Bob Marley Tea

The person that I was talking with gave me a bottle of this to try and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I really enjoyed it. There are a few varieties, I think, but the type I had was called Marley’s Mellow Mood Peach Rasberry Passion Fruit. The tea contains some ingredients that are supposed

bob marley teabob marley tea

More Neti Pot Info

As soon as people learn exactly what nasal irrigation involves, their next thought is usually “are there any neti pot dangers?” And that’s a legitimately question, considering shooting water up your nose is probably one of the last things most people would actually considering doing on purpose! While neti pot techniques are generally safe, there

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Using Your Neti Pot Correctly

Now that you have your neti pot (or squeeze bottle variant) and your salt solution ready to go, it’s time to learn how to use a neti pot! Make sure your solution is measured correctly, and at the right temperature. Stand in front of a sink, lean and tilt your head forward (so that when

My beautiful pictureMy beautiful picture

Getting Started With A Neti Pot

A neti pot is a small pot (also sometimes a squeeze-bottle) that is used to clean out the sinuses. The user tilts his head to one side, inserts the spout into one nostril, and a saline solution flows up the nostril, through the nasal passages, and out the other nostril into the sink. The procedure

jala neti potjala neti pot

Diamond – Cubic Zirconia Size Comparison Chart

Since cubic zirconia and diamonds have different weights, a 1 carat diamond will be a different size than a 1 carat CZ. Because of this, most people who want a CZ to approximate a certain size of diamond will use a conversion chart. It will show various sizes for cubic zirconia stones and what diamond

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Bob Marley Tea

Bob Marley Tea

The person that I was talking with gave me a bottle of this to try and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I really enjoyed it. There are a few varieties, I think, but the type I had was called Marley’s Mellow Mood Peach Rasberry Passion Fruit. The tea contains some ingredients that are supposed to rleax you, and I’m not sure how the amoutn in there compres to the amount you would find in a supplement, but the drink is sstill designed to get you to relax. I’m not sure if it’s a marketing gimmick or not. The taste is really good, however. There are only a few other styles but this is the only one I Have had.

So after I had that bottle I was trying to find more and I found that Walmart, Target, and other local grocery stores didn’t carry it. I went to their website and found that a local conveience mart would have it, so I got some there. It’s kind of pricey so you might want to go a bit easy on buying them.

It’s a nice drink to have in the evning, though. I have only had half a bottle at once, not because I’m worried about getting too many relaxing ingredients, but mostly just because I didn’t want to use the entire bottle. It would be a good drink regardless, although I migh t not drink it if I had a plethora osf things to do just in case it made me a little sleepy.

Give it a try if you can find it. I’sts funny because I don’t really like raspberry or passion fruit, burt togheter in there they are pretty good, really!

More Neti Pot Info

More Neti Pot Info

As soon as people learn exactly what nasal irrigation involves, their next thought is usually “are there any neti pot dangers?”

And that’s a legitimately question, considering shooting water up your nose is probably one of the last things most people would actually considering doing on purpose!

While neti pot techniques are generally safe, there are a few dangers that should be mentioned.

The mildest danger is that if your head is not tilted at the right angle, some of the solution may go down your throat which might make you cough. It isn’t really a big deal, but it can be a little uncomfortable, and possibly even startling if it happens the first time you try it.

Some people say it may be possible to get an ear infection if you use the pot wrong and solution drains into the ear cavity.

Failing to mix the saline solution correctly can also cause some problems: using too much or too little salt could cause a burning or uncomfortable feeling in your nose. When the correct ratios are used, there should be no discomfort at all.

A danger that can be slightly embarrassing is, after your irrigation session, if you fail to get all of the solution out of your sinuses, it may come out later when you aren’t expecting it; this could be embarrassing if it happens while you’re talking to someone and water starts draining out of your nose!

It has also been suggested that using the neti pot too frequently may lead to more frequent sinus infections, but that short term use generally presents no problems.

Be sure to check with your doctor about possible neti pot danger before attempting to use one.

Other types of neti

Sutra neti literally means “string nasal cleasing” in Sanskrit. This is an old practice that involves taking a piece of a certain type of cotton thread (usually covered in wax) and inserting it into a nostril until the end of it is in the throat, and then pulling the end of the thread out of the mouth (similar to what some circus performers may do with worms or small snakes, gross!).

The practitioner then takes one end of the string in each hand (with one end coming out the mouth and the other end coming out the nose), and pulls the string back and forth (imagine a flossing motion). This is designed to remove nasal polyps as well as keep the nose clear.

When finished, the thread should be removed through the nose.

Being an advanced form sutra neti should not be attempted except under the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor. And it goes without saying that anyone attempting it should first be very comfortable with jala neti. It is only being mentioned on this site for the sake of historical accuracy.

Jala neti (using the neti pot and saline solution) is much safer. This may be why you see neti pot kits for sale in the supermarket, but not sutra neti strings!

Neti pot material comparison discussion

While shopping for a neti pot, you will probably come across different styles that are made out of different materials. Here is a list of some of the types that you are likely to find:

Ceramic Neti Pot

Ceramic is a porous material which means it will be more likely to collect dirt and debris. They are pretty, however, but also delicate; if you drop it it will probably break!

Plastic Neti Pot

Very durable and easy to clean. You can drop plastic all you want and it probably won’t break. Over time, the plastic may develop an odor (perhaps you have noticed this with plastic drinking cups that have been heavily used over the years). But even in a worst-case scenario all you would have to do is buy another one, and plastic is inexpensive.

