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Taliesin West - Home Design in the Desert of Scottsdale

Monday, December 1, 2014

There are a number of reasons that Scottsdale, Arizona homes, land and real estate are so highly sought after by families. Here's one: there's so much to do, whether your lifestyle leans towards indoor luxuries or outdoor amenities.

For example, internationally renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright came to Scottsdale in 1937 and purchased what was then barren real estate. Designed as his personal winter home, studio and architectural campus, he built Taliesin West in the lush high Sonoran desert directly in the shadows of the McDowell Mountains in northeast Scottsdale.

Wright created a new form of architecture and established a legacy that still draws visitors from all over the world to Taliesin West, which is a living laboratory of Wright's ideas. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has made many renovations to Taliesin West over the years, giving guests the opportunity to view Wright's private home which has been restored inside and out to its original appearance.

Ranging from one to three hours, tours of Taliesin West are offered on a regular basis, allowing visitors to experience firsthand Wright's heralded ability to integrate indoor and outdoor living spaces. Depending on the tour you select, you can visit the Cabaret Theater, Music Pavilion, Kiva and Frank Lloyd Wright's office, all of which are linked by dramatic terraces, gardens and walkways overlooking the rugged desert and the valley below. Knowledgeable guides explain how the site relates to the surrounding desert real estate and provide a general overview of Wright's philosophies and theories of design. Twilight tours are offered during select months, providing sightseers with the extraordinary opportunity to view Wright's one-time home in a nighttime setting when the desert masonry structures, lighted from within, appear as sculptures.

According to the Scottsdale Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Wright's vision and influence are seen throughout Scottsdale, including at one of Scottsdale's premier resort properties, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. This luxurious resort enjoys a history filled with Hollywood celebrities as well as an architectural past linked to the Wright legacy. Representing the cosmopolitan side of Scottsdale with its clean lines and minimalist approach, the property was originally designed by architect Hiram Hudson Benedict, a protégée of Wright. What makes it even more unique is the fact that several stunning private homes are snuggled just steps away from the resort's front doors.

Vernon Swaback, a former student of Wright's, also has left an indelible mark on Scottsdale's real estate landscape. He spent more than two decades studying and working at Taliesin West and over the years has been involved in the design of award-winning hotels, office buildings, recreational facilities and custom homes throughout the Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix metropolitan area.

Landscape Paintings - A Distinct Genre of Painting

Friday, November 28, 2014

Landscape Painting is a distinct genre of painting that captures nature in its natural form. The paintings are reflections of the skies, seas, rivers, sun, moon and greeneries on the canvas. One of the earliest and traditional painting forms, landscape paintings touch the heart of the modern art lovers with all their purity, naturalness and aestheticism. Visual documents of the panorama of nature the paintings with their timeless appeal have grown over the years as inspirations to the generations of artists. Indian selection of landscape paintings are the treasure trove of India. Watch them and get engrossed in the wilderness and unspoiled beauties of nature. Take a tour and enrich yourself with interesting information on landscape paintings.

The word landscape originates from the Dutch word "landschap" denoting areas of arable lands. Depicting natural sceneries in a medley of lines, colors and tones was the outcome of the natural inclinations of human beings to reflect what they mostly found around them. The early civilizations with less industrialization and urbanization presented nature in its complete bounties. Artists and poets admired them in their creations. Life was not at all complex and it was only nature and its diverse facets that formed the central theme of the paintings.

Landscape painting in its antiquated form can be observed in the pastoral sceneries of the Roman times. The paintings gained prominence with the emergence of Renaissance Art. Nature was romanticized and portrayed as philosophical and spiritual elements. Various religious and mythological events were represented via nature. Though the spiritual tones were absent in the Reformation times the paintings became more uniform and realistic in this era. The seventeenth and eighteenth century led to the flourish of the paintings with some master artists like Watteau, Gainsborough and Thoams Girtin. The breathtaking creations reached their acme in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Various movements of arts like abstract expressionism, impressionism and surrealism influenced the painting and brought in some new styles and techniques. Nature was observed scientifically and more importance was given to its hostile aspects. In the modern and postmodern landscapes nature is synchronized with human psychologies and complexities of life. The various facets of nature resemble the moods of human beings in manifolds.

Landscape paintings have several classifications. The skyscape paintings depict clouds, skies and weather conditions. Moon is aesthetically represented in moonscape paintings. The rivers and seas find visible expression in seascapes and riverscapes. The images of urban landscapes, industrialized cities, towns and streets are carved in cityscapes and hardscapes. The aerial landscapes offer an aerial view of the objects in the ground. Inscapes are visual images of the psychoanalytical mind as a three-dimensional space. Roberto Matta, Ajmes Gleeson and Jane Farnk are the specialists in inscape paintings. Various innovations and experiments with the landscape paintings are still going on. The paintings with all their connotations and aestheticisms are a connoisseur's delight and a prized legacy of art.

For detailed information on these Landscape Paintings please visit Landscape Paintings

Las Vegas Golf Courses-A Guide To The Best Las Vegas Golf Vacation

Monday, November 24, 2014

Are you planning on going to Las Vegas?

Did you know that Las Vegas golf courses are some of the

best golf courses in the world? There are numerous amounts

of Las Vegas golf courses and many more are being built.

The majority of Las Vegas golf courses are open all year

round, very beautiful and known for their quality and

spectacular features. They are a must for anyone traveling

to Vegas on vacation. So if you are looking at planning a

Las Vegas golf vacation and do not know where to begin, let me

help you with this short guide.

First, The Legacy is one of the finest golf clubs in

Las Vegas. This is one of my favorite Las Vegas

golf courses to visit. What I enjoy about the Legacy Golf

Club is that it provides an unrivaled and most challenging

golf course because of its raised terrain, unparalleled

angles, configurations and lines, broad landing surface

area and excellent landscaping.

Second, The Bali Hai is another one of Las Vegas

golf courses that is noteworthy. The practice surface

area, banquet and clubhouse is excellent and has a great

family atmosphere.

Next, Reflection Bay is a wonderful golf club and people

continue to rave about it. The mission at Reflection Bay is to

provide all golfers a most pleasurable golfing experience.

Also, Lake Las Vegas Golf Club is a Las Vegas golf course

known for its awesome location. Located 17 miles from the

Vegas strip centered on a 320 acre privately owned lake.

In addition, other Las Vegas golf courses such as the

Painted Desert Golf Club, Desert Pines Golf Course

and the Silverstone Golf Club continue to get great


Last, but not least, Las Vegas Golf vacation packages can

range from low-priced to very high-priced. With their

increasing popularity Las Vegas golf courses are becoming

more and more popular so you need to know how to beat the


As you can see, Las Vegas golf courses have become Shangri-

La for golf enthusiast worldwide. With a little advance

planning you should have a wonderful Las Vegas golf vacation.

Holiday Ideas For September

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Ideas for September, well its back to school and so prices will begin to drop, but across most of Southern Europe it should still be sunny and warm or hot right up until late September. Therefore its also a good time to searching out those late Summer bargains.

To help you find your ideal holiday for September we've split this into sections:

  • Sunny Beach Holiday Ideas - Short and Mid Haul
  • Sunny Beach Ideas - Long Haul
  • Active and Activity Holiday Ideas
  • Cheap September holidays

Short and mid haul would be up to 6 hours flying time, long haul is anything over this.

Sunny Beach Holiday Ideas: Short and mid Haul

Croatia, Makarska Riviera A great September holiday idea is to visit the Makarska Riviera, 85km from Split (fly to Split) with its perfect semi-circular small harbour. Makarska lives up to its too-good-to-be-true appearance. The wide promenade, bursting with fashionable cafes, restaurants and boutiques, is backed by an old town of narrow, stone-paved streets. The modern hotels are built just outside the bay with their own curving, pine protected beaches. An excellent mixture of old and new: sports, relaxation, culture, sightseeing, shopping and eating out.

Most resorts offer a spectacular choice of watersports such as waterskiing, boats rides and scuba diving in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic is a "must". Tennis, table tennis, bowling, mini-golf and volleyball are just as popular. Mountain-climbing is also a local tradition dating back to the early 1800s with a stunning unspoilt landscape, this is hiker's paradise. Croatia has the advantage that is is not part of the Euro zone, so prices will not have inflated due to drop in the pound against the Euro.

Marrakech, Morocco The ancient Berber capital is rich in history, culture, and French-inspired restaurants. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is traditionally Moroccan. By day, the main square of Djemaa El Fna buzzes with stalls selling everything from mint tea to cast-off teeth. By night, groups of exotic Berber dancers claim it for their own. Cyprus Mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, Cyprus offers a welcome as warm as its climate. The holiday season lasts all year long here, but in September temperatures will start declining from their Summer peaks (which could be well into the forties degrees centigrade) and will probably be in the thirties.

This should be more than hot enough for most sun lovers. Try heading for the resort of Limassol a good blend of beach life and night life which will still be in full swing. Villas in Cyprus are ideal for exploring the rich historic legacy of this island, sitting at the crossroads of three continents and bearing traces of many great civilizations. There are Greek and Roman remains to discover, as well as reminders of the island's Ottoman past, just a short trip from whichever villa you rent.

Sunny Beach Holiday Ideas: Long haul

One area to probably avoid at this time of year is the Caribbean/ Florida, this is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season (from June and going into November), 6 hurricanes occurred in September 2008, two category four (almost the worst). This was big proportion of the total, so they are more likely in September than other months. Also avoid Southern India and Goa as this is the Season of the The Retreating monsoon (September) for this same reason also rule out Sri Lanka and The Maldives. So in September we should look for Holiday Ideas in Africa, Australia, South Africa, Brazil and the Southern India Ocean like Madagascar, and Zanzibar. Gambia is brilliant for pure beach holidays.

