1.Figure out how much you're willing to spend. Good sleeping bags range anywhere from $80 to over $300.
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 what's called a "three-season" or "four-season" bag. These are usually rated to keep people warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.
4.Consider purchasing an insulated lining for the bag if you know the person receiving it is likely to be camping in temperatures below 20 degrees F.
5.Consider getting a down-filled bag to communicate that you want the recipient to be as cozy as possible and that you hope the gift will remain with the recipient forever. Down bags are toasty warm and the most durable bags you'll find.
6.Get a rectangular sleeping bag that can be "mated" to another sleeping bag if you're looking for a romantic gift for your partner or a couple.
7.Look for a zipper that opens from either the top or the bottom of the bag. This is especially nice for camping in warmer weather - the person using it can open the bottom and let his or her feet breathe.
8.Find a good salesperson and provide an estimate of the height and weight of the person using the bag, the conditions in which he or she is likely to be camping, and the price range you're considering. The salesperson can direct you to a range of bags best suited for your gift.
9.Add a small gift to the mix that communicates a particular feeling toward the recipient or that plays off a personality characteristic. A small candle lantern will make it a romantic gift; a battery-operated reading light is good for a book lover; fleece socks will communicate your desire to make the recipient as comfy as possible.
Buy a bag with a warranty, and make sure it's returnable in case the recipient needs to make adjustments.
Consider purchasing a sleep pad to go with the sleeping bag. This is a necessary insulating layer that sits between the sleeping bag and the cold ground.
Make sure you purchase a stuff sack to pack the sleeping bag into if it doesn't already come with one.
You can purchase a synthetic shell or outer bag to protect a down-filled sleeping bag from dampness.
Consider purchasing a "coupler kit" to sleep with a partner in warmer weather. This is a piece of cotton fabric that serves as a bottom sheet for two sleeping pads. A rectangular bag is then zipped on top as a blanket for two people.
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. Steps:
1.Consider the amount of snowfall your area typically experiences. A 4- to 8-horsepower unit should suffice for areas with light and moderate snowfall. For an area experiencing 10 or more inches of snow, a unit with 8.5 or greater horsepower is appropriate.
2.Think about your home and the area that needs to be cleared after a storm. Is it a large area? Does the snow need to be thrown a certain distance? Check the distance the snowblower throws the snow to make sure it will meet your needs.
3.Consider the size of the area you'll need to clear and the usual depth of winter snowfall in your area. Compare the width and depth the blower clears on each pass with these considerations.
4.Look for a unit with an electric starter for easy operation.
5.Look for a model with a two-year or longer warranty.
1.Determine which type of game interests your child the most. There's Toy Story 2, Elmo, Hello Kitty, the Smurfs and Rugrats, Barbie, Hot Wheels, the Olympics and baseball, and even chess for your budding prodigy.
2.Decide how much you're willing to pay for the game. Because game prices can vary widely, price is often the deciding factor.
3.Read consumer reviews to hear what other gamers have to say. Reviews are widely available online and in magazines and can provide insight into graphics, content, target age range, and game play features.
4.Buy through the shopping list below or through your favorite online or retail store.
Generally speaking, the longer a game has been out on the market, the less it will cost. Newly released games are usually the most expensive.
Consider renting a video game before actually buying it. There's no better way to assess a game.
1.Prepare your bike for winter conditions - see "Prep a Mountain Bike for Winter," under Related Hows.
2.Choose the proper tires. The knobbier they are, the better traction you'll have.
3.Move your weight to the back of your bike as you approach the snow. The more you can weigh down your rear tire, the better traction you'll have.
4.Shift into a low gear to make pedaling easier.
5.Lift your front wheel off the ground just before you hit the snow.
6.Keep your momentum and continue to pedal the entire time you are in the snow - especially if the snow is deep or soft.
7.Brake early. Your brakes won't work as well in cold weather as they do when it's warm.
8.Watch out for slippery sections and try not to brake when you hit ice.
Tips: Dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
Warnings: Mountain biking is a physically demanding sport that could result in serious injury. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity.
1.Start Microsoft Excel and open the file you want to change.
2.Open the Tools menu and select Track Changes, then Highlight Changes.
3.In the Highlight Changes dialog box, select "Track changes while editing."
4.Select "Highlight changes on screen."
5.Open the When menu and select All.
6.Open the Who menu and select Everyone.
8.Click OK. This will save your changes and your file/workbook.
9.Enter your new changes.
Changed cells have a triangle in the left corner.
All the changes in a file will be tracked.
Selecting Everyone in the Who menu will make your file shared.
If you want to make changes but not see them on screen (useful if you're making a lot of changes), don't select the "Highlight changes on screen" option. Select the option later to see the changes you made.
Accepting or Rejecting Changes
1..Open the Tools menu and Track Changes menu and select Accept and Reject Changes option.
