1.Before you go casual, check your daily planner to make sure you don't have any meetings that require formal business attire.
2.Select clothes that are clean, pressed and wrinkle-free. Your outfit should communicate professionalism.
3.Break up the oxford shirt monotony by wearing a linen or flannel shirt or a shirt with a band collar. Knitted shirts, turtlenecks and polo shirts are also acceptable.
4.Wear khakis, chinos, corduroys or comfortable slacks. Check your company's policy before you decide to wear jeans to work.
5.Make sure to wear a belt.
6.Choose oxfords, loafers or rubber-soled leather shoes or boots for casual day. Wingtips tend to be too formal. Worn-out shoes or athletic shoes will not make the grade.
Casual business attire is more formal than weekend wear. Faded T-shirts, shorts, torn clothing and risqué attire are not appropriate.
Ask your human resources department for specific guidelines.
Choose relatively conservative colors - an orange and green combo may shock your boss.
Cufflinks and bowties are not casual business accessories. Steps:
1.Before you go casual, check your daily planner to make sure you don't have any meetings that require formal business attire.
2.Select clothes that are clean and wrinkle-free.
3.Wear a blouse, dressy T-shirt, vintage shirt or knit shirt. Include a casual blazer or cardigan, if appropriate.
4.Don pressed khakis, slacks, a dress or a skirt. If a dress is sleeveless, wear a blazer or cardigan over it. Check your company's policy before you decide to wear jeans to work.
5.Wear shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for your outfit. Funky platform athletic shoes or strappy sandals might be formal enough for some companies; use your best judgment. Avoid shoes that are worn out.
6.Keep the makeup light. Let your natural beauty shine through.
7.Accessorize with a silk scarf or classic bracelet to give your casual outfit a polished look.
Thrift stores are a great source for hip vintage shirts that can be dressed up with slacks or khakis.
A basic pair of black slacks is a must for any work wardrobe.
Ask your human resources department for specific guidelines.
Warnings: Casual business attire is more formal than weekend wear. Faded T-shirts, torn clothing and risqué attire are not appropriate. Steps:
1.Put the light color on the bottom. In most parts of the world, dark goes on the bottom (think of jeans, trousers, black skirts) and white goes on top (classic white shirts, T-shirts). For the L.A. look, flip it: white cotton pants with a black shirt.
2.Buy it one size smaller. This applies to everything except shoes.
3.Wear flip-flops (a.k.a. zoris, flo-jos, thongs) when you can. Try to broaden your acceptance of flip-flops and thongs as a complete answer to footwear. They can be dressy if they're platform and business if they're leather.
4.Read a surf magazine. Even if you don't buy or wear any of the surf togs, the attitude adjustment should help a little.
Watch the movie "Clueless" to set the mood.
Girls: Do your nails, including the tootsies. Add a cute accessory, such as appliqués to your nails, teeny earrings, tiny hair clips, a temporary tattoo, or a faux diamond necklace strung on airy clear plastic thread.
Boys: You're in luck. So Cal business chic has not changed much in the past decade. Almost any suit can go L.A. just by wearing a black silk T-shirt instead of a shirt and tie.
Ladies: Go for the G. You will be wearing tight white slacks or capris, so you will need minimal treatment in the undergarment department.
Warnings: Especially for business, be sure everyone is on board before you launch your new So Cal look. Misplaced L.A. chic can jar the sensibilities of locals in some regions, occasionally even making them hostile.
1.Start talking about money with your child as early as age 3. Take her to the market and explain that you earn money so that you can buy things you need.
2.Give your child a small amount of money and let her buy something on her own.
3.Begin giving your child a small weekly allowance when she is 6 or 7 years old, and set guidelines about how she can use the money.
4.Pick a date, such as a birthday, on which to give your child an annual raise. Increase her responsibilities as you increase her allowance.
5.Avoid withholding allowance if your child doesn’t fulfill a responsibility; choose another form of discipline instead. It’s hard for a child to learn budgeting skills if she doesn’t know how much money will be coming in each week.
