All About the Hip Hop Music

Hip hop music as we all know is really popular these days. It all started in the 1970’s from the South Bronx of New York City. There are a lot of sub culture music styles that are involved with Rap music. Let us know more about hip hop in the following listed details:

Brief history:

During the 1970’s, New York City’s African American Puerto Rican community created the Rap music genre. It is actually a style that came up while trying to add rap music and other instruments like synthesizers, drum machines in live bands. Rappers are the main subject of the hip hop though there are more to it than just rapping. It began with its simple music versions that were modernized and evolved throughout the years.

Styles and Techniques:

Hip hop music or Rap music is not just music at all. It is composed of other things, not only the music itself. If we talk about being in a hip hop culture and community, you will be in a lot of transformation and changes. For example is their fashion statement. Hip hop has brought along a new type of clothing to all artists on the rap music industry including the people listening to it. It is what the people on the Bronx have come up with, but the a little edge into it. We can see most of the artists wearing baggy clothes, with much ‘blings’ in their accessories. It is all part of the hip hop community transformation.

The language is also a bit different. Black people from the Bronx have a certain style or slang in their language. They are more of the baroque style of speaking, and they have added that style in their music’s. Rap music are consists of songs that are written for people that wants to express their feelings in an edgy way.

Graffiti:

Even the graffiti has been transformed by the hip hop music society. It was used in the earlier years as a form of expression for the political activists. Now, hip hop people created it into a way for them to express their way of life, thoughts with the current society, and all other issues. It can be seen throughout the Bronx where it originated.

Famous artists:

1. Run-D.M.C.

2. Public Enemy

3. Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five

4. Beastie Boys

5. 2pac

6. Eric B and Rakim

7. N.W.A

8. Wu-Tang Clan

9. Jay Z

10. De La Soul

11. Outkast

12. A Tribe Called Quest

13. Notorious BIG

14. Nas

15. Eminem

17. LL Cool J

18. Boogie Down Productions

19. Dr. Dre

20. Afrikaa Bambaataa

21. Kanye West

22. The Roots

23. Gangstarr

24. Ice Cube

25. EPMD

26. Salt-N-Pepa

27. Slick Rick

28. Big Daddy Kane

29. Snoop Dog

30. Pete Rock and C.L Smooth

Those are the major information we should know about the rap music genre. Try listening to some of their songs to know more about what this type of music is all about.

Instrumental Hip-Hop Music

Indian Hip-Hop is a wonderful mixture of conventional Indian musical rudiments with hip hop music. Hip-Hop changed all the dynamics of world music in 1990s. It’s a form of music which focuses more on message or lyrics of the song than the music. To understand Indian instrumental Hip-Hop music we will have to look at instrumental and Hip-Hop music separately. Indian instrumental music is a part of the great tradition of Indian classical music. Indian classical music is one of the prime constituent of wonderful Indian heritage. Whereas Hip-Hop originated from Afro-American culture and now it is more of a global phenomenon. The mixing of these two forms of music results in captivating instrumental Hip-Hop music.

Instrumental Hip-Hop music redefined the music scenario to the extent that it is considered as a genre of its own. It is one of the most experimental forms of music. Slowly India is also catching up with this new genre. Instrumental Hip-Hop uses one or more local music with other instruments. For example, Indian instrumental hip-hop music mixes few of the Indian languages with percussion or other Indian instruments like Veena or Sitar and thus comes out a completely new form of music which is soothing to the ears. Other experiment includes using Indian movies songs with numerous instruments.

Indian hip-hop musical segment is still in evolution stage. Though, few of the Indian artists have managed to make a name for themselves on international scale. One of the most popular Indian Hip Hop artists who is credited to carve a niche for himself is Asoka. Basically a solo performer, he has worked with famous rappers as well. Asoka has worked with one of the world’s most popular rappers, The Outlawz. Not only that, he has prominently featured in major mix tapes. Other prominent Indian hip-hop artists are Srik, OBB, Sagar, PRX etc.

Hip Hop Music Sales Slump in Digital Age What Does This Mean For the Industry?

Hip hop music was huge in the United States just a few years ago. At one point in 2000, sales even hit a record high of over 1.8 billion USD. That was when Hip Hop R&B had over taken all other genres of music in terms of record sales. To find out why Hip Hop music sales are slumping currently, one has to rewind a little and understand how Hip Hop all started out.

Before Hip Hop got accepted into the mainstream, many Hip Hop artists pretty much stayed underground to practice their art form. No one knew Hip Hop was going to become the titan that it would develop into. When Hip Hop first began, it started out in the streets. It was a movement by people who were disadvantaged, or were ostracized by the community – they were looking for a way to express themselves and their plight. And express themselves they did.

Hip Hop music is spontaneous and witty. For example, when a battle takes place between two artists, the lyrics are never pre-written. Each competitor will be given the opportunity to rap for a certain period of time. The audience is the judge. The culture of rap is that the judging audience is never biased making it a truly democratic art form. Whoever comes up with the most original and creative lyrics will win the battle. Of course, there is an element of like and dislike. So the lyrics have to connect with the audiences as well. The final results of the battle is based on the cheers of the audience. Whoever receive the loudest cheer, wins the battle.

As you can see, Hip Hop arises out of a need for talented artists to be heard. And the artists became really good from years of practicing. As they practice, the world remains largely unaware of what is happening. It wasn’t until the artists become more entrepreneurial that Hip Hop starts to take off.

