Cruise Travel Tips For First Timers

Cruise travel has got to be the most pampered way to see the world, one cocktail at a time. While hard core backpackers are out climbing mountains and fighting third world bus systems, many people prefer to lounge on the main deck, get a tan, and get in early for the dinner buffet. I’ve worked closely with several cruise specialists in my career as a travel agent, and would like to offer the following cruise travel tips:Pack plenty of clean napkins. Those hand sanitation napkins are the swiss army knife of cruising. You can use them to remove stains, rather than dealing with laundry services. Also, if used before every meal, they may help prevent you from catching a bug.Prepare for more sun you ever thought possible. Think about it, most of the activities on a cruise involve exposure to the sun. Protect yourself by bringing a wide brimmed hat, sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and shades that provide 100% UV protection.Avoid purses and large day packs. If you spend the day at port, try not to brandish your brand new camera or moneybelt. This makes you a target for local pickpockets.Pack precisely. The key to good packing is to strike a balance between loose and too tight; either extreme will leave you with a wardrobe full of wrinkles. Here’s a bit of advice: pack a dryer sheet in with your clothes.Post-Its. One of my more obscure cruise travel tips. Post-Its allow to communicate with other passengers, housekeeping, and other guest services. Leave a message inside your room to let your shipmates know where and when to meet.Extra bags. These are right up there with the hand napkins in terms of usability. They are great for storing wet shoes, dirty clothes, and provide added protection for packing valuables.

Home Buying Tips – Choosing the Right Style and Color For Your Home

While shopping for a home, you should expect yourself to start feeling a little confused because of all the available choices that you would have. The rising amount of property sales in the real estate market makes the process of home selection more complicated than it should be. However, finding a perfect new house for you and your loved ones should not be a headache. You can actually make good and sound choices once you understand the different housing styles and types that are available on the market.When choosing the right style and color for your home purchase, you should be conscious about your needs and preferences as a buyer. Once you have a detailed image of a property that you would like to buy, it would be easier to choose among the wide selection of real estate properties. Here are some home buying tips that you should remember while choosing the right style and color that your prospective house should possess.Understanding various housing stylesYou can always choose from the numerous housing styles that are available on different property listings. However, you should focus on the major types in order to avoid confusing yourself with too many options. These styles include the bungalow, colonial style homes, high-rise condominium units, luxury homes, townhouses.Bungalows are the popular choice among most home buyers. A bungalow is a compact house that contains two or more smaller rooms. Usually, it is finished with either a basement or an attic, where additional rooms, living areas, or storage rooms can be situated. It also has a front porch or bay windows that make its structure look classy and elegant. If you want to have high levels of privacy in a one-story home with additional room options, a bungalow would be the best choice for you.The popularity of high-rise condominium units is also increasing. These housing options are for those who cannot afford to live in traditional house types. These units are usually located in a high-rise building, where a number of condominium units are situated adjacently to each other. This is the best housing option for you if you cannot afford to buy a piece of land together with your property purchase.Townhouses, usually confused with condominiums, are entirely different. A townhome is also found beside a chain of apartment-like units, but its terms of ownership are different from those in condominium units. Its price is inclusive of the land where the structure is built, hence granting the buyer ownership of the land where his house stands. This is why a townhouse is more expensive than the price of a condo unit. If you want to earn more control over your property, a townhouse would be suitable for you.A luxury house is the most expensive property type. It has a very big space and a very sophisticated design that meets the preferences of those living in high-end neighborhoods. If you have enough money to buy a luxurious property, you can prioritize this housing style in your list of other viable options.Comparing different paint colorsOnce you have chosen a specific housing style, you should start considering your preferred exterior and interior paint colors. The main rule in this step is to remember your distinct preferences when it comes to choosing house colors. If you want a home that can catch the attention of passersby, you should look for a property with unique and bold colors. Meanwhile, if you like a classy-looking house that looks neat and simple, purchase a property with neutral to light colors of exterior paint.Always remember these things while looking for your dream house. Capitalize on your opportunity to invest on a real estate property by knowing all your available options.

Leadership In Education

Leadership in education has so many different dimensions and definitional issues that it’s very elusive, and has become more complicated since the involvement of business and political communities. Principals had for a long time served as managers of schools, but in the last 10 or 15 years there’s been a sea change in their responsibilities. Now, at long last, the focus is on instructional leadership. But the problem facing principals is that their preparatory institutions did not offer courses in curriculum programs until the mid-1980s, and many principals are not prepared for this new role; they need crash programs in instructional leadership. They now also are being asked to make contacts with community leaders and even in some cases state legislators to garner support for schools and programs. It is impossible for principals, as well as superintendents, to handle adequately the managerial, instructional, and political dimensions of the job. It is not surprising that these multiple demands are creating a shortage of educational leaders. It now takes 8-14 months to fill superintendency positions, as opposed to 3-5 months in decades past; and 85% of principals are scheduled to retire within a decade.

So what do we do? We have to find new kinds of team approaches to the job. We need to rethink the role and rethink who is best equipped to provide certain kinds of leadership. It is important to remember that while change occurs from the top down-business and political leaders are pushing change-it also has to come from the bottom up. Unless the teachers, principals, and frontline people “buy in,” not very much will happen. So one of the challenges is to build connecting mechanisms from top to bottom. Leadership will span these boundaries.