1..In the Select Changes to Accept or Reject dialog box, select "Not yet reviewed" to see all changes or "Since date" to see changes after a certain day.
1..In the Accept or Reject Changes dialog box, review the edits to the spreadsheet.
1..Select the Reject or Accept button for each edit.
To review your changes later, select Close in the Accept or Reject Changes dialog box.
Rejecting your changes will erase the change and restore the cell back to the original entry. Steps:
1.Open the workbook you want to distribute.
2.Open the Tools menu and click Share Workbook, and then click the Editing tab.
3.Select the "Allow changes by more than one user at the same time" box.
4.Click the Advanced tab.
5.Under "Track changes," click "Keep change history for."
6.In the Days box, type a few days longer than the number of days reviewers will spend making changes and comments in the shared workbook.
8.Save the workbook.
9.Make copies of the workbook to distribute by using the Save As command in the File menu. Give each copy a different name, such as "Budget - Sulhi copy" and "Budget - Marina copy."
Merging the Shared Workbooks Back Together
1..Open your base copy of the workbook you distributed.
1..Open the Tools menu and select Merge Workbooks.
1..Save the shared workbook if you are prompted.
1..In the box that appears, select one of the copies you made of the workbook.
1..Repeats steps 2 through 4 until all copies of the shared workbooks are merged.
1.Ask her what she wants. This step will give you a place to start if you don't have any ideas of your own.
2.Give her something you can enjoy together, such as tickets to a play or a special museum exhibit.
3.Choose a gift basket full of her favorite foods, teas, coffees or soaps and body lotions.
4.Give a gift certificate for a pampering day at a spa, or arrange for a makeover, manicure or pedicure.
5.Buy a collection of scented aromatherapy candles or a fragrance gift pack, if you know what perfume she wears.
6.Give golf or tennis lessons.
7.Organize all the photos you've taken together over the years and put them in a frame or album.
8.Give elegant but simple jewelry: a silver bracelet, a stylish pin or a pair of gold studs.
9.Buy a really good bottle of wine and some wine glasses or splurge on the best chocolate.
It's best to avoid buying fragrances unless you know what your friend likes. Most people are picky about what they wear and have their own preferences.
If you are completely clueless, give a gift certificate. Upscale clothing stores, gourmet shops, museum stores and bookstores are great choices.
Pay for a membership in a book-of-the-month club or a gym.
If you're still not sure what to get your friend, try books or music.
Warnings: If you are a male buying for a female friend, make sure you don't give anything that suggests more than friendship, unless that's what you want. Generally, gifts of lingerie and fine jewelry suggest a more intimate relationship.
1.Limit towels to one or two colors (or one pattern plus one solid) to avoid a jarring, laundry-on-the-line look. Bath rugs should match one of the towel colors for a consistent appearance.
2.Choose a shower curtain carefully. A clear curtain will add to the feeling of openness in a smaller bathroom, but a color can help the room achieve a coordinated look.
3.Hang a shelf (the space above the toilet is often vacant) to increase storage for items such as neatly folded washcloths and dusting powder. Use small wire, plastic or straw baskets on the shelf to corral small items such as extra razors and soaps.
4.Place facial tissues in a dispenser that matches one or more other accessories in the room, such as the toothbrush holder or lotion/soap dispenser.
5.Personalize décor by hanging an inexpensive framed picture or setting out a potted plant (low-light choices include mother-in-law's tongue and cast-iron plant). If you use a silk arrangement, keep it well-dusted.
6.Set out items that make scents but are subtle. Options include potpourri and candles, which should be changed seasonally. Use spicy fragrances in fall and winter, and floral scents in spring and summer.
Warnings: Never burn a candle unattended. Because a bathroom is usually small, take care to situate the candle away from flammable objects such as curtains and towels.
1.Think about the skill level of your cyclist. There's no need to spend thousands of dollars for someone who's just taking up riding.
2.Shop at bike shops as opposed to department stores, whose selections are inferior in quality and assembled by people who don't know much about bikes.
3.Keep in mind that the most important thing is fit. The best bike in the world won't do the recipient much good if it's too big or small. Be sure you know the height of the person you are buying the gift for.
4.Think about extras: color, saddle style, frame material (aluminum frames can be lighter to carry around, but may make a considerable difference in price).
5.Look at local bike shops with many different lines of bikes to see which brands match your expectations for your gift and checkbook.
6.Ask about a service plan, which often comes with the purchase of the bike.
7.Know that most sellers are happy to put on any extras you want to buy, such as racks or fenders.
Good base-level bikes cost $250 to $300 and are a great way for a budding cyclist to get started.
If your recipient lives far away from you, consider shopping for a bike at a large chain bike shop that has a location close to where the recipient could pick it up. Or, ask if the bike shop could pack and ship the gift for you.