6.Start talking about long-term goals, such as saving for college or a car, when your child is between 11 and 14. Encourage her to earn extra money by mowing the neighbor’s lawn or shoveling snow off driveways.
7.Consider opening a bank account in your child’s name as an aid to saving and spending her earnings.
8.Consider encouraging your child to find a part-time job when she is 16 to 18 years old.
9.Consider giving her a credit card when she enters college, and discuss how to use it responsibly. Determine together what expenses you will pay for and what she must pay for. If the card is to be used only in emergencies, make that clear.
1..Teach your child about social responsibility as you teach her about money - for example, you could both donate money to a charity or volunteer your time at a shelter.
When deciding on an allowance amount, consider the child’s age, her needs and your family’s financial situation. Talk to other parents if you’d like to get an idea of typical allowances in your area, or do an online search to find various national polls on the topic.
Encourage your older child to work and save by offering to match each deposit she makes to a savings account.
Warnings: Keep your college-age child’s credit card use under careful supervision, providing guidelines as well as clearly stating the consequences of misuse.
1.Brush and floss regularly to reduce or prevent stains.
2.Try whitening toothpastes. Though heavily advertised, these only partially whiten teeth and don’t provide a complete remedy. Make sure the toothpaste has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval and has been clinically proved to whiten teeth effectively. Very few whitening toothpastes have undergone any type of clinical trial, and ones that are too abrasive can damage teeth or make them very sensitive.
3.Get regular dental cleanings, which remove many food and tobacco stains. No amount of cleaning will remove the severe staining left by tetracycline or systemic disease because these pigments lie inside the tooth; you’ll have to take more aggressive measures against these.
4.Consider the two options—in-office and at-home treatments—for bleaching your teeth. A dentist performs in-office treatments by coating the teeth with a bleaching agent, then using periodic flashes of light to activate the solution. Treatments last 30 to 60 minutes, and the complete procedure often requires several appointments. In at-home treatments, patients wear a mouth guard fitted with bleaching gel 2 hours a day for two weeks, depending on the severity of staining.
5.Think about getting veneers, which are custom-made shells bonded to the teeth with resins. This procedure often requires removing a small amount of tooth structure and is the most invasive—as well as the most expensive—treatment option.
No bleaching method can permanently whiten teeth, and all require repeated treatments—especially if the factor that caused staining still exists.
All of the bleaching mechanisms described here can cause tooth sensitivity, usually temporary (lasting up to several weeks).
Never try to remove or scrape off stains with your fingernails or other sharp objects.
The ADA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discourage use of over-the-counter bleaching kits, which can damage your gums.
If You Are in the Process of Getting a Loan
1.Start with the purchase price of the property as the value for the property. (We'll use the amount $150,000 as an example.)
2.Subtract the amount of your down payment ($20,000 in our example).
3.Identify your loan amount (the purchase price minus the down payment; in this case $130,000.)
4.Divide loan amount (loan) by the purchase price (value). In our example, this would be $130,000 divided by $150,000, which equals 0.87, or 87 percent - your ratio.
5.Use this number with your lender when referring to your loan. You would say that you want a loan with an 87 percent Loan-to-Value or LTV.
Tips: Most loans with an LTV over 80 percent require PMI.
If You Already Have a Loan
6.Get an appraisal of your property. Once you own a home, this is the only way to get an accurate assessment of its value. (If you are just doing this for information purposes, you can save the appraisal fee and simply estimate the value by comparing your property to similar homes in your neighborhood that have sold. This will be the value number for the equation.)
7.Look on your most recent loan statement to find out how much you owe (your balance). This will be the loan number for the equation.
8.Divide the loan figure by the value figure. This is your ratio.
If you are requesting the removal of PMI, you will have to provide an appraisal.
For the purpose of removing PMI, you may request in writing to the current lender that the PMI be removed if the ratio is 80 percent or less.
Warnings: If you request an appraisal and the value isn't high enough, you must still pay for the appraisal.
1.Plan early. February 14 is a popular date for weddings, and if you don't plan months ahead of time (or even up to a year for popular wedding sites), your dream setting will be long booked.