Stainless Steel Neti Pot

Durable, you can drop it and it might damage your floor, but the pot itself will be just fine! If you absolutely neglect it it may develop some rusty looking spots.

Copper Neti Pot

Copper is pretty durable, but it is also expensive and may tarnish.

Glass Neti Pot

Easy to clean and looks modern. Don’t drop it!

So which one should you choose?

Most people will likely prefer a plastic one because they’re easy to care for and the most inexpensive out of the bunch. Unless you’re planning on using it as a display piece you probably don’t care how cool it looks when it’s sitting in a drawer or bathroom cabinet. Plastic is also durable, won’t break if you drop it, and if for whatever reason you have to replace it, it’s inexpensive.

Some people report that using a neti pot can help clear out or alleviate the symptoms of their sinus infection. And for people who are prone to sinus infections, using a neti pot can help keep the nasal passages clean and possibly help prevent them in the future.

Sinus infections can result in headaches, pressure in the eyes or face, and possibly a cough and fever. They result in damage to the tissue of the sinus linings, which causes inflammation. The inflammation makes it more difficult for the body to remove bacteria in the nasal passage, and so the bacteria begins to multiply and causes the symptoms.

Rinsing with a neti pot can help clear out the bacteria as well as work to reduce the inflammation present in a sinus infection.

Have a look around this site to learn more about how this process works!

The neti pot is a tool designed for nasal irrigation. It allows you to pour a saline solution rinse though your nasal passages which is designed to reduce inflammation and help clear out any debris, allergens, or bacteria that may be present and causing problems.

The saline solution prevents irritation when mixed with the correct proportions. If just water was used it would hurt, and if too much salt is added it can burn. But when the proportions are correct there is no discomfort at all.

Neti pots are used to help keep the nasal passages clear during times when they are under stress. They can also be used to help treat sinus infections or the common cold. Neti pot nasal irrigation helps make the mucus thinner so it’s easier to remove.

If you do have nasal congestion from a cold, the neti pot should not be used if a nostril is completely blocked. If it is only partially blocked (meaning you can still breathe through it), then it can be used. The water should be sprayed up the nostril that is not blocked so that it comes out of the clogged nostril and help flush everything out. Attempting to go the other way (up the clogged nostril) would likely result in difficulty and probably wouldn’t be as effective.

It’s generally accepted that it is best to only use neti pot irrigation on a short term basis when you have a cold or other sinus issues, and not as a daily routine.

Using Your Neti Pot Correctly

Using Your Neti Pot Correctly

Now that you have your neti pot (or squeeze bottle variant) and your salt solution ready to go, it’s time to learn how to use a neti pot!

Make sure your solution is measured correctly, and at the right temperature.

Stand in front of a sink, lean and tilt your head forward (so that when the water runs out your nose it will go into the sink).

Tilt your head to one side. Put the pot spout in whichever nostril is higher.

Breathe through your mouth and tilt the pot (or squeeze the bottle) so that water enters your nostril. When you have used enough water (as much as you want, possibly half the pot), remove the spout from your nostril and let the remaining water drip out while continuing to breathe through the mouth.

Exhale gently through your nose. You may wish to use a tissue for this. There will still be some water in your nasal cavity at this time so it is important to exhale gently, as using too much pressure may push water into the ears which may cause irritation.

Take your time. It’s better to go too slow than to rush things.

Repeat the procedure on the other side, using as much of the solution as you feel comfortable using.

When you are finished, it is a good idea to take a deep breath through the mouth and exhale gently through the nose while tilting your head from side to side. Occasionally, some extra water may come out while you do this, which is good, because you don’t want it randomly coming out later on its own while you’re working, or talking to someone, or cooking dinner!

Using the right solution

It is important that to use the correct neti pot solution in your practice. A saline solution is traditionally used, made with purified water (bottled water usually works, or you can boil water, but make sure the water cools down before you use it!) and sea salt. Make sure not to use iodized salt. Typically, about 2.5g of salt will be used per 250ml of water.

Using too much or too little salt relative to the amount of water used can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation. When the proper amount is used, there will be no irritation at all.

Companies like Neilmed sell premeasured and premixed packets of iodine free sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate that are ready to use, just open them and pour it into your neti pot!

Other neti pot solution options:

These are just being mentioned for accuracy and completeness and not as recommendations. You should not attempt any of these without advice from a qualified instructor.

Colloidal silver – Some people use colloidal silver in their pouring pot, in an attempt to kill whatever bacteria is in the nose/sinuses with the silver colloids.

Ghee – Warm (not hot!) ghee (clarified Indian butter) is used to line the passages with a layer of fat to temporarily reduce discomfort. This practice is called ghrita neti.

Milk – Used as an alternative to saline solution to help relieve nasal irritation, especially if the irritation is caused by the salt water. This practice is called dughda neti.

Urine – Yes, some people believe that using one’s own urine (which is sterile) can have medical benefits. Don’t try this at home. It is called swamootra neti.

Getting Started With A Neti Pot

Getting Started With A Neti Pot

A neti pot is a small pot (also sometimes a squeeze-bottle) that is used to clean out the sinuses. The user tilts his head to one side, inserts the spout into one nostril, and a saline solution flows up the nostril, through the nasal passages, and out the other nostril into the sink. The procedure is then usually repeated for the other nostril.

