Songkran: Hard Holiday for Ladyboys

The Thai New Year celebration every April is the world’s largest water fight that young and old, foreign and Thai alike enjoy and participate in the revelry. However, for Thailand’s transsexual ladyboys – known as katoeys in Thai – it can be an annoying and precarious holiday.

The no-holds-barred water fights that have become part of the tradition of Songkran have their roots in early rituals for the holiday that included lightly pouring water over the hands and feet of elders in a cleansing ritual. It also represents well-wishing and good luck, and marks the beginning of the rainy season and the hopes of a productive rice crop.

It has since been joyously hijacked from a traditional tranquil water festival to a free-for-all water fight.

To Thai ladyboys, the holiday can be a daunting gauntlet of self-preservation.

Thai transsexuals are widely accepted and often even considered by their natural female counterparts to be the most beautiful “women” in Thailand. A strong case can be made for this argument because Thai men who want to become women go through myriad surgeries, treatments and self-improvement procedures to make the successful leap from male to female.

Breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, botox injections and hormone treatment are among the basics a guy must undertake to begin the transition. For those who take the final step, there is the sexual-reassignment surgery with the necessary vaginoplasty procedure to make them “whole” as a female.

Yet there is sometimes still some “fine-tuning” to perfect the lady. This may include hair removal, more botox and silicon as needed, scraping of the Adam’s apple to hide its prominence, and even a tweaking of the vocal chords to raise the tone of the individual’s voice.

Indeed, what it is often left over as a product of these transformations is a “woman” of significant beauty who many of those unfamiliar with Thailand would not guess was anything but a stunning female beauty. In fact, Thai women when asked about how to identify ladyboys will often say you can spot a ladyboy because she is “too beautiful” or “too perfect”.

One natural and sufficiently attractive Thai female commented with a sulk, “I could be just as beautiful as a ladyboy if I could afford half the surgeries he’s had.”

Then of course there is the daily primping and preening, hairstyling, makeup and attention to fashion that complete the package. And this is where the water-cannon-aided fun becomes the bane of a katoey’s existence.

During Songkran, the streets of Bangkok’s red-light district, Patpong, become nearly impassable without being drenched. Several of the clubs in Patpong are exclusively ladyboy gogo bars, most prominent of which is King’s Castle on Patpong Soi 2 and a crossroads that connects Sois 1 and 2.

King’s Castle might be one of the top ladyboy gogo bars in Bangkok as all of the “women” are only those who have gone through the sexual-reassignment surgery – and thus able to have intercourse with customers, should it be desired.

The location, though, proves to be quite unfortunate on Songkran for the working “girls”. Trying to leave the bar with their customers, they become – like everyone else – an instant target of the water-soaked celebrations. Much to their chagrin.

Indeed, even as the evening draws to a close and the bars shut down, a dozen or so ladyboys huddle a safe distance from the oft-drunken party-goers looking for a chance of safe passage. Some will plead their way through with a respectful wai (respectful prayer-like gesture of the hands), to make their way down the streets with their hair and makeup intact.

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Better Sex With Games for the Ho-Ho-Holidays

December is host to more celebratory events than one can throw a stick at. There’s copious amounts of food, plenty of company – and the opportunity for better sex for many. That last one may not always be at the top of everybody’s list, but in fact the holidays are an excellent time for exploring new sex games with one’s partner. Men who have taken proper care to maintain penis health throughout the year may find the holidays are the perfect time to add some fun and sparkle to their bedroom routine.

Sex games are fun at any time of the year and can often jumpstart a relationship that has become a little ho-ho-hum, thereby leading to better sex. With that in mind, couples may want to consider incorporating some appropriately-themed sex games into the holidays. Some suggestions follow, but couples should feel free to let their imaginations roam wide and come up with their own celebratory games.

Trim the Tree. For the couple that has never experimented with pubic shaving, this is an excellent opportunity. The partners can discuss what they would like – a full shave, a light trim, or perhaps shaving the hair into a star or candle pattern. Then, together the partners can take turns shaving each other – carefully, of course. (Definitely not a good idea to handle a razor or scissors after too much eggnog consumption!)

Deck the Balls. Balls get hung on the tree every year; men already come hung, but their equipment might need a little decorating. A guy should invite his partner to indulge her creative bent on his testicles. Some well-applied body paint is an easy way to start, and can change those balls into an explosion of color. Another option: Dispense with the traditional penis ring but do use some colorful ribbon to create the same effect.

Make It Out of Clay. The dreidel song famously sings of the toy being made of clay; why stop with the dreidel, though? A safe and appropriate polymer clay can be spread over a man’s penis to create a clay replica. The clay can also be used to provide a clay version of a woman’s breasts or of the buttocks of either partner.

Naughty or Nice. Cosplay is often an excellent way to add spice to a relationship. One of the partners may wish to dress up as Santa and then determine if the other partner has been naughty or nice. For some reason, naughty tends to win out more in this game – especially if the price for being naughty involves getting naked.

Good Things Come in Small Packages. The less-endowed male, as well as those of other proportions, might want to consider exploring a penis sleeve for some holiday cheer. Or perhaps this is the time to try some ribbed condoms, French ticklers or other toys that might add to the festivities.

Caroling Climax. The partners choose a recording of a favorite holiday song or songs. The goal is to try to time the couple’s climax to coincide with the end of the song (or songs). A variation can be to have each partner manually stimulate the other; the winner is the one who does not climax before the end of the piece.