Unlike other type of music, the Hip Hop community accepts was far reaching in content and profanity in the lyrics. The market finds it refreshing to hear such profanity in the records. And soon, Hip Hop music took off like a bullet with as much variety in tone as there were people. From the angry rebellious rap, to the happy its a party time songs.

The market soaked it all in mainly because they believed that the artists were just doing their thing – they were voicing repressed feelings, from lack of opportunity or showing you how to enjoy yourself and life. So record sales continued to soar. Recording artists like Eminem, 50 Cent Lil Wayne, Jay Z, T.I and Gucci Mane all did very well in the industry.

Unfortunately, the success of the Hip Hop industry has hit a turning point. In a few short years, sales for Hip Hop music begin to decline, and it continued to decline year after year. Some recording labels, once worth millions of dollars, are now near bankruptcy.

It is clear that the market has taken the time to learn about Hip Hop music and culture and have fully embraced it. After earning billions of dollars in the industry, and being widely accepted in the mainstream, what is the source of the decline in sales?

Many will argue, its all due to the Internet. The new Internet age has brought about many new opportunities along with many new threats to the old industries. Now its easier then ever to commit piracy and unfortunately the record industry has been resistant to change. Too stuck in the old mind frame and old distribution channels to fully embrace what the Internet could really mean for them.

Hip Hop artists are now being heard all over the world. There is no longer the element of distribution channels or lag from the artist to the market. Why? Because the Internet makes it instantaneous. As such old walls have been broken down where people had to wait for months or search relentlessly to be able to acquire all of an artists past works.

As such artists must continue to evolve in order to continue thriving. Perhaps it’s still back to basics. No more focusing on big marketing budgets and record label driving initiatives. Maybe what the Internet has done is take Hip Hop out of the corporate boardrooms and back to the streets where all that counts is just great rap music lyrics from the heart.

Why Parents Don't Like Rap and Hip Hop Music While Kids, Teens and Young Adults Do

Rap and Hip Hop Music is one of the leading trends in music today. Yet, so many parents disapprove of rap/hip hop music, while kids, teens and young adults have an undying love for it. Why?

Most parents want the best for their children, and so, they go about their days attempting to acquire better lives for themselves and their loved ones. Parents were young once too, but they later discovered it is more beneficial to live a positive life style compared to a negative one. They have come to understand that the path towards having constructive experiences start with feeding the mind with constructive ideas, learning good lessons and following sensible instructions.

Therefore, most parents do not want their loved ones to have negative experiences, such as the constant viewing of cruel images, repeated feelings of unnecessary pain or repetitive listening to destructive words that are heard in some hip hop and rap songs. For this reason, parents don’t like many rap and hip hop songs because of the damaging lyrical content. What is more, they don’t appreciate the idea that such harmful words are being fed into the minds of their kids, teens or young adults.

On the other hand kids, teens and young adults love rap and hip hop music because of the powerful nature of the beat, while the flow of the lyrics spew out catchy punch lines and slick metaphors. For the young at heart, hip hop and rap is more than just music, it is a life style. It is a wonderful combination of rhythm, rhetoric and hope. Kids, teens and young adults all over the world bop their heads emotionally to the rhythmic sounds of hip hop. They become awe inspired by the rhetorical flow of rap and hope to one day capture the financial success of the artists viewed in the videos.

Although some of the lyrics in rap and hip hop music are derogatory in nature, all of it is not belittling. Several hip hop and rap artists outright demean people, places and things, while some rhyme about how they overcame appalling living conditions, hateful peers, poverty and crime. Others boost about their financial success as an affirmation that they have made it out of a life of dreadfulness. And, artists may use language which they are familiar with — a curse or two to express such experiences.

So I ask parents, a kid, teens and young adults, is there a balance?

Well, everyone knows that the mind is like a sponge, soaking up information like water from the very moment of human conception. Indeed, the mind vividly records what is observed through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and imagination. As a result, that which is recorded in our minds has an effect on our behavior. Yes, music also shapes our mindset!

Music is considered an art and science for a very good reason! Experts in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, biology, physiology, physics and education have worked alongside musicians to unravel the mysteries of music. Such research is aimed at understanding music’s basic structure; it’s biological, emotional and psychological effect on humans and the brain; it’s healing and altering potential; and its function in the evolutionary process. Music helps scientists understand complex functions of the brain and opens up treatments for patients who are recovering from strokes or suffering with Parkinson’s. Research even suggests that music may alter the structure of the brain.

What is more, words have power, real energy. This is demonstrated in the fact that music can thrill us, sadden us or inspire us. We feel goose bumps rise on our skin as we listen to a favorite melody, and we are whisked back to old memories by hearing the opening bars of an old school song. Throughout history, songs have been created with the intention to inspire feelings of happiness, joy, praise, relaxation, anger, heartache, destruction, etc. Wow! Music can do all this?

The good news is that there is a balance. For parents, it is recommended that you do not discredit all rap and hip hop music. There exist good and wholesome compositions out there that your young ones can enjoy, and you can feel safe that they are feeding their minds with sensible ideas.

And for the kids, teens, and young adults, it is suggested that you be more mindful of the type of rap and hip hop music you are listening to as it does have an impact on your mindset.

Hip Hop Music Production – 3 Essentials For Producing Your Own Hip Hop Music

The Hip hop music production of today uses drum machines, samplers, online beat makers, live instrumentals, samplers, live vocals, sequences, and synthesizers. If you can imagine it, you can probably use it. This genre of music includes all the various processes that go into the production of the music. As a producer, your role is to assemble the instrumentals of each track.

