63 Anything Under the Sun: July 2007 Anything Under the Sun: July 2007 Archive

Anything Under the Sun

Friday, July 27, 2007

Time Pieces

One day, as I was window shopping, I came across a watch shop where the varieties were staggering. So many to choose from but so little TIME (ha ha). I had thougt of getting a birthday gift for my teenage niece and I ended up getting her a "Evening Wear Watch Set".
The watch strap has sparkly jewels and the watch face has 6 diffent inter-changeable and attractive rings of different colours and pattern. Fortunately the price was within my budget. I feel that this is a great gift for a trendy teenage girl where she can swap the watch face to coordinate her dress colour or occasion etc. There's never too many when it come to ladies fashion wear.

I game across the following article about watches. Here it is for your reading pleasure :)

Does Your Watch Keep Time with Fashion or Function?

If you haven't lived under a rock for the past few decades, then you surely know that Rolex stands for luxurious precision timekeeping, and you know that Timex is the premier name in inexpensive, reliable timekeeping. The vast area between the two, however, offers the widest selection of watches-in terms of function, fashion and price.

We're all creatures of habit, and if one watch has served us well for years, it's natural that we gravitate toward the same brand and design each time we purchase a new watch. If you'd like to adorn your wrist with a different type of watch, perhaps a Swiss-quartz or high-fashion watch, we offer you a cheat sheet below, to help you get up to speed quickly with the many offerings available today.

If you've always thought of a watch as a functional necessity, you might add a few fashionable watches to your collection of watches and bracelets. If you've always worn high-fashion watches, consider adding an elegant watch to your collection, perhaps one with a golden mesh band. Whatever your requirements for timekeeping and your sense of fashion, you'll find a watch to suit your needs.

Impress Your Colleagues Watches

In the exclusive $5000-$2,000,000 range, you'll find a variety of luxury watches with names that escape the average man or woman on the street, and you won't find any of these online. Does Vacheron Constantin or Blancpain ring a bell?

Perception is everything, and a genuine Rolex brands you a person of discerning taste. If you live in New York City, you might be surprised to learn that you can buy a Rolex from a bona fide jeweler, most likely in the 10021 zip code. Forget all the hype about Rolex watches: people buy them for one reason. They are the most recognized status symbols in watches-everyone has heard of a Rolex, and a diamond and gold Rolex remains out of most everyone's price range.

Rolex watches are the most popular, and ownership is not a requirement for popularity. It might surprise you to learn that Rolex watches are not THE most accurate. It is unlikely that they take a year to make, and their resale value is of little importance to their buyers. Ah, Madison Avenue strikes again. Still, a Rolex watch is a fine watch and an investment in time. Give me status; give me a Rolex.

Other fine high-end watches include Cartier and Omega.

Affordable Treats

If you're a mere mortal with a penchant for arriving at your destination in style at the prescribed time (perhaps your job depends upon it), your idea of a good watch probably resides in the $100-500 range, and maybe even toward the lower end of that scale. You know the names Seiko, Swiss Army, Pulsar, and Citizen-just to name a few. The brands available in this price range offer a wide selection of choices ranging from simple and elegant leather bands, to mesh and link bands. You'll find analog and digital displays, timers, calendar displays, water-resistance, etc. in this price range. In fact, this price range offers the widest variety in terms of elegance, precision time keeping, and fashion choices. You can select from a number of watches using Swiss-quartz movements in this price range.

For the Fun of it

You'll find everything from designer-of-the-moment watches to household names such as Swatch and Fossil in the below-$100 range. The Fossil collections feature casual and dress watches in a dizzying array of choices, and provide dependable service as well. Fossil offers a lot of bang for the buck-fashion, dependability, variety.

Starting at $40, Swatch offers the most in up-to-the-minute throwaway watch fashion. The company began late in the 20th century as a consortium of Swiss watchmakers and worldwide graphical designers with one goal: to resurrect the analog watch. Swatch has come a long way since those days, and one of their newer creations, the Skin Diamond watch, can set you back a cool $2000. Of course, you won't run into yourself coming and going if you sport this new status symbol. The rest of us can settle with wearing our moods on our wrists.

And, last but certainly not least-depending on your current age-this category satisfies the Abercrombie-and-Fitch, Top 40 crowd with an assortment of watches from the king of the teen designers, Tommy Hilfiger himself.

