Thursday, April 30, 2009

Improve Productivity and Cut Costs - Is it Possible to Achieve Both?

Immediate Release
Contact Info is below

Improve Productivity and Cut Costs - Is it Possible to Achieve Both?

(Peterborough, UK - April 30, 2009) Improving productivity while cutting costs and maintaining compliance with governance, standards, policies and controls may seem like an impossible task. Add in multiple locations and projects and the task becomes even more daunting. However, there is a solution and its name is Harmony.

"We decided to name the software 'Harmony' because all the elements of compliance are in harmony with each other." says Andy Henry. "This makes monitoring a company's compliance simple, quick and efficient. There is no guess work if a certain standard has been met or if a certain offsite location is in compliance."

Harmony has several unique advantages. The system is built on a visual and graphical interface. One can see at a glance what progress has been made and what areas need further efforts. There's no guesswork.

Cost savings are achievable because time isn't wasted in meetings or conference calls to monitor compliance. It's obvious to see the state of compliance. Confusion is avoided and so is duplication of effort because the details are right up front, not buried in paperwork.

Compliance is important in several industries but perhaps one of the most important is the Payment Card Industry (PCI). Security and privacy protection is critical for the bank, the card processor and the card holder. With identity theft, hacking, and phishing, running rampant in the United Kingdom, it has never been more important to protect information, privacy and systems.

"Harmony provides control, ease of management and understandable up-to-the-minute reporting, in an easy to understand format," continues Henry. "Our software helps everyone involved see what needs to be done, who needs to do it and when it should be done by. There's no confusion about how done you are or where the gaps in compliance are."
About Decisive Ltd.

Founded in the late 1990's Decisive Ltd produces software, and provides related support services, for the global compliance, audit and governance industry. The leading product, 'Harmony', is the benchmark compliance software used by many small, medium and large companies. Clients include national and multi-national businesses across a wide range of industries - manufacturing, entertainment, financial services, communications and energy industries and both central and local government.

Media Contact: Andy Henry
Decisive UK
2nd Floor, East Stuart House,
St Johns Street, Peterborough,
+44(0)1733 475543

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drowning in a Sea of Debt?

Press Release - Immediate Release

Contact information is below

April 22, 2009

Drowning in a Sea of Debt?

Debt Consolidation Can Be a Life Preserver

The recession isn't slowing down and darker days may be ahead before there is any significant brightening on the horizon. Unfortunately many families won't be able to wait out the storm as a result of higher credit card debt, plummeting real estate values, and rising unemployment rates. Estimates put credit card debt at nearly $10,000 per household and the total consumer debt at $30,000 per household. Combined with a downward spiral in the value of investment or retirement portfolios it's no wonder the outlook is gloomy. Struggling to make monthly payments adds tremendously to the stress many people are under, and for many, there seems to be no solution

in sight. Fortunately, those struggling to keep their head above water do have several options including debt consolidation.

"Many families in the United States are facing a credit crisis and in quite a few cases it's not their fault," says Joe Kenny, of Thistle Finance Group, "We developed as a safe harbor, a place where debtors could learn about debt consolidation loans in a calm, straightforward manner."

Debt consolidation is simply when a new loan is obtained that is used to pay off unsecured debts. In most cases the new payment amount is significantly less than the individual payments to all the different creditors resulting in some breathing room.

If the new debt consolidation loan is secured on real property, a home for example, the interest rate may be substantially less than credit card interest rates resulting in even more of a break in monthly payments.

"Many families think that bankruptcy is their only option to get out of debt," explains Kenny. "They don't realize that with the new more stringent bankruptcy laws they may not even qualify. And in any event the bankruptcy stays on their credit record for seven years."

Debt settlement, another option for getting out of debt, is negotiating with creditors to accept as payment in full a lesser amount than the principal amount owed. But this is not the ideal solution for most consumers, says Kenny: "The downside to debt settlement is twofold. Until the debt has actually been paid the

debtor can still be pursued for payment and taken to court. In addition the fact that the debt hasn't been paid in full will be reported to the credit bureaus and can damage the debtor's credit score."

A debt consolidation program combined with closing the paid off credit card accounts and other consumer debts, reducing household spending and sticking to a realistic budget can put most debtors back on track. But it is important for those in financial difficulty to be proactive and not just wait and hope that the times will get better. Companies like Thistle Financial Group ( have considerable experience with

the implementation of debt consolidation programs that can help consumers plug the leaks in their financial ship and set sail for a more prosperous future--and an end to financial related stress.