Putting together a hip hop instrumental is an art form what the hip hop music producer is known for. This is typically called the beat, while in the role of producer you are known as the beat maker. The biggest change that is now happening in the industry is that advancing technology which is eliminating the job of producer in hip hop music production.

The good news for Rap and Hip Hop artists is that today artists themselves are now taking of the production of the entire hip hop beat. For new and emerging artists this is even more so. The new age of beat making applications can do three times more than anything a retired hip hop producer could do.

Young and happening artists are discovering they can create anything from laying down vocal tracks, to creating instrumentals, and finally mixing and mastering their complete track right from the comfort and convenience of their own home. Further, they can do it for only a fraction of the cost! A modern beat making application for hip hop production can be purchased on the web for less than $30 USD.

Amazingly, for this incredibly low price even the beginning producer can get their hands on the most prized functions and tricks. In addition, having access to comprehensive online tutorials and a support networks means you can instantly begin producing your own music today even if you do not have any knowledge of laying down hip hop beats.

Obviously, this is causing quite a power shift in the industry as artists gain more control. Still though, there are a few fundamentals to hip hop music production that every newbie hip hop self-producer needs to know.

1. The first thing you should know is that the drum beat is the most fundamental component of your track. The complexity and pace of the drum beat dictates what speed and impact the entire production will have. Everything is supported by the drums. It is recommended that you keep them as simple as possible when starting or you will likely run into problems!

2. The second consideration is where to get your drum beats from. They can be downloaded, sampled from online sources, created by a drum beat maker, or you can create them yourself own your own beat making application. This can take some skill though so many musicians often begin with a download then move up to creating their own beats.

3. Finally, start with the basics then increase the complexity gradually. If you want to learn hip hop music production, this is the best way. Once you are happy with your drum beat, you need to develop the percussion and sampling elements of your song. You need both to add emphasis to your sound and create a great work of art.

Interested in producing your own tracks? Looking for a way into this amazing industry so you can do what you love? There are now lots of options for everyone. You have to start somewhere though. So get your hands on a great beat making application.

How Does Urban Wear Relate to Hip Hop Music?

Over the years because of hip hop music stars who also design clothes, urban wear has become some of the most popular types of clothing on the market. There is a definite iconic status for people who design urban clothing and the fact that the clothing is related to the hip hop music culture. These clothes reflect the attitudes of the rap culture itself. In fact, as hip hop continues to thrive and move forward the clothing that comes with it will remain hot! As the hip hop culture continues on it becomes more popular among young people especially in the urban clothing lines. Some of these lines are designed by the hip hop artists themselves like. This increases the popularity of hip hop and this type of urban clothing will be the stamp for future hip hop admirers.

Urban Wear is definitely more for open minded people. Today’s urban fashion is worn around the world and is considered the most fashionable. It may seem to be American but this type of clothing was actually inspired by African culture. That is why the term hip hop seems to bring to mind colored people wearing over sized shirts and jeans. This type of clothing is also known as street or urban wear. It really begins from the music genre that brings out the personal expressions and goes against the mainstream music scene. It has been known to feature huge accessories that are known as bling! There are also the basketball caps and t-shirts that tend to be at least one or two sizes bigger then the way clothes are worn on average. These types of shirts could come from plain basketball jerseys or feature some sayings that express what the individual wants to get across to society.

The fact is that hip hop style has been accepted all over the world. It was first accepted in the poorest American cities like the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. The urban wear phenomenon is made up of various styles and different ways to wear pieces. There are some vital pieces that you should have in your wardrobe. Society So when hip hop music stars look good in their clothing then the fans want to look good in it too! The hip hop industry is collaborating with the fashion industry and getting the urban culture out there which includes hoods, military printed cargos, custom sneakers, hip hop hats and more.

It is not uncommon to see urban wear appear in music videos and on rap icons. This is the way that they contribute to the flavor of fashion today. It is quite common to see these labels under the leadership of famous rappers and producers that want to build their business and get into urban clothing deals. Many hip hop musicians will get into the business or urban clothing because they know it will be a huge business accomplishment. Many music artists get signed to a record label and get paid huge sums for their recorded work but may not see more money until the label gets back all the money from promotions. This is when artists may want to invest in other ventures and urban wear has become one of these popular outlets.

This is a way for these artists to make their money work for them. It will also benefit them as far as their public image and self expression which they want to give to their fans. With these kinds of ventures it is a way for them to market and sell their clothes. P. Diddy with Sean John, Nelly with Apple Bottoms, Jay-z with Rocawear, 50 Cent with G-Unit and more are all managed by rappers and many other labels have grown in appeal as rappers continue to get their names and music and urban wear out into the main stream where the public is just eating it all up.

Audio Production – How to Become a Hip-Hop Music Producer

There are many upcoming music producers interested in audio production in hip-hop. This urban genre of music appeals more to the youth which you must be aware of with your techniques. This means you have to be different and unique, and these qualities are what most of the hip-hop production houses and artists are looking for. With the right knowledge in music production, the next thing is to find your way into the list of notable hip-hop music producers in the industry.

Since your interests are in hip-hop music and audio production, you have to know how to make these kinds of beats. Make nice hip-hop beats because you will need them when you want to show artists looking for suitable beats to sing or rap over. The best way is to know places where you can find aspiring hip-hop artists so you can offer them your beats for “mix-tapes” or sell them for a small fee and if you have good beats, you can be sure your chances of them and the public liking them is a lot higher.