1.Do a search for a combination of words like "pen pal", "find" and "write".
2.Try using several different search engines to see what types of things you find.
3.Visit some of the sites that come up.
4.Look for those sites that seem to meet your goals, whether it is to find a friend across the world or to develop a romance in the next state.
5.Find services that are geared to your age, whether you are a student, a parent or a senior citizen. Different sites may cater to different audiences.
6.Consider using sites that ask you to share your interests and then match you up with someone who is similar. This can save you the time of searching through hundreds of ads yourself.
7.Always find out if any fee is involved before you sign up for any services.
8.Check through some of the ads of people seeking pen pals to see if any catch your attention.
9.Remember that some sites include photographs of the pen pals so you will know what your pen pal looks like. This can be useful if you are hoping your pen pal will turn into a date.
1..Post your own advertisement and let others do the work and contact you.
Look for chatrooms hosted by pen-pal sites and participate in an ongoing discussion.
Be on the lookout for others who have similar viewpoints and might be good pen pals.
Warnings: Always be cautious when you give out personal information. You can never play it too safe. Steps:
1.Start by visiting Prime Timers Worldwide (see the Related Sites), particularly if you are looking for something local. The organization has chapters in the United States and Canada and is aimed specifically at mature gay men and their admirers.
2.Stop next at the American Society on Aging's Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network (see the Related Sites). The site provides text from the society's newsletter along with links and more.
3.Take a minute to look at the site of the Pride Senior Network (see the Related Sites). The New York City-based organization offers a services directory and other resources that can benefit older gay men everywhere.
4.Be sure you visit the Seniors section at PlanetOut (see the Related Sites). Click on Seniors under the People tab.
5.Find a pretty nice listing of other resources in Gayscape's Mature Gays and Lesbians section (see the Related Sites). The site has links to lots of organizations and personal home pages.
Tips: Retirement communities for gays and lesbians are beginning to spring up around the country. You'll find links to these communities on the sites listed above. Many gays and lesbians have been forced back into the closet by mainstream retirement communities and nursing homes, but gay facilities will respect your orientation if you become incapacitated in your final years.
1.Decide whether you will have an intimate wedding or a gala including 250 guests.
2.Visit Disney World at least once prior to the wedding to check out your options. Visit the new Wedding Pavilion, the theme park (you can hold weddings there during the off-season, when the park closes early), Treasure Island, restaurants, hotels and other locations on the property to get some ideas of where you would like your wedding to be held.
3.Meet with a Disney wedding coordinator to find out about existing wedding packages.
4.Understand that the price for an intimate Disney wedding for two begins at $3,000 and includes resort accommodations, a ceremony and admission to the attractions. Destination weddings for up to 20 guests begin at $8,000, and customized weddings that include as many guests as you would like average $19,000 to $25,000.
5.Discuss details with the wedding coordinator. Make decisions about flowers, menu, music, officiant, photographer and decorations.
6.Allow time during your wedding weekend to take advantage of the activities available at the Disney Magic Kingdom Park, MGM Studios and Epcot.
7.Choose a Disney theme for your reception. For instance, for a Cinderella wedding, the bride arrives in Cinderella's glass carriage drawn by white ponies, and dessert is served in a white chocolate glass slipper. Other possible themes include Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin. The price is about $395 to have one character attend your wedding, and goes up from there, with additional charges for each extra detail you add.
8.Realize that you may have to make a second trip to Disney World before the wedding to make last-minute arrangements for a large wedding.
Plan your wedding for the off-season, when rates are down and the theme park will be less crowded. Late spring or fall are good times.
Consider foregoing the coordinator if you are having a small wedding and plan to manage the details on your own. Realize that this can be challenging to handle from out of state, but could save you a lot of money.
Book your Disney reservations online (see Related Sites). You can also call Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings department at (407) 828-3400.
Keep in mind that there is no waiting period or blood test required for a marriage license in Florida.
Disney can also arrange a bachelor party or other special event related to your wedding.
Warnings: Avoid selecting a holiday weekend for your wedding, since these are always extremely busy.
1.Read, read, read. As with every skill and talent, practice makes perfect (or at least closer to perfect).
2.Write, write, write. See above.
3.Keep a list of cantankerous words that always trip you up, and practice them as you walk, jog or wait for the train.
4.Look up any word you're unsure about in the dictionary. The more times you see the correct spelling, the more automatic it becomes.
5.Read the spelling rules in the dictionary's small print or in the introduction.
6.Be aware of the few spelling rules that exist. For example, the old favorite: "I before e except after c, or when sounding like a, as in neighbor and weigh." Also, u will always follow q in the English language.
7.Play spelling games such as Scrabble, crosswords or Taboo.
8.Create spelling tests for yourself. Write the words down, cover them up and score yourself.
Warnings: Never rely solely on your computer's spell checker program.