Thistle Finance Group was founded in 2007 and provides debt consolidation loan options to consumers who are struggling with debt.

Telephone (407) 413-9074

Email -

Contact name - Joe Kenny

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Are you ready for Valentines' Day?

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, are you ready? Or are you waiting for the last minute? If you're the last minute type of person I have some ideas for you that won't cost a fortune.

Flowers - Even if you could justify the price of a dozen red long stemmed roses, which cost upwards of $100 for Valentine's, at this late date you'll be lucky to find any. So what to do? Go to a big box store and check out the plant nursery. Most likely you'll find pots of flowers in bloom. Just stick on a big red bow and you're ready to go.

Another idea is to visit the flower seed racks. Pick an assortment of flower seed packets that appeal to you. Find an attractive gift box, place the packets inside on crumpled red and white tissue paper, include a hand written note that says "Watch our love grow."

If you just have to have roses, buy a live rose plant. Miniature ones should be in bloom, but you can also find regular rose plants at a plant nursery or big box store.

Packaging is everything. Look at how Valentine flowers are presented. There is lots of red, pink, and white tissue paper, cellophane with printed hearts, bows and Styrofoam hearts. Use those same ideas for your gifts. Take a red gift bag with handles. Place tissue paper inside so it shows over the top. Place a flowering plant surrounded by cellophane paper in the bag. If the bag is too big for the plant to show, get a smaller bag, a bigger plant, or stuff white tissue paper in the bottom of the bag to raise up the plant. Add curly ribbon and bows. Your $10 plant now looks like $100.

One more idea: Buy a lovely lush green houseplant at the grocery store and three red roses. Ask the florist department to put the roses into separate water filled vials that you can then insert into the house plant. Add a bow, or hearts, and you have a lasting romantic gift.

Red and pink are the colors of Valentine's so those colors will be expensive even if they aren't roses. Choose white flowers and complement them with red and pink packaging. A bouquet of white flowers in a red or pink vase is very festive. Or use a clear vase and a red or pink bow. Another alternative is to wrap the white flowers in red and pink tissue paper, then clear cellophane and a bow.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl or super bust?

I love football I really do. This year however, the super bowl was a disappointment. The two best teams were not the ones that played in yesterday's game. While the super bowl may have been a bust dinner was fabulous. Grilled pork tenderloin, veggie kabobs and grilled fruit salad. Here are the healthy food recipes

Commercial time on the super bowl sold for $1.8 million for 30 seconds. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Growing younger day by day

Went to see Benjamin Button yesterday. First of all let me say the only things the movie has in common with the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald is the name of the main character and the concept of being born old and growing younger each year.

I'm not going to give away any of the plot. I will say that the cinematography is breathtaking. It's a period piece beginning in 1918 when Benjamin is born and ending sometime in the 2000's.

Brad Pitt is great and I don't particularity care for him as an actor. He made me believe he was a little old man who happened to be only five or six years old. He grows younger gracefully. The surrounding cast are believable and help the story develop. Except for one segment of about 10 to 15 minutes midway through the film, but I'll let you figure that one out for yourself.

The downside is that the movie is way too long at nearly 3 hours. It should have and could have been edited down to no more than 2 1/2 hours.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Perfumes and Scents at home

It's difficult to recreate some of the modern perfumes because they use artificially created scents, bases and stabilizers as ingredients but you can make a variety of eau de colognes, or light perfumes with "raw" ingredients. Use scented flowers, herbs, and citrus peels. You can have beautiful roses in your garden, or receive them as a gift, but if they have little to no scent they won't make perfume.

If you don't have time to make perfume but still want your home deliciously scented use reed diffusers and essential oils. Reed diffusers have about 20 hollow straw like spaces which draw up the scented diffuser oil and then diffuse it into the air.

Any flower that is scented can be used, don't be limited by these suggestions.





Four O'clock


Orange or other citrus blossoms



Lemon Balm

Citrus leaves


Citrus peels, colored part only, leave the white pith

Combine one cup of the petals of your favorite flower, leaves from the herb, or combination of both in a glass jar. Pour in ¼ cup of vodka, the higher proof the better. Shake. Push the petals gently so they're covered by the vodka. Cover the mouth of the jar with plastic wrap. Put in a cool dark place for 24 hours. Strain the petals out of the vodka. Save the vodka. Put fresh petals in the jar and cover with the saved vodka, add enough to cover the fresh petals. Put in a cool dark place for 24 hours. At this point the vodka should have the scent of your flowers. You can repeat the process a few more times to increase the strength of the scent.