Activity and Active Holiday Ideas If you are looking to do more than just Sun yourself on the beach we have some fantastic ideas for you in September its a really great time to be getting out and travelling in many parts of the world.

Fall in New England The leaves start to turn towards mid September and are at their best at the end of the month and through October. The unpredictable factors that influence the rate at which leaves change colors are rain, the amount of sugar in the leaves, the number of daylight hours and temperatures. Peak foliage in New England works its way down from the north. The further north you go, the earlier the peak.

For Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, your best bet is anywhere from the last week of September through the first week or two of October. Make your trip about more than just leaves so that you won't be disappointed. There's more to autumn fun in New England than peak foliage. Sip hot cider, pick apples, take a hay ride, hike, bike or attend a festival. Keep in mind, too, that even a hint of colour can be beautiful.

Kenya / Tanzania Receiving dry warm weather throughout August, with average temperature reaching 25 degrees celsius, and rainfall just measuring to 60mm, Kenya is a magnificent country to take a trip to. With two of the most famous game reserves in East Africa; the Masai Mara and the Amboseli, this country promises a safari experience second to none. Herds of wildebeest can be seen sweeping across the African savannah, whilst watching in awe as the wild elephants graze in the Amboseli. Revered by the local Kikuyu tribes, Mount Kenya, an imposing extinct volcano which is covered in forests, moorland and ice glaciers, is the highest peak in Kenya, towering over 5,000 metres of the African landscape.

All of the fascinating wildlife, the coral reefs, forest reserves and a rich historical heritage make Kenya a captivating country. The best game viewing you can fit into 13 days - elephant, lion, wildebeest, black & white rhino, antelope of every kind, zebra and giraffe can be seen through the Great Rift Valley and in the confined space of the Ngorongoro Crater. Meet the Masai people and if you're lucky, experience a migration. See Mt Kilimanjaro's snow capped peaks from a distance or for the more adventurous, add on a Kilimanjaro Climb.

Alternatively for those with less time , or who want to pack in a bit of beach time too, there is a 7 day tour, meeting in Nairobi. You leave Kenya swiftly behind to enter Tanzania; home to the highest peak in Africa Mt Kilimanjaro, two of the largest wildlife sanctuaries on the continent, and the unique Ngorongoro Crater. This visit has us concentrating on the north west corner of this vast country, seeking out migrating herds of plains game and searching for the endangered Black Rhino on the crater floor. Add on a Zanzibar extension to make this tour a true environmental and cultural experience, one to invigorate and release the stresses of everyday life.

Istanbul, Turkey The mysterious city straddles East and West with fine affordable restaurants and tantalising glimpses of the Orient. The Arcadia is a recently restored hotel in the old city, with the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar nearby. As Europe's bridge into Asia and the Middle-East, Turkey is a uniquely diverse country in which to enjoy an activity holiday. In Turkey modernity meets tradition and east meets west: Byzantine folk music and contemporary rock music, ancient Hittite sites and Roman remnants, glorious palaces and towering skyscrapers, supermarkets and bazaars, and churches and mosques, all sit happily side by side.

With delicious cuisine, gorgeous architecture and people whose reputation for hospitality is well-deserved, Turkey will has a richness and diversity that will appeal to all, whether you are looking for a destination for your singles, teenage or family adventure holidays. Boasting high mountain ranges punctuated with clear lakes and rivers, picturesque villages enveloped in olive groves, deep valleys and canyons, and over 4,000km of beautiful Mediterranean coastline, Turkey provides endless opportunities for exploration.

After an exploration of exotic Istanbul's labyrinthine bazaars and ancient mosques, you fly Kayseri and travel to the Taurus mountains to enjoy great opportunities for remote trekking in Europe. Nine days of walking takes you from the Emli Valley into canyons, through woods, over high passes and alongside high mountain lakes, reaching a high point of 3723m. Each night is spent camping among the wild landscape. After the trek you head into Cappadocia, a bizarre landscape of eroded spires and underground cities created over thousands of years.

Nevada, Las Vegas While the bright lights of Las Vegas might be Nevada's headline attraction, the Silver State is also home to a myriad of other exciting activities. September temperatures are in the mid thirties degrees, rainfall should be minimal.

Hiking and biking to fishing and hunting are all available amid the stunning National Parks, including the infamous Death Valley, while the winter brings snow and the possibility of skiingi at Lake Tahoe's 15 resorts in the north of the state. Moving into autumn, Hearts O' Gold Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair will take place between September 4th-7th. The event will feature concerts, parades, a livestock show, mud volleyball, entertainment, kid's games, and cantaloupe foods and contests.

Head out to the Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon to taste the sweet fruit of the season and take part in the fun. The Annual Virginia City International Camel Races are also set for September. While not known for their speed, these desert troopers hit the racetrack as a nostalgic reminder of the Comstock Lode's bonanza days. This family event features camel and ostrich races for a hilariously good time.

Later in the month, the Wild West Extravaganza brings a 'boomtown' to life in the historic town of Pahrump with a gambling hall, stable, blacksmith's shop and sheriff's office. Gunfighters keep the crowd on its toes, while they browse vendor booths and listen to music. Don't miss the Civil War Re-Enactment or the dinner-theatre performance.

A couple of days later the Ruby Mountain Balloon Festival will see the sky over Elko fill with more than 40 brightly coloured balloons. Admission is free. However prepare yourself before you go, by finding out what to do/not to do: 7 ways to have a bad time in Vegas http://govegas.about.com/od/lasvegasvacation/a/badvegas.htm

SharePoint Development for Investment Consultants

Monday, November 17, 2014

How SharePoint Can Help Investment Consultants.

Investment Consultant Roles

Investment consultants formulate strategies and guide investors to make correct long-term and short-term investments. They manage and constantly monitor clients' portfolios to meet desired results. Their aim is to preserve and grow clients' investment/asset over the long term and keep them abreast of the latest financial products. Further, they have to manage a large pool of documents/artifacts and seamlessly mentor their clients over a long period of time.

Role of IT and Challenges (SharePoint Helps fill these gaps)

With a dynamic economic landscape, Investment experts face a lot of challenges before them - both at macro and micro level. They need to survey possession distribution more often because of the unpredictable and dynamic market swings. They need to evaluate the magnitude of losses and continually track macroeconomic variables. Their current innovation set up is inadequate in more ways than one to handle these intricacies.

Internally, they have to maintain a large pool of information, archives and artifacts pertaining to each of their clients and also interact with them to meet their monetary objectives. At present clients require personalized and focused services from these investment consultants. An elevated turnaround time in responding to customers' queries might bring about competitor switch and in nonappearance of synergistic correspondence might hamper connection with clients.

Apart from the above challenges there are several in-house challenges that linger in current investment consulting firms:

  • Investment Research
  • Investment product evaluation and performance measurement
  • Customer relationship management
  • Lack of Value added services offered to clients
  • Usage of Obsolete/Legacy Systems to manage clients data
  • Unstructured Data Management
  • Downgraded system performance
  • Single Point Access to Data
  • Low collaboration with clients

How a SharePoint Set-up helps?

A SharePoint set-up renders a collaborative platform in the form of Intranet portal for investment consultants to share information related to clients' activities, better interact and engage with clients, enable value added services by providing customers with research reports, whitepapers etc.

It can build a central repository of data and can allow single point access to fetch relevant documents pertaining to a specific clients' portfolio and prevent the system from any unauthorized access. Apart from these SharePoint 2010 offers a host of other features to manage document types, retention policies etc. Investment consultants can also utilize other SharePoint features like document versioning, task listing etc. to improve task visibility, employees' collaboration, configuring indexing services, building custom search service for faster and accurate search results.

SharePoint Integration

SharePoint Consultants can help integrate existing CRM with SharePoint to overcome native functionality limitations of CRM by creating a central repository of data. They can facilitate integration of SharePoint with other in-house customer LOB application used to generate research col-laterals.

SharePoint integration enables consultants to have a consolidated view of data residing systems to improve TAT and user experience.

SharePoint Portal, Development & Customization

Apart from host of in-built features, SharePoint can also be customized and developed according to clients' requirement. SharePoint Custom Scripts can help monitor database growth and compartmentalize database to keep system performance optimal. It can also help in migrating obsolete clients data from legacy systems to SharePoint for better exception handling and control. SharePoint can also be developed using custom codes for data clean up and maintenance to reduced maintenance overheads.

How to choose a SharePoint consultant for your organisation?

It is important to seek external SharePoint consultants' assistance before implementing SharePoint solutions for your organisation. Full scale implementation of SharePoint solutions requires in-depth business domain experience. Hence before you select a SharePoint consultant for your business, it is important to know whether the consulting company has prior knowledge and experience in the same domain.Besides, you should also take into account factors like projects handled by them, location of your consultant, years of experience in the field, pricing per hour, reputation in the market etc. If you are planning to outsource SharePoint consulting to get cost advantage you should take into account the location of your SharePoint consulting firm. For most of the companies situated in USA, UK or Europe, the best choice as a country is India due favored factors of IT policies, infrastructure, English language proficiency, time zone difference and a reputation of global leader in IT outsourcing landscape.