You should also make sure you attend all the events you can that will keep you in contact with hip-hop artists, other music producers and any interested parties so you can introduce yourself and what you do. Network is crucial in the music business and you have to learn how to sell yourself. You could also give samples of your work and remember to make follow ups since it is likely you are not the only one doing that and they may have received a lot of samples from other aspiring hip-hop music producers who also love audio production.

Make sure you network with people you share interests with and this means other people aspiring to be hip-hop music producers. Through discussions and forums, you can get to know what other people are doing to make it in the industry which could be very useful to you.

There is need to know all that is happening in the hip-hop industry including the changes that you need to adopt especially to do with technology. Since music technology is changing rapidly and people’s needs and tastes are also changing, the artists too will need to be into audio production that are up to date to give them an edge in the industry since they know their fans will also like it.

There are music producers equipment that you will use in your work which you must have. On top of being aware of the music technology in the industry, it is also important to be aware of the different hardware that are introduced so that you get some knowledge and understanding as to how they operate.

Perhaps the most important thing is to have a genuine interest in what you do and strive to make your skills better in audio production. Practice always makes perfect. Listen to a lot of hip-hop music and learn the tricks with the best productions. You can consider listening to your favorite producers to try to emulate their style and as you get better slowly evolve and develop your own.

Summer Hip Hop Music 2013

Get ready for the newest hip hop releases. Summer 2013 has officially arrived and we’re gearing up to give you the business of the new music artists’ releases!

Now before we continue, let me just make clear that a lot of rumors have surfaced as to exactly what is about to go down during this hot, sticky, and sexy season.

For starters, Lil Wayne’s songs and other new hip hop music releases will be served handsomely on a platter via your local favorite Summertime radio station, that is. Besides, who would’ve really doubted Lil Wayne songs as yet another regulatory bypassing of judgmental fodder for submissive temporary airplay? Not us.

Besides, the boy has been among the top hip hop artists since he killed audiences with those none other than dare I say who? If you guessed TT Boi a.k.a. Sir 2 Chainz, then you guessed right my friends. Remember back in the Spring of ’07 when we all couldn’t wait for the newest hip hop releases? Ever since that historic mind-blowing period for Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz has gone on to become seemingly out of nowhere literally one of top music artists to date.

But that’s not all, because my sources inside tell me that this summer’s newest hip hop music will be an ever so eventful one considering the likes of the classic duo even once more collaborating.

Just in time. Right on the money, huh? Pssst… we hear this one’s aiming to be a classic.

In other rumors of new hip hop music, Rocko’s not at all in any type of a hurry to take a break thus far in getting off of his wave. After all, so is everyone else riding it out along with him. Definitely be on the heavy lookout for one of his brand new music releases around midway through this hot Summer season.

Oh yeah, and for all you doubters and forgetful types out there, guess which hip hop music artist is making a steady and long-awaited comeback? Younger shorties prepare to pinch yourselves accordingly, for you may not know who this is.

Just not too long ago, the former Cash Money record label signee, known to other artists as Young Turk, was released from prison on what had foully appeared to be trumped up felony-related charges upon him and other music artists as of late.

We hear that Turk is currently back in the lab perfecting and fine-tuning his “oh so” Lil Wayne-ish like craft effortlessly for a sharp and secondarily memorable return.

We wish him well.

*On a sidenote, we also heard unconfirmed rumors of Young Turk once again collaborating with his former group mates Weezy and Juvenile for an official Hot Boy’s reunion.

Hip Hop music artists Hot Boys Young Turk and B.G. were both incarcerated due to what apparently led to the former groups fallout, among other unsolved issues. The new hip hop music releases that are slated for this year’s Summer should be on smash to say the least.

Without giving away all of the goods, I must say that fellow west coast artists will become very active once again this Summer in the newest hip hop music scene. Big up to all of the new music releases coming from up out of the new west. As fans, we need a breath of fresh air, for sure and most certainly.

Well, that about wraps up the lowdown on this year’s Summer 2013 annual music artists and upcoming new music releases. Definitely keep an eye out for the west coast as mentioned for the west will certainly provide this Summer’s classic club bangers and newest hip hop music. Turn up!

Hip Hop Music

Hip-hop music is the vehicle of hip-hop culture and contains “rapping” (superimposed with vocals) by emcees. Owing to this, hip-hop music is sometimes referred to as “rap music,” However, those who dismiss hip-hop as rap music do not comprehend its rich history and the influence this genre of music has on youth culture.

Hip-hop music is a vehicle used by the singers to address racism, oppression, and poverty issues. It narrates tales of inner city African-Americans living the American dream (through hard work, courage and determination one can achieve prosperity) from the bottom up, and bitterly touches upon racial discrimination, broken homes, and overcoming adversity.

Invented by Jamaican migrant DJ Kool Herc in the early 70s in New York City, it has since then spread its tentacles across the world. Herc shifted from reggae records to funk, rock and disco. Owing to the short percussive breaks, he began extending them using an audio mixer and two records. As the unique style of music became a hit, performers (emcees) began superimposing the music with vocals; initially, they introduced themselves and others in the audience. Later, the rapping became more diverse, incorporating brief rhymes, often with a sexual or violent theme, in an attempt to entertain the audience.

In the mid-1970s, hip-hop split into two groups. One focused on getting the crowd dancing, another highlighted rapid-fire rhymes. The 1980s witnessed further diversification in hip-hop; highly metaphoric lyrics rapping over multi-layered beats replaced simple vocals. In the 90s, gangsta rap (glorified outlaw lifestyle) became mainstream. Hip-hop was soon an integral part of mainstream music, and nearly all the pop songs featured an underlying element of hip-hop.