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Travel, Adventure, Fun, Sex and Sun Down Under Australia

Dear Friends

Take a few minutes, so I can tell you more about Cairns in the Tropical North of Queensland, Australia. This is one amazing place and one of the most favorite Holiday destinations in the Land Down Under!

I am in love with the Great Barrier Reef and the relaxed lifestyle of Cairns. Just as much with the breathtaking Natural and Virgin World Heritage Rainforest in the Tropical North-east. That gave me the idea to share the information with likewise adventurous people, all over the world. I want to provide you with the knowledge and information to make the decision to come experience and enjoy for Yourself what the Best Place on Earth has to offer.

Cairns is a city with approximately 130 000 residents, growing fast. The city is squeezed between the Great Dividing Mountain Range and the Great Barrier Reef. The city is part of- and surrounded by Rainforest and is described as a “City in a Garden”. From the shore, the Great Barrier Reef closes in onto the Mainland and can be visited in so many ways to choose from. The Activities is limitless and the best I can do, is to describe as many as I can think of. I will try my best to group them, to give a good idea of possible options.

Weather wise? The average Min. and Max. Temperatures during the Summer months, range between 22 and 32 degrees Celsius and during the Winter months, between 17 and 28 degrees Celsius. Even in the Rainy Season you can expect heaps of sun, which will give you the time to work on a nice, even Suntan. Relax on the many Beaches, Islands, Esplanade Swimming Pool, or out at sea on the many Reef charters. Just remember that the summer months may become very humid. Just make sure that you drink heaps of fluid on these days!

Water activities? Swimming – Your pick whether it would be from a beach, in a pool, natural rock pools, the Esplanade, or the Reef. Just keep well clear of the Rivers, because they are considered as “crocodile-invested”. You want to have a relaxing holiday, not to become a meal! Snorkeling – Be amazed by the rich underwater life on the Barrier Reef, Islands, or even off some beaches in the area. Diving – You will find few places in the world, where diving is more of a specialized, main attraction. It would be a sin to visit Cairns and not to use the opportunity to visit the Reef for some of the most pristine diving in the world! Even if you can’t swim or have never dived before, expert Diving Instructors can be found on almost every Charter Vessel and they are always ready to take you for an Introductory Diving Lesson, to introduce you to diving. Certified Divers can explore the Reef under the guidance of the same Instructors, to show you the best of each and every Dive Site. A new Craze, is to explore the underwater world by the Seawalker Helmet Dive. You literally walk the seabottom with your head stuck in a glass-bubble. Your hair won’t even get wet! This is the ideal way for a person who want to get the feeling of being in an Aquarium, or if you can’t swim. Then there is also the option of the Glass bottom Boat Tours. Sit safe in a boat and be amazed while watching the Marine Life gliding by through the Glass Bottom, while listening to a Reef Presentation as the boat travel along. Another similar option, would be to travel in a Semi-submersible Submarine, with its glass windows. It will create the feeling of being in a Submarine, traveling amongst the Rich Marine Environment. Or, just take a seat in an Underwater Viewing Chamber/ Observatory and relax watching the diverse Marine Life. Underwater Scooters – One of the charters even have the option to explore more of the reef, by means of underwater mobilisation!

Scenic Flights? Seaplanes – Cairns Seaplanes will be one of your options to get the “Full Picture” of the Great Barrier Reef and the Tropical Rainforests. The same can be said of the Helicopter Flights. Both will take you for a breathtaking view of the Reef with its stunning blue water, the lush, green islands, the secluded sand-cays and the marine life to be spotted, even from the air. They will offer you any deal from being just a One-way or Return Charter between certain destinations, to a large assortment of choices of Scenic Flights over the Reef and the Rainforest. They will even take you to a secluded destination of choice, to spend quality time with the one you love. Special events, like Weddings or Social Events, are just part of the package they will work out, just for you!

Island and Reef Opportunities? Charters – You will find Day – and even Overnight Charters to serve you the best of what you can expect on your holiday. Options between Charters to various pristine Reef Destinations, is almost limitless. If you thought a dive in Daytime is good, you haven’t try a Nightdive yet! To sleep over at sea, is just as good. It is a wonderful experience, bringing some new peace in your heart and soul. Diving and Snorkling would be the main activities on most of the charters, but do not feel left out if that is not what you are into, because just the experience of being out at see and the alternative activities alone, will guarantee to colour up your day!

If you would love to spend your day on an Island, there is a few to pick from. Although there are many islands around, Green Island, Fitzroy-Island and The Frankland Islands would be the most visited Islands from Cairns. From Port Douglas you can visit the Low Islands. There is a few other, of which some is more Private, like Double Island off Palm Cove. Most of the larger Islands mentioned, will offer you a variety of activities, like Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving, Hiking, Glass-bottom Boat and Semi-submersible Tours. There is also activities such as the Helmet Dive, Sea-trampoline, Kayaking, Nautical Museum, Para-gliding or even Camping and Fishing at some. The best way would be to browse through my Activity listings to see which each has to offer.