Awaken the KING in YOU!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Two years ago, our nation and the world witnessed the historic event of the inauguration of President Barack Obama. With this trust came great opportunity, responsibility and challenges. From the near collapse of major financial institutions, and automotive companies that required Federal bail-out money, to the housing industry and double-digit unemployment, which left many Americans homeless and jobless, President Obama took office at the peak of the Great Recession. In the face of brutal realities, President Obama persuaded Americans to trust that his leadership would usher in "CHANGE, WE CAN BELIEVE"! Throughout his campaign for the Presidency, he referred often to what "WE" can do together to create the change so many of us longed for. Two years later, President Obama continues to demonstrate an unwavering resolve to stay the course of creating positive change, in the face of great challenges and opposition. What about you? Edmund Burks stated, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".

What actions are you taking to contribute solutions to the vast array of challenges faced by your neighborhood, state and nation? Are you engaged in activities that are creating a positive impact OR are you standing on the sidelines, complaining about what hasn't change, what's not right, what's not happening and who isn't doing enough? Can we continue to approach our present level of challenges with the mindset of "business as usual" and expect to experience progress in our neighborhood's and in our nation? Einstein stated, the "problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

As citizens of the great United States of America, we have a responsibility to take an active role in the governing of our nation and the quality of life we experience. We cannot rest on our laurels or leave our destiny solely in the hands of elected officials, business and community leaders. We have to nurture and sustain at the grass-roots level a spirit of collaboration. It is critical to our individual and collective progress that we consistently leverage our ideas, knowledge and experiences with open dialogue. The diversity of people that color the landscape of our nation is our strength. Within our diversity, we have a wellspring of potential which collectively we've failed to maximize in the best interest of our neighborhoods and nation. To move beyond our present challenges, we have to engage the vehicles in our respective cities and states, that will bring about sustainable growth and progress. We have to be willing to adapt and be flexible to our changing realities. We have to converse with those beyond our comfort zone for the sake of a greater purpose; the progress of our families, neighborhoods and nation. We have to make difficult decisions. Times such as this, defines a generation. What will be the legacy we create as a result of our response to the Great Recession?

Will the history books tell how we rebuilt our country on timeless principles; unwavering faith and persistence in a spirit of collaboration or will they read that we allowed political bickering, religious intolerance, racism and sexism prevent us from stepping up to the challenge with "ALL" hands on deck? This is our moment in time. This is our time of reckoning. Now is the time to awaken the KING in YOU! Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "each of us can be great because each of us can serve."

In the book, The 8th Habit, written by Stephen Covey, he writes, "...this new reality requires us to build on and reach beyond effectiveness. The call and need of this new era is for greatness". This dimension can be accomplished through the nurturing and development of The 8th Habit which is to Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs. Covey further explains, "It is the voice of the human spirit-full of hope and intelligence, resilient by nature, boundless in its potential to serve the common good. This voice...will survive, thrive and profoundly impact the future of the world". Our voice defined by Covey is "the unique personal significance that is revealed as we face our greatest challenges and which make us equal to them".

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every directions, and you find yourself, in a new, great and wonderful world. -The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali-

When we remember Martin Luther King Jr., its his significant contribution to the Civil Rights Movement, which eventually lead to the realization of the Civil Rights Act that created his legacy of greatness. Dr. King's famous speech, I Have a Dream, prophetically spoke of our nation as one in which the character of a person would have more bearing on his or her opportunities versus the color of his or her race. He spoke of America at its best. The election of President Barack Obama is a moment in time in which America manifested its best self.

With a history of unwavering faith, passionate persistence and enterprising efforts, as a nation we have demonstrated time and again that collectively we are capable of overcoming insurmountable obstacles, defy odd to win in the end. This positive aspect of our nation indicated that when we set our minds towards a unified purpose, we'll not settle for "what is" when "what can be" is possible.

The time is now to Awaken the King that dwells within us, individually and collectively. In a unity of spirit, mind and body, we can usher in Change We Can Believe In. By becoming agents of change, we'll become the much needed catalyst to stimulate growth and progress in our families, neighborhoods and nation. Empowered by mountain moving faith, organized knowledge and effort, sincere concern for the betterment of one another, and our Nation, we can harness the power of our voice to inspire others to find theirs. The significance of our collective contributions will profoundly impact the legacy of our generation and the progress of our family, neighborhood, nation and world. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like. But we cannot wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is NOW".

It's Your Move~Aspire Higher

Montegrappa Pens Symbolize Italian Finesse

Monday, November 10, 2014

Montegrappa Pens are the oldest and the most famous pens of Italy renowned for their extraordinary designs and superior quality. These pens were made by the union of Heinrich Helm, a German engineer and Alessandro Marzatto, a Veneto businessman. The pens are named after Italy's oldest fountain pen manufacturing company, Montegrappa which is originally named after a famous mountain in the landscapes of Italy. Montegrappa was founded as the "manufacturer of gold and fountain pens" in 1912. These pens embody the Italian heritage and legacy. The products are manufactured in the original company which is located by the river Brenta in the North eastern part of Italy. The company started gaining fame during World War 1. In 1930, the company enjoyed its key position, because at this period fountain pens were most widely used.

Montegrappa Pens gained popularity because of their quality and their sober designs. The precise manufacturing techniques of these pens have added to its credibility. With these beautifully carved pens in the middle of your finger, you will enjoy the bliss of beautiful writing experience. These pens are for people who are valued and reputed in the society as they are much more than mere writing instruments. They symbolize classical tastes complemented with modern luxuries.

After so many years of preserved excellence, the brand is still known for its A- class accessories and luxurious goods. Montegrappa Pens still continues to carry the legacy and maintains the superior craftsmanship and designs exclusive pens for every individual who values luxury. The brand manufactures a regular range of products for people who wish to indulge in the daily luxuries and a limited editions range which is inspired by the ancient passions for writing and some great moments of the past. The pens are available in variety of shapes, designs and colors. The high quality nibs which are generally gold nibs add elegance to them. The pens have exteriors which are manufactured with gold and other high quality metals.

Montegrappa pens are still known for their unsurpassed quality and the materials used for making these pens. The striking features and the ease and comfort of writing with them are remarkable. The limited editions generally are based on people or things which have historical importance such as classical Greece and tribute to ballet. The classic collection also features the best quality pens with fantastic features. The barrels of the pens are made with high quality materials such as Yellow celluloid, yellow gold and diamond or can also be silver enameled. The caps can either be silver enameled or made of yellow gold and silver. The clips can be of sterling silver or any other high quality metal depending on the theme of series. Thus, Montegrappa pens can add to the style and repute of an individual with its superior designs and features.

Historic Britain and Its Hidden Gems

Friday, November 7, 2014

200 Years of Charles Darwin

It was at Down House that Charles Darwin worked on his scientific theories, and wrote 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection' - the book which both scandalised and revolutionised the Victorian world. Today the house remains much as it was when Darwin lived here.

On the 13 February 2009 Down House will reopen after a few months conservation work with a new exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of 'On the Origin of Species'. During a visit you will enter the study where 'On the Origins of Species' was written, get a glimpse of family life in the ground floor rooms, audio tour narrated by Sir David Attenborough and relax with a cup of tea or coffee in the cosy tearoom.
English Heritage has also restored the gardens to their appearance in Darwin's time, where you'll see honeybees working in the fascinating observatory beehive just as Darwin did almost 150 years ago. You will also follow in Darwin's footsteps on his famous path 'The Sandwalk' and marvel at the carnivorous plants in Darwin's garden "laboratory" and unusual varieties of vegetables growing in the vegetable garden.

Kennet's 5000 year treasure hunt

As you may not know where this area lies, find Bath on your map and then go east to Chippenham, Devizes and Marlborough. It is a place where you can delve deeply into past centuries, visit ceremonial landscapes and hills that are steeped in mystery myth and legend. Here you will find the World Heritage Site of Avebury which was built in around 3000 BC. Unlike Stonehenge, you can touch and feel the stones that surround this Neolithic spot. If you allow enough time, you can also take instruction in the ancient art of dowsing, prior to or after a traditional ploughman's lunch in the Red Lion pub which is located INSIDE the ancient stone circle. It is also reputed to be one of the most haunted pubs in the south west with Florrie, being that its most well known ghost. The well she is supposed to have been thrown down after being murdered can be seen inside the lounge bar, so no misbehaving while you're there! Proof that mankind has always had an urge to leave an impression can be seen in the White Horses which have been cut out of the chalk on the Wiltshire Downs. The story behind each one is fascinating. Another site of mystery and legend is the West Kennet Longbarrow, which is one of the largest Neolithic burial tombs in Britain and the nearby Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes houses the world renowned Bronze Age collection from the barrows surrounding Stonehenge and Avebury. The Black Swan in the Market Place in Devizes goes back to the 16th century and has an interesting past and was featured on Living TV's "Most Haunted". With prior notice you can roam the cellars and search the blackness for orbs, detect energy and electro-magnetic fields. If you are seeking thrills of a different kind there is plenty of paranormal activity in the area. After a visit to the Back Swan, take a Ghost Walk around the town. This is NOT for the faint hearted and you will need that drink at the end of the evening...

Hastings Old Town

Just round the corner from the caves and shore lies Hastings Old Town, home to many famous smuggling gangs including Ruxley's Crew and the Hastings Outlaws. They were a violent bunch and in 1768, 13 of Ruxley's gang were hanged for their part in the gruesome murder of the master of a Dutch ship, off Beachy Head, near Eastbourne.

The Old Town is packed full of narrow streets, unusual shops and buildings. Its smuggling legacy remains with the annual bonfire celebrations during Hastings Week, where bonfire society members don the outfits of either smugglers or the revenue officers tasked to catch them.

Explore the Gardens of England's England
Whether you are a keen gardener looking for inspiration or simply appreciate the beauty of English gardens, make sure you take time to explore the gardens of Shakespeare Country.