In the 90s and into the following decade, elements of hip-hop were integrated into diverse genres of music: hip-hop soul combined hip-hop and soul music; in the Dominican Republic, a recording by Santi Y Sus Duendes and Lisa M was coined “Meren-rap,” a fusion of hip-hop and meringue. In Europe, Africa, and Asia, hip-hop has undergone a transition from an underground occurrence to the mainstream market.

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Fast Food Statistics – Choices Matter

Fast food statistics let us know that fast food can be an unhealthy option. A quickie burger is a popular choice among people who don’t want to cook, or who are under time pressures and don’t have time to cook. But instead of buying takeout why not make your own fast meals at home?

What’s in a Fast Meal?

Here is a quick statistic on a fast food meal. A cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake have around 1,000 calories. About 17% percent of those calories are from protein, which is not too bad. But around 39% of those calories are from saturated fat and that’s not good. And around 44% are from refined carbohydrates, which is constipating and fattening.

Too much saturated fat in the diet causes high levels of cholesterol in the blood and risk of heart disease. Children may quickly burn up calories from fat in a typical fast food meal, but for most adults those calories quickly turn to body fat and cellulite.

Nutrition of Fast Food

A regular portion of fries has about 210 calories and 10 grams of fat. A 4-ounce hamburger, without the cheese has around 420 calories and 20 grams of fat, plus a whopping 690 grams of sodium! Yikes that is a lot of sodium for a small hamburger. A medium soft drink boasts about 210 calories and 50 of those calories are from sugar.

Eating fast food is a convenient way to grab a bite, but fast food in undeniably unhealthy in many ways. Fast food does not have any fiber whatsoever, which leads to constipation that can later develop into colon cancer. The saturated fat content of fast food is not healthy for the heart. It’s never a good idea to eat fast food more than a couple of times a month, and for some people, never.

Making Your Own Fast Meal

If you enjoy eating hamburgers once in awhile, the alternative is to make your own. Mix ½ pound ground meat with ½ pound ground turkey. Add seasonings of your choice. Form into patties and broil in the oven. Take two whole potatoes and wash and scrub thoroughly. Cut potatoes into French fry wedges. Toss some olive oil, sea salt and paprika on the potatoes and bake for 45 minutes at 400-degrees.

Time Saving Tips

The rush, rush mentality of society has made many people flock to the nearest fast food joint for meals. But there are healthy eating alternatives. Here are a few tips:

If you live close to your work, simply go home for lunch. If you don’t have the luxury of working close to home, bring lunch to work with you.

If you have to eat out, choose a salad bar, soup, or light sandwich. Bring your own salad dressing with you instead of using those fattening creamy dressings.

Have a well-stocked pantry at home full of healthful foods such as beans, brown rice, pasta and other whole grains. When you cook, make more than you will need and freeze the rest in individual servings for work or when you don’t feel like cooking.

Be prepared. Make lists of what you are going to eat throughout the week. On the night before going to work do most of the prep work, so when you come home from work all you have to do is cook the food.

Cook in your crock-pot. The crock-pot does the cooking for you.

What to Pack for Travelling

This is what I consider to be essential items for any traveler/backpacker. These are items which I have used in my past travels, and have served me well.

Backpack

The first most obvious thing for any traveler to decide on is whether to use a backpack or a suitcase. During my first solo travel experience to Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan, I traveled with a backpack. For under 50 I bought a Eurohike 55 litre backpack with a rain cover, which came in handy during the monsoon season! The pack was top-opening, and didn’t really offer much by way of security. I therefore bought a special backpack transit case which I put my backpack into and made it secure from theft, but also made it secure from airport conveyor belts. I had heard that the conveyors in airports sometimes broke clips from backpacks if they were not properly secured, and that some airlines didn’t even want to have backpacks on their airplanes because they were a safety threat. I actually lost the backpack case during the course of my travels, and had to resort to wrapping my backpack in black bin bags and tape in order to prevent the clips from catching airport conveyors. The backpack was comfortable, with some very nice cushioned padding. However, I realized as my trip went on that the pack was a little too large. I had read on many different websites that the smaller and lighter your pack, the more comfortable your trip will be. This is so true. It is not just about how light the pack is for you to carry, but also practical reasons like traveling on packed trains and subways with a giant wardrobe on your back. The backpack was incredibly annoying whilst traveling on busy subways, as I didn’t know if, and how badly, I was bumping into people – but I am sure that I definitely was! However, it was great to have my hands free when I needed to pay for tickets and also carry bags and water bottles.

Suitcase

On my second trip to Japan, I decided to ditch the backpack and travel with a medium sized suitcase. I was traveling for 3 weeks, and had planned to move around the country quite a bit. I was worried about the condition of the suitcase’s wheels by the end of the trip, but altogether I preferred the comfort of a nice suitcase. The suitcase takes up the use of your arms, but it does relieve your back. I found time and again that my backpack was becoming too heavy and cumbersome for longer walks; a suitcase, meanwhile, makes walking a pleasure. Trying to find your hotel in the humid and busy conditions of Bangkok with your gigantic backpack is not a pleasant experience. Though, going up stairs is a pain with a suitcase, but with a backpack it is a breeze. This may be important to you as it is best to travel around a Japanese city (and many other Asian cities) via the subway system, and sometimes they have enormous staircases leading to the platforms. The final clincher is that a suitcase makes you look more businesslike and professional; a backpack makes you easily identifiable as a traveler or tourist, and makes you stand out far more. If I entered a nice hotel with my backpack, I wouldn’t be given the same service as if I travelled with a suitcase. I believe that backpackers have a bit of a bad name in some countries, as backpackers tend to be younger people who are more prone to loutish behavior due to letting of some steam after finishing university.

