How to Buy a Hydration Pack as a Gift

1.Expect to spend anywhere from $30 to over $100 on a complete hydration system. A complete system includes a reservoir for fluids, a pack to carry the reservoir in, and any necessary tubing and flow valves.
2.Shop at a large, reputable outdoor gear store, a place where the sales staff is likely to be knowledgeable and helpful and that has a reasonable guarantee and return policy.
3.Look for simplicity and durability if you think the recipient will be using the pack for a variety of activities. You can find a good pack for as little as $30 that holds about 70 oz. of fluid - enough water for a long-distance bike ride.
4.Ask a salesperson to direct you toward hydration systems specially tailored for the activity the recipient is likely to use it for. There are packs designed for road biking, mountain biking, snow sports and hot-weather sports.
5.Consider a lumbar-style hydration pack for a mountain biking enthusiast. These are similar to fanny packs and have extra space to store a jacket or snacks.
6.Get a pack specially designed for snow sports if the recipient will be using it in cold conditions. Such packs have insulated tubing to prevent freezing and are designed to fit underneath a parka.
7.Find a pack designed for maximum comfort: Look for ergonomically designed packs; padded shoulder straps; sternum and waist straps to keep the pack steady; and breathable lining to keep the back cool.
8.Ask a salesperson about the following features: ease of cleaning; capacity to hold other gear; reflector strips for greater visibility in low-light conditions; drip-free valves; and a full-length side zipper for ease of loading a full reservoir.
9.Select a greeting card with an outdoor theme appropriate to the recipient's interests. 
Consider just purchasing a reservoir that will fit inside a backpack, converting it to a hydration pack. These run as low as $10 or $15 and allow for maximum versatility.
Buy a hydration pack with a warranty, and make sure it's returnable in case the recipient needs to make adjustments.
If you're shopping online, shop at the Web site of a reputable outdoor manufacturer, preferably one with a toll-free number so you can consult with a salesperson before making your purchase.
If you're shopping online or by phone, double-check the delivery date to make sure the gift will arrive on time.   

How to Travel With a Laptop

1.Get a heavily padded carrying case that fits the peripherals and accessories you need to carry.
2.Use a case that isn’t obviously for a laptop, to deter theft.
3.Take the components, peripherals and accessories you might need, but leave the CD-ROM drive or other parts you won’t. Take an extra battery if you will use the laptop on an airplane.
4.Remove disks from disk drives.
5.Get power and telephone-jack adapters if you will need them for international travel. Find out the power requirements and plug shapes for your destination before you leave.
6.Find out what communication facilities will be available. Learn how you can connect to your ISP if necessary.
7.Back up all important documents before you leave.
8.Check your insurance and warranty coverage.
9.Make sure your laptop has enough battery power to boot if required by customs or security personnel.
1..Avoid leaving your computer unattended in the airport.
1..Deter theft and breakage by monitoring your laptop closely as it travels through the x-ray machine. Better yet, ask for manual inspection.
1..Keep your laptop out of overhead bins and in plain sight when flying.
1..Once you arrive, change the date and time settings and the modem set-tings, if necessary. 
Remember that an X-ray machine will not erase your data, but a metal detector can.
If you have a removable hard drive, leave it out of your machine and in a different location when not in use.  
Warnings: Do not plug your laptop directly into a foreign outlet, even if you have something that changes the plug shape, or you may fry your computer. Always use an adapter that claims it can handle the voltage at your destination. (Make sure the adapter can handle your computer's current draw as well.)   

How to Flirt

1.Start by working on your self-esteem. The underlying key to all flirtation is confidence, the magical charm that makes others want to get to know you.
2.Smile, smile, smile.
3.Think playful thoughts when gearing up to flirt. Flirts are fun and engaging, and they love to play with others.
4.Compliment a stranger or acquaintance on his or her clothes, eyes, smile or sense of humor for starters.
5.Keep your body language open and inviting: make eye contact, lightly touch the person's hand or arm when telling a story, toss your head back when you laugh.
6.Initiate stimulating conversation. At a loss for words? Ask open-ended questions about the flirtee's job, hometown, family, recent movies seen, or thoughts about a painting on the wall.
7.Open up about yourself, giving someone even more reason to like you. But don't go on and on - the goal is to engage and intrigue, not bore.
8.Gauge the person's interest carefully. If you sense a flashing red light - or worse, smug ridicule - make your exit graciously, and immediately. You've got nicer people to meet.
9.Progress in your flirtation, paying attention to cues from the object of your interest. If you perceive a sensual or sexual connection, make a bold move - ask for a date. 
Avoid negative body language such as crossing your arms, scowling, appearing overly stressed, looking downward or walking in a hurry when you don't really need to.
Give yourself time to learn what types of conversation starters work for you. Practice flirting whenever you can - at the grocery store or Laundromat, or with your friends. 
Warnings: Sexually suggestive remarks or touching are inappropriate among co-workers. Keep any office flirting G-rated at all times.   

