Resource Library - "Just For Fun" Articles

Tipping Guidelines
Most people want to tip appropriately, but end up tipping either insufficiently or too generously. Here are some basic guidelines to ensure that you’re tipping appropriately in almost any situation. Keep in mind that these are suggestions and you should adjust your tip based on level of service. Furthermore, they are geared toward experiences in the United States. You may want to consult a travel guide to familiarize yourself with tipping practices in other countries.

Dining Out
Server at a full service restaurant: 15 to 20 percent of your total bill. If you’ve used a discount or received any free items, you should tip on the amount that your bill would have come to if you’d paid full price.
Server at a partial service restaurant: 10 percent of your total bill. Use discretion based on how much the server is expected to do for you.

At the Bar
Bartender: 10 to 15 percent of your total drink bill. If the bar is crowded, tip generously after each round. If the bartender sends any complimentary drinks your way, you should tip about half the value of that round.

Vehicle Tipping
Valet: $1 to $2 per car, based on when the car is returned to you
Limo driver: 15 to 20 percent of the total bill

At the Airport
Skycaps: $1 to $2 per bag
Long-term parking shuttle driver: $1 to $2 per bag, if the driver assists you with your bags
Special assistance: If you are traveling with crutches or a wheelchair, or if you need other special assistance from airport staff, you should tip a few dollars to any employee that gives you a hand.

Salon/Spa
Stylist: 15 to 20 percent of total bill
Assistant: $5
Nail technician: 15 to 20 percent of total bill
Massage therapist: 10 to 20 percent per massage
Aesthetician: 10 to 20 percent per service

Casino
Drink server: $1 to $2 per drink.
Blackjack dealer: $5 chip per gambling session (higher at high limit tables).
Poker dealer: $5 chip per dealer rotation (usually every half hour). If you win a big pot, tip a bit extra.


Wild Animal Facts
· The vulture’s excellent eyesight helps the bird spot carcasses of small animals up to four miles away.
· Worker bees from a single hive will travel about 55,000 miles and hit two million flowers to produce one pound of honey.
· The camel’s blood cells are oval shaped. This helps them flow through the body more easily when the camel is dehydrated.
· Male orcas on average weigh between 8,000 to 22,000 pounds. The largest killer whale on record weighed 22,000 pounds.
· The eye of a flamingo is larger than its brain.
· Cheetahs are able to reach 45 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds, maxing out at 64 miles per hour.
· Koalas are the only animals that can digest eucalyptus leaves. Bacteria in their intestines neutralize the many toxins.
· Owls have night vision 100 times better than humans.
· The armadillo has as many as 104 teeth, more than any other land mammal.
· The eyeballs of the giraffe protrude to such an extent that he can see in all directions without turning his head.
· The roar of a tiger can be heard for a distance of up to two miles.
· Polar bears will often spend days on an ice floe floating out to sea, then plop into the frigid water and swim 100 miles back to shore.
· Ninety-eight percent of the 500,000,000 species that have existed on earth since the beginning of time are extinct!


Extend The Life Of Cut Flowers
You can enjoy flowers longer by giving them a little TLC. As soon as you get cut flowers, make an angled cut about ? inch from the end of each stem. Always cut them under water. This keeps the air from getting into the stem, which slows water intake. You should also remove any leaves that will be below the water line because they will decompose, adding bacteria to the water.

Next, arrange your bouquet in a vase that has a solution of equal parts lemon-lime soda and warm water. This will provide nutrients and encourage them to drink up. Add a couple drops of bleach so the water will stay fresh and clear. When you display the arrangement, avoid putting it in full sun or drafts. Roses don’t like smoke, so keep them away from smoke-filled rooms.


Be A Good Listener
In our time-starved society, attentiveness and listening skills can fall to the wayside. In order to make those with whom you communicate feel important, brush up on your listening skills. Make sure to give the speaker—your boss, friend, colleague, child—your undivided attention. Regardless of how great you are at multi-tasking, treating an individual as a "task" is not a good idea. Eye contact, nodding in agreement, asking leading questions and using your face to provide feedback all contribute to a positive communication experience that will foster the growth of the relationship.


Scents And Sensibility

The average person can recognize up to 10,000 different smells. It’s true! Your nose knows much more than you might think. While most of us experience the world through seeing and hearing, smelling is one of the most powerful and overlooked senses. Mothers can recognize their babies by smell, and vice versa. Everyone at some point has sniffed something in the air that stirs powerful memories and emotions.

Just as you might hang a picture or play your favorite music to create a home that’s more inviting to your eyes and ears, there are some simple ways to make your home more scentually appealing. Items to use around your home include candles, potpourri, home fragrance sprays, essential oils, herbal teas, incense and spices.
According to Aromaweb.com, a site dedicated to aromatherapy, certain scents and essential oils can help with particular emotions and states of mind.

Fatigue: jasmine, peppermint or ginger
Happiness: lemon, geranium or orange
Stress: lavender, mandarin or grapefruit
Confidence: rosemary, grapefruit or bay laurel
Memory: basil, cypress or peppermint

Follow your nose and see which scents make you feel the best!


Improving Your FICO® Score
Your FICO® score, or credit score, is the numeric representation of your financial responsibility, based on your credit history. Using a scale of 300 to 850, there are three FICO scores—one from each of the major credit bureaus. These three FICO scores are the measure that most lenders will look at when evaluating your credit or loan applications. The higher the score, the better. FICO scores that are higher than 725 are considered good. Raising your credit score takes time and patience, so follow these tips from myFICO® to help you get on the right track.

Payment History Tips
· Pay your bills on time. Delinquent payments and collections have a major negative impact on your FICO score.
· If you have missed payments, get current and stay current. The longer you pay your bills on time, the better your credit score.
· Paying off a collection account will not remove it from your credit report.
· It will stay on your report for seven years.
· If you are having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors or see a legitimate credit counselor. This won't improve your credit score immediately, but if you can manage your credit and pay on time, your score will get better over time.

Amounts Owed Tips
· Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit.
· Pay off debt rather than moving it around. The most effective way to improve your credit score in this area is by paying down your revolving credit. Owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may lower your score.
· Don't close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your score.
· Don't open new credit cards that you don't need just to increase your available credit. This could backfire and lower your credit score.

New Credit Tips
· Do your rate shopping for a given loan within a focused period of time.
· FICO scores distinguish between a search for a single loan and a search for many new credit lines, in part by the length of time over which inquiries occur.
· Re-establish your credit history if you have had problems. Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time will raise your credit score in the long term.
· Note that it's OK to request and check your own credit report. This won't affect your score, as long as you order your credit report directly from the credit reporting agency or through an organization authorized to provide credit reports to consumers.

Types of Credit Use Tips
· Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Don't open accounts just to have a better credit mix—it probably won't raise your credit score.
· Have credit cards, but manage them responsibly. In general, having credit cards and installment loans—and paying timely payments—will raise your credit score. Someone with no credit cards, for example, tends to be higher risk than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly.
· Note that closing an account doesn't make it go away. A closed account will still show up on your credit report, and may be considered by the score.

For more information, check out www.myfico.com. myFico is the consumer division of Fair Isaac, the company that invented the FICO credit risk score.