Daypack

You don’t want to take your suitcase or backpack with you on your daily walks or excursions, so you need a nice convenient daypack. I actually took a shoulder bag, as it looked more stylish than a small backpack. But be warned, a shoulder bag can give you some irritating neck and shoulder pains if you over pack it with large water bottles or souvenirs. In this instance, a nice mini backpack is better as it transfers the weight evenly on your back and shoulders.

Travel Insurance

I always take out travel insurance as you never know what could happen during your trip. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Medical help abroad could cost you thousands if you do not have the correct insurance, so always read the insurance policy properly. When I search for insurance I always turn to comparison sites, such as moneysupermarket. This way you can compare all the different companies offering insurance and their relative policies.

Skype

Skype is a free service which allows you to call anyone in the world (who also has a Skype account) for free. The service is completely free when using the Skype-to-Skype service, and the prices are competitive if you want to call mobile phones or landlines. You can use Skype on your iPod Touch, an actual Skype phone or on your laptop. If you are taking a laptop abroad, you can even use your webcam to make video calls, but if you are not taking a laptop, I found that many internet cafes in Asia had Skype already installed on their computers. Skype also allows you to send instant messages, play games and even transfer files. All in all, Skype is a great device which you should be make use of whilst traveling.

First Aid Box

I like to take a mini first aid box when I travel. The boxes come in some very nice convenient sizes with everything you could need for your trip. Items can include: plasters, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, and various tablets for common travel sicknesses.

Clothing

I will not speak at great lengths on clothing, as I believe this is a personal choice and dependent on different people’s needs. However, I will say that you should always pack light, and think about whether you will ACTUALLY need an item of clothing. Sometimes, I have fallen into the trap of packing far too much clothing ‘just in case’. Whilst traveling in Asia you can always pick up cheap clothing, so there is no need to over pack. The minimum I would take for a month traveling is: 3-4 t-shirts, 2 shirts, trousers, two shorts, swimming shorts, 2 pairs of socks, trainers/sneakers (I would buy some that look formal but are as comfortable as trainers).

Travel Washing Line

I take a small washing line on my trips in case there is not enough places to dry my clothes. If you are packing light, you can just wash your clothes more often, and you will sometimes need a washing line for extra space.

Travel Sink Plug

I used this occasionally when I stayed in hostels. In some budget accommodation you will not have a sink plug, which makes shaving difficult. The travel plug is therefore recommended if you are considering staying in budget accommodation. Also, even some higher grade hotels have faulty plugs in their bathrooms, so it is generally a good item to take.

Toiletries

As a dandy backpacker I have a vast array of toiletries. My toiletry bag consists of: shavers, moisturizers, sun cream, nail clippers, eyebrow tweezers, aftershaves (which I tend to buy from airport duty free), lip balm, deodorant and more!

Rain Mac

If you are traveling anywhere that has a monsoon season then a rain mac is a great idea. Monsoon rain is awesome, and can just take you by surprise and leave you drenched. A little rain mac can be scrunched up into a very small size and can easily be carried in your daypack.

Swiss Army Knife

I sometimes take this on my travels as it has various useful devices: a bottle opener, scissors, toothpick, tweezers, screwdriver heads and numerous knives of varying shape and sizes.

Travel Towels

I recommend taking a large travel towel. These can be folded into an incredibly small size and take very little space in your luggage. They also dry quicker than ordinary towels.

Camera

I really don’t know much about cameras but I definitely know that you will need one on your journey. It’s a way of recording experiences that are not possible in any other way. I just bought an 8 megapixel camera in Bangkok – it has served me well.

Batteries

You will need these for your camera, so make sure you take enough spares from your own country, which tend to be cheaper than whilst abroad.

Mobile Phone

A mobile phone is now a necessary gadget in all parts of life, and is very important during your travels. It is a great device to keep in touch with other travelers, but is also a safety device if you become lost or in danger. Remember to take you charger though, or it will become useless after a few days.

Backup Sim Card

Just in case you lose the first Sim card you can just take another Sim, which are usually free.

Backup Debit/Credit Card

I would take a backup card just in case I lost my main card. If I lost my main card I could just cancel it and then transfer the money from my main account into my backup account via internet banking.

Pens and Paper

You will occasionally need to write things down, such as directions or contacts, and a pen and paper would be very helpful. I would always travel with a mini pen and small notepad in my daypack so that it was easy to get to. You can always use your mobile phone or iPod Touch for this as well.

Travel Adaptors

Travel adapters are necessary if you want to charge your iPod or mobile phone. Once you know where you are going, you can find out what converter plug you will need. It will save you having to search around in your destination country. Some plugs are all-rounders and cover everywhere.

iPod Touch

My iPod Touch has been irreplaceable during my travels. Not only is it great for watching movies, listening to music and playing games whilst waiting for your flight or on long train journeys, it also has practical uses. By downloading free applications via its Wi-Fi capabilities you can turn your iPod Touch into a hotel or hostel finder, a currency exchange service, a travel guide and much more. I also bought a special, and inexpensive, earphone and microphone set for my Touch, which allowed me to use Skype wherever I had free Wi-Fi. Actually you can find free Wi-Fi everywhere in Southeast Asia: McDonald’s, Starbucks, shopping malls, hotels and even airports. However, I surprisingly found that Wi-Fi access is not so easily found in Korea or Japan, and tends not to be free if it is offered.

iPad

I don’t actually own one of these but they just seem to be a large iPod Touch. All the convenience of the iPod Touch being a nice pocket device which is easy to take everywhere is lost on this device. But maybe I am missing something about it.