Other Adventure Activities? Bungy-jumping – AJ Hackett is the inventor of Bungy-jumping and Cairns was obviously one of the first choices in Australia to build a structure to introduce other adrenalin- junky minded people too the “Rush”. They have resently just celebrated 20 years of safe jumping in Cairns! Hot Air Ballooning – Go for a Breathtaking Champagne Breakfast over the Tablelands, just west of Cairns. Watch the Sunrise over the Rainforests in the east, while looking down over the farmlands right under you, as they drift by. White Water River Rafting – Take your pick! From Half-day to Full-day packages, from Moderate to Daring! Take the Barron River or take on the mighty Tully River which will deliver you an Extreme Experience. Sky-diving – So many options to choose from. Different heights, different locations, with different views! From qualified Sky-diving, to Tandem Sky-diving. Para-gliding – Have fun being towed behind a powerful speedboat, while hanging from a parachute. Microlights – Get Introductory Microlight Flight lessons from Port Douglas. Enjoy the spectacular views as you glide over the beaches and river systems, while still doing valid flying hours at the same time. Kayaking – There is a couple of places to practice your rowing skills and to enjoy the freedom of the ocean. Jet-ski – Heaps of fun is the word! ATV- Riding – That is the description for “All Terrain Vehicles”, or 4-wheeler Dirt Bikes. Just up the Tablelands, you will have the option to test your off-road driving skills on some off-road tracks. Horse riding – If you love horses and the tropics, where better to “wind down” on horseback. There is various places to choose from. Take a winding road down the forest, or play in the waves on the beach. Four Wheel Drive, Offroad Driving – Test your skills on the various offroad tracks, from the local area, the famous Bloomfield track from Cape Tribulation up to Cooktown, or even as far as up to Cape York. Jungle Swinging – You have two options to choose from. The one is at AJ Hackett’s place where the Bungy-jumping is done from and the second at Cape Tribulation. Be thrilled by this high speed swing and at the same time, share and enjoy the moment with a friend, because up to three people can swing at a time. Hiking – You will find a variety of Walking Trails all in and around the city itself, or take some of the bigger challenges on some that may even take you up to a few days. Mountaineering- Pyramid Mountain would be the most famous one to give a go close to Cairns and there is even a race up the mountain once a year.

Wildlife? Zoo – You have the Cairns Wildlife Zoo close to Palm Cove and the Wildlife Safari Zoo up at Kuranda. Meet the native animals of Australia close-up at the Cairns Wildlife Zoo and have breakfast with the Beasts of Africa, at the Wildlife Safari Zoo. Bird-and Butterfly Sanctuaries – You have a combination of these sanctuaries at Kuranda and the Wildlife Habitat at Port Douglas. Interact with the friendly birds and animals and feed them yourself. Be amazed by the colorful Butterflies, of which many native of the Tropical Rainforests of Australia. Crocodile Farms – Go for a tour at Hartley’s Crocodile Farm, or the Crocodile Tours up the Trinity Inlet. Get expert guides to give you a presentation about the Rulers of the River and watch them feed the crocs. Get a newfound respect for these awesome reptiles. Wildlife Spotting – Take a tour with the old Army Duck at Kuranda and discover the native life in the Tropical swamps up at the Tableland. At Cape Tribulation you can choose between a Crocodile-spotting Expedition at Night, or a Wildlife-spotting Tour at Night, around the local forest. One of the most diverse and natural eco-systems in the world, can be found around Cape Tribulation.

Fishing? If you like fishing, Cairns is the place to be! From fishing the Dams inland for the famous Barramundi, to fishing the Estuaries for Mangrove Jack, Trevally, Blue Salmon, or Barramundi again, you still haven’t scratch the surface of choices! You can fish the many Rivers, the Beaches, the Rock-walls, the Islands, the Reef or the Deep-water of the Coral Sea. Cairns is on top of the list to go for the most sought-after heavy-weight,- the Black Marlin! Then I haven’t even mentioned the many Tuna-, Mackerel and other favorite Deep-sea species. With at least 1500 known species of fish on the Reef alone, the possibilities is limitless!

City life? Markets- Stroll through the Cairns Night Markets and be amazed by all the the local and overseas products up for sale. Indulge yourself with the variety of food served. Shops- Cairns have so many different Shopping Centers to choose from, but the best known one in the hart of the city, would be Cairns Central. If you want to take souvenirs back home with you, there is more shops than you can handle in the city. This is one of the reasons why Cairns is so famous as a Holiday-destination! Take your time and browse the different shops, or just sit back and relax while enjoying a Coffee, or have, from a Breakfast, to a Full Meal, at one of the many Food Outlets. Nightlife- Cairns is well-known for its famous Nightlife, with many Pubs and Nightclubs. Always heaps of people to meet and the atmosphere is Electrifying! Be ready to party the night away!