In addition to ceramic or plastic pots, there are some neti pots that use a squeeze bottle instead of a traditional “pot” that allows the force of the stream to be controlled by how hard the bottle is squeezed.

There are even some more “advanced” types of neti pots that use a pump mechanism to mechanically flow the saline solution through the nostrils.

Neti is a Sanskrit word that means “nasal cleansing.” This practice is believed to have originated from Hatha Yoga, but today has spread across the world because of its effectiveness and recent mention on several TV shows.

What kind of water should you use?

So you’ve got your neti pot and you’ve got your non-iodized salt (or neti salt packet) and you’re ready to give it a try. But as you walk over to the kitchen sink, you stop and think to yourself “wait, can I even use tap water?”

You’ve come to the right place.

Tap water – depending on where you live, tap water may or may not work. Every city has its own water quality (or lack thereof). So let’s say that your tap water is probably safe, but it shouldn’t be your first choice.

Boiled tap water – you’ve probably heard of boiling water before to purify it, especially if you’re traveled to another country where the water quality isn’t quite up to par with your own. Boiling water before you drink it kills all the baddies that live in it and can make you sick. Boiling also removes the chlorine from the water which you probably don’t want running through your nose. Boil for 5-10 minutes just to be safe. And remember to let the water cool before you use it in your neti pot! Even clean water will burn you if it’s hot, and a burn in your nose sounds super painful!

Bottled/filtered water – So most people think it’s better than tap water, but every so often they come out with a story on the news talking about how such-and-such bottled water company tested to be basically the same as unfiltered tap water. So if you know for a fact that your favorite brand of bottled water is filtered well then you can go ahead and use it.

And a final note about water temperature; some people find that “room temperature” water actually feels too cold in their nose, so they warm it up a little bit first. Be very careful if you decide to do this, as there is a fine line between feeling good and burning yourself. The inside of your nose is sensitive, as are your sinuses. You don’t want to burn them. It’s been recommended that if you’re going to warm the water in your microwave, you should do so in 5 second increments. Always err on the side of caution!

Neti Pot Salt

Neti pot salt is added to water to form the saline solution that is flushed through the sinuses. Without adding salt in the proper proportion, nasal irrigation would be painful and irritating! Indeed, the saline solution prevents discomfort and allows irrigation without any burning or stinging sensations.

Some ready made kits, such as Neilmed, come with their own salts in little pre-measured packets. In this case, you don’t have to worry about getting the right kind of salt, or measuring it on your own or anything like that; you just fill up the pot (or bottle), tear open the packet and add the salt, mix it up and you’re ready to go!

If you’re making your own salt mixture, many people believe that sea salt is the most effective. It is usually added at a ratio of 2.5g of salt per 250ml of water. Make sure to use non-iodized salt. The solution should be mixed until the salt has completely dissolved.

Various companies also produce a specific “neti pot salt” product so you don’t have to worry about whether or not the salt you have sitting in your kitchen is safe to use (and it’s probably not, because you probably have iodized salt in your kitchen).

Diamond – Cubic Zirconia Size Comparison Chart

Diamond – Cubic Zirconia Size Comparison Chart

Since cubic zirconia and diamonds have different weights, a 1 carat diamond will be a different size than a 1 carat CZ. Because of this, most people who want a CZ to approximate a certain size of diamond will use a conversion chart. It will show various sizes for cubic zirconia stones and what diamond weight carat they are equivalent to.

Remember that “carat” is a weight and not a size.

For example, if you wanted a CZ that looked like a 1 carat diamond, you would get a CZ that was 1.75 carats and 6.50mm.

This table is for round cut stones.  Other shapes will be different, so verify sizing info with your jeweler:

Size mm CZ Carat
Weight
Diamond Carat
Weight
1.25 0.013 0.010
1.75 0.037 0.020
2.00 0.06 0.03
2.50 0.10 0.05
3.00 0.18 0.11
3.75 0.36 0.21
4.50 0.61 0.36
5.25 0.95 0.56
6.00 1.43 0.84
6.25 1.58 0.93
6.50 1.75 1.03
7.25 2.53 1.49
8.00 3.46 2.04

It is important to understand this so, in the event that you wanted a CZ that looked like a 1 carat diamond, for example, you don’t order a 1 carat cubic zirconia, because it would be smaller than what you wanted.  According to the chart above, a 1 carat cubic zirconia would be equivalent in size to about a 0.57 carat diamond.

 

A Plan For Getting A Real Diamond

A Plan For Getting A Real Diamond

Many people would like to own a nice, big gem, but for most people, this is not a feat that is easily achievable from a financial perspective.  It sometimes becomes a choice between a) going into debt in order to get the diamond you want, or b) settling for something less than what you truly want.

Fortunately, there is a solution!

With the advent of high quality fakes such as cubic zirconia and moissanite, it is possible to get a stone that is virtually indistinguishable from a real rock.  Both of these, but especially CZ, are significantly cheaper than an actual diamond.  But many people do not want to be stuck with a fake, so the plan is as follows:

Say the diamond you want is $10,000.

Get engaged with a high quality cubic zirconia.  This will be well under $1,000 including the setting.  No one will be able to tell the difference without laboratory equipment, anyway.  For every year of marriage, put away $1,000 into a “diamond fund.”  On your 10 year marriage anniversary, take the $10,000 you’ve saved and go buy the real rock that you want!