From early spring to late autumn, discover a profusion of scents, colour and creation as the gardens of Shakespeare Country flourish with trees, shrubs and flowers. Even the winter months are exciting and you'll often come across gardeners working hard to prepare their gardens for the following seasons.

Shakespeare Country and the neighbouring Cotswolds are home to some of England's most enchanting gardens from almost every period of English garden history. From landscaped to cottage, exotic to herbal, the gardens are a delight to explore as they grow and change over the seasons and years.

Explore the gardens of England's England, enjoy the colour and the quiet, and remember where they are as you will almost certainly want to return.

On the Wales England border

One lesser known area of England is the county of Herefordshire, where England meets Wales. It has been back drop for several well known films including Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins, which was filmed in the Wye Valley - visitors can follow the Shadowlands Trail. More recently filming has taken place in the Black and White Villages of North Herefordshire for a new film "Unconditional Love" starring Julie Andrews, Cathy Bates and Rupert Everett. The film was launched in the fall of 2000. Literature has always been key to the county, Elizabeth Berrett Browning grew up in Ledbury and John Masefield was also born in this pretty market town. Poetry fans may like to visit Ledbury in July for the annual poetry festival.

Hatfield House - where Elizabethan history began

Henry VIII sent his children to live and be educated at Hatfield when Elizabeth was just three months old. Elizabeth spent most of her childhood at Hatfield, and it's said that she heard the news that she was to become Queen while sitting under an oak tree in the Park. Elizabeth: the Golden Age starring Kate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owen was filmed at Hatfield House. Mary, Queen of Scots' house Chartley Hall was recreated in the Armoury and other state rooms were used for Sir Francis Walsingham's home. As Geoffrey Rush Commented: "The first day of filming, for me, was the death scene and we'd recreated Walsingham's bedroom in Hatfield House and we knew that she had walked there some 450 years earlier. It just ups your game because you play into it with a greater sense of relish." Visitors can see the Banqueting Hall of the Old Palace of Hatfield where in November 1558, Elizabeth held her first Council of State and also see the site of the famous oak tree.

2008 marks the 450th anniversary of Elizabeth's accession to the throne and as part of the celebrations there will be exciting new events for all the family to enjoy. Experts on the period will be talking about life in the Elizabethan times in a new series of lectures. Documents from the Collection will be on Display, together with the famous portraits of Elizabeth. For younger visitors, there is a chance to try on period armour and learn about life as a fighting knight. On Friday evenings, Banquets are held in the Old Palace. A sumptuous four course dinner and excellent entertainment set within wonderful surroundings. During the evening, the Players will entertain with period music, song and theatre from King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I and their Courtiers followed by dancing.

Planting a Wildlife Food Plot

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Developing your own plot of wildlife and fauna may sound just a bit over-reaching and foolish to some but be assured it is far from impossible! You can grow your own wildlife and sustain it with proper nourishment with the help of proper tools and equipment. The farming equipment is handy and can be transported and fitted into small spaces where even tractors can't fit into.

If anyone's wondering why you'd want to grow crops for wild animals...well, here are some good reasons:

• You care about wildlife and want to sustain the fauna close to your country home.

• You will be able to provide better nourishment for animals, particularly deer, than is available for them in the wild.

• You can buy bags of good seeds particularly suited for their nourishment requirements and help the animals to remain healthy.

• You can attract deer and other animals to your food plot and have the opportunity to observe nature wild and up close.

• You can instill in your children respect and love for nature and they can learn a lot about wildlife from observing these harmless animals from close quarters in their natural habitat.

• You can pass your wildlife knowledge as a legacy to your children and experience the pleasure of close bonding with your children and family.

Advantageous for Landscape Planting:

Feeding the local wildlife may be a good idea as they will help protect your beautifully landscaped garden. As the deer habitat is shrinking due to human activities and deforestation, the deer are forced to wander closer to our homes and will feed on whatever is available in your front yard. Even though deer are not particularly fond of being displaced from their wooded habitat and brushing shoulders with humans, they do find the lush greenery around our homes quite tempting. They love to munch on plants like your prized tulips, roses and hostas. So it is to your advantage that you plant crops like chicory, clover and buck beans in a plot of land away from your beautiful garden to keep them away from the yummy greenery you have waiting for them at your doorstep.

Source for good hunting:

The last but certainly not the least reason for you to maintain a plot of food crops for wild animals is the nurturing of a big pool of animals that can be used for the purpose of good hunting. So when hunting season comes round you will not have to travel far and wide to harvest for prize trophies. The animals will be right there close at hand so you won't have to travel and spend extra money on commuting. Added to that is the advantage of not having to lug the animals after you've made your mark. All these factors add up to a very favorable reason for you to plant crops for wild animals and help nature sustain her wildlife.

The $750,000 Accountability Story

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Keith was in his mid-50s, and was a managing partner in a large CPA firm. He'd gotten to that level because he was very good at business development - specifically, bringing in brand new clients.

His partner group, on the other hand, were mainly in the 40s. They were all highly competent in their technical abilities, but not very good at bringing in new business. Up until then, they hadn't needed to concern themselves with that - it was raining clients. And they also saw plenty of growth just from adding on new services to existing client accounts.

All of that changed with the economic landscape in 2008 when the firm began losing clients. And that's when Keith hired me.

Keith had the skills - they were natural to him. He just couldn't figure out how to transfer those skills to the people around him. "How do I get people to go to market (when they've never had to) and bring in new business??"

The first thing Keith had to understand to become a more accountable leader was that just because something came easily to him, doesn't mean it came easily to others. "They're not you," I often reminded him in our early sessions.

Instead, Keith needed to apply all the components of my accountability system - recapping, meeting his people on a regular basis, asking open-ended questions, developing his people, etc.

Instead of riding the bike for them by micro-managing, managing all the new client meetings himself and exhausting his own network and database to make introductions, he began to use my three core skills of leveraging, collaborating and strategizing.

Leverage: When people told him excuses about how their databases weren't big enough to bring in any new business, Keith showed them how to mine the gold from even the smallest database. For example, an old college fraternity chum whose brother-in-law happens to be the CFO at one of the firm's target companies.

Collaboration: As I worked with Keith to show him these strategies, I was also modeling a collaborative approach to putting our heads together to come up with solutions. Keith learned that there was a lot of middle ground between doing everything himself and trying to get people to carry out tasks they weren't yet equipped to handle.

Strategy: As I taught Keith the accountability system and he started putting it into place, he and his people discovered that those same practices can apply to meetings with new prospective clients. For example, they started slowing down the process and preparing a strategy long before they actually got in front of the potential new client. That way, they weren't just reacting in the moment and then catching up to the conversation (an approach that certainly hadn't been working).

Keith wanted to create a legacy at his firm, and his own talent for bringing in new business had brought him a lot of success and the title of managing partner. As a leader, though, I helped Keith see that the real legacy he was creating was empowering his people to land their own new business successes.

The accountability system that I helped Keith put into place resulted in $750,000 in absolutely new client business.

Louisville's Beautiful Network of Parks and Parkways - A Model For All Other Modern Cities

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Glimpses of a City of Parks

A serene well-patterned naturally beautiful landscape interlacing an intricate network of similar structures arrested my sight on touching down on Louisville Sunday the 26th of June 2006. We drove past buildings all set in uniform symmetry with the well-terraced and tended gardens of the meadows as one should see in Eden.

The newest hall of residence in the University of Louisville, Kurtz Hall, which should be our new residence for six weeks,smelled fresh and fragrant. The surrounding well-tended gardens were constantly watered with the hedges and the carpet of greenery trimmed with quiet efficiency. The harmony with which nature intermingled with architecture all over the campus was impressive. The brown-brick-like box structures with terraced roofing patterns were all harmoniously blended with the green-carpeted parks surrounding each with adjoining tarred car parks with squirrels frolicking about in this nest of soothing beauty which were healing and diverting the mind.

Families of rare white squirrels frolick everywhere in the expanse of green space especially where one could find a huge variety of some of the biggest and oldest trees in Louisville as well as lush lawns. The compact Belknap Campus is itself a walker's paradise with a cardio path around Cardinal Park, as well as huge, shaded sidewalks throughout the serene campus.

The University of Louisville has been struggling to develop and maintain an aesthetic atmosphere since the 1920s. In 2000, when Dr. James Ramsey became president of the University his wife, Jane, started working towards transforming the campus into a "more attractive, safe and community-oriented environment" for students to live and learn in.

New signages around, became part of the ongoing beautification to create a better student atmosphere as well as make the university more attractive. Ramsey and the Campus Beautification Committee have introduced water sprinkler systems, tree-lined streets, painted Cardinal medallions on street surfaces and painted overpasses. thus making it "a more exciting and prideful campus." Stansbury Park on Third Street is to be returned back to its original 19th century design made by Fredrick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park and most of Louisville's parks and parkway system.

Olmsted's concept of a park is contained in the following classic statement: . 'My notion is that whatever grounds a great city may need for other public purposes, for parades, for athletic sports, for fireworks, for museums of art or science such as botanic gardens, it also needs a large ground scientifically and artistically prepared to provide such a poetic and tranquilizing influence on its people as comes through a pleased contemplation of natural scenery, especially sequestered and limitless natural scenery'

He was quite clear that while provision for sports for example was important, it should not take over sections of the park at the expense of the majority of park users, and should only be included where it could be accommodated within the park and not permanently take over sections of it.

"The redesign of Stansbury Park, along with plans for more bike pavilions by Cardinal Stadium, increased signage around the campus and downtown" and further involvements in development efforts in surrounding neighborhoods, according to Ramsey, "are all aimed at making this a more attractive and functional community."