Travel Guides

I love to read travel guides and always take them on my trips. My favorite guides have always been DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. I regularly use DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: Thailand, Japan and Rome to name a few. I found them incredibly helpful, but most importantly I loved the focus on culture and historical sites. The guides are wonderfully illustrated, easy to navigate, and the pictures and captions are beautifully presented. In addition, the historical sections are informative, well illustrated and a joy to read. I would also recommend Rough Guides and Lonely Planet, which I have also used in the past.

Money Belt

I originally bought one in order to hide my valuables, but then just used it to hold my bus/train tickets or small change so that it was easily at hand and I didn’t have to rummage though bags or my pockets. The money belt can be used as just a regular bum bag (fanny pack if you’re American) without valuable items and just left on display rather than inside your clothing. I just used it as an extra convenient pocket.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Airport Car Service Vs Transporting Yourself?

When you need to get to or from the airport, there are a number of travel options available. Discover the benefits offered by airport car services so that you can make an informed decision about your airport transportation the next time you fly.

Air travel can be an extremely stressful experience, especially when you consider the time and hassle it often takes to get to and from an airport on either end of a journey. Working with a private airport transportation service can help mitigate this stress so that you can get to or from your on-the-ground destination with minimal difficulty. Find out what benefits a private shuttle service to airport destinations can provide versus self-orchestrated travel, and consider if airport car services would be right for you the next time you fly.

In terms of self-directed car travel to or from an airport, driving yourself or having someone else drop you off are the two most common scenarios. While these do offer some cost benefits and a degree of travel flexibility, they also have their shortcomings. In both of these cases, you’re creating the opportunity for a lot of travel-related stress. When you drive yourself to the airport, you’re forcing yourself to focus on driving in a high-traffic area while also trying to adhere to an extremely time-sensitive schedule. That’s guaranteed to raise your blood pressure! Once you get to the airport, you’re also locking yourself into paying for parking for the whole time you’re gone. If you try to avoid the parking cost by having a friend or family member drive you, you still end up engaging someone else in the stress of traffic and the time crunch of an airport run. Many of us take these airport travel stressors as par for the course. However, they don’t have to be. There are other travel options available, such as private airport shuttle services or car services.

Very often the word “shuttle” may conjure up images of minibuses or vans crammed full of travelers. While those types of airport shuttles do exist, they won’t necessarily reduce your stress load during your travel experience! A door-to-door airport car service, however, will. In this context, the terms “shuttle” and “car service” are used interchangeably to reference a town car or other private vehicle that will get you to or from an airport. The drivers of these cars are fully trained, licensed, and insured, and provide fast, reliable, and, above all, comfortable airport travel. When you engage this type of airport shuttle service, all you need to do is give them the details of where you are, where you need to travel, and what your time frame is. The company will do all the rest, from calculating departure or arrival times to loading and unloading your bags for you. This type of assistance can be especially helpful if you’re in an unfamiliar area, or if you just have a lot on your plate and need to have one less detail to think about.

Fashion Stylist

Do you have a flair for style? Then think Fashion Styling. Styling is all about making people feel and look good, both inside and out. It is an art to combine things together to form a beautiful piece. People love you because you make them feel wonderful.

Stylist are generally of three categories – celebrity stylists, image stylists and image consultants. A fashion stylist’s career provides thrilling opportunities. Fashion shoots, fashion shows, music videos, movies, advertisements and TV shows are few areas where a stylist can work.

Fashion stylists require more than a good taste. He/she must also have an understanding of the different body types and create looks that brings out the best in them. The ability to combine usual pieces and use them in unusual ways is a must. It’s not it, a stylist must have the ability to work within the client’s budget, and yet bring out the best in him/her. In addition, he/she must be able to influence a client without overriding them.

Having a formal education in fashion and styling is an added advantage. To start with, you can even experiment with your family and friends to put your creative skills to practice. As a stylist, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest trends and the happenings in the world of fashion. Browse through the fashion magazines and watch fashion related programs regularly. Have a portfolio of your work . To make it more effective, make a column that indicates ‘before makeover’ and ‘after makeover,’ as this gives the client an idea of your style of creation. In addition, create a website that indicates your nature of work, the offers you provide, and include in as many as quality information possible.

The best part of the job is that you don’t need big investments. You can practice on your own and slowly build a full -fledged career. You get to be in touch with the world’s most stylish people. From working with celebrities, to styling a house wife, there are numerous areas in which fashion stylists can use their talent. The future is just bright !

You Have Been Declined for Health Insurance in California, Now What?

If you are reading this then you probably have been declined for health insurance in the recent past. When you get declined for health insurance it probably has something to do with your medical history. Since California is one of the underwritten states health care companies have the right to declined people for health insurance. Who health insurance company might decline and who it might not all depends on risk assessment using actuarial tables. Anytime when you fill out individual application for health coverage and answer yes on one of the medical questions your application might be manually reviews by one of the underwriters. It is a person who is responsible to reviewing application using actuarial tables. Actuarial tables are statistics done by the insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, researchers that predict the cost of insuring some one with a specific medical history.

