one thing they agree on is it definitely doesn’t make you weak.

Masturbation does not reduce a mans virility. This was often said because nobody could think of any medical reason as to why a man may not be able to impregnate a woman. It was so strongly accepted in fact, that even when medical science disproved this the myth continued to linger on and on. The general thought was masturbation caused a mans ejaculate to be less thick, and the less thick the ejaculate was the less likely a woman was to become impregnated.

Another classic is that only people in unfulfilled sexual relationships, or lacking a regular sexual relationship masturbate. The fact is regardless of the nature of a person sex life, masturbation occurs and it is often a very a great part of a couples routine. Beyond that, masturbation is most often about self satisfaction and meeting a persons immediate physical needs. It is in no way an indication of an unhealthy or lacking sex life.

Masturbation is evil/sinful. Masturbation is neither. In the Old Testament, Genesis 38: 6-9, the death of Onan was attributed to masturbation according to some interpretations, hence the term “Onanism” which is now synonymous with masturbation. Most interpretations however point out that Onan’s death was the result of trying to use a primitive form of birth control. In the New Testament there is often one reference, 1 Corinthians: 6-9, which is pointed to, but is now roundly discounted. A Greek term “Malakoi Arsenkoitai” which was believed to mean “soft morals” as well as “fine” in some instances was changed to read masturbation when the Protestant church formed and did a little Biblical revision. The passage didn’t last long as masturbation was replaced with the word “homosexual” in the 20th century. Either way you slice it, it is hard to accept either citation as proof that masturbation is evil or sinful.

Masturbation will always be surrounded by myths as the time these false seeds are often planted is when kids are very confused about the whole concept of sex. In many cases they continue to spread because one kid who knows no better tells another in the same boat, and the myths just keep growing. As adults we may look back on them and laugh at how silly they all seem, but as kids…is it ever amazing the things we would believe? ation.shtml

If you get stung by a sting ray it is not the end of the world. It is going to hurt, and you need on the spot and follow-up care to avoid infection from the barb it will leave behind in you in almost all cases, but it is actually quite common and very treatable. Knowing a little about where sting rays like to hang out and what to do immediately after a sting is the best first step to handling the situation calmly and correctly.

Sting rays love to lay around half buried in sand or mud in warm coastal regions. Sting rays are actually quite passive and they sting as a defensive measure in most cases. Usually what happens is that a person is walking along and steps on ray prompting the sting, it is a reflex reaction. There isn’t much you can do to avoid this but completely stay out of the water which is totally unnecessary. So know you know where a sting ray likes to lounge and why they sting, the next step is understanding the possible problems you can encounter.

A sting ray tail has at least one barb and two venomous grooves. The tail is their weapon which is what they use to jab their victim. At that point the stinger apparatus injects the venom assuming that the sting ray still has its integumentary sheath which covers the venom glands. If the sheath is missing there is no evnenemation. In some cases even when the sheath is in tact envenomation fails to occur, it is not something that happens every time. Immediately after a sting the wound may bleed freely, the pain in some victims has been described as excruciating, and there are about a dozen systemic problems which may arise. be on the look-out for the following because they can dictate what type of treatment you need and how fast you need it: Hypotension, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, synoscope, diarrhea, muscle cramps, fatigue, diaphoresis, fasiculations, and seizures.

The first step in treating a sting ray wound is to immerse the area in water that is as hot as the person can withstand without burning them. If you cannot soak the area then apply hot packs or compresses. The suggested water temperature is 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit. This is mostly to ease the pain, but it is also believed it counteracts the toxin which is sensitive to heat. While this is being done if any of the above systemic signs present immediately call 911 or the appropriate emergency service number where you are for immediate treatment. If no systemic problems manifest keep the affected area immersed for 30-90 minutes being sure to keep the temperature of the water as constantly hot as possible.

After the immersion has lessened the pain enough to examine the area you can begin examining the wound. It is very common for a barb, and in some cases a part of the spine and sheath, to break off and lodge itself under the skin. Sand and other foreign materials may be present as well. While many people try to clean and remove all of this on their own, it is best to go to a local wound care center. Many large popular beaches and most resorts have someone available that is trained and capable of dealing with these wounds. Going to a local wound treatment center is however the best, especially if your tetanus booster is old or out of date.

The wound if small can be left to close on its own without stitches. Watching for infection is the biggest thing you can do in the days following a sting. Staphylococci and streptococci are serious and need to be dealt with immediately. While these are not common after a sting, the rate of morbidity for those who leave infection by these agents is high.