Sightseeing? Kuranda- This is a great little town to explore! It is described as a Village in the Forest. It have its own markets and as I’ve mentioned before, a Bird-and Butterfly Sanctuary. Close you will find the Wetlands, which you can explore by means of the old Army Duck, an Amphibious Vehicle to drive on land and just as well in the water. It is a beautiful, easy-going town and a nice place to wind down. The Safari Wildlife Park, can also be found just a short distance from the town. If you take the road to Kuranda, make sure to stop over at the Scenic Look-out point, from where you can gaze down on Cairns with its Sugarcane fields, with the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef in the distant background. The winding road will take you through Virgin Rainforest, which will impress you for sure. Skyrail- Another Scenic alternative, is to take this option, to glide over the Forest Canopy, just meters above the trees. Glide past the Barron Falls and stop over at the Mid-way station for a presentation about the forest history and get to see one of the oldest trees in the forest. Many people prefer to do one way with the Skyrail and the return with the Kuranda Scenic Train, of which I will talk next. Kuranda Scenic Railway- This is another option to visit, or return from Kuranda. As I’ve said, this option is a favorite to use in conjunction with the Skyrail. The breathtaking scenes remain the same, but from a different angle. Look down on the Barron-falls as you pass, or try to spot some wildlife on your trip. Barron-falls- From Kuranda, you can visit the Barron-falls, which can be extra spectacular in the rainy season. Take a Scenic Walking Trail down to the look-out point and be amazed by the awesome Forest Fauna and Flora. Barron-gorge- This is the rapids below the Barron-falls, you can visit from Cairns. Cross the bridge towards the Hydro Power Station and look down at the fast flowing waters beneath you. The raw beauty of the surrounding area, make up great pictures to take back home. Copperlodge Dam/Lake Morris- You can visit this dam by taking another Scenic Route from Cairns, by a narrow, winding road that go up the mountain range. Be astonished by the beauty of this eery Lake in the clouds, which feed Cairns with its pristine, clean, nice tasting water. Crystal Cascades- Visit this clear water Creek and cool off in its inviting cool water. The name describing it as “The Crystal Cascades” is very accurate with all the different natural pools and rock boulders down its path. From there you can also take a Walking trail up to the Copperlodge dam if you wish. The natural Forest is again, just amazing! Mossmann-gorge- This famous Gorge, is very much like the Crystal Cascades, but just close to port Douglas. The natural pools is just inviting and a pleasure to cool off in! The Gorge is situated in the Daintree National Park, which is one of the Natural Wonders of the World. Josephine-falls- / The Boulders-/ Fishery-falls. These 3 falls, is all situated in different areas between Cairns and Innisfail and although very similar in description to the Crystal Cascades and Mossmann-gorge, it each have its own draw-power and beauty. Visit the Pyramid-mountain, from where some of them originate and be stunned by the glare of the many smaller falls, all around the mountain, in the rainy season.

Sports? Cairns would not be a town if without any sports. I am not going to go into it much, because that is a aspect which is very similar wherever you go. Just as other towns, Cairns have its own share of sports-facilities, all over town.

Great places within a day’s drive south of Cairns? Paronella Park – A great place with breathtaking views and awesome Rainforest, just south of Innisfail. Mission Beach- Have fun and enjoy the sun on this long stretch of pristine beach with heaps of activities. Whitsundays- Explore this group of 74 Great Islands. Leave from Airlie-beach for a visit, or a stay-over at many of the inhabited islands. Hamilton Island with it’s own Airport, or the exclusive Hayman Island for people who expect just the best. Then there is Lindeman Island for people who want to share an island with only the bare minimum holiday-makers or the fun Daydream Island. Also visit many of the other islands, such as Long Island, South-and North Mole Islands or Hook Island. Visit the breathtaking Whitehaven Beach, with the purest and highest quality pure, white Silica Sand in the world. Party your night away in loveable Airlie-beach, which can lifestyle wise, be compared with Cairns in the small.

Great Places within a day’s drive north of Cairns? Port Douglas- A great town and nice place to wind down if you want peace away from the city-life. Heaps of activities, of which the most involve travelling to the nearby Low-islands or the Reef. Mossmann- Named after the famous Mossmann-gorge as I’ve described earlier. Cape Tribulation – A must go, especially if you are a backpacker. A very nice place to take part in various different activities, with a natural attraction for people, young and old! The nature is raw and untouched and it is the only place in the world, where two of the Natural Wonders of the World, meet up. The Great Barrier Reef meet the Ancient Daintree Rainforest on your doorstep! Walk onto the reef in some places, from the beach! Take the Bloomfield Track with your 4 x 4 vehicle, to the last Outback Town, better known as Cooktown. From there on north, only dirt tracks will lead you, until eventually you will end up at Cape York, the most northern point of Australia. Just be reminded, that will take you more than a day to complete and you will not be able to do it without being well prepared. But, that is another adventure well worth to give some thought!

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Sex Gifts For the Holidays!

The holidays are a great time to get your partner an erotic sex gift! Here are some quick and easy options for holiday sex gifts!

1. Sexy Lingerie!

You can’t go wrong with lingerie. It’s an easy option, that always works well and is guaranteed to spice up the bedroom life. You can get lingerie online or better yet go to a shop and see what kind of packages they have or what the most popular styles are.

2. Erotic Lotions and Oils!

Erotic lotions and oils are great holiday sex gifts. They are fun, exciting and guaranteed to liven up holiday sex. You can find various erotic oils online, or go to an erotic shop to find an assortment and again see which one’s are the preferred favorites, top sellers and so forth. Some lingerie shops will also carry lotions and oils, and that could make a nice complimentary erotic gift to the lingerie (as could number 3 also).

3. Lovemaking Guide!

This is an excellent choice for a holiday sex gift and it’s one of the easiest as well. A lovemaking guide will be filled with all kinds of intimate tips and techniques that you and your partner can perform for even better and more exciting sex. The beauty of a lovemaking guide is that you get it online and simply burn it to a cd or make a print out. It would make an excellent addition to a set of erotic oils or a nice complimentary gift to go along with lingerie. Or it can hold it’s own, seeing as this is the gift that will truly keep on giving!

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Aphrodite’s Island – Cyprus Holiday Packages

Cyprus is not exactly the first place I would think of when going on holiday. In fact, I never knew much about the island at all, except that it was situated somewhere in the Mediterranean and that they have olives, so when my friend Dylan phoned me and asked if I wanted to go to Cyprus with him, I thought “why not?”