Whatever your pleasure in marking time, find it, get it, own it, wear it. Mere mortals like us can browse and purchase the watches of our choice right here-onlin

M J Plaster is a successful author who provides information on shopping online for brand name watches and watches in general. M J Plaster has been a commercial freelance writer for almost two decades, most recently specializing in home and garden, the low-carb lifestyle, investing, and anything that defines la dolce vita.

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posted by Bubbles at 2:31 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ponderings of a consumer - How to attract customers and keep them too.

Have you noticed that certain product and services stand out from their competitors because of an Extra something. It could be the price, how its packed, whether free delivery is offered etc. Here are some of my views of how companies attract customers and get them to remain loyal to them.

How Price Place A Part.
I generally give each of my 3 school going kids a packet of chocolate/strawberry milk per day when they go to school. This worked out to 60 packets or 10 sets of 6 packs. Thus a price difference of even 20 cents adds up, let alone 60 cents to 80 cents difference in price that I've noticed between the different brands. For good economics, my vote goes to the cheapest!

Useful Free Gifts
My mother collected dozens of serviceable brown plates when she bought coffee packets while mum-in-law collected mugs, also through coffee. I believe that most housewives would buy a product if practical household products are given away.

Packaging Of The Product
We use lots of honey at home, as my hubby bring a water bottle full of honey and apple cider vinegar mixture to work everyday. I prefer to buy honey in a 1 kg bucket instead of bottle. These buckets are very useful as containers, for storing of my marinated meat, fish etc in the freezer as well as liquids like ginger and garlic paste, ground chili paste etc. Recently, when I celebrated my youngest daughter's first birthday, these containers came in very handy to give away to my friends and relatives cakes and other food stuff to bring back with them.

The Availability Of Lager Volume/Bigger Size
My sister prefers to buy a particular brand of oil which comes in a 5 kg bottle during festive seasons, weddings and other occasions where she will be using lots of oil for frying, for instance, frying muruku etc.

Free Delivery
My friend buys her provision from a particular store as they provide free delivery for orders above $50.

24/7 Operations
Operating for 24 hours, 7 days a week, means availability and convenience for the consumer. Once the fast food giant "MacDonalds" started operating 24/7, its able to cater to night shift workers thus generating more sales.

Catchy Phrased Advertising
From young I've grown up to "Fast to cook, Good to eat" jingle of "Maggie" noodles. So whenever, I go shopping for instant noodles I grab a "Maggie" packet. As far as I'm concerned, instant noodle = "Maggie". ( I guess this is subconscious programming through advertising jingles or product promotion.) I've noticed many people saying "Pampers" when they mean diapers. (me included)

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posted by Bubbles at 7:53 AM 0 comments

Monday, July 23, 2007

Natural Remedies and Traditional Skincare

Recently I watched a documentary on the people of Myanmar(formerly known as Burma). An interesting fact that graped my attention is that the women of Myanmar used the bark of Thanaka trees for skin care. It is considered the beauty secret of Burmese women. Apart from cosmetic beauty, thanaka also provides protection from sunburn, helps remove acne and promotes smooth skin. It is a traditional cosmetic and an inexpensive form of skin care. Thanaka cream is made by grinding the bark of the thanaka tree with a little water on a circular stone slab which has a channel round the rim for the water to drain into.

Living in South East Asia, it surprised me that I've never heard of this tree before. So I started to wonder what other natural remedies and skincare products are available from other countries and other societies.

From my Hindu friends, I know that Turmeric is very important as a skincare product for them. Turmeric paste is used by some Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair. Turmeric paste is applied to bride and groom before marriage in some places of India, where it is believed turmeric gives glow to skin and keeps some harmful bacteria away from the body.It also acts as an excellent anti-scarring agent when mixed with milk and applied on skin.

In the Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is thought to have many medicinal properties and many in India use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts and burns. Whenever there is a cut or a bruise, the home remedy is to reach for turmeric powder. Ayurvedic doctors say it has fluoride which is essential for teeth. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.

It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. It is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer's disease, cancer and liver disorders.

Aloe Vera
My aunt used to apply the sap of the Aloe vera onto her cheeks where she had black marks on them. After continuous use for some weeks, the marks disappeared.

