22Jul
0

You’ve probably heard “kids” as young as college freshmen complain about “getting old” but the reality is that it’s not all gloom and doom like in the old days. In fact, with advances in technology, people are living longer (and healthier) than ever. Plus, even when the aches and pains of true old age do inevitably show up, there are a number of gadgets to make them a minor inconvenience at worst. The simple truth is that getting old isn’t all that bad, no matter how old you are.

Consider all the options for mobility whether you prefer a rollator built for the great outdoors or a cool walking stick handcrafted from Amish country. Wheelchairs, walkers of all types and other mobility aids make getting around a breeze. Add segues into the mix and you have a smorgasbord of options that make “mall walking” a lot more enjoyable than it used to be.

Multiple careers

Gone are the days when you were stuck with one career until you retired at the golden age of 65 with gold watch in hand. These days, people are choosing a variety of career choices and it’s fairly common to start a new career mid-life, go back to school or finally start that business. The idea of retirement has shifted with more people choosing to keep working in some capacity out of desire, not necessarily necessity.

Pursuing an advanced degree or a “degree for fun” in your golden years is also becoming more common. Who doesn’t want to be the eccentric “old guy” or gal in class teaching the young ones a thing or two? Maybe you missed out on your passion degree when you were 18, so why not go back for a do-over now? You’re older, wiser, and hopefully have better study habits than you did the first time around.

Going abroad

As a more nomadic generation than previous ones, there are also more people embracing the ex-pat lifestyle in retirement. Another option is service-oriented projects such as Peace Corps in middle age and beyond. Unfortunately, most young people don’t have the financial resources to travel abroad extensively, but that changes after working for a few years (or decades). Your later years might be the perfect time for international travel.

There are no rules that say you have to be dull and boring in retirement. Make the most of it with the resources and technology to help.

21Jul
0

Most of 2014 has been kind to Houston real estate: Prices for residential homes in Houston hit an all-time high in April. This is partially due to the fact that there are fewer numbers of homes available, and bidding wars are constantly being played out.

The average price for a single-family home as of April stood at $270,505. The median price point has seen an increase by around 5.4 percent from last year to stand at $195,00. Single-family home sales are also on the rise. The current home supply stands at around 2.6 months, which is the lowest it has been since April of 2013.

Because of the dip in housing inventory, Houston is now facing the beginnings of a sales slowdown. That being said, the sales activity for premium homes, in the category of $500,00 and more, is on the rise. This has driven average sales prices to an all-time high.

If you are planning to invest in Houston’s real estate, here are four good reasons to do so:

1. Increase in apartment development: With a constant demand for residential homes, several builders are going on a binge-building spree. Multifamily apartment projects are going up across the city. Besides development downtown, there are several projects coming up in the suburbs as well. Because of the current high prices of homes, there is a lot of demand for rental properties, especially among young professionals.

2. Boost in retail development: Retail has long since taken a back seat in Houston. Now with realty development on the rise, retail seems to be taking off in a big way. With several new rooftops being added to the real estate scenario, retail development is at an all-time high. Commercial rentals are seeing an increase this year. The fear that online sales will relegate the retail store to the background has long since proven false.

3. Increase in hotel construction: With citywide hotel occupancy rising on a monthly basis, there has been a spate of hotel projects taking off. More hotels encourage more visitors. More hotels also mean more convention spaces, encouraging commerce in the city. Large names like JW Marriott and Hyatt Regency will soon open their doors in the city. This will enhance the economy of the region and put prices in a good place.

4. Ideal single-family market: This year will see a 10 percent increase in residential construction in the city. New players are poised to enter Houston, and residential land is seeing a massive demand. A little-known fact about Houston real estate is that it has the best home building market in the country; it has more single-family building permits than any other city in the nation. This trend is sure to continue in the next two years.

Real estate in Houston has gone through several ups and downs over the past few years. It is finally reaching a stage where it seems to have stabilized, and a sense of balance is being achieved between demand and supply. Now is perhaps the best time to invest in real estate here.