Ramsey, who grew up in the south end neighborhood of Louisville said "This effort is important to me. I have a love for this neighborhood and this university and I want to be engaged in making it a better place for future generations."

Such pristine beauty is replicated in the whole city from downtown to the Churchill Downs area where every home is adorned by well tended gardens and lawns studded with flowers of varying alluring descriptions.

Louisville's beauty is greatly enhanced by its extensive networks of parks and gardens with green carpets of grass decorating pathways, hedges, and roadsides. It is reputed to have the most beautiful parks in the U.S They were developed from 1891 when Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York's Central Park as well as parks, parkways, college campuses and public facilities in many U.S. locations was contracted to design a system of public lands that would be free to all forever.

Olmsted created on all contours of the landscape

  • Shawnee Park, a plain of river bottomland featuring the concourses that afford extensive views and the expansive Great Lawn, Louisville's spot for large formal gatherings, enclosed with border plantings and a tree-lined circular drive;
  • Cherokee Park one of the most visited parks in the U.S., featuring a 4.2 kilometre mixed-use loop and many well-known landscaping features, where Beargrass Creek wanders among woods and meadows;
  • Iroquois Park, a tall, rugged escarpment offering vantage views of the city;at the heart of which is a 10,000-year-old forest, blanketing the knob's steep hillsides with a great variety of rare plants and animals and. a network of pedestrian paths, bridle trails, and circuit drives
  • and Tyler Park which is a jewel of solitude in the city bustle.

A scenic 7 mile River-Walk stretches from downtown's 4th Street Wharf westward to Chickasaw park. Running parallel to the Ohio shore this path offers a variety of views, from the lakes and dam on the shipping channel to quiet, wooded portions where the occasional deer roams. East of River Walk, Linear Park has a playground with attractions for all.

The Louisville Waterfront Park prominently located on the banks of the Ohio River East featuring large open areas showcases the waterfront with overlooking walking paths, the Festival Plaza, a water feature with a series of pools and fountains, a children's playground and a harbor. Resplendent with yachts and sea and motor bikes with police mini-vehicles it was agog with millions celebrating amidst the jocose display of fireworks, a veritable medley of colors and sounds criss-crossing each other in the sky in heralding yet another anniversary of America's attaining full nationhood last year, when I was there. Free concerts and other festivals are frequent occurrences here.

Further out from the downtown area is the Jefferson Memorial Forest which, at 6,057 acres, is the largest municipal urban forest in the U.S. which is already designated as a National Audubon Society wildlife refuge offering over 50 kilometers of various hiking trails. Otter Creek Park another large park nearby, .while actually in Brandenburg, Kentucky, is owned and operated by Louisville Metro government while. Otter Creek, from which it is named, winds along its eastern side.

A scenic bend in the Ohio River, which divides Kentucky from Indiana, can be seen from northern overlooks within the park which is a popular mountain biking destination, with trails maintained.

Other outdoor points of interest include Cave Hill Cemetery where Col. Harland Sanders was buried, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery where President Zachary Taylor was buried, the Louisville Zoo and the Falls of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area. Towards Bardstown one of the most famous slave houses Farmington Historic Home stands amidst a verdant lush greenery. This house with well tended lawns interlaced by wooden and concrete paved paths and a pool at the far side was part of the slave-holding plantations of the South where hemp and rice were grown as well as wine brewed.

Louisville's fantastic parks system, owes much to people like Gen.John Breckinridge Castleman who as first parks commissioner, brought Frederick Law Olmsted to Louisville in 1890 to work on its parks design and donated land for Cherokee Park--with his statue now standing in Cherokee Triangle in tribute. More recently David Karem, led the popular Waterfront Park's development, while David Jones Sr., co- founder of Humana Inc, leads an ambitious drive to establish a green-ring around Louisville called "City of Parks."

The Value of Parks and Gardens

The preservation of Louisville's natural environment through expanding parks and forests amidst an urban space improves water and air quality, cools the city and provides a natural habitat for the animals and birds who in turn build up a natural and refreshing atmosphere for leisure.

Park DuValle has been transformed into a series of traditional Louisville neighborhoods linked by a continuous network of streets and parkways. For Louisville's western neighborhoods were dominated by two crime-ridden public housing projects and a badly deteriorated apartment complex with virtually no existing retail outlets in the neighborhood except small convenience stores.

These parks achieve the hallmarks of Olmsted's social vision. As the source of healthful inspiration - through mental, physical and social recreation - they provide a respite to the stresses of modern city life, spaces where people can come together to create a stronger community, whilst exhibiting all the classic physical elements of an Olmsted park: graceful topography and alignments; ease and accessibility; balance of uses; expression of native character and use of native materials; separation of traffic modes; and subjugation of built elements to nature. The Olmsted Parks are a magnificent work of art that must be preserved to continue their enormous contribution to the quality of life in Louisville. The landscapes in and around the parks thus remain a crucial resource for serving the cultural and recreational needs of the public.

As Mayor of Louisville, Jerry Abramson said. the green-print will unite neighborhoods and people, with a trail that will help connect all parts of the community," "Parks draw people together who might not otherwise encounter one another, bridging the gaps between city and suburb, between rich and poor, between white and black. Parks raise property values and make our community more attractive to new residents, businesses and visitors. Parks preserve irreplaceable landscapes. Parks give our kids a place to play, and they allow each of us to take a break from the daily hustle and bustle."

Studying the Creation of a Unique Park System in Louisville to Replicate in all other Cities

The restoration of historic buildings is a widely accepted activity, for either re-using them for different activities, or restoring them as landmarks and attractions for visitors, whereas designed historic urban parks and landscapes are generally less favored for historic preservation or conservation.

Landscapes are sometimes more difficult to characterize. Erosion of the original design and loss of individual features, usually makes it hard for the general public to identify that they were actually 'designed' at all. Public perception is often that these urban landscapes were just bits of land that weren't built upon or left-over bits of countryside that escaped development, and were kept as such for public recreation.

Parks need to both restore their value as cultural resources within communities as well as enhance their recreational value. Much could be learnt from the Americans about historic urban landscape restoration through their successful restoration through innovative, best practice and good design in Louisville which both respect the original design whilst remaining relevant to today's communities. The designed as well as neglected landscape legacy of cities are great assets to restore and continue the tradition of park building to reflect the mood of 21st century cities. When done successfully, with sensitivity good design and good future stewardship this can achieve both the conservation of built landscape environments, as well as provide meaningful, beautiful and robust new landscapes to cater for changing and expanding communities.

A) The realization of the need to upgrade Louisville's look

In the 1980s, Louisville was another declining industrial town in the Mid West. Then it recognized the value in its park network as being vital for the city's ecological health, economic growth and for improving the quality of life for its dwindling inhabitants. The network was designed in 1891, to provide an escape from the industrial city into the healing world of nature.

Since World War II, Louisville's public parks, had been falling into decline, with lack of investment, over-use and natural disasters like tornadoes thus bringing a breakdown in the relationship between the community and its landscape. The spiraling cycle of disrepair and subsequent reduction of use became damaging for both the parks and their users, with further neglect following.

B) The creation of Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy

A group of concerned citizens formed the 'Friends of Louisville's Olmsted Parks' in the early 1980's, and prepared a report on park conditions. In the late 80's Mayor, Jerry Abrahamson created the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy to stop the rot, and turn the parks around in an attempt to make their park system the best. The Conservancy was set up to act as a non profit, sister organization to the 'Metro Parks', to assist in the planning and funding of this massive renewal program to both preserve and enhance this great work of landscape art. The city invested $1million in setting up the Conservancy as a separate but complementary organization to the City funded parks department. The initial funding established the conservancy and paid for a Masterplan to be drawn up for all the 2,000 acres of parks and 15 miles of connecting parkways, to set the stage for the future private investments in the parks improvements.

In 1995 with the master plan document finalized a practical plan was set out for its implementation. It pulled together specific projects, management strategies, and new maintenance techniques, all designed to work together to enhance all the parks in the system.

Frederick Law Olmsted, had in 1891, urged the people of Louisville to 'Adopt an Ideal, and to let it guide all planning and actions'; The Conservancy's master plan reiterates this ideal and continues to set out the way forward for Louisville's Olmsted parks. His systems comprised of parkways which would connect the separate parks with each other, and the downtown to them, thereby structuring the growth of the cities. They were to be planted with trees creating a park-like feel, and separating the modes of transport used on them.

C) The structure of Louisville's park system

Louisville's park system is composed of three distinctly different landscape types. Louisville's natural landscape and scenery were the starting point for Olmsted's design. He took the distinctly different terrains and landscape characters of the three sites to create Shawnee, Cherokee and Iroquois Parks. These were to be the three principal parks whose uses and designs he planned to be compatible with the scenic experiences they could provide.

Shawnee being situated adjacent to the Ohio River, took advantage of its river views both in their own right and as a backdrop for the concert stage. It provided access to the river for boating and bathing, and the rest of the park was created as a large open area of rolling meadow interspersed with shade trees, which could be a major site for recreations and sport. Thus he provided the recreational elements which Olmsted knew to be necessary in city landscapes, but always wanted to prevent from interrupting his composed 'natural' scenes which could be designed in his other parks.

Cherokee Park was almost exclusively dedicated to the enjoyment of scenery, and designed to exploit the setting of its location in the stream valley, and contained less provision for formal activities than any other he had designed.

The third major park was Iroquois. Sited on a steep hill, It had originally been known as the ''Burnt Knob' due to the original savannah vegetation which was managed by a cycle of burning and regeneration by the native American Indians. Its steep terrain was deeply forested. Olmsted proposed that this site should be treated as a scenic reservation as its topography, character and vegetation was unsuitable to providing open parkland, which was in any case, amply provided by the other two. Iroquois was to represent the forest scenes of the Appalachian Mountains, experienced on the journey from the Mississippi south, to Virginia.