This plan also acts as insurance in case the marriage ends in divorce before 10 years is over; you will have saved money that you didn’t spend on an expensive ring and you won’t be stuck with an expensive diamond that you have to pawn to get rid of.

People Don’t Realize That Fakes Are The Better Choice In Many Cases

Many people are immediately put off at the thought of getting a fake rock because at first they don’t like the sound of it, however upon closer inspection there are many reasons why getting a fake jewel may be a very intelligent decision.

Cost – The first and most obvious reason is that fake gems cost much less than real diamonds. For some people, the significant savings is an important factor as they can use this money to help pay off loans or make a down payment on a house.

Color – The second reason is that some fake stones, and all cubic zirconia, have a color rating of D, which is the best color rating a gem can get. D means “colorless,” which is ideal for a rock. In fact, stones with color of D are extremely expensive and rare, which is why most people will go with something more common and affordable between F and I.

Ease of Replacing – Even the most careful people still sometimes misplace or lose their stones. If a fake stone is lost, it can easily be replaced. Most cubic zirconia stones can be purchased for under $100 which, when compared with the high cost of replacing a similarly-sized real rock, is substantial. Of course, people can also get insurance on their real stones in case they are lost, but that adds even more to the higher total cost of owning a real gem.

People Can’t Tell It’s Fake – A common objection is “I don’t want a fake because everyone will know it’s a fake!” That statement assumes there is something wrong with having a fake diamond. At any rate, regular people cannot tell the difference, and even trained people and jewelers will not be able to tell the difference without actually studying the gem up close. In other words, in all casual situations, no one will be able to tell if your diamond is real or fake. There is one case where this is not true, however, and that is for excessively large fake diamonds. If someone has a cubic zirconia that is equivalent in size to a 4 ct. diamond, for example, not only is it going to draw attention to itself (how often do you see people wearing 4 ct diamonds in the first place?), but because cubic zirconia is colorless, it is going to look like a D color 4 ct diamond which would be extremely expensive, and therefore unattainable by most people, and therefore draw questions of “is that real?” But under normal circumstances, cubic zirconia and other fake diamonds that are in common diamond sizes are not identifiable as fakes to the naked eye.

Of course it comes down to a personal decision. Some people want real gems no matter what. Other people are content with fakes or synthetics. But for some people who had previously ruled out ever getting a fake, doing some research on fakes causes them to change their mind. And in the end, you need to by the gem that you (and/or your fiance) are happy with.

Three Ways To Tell The Difference Between Cubic Zirconia And Diamond

There are two environments where you may have to tell the difference between a diamond and a cubic zirconia:

diamond-ring-real-or-fake-150x150

You can’t tell

– Mounted in a setting on a ring or other piece of jewelery

– While the gem is loose and not attached to anything

It is much easier to tell the difference between a CZ and a diamond when they are loose.

Once such test involves making a dot on a piece of paper with a pen. Take the gem and put it face down on top of the dot. If the stone is a CZ, you will see a circular reflection. If the stone is a diamond, the reflection will be diffused to the point that you can hardly see it.

Of course, such a test is impossible to perform on a mounted stone.

Other ways to check if you have a cubic zirconia or a diamond are to look at it under magnification and look for scuffs or scratches. Diamonds are extremely hard and can only be damaged by other diamonds. CZs are softer (but still pretty hard) and are more likely to get scuffs and scratches. Again, this requires a loupe (jeweler’s magnification tool) or microscope, and isn’t really perceptible with the naked eye.

And if you have a CZ that gets scratched, it’s easy to replace as they are extremely inexpensive. Even diamonds will occasionally chip or scratch, and they will be much, much more expensive to replace.

A third way to tell the difference between cubic zirconia and diamond is to give it the “fog test.” Breathe on the stone like you would breathe on the lens of your glasses before you clean them. If it stays fogged for a few seconds, it’s a CZ. If the fog vanishes instantly, it’s a diamond.

Notice that all three of these methods require close inspection of the stone. No one that you randomly talk to on the street is going to remove the stone, have a loupe with them, or breathe on it in order to test it. As far as casual visual appearance goes, it is quite difficult to distinguish between CZ and diamond, especially when the stone is mounted on a setting on a piece of jewelery.

 

Reasons Why Fake Diamonds May Be Better Options Than Real Ones

Reasons Why Fake Diamonds May Be Better Options Than Real Ones

Since the advent of numerous types of fake diamonds in the last few decades, the question of whether it is better to get a real diamond or a fake diamond has been a controversial one.

There are people with opinions on both sides of the argument.  Some say:

– “Fake diamonds are way more affordable and therefore a better decision financially!”
– “I don’t want to support the diamond slave trade!”
– “I’d rather get a fake and use the money we saved as a down payment on a house or investment!”

And other people say:

– “I don’t want a fake ring!”
– “A diamond is significant, should come from the Earth, and should last forever (just like love)!”
– “A real diamond is a sign of commitment.”

Both sides of the argument have valid points.

At any rate, for anyone interested in a fake diamond, it is worth taking the time to learn about the difference between high quality fakes and low quality fakes, how to tell the difference between a real diamond and a fake diamond, the different types of diamond alternatives out there, and what you should know about getting a fake diamond set and mounted on a ring or piece of jewelery.

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia is perhaps the most common type of fake diamond. Its makeup is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. It is extremely inexpensive, durable, and looks very similar to actual diamond, which make it the most popular choice for fake diamond. It really is usually flawless and colorless, which means that not only is it very similar to diamond, but it is very similar to high quality diamond.