The issues of authority and accountability need to be addressed by schools seeking to restructure. To be successful, school-based decision making too must be characterized by coherence in its authority structure and accountability system.

Citizen accountability facilitates the accountability of educators and students. And authority for change must include students, must focus on them as vehicles for change, not just objects of change. Educators and parents need to acknowledge that students have a role in change and should even be on the board for school-based decision making. Establishing coherence is the key to leadership throughout an educational structure; it creates a system of checks and balances, with the community and state united in working towards a common goal: the students’ academic success. All the vision in the world won’t lead to much without coherence. Furthermore, before restructuring can begin, educators must be keenly aware of two principles: Cooperation and collaboration are necessary because they are key to establishing coherence in an educational system; and all students can learn at higher levels. Finally, schools need to focus on beliefs, standards, assessment, and accountability and have a system of change, incorporating in a coherent way all of these factors that are valued. After all, in the end, successful education systems are about values. Schools just need the courage to move and lead.

Education reform now involves high-stakes accountability. If schools are asked to have accountability to this degree, then the schools should be in charge. School accountability involves schools having the power to implement their own policies, which means school-based decision making. Stability in the schoolhouse is critical, and the principal is the agent for change-but in that comes no security. Yet, the principal is charged to rally teachers, who have total security and who have little reason to attend to the vision of a person who holds a tenuous appointment. The principals are finding that the illusion of power is worse than no power at all. Successful school reform necessitates an ingenious interweaving of responsibility, accountability, and authority. Intrusive behavior is a board member’s act of interfering with a school administrator’s assigned operational task(s) that exceeds the board of education’s delegated responsibility. Intrusive behavior can substantially hinder consistency in leadership, which is extremely important to organizational health. The problem with such intrusive behavior is that people in the educational framework become confused and wonder, “Who’s the boss?” and “Who do I listen to?” resulting in a monumental problem with role conflict and role ambiguity. This confusion wastes valuable time that could be spent on matters related to educating children. Instead of inspecting school facilities or instructing superintendents and principals on how to perform their duties, boards of education need to focus on student achievement.

Too often, board members do not have a clear understanding of their role and how they are to enact it unless they are specifically educated about that role. In short, the training of board of education members before they sit on a board should be mandated, and they should be contractually educated, not just taught. The time spent on training should be measured not in hours per year, but in numbers of issues covered in the training.

In a new survey, superintendents indicated principal shortages in all types of districts; there were simply not many applicants for the positions available. Reasons cited for this principal shortage included the following:

- Compensation is not enough.
- Too much time is required.
- Board interference makes the job too stressful.

Since 2004, the principal’s role has changed dramatically. Now, the scope of the principal’s role is exploding, and principals are expected to take on many new responsibilities. Principals have been taught to be managers rather than instructional leaders, but they are now being asked to fulfill that duty as well-along with increased involvement in litigation, in special education, and in preventing school violence.

Become Snap – Happy With Digital Photography

The digital revolution has made amateur photography more popular than ever before. The days of Fuji film and print processing have been replaced with talk of mega-pixels and memory cards. With hundreds of cheap digital cameras on the market, it’s possible for anyone with a good eye for photography yet little practical knowledge of the mechanics of cameras, to capture great shots with simple “point and shoot” digital models.For some, a love of photography can turn into a profession. If you’re looking to take your photography to the next level, it’s a good idea to first build up a portfolio of work, and then submit your work to the many dedicated photography websites or competitions. There are hundreds of amateur photography forums and websites where members can submit their work for critical appraisal by other members. Such websites also offer advice and tips on photography techniques.Another way to get recognition and even payment for your photographs is to submit your shots to magazines. Either choose a general photography magazine to do this, or try specialist consumer magazines. For example, if you are a keen skier, submit your ski shots to a winter sports magazine; or if you enjoy fishing, try an angling magazine. Local papers are also a good place to submit photos, as they are often on the lookout for pictures to accompany their stories.When submitting your photography to magazines, it’s important to remember that photography is an extremely competitive field and that you will be up against professionals. Therefore, don’t get disheartened if your shots aren’t accepted at first – just keep on shooting and continue submitting; in the world of photography, persistence pays.Amateur photography competitions are another great way of getting your photography seen, and can win you fans, prizes and even commissions or customers. A good idea is to start small; your local photography club will probably hold various contests; also keep an eye out for other competitions that are within your field of expertise. There are hundreds to enter, and they tend to have set themes – covering everything from travel to sports, nature to nautical and portrait to planes.The ‘Million Places on Earth’ competition, for example, is offering a top prize of one million dollars for unique location images from anywhere in the world. Other competitions include Embassy Suite Hotels ‘Happiness in Motion’ competition, which carries an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii as their top prize; while UKplus are also holding an online photography competition with a top prize of £1000 for photographs taken within the UK.Whether it’s for fun, glory, or perhaps a new career path, photography is an extremely rewarding hobby. And you never know – you might just see your picture on the cover of National Geographic one day!

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