Paphos

We were set to stay at Paphos for six days. Paphos is a seafront town with palm trees along the coast line, with an airy laid-back kind of charm to it. For our stay we booked into one of the local hotels, with sea views and were situated in the Pano Paphos, which is the city center itself. Paphos is basically divided into two parts, Papo Paphos, which is the town itself and Kato Paphos, the coastal area. Paphos is now hailed as the new “Ibiza” – it is party country in that city.

Cyprus is an island filled with rich history and Pano Paphos has a grand archaeological museum which holds an extensive collection of Cypriot antiquities. Dylan and I went for a tour through the Tombs of the Kings. Although there are no real royalty buried here anymore, it was the actual burial place of all aristocratic residents of Paphos and got its name because of its rather majestic appearance. The Tombs of the Kings is incredible and a rather complex mixture of mausoleums and chambers built into a rocky hillside. Some of the dates go back as far as Christ’s birth and as Dylan pointed out, very well preserved. I gather he would know better since he is an archaeologist and therefore it made perfect sense as to why he chose Cyprus with vigorous passion in which to enjoy a holiday. He informed me that the tombs had received Unesco World Heritage status and despite being a little under educated in archeology, I understood and also felt that there is something wondrous about this place.

Kato Paphos, which is the coastal region, is gorgeous. The striking Coral Bay has a stunning sun-kissed beach with golden sands and the deep blue ocean attracts a lot of ardent water sport enthusiasts of course. Dylan did some kite-surfing while I had lunch at one of the many local restaurants that forms part of the seaside promenade. It was at a restaurant where I had my first experience of Halloumi. Halloumi is a cheese indigenous to Cyprus and Lebanon. Made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, it’s deep fried to perfection. In Cyprus it is called Saganaki. It’s the bee’s knees to say the least and was served with a delicious helping of soft lamb sausage, neither of which I’ve eaten before. Before the week was over, I made sure that Dylan and I went back to the same restaurant in order for him to experience the exhilarating taste of halloumi. Who knew cheese could be so good? Dylan’s reaction was as I expected, the same as mine, so of course both of us invested in a pound or two to take back home. (Also try Sivinia, the Cypriot grappa)

A sort of romantic history

What I liked about Paphos specifically was the romantic history tied to this little town with its hectic night life and party vibe. The story follows that the goddess of love, sex and beauty, the goddess Aphrodite, was born here in Paphos as this was the place where she landed when she rose from the sea. With history that pre-dates Homer (700 BC), Aphrodite is still evident Paphos and the worship of this goddess inspired many poets their love for Paphos.

I came with Dylan to Cyprus, but with no wish of my own to visit Cyprus whatsoever, expecting little to see and do, but came back a history student of the Greek gods. Dylan just laughed at me, since it didn’t even take five days to make me study history. For the first time I understood Dylan’s fascination as to why he became an archaeologist and why he wanted to come to Cyprus. Even if history is not exactly your scene, I can promise you this, apart from experiencing one of the most beautiful Mediterranean island vacations you can imagine, you will come back from your holiday with an ardent love for history, which proves that Aphrodite is still hard at work.

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There Are Really Only Four Ways To Make Money

People are always looking for money. We need finance to exist in this life, no matter who we are. Millions of people everyday are trying all sorts of gimmicks and get-rich-quick schemes and millions more are being hoodwinked with scams. There are really only four ways to make money!

FOUR WAYS TO MAKE MONEY

WIN IT. Not a sure way to raise finance and many people end up losing more than they win as they try to gamble their way to riches.

INHERIT IT. Not a sure way either. You have to have some rich relatives who think you’re the best thing after sliced bread.

BEG, BORROW or STEAL IT. Absolutely not recommended. All are short-lived with long-term consequences. Fraud, scams, dishonest dealings and lies have a short life. Ask “Bernie” Madoff, an American swindler, former stockbroker, investment advisor and financier trusted by thousands. He got away with his nefarious schemes for a long time, but they finally caught up with him. The FIFA chaps also found that this is a slippery slope.

TRADE SOMETHING FOR IT. Now we are talking! You either have to trade your TIME, ASSETS or EXPERTISE for money. There is no other way to real financial independence.

Once you understand this, the rest is much easier to figure out.

Ask yourself:

Do I have time available? Get a full-time or part-time job and work for someone. Look for opportunities or create them. Join sites like elance.com or fiverr.com and offer your services. Remember, though, you only have so many hours in a day.

Do I have assets I can trade for money? Good question. You can get into Affiliate Marketing by recommending products from online marketplaces like Amazon, ClickBank, JVZOO and get paid good commissions for sales without having to handle the goods and finance yourself. Then you have eBay, Craigslist, OLX, Bid&Buy and a host of other sites that allow you to buy and sell. You can even sell at Fleamarket stalls, and bazaars. There are opportunities everywhere.

Do I have some expertise? This is a far better question and the results are more satisfying. Write some short reports and sell them to people who need to know what you know. Write Kindle books and publish them for free on Amazon’s global platform – and earn great royalties ranging from 30% to 70%. Teach courses on Udemy. Run seminars and webinars.

Why would people want to pay you for information when they can find it free on the internet?

Simply because they have to search for the information they want, sift out the good from the not-so-good and put it all together in a workable plan. It’s so much easier to pay someone who knows exactly what to do and worth the money as they exchange their cash for your expertise.