Aloe vera has been used externally to treat various skin conditions such as cuts, burns and eczema. It is alleged that sap from Aloe vera eases pain and reduces inflammation. Cosmetic companies add sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup, moisturisers, soaps, sunscreens, shampoos and lotions. Aloe vera gel is also alleged to be useful for dry skin conditions, especially eczema around the eyes and sensitive facial skin.

Mint Leaves
Menthol from mint essential oil (40-90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy. A common use is as an antipruritic, especially in insect bite treatments (often along with camphor). Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains.

Sandal Wood
Sandalwood essential oil was popular in medicine up to 1920-1930, mostly as urogenital (internal) and skin (external) antiseptic. Its main component santalol (~90%) has antimicrobial property. It is used in aromatherapy and Sandalwood oil is also used to prepare soaps.

English lavender has a highly effective essential oil with very sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors, walls and other surfaces.

An infusion of lavender is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites. Bunches of lavender are also said to ward off insects. If applied to the temples, lavender oil is said to soothe headaches. Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation: Seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows, and an infusion of three flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water are recommended as a soothing and relaxing bedtime drink.

Green Tea
The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. here are just a few medical conditions in which drinking green tea is reputed to be helpful:

rheumatoid arthritis
high cholesterol levels
cariovascular disease
impaired immune function

The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots.

Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea - from deodorants to creams - are starting to appear on the market.

The Latin name for sage: salvia, means “to heal”. Although the effectiveness of Common Sage is often open to debate, it has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment. Modern evidence supports its effects as an antihydrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic. Internally it can be used for indigestion, gas, liver complaints, excessive lactation, excessive perspiration, excessive salivation, anxiety, depression, female sterility, menopausal problems. While externally it is generally used for insect bites, throat, mouth, gum, skin infections, vaginal discharge.

Grape Seeds
In all products grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for damaged and stressed tissues, possessing regenerative and restructuring qualities which allow a better control of skin moisturization. It is noted to be especially effective for repair of the skin around the eyes. Used as an all-over skin moisturizer, grape seed oil is known to reduce the look of stretch marks. A light, thin oil, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over the skin when used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils. Grape seed oil is also usable as a lubricant for face shaving. Grape seed oil is reputed to contain plentiful antioxidants.

The essential oil is also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries for instance in tooth paste and as major ingredient in some cough syrups. In traditional medicine nutmeg and nutmeg oil were used for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems.

Tulsi (Basil)
Tulasi’s extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, tulasi is taken in many forms: as an herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal toiletry. For centuries, the dried leaves of Tulasi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.

Tulsi is effective for diabetes, by reducing blood glucose levels. There is a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels with Tulsi. Tulsi's beneficial effect on blood glucose levels is due to its antioxidant properties.

Anise leaves are used to treat digestive problems, to relieve toothache, and its essential oil is used to treat lice and scabies. In aromatherapy, aniseed essential oil is used to treat colds and flu. It is being researched for the treatment of bird flu as well. In India, aniseed (Saunf in Hindi) is also used as mouth freshener. It is also used for flavouring some foods.

German Chamomile
German Chamomile is used medicinally against sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It can be taken as an herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. It is also used as a mouthwash against oral mucositis. It has acaricidal properties against certain mites, such as Psoroptes cuniculi. The primary active ingredient of the essential oil from German Chamomile is bisabolol. Chamomile is also used cosmetically, primarily to make a rinse for blonde hair.

Cloves are used in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne for dental emergencies. Cloves are used as a carminitive, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming is needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen will warm the digestive tract.

In Chinese medicine cloves are used in formulas for impotence or clear vaginal discharge from yang deficiency, for morning sickness together with ginseng and patchouli, or for vomiting and diarrhea due to Spleen and Stomach coldness.

Ayurvedic herbalist uses cloves internally as a tea and topically as an oil for hypotonic muscles, including for multiple sclerosis.


The properties of Eucalyptus oil include Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antiviral and as a Stimulant. Its many uses include Air Disinfectant,Asthma,Bronchitis,Burns,Cuts,Decongestant,Flu,Headaches,Insect Repellant,Muscle aches,Rheumatism,Sinusitis,Skin Ulcers,Urinary Infections and Wounds.