How to Turn Off the Sound on a Mac Altogether

Using the Control Strip
1.Click the Control Strip tab if the Control Strip is hidden. Locate the Sound Volume icon - it looks like a speaker.
2.Click the Sound Volume icon. A volume slider pops up.
3.Grab the slider and slide it down to the lowest volume. Let go of the slider. 
Using the Monitors & Sound Control Panel

4.Click the Apple menu and select Control Panels.
5.Click Monitors & Sound.
6.Click the Sound icon. You can then mute the Computer System Volume.
7.Click the Alerts icon to mute the System Alert Volume (the warning beep). When you do so, the Finder menu bar flashes instead.   

How to Free Write

1.Find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted or distracted. Your mind needs to be completely unhindered for this exercise. Try to forget about anything that may preoccupy your thoughts.
2.Set an alarm clock or wristwatch for a set period of time, usually about 10 minutes. Put the clock or watch where you cannot see it so that you won't be checking the time every few minutes.
3.Begin writing. Write whatever comes into your mind, no matter how nonsensical or random. Don't worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation. Let the words flow freely, and skip from subject to subject at will.
4.Write nonstop until the alarm sounds, even if you must write "My mind is blank my mind is blank" until something new emerges. Try to get in touch with your inner thoughts and feelings and let them direct your writing.
5.Stop writing when the alarm sounds.
6.Read over what you have written. Look for ideas or concepts that have emerged and that might be helpful to you in gaining personal insight, in finding direction in your writing or in pointing you to a special project.
7.Try to schedule time for free writing every day, if possible. It will develop your right brain over time and train you to think more clearly. 
Free writing is useful for personal problem-solving or for when you need to come up with ideas for specific school assignments or business.
Use the writing tool that is most comfortable for you - pen, pencil, PC or laptop.
Even if you do not "use" your free writing for giving you direction, it is a great tool for warming up before something that will intellectually challenge you - such as an exam. 
Warnings: Do not judge or censor what you are writing; there is no benchmark for success or failure. The purpose of free writing is to lose your inhibitions and not let blank paper intimidate you.   

How to Avoid Instant Intimacy Online

1.Keep the chat sessions and e-mail playful for the first month or so.
2.Do some chatting in large groups to ease the romantic pressure on you and your love interest.
3.Be on guard the moment you have romantic feelings about an online friend.
4.Be sensible. Maintain a slow pace as the relationship develops.
5.Wait at least a month before exchanging highly personal information.
6.Make light of the "L" word until you're absolutely sure you want to use it with your new cyber friend.
7.Remind your partner (and yourself) periodically of the power of unjustified intimacy, and that you cannot really know each other until you meet.
8.Take a break from the relationship whenever it begins to feel like an addiction.
9.Discuss the budding romance with friends and family.
1..Mention your problems and struggles to your cyber friend when chatting or exchanging e-mail. In other words, show him or her the complete picture of your life.
1..Set up a meeting in a public place to see if the two of you can pass the "chemistry test." 
If you're about to type something to your online friend that you would be too embarrassed to say in person, don't do it.
Use humor to lighten up the "heavy petting" that happens so often online.
Remember that men, in particular, open up more in cyber space than they do during face-to-face encounters. They probably cannot duplicate their online behavior during subsequent meetings in the 3-D world. 
Warnings: More than any other online phenomenon, instant intimacy causes people to do silly, unwise and sometimes dangerous things. They may fly thousands of miles to spend a week sharing a bed with a complete stranger or even break up a marriage to consummate their online relationship. Never underestimate the power of this cyber force.  Steps:
1.Use the delivery services of a florist or gift shop to present the person with flowers, gifts or messages - instead of lurking around the person's home or workplace, waiting for an appropriate moment to leave the item without being noticed.
2.Send anonymous messages through a secret admirer e-mail service, such as or
3.Make sure your messages and gifts are sweet, funny or light-hearted. Don't send messages that have threatening tones or gifts that imply questionable motives.
4.Send messages and gifts that create curiosity and interest rather than apprehension or fear.
5.Avoid lurking around the person's home or workplace.
6.Refrain from following the person around town or home from work to avoid any misunderstandings about your intentions. 
Tips: Drop a few clues - such as using your own handwriting to sign a card - so the person can eventually figure out your identity. 
Warnings: Avoid trailing after the person to eliminate any possibilities of creating fear or apprehension.   

How to Make Small Talk at a Bar

1.Make eye contact and smile. This makes you approachable.
2.Use an opening line such as, "What are you drinking?"
3.Pay the person a sincere compliment. True flattery will get you everywhere.
4.Try to find a common ground between you.
5.Discuss events in the news, places to eat, music or movies you both like. Avoid politics, religion, or other heavy topics.
6.Encourage the other person to talk about what interests him or her - work, car or hobbies are good places to start.
7.Make up a hypothetical question if the conversation begins to lag: What would you change if you were designing humans? What would you do if you won the lottery? 
Stay away from pickup lines, particularly, "I am very, very lonely, and I was wonderin' ... " and "Can I see your tan lines?"
Avoid discussing religion, crime, former relationships, and politics.
Don't put yourself - or anyone else - down.   