Think about it. Everybody knows something that others want to know. You can write one course, one eBook or one report and sell it over and over again.

All you need are some creative ideas.

You can get the “how to” by asking Google and watching some YouTube videos that walk you through the technical side of things.

I have an Author friend who ends every teaching session with the words: “Now Go Home… and Write Something.”

I end this article with the same thought: Now Go Home… and Trade Something!

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The Best Personal Development Tools Recommended

Anytime I remember the beginning of my journey into establishing my presence and business online, I smile and laugh because of how I run my business back then. The truth is that I didn’t have any direction. Remembering those days when I drag myself out of bed to do a bit of blogging here and there, and placing ads on those blogs still makes me laugh.

I didn’t set any goals for myself and was not cocksure of what I really wanted to achieve. The resultant effect of this was that I bounced from opportunity to opportunity because I was distracted by the different kinds of marketing strategies and ideas that captivated my unfocused and goalless mind. But the day came when I realised that results only comes from focused efforts in one or two areas.

The reason am telling you this is because I want you to learn from my past experience and to relate it to what I am going to talk about. Apart from not having any clear cut plan, I also didn’t have any personal development tools in my arsenal to ensure a continuous success. Believe me, for you to build your dream business (I assume this is the reason you are reading this post) or climb the highest mountain in the world, you need the “right” tools to accomplish this.

Just like a mountaineer needs the “right tools” to climb the mountain, a business owner also needs the “right tools” to use in order to achieve success in their business. You have to embrace personal development because ignoring it will definitely be to your detriment. Those who ignore personal development on a personal and corporate level will surely experience stunted business and personal growth. Hence, the right personal development tools must be utilized alongside a focused plan to achieve and ensure success.

Over the years, I have come across different type of tools and resources which have contributed to my success in the different industries I have been and am involved in. Though these tools are a big part of my ongoing learning process (yes, I am still learning because I want to sustain my success), the success I have attained in my physical rehabilitation business can be attributed to a strong personal development plan and the right tools I use in order to keep me on the right track.

You see, this applies to every aspect of your life too and I want to help you with that. In this post, I will share with you some of the key personal development tools I have come across on my business journey. Like I said at the beginning of this post, apart from not having a clear cut goal, I also struggled with a lot of personal issues, one of which was confidence and self-assurance.

As I am being honest with myself, I also want you to be honest with yourself because I know that once you use these tools am about to teach you, your life and business will be positively affected. So open your mind. Know what you want to get out of this post and what you want to change because this is the first step to positively change your life and business.

1. TED

Have you ever heard about the TED talks? And if you have, how many of these talks have you watched and listened to, and how many of the individuals giving speeches on this site are you following? If you haven’t heard about the TED talks, then you are about to find out what it’s all about.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talk is a global set of conferences run by a private non-profit organization known as the Sapling Foundation, under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It is one of the best free resources on the internet for education, fresh ideas and enlightenment as far as business and mind-set issues are concerned.

It is a website where people watch videos on a variety of different topics. Though some of the videos there might not be related to what you are looking for, you will surely find some that you will be of use to you. One thing I also want you to know is that the individuals who give speeches on this site are some of the smartest and most successful people in business and in the fields they specialize in. I highly recommend that you check out this site, see what stirs your mind and apply the ideas being discussed.

2. Mindbloom

As the name suggest, the aim of this site is to enhance your life. This site enables you to work on whatever it is you want to work on by way of creating a “tree” for free. One of the core aspects of Mindbloom is the “bloom” programme. Apart from using it to wake up on the right side of your day, you can also use Bloom as your morning wake-up call, to remind yourself to eat a healthy snack between meals, to shift gears after work by scheduling a bloom with your favourite song and family photos, to remind yourself to pack lunch so as to save a few dollars each day.

You might think these “little things” have no effect on your life, but I can assure you that it had and is still having a great effect on mine. So these “little things” can improve the quality of your life and there are many more personal development tools on this website that can help you with the different aspects of your life. I definitely recommend that you check out this site.

3. Udemy

This is another site that I strongly recommend you check out immediately. If you are looking for a course in a particular area, look no further than Udemy. The site provides a wide range of courses on different subjects. Just name it and Udemy will probably provide a well-structured course on it. These courses are handled by experts who have excelled in their different fields. So you are definitely in good hands.

Let’s also look at this from a business perspective. We all know that knowledge is power (that is if the knowledge is put into action) and the more knowledge you have, the more valuable you become. By being more valuable in your chosen niche, you will be able to improve your business income by improving yourself and the business. Less I forget, it is worth knowing that some of the courses on this site are free. What can you get for free these days? What are you waiting for? Check out this site.

4. Lumosity

This is another mind blowing site designed and maintained by neuroscientists. Yes, these neuroscientists really know what they are talking about when it comes to the optimal performance of the brain, the subconscious and conscious mind. Believe me, just as you know your conscious mind is always at work, your subconscious mind too is “never” on holiday.

The development of the mind is so important because the state of your mind can either positively or negatively affect any endeavour you undertake. This is why am also recommending this site for you. The strength of the mind is equally as important as the strength of the will. With more than 50 million users, many paying $15/month or $80/year for full access, the services being offered on the site has caught on like wildfire. Like anything other personal or business endeavour, you only get out what you put in.

As a company, Lumosity work with over 100 researchers all over the globe. Test results after a 10-week period have shown that after working with 4000 participants completing crosswords, half online and half on Lumosity, the Lumosity group improved more than the crosswords group on an assessment of cognition. Like it or not, the statistics are strong. So it may be worth a go.

