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Here’s a step-by-step guide to come up with creative answers to a problem. 1. Review the what’s, the who’s and the why’s involved in the problem. Keep in mind that knowing the problem is crucial to solving it. If you know how a thing works and how it is structured, you will have a better chance of fixing it. Examine

any benefits that can arise from the problem and take note of the setbacks it has caused and will cause. Sum up the information you have gathered and make

a brief and concise statement of what the problem is all about. 2. Preconceived notions about things often cloud our judgment. Try to fairly assess the validity of your assumptions about a problem; this should broaden your perspective and find possible solutions that you have never thought of before. 3. Break down the problem from the top-down. Try to find solutions for each layer of problem you can uncover, starting from your general overview of the problem (refer to Step 1) to the more intricate layers. In other words, increase the complexity of your solutions as you go along each layer. 4. Two heads are better than one. Gather ideas and suggestions from others and

you will discover that you will end up having more resources (perceptions, awareness, impressions, etc) to work with that will help you create ingenious, novel answers to your problem. 5. Being logical has its benefits, but sometimes it can get in the way of ingenuity. Creative thinking requires you to stretch your imagination, beyond the boundaries of established methods and systems. Apply creative thinking by looking for loopholes and developing and improving whatever solutions you have on hand. Tinker with other people’s opinions and suggestions as well. 6. Always remember that a problem may require more than one way out. It would help to keep a notebook that details either ideas that came to you out of the blue or the latest developments you

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have made on existing solutions. 7. Lastly, you have to make room for failures. Patience and perseverance must come into play on your road to creatively solving your problem. No one ever succeeded with just one try. Thomas Edison had to fail a thousand times in order to come up with

some of the best inventions of our time.

Carol’s Daughter:

Carol’s Daughter: A look at a line of natural beauty

products By: Sev – California Actress Lisa Price who started experimenting with homemade beauty products in the

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early eighties in Brooklyn named her line of beauty products after her mother. Her products are all natural and alot of celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith, Brad Pitt and Mary J. Blige use them. The hair products are awesome. I have damaged hair. I could not find anything that would work on my tresses, not even the stuff that my hair stylist would recommend. When I asked a coworker at the newspaper where I work how she kept her hair looking so gorgeous she mentioned that she only uses “Carol’s Daughter” hair products. I decided I had to try the products for myself There are a few stores in New York City, as far as I know, but since I live in California, I went online and found her website. It’s easy to find, just google “Carol’s Daughter.” The name is as unique as the products. So I purchased Lisa’s Hair Elixir. It cost me $20 and it focuses on repairing damaged hair with soy and sweet almond oils. It smells so natural and my hair feels soft and silky after years of looking like straw. “Carol’s Daughter” also offers a variety of other hair products, popular ones being Hair Milk, another luxurious replenishment for hair that’s fried and her Healthy Hair Butter which you leave in your hair. Healthy Hair Butter has almond oil, shea and coconut butter in its ingredients. My hair looks hot these days thanks to Carol’s Daughter. “Carol’s Daughter” offers makeup, gift sets, products for the little ones, fragrances. I stumbled on one called “Ocean.” It’s an Eau de Toilette and its ingredients are mainly rosemary and rose. It costs $27.00 for 2 ounces but its incredible and unique. It’s not overpowering like fragrances made from artificial ingredients, its subtle and wearing it makes me feel sexy and carefree. There’s other fragrances I want to try, like her “Groove” Eau de Toilette, which also sells for the same size and price. .I have to say I love my hair, and her stuff is so good. It just works. The ingredients in her products are all natural and after using “Carol’s Daughter” products for almost two years now, I have to say Mother

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Nature and Lisa Price make a great team. _______________________________________ If you haven’t figured it out, Carol’s Daughter does ship to APO/FPO addresses. I can even vouch for the product. I sent my mother a gift basket for Mother’s day and she absolutely loved it. Give Carol’s Daughter a try.

Who Wants A Moon Pie?

An unknown author raves about Old Time Candy’s popular product…the Moonpie. Appearantly, it has been a while since they have been able to sink his or her teeth into one. Well, until Old Time Candy crashed the APO/FPO boxes. ________________________________________________________________________________________ I see a lot of off brands of moon pies, but nothing compares to the taste of the original. A moon pie is just right for my appetite. It never spoils my next meal. A moon pie is two graham cracker cookies filled with a delicious marshmallow crème filling and then dipped in chocolate or other coatings. They have the original moon pies, mini moon pies, which are half the size, a double-decker moon pie, which consist of an extra graham cracker cookie, and even a moon pie crunch, which explains itself. The older brands consisted of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana. My favorites are

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I would like to try it. With so many flavors and types to choose from there is something for everyone. Moon pies are very popular in my family and too many other people. How can you resist graham crackers and chocolate? Then when you put marshmallows in the mix it is even better. It is almost like having

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s’mores, just without the flames and the heat. The most popular thing about is that it is soft. The texture of moon pies just melts in your mouth. You can get moon pies from a variety of locations. Most stores still carry them, but you have to look to find them. Don’t be fooled by the off brands like marshmallow pies, scooter pies, mallomars, wagon wheels, and choco pies. These pies are similar but still don’t compare. You may find them and even order them online.