The last major element of Olmsted's design was the parkways connecting the parks with each other and the Downtown. The construction of these was carried out in piecemeal. As well as the major parks and parkways, several smaller, neighborhood parks were designed by Olmsted and later the Olmsted brothers, all 18 contributing to the overall network.

D) The loss of many character defining features of the parks

Over time many of the character defining features of the parks have been lost. Physical and spatial elements have been overlaid, replaced with contemporary elements or altered. The onset of the car, over use, natural disaster, installation of contemporary structures, flytipping, malfunctioning equipment, general disrepair and invasive species had all led to the erosion of the original vision and structure.

The parks were originally designed specifically for 'ease'. So visitors should be able to move through and enjoy the different views and scenes while pursuing their passive or active recreation with ease. Routes guide you through the gently unfolding and ever changing scenery, whether on foot, bicycle, car or horse. The circulation system became fragmented and dysfunctional as the agents of change took their toll, making layouts confusing and movement difficult through some areas leading to perceived dangers and fear for personal security. Ease of use was thus lost.

Shawnee Park, originally designed with recreation in mind had become a victim of its success as it got covered with baseball fields and associated fencing, which obliterated its naturally inspired landscape and led to the exclusion of most other uses and users.

The topography of Iroquois Parks had been taken advantage of as a natural lookout point, first by the American Indians and later, as Olmsted had intended. The summit becoming a desirable vantage point for drivers, thus became over trafficked. The large open grassed 'Summit Field' at the top of the park, 'The Knob' was often to be found covered in cars. This soon became a poorly drained, muddy field, leading to further run off from the summit and erosion of the forested slopes and circulation systems contained within.

Vegetation erosion and loss, as a result of car parking on the edges of the scenic drives, and damage done by the 1974 tornado, has been a major agent of decline of Cherokee Park. The tornado felled 2000 trees in its 20 minute crossing, and subsequently allowed an invasion of alien species to colonize, causing dark masses of impenetrable vegetation. Blocked off views limited the public's natural way-finding ability and led to desire lines, further degrading the visual quality of the designed landscape and creating physical problems with storm water runoff. The characteristic long vistas through the stream valley with meandering paths through the landscape had largely disappeared as a result. Sports pitches and bland, functional, but ugly structures had been placed around the park, further interrupting the composition of the various scenes. Combined sewer outfalls into the Creek degraded water quality and increased flow, thus reducing the creeks natural ability to withstand erosion of its banks by floods.

E) Strategy for the revitalization of the parks

The strategy for the Olmsted Parks, was to first define the 'period of significance' within the life span of the parks' history. In this case it was defined as being mostly from the 1890s to 1916, and partially into the 1930s, when the parks and parkways were designed and built.

Its significance, as a designed historic landscape, is recognized through the designation of the Louisville system as being listed on the National Register of Historic Places thus recognizing its importance as a cultural resource for its citizens . It also offers it some protection from federally funded projects that may impact on these historic resources. As the three separate parks were designed to be distinctly different from each other the rehabilitation strategies had also to be distinctly different for each. The key concept of 'ease of use' was one of the major and constant considerations taken into account with the rehabilitation strategy.

Shawnee Park's formal sports provision has been condensed into one area, thus restoring the informal landscape and therefore the park's pastoral quality. Strategic views to the river have been restored by vegetation clearance and land form alterations, overcoming physical and visual barriers created by flood defenses.

Problems of car domination at the top of Iroquois have been overcome by redesigning the former muddy grassed field into a native Savannah wildflower meadow. This has transformed the car dominated mud bath into a flowering oasis, while also saving on maintenance costs, being now managed by burning on a 3 year rotation, as the American Indians do with only grass paths mowed regularly.

The flowing lines, vistas and routes of the river valley landscape in Cherokee Park have been restored with the creation of additional new paths, giving access to a long derelict stonework seating area surrounding the seasonally running Barringer Springs, re-interpreting both the natural and designed aspects of the park.

The preservation and rehabilitation strategies of the master plan and the other park programs designed by Louisville Metro, are in the process of reversing decline. Louisville will thus receive the full benefit of the Olmsted legacy, while meeting the need for current and future recreational needs, through sensitive design and the creation of new facilities which do not compromise the original vision.

The extension of Olmsted Parks' legacy throughout Greater Louisville

The mission of the Louisville Conservancy is also to extend the Olmsted legacy throughout Greater Louisville for the benefit of generations to come who could enjoy an extensive green space in Louisville 'The City of Parks' The long term vision of the Mayor of Louisville in 2005 to build upon the groundwork laid down over 100 years ago, is to ensure, as the community grows, that all residents have access to quality parks and open space.

The delivery mechanism for this is a significant public private partnership consisting of several organizations including Metro Parks, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Louisville Metro Government, 21st Century Parks (A new not for profit organization established to accept donations for land acquisition and for development of new parks) and the Trust for Public Land, (a national not for profit group which works to conserve land for the public to enjoy)

This partnership is working together to accomplish three major projects:

- Acquire land which will become a new interconnected system of parks

- Create a 100 mile, green loop and trail around Louisville's perimeter to tie together its diverse parks and communities, and control sprawl, ( like a usable greenbelt)

- Invest in improving the existing parks.

So far, the local government has earmarked $20million over a multi-year initiative with $1million pledged in the 2005-6 budget. $38million was secured from federal funds in 2005, and with private contributions, the total raised by December '05 was $60million. The setting up of the '21st Century Parks' organization has enabled the acceptance of tax deductible donations.

Innovative Park Creation for Restoring, Enhancing and Preserving A Brighter Future for All

The City of Parks initiative, while mostly acquiring land and building new parks, is also crucial, in helping with the 'restore, enhance and preserve' mission of the Conservancy. The Olmstedian 'Ease of Use and accessibility' philosophy is being continued and expanded thus aiding access to the original as well as new parks. The new parks can incorporate new requirements, such as state of the art skateboard facilities and interactive water features, rather than having these facilities squeezed into landscapes which weren't designed to accommodate them. 'Extreme Park' skateboard and cycling park is just such a facility, located in downtown Louisville, an extension of Waterfront Park a brilliant service which has become nationally renowned. Facilities such as bike hire are provided in the new sites, thus increasing visitors. The new Waterfront Park is an exciting collection of activities, ecologies and spaces contributing to the richness of Louisville's collection of parks.

Waterfront Park has helped to jump-start the downtown area. Over $400million has been invested in the downtown riverside area since 1994. The park itself costs £100million. Historic buildings have been retained and re-used within the development zone, with the history and character of Louisville respected as people are re-connected with their waterside. Jobs in that area have grown from 400 in 1986, to over 5,300. Metro Parks department are developing new parkways to add further connections from the downtown to the parks, thus increasing accessibility and use of the system. Louisville's early recognition of the value of parks, has enabled it to stop, and then reverse the spiral of decline, and resuscitate this resource on a massive scale for the benefit of the city. In doing so, it has helped in continuing to define the city's form, preserve the rich native landscape and improve property values.

Louisville's Olmsted Parks and Parkways a unique component to the fabric of the city, contributes to the quality of life for all citizens. The value of the clearly-planned system of large landscaped parks connected by tree-lined parkways, and smaller parks, playgrounds, and squares is greater than ever. For parks have the ability to improve almost every aspect of life for individuals and the community at large. Caring for these historic treasures and seeing that they remain valuable assets for every community should therefore be the perennial preoccupation in all cities in the world.

Further Reading:


Lanzarote Benefits From the Legacy of Cesar Manrique

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lanzarote, the fourth largest of the Canary Islands, owes a great deal to one of the islands most famous residents, Cesar Manrique.

Through his vision the island was saved from extensive tourist developments during the 1970's which helped preserve the natural look and feel that so many people return year after year for today.

Unlike some of the other Canary Islands, Lanzarote does not play host to tall high rise buildings. Indeed, many buildings do not even break the tree line and are white in appearance. This is thanks to Manriques vision and him imposing certain restrictions on developments on the island through colour, location and height.

It is also thanks to Manrique that there are no advertising billboards lining the (few) roads on the island of Lanzarote. This has also helped to keep the natural look and appearance of island and keep it from becoming over commercialised.

Manrique, an artist by trade, also helped to shape some of the natural attractions on the island, all of which I have been lucky enough to visit on several occasions.

Through the use of natural landscapes and lava tunnels Manrique created a number of visitor attractions throughout the island, some of which are detailed below.

In the North of the island Mirador del Rio looks out over the island of La Graciosa. Mirador (Spanish for lookout) sits on top of the northern cliffs of Lanzarote and offers amazing views out over the neighboring island. There is also a coffee shop / bar here. It is a very relaxing place, as indeed Lanzarote is a very relaxing island!

Manrique was also responsible for the restaurant located in the Timanfaya National Park. This restaurant provides a totally unique "natural" grill where food is cooked from the heat of the underlying volcano.

It is with regret that Manrique was tragically killed in 1992 in a car accident just a few metres from his home (now the Cesar Manrique foundation), however it is clear that we owe a lot to Manrique for making Lanzarote what it is today.

Top 10 Great Things to See & Do in Andalucia, Spain

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

1. Sun and Sand

With a thousand kilometers of coastline there is one common factor: the Sun. Come and be captivated by Andalusia's coast, where you will find a endless miles of unspoilt beaches, majestic cliffs, salt marshes brimming with wildlife and a little-known undersea world simply waiting to be discovered.