5. Vision Board Deluxe

This is a great app which does pretty much what it says on the tin. You are at liberty to create your own vision board which will propel your success even further than you think. And this can be done on the go by using your phone or tablet. You may be familiar with this concept of creating a vision board and why people do it if you are a big fan of personal development. And in case you are not or you want more information on this, let me explain.

As I have said before, your subconscious mind is always working. In fact, whether you realise it or not, it’s working really hard, even right now as you read this post, filtering all kinds of stimuli from the environment around you. If it doesn’t do that, you would go completely mad from everything you have to process. But the subconscious mind is far more important than just filtering all kinds of stimuli. It is also the most important factor in many successful people’s journeys.

Once you create a vision board, you activate your subconscious mind by constantly reminding it that what you are doing is so important. You are focusing your mind on what you truly want and because of the excellent bit of kit it is, it will work to ensure you receive everything you desire. You may not fully understand this idea (though I would be happy if you could catch this idea right away), but I promise you, your subconscious will open doors and your eyes to opportunities you didn’t even know were there.

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Digital Marketing on a Budget in 2017

The most important thing about cost-effective marketing is to focus on high-return activities. Different channels work for different companies, there’s no one-size-fits-all. If there’s one thing we know though it’s that you should absolutely spend money on marketing your business online. Even a budget of $1,500 can go a long way.

Research $0

The great thing about research is that the only resource you’ll need to spend is your time. If you don’t do thorough research before spending your first marketing dollar you probably won’t put the remaining $1,499 to particularly good use.

A good place to start is by doing a quick Google search of your industry, identifying patterns, understanding consumer behaviour, studying your competition, and even reaching out to your target audience for first-hand market research. The data you collect during this process will serve as the foundation of your campaign.

Certainly, there are ways you can spend money on research. There are organizations that sell reports with seemingly critical information, as well as tools that’ll pull data from around the web for your consideration. Services like Springwise and Trendwatching are great for this, but can be a bit pricey. There’s more than enough free information out there to help get you off the ground.

Email marketing $350

In spite of all the new tools and techniques, email marketing continues to prevail as one of the most effective marketing methods you could implement. The fact is, your email list is gold – these are people who have responded to your outreach, opted in and are primed to hear from you. If you do nothing else, take advantage of email marketing and center your campaign around it.

So what does $350 get you? Right now, it’s the equivalent of a one-year subscription to MailChimp, which needs no introduction. An email list of 2,001-2,500 contacts will cost you $30/mo, technically totalling $360/year. Depending on the size of your list and needs, you can pay more or less – it’s free for up to 500 contacts.

New apps such as Conversio, showcased on my startup’s website evercloud.co, allows you to easily grow revenues by supercharging existing customers through intelligent email receipts and thus increasing lifetime customer value.

Video marketing $300

According to Cisco, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic globally in 2019. That is a whopping 64% increase from 2014. For marketers, if you’re not already taking advantage of the impact that videos have in your content marketing strategy, then you absolutely have to jump on the bandwagon.

Posting unique content to YouTube or Vimeo and sharing it on relevant social media channels can help establish an online presence. Of course you can also just share interesting third-party videos to your followers if they’re relevant, but it’s also important to create your own videos.

Alternatively, you can sell videos on Udemy, an online learning platform, which can be a powerful sales vehicle for individuals and businesses who want to share their knowledge and leverage their expertise and generate a scalable, recurring revenue stream.

Costs associated with video marketing can vary. Video editing software and hosting doesn’t come cheap, services such as JWPlayer cost $300/year, but can easily prove to be a very shrewd investment.

Paid social media marketing $450

With a bit of testing you will quickly know which social media platform to focus your content creation and promotion efforts on. This isn’t to say that you should forget about posting or interacting on other channels. But when it comes to spending money, nail it down to the one or two platforms you’re confident will get the best engagement.

Once you’ve identified your channels, start promoting your best content with paid ads. Get up and running with a business page on Facebook or promote content from any type of account on Twitter, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn. A Twitter card, for instance, can give you a brand boost and build your email list at the same time. LinkedIn not only offers boosted posts, but also detailed analytics that helps ensure your posts are reaching your desired market. That $450 budget will prove one of the most inexpensive ways available to get your message in front of (highly targeted) new eyes. When used effectively, any major social media site can help you gain traction and collect followers quickly, leading to more interaction and sales in the future.

Sometimes managing all your social media and online presence can be time-consuming. That’s where companies like Hootsuite and Mention become extremely useful. Hootsuite lets you manage all your social media pages from one dashboard and has other tools such as scheduling your posts, and Mention is your eyes and ears for what people are saying about your brand online. And then there are newer services, like Kickstagram, a platform to successfully manage and make the most out of your Instagram account. Additionally, Publicfast lets you connect with social media influencers, which can have a massive impact on your social media efforts. And of course you can always outsource your social media marketing to pros like GoodAudience, who have the knowledge and experience to really grow your social media presence.

Don’t be afraid to look beyond social media platforms – community sites like Quora, Reddit, and Medium can be a great way to advertise your product or service. Just make sure you aren’t blatantly promoting your business, it won’t be well-received!