Chinese women traditionally have taken ginger root during pregnancy to combat morning sickness. Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as "stomach settlers" for generations in countries where the beverages are made. Ginger water was commonly used to avoid heat cramps in the United States in the past. It may also have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties, making it theoretically effective in treating heart disease

A special type of ginger in Indonesia which also known as Temulawak is being used as a herbal preparation and therapy for patients who wish to slim down, detoxification, reducing "winds" in blood streams and controlling bad eating habits.

lemons contain unique flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Because of its high Vitamin C content, lemon has been touted in alternative medicine as a tonic for the digestive system, immune system, and skin. There is a belief in Ayurvedic medicine that a cup of hot water with lemon juice in it tonifies and purifies the liver.

In Myanmar, ginger and local sweet (Htan nyat) which is made from palm tree juice are boiled together and taken to prevent the Flu. A hot ginger drink (made with sliced ginger cooked in sweetened water or a Coca-Cola-like drink) has been reported as a folk medicine for common cold.

Now for some Homemade Skin Care Recipes

Skin Freshener/Soother
Add pulp-free aloe vera juice to water in a spray bottle and spritz arms, legs, back and face.

Skin Astringents
Lettuce leaves
Boil green lettuce leaves for 10 minutes in enough water to cover. Let cool and strain.

5 All-Natural Beauty Aids
Not everything you use to enhance your appearance has to come from a bottle or box.How often do you go all-natural? Did you know you can freshen up your looks with fresh fruits and other grocery store goodies? Some of the most effective tools for improving your looks -- from the texture of your hair to the appearance of your skin -- can be found at the local farmers' market. We’re talking about fruits that are just as good for your outside as they are for your inside.Here are top secret tips for enjoying natural beauty. These tips not only make great sense, but they also can save you plenty of dollars.

1. Squeeze an orange and, using your fingers, pat the liquid on your face. The juice will evaporate quickly and leave you with a radiant glow. Plus you'll have the benefits of the antioxidant vitamin C.

2. Mash half a banana and rub it into patches of dry skin. Leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse well. Your skin will be baby soft. BONUS: the potassium in the banana will help erase the dark circles under your eyes.

3. Snip off the foot section from an old pair of pantyhose and fill with one cup uncooked oatmeal. Now carefully tie the "oatmeal foot" to the faucet of your tub (you want the water to run through the oatmeal). Now fill the tub and soak away your dry, itchy skin.

4. Blend 2 cups crushed macadamia nuts with 2 sprigs fresh mint and a half-cup of honey. Mix into a paste and rub over your body to exfoliate dead skin. Rinse and pat dry.

5. Mash a ripe mango with one tablespoon plain yogurt. Add 2 egg yolks and blend. Work the mix into your hair, then cover your head with a shower cap and leave in place 20 minutes. Shampoo thoroughly. It's the ultimate hair conditioner!

Homemade Skin Care Recipe: Skin lightening with lemon juice

One of the simplest ways of lightening skin is Lemon Juice. Topical Vitamin C is difficult to store and very expensive too. Rubbing Juice of half a lemon on the face and neck every day can provide very good results. It tingles the skin a bit, especially if applied on clear skin, but the tingling only lasts a few seconds. For added benefit a drink of lemon juice with a glass of warm water and rock salt, can be taken first thing every morning. The results can be seen within 4 weeks.

Juice of Half a Lemon - for application. For Drink - Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice, Warm Water, Rock Salt.

How to prepare:
Just Squeeze the lemon, avoid storing, best used fresh

How to use:
Dab a cotton Ball with freshly Squeezed lemon juice, rub over face and neck, till dry. If tingles too much, pat dry with towel.

Homemade Skin Care Recipe: Lentil paste for excessively oily skin

A small amount of lentil paste either dry or wet, when applied to excessively oily skin is found to be effective in 3 ways. It cleanses, scrubs, and exfoliates skin removing dirt and dead skin. For dry skin this is not so effective and can cause irritation. Depending on the skin tone and irritation you can add some honey (for moisturizing), lemon (for cleansing), neem (antiseptic), milk (conditioner and moisturizer), orange peel (complexion improver).