On the Mohs hardness scale, cubic zirconia has a rating of between 8.5 and 9. Diamond has a rating of 10 (the highest rating possible). So CZ is almost as hard as diamond, but it can still be scratched, although most materials will not be able to hurt it, as most things are softer than CZ. For example, a steel file has a hardness rating of around 6.5 and therefore would not be able to scratch CZ.

Cubic zirconia is heavier than diamond. For a diamond and CZ that are the same size, the CZ will weigh about 1.7 times more. This has no effect on its function as jewelery, however, because the sizes used for gemstones are small enough that any difference in weight is negligible.

Cubic zirconia can be made to be colorless. With diamonds, it is extremely rare (and expensive) to have a completely colorless stone (which would be a color rating of “D” on the diamond color scale). So CZ not only imitates diamond, but it imitates the highest quality kind available.

The dispersion of CZ is 0.060, whereas diamond is 0.044, which means that CZ will have more “fire” than a diamond.

As CZ is a bit softer than reals, if you are mounting a CZ stone into a setting meant for a diamond, make sure you tell the jeweler so the CZ doesn’t get damaged. The procedure for mounting a CZ is slightly different from mounting a diamond.

Check out this Cubic Zirconia and Diamond size comparison chart for additional info.

Earrings

Fake diamond earrings are common, and there are many good reasons for this.

First, remember that the only time that a fake diamond, such as a cubic zirconia, will sort of become obvious is when it is significantly larger than a diamond would be. The reason for this is that most cubic zirconias are colorless and flawless, but colorless and flawless diamonds are extremely rare and expensive. So if you have a CZ that is larger than what someone would expect to see in a diamond (say something in the neighborhood of 3-4 carats or more), it will almost look like too perfect of a diamond and may be suspected to be a fake. As far as fake diamond earrings go, however, almost nobody wears 3 carat earrings because that would be huge and awkward-looking.

So because diamond earrings are typically smaller, such as between 1/4 and 3/4 carat, cubic zirconia earrings will not stand out at all, and will look just as beautiful as equivalent-sized diamonds.

The second reason that cubic zirconia earrings are so popular is cost. Diamond earrings can be anywhere from $100 up through $1,000s of dollars, but fake diamond earrings can be purchased for $50 or less despite being the same size as the diamond ones.

The third reason for the popularity of CZ earrings is that earrings are not as prominent as a necklace or ring might be, and often are partially hidden behind a woman’s hair. Fake diamond earrings will not be scrutinized as intently as a ring may be (but even so, remember that most untrained people will not be able to tell the difference anyway).

Finally, cubic zirconia earrings look good! Their flawless structure and colorless body sparkles and shines as brightly as the most perfect diamonds would. It’s kind of ironic when you consider that, if buying cheaper real rocks (with color and inclusions), you would actually be paying more for a gem that doesn’t look as good. But again, it comes down to the individual’s personal choice.

Necklaces

Fake stones are a popular choice for gems in a necklace.  People sometimes like larger stones in a necklace, and as larger stones are going to obviously be more expensive (unless you get low quality rocks), fake stones become an obvious choice.

Part of the reason that some people, who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in a fake stone, choose to go with fake gems for a necklace is because a necklace is something that isn’t worn every day.  Some people want a real rock for their engagement ring because that is something they wear every day, but a necklace might be worn only once or twice a week and so they can’t justify spending a lot of money on a real rock for something that only gets occasional use.

Another reason people may choose to get fake stone necklaces is that, since they are cheaper, they can afford to buy more than one style and have a different necklace to go with various outfits.  This provides a larger variety in outfit choices which is very important to some people.

Additionally, if you happen to lose a fake stone necklace it’s not as big of a deal as if you lose a necklace with actual gems.

The Stigma Of Wearing Fake Diamonds – Is It Real?

One of the reasons that people sometimes do not want to get fake stone jewelery is because they feel there is a certain “stigma” attached to it. In other words, they are afraid that if someone knows they are wearing a fake stone, the other people will think less of them.

It’s a pretty silly notion, actually. Only an insecure person would care what someone else thinks of them. Besides, when you factor in that 99% of people will not know it is a fake unless you tell them so, there is really nothing to worry about.

It could even be argued that someone who wears a fake rock is more financially responsible than someone who doesn’t. It’s been established in studies that people with a high net worth tend to spend less (and use more coupons) than other people. In fact, the people who try to “look rich” are usually the people who have a lot of credit card debt.

It is actually not uncommon for rich people to wear fake stones, simply for the reason that they can pay $100 or less for a cubic zirconia that looks identical to a $10,000 rock, and have the remaining $9,900 left over to invest or spend on something else. Compare this to someone who only has $2,000 to spend, but wants a real stone anyway so they buy the $10,000 rock and take on $8,000 in debt just so they can say they’re wearing a “real” gem.

Of course, the choice is up to the individual (or couple). But it’s important to remember that the vast majority of people will not be able to tell if a stone is a real or a cubic zirconia without examining it with specialized tools, and when was the last time you met someone out in public who was carrying specialized tools around with them?

If someone is low on funds, socially secure, or trying to be financially responsible, then perhaps a fake rock is the way to go. For someone who absolutely has to have the real thing, there are plenty of jewelery salesmen who will be happy to sell you a real rock. Make the choice that is best for you.

