Monday, February 11, 2008

Simple and Unique Gifts for Valentines Day

If that's what you're doing, you're going to be pleased that you found THIS. Why? The next few sentences are going to share the secrets of a truly original V-Day gift. It's really so simple that you're going to kick yourself for not working it out for yourself. But we're wasting time... let's get down to it. All you need, you see, is a system.

Are you rolling your eyes and wondering if you've wandered into a staff meeting by mistake? Never fear. This WORKS. For the sake of convenience, we're going to use "she" - but this works just as well for males or females.

== Step 1. Cut Out The Traditional Gifts. ===

Or if you don't cut them out, at least make them an 'add on' to the main gift. A box of chocolates as a warm-up, or red roses as a parting gift... yes, that's nice. But puh-lease... don't rush into the florist at the last minute and buy a bunch of whatever's left just so she will keep speaking to you.

== Step 2. Work Out What She DOESN'T Want. ==

This is not rocket science. If she hates seafood you're not going to take her to All-You-Can-Eat-Lobster. If she is into minimalist decorating then she's not likely to appreciate Wedgwood vases. If the Three Tenors make her go weak at the knees then she probably won't be keen on Hip Hop. The big trap here is buying her something that YOU like rather than what SHE likes. Open your eyes. Make sure you really know what makes her tick.

== Step 3. What Does She Buy? ===

What a girl owns will tell you a lot about what she likes. Does she pore over the jewelry catalogs, or brush them aside in favor of the latest brochure from the computer store? If she already wears six different chains around her neck and four bracelets and seven rings, you can safely assume she's REALLY into jewelry. But if a ten year old watch is the only adornment you can see, forget it.

If she loves sports gear and already has four pairs of cross-trainers, go shopping at the sports store. If she adores animals, buy something related to her pets - or maybe buy her an unusual new pet, if it will fit into her lifestyle.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Yep, "What fits her lifestyle" - that's the key. Let's continue...

== Step 4. Think Outside The Square ==

Now that you have your list of what she does and doesn't like (you are making a list, aren't you?) it's time to get really creative. Here are a few examples:

She likes jewelry:- What kind of jewelry will have a special meaning for her? Think in terms of where it's bought; any tie-ins with days or dates; a unique way you might deliver it. Can you present it in a way that will never be forgotten? (In the NICEST way, of course!)

She likes hi-tech toys:- Can you add a special song to a new MP3 player? Or present her with a new DVD player plus a romantic movie as a bonus? (If she's not into romantic movies - and plenty of girls aren't: they prefer to live romance rather than watch it! - how about the latest action thriller?)

She likes the outdoor life: If you're into grand gestures, how about a new kayak plus a river trip organized to go with it? Or if you're low on funds... a ticket to a sporting match along with a signed photo of her favorite sports star? (Yes, you do have to plan ahead for that one.)

== Step 5. The Valentine's Day Follow Up ==

True love is all about thinking of others ALL the time, not just on one day of the year. To be truly unique, why not organize a 12-step St Valentine's Day surprise - something new on the 14th of EVERY month! The gifts don't have to be large or expensive. A foot massage after a tiring day is more welcome than diamonds for a weary girlfriend. Start by giving her a meaningful gift on Valentine's Day, and accompany it with a note telling her there'll be another surprise on 14th March... then 14th April... then 14th May...

Do you think she won't be telling the world how wonderful you are? You better believe it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Planning Your Summer Garden

If you are like many people around the world you want a summer garden to bring a little life to your lawn during those oh so hot summer months. Most of us however, would prefer a garden that doesn't require constant care and attention. This is where proper planning comes into place for creating the summer garden of your dreams.

There are several things you need to ask yourself when planning your summer garden. Each of these things will to some extent determine the type of summer garden your lawn will accommodate. First of all, how much space on your lawn do you wish your summer garden to occupy and in general terms how big is that space. Most of us live in homes that have woefully inadequate lawn space these days. For this reason it is important to have a realistic vision as to how much of that prime real estate you are willing to commit to your summer garden.

Once you have determined how much space you are willing to commit to your garden you need to decide on the location. Location is important to know before beginning the planning phase because you will need to plan according to the location. You need to be able to answer the following questions about location. How much direct sunlight gets to this location on an average day? Is this a location that is generally moist or typically dry? And how much indirect sunlight does this section of lawn see on any given day? These are questions that are important because they will, by and large, determine what kind of plants your garden will be able to accommodate. You also need to know a little about the terrain of the area as well. It is level, rocky, or muddy? These things will each have a different but profound effect on the type of garden that can be grown and steps you will have to take to make a summer garden work in this particular location.

The next question you will need to ask and answer before moving on to the planning and purchasing phase is how much time, on average, do you want to devote to your summer garden on any given day? Gardens often require tending and you must be prepared to devote some time to keeping your garden in good working order though some are definitely higher maintenance than others. You need to have a realistic idea of how much time each day or week that you are willing to devote to making your garden the beautiful sanctuary it can be in mind before you decide on the types of plants and flowers that will fill your summer garden.

You should also have in mind the type of summer garden you wish to create as well. Do you want a vegetable garden, flower garden, or do you simply want to add a little bit more green to your lawn? Do you want to add a water feature or have a sitting area?

When planning your summer garden you will need to consider all these things and more. Another thing you will want to keep in mind is the local climate. It is moderate, dry, wet, or cool many mornings? These things will also have a fairly significant effect on the best type of garden that is suitable for your current situation.

Planning a garden is so much more than walking outside and pointing and grunting. There is a great deal of work that goes into planning a successful summer garden. Asking the right questions is a good place to begin the process. Once you have the answers it is time to begin the more exciting aspects of planning your summer garden such as working the ground and selecting the plants that will soon call your lawn home. Just remember that paying careful attention to the details ahead of time will save a lot of lost time and money later.