Experiment with different combinations of scents. Keep the perfume in the smallest bottle possible. You can find apothecary type brown bottles at craft stores and health food stores.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

What a mess Mexican Food makes

I love to cook and I love to eat. I'm fussy about Mexican food because restaurants tend to glop everything with melted gooey cheese and I'm not particularly fond of cheese. So why not make it myself I thought?

Do you have any idea what a huge mess in the kitchen that leaves? I had masa harina, that's treated corn flour, all over everything. Shouldn't be too hard to tackle tamales right? Tamales are divine little bundles of tender cornflour breading enfolding morsels of meat, onions, garlic, chilies, and oddly enough olives.

So I whipped up the cornflour breading, literally whipped it, because you have to beat lard, that's rendered beef fat, until it's light and fluffy and then beat in the masa harina. That mixture is spread on a wet corn husk. The filling is placed in a line down the center of the mixture and the corn husk folded over the cornmeal breading. The tamales are then steamed for an hour.

Okay in my case it was two hours and they still weren't done. Nasty, greasy, little bundles of watered down meat filling. Oh well.

Had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner instead.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The biggest jewelry purchase of your life

Will probably be your engagement and diamond wedding rings so make sure you know you're getting what you've paid for. Diamonds are valued on the four C's: carat, color, clarity, and cut.

Carat refers to the weight of the diamond not how big it looks. Differently shaped diamonds can look larger or smaller than other diamonds of the same weight. Carat weights should be exact. A diamond that weights .999 carats will have a proportionally lesser value than a diamond that is 1.111 carats because diamonds over 1 carat are valued at a higher value per carat then diamonds under 1 carat. For example: A 3 carat diamond may valued at 6 times the value of a one carat diamond other things equal.

Color in diamonds means the closer to pure blue white the more expensive the diamond. As the diamond proceeds to a more yellowish cast the less valuable it is. The perceived color can be influenced by the light it's viewed under and the background, as well as the color of its setting.

Clarity refers to the inclusion of any flaws that can be seen under a 10X magnification, what type of flaw and where it's located.

Cut means how the diamond is faceted not the shape the diamond takes.

Know the 4 C's of value diamond valuation and you'll receive full value for your engagement and diamond wedding rings.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Spa Experience at Home

You can create a lovely spa experience in your very own home. Spa treatments are great for your ego, your body, and your frame of mind but a little pricey for your purse. One of the easiest ways to reproduce that spa feeling is through lighting and scents. Most spas have subdued lighting in the relaxation and bathing areas. And a brighter light for the technician in the treatment areas. Cleanliness of the facility is crucial but that shouldn't be a problem in your own home.

Put together a collection of candles in colors that compliment your bathroom's d├ęcor. Fill the tub with warm water and sprinkle in a few drops of essential oil. Essential oils can be found in health food stores, on the Internet, and in some drug stores.

If you want to relax and de-stress use lavender oil. Basil relieves stress and helps lift depression. If a boost in energy is the result you'd like, try mint, rosemary or sage. Feel free to mix oils just keep them in the same family. Add a few springs of the herb itself if you happen to have some handy. Don't use dried herbs without some sort of wrapping or container, they make a bit of a mess in the bathtub.

Light the candles and step into your scented tub. After a 15 minute soak, pat yourself dry and you’re ready for the evening.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Decorating for Fall is Fabulous

I'm one of those people who love to change things around for the different seasons. Not just in my wardrobe but in the garden and in the house.

Halloween may not be a fantabulous decorating scheme. I mean black and orange is a difficult color scheme to work with at best. And it's not something I would like for the entire house. But it's fun to take one area and change it to a Halloween theme.

I have neutral furniture and walls, taupe, beige, and black. Sounds boring I know. Without the accessories it is pretty bland. But that's the key, the accessories. I switched out the blue and aqua pillows from summer and substituted in black ones. I already had coral colored pillows and a throw. I removed the shells and fish and added in pumpkins, cute little witches, some fall colored flowers and filled the glass jars with black and orange jelly beans, candy corn, and hard candies.