Content Marketing $400

Never underestimate the power of good content. Blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, videos, webinars, the list goes on! If you’re not a confident writer or simply don’t have the time to dedicate to writing your own blog you can look into outsourcing this task. Blog Hands is a blog content writing service meaning your blog will be one less thing to worry about, and costs are completely dependent on the length and number of blog posts you’d like. Allocating roughly $400 would be a good place to start, which would get you ten 400-word blog posts. 400 words is a bit on the short side, but they also have plans for 800, 1,200, and 2,000-word blog posts. The key here is to post relevant content that shows visitors your company is a thought leader in your respective field, while also helping with search engine optimization.

Ultimately, the strategies you choose to invest in may be different, and they probably should be, as every business and every target audience is different. What works for one group of followers may fall flat with another, which is why research and ongoing testing is so important. But what I want you to walk away knowing is that marketing doesn’t have to break the bank to be effective. With just $1,500 and a little research, you can successfully implement a full-stack digital marketing campaign. The great thing is that you will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, and you can re-allocate your budget accordingly.

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How to Learn SEO: What Training Methods Are Best?

At its heart, SEO (search engine optimisation) is simple. The basics of SEO haven’t really changed since Google first started dominating the way people search the internet: make each page relevant to the topic it’s about; keep to just one topic per page; get some proof that it’s a worthy page by getting links pointing back to it.

Of course, like everything that’s outwardly simple, there are a lot of small details that need to be right.

Which is where SEO training comes in.

There are a number of different ways you can get SEO training:

Learn online

This can be done via articles such as this one, videos on YouTube, forums that deal with internet marketing and quite a few other sources.

Whilst this can be cheap – depending on how much you value your time – you need a certain amount of knowledge in order to be able to filter out information that’s no longer relevant or is just plain wrong.

For instance, a lot of the finer details of techniques such as link building change over time as Google does its best to reduce or remove the influence of the spammier techniques.

Which means that, yes, links are still important but some links are better than others and how the link actually links is getting more important.

Buy a course or a book

Amazon is awash with books on SEO. It gave me 8,325 in the books section alone when I checked just now.

You can check through the reviews of these to get an idea about the usefulness of the book. If you do that, pay more attention to the reviews from people who are marked as verified purchasers.

The look inside feature will also help you decide whether or not you get on with the style of the book.

And remember to check the copyright date. Books take a while to get through the publishing process, so the more recent this is, the better.

Courses are more difficult to check unless they’re on a site like Udemy which allows feedback and tells you the number of subscribers to the course.

The best online courses are membership based as these have the revenue to keep abreast of current techniques.

Personal SEO training

This is probably the best way to learn SEO.

The biggest advantage is that you actually have to set the time aside to learn.

Unlike a book or an online course where you can put it aside and – at least in theory – come back to it later.

That discipline can make all the difference to your learning experience. As much as anything because you’ve actually been physically (and hopefully mentally) present during the training.

You can then use what you’ve learned in your training to implement SEO on your website.

The implementation isn’t difficult. If anything, most of it is repetitive and relatively mechanical.

Even if you decide to hire an SEO expert to carry out the work involved, it’s worth doing some training yourself so that you can check whether what’s being done on your behalf is using the right techniques.

That’s something I was taught at university and have never forgotten. It means that you know the right things to ask and can check that what’s being done to promote your site will be likely to work positively for you.

The best way to learn SEO is to have face to face training.

You get tailored help to make sure that your precise needs are met and you can ask questions to make sure that you fully understand the search engine optimisation process.

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How to Choose the Proper Limo Service for Your Upcoming Special Event

There are several different event types that could require limo service. From weddings and proms to airport transportation and group events, riding in a limo driven by an experienced driver takes some of the strain off of the host. With the proper limo company in charge of the travel details, there is no need to be concerned how your party is going to get where they need to go.

The first and perhaps most important factor to consider when choosing a transportation company is how many people you have to fit in the vehicle. Some companies have large stretch limousines and stretch SUVs while other companies may only have town cars and vans available. Be sure to get an accurate count before deciding what type of vehicle you are going to get.

Some of the common types of vehicles available at many limo service companies include stretch Hummers, Lincoln Town Cars, and stretch limousines. All of these cars can transport various amounts of guests. A town car or sedan is sufficient for one or two people while a stretch limo or SUV works better for larger groups.

The next factor to think about is where you are traveling to and from. Many companies will only work in their local area while others will drive you anywhere you want to go. There are even some limo service businesses that will take their passengers across the country if that is what they want to do. Just be aware that the farther you go, generally, the more expensive the trip is going to be.

When calling around to various limo service companies, be sure to get quotes before you choose one. Every business is different and to get the best deal you need to shop around. Ask them about any added services that you may benefit from as well. Some businesses will add on more time or a beverage package for an additional charge if you want it as part of your trip.

If you are ordering your limo service for your wedding, you want to make sure that the company you hire will be accommodating to your needs. You are most likely going to want to stop and take pictures at various locations while still keeping a certain schedule. Be sure the transportation service that you choose allows you to be in complete control of what you are going to do while you are in the car.

Before making your final decision, go and visit the limo service company that you have decided on. Ask to take a look at the vehicle that they are offering you so that you can be sure it is one that you are going to be happy with. If you do not completely agree with what they have picked out for you, you will have the opportunity to view the rest of the fleet on the spot.

Whenever you are planning a special event and you want to get transportation, make sure it is done by a professional company that Is well-known and trusted. The most important thing is that you get where you need not only on time, but also safely. Check reviews and ask friends and family for suggestions before you settle on any one driving company.

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