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0

One of the worst things about being an adult is paying those pesky bills and even with all the technology to keep you on track, it’s still easy to goof up sometimes. Well before the water shuts off or you come home to a totally dark house, there are red flags ignored that are telling you something’s amiss. If you don’t trust your gut, you might find yourself needlessly paying extra fees. Can you learn from the mistakes of others, or do you need to learn the hard way?

Today’s bill pay technology is designed to make life easy for even the most forgetful of folks. However, sometimes stubbornness still wins out. Here are a few signs that you didn’t pay your bill, but you may still be able to make that grace period before your service gets shut off. Can you beat the clock?

1. You’re inexplicably flush with cash

If you have a steady paycheck and you seem a little richer than other times of the year, watch out. This is a huge red flag that maybe you’re not as wealthy as you think. Forgetting about that $100 cell phone bill or other big ticket item can make you feel like royalty (at least until the “free ride” runs out).

2. You just feel like you’ve forgotten something

Call it your gut or just instinct, but your subconscious is doing all it can to keep you on the right track. It might not be strong enough to persuade you to actually put a reminder on your calendar, Post-It note or however else you try to remember things, but that nagging feeling is there for a reason. Believe it.

3. You’re on vacation

It’s easy to forget to pay your water bill when you’re not home for long stretches, especially if you still have hard copy bills instead of e-bills. To really make the most of your vacation, pay monthly bills in advance so you don’t have a pile of them waiting for you when you get home. Many people over-spend on vacation, so this is setting you up for an easy return.

Of course, the best way to pay your bills is to enroll in auto pay using an account that’s only for bills and nothing else. This can help keep you in the black year-round, avoid fees and inconveniences, and helps streamline your budgeting.

12Jul
0

Each summer brings that time that parents dread: back to school shopping. If your child’s school has a uniform requirement, then you have less reason to worry about whether or not your child’s clothing will get him or her in trouble at school or attract unwanted attention from peers. Today’s kids often try to emulate rock stars and other famous idols, but they will need your guidance to make the right clothing choices.

School Dress Codes

Schools without uniforms still have a dress code, explains this article on The Huffington Post. Sagging pants, crop tops, vulgar or racist slogans, short skirts or shorts, see-through or mesh shirts and exposed bra straps are just some of the clothing types that are banned in many school environments. While some parents and students feel that clothing is related to their freedom of expression and rights as an individual, teachers, administrators and others feel that these types of clothing detract from the desired professional and educational environment and can instigate problems like sexism and bullying on school grounds.

What Kids Want

In today’s evolving fashion environment, something that was once considered acceptable could be banned during the first weeks of the school year. Parents and students must work together to create a fashion that suits the individual while still following the rules. If your kids want blue hair or strappy tops, checking the dress code first can save you from a lot of headaches. In some cases, these are best left to summers, school breaks and weekends. Even so, many people feel that school dress codes go too far, explains this article on CBS news. From banning leggings or requiring they only be worn with long tops to prohibiting the wearing of flags on clothing, most schools argue that dress codes are enacted with student safety in mind. Parents and students who disagree often speak up at school board meetings where such issues are decided.

What’s In Vs. What’s Allowed

Even as schools enact dress codes, this article on NBC News suggests that policies are inconsistent, such as cheerleaders still sporting short skirts and sleeveless tops. Parents and students must work together to weigh what’s in versus what’s allowed at school lest they run the risk of suspension, expulsion or jail time. Some parents may not even realize that what their child wants to wear is may actually be suggestive of gang involvement or other illegal activities. By coming together as a school community, agreement can usually be reached in a way that allows students to express themselves without causing a disruption in the educational environment.

Helping Your Children Select Clothing that Suits Them

If your child can’t find the right clothes, consider creating them yourself. At Live Ur Story, students can create apparel that fits their personalities and meshes with school dress codes. Parents can help with design, colors and sizing.

02Jul
0

Young boy rakes cocoa beans on a drying rack.