2.Choose a location that exudes romance: a rose garden (if you live in a temperate climate), a charming B&B, a grand old historical estate that can be rented out for parties. See Related Sites for more exotic locations, such as the 80th floor of the Empire State Building.
3.Send invitations that highlight the Valentine's Day theme: a heart-shaped card, an invitation with pictures of roses and cupids, an invite with a lace border. Include heart-shaped confetti in the envelope.
4.Dress the wedding party appropriately for the occasion: soft pink or passionate red gowns for the bridesmaids and red ties or cummerbunds for the groomsmen.
5.Add a touch of red to the bride's attire as well: red silk undergarments or garter. For the bouquet: a dozen red roses.
6.Decorate to theme: roses, candles, lace and red ribbons for table decorations, and red, white and pink heart-shaped confetti sprinkled around the area for gifts.
7.Order a heart-shaped cake with rosebuds on top made of icing or the real thing.
8.Consider using chocolate truffles as favors for the guests.
9.Choose a Valentine's song for the first dance, such as "My Funny Valentine."
If Valentine's Day falls during the week, book the date on the nearest weekend.
As you and your new spouse make your exit, have guests throw rose petals or blow bubbles.
1.Wear a very durable bathing suit, or even multiple suits, and select a sandy beach that has a gradual slope and is free of dangerous obstructions.
2.Hold the rope in the baseball-bat grip and stand on the beach 50 feet from the water's edge.
3.Run toward the water as the boat accelerates. Run so that the line stays taut, but is not dragging you along.
4.Sit down in the sand when you are 5 feet from the water, keeping your feet out in front of you.
5.Keep your feet high so they don't go underwater as you enter. With the correct timing, the rope should be pulling you 25 mph as you hit the water. You won't sink; instead you will enter the water sliding on your thighs and rear-end with your feet out in front of you.
6.Hold on tight. Press the handle against your thighs with the rope between your legs. Keep your feet slightly above the water with your toes pointed toward the boat.
7.Lower your feet into the water as the boat accelerates from your starting speed of 25 mph to 34 mph. Be sure both heels enter the water at the same time, or you will be pulled off to one side.
8.Stand up, leaning back hard against the rope and remaining in the "sitting-in-a-chair" position.
9.Stay low until you are comfortable and then begin to straighten your back and stand up higher.
1..Let go of the rope and sit back into the water when you are done.
The key to this trick is for the rope to be taut and the boat to be traveling at the correct speed as your backside lands in the water. This will allow you to plane along the surface rather than sinking in.
Use a standard 75-foot rope and make sure you have an experienced driver and observer before you attempt the beach start.
Don't attempt barefoot skiing until you consider yourself to be an expert skier.
Learn to barefoot ski from the step-off or saucer method before attempting a beach start (see related Hows).
Be very careful about the sand path of your entry and the water near the shore. There should be no rocks, glass or other dangerous obstructions.
Overall Warnings: Waterskiing is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury or death. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity.
1.Practice. Converse with everyone you come across: cashiers, waiters, people you're in line with, neighbors, co-workers and kids. Chat with folks unlike yourself, from seniors to teens to tourists.
2.Read everything: cookbooks, newspapers, magazines, reviews, product inserts, maps, signs and catalogs. Everything is a source of information that can be discussed.
3.Force yourself to get into small talk situations, like doctors' waiting rooms, cocktail parties and office meetings. Accept invitations, or host your own gathering.
4.Immerse yourself in culture, both high and low. Television, music, sports, fashion, art and poetry are great sources of chat. If you can't stand Shakespeare, that too is a good topic for talk.
5.Keep a journal. Write down funny stories you hear, beautiful things you see, quotes, observations, shopping lists and calls you made. That story of the long-distance operator misunderstanding you could become an opening line.
6.Talk to yourself in the mirror. Make a random list of topics and see what you have to say on the subjects. Baseball, Russia, butter, hip-hop, shoes ... the more varied your list, the better.
7.Expand your horizons. Go home a new way. Try sushi. Play pinball. Go online. Paint a watercolor. Bake a pie. Try something new every day.
