09May
0

Even though e-degrees, much like online dating, are losing the stigma, that still doesn’t mean students are making the most of this option. While it’s certainly not any easier than a traditional education, it does allow for more flexibility. Take advantage of it. This is the time when you can travel, study from anywhere in the world, start a family or move with your partner so that he or she can advance their career.

You have a great tool at your disposal, and all you need is a good Wi-Fi connection to earn a degree (and, of course, the drive, skills and intelligence to earn a degree in the first place). Even minute you spare avoiding a commute to campus and the luxury to attend class on your own time is golden. Here’s how to optimize an online degree program so that you complete it without missing out on anything.

Timing is everything

You need to be a master of time management to even consider an online degree, but don’t let that skill get rusty. If you’re a morning person, prioritize your schooling so you can drop the kids off at school, attend that yoga retreat that starts at 8am each day (there’s no rule against going to school while in the tropics and getting your yoga training at the same time), or get in that morning run after attending class. This is your time.

Always keep the end goal in mind, and unless you have commitments to family, earn your degree in the same amount of time (or less) that it would take at a traditional campus. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of endlessly putting off classes or taking it easy. While university, digital or not, is a time to grow and network, it should have a shelf life.

Balancing student life

Multi-tasking is a revered skill for many employers, even though numerous studies have been showing that it’s not as effective as people think. Human brains just aren’t wired to juggle, and something, if not everything, is going to suffer. Adopt a triage approach to life as a student, putting 100 percent into each task at a time until it’s complete.

This is going to include classes, family time, vacations, hobbies, and work. It’s not going to be easy, especially when it’s so tempting to put class at the bottom of the list. However, if you’re a good match for an online degree, you have the right attitude to make it work.

09May
0

With urgent care full and doctors’ appointment calendars filled up for weeks, patients are looking for new ways to get the health information they need. Medical advice is shared online every second between patients and doctors. doctoronline

Professional health advice is valuable information, but online connections need to be thoroughly researched before you commit to a treatment or specific caregiver’s advice.

Information is power

Patients can start gathering online health advice at their personal physician’s website. Medical groups often have sites that include blogs and questionnaires written by their member physicians.

Perform a search for hypertension on the iCliniq website, for example, to see common symptoms listed or to answer personal questions through a survey. If you have a concern about an ailment, an appointment can be made automatically through the website.

Patients who catch issues and ailments early are often healthier in the long term in contrast with others that neglect their care.

Verifying the professional

If a patient wants to venture further into the online world of medical advice, look for specific article features. Any reputable doctor adds his or her full name, linked biography, and even a photo alongside the advice.

If some advice appears questionable, research the doctor’s credentials online at the American Board of Medical Specialties or American Board of Physician Specialties. Each doctor should have basic information listed prominently on these sites to be certified by certain states.

Virtual house calls

Doctors are going even further for their patients. If a patient has an issue but cannot make it to an urgent care facility, he or she can go online to chat or email with a doctor.

These virtual house calls are typically performed by doctors within the patient’s medical group or network. Symptoms and ailments are discussed, which possibly culminates in a prescription or another appointment at a physical office.

Patients’ lives can easily be saved or enhanced with practically instant access to medical advice.

Updating patients in real time

Conditions in the medical arena are constantly shifting. New, important information is released about diseases and research each day.

Savvy doctors are using the Internet to share their news through social media. From Facebook to Twitter, patients can hear the latest on hypertension or strokes directly from their doctors. They can even comment or ask questions through social media sites.

Recalled medicines, for example, can be pulled faster from patients with instant information on social updates.

Traditional visits remain a must

Although the virtual world holds many solutions for all patients, there’s no substitute for a traditional office visit. Doctors must physically check the body for visual clues about ailments and vital signs.

Between yearly physicals, however, patients can learn more about their health and potential risks. The information encourages more visits to the doctor to find or treat a chronic condition.

From medical group websites to well-known doctors blogging on news sites, patients have hundreds of outlets where they can find the health information they need. Think carefully about the site and its experts before trying a new diet or supplement, though; always rely on reputable doctors to stay healthy.

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08May
0

With people live-Tweeting their wedding vows and just about everyone being ordained as an online officiant capable of marrying their friends, you’d think someone would come up with a way to make weddings more affordable.

Instead, they’re getting more expensive every year, and some people are blaming Pinterest for encouraging stressful, fairy-tale weddings. Try to remember that the actual act of getting married is itself very cheap: It requires only an officiant, a little paperwork, and a permit.

That’s a marriage. A wedding can be just as affordable or expensive as you choose. If you want to have a party but aren’t keen on a backyard barbecue style, you’re going to need a stunning venue that holds all your guests and for a fair price.

Start looking beyond the ballrooms of the nearby hotels, because not only are they often overpriced, but they don’t make it very easy for you to customize the event. A one-of-a-kind romance deserves a one-of-a-kind venue.

Let those creative juices flow

If possible, have your own catering and bartending done. As long as it’s legal (with liquor licenses and such) you can save some serious cash by hand-picking your menu and/or having a more affordable caterer step in.

Check whether the venues charge for cake cutting and other add-ons, and make sure you tally up the final bill. There’s nothing wrong with a dry wedding, or only beer and wine; or having just an hour or two of open bar.