In short; don’t panic, immerse the area in 100-115 degree water for 30-90 minutes and then treat the wound to remove anything which has entered the body. Clean the wound and if necessary consider loose primary closure. With that done monitor for infection. While not all stings necessarily need emergency care always be on the lookout for any systemic problems unusual swelling or tenderness, and infection. Should any present them self please seek professional medical care.

Finding the perfect gift for a teen girl is almost as hard as finding two identical fingerprints as the things that are high on their list of favorites changes with the wind it seems. There are however some great gifts that are almost sure to please in the $50 to $200 range if you do a little leg work. Sure you can always give cash or buy a gift card which they will certainly use and appreciate, but if you want to really see them light up and you yourself want to feel like you gave the gift of the year, try some of these ideas on for size.

If the girl in question is a music lover a download gift card is going to elicit a thank you, it’s not something that is really exciting or unique. Buying CD’s and concert videos is okay, but again do you really know their full music collection? Odds are you don’t and you’ll duplicate in whole or part something they already have. What option do you have for giving the gift of music then? Give them concert tickets! You may have to snoop a little bit to identify what performers are high on their list at the moment, but once you figure this out you are halfway there. Check the local listings to see if any of them will be appearing in the next month or two. Depending on how much you want to spend will determine which show to choose and the number of tickets you buy. There’s no fun in going alone so be prepared to buy at least two tickets so she can bring a friend. It is not only a great night out, but a great lifetime memory and you will be the coolest gift giver ever!

Cellphones are the cornerstone of every teen girls life it seems and more than likely the one you’re shopping for is no different. A new cellphone is always popular and in demand! This is a gift that will get used constantly. Supposing there is no need for a new cellphone then consider expanding their coverage plan. Text messaging is just a fact of life for teen girls and depending on which end of the spectrum you want to stay near you can up their coverage under most carriers to an extra 250 messages a month to unlimited messaging. Believe me, this will go over huge! If it’s your teen daughter you are buying for it’s even better because it will cut down on those bills chock full of charges for all those messages that went over the existing monthly plan which saves you money as well making this a practical two-way gift.

For the fashion conscious teen, especially the girly girl type, something from their favorite designer is always a hit. As many designer products are

out of a teen girls range to purchase on their own. It is possible to identify something even in the $50 range from a designer line, but it is going to be more likely that you will have to plan in going over $100. The designers that are always in demand with most teen girls are Donna Karan (DKNY), L.A.M.B (The Gwen Stefani owned line), Dolce and Gabbana, or on the lower end Harajuku Lovers. An outfit is nice but you will likely do better to look at their line of accessories, especially handbags, cellphone accessories, and things of that nature. Having the “right” bag is always a must and will get plenty of use.

Perfume is a womans most powerful accessory so it is always a safe purchase. It may sound boring, but the right scent is always a great gift. Unfortunately for most teens the “right” perfume is a very expensive perfume by their standards as they can easily run over $100 dollars for just an ounce in some cases. Being able to identify what it is they like and getting it for them will go over as good as almost anything you can buy. Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger is a popular choice on the low end of this scale, Prada has several offerings on the higher end that are sure to please as well.

Teen girls also like to be pampered, and providing that never goes out of style. A gift basket of bath oils is always popular. Jo Malone offers an assortment of six bath oils that runs about $70 but with some smart shopping you can find it for less. On the upper end of the scale you can generally buy her a spad day, or at least a spa afternoon where she can literally be waited on hand and foot. She will walk out feeling and looking great! This is a gift that has never let me down in the past and it never goes unappreciated.

Depending on how well you really know the girl in question, buy them something related to a hobby or passion. For artists a great set of paints or a couple large canvasses to work on are always appreciated as they are expensive. A magazine subscription, or even as many as three related to their interests are always fairly popular and cost efficient these days as some can be had for under $10. Just be sure it is something they will actually read.

The key to giving a great gift is knowing the girl you’re buying for. Don’t get carried away, remain reasonable and stay within the price range you have set up. Stuffing cash and gift cards in a card is always an option, but to really give them something they will love do your homework, try some of these ideas out, and watch how your gift is the one they talk about well into the future.