And there you go: Halloween.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

From 97 to 47 degrees

In less than a week, but that's Arizona for you. Seriously a week ago the high was 97 degrees and last night the low was 47 degrees with a high around 70. It will probably get back up to the 90's before October is finished but the cool break was appreciated.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Fall Fashions in 107 degrees

I was leafing through the latest issue of Instyle Magazine for the fall fashions. The good news is color. Lots of color. Rich russets, glowing gold, burnished browns instead of black, charcoal and that green that hasn't decided whether it's really grey, beige or green.

The bad news is that fall fashion means heavy fabrics and while the rest of the country is looking forward to crisp autumn mornings it's still reaches over 100 degrees as the high in September in the Southwest Desert. And the upper 90's is not unusual for October.

Fall fashions aren't wearable here until late November at the earliest and then it seems we should be moving on to winter fashions.

One compromise is to take the colors of fall but not the fabrics. Take the idea of layers but use lightweight cottons, short sleeves, and vests rather than heavy sweaters and long sleeves.


Monday, September 1, 2008

NOT one of my favorite things

Housecleaning. It is such a pointless waste of time because it never stays done. You dust and a week later you have to dust again. You make the bed in the morning just to unmake it at night. You wipe out the sink and counters after breakfast and then have to do it all over again after dinner.

Now I like a clean house as much as the next person I just don't like cleaning the house. I don't think anybody really does. Except of course the women on the cleaning product commercials on TV. You would think, given the look of absolute adoration on their face, that they would prefer scrubbing the bathroom shower to a day at the spa. And does anybody wash their kitchen floor in a dress and high heels? Is that a mop she's pushing around or is she practicing to be on Dancing with the Stars?

There is one cleaning tool I can't imagine being without and that's my Bagless vacuum cleaner
It gets up the puppy fur, removes dust from the drapes, dirt from the floors, and gets the yucky stuff up and out of the carpet. What did people do before the vacuum cleaner?


Monday, August 25, 2008

And now for your entertainment pleasure: the Democratic Convention!!!

Talk about boring. Political conventions have to top the list. Listening to the blower goers congratulate each other and rip the opposition is not my idea of a fun evening. And I wish somebody would come up with another finale than the balloons dropping from the ceiling. Maybe they could use bird poop.

So it's another TV wasteland. Okay more of a TV wasteland than usual. Looks like I'll be spending some time at blockbuster. Or maybe not. Maybe I should consider joining one of the online programs that lets you pick out the movie you want and then postal mails it to you in a couple of business days. That saves time because I don't have to drive to the store and money because I don't spend money on gas - these days at $4.00 per gallon every mile you don't drive adds up.

Andrew's review has a comparison of the blockbuster and netflix programs. I had no idea that netflix has nearly double the distribution centers than blockbuster. They don't charge a late fee either.

The downside is that I have to plan ahead. I can't decide this afternoon that there's nothing I want to watch this evening so I'll rent a movie. The other factor is that while I may be in the mood to watch a romantic comedy when I order the movie online, when I receive the movie I might prefer to watch a drama.

Well pretty much anything is better than watching a political convention.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Design on a Dime (or a Dollar)

I love those design shows on TV. One room at a Time, Design on a Dime, Extreme Makeover, Designed to Sell were fun to watch and you could pick up some snazzy ideas for cheap room decor. On occasion there would be an episode where you know they didn't stay within their budget. I'm thinking of a Designed to Sell show where they renovated two bathrooms with new vanities, sinks, shower doors and travertine tile flooring for $2000. That's not $2000 each but both. That was completely unrealistic. Now I know that there are no labor costs in the $2000, but we recently redid our bathrooms and the tile alone was close to $2000 with no installation.

Home furniture can be expensive think Ethan Allan, or budget priced when ordered from assemble-it-yourself catalogs. That never worked for me. I have a mind that puts things together backwards. I tried putting up shelves in the garage and had to nail them to the wall because they kept listing dangerously to the left. What I especially like from the design shows are the alternative ways to use furniture you wouldn't ordinarily think of. For example using banquet chairs in a formal dining room. The trick is to cover the banquet chairs with slipcovers. Another example is using a bench meant for the garden in the entry way.

I'm not a big fan of the cozy chic peeling paint look. I don't want to have to worry about getting splinters when I sit down, so I don't shop garage sales.

