How to Buy a Tuxedo

The Jacket
1.Select a lightweight fabric for your tuxedo. Since most formal affairs are held indoors, you'll probably wear your suit in relatively comfortable temperatures. And because you're likely to be dancing, lightweight fabrics will help keep you cool.
2.Stick to basic black or deep, midnight blue when choosing a tuxedo color. Wear light-colored, off-white dinner jackets only during the summer months or in warm climates.
3.Choose a tuxedo style that suits your purposes. Black tie and tails is the most formal of men's evening wear and should be saved for truly special occasions. Double- and single-breasted dinner jackets are appropriate for any occasion.
4.Keep in mind that a single-breasted dinner jacket is left open and requires a cummerbund. Double-breasted jackets are worn buttoned when standing.
5.Choose either shawl or peak lapels - the only lapels appropriate for formal dinner jackets.
6.Find a jacket that flatters your face and build. Shawl lapels de-emphasize a round face, and jackets without vents make you look slimmer. 
Pay attention to the details. All dinner jackets should have a buttonhole on the lapel; pockets should be either jetted or double-besom (pockets with a welted, slit opening).
For the trimmings, grosgrain or ribbed silk is far more elegant than satin.
For white tie and tails, be sure the points of your waistcoat are higher than the points of your tailcoat. 
Never wear a cummerbund or vest with a double-breasted dinner jacket.
Single vents are unacceptable for double-breasted jackets.
Because you'll constantly be unbuttoning and buttoning it when moving from sitting to standing positions, a double-breasted jacket may be more trouble than it's worth. 
The Trousers

7.Select tuxedo trousers according to your type of dinner jacket - trousers with two stripes for tailcoats, and trousers with a single stripe for all other dinner jackets.
8.When wearing a tailcoat or cummerbund, wear trousers with a waist high enough to be completely covered by the tailcoat or cummerbund.
9.Choose trousers with vertical pockets for a dressier look. 
Use suspenders or braces to keep your trousers in place.
Pleated trousers are perfectly acceptable with waistcoats and cummerbunds and allow for ease of movement. 
Warnings: Flat-front trousers may not offer the roominess and comfort of pleated ones. 
The Tuxedo Shirt

1..Select a tuxedo shirt with either a wing or turndown collar. Wing collars will have a stiff, clean front, while turndown collars will have a softer, pleated front.
1..Make sure the shirt has a front bib construction that can be kept securely beneath the waistband at all times.
1..Be sure that the front bib section of the shirt will not extend past your suspenders. 
Overall Tips: Remember accessories to complete the formal look: tuxedo slippers, handkerchiefs, buttons, cuff links, braces and bow ties.   

How to Learn Key Foreign Phrases Without a Phrase Book

1.Set a reasonable goal about what you would like to learn, and stick with it. This can be as simple as learning a few basic greetings, polite terms of address, or how to order your favorite dish in a restaurant.
2.Pay attention to how others greet one another or part from one another; learning proper greetings and good-byes will always engender goodwill.
3.Find yourself a few good “teachers”—a hotel clerk, a waiter in a restaurant, a taxi driver. This doesn’t have to be someone you will spend a great deal of time with, just someone who appreciates your curiosity about the language and with whom you can comfortably interact about day-to-day needs.
4.Ask how to say a few words that will help introduce you to the language’s sounds. You don’t need a common language to do this; pointing and gesturing will do just fine. Learning how to say your teacher’s name, the name of the town you’re visiting, or the numbers one through five is a good place to start.
5.Jot down words as you learn them, making up your own phonetic system that will help you remember how they sound. Have your teacher pronounce the word while you write it down the way you think it sounds.
6.Repeat new words or phrases to your teacher immediately after she says them. Ask her to say the word again. Repeat it, making adjustments in your pronunciation as you notice differences.
7.Keep a running list of new words, and review it several times throughout the day. The key to learning vocabulary in a foreign language is review.
8.Try using your new words or phrases with locals other than your teacher. Ask them to repeat the words you have learned, so you can get used to hearing the ways other people pronounce them. 
Tips: Keep your sense of humor. Trying to speak a foreign language often feels silly, embarrassing or frustrating at first, but be persistent—the payoff is worth it. 