While everyone talks about the need for safe sex and the need to employ the use of the proper preventative measures, specifically condoms, very few people will actually tell you about all the proper things you need to know to properly employ them in your sex life. Even if you read the box the condoms come in, chances are you aren’t going to get much useful information from it aside from the specifics of that particular brands manufacture specifications. Luckily there are ten very easy rules for how to properly and safely use a condom so you can minimize the risk of anything going wrong which may detract from a condoms odds of working to its full potential.

Step 1: Check the expiration date. In the heat of the moment few people think to check whether or not the freshness date has passed, even fewer think to check this when buying condoms in the first place. The fact is a condom is not like a fine wine or cheese that improves with age so this is paramount to your safety. If you cannot find an expiration date, don’t use the condoms at all, as unfathomable as it may seem hold off until you get one you are aware is up to date. Furthermore make sure you are using

Step 2: Open the package with care. You may be in a rush to get things going, but the odds are if you are going to do anything to destroy a condom it will be during this step. The best advice is to open the wrapper much like you would a bag of chips. Biting and constantly pulling an twisting the wrapper is a great way to inadvertently, and unknowingly, damage a condom and make it ineffective against retaining bodily fluids. Remember that it only takes a pin sized hole to let sperm escape.

Step 3: Know yourself or the person you may be applying the condom to. Circumcised and uncircumcised men need to use a slightly different method of application. If you are uncircumcised roll the foreskin down from the head of the penis before application.

Step 4: The penis needs to be erect for proper application of a condom. It may seem silly but there are plenty of people that miss this very basic premise. Trying to place a condom on a penis which is not erect will only result in an uncomfortable experience and a poor fit. A poor fitting condom is more likely to break or actually come off during sex which negates its usefulness.

Step 5: Take your time. It isn’t always easy to figure out which way a condom is going to unroll once the package is open. Don’t rely on yourr Jedi psychic powers here. Take a moment to look at the condom and check this out. Once you do have it safely out of the package, squeeze the reservoir tip gently between the thumb and forefinger. Do not roll it around between your fingers, just give it a gentle squeeze. This will in effect “close” the reservoir so that when ejaculation does occur the odds of the condom bursting are lowered because the semen has a place to collect.

Step 6: When putting the condom on, look and feel to make sure there is a little room at the top. Do not try to make an overly tight/snug fit at the tip, doing so increases the odds of breakage. Once the condom is properly on the tip of the penis, begin gently unrolling it all the way down the shaft of the penis until it reaches the base.

Step 7: Lubricate the condom. Although most condoms now come pre-lubricated, a little extra water or silicone based lube is a good idea once the condom is properly on. It not only increases sensitivity but it actually is a good safety measure. You only need to use a drop or two of lube to the exterior of the condom which you can then spread using your hand. This is a further step to reduce unnatural friction and reduce the odds of condom breakage.

Step 8: The condom, and you, are now ready for sex! The process of properly dealing with a condom are not yet over however!

Step 9: Once you have completed the sexual act, don’t get sloppy! The natural tendency is to pull the condom off immediately after withdrawing from your partner. The proper method is to first make sure that you are completely separated from your partner, and by this what is meant is that you have a good foot or so of air between you. Allow the penis to hang at a downward angle, and begin slowly and carefully unrolling the condom from the base. Do not try to actually pull the condom off. Once the condom is removed tie a knot in the base of it and dispose of it by wrapping it in some tissue paper and throwing it in the trash. The practice of flushing condoms down the toilet is a bad idea because it can cause clogs.

Step 10: Once the condom is removed make sure to clean yourself. Your penis will still be covered with sperm, so it is a good idea to take care of that before crawling back into bed and it is just good hygiene to boot.

Five further steps to insure proper condom safety and usage are as follows:

1. Use the correct condom! Do not use a latex condom if either of you is allergic to latex, instead use a synthetic non-latex condom. Avoid those lambskin or sheepskin condoms as they provide no protection against STD’s. Wearing two condoms at once will not help increase the odds of effectiveness, in actually it decreases the odds because it causes unnatural friction which can lead to breakage. Finally do not use a condom with a spermicidal lubricant or nonoxynol-9 if you plan to engage in anal sex. Those agents can cause an irritation to the anal walls making the odds of an STD transmission slightly higher.

2. Know your lubricant. Not all condoms and lubricants work properly together. Oil based lubricants dissolve latex making them potentially useless so this mixture should always be avoided. Never use a massage oil in place of an actual lubricant as these often contain perfumes or other chemicals which can cause an irritation when they come in contact with the inner portions o the anatomy.