“Sweat shops” and child labor might seem like something that only happens in “other places,” and while that’s true it’s also prevalent in the dark underbelly of America. While most people know this issue exists, it’s easy to put it on the backburner because (of course) the victims aren’t in the media spotlight. It’s an underground operation for the most part, and out of sight out of mind comes into play.

However, there are many things you can do to stop child labor no matter where you are. It all starts with education and knowing just how big the problem is. Sharing statistics with others, offering solutions on ways to donate time or money, and simply spreading the word on social media sites can make a huge difference. Here are a few facts on child labor that might shock you.

1. Children ages 5-17 biggest targets

Around the world, there are 218 million children who are involved in child labor in some way. This might mean working 20 hours per day with little or no pay. The severity of the situation depends on each unique situation as well as the country. For example, in the US there are minor employed in “under the table gigs” in order to help support the family.

2. There are still slaves

While not all children, there are still 27 million slaves globally. There are more slaves right now than in any other time in history, and the situation is getting worse. Children are especially desirable for slavery because they’re healthy, will grow strong, and are easier to manipulate. In some places, they can also be easily bought.

3. Kids work

Overall, one of every six children around the world works in some capacity. They might not be “on the books,” but might help their mother with sewing for manufacturers or work in the fields. The lack of documentation means these numbers are probably conservative.

4. Agriculture is the biggest crop

According to the International Labor Organization, over 75 percent of child laborers work in agriculture. This is especially prevalent in rural areas where the average age to start working is between five and seven.

5. Forced labor facts

When it comes to forced labor, kids under the age of 18 make up between 40 and 50 percent of victims. Many times this is in dangerous conditions where sexual and physical violence also happens.

In order to tackle this problem, it’s going to take an army and you can be a part of it. Educate yourself, research, and sharing are the pillars to make it happen.

01Jul
0

Can’t decide between the fame of being a celebrity and the respect of being a doctor? Some A-listers get the best of both worlds by having their doctorate degree but also a recognizable mug. Some of these celebs got their MD and practiced before getting famous, while others took advantage of their fame in order to fund their education. No matter how it was broached, it’s a great feat.

Here are a few of the smartest, most ambitious and driven celebrities who also go by “doctor.”

1. Graham Chapman

This British actor, comedian and writer is famous for his role in the Monty Python comedy troupe. He’s written regularly for programs on the BBC, but he led a completely different life before the entertainment industry called. He was a student of medicine at Emmanuel College (Cambridge) and then moved on to St. Bartholomew’s Medical College. Clearly his bedside manner served him well as he’s proven very successful across the pond.

2. George Miller

This Aussie director is famous for his role in Mad Max, and he took home the Academy Award for Happy Feet. Miller has also received two additional Academy Award nominations for Babe, but all these accolades came years after his first career in medicine. A student at the University of New South Wales, he won a student competition during his senior year with a one-minute video clip. He finished his residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and worked as a doctor for years, but that senior kismet moment had to be fulfilled.

3. Jonathan Miller

This English director of opera and theater also dabbled in acting, particularly as a television presenter. However, his first calling was medicine, and he began at St. Paul’s School in London focusing on biological sciences. Later, at the University of London, he began to get into theater (balancing both passions) and only worked in medicine for two years before making the final switch.

4. Ken Jeong

The super celebrity of Hangover and Community fame was actually a physician for several years. He attended Duke and UNC Chapel Hill with a residency at Ochsner Medical Center. Still licensed to practice in California, it’s lucky for fans that Jeong’s true passion is acting.

If you’re considering medical recruitment to get into the career of your dreams, don’t forget to make time for your other passions. After all, if there’s already a club for Dr. Celebrities, you might have what it takes to be the next member.

30Jun
0

humanresources

Did your dreams of being a million blogger, reality star or the next great American novelist not pan out? Human resources might sound a bit drab, but the reality is that it’s a lucrative career option that’s recession proof, and it’s where all the drama is. Managing resources (or in this case, people) is the perfect fit for those who are social and have a knack for conflict resolution. Of course, it’s also where all the juicy office gossip happens.