How to Pack for a Bike Tour

1.Put your saddle bags, called panniers, on the bike. Clip the hooks on the panniers to the top of the rack, with the elastic on the bag's back facing the wheel. The larger panniers hang from the rack over the rear wheel and the smaller ones from the front rack.
2.Line each pannier with a garbage bag in case of rain.
3.Pack items tightly, filling the garbage bags inside the panniers with camping gear, cooking supplies, spare clothes and tools. Balance the weight so that one side of the bike is not heavier than the other.
4.Put on the handlebar bag. It should hang from a clamp that came with the bag, and it attaches to the center of the bike's handlebars.
5.Fill the handlebar bag with sunglasses, sunscreen, wallet, snacks and other items that require frequent access. If your bag has a map pocket, slide your folded map into the appropriate section.
6.Strap your sleeping bag and tent to the rear rack with bungee cords or nylon straps. The cords should run from the front of the rack, over the bag and tent to the rear, and then back. Fasten tightly.
7.Shake the bike from side to side - when everything is mounted - to see whether anything falls off. 
Keep the handlebar bag light to help stability or don't use one at all.
Avoid filling the bags all the way up. Leave room for food and other things you may buy along the way.
Take along extra plastic bags for wet clothes, muddy shoes and greasy tools. 
Warnings: Be careful not to weigh down your bike so much that it becomes difficult to safely maneuver. Carry as little as possible. 

How to Make Confetti or Almond Favors for an Italian Wedding

1.Purchase sugared almonds from a specialty candy shop or gourmet market in your area a few weeks before the wedding. Look in the yellow pages to find out your options. Or, order them online. Do a keyword search on the Internet to find some suppliers.
2.Buy enough candy for all your guests. One Italian wedding tradition dictates that 5 almonds be given to each guest to symbolize health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.
3.Buy netting or mesh (the fabric often used to make bridal veils) in the bridal section of a craft shop or fabric store. You will need enough to cut out a 6- to 8-inch round for each guest.
4.Select a color that matches your wedding decorations.
5.Purchase spools of very thin ribbon. Allow 12 to 16 inches for each favor.
6.Buy extra quantities of all of your supplies just in case you make a mistake or need more than you think.
7.Trace the outline of a small plate (6 to 8 inches) onto a piece of cardboard to serve as your pattern or guide. Cut out the circular shape.
8.Use the pattern to draw (in pencil) as many circles as you will need on the netting. (If you are making a large quantity, break this up into smaller batches you can do over time or ask bridesmaids to help.)
9.Cut out all of the circles and lay them flat.
1..Cut the ribbon to the length you want.
1..Place the designated number of almonds in the center of each circle.
1..Lift up all of the sides of the netting together around the almonds to form a little bag.
1..Cinch the bag with a strip of ribbon and tie it with a small, neat bow to finish off the confetti.
1..Place a confetti at each guest's plate at the reception so they will have a remembrance to take home. 
Tips: Consider ordering special ribbon that is printed with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date. You can find such personalized items advertised in many popular bridal magazines. You can check with party stores in your area. Or do a search online for vendors. 

How to Plan a Gay-Friendly Trip to Mykonos

1.Plan your trip to Mykonos well in advance. Make a list of the transportation, accommodations and activities you desire or need.
2.Research Mykonos via books or the Internet. Look for the abundant hot travel deals offered via Web travel/auction sites.
3.Determine your travel budget beforehand since Mykonos prices run the spectrum.
4.Plan your trip to Mykonos between late June and August for the craziest crowds and warmest weather.
5.Plan to stay in the port for more lively gay nightlife. For a more restful stay, choose a hotel a few miles out near Plati Yalou Beach.
6.Down a drink at one of the outdoor cafés or bars along the extremely gay-friendly Little Venice strip (which gets cheaper as it heads toward the famous windmills). Dance amongst divas at Pierro's gay disco - then do a little cruising near Panagia Paraportiani (the little white church).
7.Take a cheap bus or taxi from the port to Plati Yalou, then a boat to Elia or Super Paradise beaches, which are great gay beaches.
8.Parade yourself along Super Paradise Beach or through the port's winding whitewashed streets. End your day by catching the sunset at Kastro Bar in Little Venice. 
Several books and Web sites offer information for travelers with HIV or AIDS (necessary vaccines, food to eat or not to eat, where not to drink the water, and so forth).
To save time after arriving in Athens, take a taxi to Zea Marina or Port of Pireaus to catch the Mykonos hydrofoil.
Carry your passport, extra money, traveler's checks and several credit cards at all times.
Most if not all of Mykonos' hotels offer gay-friendly accommodations year-round. 
Get a written prescription or doctor's letter if traveling with medications.
Consult your doctor six months prior to departure if you're HIV positive.