Moissanite

Since 1995, Moissanite has been in use as a gemstone. Moissanite was originally discovered in 1893 in a meteor by Henri Moissan (whom it was later named after).

Moissanite is a mineral that has an appearance very similar to diamond. In fact, when it was first discovered, Henri Moissan misidentified it as diamond. It wasn’t until 1904 that he realized it was different.

Until 1950, the only known source of Moissanite was meteorites. Eventually it was found in some mines, and then later labs started to synthesize it since it was so rare in nature.

Moissanite is harder than cubic zirconia, measuring in at 9.25 on the Mohs hardness scale (gem is 10, CZ is 8.5-9).

Moissanite is 13% lighter than diamond by volume (which isn’t really an issue considering the size used for jewelry).

Moissanite has a property called “double refraction” which makes it more brilliant than diamond, which is only single refraction.

Moissanite is less expensive than diamond, but more expensive than CZ. Some moissanite have have a slightly green or gray appearance (as opposed to being colorless like high quality diamonds and cubic zirconia) that is sometimes apparent to the naked eye. For this reason, the particular moissanite gem you are buying should be viewed in person before you purchase it (or ordered from a vendor that allows returns).

Putting Fake Diamonds In Expensive Settings

A common practice for someone who wants a fake stone, especially a cubic zirconia engagement ring, is to get a high quality cubic zirconia but have it set into a more expensive setting purchased at a jewelery store.

Just because cubic zirconia stones are inexpensive doesn’t mean that the entire piece of jewelry has to look cheap. Sometimes you will find a low quality CZ mounted in a cheap-looking setting and being sold for $20. Obviously this is not going to be acceptable as an engagement ring for most couples.

If you are interested in a high quality CZ, the best method is to order an individual stone from a quality CZ dealer (hint: it’s not going to be found at your local discount store). High quality loose cubic zirconia stones can usually be had for under $20 and almost always under $100 (for just the stone).

Visit classy jewelery stores and look at quality engagement rings and find a ring style and setting that you like. You can purchase just the ring and setting without the stone, and arrange to have your quality CZ that you ordered somewhere else set into the exact type of setting that you like.

If you go this route, however, make sure you tell the jeweler that you will be having a CZ set into the ring rather than a pricey. The process for setting a CZ is a little different from a rock, some different tools are used, and using the tools meant for a stone could damage the CZ. Some people do this, but they don’t tell the jeweler because they don’t want him to know that he’s setting a fake stone. If your jeweler makes you feel uncomfortable when you tell him that you’re using a fake rock, or tries to pressure you into buying a real stone, you need to find another jeweler.

More Singing In Your Shower

More Singing In Your Shower

This is a follow up from the previous post about shower speakers and different designs.

So you’ve decided that you want to install shower speakers in your bathroom!  The next thing you need to do is decide which style you want.  Here are some guidelines to help you.

  • What is your budget like?
  • How long are you going to be living in your current residence?
  • Do you own or rent?

If you just want a basic speaker setup and don’t want to spend a lot of money, you would probably be better off going with some portable model of shower audio.  If you are renting an apartment, then you probably aren’t allowed to make changes to the structure of the building by adding in-wall speakers anyway.  But if you own your own home and you’re planning on being there for a while, then perhaps flat mounted models would be the best bet!

In fact, flat speakers can be a great way to further update a bathroom remodel, especially if you’re renovating your bathroom to be modern. The flat speakers may even match the appearance of some of the new modern shower faucets that are available, such as the flat ones that mount on the wall with multiple faucets, or the “rainfall” type that mounts flush against the ceiling.  If you are already going to be working in there anyway, replacing the tile and shower and everything, then adding shower speakers into the wall wouldn’t be too big of a deal.

Since there are many options available, you can choose the ones that work best for you.

If you’d rather listen to a live stream of music, or perhaps the news, or AM talk radio, then a shower radio is a better solution for you than shower speakers or waterproof iPod docks.

Most people have listened to the radio in the bathroom before, however they usually have to put the radio on the counter and turn it up really loud to overcome the sound of the water in the action. Bringing a normal radio into the washing with you isn’t feasible as water would quickly damage it and possibly be dangerous to you.

Shower radios, on the other hand, are entirely water resistant and are designed to be used in the shower, and for this reason, they will have internal antennas, and no ports to plug anything in (headphones, etc.). Some can be placed on a shelf, and others may have a hook that goes over the faucet. You may even find small ones that have suction cups on the back that can be attached to the shower wall, but be careful that the suction cups have a good seal so the shower radio doesn’t fall.

Some models may have some of the luxuries of modern radios, including station preset memory, and graphic equalizers.

So if having a live radio signal in the shower is important to you, and you don’t feel like putting your old stereo on the counter while you take a shower, you may wish to consider a shower radio instead.

Shower speakers are fantastic.  They transform showers from boring and monotonous into exciting and energizing experiences, or one of the most relaxing experiences you can image.  Most people will listen to music in the shower (and almost definitely be singing along!), but you can also listen to news or talk radio in the shower to stay current with events or get a head start on the day’s news.  Imagine listening to the news in your shower and then not having to spend as much time reading the paper in the morning as you’re eating breakfast.

Shower jamming can help you wake up in the morning.  They are much better than a boombox sitting on the counter.

You can get pumped up for a workout with the help of shower speakers.  Imagine hearing your favorite song as the water is waking you up.

bathtub

Using speakers can work with a bath tub, too.