Andalusia's coastal beaches are its natural heritage and each have their own distinct personality. The coastline, includes the Costa Del Sol in Malaga, the Costa de la Luz in Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz in Huelva, the Almeria Coast & the Costa Tropical in Granada, all are idyllic natural settings, with crystal clear warm waters and year round sunshine.

2. Golf

If golf is your passion, you will be in the best region in Spain for this sport. You can enjoy the sun whilst playing golf in Andalusia all year round.

From the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, Andalusia offers a generous host of courses with first class facilities and stunning surroundings that are worth visiting simply in their own right.

Whether you are an novice or a pro, you will find Andalusia the perfect place to play, thanks to its excellent weather and the quantity and quality of the courses. There is an extensive range to suit all players. The variety of the courses, their facilities and their track record with many of the major championships being held, which help guarantee golfing quality in Andalusia.

3. Entertainment & shopping

Choose from one of the many amusement parks in Andalusia; Descubre Isla Magica or El Parque de las ciencias being just two of the options available to a visitor to the region

For shopping lovers the huge El Corte Ingles shopping complex provides a superb shopping experience, or visit Puerto Banus for its exclusive brand name boutique shopping beside the delightfully quaint harbour.

Markets (or mercados in Spanish) are a common sight in the towns and villages throughout the Andalusia region, They are noisy, colorful and highly entertaining and an experience to be witnessed, whether you plan to shop or not. Markets thrive throughout the province and are the pivotal centre of life in towns and villages.

4. Nature

Get closer to nature in Andalusia by enjoying the magnificent Whale & Dolphin Watching off the straits off Andalusia. There are two national parks in Andalusia: Donana and Sierra Nevada providing a great way to spend time amongst stunning natural landscapes.

Andalusia is a bird watcher's paradise as it lies on the Europe to Africa migratory routes.and attracts ornithologists all year round. There are in fact so many ways to connect with nature when visiting Andalusia from visiting its abundant Forests, Sampling its Salt water and Fresh water fishing or simply admiring the wonder of its numerous Olive groves and Cork trees.

5. Sports

Whether indoors or outdoors, Andalusia offers a broad range of sporting activities, and there are numerous kinds of national and international competitions held in the province.

Sporting competions held regularly at Andalusia's different stadiums, circuits, pitches, sports halls and courts also allow spectators to enjoy watching live sporting competition at the topmost level. Famous events include Formula 1 Grand Prix or the Motorcycle Racing World Championship can be witnessed alongside international surfing and body board competitions.

6. Relaxation & Therapy

Andalusia has all the right ingredients and is the perfect setting for you to enjoy a personalized health and beauty treatment experience. It is an ideal place to combine action and pleasure.

If you are looking for that healthy holiday for both body and mind, then your senses will be satisfied by the exceptional facilities and treatments awaiting you here in Andalusia.

Thermal waters, a range of mud treatments, therapeutic baths, water jets, algae therapies, massages... these are the main components for revitalising treatments at specially designed spas and hotels.

7. Flamenco

Flamenco is a passionate and seductive art form of dancing, a mysterious and misunderstood culture that has been practised in Andalusia for nearly half a millennia, and today flamenco has numerous aficionado's worldwide.

Many people witness flamenco in some form or another during their summer vacations in Andalusia, especially on the Costa Del Sol, where there are great flamenco Tablaos in abundance

8. Culture

Andalusia has a wealth of culture that will take you way back into history, with major archaeological sites, the legacy of the different cultures and civilizations that made their home in this rich, beautiful land in the south of Spain.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba, the Alhambra in Granada and the Giralda in Sevilla are first class World Heritage monuments, an immense artistic legacy that has been passed down across millennia of history.

The stunning Moorish, Renaissance and, especially the Baroque architecture can be seen in its most important buildings, the fortresses, the castles, and monasteries to be found throughout andalusia, which help to complete a hugely valuable array of cultural heritage.

9. Sierra Nevada

Snow & Sun, Sea & Mountains, Sport & Relaxation, Art & Gastronomy, Shopping & Therapy at a Spa, Sierra Nevada offers you the perfect combination of all of these.

Sierra Nevada is a paradise for snow lovers. It has the number-one ski resort in southern Europe, where you can enjoy the maximum number of sunny days a year, is the perfect place for all winter activities.

The quality of its services and facilities together with its lively atmosphere and nightlife make this mountain retreat a five star spot for winter sports lovers.

10. Gastronomy

The Mediterranean diet is in vogue. Basic products such as fresh vegetables and pulses, fresh fish, ripe fruit and virgin olive oil have made Andalusian cuisine a major force to reckoned with.

Andalusian cuisine centres around fresh, localy sourced ingredients, with fresh fish dishes available in all coastal areas and the finest meat dishes inland. A huge variety of sun ripened fruit is to be found throughout.

The gastronomy of Andalusia owes much of its origins to the Moorish cuisine of Al-Andalus. Its style came to transform many customs. It was the people of Al-Andalus who first created the dining room and the current order of dishes served in a traditional Andalusian meal.

10 Cool Things To See On Berkshire Trails With Your Dog

Friday, October 17, 2014

"If your dog is fat," the old saying goes, "you aren't getting enough exercise." But walking the dog need not be just about a little exercise. Here are 10 cool things you can see in the Berkshire Hills while out walking the dog.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s President FranklinRoosevelt put thousands of unemployed men to work in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Work camps were set up across the country with the mandate to build roads, reforest denuded lands, and construct recreational facilities for public use. Some of the greatest legacies of this "Tree Army" are in the Berkshires, including Bascom Lodge on the summit of Mount Greylock. Designed by Pittsfield architect Joseph McArthur Vance, the rustic shelter was designed to blend in with the landscape using native materials of stone (Greystone schist) and lumber (red spruce and oak).


The great ice rivers of the last Ice Age melted from Massachusetts about 15,000 years ago, scraping and shaping the landscape and leaving behind a fair share of debris. Strange rock formations from retreating glaciers are known as erratics. The greatest oddity in Pittsfield State Forest is a glacial erratic known as Balance Rock. The massive 165-ton limestone boulder teeters precariously upon a small, 3-foot piece of bedrock.


Does your dog have any herding instincts? At Tyringham Cobble the canine hike begins in an open field where you may find yourself hiking with your dog through a free-ranging herd of Hereford cattle - as they have done for 200 years.


A canine hike in October Mountain State Forest may be your best chance to spot Massquatch, New England's version of Bigfoot. There have been occasional sightings of a hairy, oversized, human-like creature in Massachusetts across the years from the Atlantic beaches to the Berkshire Mountains. The Berkshire Eagle twice reported encounters at October Mountain in the 1980s, including an up-close and-personal at a former Boy Scout camp near Felton Lake.


After World War II interrupted his career as a Williams College librarian, Lawrence Bloedel purchased the former Nathan Field farm with his wife Eleanore. In 1948 the couple retained Edwin Goodell to build a house to accommodate their expanding collection of contemporary American art. He responded with a modern, window-dominated design adorned with simple lines. In 1966, Ulrich Franzen delivered a Victorian Shingle-style house for the Bloedels' grandchildren, known as The Folly. The Bloedels donated their blend of architecture and nature to the Trustees of Reservations in 1984 and when you hike with your dog at Field Farm today you can walk among 13 modern sculptures, including works by Richard M. Miller, Jack Zajac, Bernard Reder and Herbert Ferber.


Nathaniel Hawthorne called the Ice Glen, a cleft in the rocks between Bear and Little mountains behind the town of Stockbridge, "the most curious fissure in all Berkshire." It is a ravine without a stream - all the water around Ice Glen flows on a south-north axis while the gorge is aligned east to west. In fact, the glen, stuffed with stacked boulders and draped with hemlocks, was once a glacial lake. Tucked away from the sun's rays, the season's last snow melts here, hence its name. Further west, beyond West Stockbridge, Stevens Glen was once one of the busiest tourist destinations in the the county. In the late 1800s Romanza Stevens built bridges and staircases to the Glen and its waterfall and charged 25 cents for tourists to view the magic of Lenox Mountain Brook.


In Natural Bridge State Park, the site of a marble quarry until 1947, is a dam built totally of marble blocks, etched in black on the edges. As Ed Elder, who operated the property as a roadside tourist attraction, would describe it, "This is the only marble dam outside Athens, Greece."


Shaker communities were required to clear the summit of a nearby hill for worship. Near Hancock around 1842, this site was atop Mt. Sinai, now known as Shaker Mountain. The trail today leads to two Shaker sacred sites that have been leveled out on the top of Mt. Sinai and Holy Mount. When the Shakers worshipped here non-believers were not allowed on these grounds.


All over the Berkshires your dog can view and swim under hydrospectaculars. Some are reached with hardly a hike (Campbell Falls, Windsor Jambs, Wahconah Falls), others with a little effort (The Notch Brook Cascades, Bash Bish Falls, Tannery Falls) and other waterfalls are rewards for a spirited canine hike such as Sages Ravine in Mount Everett State Reservation.


The stone walls found throughout Massachusetts are some of the most beautiful walls ever built. The fact that so many can be found in Berkshire woods attests to the skill used in construction. You could not just pile up rocks found around your property and call it a wall. When a stone wall was finished it needed to be inspected by a fence viewer. If a wall was deemed sound the owner could not be liable for damage done to his crops by other farmer's animals.

Assessing Binary Options Brokers Review Sources

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Binary options brokers are service providers whose responsibility it is to provide customers with the services that they require. This makes them no different from other service providers in terms of how their services should be judged. Most people would not hesitate to comment on the service that they received at a particular restaurant or in a particular store, and the fact that brokers seem to offer more professional services does not exempt them in any way. In fact, one of the best ways to choose a particular broker to trade with is through binary options brokers review articles.