Military Appreciation Month/Day

Military Appreciation Day The military is an important aspect of the United State’s defense. Military Appreciation Day usually takes place at the end of May because it is near Memorial Day. Most cities and towns have their own dates for Military Appreciation Day. During this time, many restaurants and retail stores have free things for veterans and those that are currently active service men and women. It is important to have a military because the United States needs to protect its freedom and keep its homeland secure. Since the war in Iraq has not made many headlines in the news any more many military people feel like theirs and their families’ sacrifices go unnoticed and unappreciated. Putting their lives on the line every single day is a huge sacrifice for them. They are asked to go on very long deployments which impact not only themselves but their family

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members as well. These men and women are willing to die for freedom so it is important to show them as much appreciation as possible. People who want to show their appreciation can do many things to help the cause. Putting flags on military graves, volunteering

at veterans’ hospitals, writing letters to men and women in the military, donating to military charities, and sending care boxes to people in the military are great ways to help. There are organizations in all of the fifty states that help to get Americans involved with helping out military members. Volunteering and helping out veterans is a great way to help because many soldiers come back from the war and are hurt or injured and will need to be in a veteran’s hospital for a long time. Some of these men and women have no family members or friends to lean on so by volunteering they can be less lonely and have people other than medical personnel to interact with. A kind word, reading to someone, talking about the day or news stories, and just showing up can really help someone get better and get their mind off of the awful things that they have seen while at war. People do not have to spend a lot of money to help show their appreciation. Many service members feel homesick when they are deployed

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sending emails to people in the military through pen pal organizations can be very helpful. Other inexpensive ways to help are to organize yard sales, bake sales, and other events to raise money for military charities. Donating your time and getting involved shows that you like military men and women want to make the United States and the entire world as a whole a much

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better place. Military Appreciation Day comes once a year but all Americans should show their appreciation for their freedoms and the sacrifices that are made to secure those freedoms every day regardless of what the calendar says.

Make It Happen, Be a Leader

Being a leader takes more than just being born with a natural talent to lead. You need to have the drive to learn more than what you know and the determination to always be better than you are today. Most people just let things happen. Even if things could be better, they stick to the system. Leaders do not idly stand by, they do something. Anyone who has the desire to create change can be a leader. But you need to have more than the desire, you need to possess and strive to achieve the

qualities of a real leader in order to successfully initiate the change you want. Change must start from you. We must first define what leadership is before we can get to the essence of being a true leader. Leadership is all about respect and never about fear. It is about bringing together different-minded and diversely-skilled individuals and driving them towards a common goal. The question is, how does one achieve this? To be a leader, you

need to have a clear sense of purpose. You must know where you are now and where you want to go. You must not only know the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the organization, but must also know how you want things done, how

to get things done, who to approach, how the system works and how to work your way around the company. Real leaders lead by example. If you create an impression of having command of your environment, your subordinates will follow suit. You should exemplify the qualities you require from your team. To get things done, you need to provide instructions and communicate

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goals. It is easier to communicate goals when your team trusts you and your abilities. Gain the trust and confidence of your colleagues by always acting respectfully. Relationships that are built on respect will grow into strong, reliable partnerships that will eventually give you a team of individuals that trusts you and your abilities. Once you have earned the trust of your colleagues, you will find it easier to communicate goals and impart strategies and actions to take. Leaders get trust and entrust directives towards their subordinates. They are not afraid to delegate and, more importantly, they know when to delegate and whom to entrust certain responsibilities to. To be a good leader, your judgment calls also have to be shrewd as well. Your decisions should not only be perceptive and marginally precise but should also be swift and timely. Your company and your subordinates or team will come to rely on your judgment, depending on the soundness of the decisions you have made. Good leaders do not emerge overnight; they undergo years of practice and even a few mistakes along the way. When taking on the responsibilities of a leader, always remember that leading is not just about one person; it is about making wise use of a pool of resources, including your team who each have unique talents to contribute to the greater whole.