How to Train for Your First Marathon

1.Establish a solid fitness base. From a recommended 15 to 20 miles a week, gradually build to a peak mileage range of 30 to 40 miles.
2.Minimize the stress on your body by doing other sports, such as swimming or biking, especially after a long or hard run.
3.Practice the hard/easy principle. Intersperse stress and rest by taking days off to recover and adapt to marathon training.
4.Increase gradually. Up your training mileage by no more than 10 percent a week.
5.Run at least three long runs, from 18 to 20 miles.
6.Stick with 20 miles. Most experts say there is no reason to go beyond this amount in training, and the risk of injury increases with longer runs.
7.Consider speed work. Faster running isn't necessary for first-timers, but it can be useful. Make sure to consult an expert, such as a coach.
8.Practice racing. Use shorter events to practice pacing and drinking, and to test running gear. 
Find a friend or training group. Consider a training partner and/or a group to help get you through the long runs.
Practice mentally as well as physically. The marathon can take enormous concentration. Visualize yourself successfully running it in training.
Remember to stretch. This is important to maintain flexibility and prevent injuries. Stretching before training is a bonus, but it's especially important after running.
Study the distance. Read books and articles, and talk to experienced marathoners. 
Overall Warnings: If you have any condition that would impair or limit your ability to engage in physical activity, please consult a physician before attempting this activity. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. 

How to Darn a Sock

1.Find thread or yarn that matches the sock in color and texture; you can use embroidery floss (a type of thread) to repair a crew sock, while wool yarn is appropriate for a wool sock. Choose a darning needle as well.
2.Place a lightbulb in the sock and position the hole over the lightbulb. Your needle will glide smoothly over the bulb’s surface, making your stitching go faster.
3.Thread the darning needle with the yarn or thread and leave the end unknotted. The darning process should create a tight weave that makes knots unnecessary.
4.Start your work on either side of the hole. Take several small vertical running stitches in the intact fabric of the sock, about 1/2 inch to the left or right of the hole. Turn the sock upside down and make another row of stitches next to the first.
5.Increase the number of running stitches you make as you come closer to the hole. When you reach the point at which the hole begins, your stitching line should extend from 1/2 inch above the hole to 1/2 inch below it.
6.Continue making vertical running stitches. When your stitching reaches the hole, take your thread or yarn over the hole and into the fabric on the other side, forming what resembles a vertical bridge over the hole. Stitching should extend 1/2 inch beyond the hole at both the top and bottom edges.
7.Cut the thread end once you have covered the hole with vertical threads and extended the stitching 1/2 inch past it so that both sides of the hole look identical.
8.Thread your darning needle and begin your work 1/2 inch from either side of the hole at either the top or bottom. Take the threaded needle and weave it under and over the vertical threads that cover the hole (as well as the vertical threads that lie within 1/2 inch of the hole).
9.Turn the sock upside down once you reach the opposite end of the hole, and weave another yarn strand next to the first. Continue stitching back and forth until you’ve completely filled the hole. Trim excess thread. 
Use a darning needle for your repairs. The eye of this needle is large enough to accommodate a thicker yarn.
Sew a running stitch by bringing the needle up through the fabric, then down again, then up again.
Space stitches evenly. Lay both your running-stitch lines and crosswise threads as close together as possible to create a tight weave.
You can replace the lightbulb with another round, smooth object of similar dimensions, such as a hard plastic ball.   

How to Handle a Cheating Boyfriend

1.Acknowledge and accept your feelings of anger, sadness and disappointment over the betrayal.
2.Don't blame yourself for his actions. Remember that you can't be responsible for anyone's behavior other than your own.
3.Try to set aside your emotions and look at the situation from an outsider's point of view. What advice would you give to your friend?
4.Evaluate whether his behavior has permanently destroyed your trust in him and in your relationship. Do you believe he won't repeat his actions in the future?
5.Confront your boyfriend and tell him exactly how you feel about his actions. Let him know that cheating is not acceptable behavior in your relationship.
6.If you feel you need to know why he cheated on you to obtain closure for yourself, listen to his explanations about his behavior. Remember that listening does not mean you condone, agree with or accept his behavior.
7.Don't allow him to manipulate your feelings with sweet words of apology or promises never to cheat on you again. Be realistic. Do you honestly believe this was a one-time event, or do your instincts tell you that he'll probably cheat on you again in the future?
8.Ask yourself if you would be better off with him or without him. Can you continue to enjoy the relationship, knowing about the betrayal?
9.Find a constructive outlet for your emotions of disappointment and anger.
1..Give yourself time to grieve over the betrayal. Whether you stay with him or not, forgive him for his actions so you can heal and move on with your life.