8.Be a better listener. Did your boss just say she suffers from migraines? Did your doctor just have twins? These are opportunities for making small talk.
9.Work on confidence, overcoming shyness and any feelings of stage fright. Remember, the more you know, the more you know you can talk about.
Be yourself. Keep in mind that confidence and humor are superb substitutes for comedic genius or wit.
Remember, you never have to do it alone.
Keep a few exit lines in mind too. For example, "Thanks for the wonderful chat, but I must make believe I'm interested in everybody else. Tee hee."
Warnings: Keep your fellow chatterers in mind; naughty stories and loose language will be frowned upon in many circles. By the same token, your French quips and scientific discourses will be wasted on some.
1.Plan the ceremony for late afternoon or early evening so that guests who must travel can arrive on the day of the wedding and avoid taking too much time off work.
2.Choose a Thursday for the midweek discount and turn the event into a long weekend.
3.Remember that it's easier to reserve the church, reception site and other services for a weekday wedding. You'll find that some peak weekends will be booked more than a year ahead.
4.Keep in mind that florists, bands, caterers, photographers and clergy are very busy on weekends. You'll get more personal attention during the week.
5.Ask if discounts are available when making your arrangements. If one reception site doesn't offer a discount, another might.
Consider getting married from November through April and save even more, as that period is considered the off-season for weddings.
Give your guests plenty of time to plan vacations or a day off in connection with your wedding. Some employers require up to six months notice for time off.
1.Locate the red button on the top of the handlebars. This is called the "kill switch." When you pull it up the engine can run; when you push it down, the engine will shut off immediately.
2.Pull the kill switch up.
3.Turn the key to the "on" position.
4.Make certain the cord running from the key is attached to the steering column. This device acts in the same manner as the kill switch - the engine will run only when it is secured.
5.Pull the start cord, which looks like an enlarged lawnmower pull-cord and is generally found on the right side of the machine.
6.Listen to the engine - if it starts, let it get going slowly . If it "pops" but does not continue to run, try pulling the start cord a few more times. If you do not hear the engine turn over at all, proceed to the next step.
7.Find the pull tab under the right side of the handlebars. This is called the choke - it often has a circle with a diagonal line through it. The choke helps to start an engine when the weather is very cold or the machine hasn't been used in a while. When using the choke, try leaving it on only long enough to hear the engine fire a couple times, then return it to the "off" position. A choke left on too long can flood the engine.
8.Place the choke in the vertical position - this is called the half choke position. Pull the start cord several times. If the engine fires up, place the choke back down to its original position and let it slowly warm up. If the engine still has trouble starting, proceed to the next step.
9.Pull the choke 180 degrees from its original position - this is called the full choke. Pull the start cord until the engine sputters a couple times.
1..Replace the choke to the original off position and continue to pull the cord. The engine should fire up and settle into a steady hum, ready for fun in the snow.
Remember not to give the engine gas when it is slowly starting. A little burst of gas can be helpful, but holding the throttle down will often flood the engine.
It can take numerous shots to get a sled running in cold weather - try not to lose hope if it doesn't start immediately.
If you ride double on a sled, be careful not to hit your passenger when pulling the start cord.
Snowmobiling can be a very dangerous sport. Always wear a helmet and keep an eye out for other trail users.
1.Sort boxes by content labels, placing each carton in the appropriate room where the contents will be used or stored.
2.Identify one or two boxes in each room to be opened immediately, based on the necessity of the box's contents, and save boxes with out-of-season items to open last.
3.Decide where to place or store specific items in your new home.
4.Check the condition of each item as you unpack your goods.
5.Note any damaged or lost items on the moving company's inventory sheet, giving detailed, written descriptions about the loss; save packaging materials in case of questions.
6.Check your contract with the moving company to determine the mover's liability for your losses; consider filing a claim against the moving company for your losses.
7.Break down empty boxes; discard or recycle boxes and packing material.
Tips: File claims against your moving company for losses within nine months of the date of delivery of your household goods.
Warnings: Moving companies usually are not liable for breakage of items you pack yourself.