These are articles written both by professional writers and customers like yourself. Some writers have to review brokers as part of their job descriptions, and this is particularly true for writers of financial magazines or websites. On the other hand, there are some people who are customers of a broker and simply want others to know what they think of that particular broker. In both cases you get an evaluation of the broker and the level of service offered, albeit from very different perspectives.

Professional Writers vs. Existing Customers

Professional finance writers will approach the issue of how good a broker in a very different way from existing brokerage customers. This is because writers are much more concerned with the technical side of trading, and are probably focused on the types of underlying assets offered to customers to trade on and various other technical aspects. Customers, on the other hand, are probably more concerned with the aspects that make up the entire experience. Customers, for example, might find a particular interface difficult to use or understand, and this will probably matter more than the availability of other financial products that they do not trade in anyway.

Online Reviews

Perhaps the most convenient and easily accessible source of broker reviews is through the internet, with a number of different websites catering specifically to people looking for broker reviews. The wide range of reviews can be very useful in forming a clearer picture of which broker is more suited to your particular needs and which might be a waste of your money.

You should use this source of information in conjunction with comparing the features offered by each broker. Once you have narrowed the list of potential brokers down to the ones that offer the features that you require, then you can proceed to compare them further with the use of reviews.

Word Of Mouth

Most people have friends who also trade in binary options. In fact, a great many people start trading because they have been told just how effective it is as a means of augmenting their income. If you have friends who trade using particular binary options brokers, you should ask for their opinions on their brokers. This is probably the best type of binary options brokers review that you can rely on, since you can be sure that your friends are being honest with you.

Travel Sedona's Red Rock Country - The Jordan Family Legacy

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Although one could stay for months in the beautiful red rock rimmed landscape of Sedona, many of the 4 million tourists per year visit just for a day; perhaps on their way to the Grand Canyon or up from Phoenix to escape the heat. On any given day, Uptown Sedona is buzzing with tourists shopping at the quaint boutiques, crystal shops and art galleries, sampling local treats and enjoying the spectacular 360 degree view of crimson monoliths. In the heart of Uptown Sedona, just a few blocks up Jordan Road, visitors can also get a taste of life in the early days of Sedona by visiting the Sedona Heritage Museum. Jordan Road is named for one of Sedona's early families who devoted their lives to developing Sedona into a thriving community for their children and future generations.

The story of Sedona's famous Jordan family begins with William and his wife, Annie Bristow Jordan, their sons George and Walt and their wives, Helen and Ruth. This industrious, hard-working family and their orchards became a cornerstone for Sedona's commerce.

William Jordan originally began farming in Arizona in 1881 about 20 miles west of Sedona near Clarkdale. There he had great success until the toxic fumes from the nearby Clemenceau smelter killed his crops resulting in one of the first U. S. Supreme Court battles against a firm for environmental pollution. He conducted tests of air samples to determine how far away he needed to move to resurrect his enterprise. In 1926, he purchased 175 acres at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon from Claude Black who had only just purchased it a few years earlier.

There were 9 children born to Will and Annie Jordan: six sons and three daughters. When the two eldest sons went off to fight in WW1, Walter, the third son, dropped out of high school to assume his brothers' duties on the farm. It was Will's fourth son, George who bought out the orchard from him in 1927 and started marketing produce as far as 120 miles away. Walt worked with George until 1928 and then began his own farm on a 65 acre of patch of dry land that Will acquired from Jesse Purtyman for $1000.00 and 12 creek side acres of the original Jordan property. Not much for dry farming, Walt needed to figure out a way to irrigate his crops. He investigated purchasing a water wheel system from New York, but it cost more than the entire purchase price of the original 175 acres. Determined, Walt enlisted the help of George, who had studied engineering back east. Together they poured over the drawings of the water wheel and during the following winter, George began building the components for a giant water wheel right on the living room floor much to the dismay of his tidy wife, Helen. By spring they had the beginnings of the Sedona City water works.

During the Great Depression, produce prices were low and it was difficult for local farmers to make a profit, so George began a co-op. Local farmers would bring their goods to his packing shed where the produce was uniformly packed and readied for market. George would then take the fresh fruits and vegetables to his customers in the neighboring towns of Jerome, Cottonwood, Clarkville, and Prescott as well as Flagstaff and other northern Arizona towns.

Walt could have been considered a Renaissance man of his time. He researched and taught himself all aspects of farming and running an orchard: soil nutrients, grafting and pruning fruit trees and using bees for pollination. He even set up his own weather station and devised a thermostat system to monitor the conditions for frost.

Walter started his farming legacy by growing carrots and driving the hand bundled bunches 12 hours by Model A Ford to Phoenix. There he and his wife would sell them to the hotels and restaurants. Using the money he made from marketing carrots, he was able to pay off his father for the parcel of land, purchase some fruit trees and build a 14 x 20 foot cabin which became the Sedona Heritage Museum in 1990. During the years it took for the fruit trees to mature, he grew strawberries, beans and other vegetables for income.

Getting his precious cargo to market was often a harrowing experience. After working in the orchards all day, he then worked into the night packing the produce on his modified truck. With little or no sleep, Walt had to drive at a snail's pace over steep slopes and navigate some tight places with plummeting drop offs on northern Arizona's early rugged roads.

The Jordan family legacy lives on in the Sedona Heritage Museum located inside Jordan Historical Park.

It was Ruth who desired to preserve the history of Sedona and after Walter's death she approached the Sedona Historical Society with an idea for a museum. In 1991 the Jordan home became the property of the City of Sedona and is now managed by the Sedona Historical society.

Visiting the museum is a great way to experience the life in the early times of Sedona. In addition to the cabin with its original furnishings and the packing house, the museum displays antique farming implements, various exhibits and has a quaint gift shop. The Sedona Historical Society hosts many events there and continuously strives to preserve and teach Sedona's history.

A walk around the park gives the visitor an opportunity to stand in Walter and Ruth's shoes.

The homestead is surrounded by inspiring red rock formations such as The Fin and The Sail. These shapes were familiar friends of the Jordan family. One outcropping, The King and His Three Wives overlooked Walt and Ruth's first home. This configuration consists of a group of small monoliths. The king is off by himself facing a cluster of 3 monoliths, his queens. It is noted it by their daughter, F Ruth Jordan in Following Their Westward Star that Walt thought the tree on the ledge of the king appears to be his boutonniere.

There are several hiking trails just behind the park where an avid hiker as well as the casual visitor can enjoy the natural beauty of Sedona. Walk the trail around the formation known as the Cibola mitten named for the mythical Spanish City of Gold or take a longer trek on Brin's Mesa. As you drink in the boundless beauty surrounding you, imagine life as an early settler; working endless hours under primitive conditions relying only on resolution, endurance and ingenuity.

Look for more articles in this series Watch for Red Rocks by Ann Galgano-Bellile.

How To Switch Energy Suppliers - And Save Hundreds Of Pounds

Monday, October 13, 2014

A survey of 53,000 households who changed their energy providers recently revealed an interesting statistic. On average, each of the households had saved over 200 pounds in gas and electricity bills. The survey was carried out on households who had switches suppliers between September 2011 and August 2012.

Let's talk about how to shift energy suppliers and save money on electricity or gas bills. Here is a simple guide to switching suppliers without running into difficulties or paying steep exit fees.

Before The Switch To Your New Energy Supplier

Check with your current supplier if you will incur a canceling fee. Most energy plans have exit fees that are either fixed or linked to your tariff rate. This fee is applicable if you end the contract with the energy company before your plan period ends. If you provide the company with due notice, then you may not be liable for any penalty or payment.

How To Start Making The Move

Step 1:

Keep all relevant information ready. Your energy provider will most likely require your postal code, the name of your current supplier of electricity and gas, the tariff plan under which you are contracted, your energy usage in kilowatt hours or kWh of both gas and electricity, and your bank details or credit card details. Most of this information can be found from your recent electricity bills. The switch can be done even without the electricity bill by working with estimated usage figures.

Step 2:

Enter the details into the on-line form provided by your energy company and the system will calculate your best options depending upon your usage and needs. The results of these calculations along with your most highly recommended options will be displayed, along with the latest deals on offer from different providers in your area.

The results also provide rates charged by different electricity and gas suppliers, and their ratings based on customer feedback. When in doubt, there are guides to energy tariffs that list out the advantages and disadvantages of each type of tariff plan for your easy and quick reference. Go through them to get a better idea about the plan and to choose your ideal provider.

Step 3:

Once you have made the final decision, pick the supplier and tariff plan and then follow the instructions to complete the switch over to a new supplier.

Step 4:

That's it. The switch over will be complete in about 8 weeks. Once you submit the form, your new supplier will take over and follow up on the subsequent steps in the process. You will be requested to provide meter readings and other details. You are expected to settle all outstanding bills with your previous company before making the switch.

Despite many advantages, over 50% of the people surveyed had never switched energy suppliers. If you are one of them and are still locked into an old tariff plan which charges higher rates than what newer providers are offering, then you will benefit from making the switch now and finding a better deal. The process is not all complicated and many have found the moving procedure simple and straightforward.

There are no restrictions to switching suppliers. Even households with pre-payment meters, or those with outstanding debts less than 100 pounds, can switch energy suppliers. Those who change providers frequently should also compare new tariffs and plans against their current set-up every six months and make sure they are enjoying the best deals available.

New tariff structures and plans are announced literally every month by energy suppliers who seek to lure new customers. Taking advantage of such offers could save your household hundreds of pounds in gas and electricity bills.

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