Basically I have followed the above with honey and lemon juice once a morning regime. It leaves a squeaky clean feeling that stay the whole day. This pack can be adjusted according to your own suitability and availability.

Red lentil (or Indian masoor dal) - a handful. Lemon juice - quarter of a small lemon; Honey - 1-2 teaspoons; Tulsi leaves - a few; Neem leaves - 1-2 leaves

How to prepare:
Grind dry lentil beans in a grinder/blender. It need not be very finely ground. In fact best if some beans are not thoroughly ground. The powder should have a gritty feel when rubbed against your hands. Mix sufficient water/milk to make it a paste. Add lemon juice (too much will make skin dry), honey, crushed tulsi and/or neem leaves. Mix paste with hand to form a smooth paste.

How to use:
Apply the paste freshly made. Do not store. Wash face and neck with warm water pat dry and apply immediately. Let the mask dry completely before removing with lukewarm water. Use a gentle scrubbing motion while removing mask. Pat dry and feel the difference.

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posted by Bubbles at 9:25 AM 0 comments

Friday, July 20, 2007

Great Expectations

When I first started a blog, I thougt I would compartmentalize each of my hobby and create a blog for each. So in less than a week, I've ended up creating 3 blogs. They are:
1) A Toast to Parenthood
2) Healthy yet Yummy Food
3) Easy Crafts

Only 1 solution! I've decided to create this blog so that I can give my ten cents worth on Any other views, likes & dislikes, tips, interest, hobbies etc, that I may develope.

For today I like to share about Gift Ideas.

Gift Baskets - are traditionally given for the birth of a child. I personaly prefer to buy individual baby products and make up the basket rather than buying commercially available ones. It's much cheaper and you can get creative using a particular theme or colour coordination etc,.

Hampers - like the Gift basket can be created on your own. Giving an hamper is an excellent idea for festive seasons.

Gift Vouchers - are hassle free and with the wide variety available, selection can be made with the recepient's interests in mind. My sister gave book vouchers as presents for the birthday of my 2 school going kids. Although they were not too happy about it, I was ecstastic - Got them loads of assesment books!

Now for the Heart of the matter - What should I get for my nephew who's turning 21 in December? He's the shy and reserved type. The only thing I know about him is that he likes Football and his favourite team is Man U. I've thought about getting him a Man U Jersey (Just afraid that he may already have some of his own). ANY SUGGESTIONS?

P.S. I came across an article Tittled "Make Your Own Professional Gift Baskets" by Donna Hamer which I hope will be helpful to some.

Make Your Own Professional Gift Baskets

Ever given your family or friends a beautiful gift basket? Gift baskets are such a wonderful gift and can be given for any occasion. However, if you are like me you don't have a clue where to start, let alone how to put one together?.. and the thought of creating a gift basket is the last thing on your mind? Then read on?.

Let me tell you how easy it is to make an amazingly beautiful gift basket like a professional. Even you won't believe you've made it!
To begin lets start with your "basket". When you hear gift basket the first thing that pops into your mind is a typical wicker basket. Well things have changed; you can use anything as your "gift basket". Once you decide who you are creating this gift basket for then decide on the type of basket which would be appropriate for that person. For instance if it is a teenager try a makeup bag or a plastic bucket for a gardener or a beach bucket for a child, try a laundry basket, a small plastic container or even a pretty purse, depending on the occasion and who it's for (you are only limited by your imagination for the type of "basket" you choose).

Next, find your fillers. The fillers don't have to be expensive but ensure that they match the type of gift basket you are creating. Make sure that what you buy will fit inside your basket. The secret to the presentation of your gift baskets are to make sure it looks like it is overflowing. The type of fillers you use will depend upon the theme of your basket and again, who you are creating it for.

Now for the fun part ? decorating! Start arranging your items into the basket. Make sure to put the bigger, taller or larger items to the back and the smaller items in the front. You can use shredded paper or any other "stuffing" to prop things up or fill in the holes if you need to. I like to cover the basket in cellophane and then type of personalized card.
Finished ??. how easy was that!

For more gift basket ideas or how to make gift baskets, visit us at www.101giftbasketideas.com.
About the Author: Donna Hamer is the author and publisher of eBook "101 Gift Basket Ideas".

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posted by Bubbles at 9:33 AM 0 comments