Plus, with today’s state of the art HR payroll system options at your fingertips, it lets you tap into your tech geek side, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average HR manager earns an average of $99,720 per year. Of course, that’s taking into account managers in rural areas where the cost of living and salary is quite low. Here are a few more reasons you might want to look into this secure and lucrative career.

1. There’s plenty of variety

Yes, some tasks might get redundant, but if you blossom at the idea of hiring (and firing) people, it means there’s always something new. Maybe it’s the thrill of finding that perfect candidate, or the relief when you’re the one getting that dead weight out of the accounting department. Plus, reading all those resumes can be great entertainment.

2. It’s home central if you’re a people person

Even with today’s open office plans, many people can spend their entire day interacting with nothing but a screen. That won’t be the case for HR managers who are constantly on the go and working with different people. If you need that interaction, HR is where you’ll find it.

3. Recessions won’t hurt your jobs

Here’s the thing about HR departments: They’re charged with firing people and laying them off, which means that (whenever possible) they won’t sacrifice their own. Even during a recession when you’re laying people off, you get the heads up on what’s coming and can rest a little easier knowing your position is relatively safe.

4. It allows for endless networking and socializing

HR departments have possibly more conferences, events and conventions than any other department. Not only is this a place for you to network and make connections, it also allows for plenty of travel and continuing education, largely on the company’s dime.

If you’re on the fence about your future career but have a penchant for all things social, take a closer look at HR.

29Jun
0

webdesign

Are you trying to promote your brand? Have you just launched your business? Consider hiring a Web design agency! This is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to establish your brand and attract new clients. Professional Web designers can create a site that reflects your values and offer you a chance to make a meaningful impact. Many agencies, including DigiTech, also specialize in SEO, social media marketing, and mobile app development. These services can help you grow your business and reach your target market.

Do You Really Need Web Design Services?

Web design services are no longer optional. If you want to build a solid online presence, you need a professional-looking website. This isn’t something you can do yourself unless you’re a Web designer or a programmer. Statistics show that over 62 percent of companies that created a website specifically for mobile had more sales. Approximately 86 percent of U.S. small business owners cite websites as their most important online marketing strategy. More than 69 percent of American marketers say that dynamic content is essential to their website.

Recent studies indicate that over 48 percent of users cited a website’s design as the primary factor in deciding the credibility of a business. About 94 percent of them said that Web design was the reason why they rejected or mistrusted a website. Researchers have also found that 67 percent of customers are more likely to buy from a site that is compatible with mobile devices.

These numbers show that Web design services are crucial for the success of your business. Whether you work in real estate, public relations, Internet marketing, or sales, you can benefit from hiring a professional Web designer. Not only will they set up a website for your business, but they will also help you deliver the best online experience to your prospects. At the end of the day, you’ll have a site or blog that loads quickly, offers quality content, and reflects your brand’s identity. The content will be optimized for search engines and will provide value to your audience.

What Can a Web Design Company Do for Your Business?

Hiring a Web design agency is one of the best things you can do for your business. The best Web designers can enhance your brand’s image on the market and help you build customer loyalty. They will create a website or blog that works as a powerful marketing tool and generates sales. This will help you reach out to customers in the shortest possible time and build a strong online presence that gives consistency to your brand’s image.

Professional Web designers have several years of expertise under their belt and know what your customers want. They can create custom layouts and page styles within the same website. You can ask them to make your site available in multiple languages, install plugins and widgets, create a logo for your business, and even promote your site online. However, not all companies provide these services. Depending on your business goals, consider hiring a Web design agency that specializes in SEO and Internet marketing too.

21Jun
0

The elusive Ebola virus has made itself known again, this time in areas of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. With no cure and no vaccine for the disease, medical professionals are putting their own lives at risk when they care for their ill patients. While Ebola is the stuff of horror films and nightmares, medical professionals do their best to ensure that as many lives as possible are saved, while at the same time working to halt the spread of this often fatal infection.

What Is Ebola?