Ok, it’s no secret that one of the biggest recreational activities enjoyed by many

many members of the military is, unfortunately, smoking. With the ridiculous system of hurry up and wait throughout every branch, it’s safe to say that it’s a convenient activity that is widely accepted. (Smoking and, controversially, dipping…that’s another post.) There is no shortage of reasons to stop smoking. So many smokers want to stop smoking, but it’s extremely difficult. Nicotine is one of the most

highly addictive drugs. Smoking

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is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It’s also the leading cause of lung cancer. Even if you don’t get lung cancer, smoking reduces the lung capacity of every smoker. Sadly it’s hard to say this when I’m sucking wind in a formation led by a smoker. Generally, smokers will become out of breath faster than non smokers even during normal activities because of the reduced lung capacity. Alright, many have heard this before. If that isn’t reason enough, smoking also damages the skin and can cause premature wrinkles. Not to mention the nasty smell which clings to your clothes, skin, hair and everything indoors if you smoke inside? Then there is the cost. At $5 a pack, smokers spend a lot of money on cigarettes. A small fortune could be saved if smokers quit buying cigarettes. Let’s do the math. Cigarettes are $5 a pack. If you smoke 5 packs a week that is $25. (We are assuming that you’re not bumming the entire 5 packs.) The total is $100 a month and $1200 a year. In 5 years, the money you spent on cigarettes would total $6000! Knock that amount off of your car payments. How about your credit card bill? Not all smokers want to continue down this path. So many smokers want to quit after experiencing the negative side effects themselves, but fail at their attempts because nicotine is so addictive and their body craves it. The good news is that every smoker who succeeds at quitting sees the negative side effects disappear almost immediately. Circulation starts improving not long after quitting and every negative side effect except the irreversible lung damage stops for good. There is an abundance of reasons to stop smoking and no reasons to continue to smoke. As hard as it is, there is help to stop smoking so you don’t have to just do it cold turkey. Smoking aids improve your success at quitting than trying to stop cold turkey. If you go to your doctor, you can get help with prescription drugs. The Army has Behavioral

Health staff that can help you. Quit Smoking Naturally If you don’t want to see a doctor, there are some products that you can order online and they will ship to your APO/FPO address. Smoke Away is a natural quit smoking aid which is made from herbs and contains no nicotine. Many stop smoking aids contain nicotine, but the sooner your body adjusts to no nicotine, the sooner you will be free from nicotine addiction. Smoke Away makes different herbal non-nicotine products for different stages of quitting smoking. There are two formulas as well as homeopathic pellets, a motivational CD, a lung saver and Tunguska blast. Herbs have been used since the beginning of time for every problem you can think of and the right mix of herbs can also help you stop craving nicotine and stop smoking. There is also the electronic cigarette. More information will be provided by this in a later post.

If you would like more information about the electronic cigarette, you can click here.

The thoughts that constantly cross our mind, our voiceless commentaries on our actions, on events, on other people, among others, often reveal our mental landscape—whether we have a positive outlook in life or a negative one. Have you ever tried listening to these silent commentaries? Take the time to do so. You will find that the quality of our thoughts often go beyond the corners of our

head and out into our actual, physical interactions with others and with life in general. Positive people or people who carry a positive attitude are always brimming with life and thus attract people towards them. Negative people or people whose thoughts

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are generally negative have a tendency to suck the life and energy out of events or people. This is why negative people often repel others. Developing a positive attitude has a lot of benefits. Positive people are healthier, have better stress coping mechanisms and are better at drawing people to themselves compared to negative people. Positive people have a filling effect on the people they interact with. Studies show that a positive attitude delays aging too! In contrast, people that are inclined towards negative thinking or who have a generally negative outlook in life do not only

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cause gloom and low spirits within themselves but also unknowingly compels others to feel the same way. So why do some people continue to adopt a negative attitude even with the unpleasant outcomes it carry? A negative disposition is often a call for help. Getting angry and sad are not necessarily bad but prolonging the feelings is no longer healthy or beneficial. A person needs to be able to let go after giving themselves a time

to mourn. Adopting a positive attitude is therefore the more logical,

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healthier disposition or outlook to assume. So how do we go about doing this? Focusing on the good things in life produces a positive attitude and focusing on the sad and terrible things in life produces a negative attitude. Attitude is all about outlook and to adopt a positive one you need to bombard your thoughts with positive, happy things. Sadly media more often presents us with negativity. Parents even have only one positive thing to say, out of every 14 things they communicate, to their children. Take steps to steer away from fostering negativity in your mind by taking the time to appreciate the little things in life. You could also watch a funny movie, play with kids (if that’s your thing), tell jokes or better yet do something you enjoy. These are activities that create a happy, positive feeling in your system. The more you practice these, the closer you are to developing or maintaining a positive attitude.

The Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA) was created in 1980 to facilitate efficient and economical delivery of mail to all DOD employees—military and civilian– stationed abroad. It is the meeting point between the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Department of Defense. By law, the MPSA must abide by USPS regulations, federal laws, and laws and postal agreements of other countries with which it interacts.