I'm also not much of a sewer, I don't have a sewing machine. I have learned that you can make your own window treatments by using printed king size sheets. They already have a pocket for the rod. No sewing required. And if you get tired of the look it's quick, easy, and cheap to change it.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Let's get cooking

Usually I'm not terribly interested in the Olympics but this year my significant other and writing partner and I decided to do something different. We're cooking our way through the games. We both love to cook (and eat - which is why occasionally you will see posts about weight loss on this blog).

Our first dinner was on the opening night. I picked China. Now for Chinese cooking one does a lot of chopping and for that I've found sharp knives are best, Shun knives do a great job of shredding and chopping; mincing and dicing. No wonder the Chinese gymnasts and divers are all so thin, that preparation for stir frying takes forever.

I do have to wonder if their competitors meet the legal age limit of 15. Have you really looked at the girls? They don't look like they've hit puberty yet.

Back to cooking. For his dinner on Saturday he picked Argentina, probably because Argentina cuisine is heavy on meat and he does like meat. He prepared a terrific stuffed roast. For Christmas I think I'm asking Santa for All Clad cookware because while the roast was delicious the roasting pan was a disaster. As in have-to-throw-it-out-I'll-never-get-it-clean disaster.

The sacrifices we make for good food.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And once more the pundits are wrong

There was an interesting article in one of the business magazines I read. A woman with a start up gaming company was out beating the bushes for venture capital. Now gaming is a popular niche for investors. Think of the billions of dollars spent on Wii, or Xbox for example. Her search for investors should have been a slam dunk. But no.

It seems her gaming company was directed at girl's games. And the VCs had decided that games for girls don't sell well. Gaming is more for boys because of the violence, fighting, and chasing that most games include.

The venture capitalists were wrong. The best selling game of the year, that year, was "Nancy Drew." It turns out girls do play games but hey like the treasure hunting, puzzle, mystery solving types of games.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Fairy Princess Dresses

I had an interesting childhood to say the least. I grew up in Washington D.C. and spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill, yes the nation's capitol. My parents were involved in the D.C. social scene and in the theater, so they went out a lot. Which meant my mother had quite a closet full of cocktail dresses, hats, shoes, and jewelry.

One of my favorite memories is playing dress up games in her clothes. I mostly did that when she wasn't home, which was a lot. Not that she didn't take care of me, she did, but I was old enough to look after my two little sisters when they went out.

I especially remember a beautiful copper colored iridescent cocktail dress with a sweetheart neckline and full skirt. I felt like a fairy princess in that dress. The fashion at the time was tiny waists and full skirts. So just about any dress was fit for a princess. Think Grace Kelly and you'll get he picture.

Now, well, not so much. It's more of a how-much-skin-can-you-show-and-get-away-with game.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Playing dress up

Anybody remember the series Sex and the City? Of course you do. For one thing it was just released as a movie over Memorial Day Weekend. No, I didn't go see it. My significant other didn't like the TV program so I can't imagine him sitting through the movie.

One thing about Carrie, she had a fashion sense but some of those outfits made me feel she was playing Dress Up Games. Where you go into your big sister's closet, not that I had a big sister because I was the big sister, and put together outfits. The feather boa with the short shorts and high heels. That sort of stuff.

Her ballerina outfit during the opening credits was classic Carrie. I have a subscription to InStyle, although I have to admit I'm more of an OutOfStyle type of girl. Did you know that many of the "stars" have stylists? I know they do for major events but I had no idea that they relied on stylists for everyday wear.


The postman only rings twice

Of course these days he or she doesn't ring at all but leaves the mail in the box down at the corner.

Oh well that's progress I suppose. And progress also means it time for me to look at new cell phones and programs. Is anybody else as confused as I am? Please tell me why I would want to look at a website on a screen that's less than two inches square when I have a flat monitor 17 inch screen upstairs? And then there's email. I have to scroll so far over that I lose track of the sentence before I get to the period. It's difficult to compose email using the phone's touch pad which is completely unlike a computer keyboard.

One thing I do like is that I can have a different ring for my phone so I know it's mine. It's kind of embarrassing to be standing in line at the grocery store and a phone starts ringing. Is it mine? Is it the guy behind me? Is it the manager? Hard to tell when they all sound alike.

So I'm off to Download Free Ringtones and solve that problem. I've always liked Batman maybe I'll get The Dark Knight ringtones. Of course I still have to figure out what kind of new cell phone to get. Definitely not a blackberry or chocolate. I have enough trouble staying away from sweets.