Some states like New York, New Jersey and Washington require insurance companies to insure everyone. Those three states do not have medical underwriting and everyone is automatically approved for health coverage. In order to insure everyone with medical history insurance companies increase rates to the point where it becomes not affordable to most people. What keeps the average monthly premiums low is low utilization of health care. If there are more people with high medical insurance utilization with a specific health insurance company they have to raise the rates for everyone in order to keep up with paying medical claims. That also drives people who do not use health insurance that often to drop health insurance all together and yet driving rates even higher. This leaves no choice for insurance carriers but to drive rates even higher. New York, New Jersey and Washington have highest premiums for medical coverage and a lot of families find health care out of reach.

In California if you have been declined for health coverage you have options. If you out of job or currently on low income you can qualify for Medical and if you have kids they can qualify for a program called Healthy Families. Most states including California have high risk pools that are designed for people who have been declined for individual health insurance. In California this program is called MRMIP. Just the quick search on the Internet will guide to a government website. MRMIP is a program that is managed by the state and your big name medical insurance providers participate in it. Chances are you will be able to keep the same health insurance company if you are already use to them. MRMIP program has limits and it might have a waiting period.

One of the best options might be when it comes to getting the most coverage for your money is through a group plan. In the state of California all group plans by law are required to be a guaranteed issue. That means that there is no medical underwriting. This options requires more work from you. Insurance companies are not just going to let you set up a group plan if you have been declined for individual health insurance. Since insurance companies are required to insurance everyone who is part of the group state requires insurance companies to have rules when it comes to setting up a group plan. Some of the basic requirements change from the insurance company to the insurance company.

The best way to find out is talk to insurance broker. The basics that insurance companies are going to be looking for are that you have to have a reason for starting a group plan other then getting medical insurance. It is illegal to start a group plan just to get health insurance. That means that you have to have a business and that could be anything. To have a group plan you obviously have to have more then just yourself It takes at least two people to start a group plan. All the people that are going to be on the group plan are either have to be the owners of the business or have to be on the payroll. Some insurance companies require either a DE-6 form or six weeks of payroll records. If every one if the owner then you will be required to provide proof of the ownership listing everyone that is going to be on a group plan as the owner. This might not be simple but is is certainly doable and it is definitely worth it if you do not have any coverage and cannot get it on your own.

It is always easier to just blame the insurance company that they have declined you for health coverage. If you have been declined and are looking for health insurance you just have to be more proactive in getting your coverage. Once you work with a broker on getting on the requirements on setting up a group plan then it is forever yours and no one can take that coverage away from you unless you stop paying for it.

Developing Your Own Fashion Style

Your style is important. Ask yourself every time you buy anything, every time you make anything, or have anything made: Is it in accord with my style? Does it meet the requirements of correct dress for me?

If you live in a little city or a village and suddenly found yourself on Fifth Avenue in New York City, would you feel conspicuous in your clothes? If friends from the fashion centers of America were coming to visit you, would you feel out of place in your costume? You should not. You have the same opportunity to be correctly dressed as any other woman if you will study and persevere toward perfection in dress.

We must realize that we have a style of our own and that we are of a particular type. This is recognized by every fashion authority in the country, and by every fashion publication, for if all women were to adhere to one fashion, one fashion only would be shown in the fashion books instead of twenty, thirty, or fifty different designs.

Look through any fashion book today and you will find round-and-round and up-and-down lines in the same issue–all with the idea of helping women to clothe themselves correctly and of giving suggestions that will help them individually to find appropriate styles.

Establishing a style for yourself and then perfecting it–be it in hats, gloves, shoes, dresses, or suits–will prove economical, and it will not be long before a degree of perfection will be acquired.

A prominent New York business woman, who is one of the most distinctively dressed women that I know, wears the smartest suits and hats and always severely tailor-made gowns. And her neckwear, usually a jabot or a stock, is so smart that you would never for a minute question whether it is authoritatively fashionable. She always wears high shoes on the street, and usually they have light-colored tops, because she is tall and the light tops of the shoes help to break the appearance of height.

One day, this young woman came to visit me. I could not refrain from remarking about the completeness of her costume. I said, “If I saw your shadow, I should know that it was you by the harmony that your silhouette expresses and the very way you carry yourself.”

She said, “Do you know that remarks like yours are what caused me to persevere in acquiring my style of dressing? I used to think I wanted loose, floppy clothes in which I could relax and be just as free and comfortable as if I were in negligee. Once, when in a ferry boat crossing New York harbor, I saw sitting opposite me a line of crumpled-up women apparently enjoying their slovenly posture. Not one of them expressed dignity or pride in her personal appearance. Not one of the women on that boat, I thought, was unusual or had any desire to know better. I then took a little self-inventory. I was ashamed of myself, because I realized I was not very much better dressed than the other women on the boat. I sat up straight and determined right then and there that I would acquire a style becoming and practical for me and would express that style in the most attractive and agreeable way that I could. And that resolution has helped me more than I can say.”

She was frank enough to tell me that she attributed a great part of her success to having wakened up, to having made herself trim and having kept herself so. She always plans to have one good suit or one good dress–just as good as she possibly can afford; she procures a garment that she has to respect, and that will make her “dress up to fit.”

She said, “If I put on a shabby dress, I will allow my shoes to be shabby and will be careless about my personal grooming; but when I have a dress that I have to be particular about, I always have my hair, my shoes, my gloves, my corset–everything–Just right for it, and I always look very much better.”

Living up to your clothes, creating a style, and being equal to an intelligent expression of it are worth many dollars to a woman who wants to be a success in business, in the home, or in social life.