The two systems are similar, with the goal of the MPSA being to deliver mail service to its clients abroad comparable to mail service in the United States. Mail classifications are the same, and most USPS postal services are also offered by MPSA. COD and delivery confirmation service are not offered by MPSA.

Overseas military addresses include either APO, which stands for Army or Air Force Post Office, or FPO, Fleet Post Office, which is used for the Navy and Marines. After the APO or FPO will be the further designation of AA (Armed Forces America), AE (Armed Forces Europe) which also applies to Africa, the Middle East, and Canada, or AP (Armed Forces Pacific). The military address will also include a zip code.

Mail to the military abroad is not addressed the same as domestic mail. Pieces of mail should be addressed with the name of the individual, the name of the unit, APO or FPO with AA, AE, or AP and the appropriate zip code. A return address should always be used.

When overseas military mail enters the postal system, it is handled by USPS personnel. It is sorted and routed to either the Joint Military Postal Activity (JMPA) Atlantic in New York, or the JMPA Pacific in San Francisco. There it enters the MPSA system and is sent, by air or by ship, on its way toward its final destination.

Retrograde mail, from abroad to domestic destinations, reverses the process, beginning in the MPSA system and ending in the USPS system for delivery.

Mail going to the European, Central/South American, or Pacific theaters that is sent by air usually has a transit time of 7 days. There is a 10-13 day transit time for the Southwest Asia theater. The MPSA has a 30 day goal for surface transit mail to the European or Pacific theaters.

Just as in domestic mail service, during holiday periods, delivery times can be longer. To assure timely delivery during these periods, check a local post office or the USPS website (usps.com) for suggested mailing deadlines.

Mail destined for military post offices overseas must comply with all USPS regulations imposed on domestic and international mail. These include restrictions on firearms, dangerous materials, foodstuffs, pornography, etc.

In addition, mailings destined for destinations in Afghanistan (OEF-Operation Enduring Freedom) and in Iraq (OIF-Operation Iraqi Freedom) may carry additional restrictions. These include no pork or pork products, religious products contrary to the Muslim faith in bulk, etc. There is no Express Mail Military Service from any origin.

Mail destined for any overseas destination must generally carry a custom declaration listing the items included in the parcel or packet. All mail must conform to the custom laws of the country to which it is destined. Retrograde mail must conform to U.S. custom laws as it enters the United States.

In the past, mail was accepted that was addressed to “Any Service Member.” Americans with no specific friend or family used this to send letters and parcels to express support for our troops. This practice has been discontinued because of security concerns as well as transportation issues. Mail addressed generically is no longer accepted. Mail must be addressed to a specific individual.

There are, however, several organizations that can provide specific names and addresses of service members to registered individuals. Other organizations send care packages and letters directly to service members. For a complete list of organizations sending care packages, go to APOShoppers.com for its free Deployment Guide—Unrestricted booklet.

Having homosexuals in the army has become a subject of debate. Those for and against it have come up with their own arguments for the side they’ve chosen. We’ll look into some of those arguments about this controversy here.

The reasons why some people are not eager to welcome homosexuals in the army are mostly based on opinions and interpretations that may or may not be accurate. Those on the negative would argue that the solidarity among soldiers will decline as soldiers’ knowledge of their comrades’ sexual preference increases. Some would feel comfortable with the idea and some won’t be. It is the latter that poses potential problems, the argument goes. Additionally, the naysayers believe that common knowledge of each soldier’s sexual orientation might kindle a romantic involvement within the troop, consequently causing impartiality during judgment calls.

The only pragmatic point raised by the con side is that of the foundation for the Army’s existence. The military, they contend, was established to protect the country, first and foremost and above all. Thus it (the military) is exempted from providing equal opportunities to all, as mandated by the constitution.

Supporters of having gays in the military assert that their movement stems from a historical standpoint; thus holds water. Some of those who are for the cause also counters that gays have naturally creative minds that will prove to be invaluable in the army in terms of tactical planning and weapons logistics, to name a few. They maintain that the skills and qualifications required of a soldier are not exclusively possessed by a certain gender; therefore, recruitment for the service should never be based on gender. If gender preference becomes a non-criterion in enlistment, the service will be able to address the low number of applicants it has been experiencing.

As mentioned before, the important qualities required of a soldier like loyalty and patriotism can be found across genders. Therefore, excluding non-males in the military prove to be very impractical. The Army should then focus instead on enhancing its recruitment or selection process. The methods they employ should precisely determine which individuals are wholly and unwaveringly committed to serving their country and their countrymen from those who are not. Moreover, superiors who are gender-biased and who use their power to put their subordinates in a disadvantageous position should never be tolerated.

The military should be a breeding ground for resilient individuals who are exceptional physically, emotionally and mentally. Anyone from any gender that fits the bill deserves the opportunity to serve their country. The question is: Should their sexual preference be a basis on whether these individual get to serve?