And, something that most people wouldn’t think of: shower speakers can provide a relaxing end to your day.  You know that hot shower you take right before you get ready to go to bed?  Imagine doing that while listening to some relaxing music to calm your nerves for the day and help get you into that relaxed mood.

Cautions

If you want to be able to listen to music while you are in the shower there are a few obvious solutions, but there are also a few things you need to avoid.

The easiest solution is just to bring a portable stereo into the bathroom and place it somewhere dry and away from moisture and water.

Some people may consider bringing a laptop into the bathroom and using that as a sound player for their showers.  At first, this sounds like a feasible idea: it’s portable, it has music software on it, and it contains your favorite playlists already.  But consider that a laptop is cooled by fans which blow outside air into the case, and the bathroom gets steamy when you take a shower, so you will essentially have a laptop that is blowing moisture into itself which can result in damaged electronics.

The other option that hopefully no one will try is installing non-waterproof speakers in a shower.  Again, this is a horrible idea because water will get into the speakers electronics and the speakers will be damaged and at worst you could be electrocuted.

Wireless

For people who are looking for a less permanent option to listen to music in the shower, a few varieties of wireless shower speakers are available. The wireless version usually consists of some portable speakers encased in a waterproof housing that can be place anywhere in the shower. Some models may have a hook to hang from the shower faucet.

The wireless shower speakers pick up their signal from a stereo that stays outside of the shower. It may be a standalone unit, or it may be one that can dock with your iPod or portable music player. Regardless, the general concept is the same: The stereo remains outside of the shower where it is dry, and the speakers can be brought into the shower (or pool, etc.).

There is another variant of this, and that is a one-piece waterproof stereo. These are technically considered wireless shower speakers by some companies, and but more accurate description would be waterproof stereo. Imagine a clock radio, or portable CD player, or one-piece iPod dock where the entire unit is water proof and you can bring it in the shower with you. It’s basically like that.

Wireless versions are best for people who are looking for a portable option, such as people in apartments who cannot do the required construction to actually mount flat speakers in the shower.

How To Sing In Your Shower

How To Sing In Your Shower

Almost everyone takes showers. For most people, showers are a task that must be performed every morning, usually before heading off to work.  Showers are the first thing that really “wake you up,” and are usually followed by coffee.

Speakers in your shower transform the showering experience from a boring task into an exciting activity.  You can listen to the radio and get a jump start on the day’s news, or you can listen to your favorite .mp3 playlist to get pumped up for the day ahead or for the gym.

Regardless of if you live in a mansion, a penthouse, or a more humble home; adding speakers to your shower will absolutely transform your life.

Shower speakers come in a variety of types, sizes, and options.  You can get anything from basic speakers that attach to the wall, to a full Dolby surround system with recessed speakers in the ceiling and a subwoofer.  They can be powered by your iPod, or controlled by a custom interface on your wall.  The possibilities are almost endless, and surprisingly, can often be very affordable as well!

european-shower

European style shower

External Styles

The first and easiest to implement option for getting music in your shower is a set of external speakers.  These usually take the form of a waterproof station with speakers that can be brought into the shower with you and attached to the wall via suction cups or a mounting bracket.  In some cases they may simply hang over your faucet with a rope that can be tightened to hold it in place.

Many styles are controlled by an iPod or other portable MP3 player.  In some models, the MP3 player directly connects to the station and sits in a waterproof dock.  In other models, the iPod connects to a receiver outside of the shower and wirelessly transmits the signal into the shower.

The speakers are fully portable and don’t require any real “installation.” They can be transported easily when you move or go on a business trip or vacation, and can also be cleaned easily. While they tend to be sturdy, care should be taken not to let them fall. For models that hook over the shower faucet, you may want to consider getting a plastic ring to hold it in place so it doesn’t “slide” down the head.

Naturally, as these are controlled by a portable MP3 player, you have full control over the playlists that you are listening to: just program it into your player and you’re done!

This kind of portable gadget is usually priced very reasonably (under $100) and provides a good entry point into the world of increasing the quality of your bathroom music.

Flat Mounted

If you want some designs that are a bit more high end than the other models, you will want to look for some that can be mounted flat against the wall. These are naturally going to be more expensive ($200+ per pair) but the effect will be much nicer as well.

For starters, models like this will have cords that go inside the wall during installation so the only thing you will see will be the speaker flat against the shower wall (similar to a plasma mounted flat against a wall).

In addition to having high quality sound output, this type of speaker gives a sleek, modern look to your shower.

Some models come with a control unit that also mounts in the shower so you have full access to media selection, volume, track controls, equalization, etc. directly in the shower. These controls are also waterproof by necessity. Some are even programmable so you can set different playlists for different purposes (up-beat, relaxation, etc.) and not have to worry about managing the controls during playback.

Setups such as these will require a bit more in the way of installation than the external shower speakers, so some knowledge of construction, wiring and soldering may be necessary.  Many speakers have the installation manuals available online from the manufacturer’s website so you can take a look before you buy it.  If you are unsure, it is recommended to have a professional install your player.

The Effectiveness Of Martial Arts

The Effectiveness Of Martial Arts

I’ve found martial arts can be a great way to develop confidence as well as help get yourself in shape.  Since many of the posts on this blog deal with confidence, I figured this post would fit right in with them.