Ebola is a virus named after a river in Central Africa. The virus causes a severe and often deadly infection in chimpanzees, gorillas and humans. Two days to three weeks after infection, those who are infected develop symptoms such as a fever and headache. Symptoms gradually worsen as the virus interferes with the clotting of blood. Profuse vomiting and diarrhea and bleeding from orifices can result in death in up to 90 percent of those infected. According to an article on CBC News, there are five strains of this deadly virus. The strains are Bundibugyo, Ivory Coast, Reston, Sudan and Zaire. The Reston strain is not known to cause human illness, but it is deadly to primates. The other four strains can all cause human death.

How Do Doctors and Medical Professionals Fight Ebola Virus Disease?

Medical personnel are not sure what the natural host of Ebola is, which makes development of treatments or vaccinations difficult. According to this article on CNN, most Ebola patients die within 10 days of developing symptoms. Doctors and other medical staff primarily treat patients with rehydration therapy to replace lost fluids from the vomiting and diarrhea. They may also provide medications to help restore proper blood clotting.

The Guinea Outbreak

What’s unique about the current Guinea outbreak is that the patients are spread out around a wide area. In past outbreaks of Ebola, the patients were mostly located in one place or a few close villages. However, this outbreak includes Guinea’s capital city where more than 2 million people live. Since the outbreak began in March, over 560 cases of Ebola were reported to health authorities, and, of those, 350 patients have died from the infection, according to the Center for Disease Control. Early treatment has lead to a death rate of just 60 percent in this outbreak, compared to the typical 90 percent rate.

How Medical Professionals Protect Themselves

Because Ebola is transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids, medical professionals must take extreme caution in caring for their patients. Before touching patients, physicians and other staff remove their regular clothes and change into their protective gear, which includes a layers of impermeable gear. They must wear protective scrubs, gloves, face masks and goggles to avoid coming into contact with bodily fluids. The profuse diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding of patients only adds to the challenge. They are then able to enter the isolation wards where patients are housed. Supplies and linens are incinerated after use.

08Jun
0

internet

The digital era has led to the evolution of a unique online culture. Companies have gradually realized that they can key into certain demographics by using Internet jargon, memes, and jokes to connect with potential audiences.

This type of marketing is most evident in the gaming and tech industries, since they draw audiences that are likely to be immersed in digital culture. But other industries are jumping onto this bandwagon as well.

Below are four aspects of Internet culture you might want to take into account before you launch your next online marketing campaign.

1. The power of memes

Image-based platforms such as Pinterest and Tumblr have opened up new avenues for companies to connect with consumers through the use of memes. These are the viral images and gifs that you see all over social media.

The use of these infectious visuals has become so popular in digital marketing that there’s even a name for it: memejacking. Tropes such as Success Kid and the Y U No meme are instantly recognizable among certain demographics, and have been re-appropriated to send marketing messages.

Netspeak

This is the abbreviated Internet jargon that English teachers loathe. However, online jargon has been embraced by multiple generations over the course of online and text-based communications.

While marketers run the risk of alienating some audiences with online shorthand, they will still be able to communicate directly with audiences who are “in the know.” Online and SMS-based speech patterns have even evolved into their own identifiable cultures, such as jejemon in the Philippines.

Multimedia

Memes and online tropes are even easier to spread through online marketing accounts, due to the adoption of image video ads by companies such as Instagram and Facebook. Now companies can connect with their audience through viral videos instead of only text or image-based memes.

Twitter trends

Most digital marketers will tell you to keep a close eye on Twitter trends. This will give you both a micro and macro picture of what’s hot internationally and domestically.

By consulting Twitter’s location-based searches, you can find phrases and hashtags that are culturally relevant at the town, state, and national levels.

Online culture is rife with promotional opportunities for companies. An Internet-savvy digital marketing firm understands the demographics that drive these cultures and how viral memes can boost a company’s success.

Start shuffling through your folders of goofy cat images and puns, because you might find the inspiration for your next marketing campaign!

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