3. Properly store your condoms away from light and heat as either can break down latex and make the condom less durable than it was at the time of purchase. Likewise for the guys, although it may look cool to have that circular worn into your wallet, don’t carry your condoms that way as the pressure and friction exerted upon it can cause breakage.

4. Don’t have an ego when it comes to choosing the correct condom size. Yes condoms do come in a variety of sizes, and if you are not endowed like a “dragon slayer” don’t buy the dragon slayer size just so you look impressive asking for it at the checkout. Too small a condom will fit wrong and be more likely to break as well as very uncomfortable. Too large a condom may come off altogether. Either option is bad.

5. If you are in a prolonged encounter, do the right thing and switch condoms after about twenty minutes. The longer a condom is in use the more likely it is to fail. Condoms were not designed to withstand a long life of service. It may not be fun, but it is a whole lot more fun to be safe and switch a fresh condom in than it is to deal with an STD or unplanned pregnancy.

That should cover everything you need to know about condom safety. Know what your needs are, choose the proper equipment, and always use it properly. Following these steps should keep you as safe as possible.

You have been dating awhile and everything is going so good you decide it’s time to move in together, that’s the hard part right? Not so fast Shirley, that is actually the easy part. before you set up a home together you have plenty of discussions coming and a little bit of detective work to do. This is huge step as you are in some ways making a commitment to someone, both personal and possibly legal. Rather than loading up the truck and jumping into the fire, take your time and follow these simple pieces of advice to make sure that this is really the right thing for you.

The first step if you haven’t already done so is to meet his family. Since you are moving in together the odds are you will be seeing more of them and dealing with them on the phone as well. if you find that you simply detest them or they you, then it may not be the best idea to move in together just yet. You may want to hold off on this until you get to know each other a little better and smooth things over to the point you can tolerate each other without that fifth glass of wine. If your partner only sees their family on a limited basis this isn’t such a big issue, but if he deals with them regularly this is a must do activity. it also raises the question as to why he hasn’t already introduced you to them.

In a likewise manner meet as many of their friends as possible, again because these are going to be people you deal with more often. The second bonus of meeting the family and friends is that you can pick their brain and get answers to questions they may have been dodging or you doubt the honesty of. We want to believe the people we love are always honest with us, but reality says that isn’t always true. If you catch him in little fibs like he wasn’t a star football player but rather a bench warmer in high school, or find out she wasn’t really runner-up in a Ms.Teen pageant, but rally second runner-up, big deal. Look for the big red flags and proceed appropriately.

It may seem trivial, but work out the household chores in advance. This is one of the single biggest headaches when people first move in together and it can easily be avoided. Sure she may pick up after your trail of laundry, and he may do the grocery shopping for awhile even though he’s busy, but if these aren’t defined chores they can lead to a healthy dose of anger and resentment. He gets mad that you never vacuum, she blows a gasket because you never clean the bathroom. Save the headaches and set a plan for who does what and rotate the icky chores on a regular basis. If need be post a chore schedule on the refrigerator.

This step may seem kinda creepy, but meet their ex, especially if either of you have kids. Find out what he is really like to live with. You may get a bit of an exaggerated ugly side of your partner so keep that in mind, but even in exaggerations their is some truth. If either of you have kids this is vital because you and the kids are going to be dealing with this person at least on a limited basis and if they are a psycho you need to know that in advance and have a plan in place to steer clear of each other whenever possible.

Make firm rules regarding the finances. Money will kill a relationship as quick as anything around. Get it on paper and actually notarize it in case things go south as to who pays what. This will avoid those weird moments when the power goes out for instance because you both thought the other person paid the bill, or you think everything is paid and splurge on something you don’t need only to come up short with past due notices jammed in your mailbox.

As a final note set some rules as to what is and is not allowed in your home. if you have to be up early every morning and need your sleep set rules regarding how late he has his buddies over. If you cant stand wading through a jungle of clothes hanging off the shower rod get that worked out in advance. They may not all be big issues, but if they can potentially present a problem or are a real pet peeve of yours work it out beforehand!

Moving in doesn’t have to be a chore, and it won’t be if you take these simple tips to heart and lay a good foundation in advance. It may take a little time, it won’t always be fun, but this is a big step that will impact you on a daily basis so take it seriously. if everything checks out to your satisfaction put that U-haul in drive, if not, give it some more time and see how things play out.