But before we get started, I want to clarify something.  There has kind of been a division in martial arts over the last two decades or so, into “stuff that actually works against a resisting opponent” and “stuff that doesn’t work against a resisting opponent.”  Let me give a brief explanation of what I’m talking about.

When martial arts first started getting really popular (1950’s and 60’s), there was basically kung fu, karate, and judo in America.  There were lots of kung fu movies in the 70’s.  There were lots of karate schools opening up in the 60’s.  There were a lot of ninja movies in the 80’s.  Tae kwon do started to become popular, too, and it seemed if you wanted to learn a style you chose between karate and tae kwon do.

During this time, it was generally considered that these styles were effective for fighting.  After all, you spent your training time punching and kicking and doing forms to perfect your moves.  You learned how to counter punches thrown by an opponent.  Depending on your school, you may have even sparred.  “Oh, you know karate?  Remind me not to make you mad!”

But something was happening occasionally that was not talked about.  A lot of these guys were unable to successfully use their skills against boxers (more on this later).  These traditional martial artists were also losing street fights to untrained brawlers and thugs.  How could it be, that people who spent hours each week training in a fighting art were losing to people who had never trained?  Isn’t that kind of like someone who’s never played basketball before beating an NBA player?  What is going on?

In the 90’s, Ultimate Fighting Championship rose started to become popular.  It was designed to be a venue to test all fighters across all systems and weight classes (originally there were no weight classes).  People from all styles entered, and after a few tournaments a few trends started to emerge:

First, there were a few styles that consistently won, the most notable being Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ).

Second, the people who consistently won trained in a specific manner; they trained against resisting opponents.

Let me speak to both of these points:

Certain styles tended to win consistently because they not only had a more effective repertoire of techniques (moves that were more effective) but also because they trained against resisting opponents in a realistic manner.  What does “resisting opponent” mean?  In a typical traditional martial arts school, for example, you learn to defend against a punch in an entirely unrealistic manner.  Usually your opponent punches, leaves his arm extended, and you do some fancy counter move to it.  Additionally, this punch probably wouldn’t have even hit you if you didn’t defend against it.  In real life, your opponent is not going to throw a punch without trying to actually hit you, nor is he going to leave his arm extended afterward and allow you to do a counter move.  Many traditional martial arts schools are full of this kind of stuff, and the bottom line is that it’s not helping any of the students.  Not only are they learning moves that won’t work in an actual fight, but in many cases they are also developing a false sense of confidence.  Imagine that for years you’ve been told that you’re learning how to defend against all these attacks.  You might even get your black belt.  You probably feel pretty tough and can demonstrate dozens of cool moves on your partners!  You believe so strongly that you are a competent fighter but you’ve never actually trained against a resisting opponent.  What unfortunately happens in some cases is that this person will actually get in a fight and none of the stuff they’ve been training for years will actually work.  In that situation, not only do they have to deal with losing a fight, but they also have to deal with the massive ego blow that comes from having your beliefs that you can defend yourself shattered.

Sometimes these people would even be in pretty good shape.  They might be strong, maybe a kung fu guy has good iron palm skill (iron palm is cool, btw, read this site to learn all about it) and can break bricks, or maybe they know a dozen different ways to block a punch.  But if they can’t actually apply those skills because they’ve never trained against a resisting opponent, then it’s not going to help them.

Fast forward to today, and pretty much all UFC and other similar tournament fighters all use very similar styles consisting of a mix of Brazilian Jujitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, and wrestling.  Why?  Because 1) those styles have a demonstrated record of success against resisting opponents of all styles, and 2) because those styles, by their very nature, are trained against resisting opponents.

So you might be thinking “well, why not just train karate or tae kwon do or kung fu against resisting opponents?”

If you’ve ever seen a karate, tae kwon do, or kung fu sparring match, you may have noticed that “it just looks like kickboxing.”  It doesn’t look like the moves you learn in your forms or in your classes.  The reason for this is that most of those moves do not work against resisting opponents.  The reason no one blocks a punch with a rising forearm block and then counters with a reverse punch like you learn in karate or tae kwon do class is because that doesn’t work in real life against an opponent who is resisting you and actually trying to punch you and trying to not get hit by your attacks.  Those types of techniques get weeded out when you start training against resisting opponents.

Resiting opponents are necessary for two reasons: 1) they get you familiar with how it feels when someone is actually trying to avoid your attacks and actually trying to hit you and not leaving their punches extended, and 2) they let you figure out which techniques work and which don’t.  That doesn’t mean the other person is actually trying to hurt you when you’re training, it just means they’re not standing in place and performing unrealistic attacks.

And if those techniques don’t work, why are they still taught?  Tradition?  Art?  And if they don’t work, why would anyone practice them if their goal was to become a good fighter?  Why would you spend time training something that you’re not actually going to use?

There is nothing wrong with training a traditional art if you enjoy doing it.  The only problem is when it is presented to the student as if they are actually learning to defend themselves against a resisting opponent.  It can still be a great way to get in shape, to learn about culture, to learn bits of another language, to meet people, to exercise, and to feel good.  But it’s not a good way to learn to defend yourself, if that is your goal.

If you want to learn to defend yourself against a resisting opponent, look for a school that trains BJJ, Muay Thai, boxing, and wrestling.  This may be called “MMA” (mixed martial arts).  Make sure they train against resisting opponents.  And check out the school to make sure there isn’t any ego or anything.  Just like with anything, you need to make sure it’s a good fit.