Decorating a venue can be just as costly as the rental fee. The best way to get around this is to choose a gorgeous venue that needs no further decoration.

This might include an outdoor wedding reception, a historic or rustic building, or one that already boasts a décor that you like. Don’t forget that someone’s going to have to stick around to clean up, so the less decorating and party mess, the better.

’Tis the season

If you want to get married in June, you might have to pony up some extra cash because you’ll have plenty of competition. Rather like traveling to a tropical location in the off season, you might be able to get a better deal if you get hitched during a less busy time of the year.

As an added bonus, more of your friends and family are apt to make it, because they won’t have other weddings to attend. However, keep the most important thing in mind: It’s not where you get married, but to whom. (Once that’s settled, where can be pretty important.)

08May
0

Hitting up the club was great when you were a newly minted 21-year-old, flush with student loan cash and more than happy to pay both a cover charge and for overpriced cocktails. houseparty

However, times have changed, and so have you. Now you have a hard time paying something just to walk through a door, and since when does a martini cost $15?

Reality has set in, and you’re watching your cash flow, but that doesn’t mean the party has to stop.

Trying to perfect the art of the house party has probably been a goal since alcohol was discovered. You might be a little gun-shy after those legendary college parties of yore, but an adult party doesn’t have to wind up with overnight guests crashed on the floor and red paper cups littering the yard.

With the right elements, such as a portable bar or a DJ on call, you can bring all the trappings of a great club right into your living room.

The elements of a great house party

It all starts with the guest list. Don’t assume that all your circles will mesh. In 2014, everyone is more frugal minded and leaning more toward quality than quantity.

Plus, if social media platforms (or those Match.com commercials) are to be believed, people are more interested in putting the social back into reality … but only if it’s worth it. Invite the right mix of guests, give them a week’s notice, and plan your party around them.

The elements of a great party also include entertainment, whether it’s a DJ or custom playlist, activities, and food. In some instances, you can probably gather the right group and not have to arrange board games or ice breakers to get the party rolling.

At other times, busting out a few drinking games may be necessary. Cater your food to the guests’ preferences, whether it’s a pizza from a favorite local diner or handmade apps to show off your Paleo baking skills.

We’re all in this together

If you’re short on funds, and many of us are, there’s always the potluck approach. Whether you ask guests to bring a bottle, a dish, or both, it’s a reasonable way to get everyone involved.

People are more prone to show up in a timely manner if they’re in charge of the dessert. Who needs bottle service at an overpriced lounge when you can DIY at home for a fraction of the price?

Enjoy a more intimate party, save cash, and get the best perks because you’re the host: leftovers and no need for a cab ride home!

07May
0

foster-care

It’s so easy to say you like a recipe, an outfit, or a TV show, so why is it so difficult to tell people you appreciate them? Perhaps you worry that you’re getting too personal or you’re afraid you’ll make the other person uncomfortable.

This can be true if you admire someone you’re not close to (you don’t want to overstep boundaries), just as much as with people you’re very close to. However, telling a foster parent he or she is appreciated can make the person’s entire week.

How do you get started? It’s always best to speak from the heart, but it can be so difficult to put those feelings into words. The simplest approach is, “I really admire all you do as a foster parent.”

That’s to the point, easy, and works in every situation. However, you may want to offer some specific details.

Ideas to get started

Maybe you recently attended a foster care organization’s fundraiser or just found out that a co-worker has become a foster parent. No matter what sparked your interest, you’re now aware of these incredible families and want to show your appreciation.

“I’m so impressed that you’re a foster parent; that must be incredibly rewarding,” is a way to dig a little deeper. If you know the person a little better and have known for a while that he or she fosters children, but you’ve never broached the subject, it’s not too late.

“I’d love to know more about your experience as a foster parent,” can open up dialogue. Many foster parents don’t talk openly about fostering because they’re afraid others might not be interested, but you’ll be amazed by the stories you’ll hear.

They might even inspire you to get more involved.

Appreciation without words

Maybe you’re not comfortable openly praising foster parents, but you still want to let them know you admire what they do. Luckily for you, May is National Foster Care Month, which offers a prime excuse for showing foster parents you noticed and care.

A bouquet of flowers, box of candies, or tickets to a movie are all fine gifts for friends, colleagues, and others in your circle.

Sometimes a favor as seemingly simple as offering to babysit for date night or picking up the kids from school (depending on your relationship with the foster parent), can say more than any token or kind word. Actions really do speak loudest, after all.

What are yours saying, and are you ready to instill a little more appreciation into them?

07May
0

ChildAbuse

Child abuse is a tragedy — and a crime — that can affect children years after their bruises and bones have healed. Even verbal abuse or neglect can have long-lasting effects on kids.

However, children who receive help early have a greater chance of healing both physically and mentally. Do you know how to intervene when you suspect that a child is being abused? Study the warning signs below and the actions you should take when you see them.

Warning signs of possible child abuse

First, you’ll want to be sure you fully understand the warning signs of child abuse. This will help you determine whether or not you should take action.

To be honest, child abuse is not always easy for outsiders to see, unfortunately. In fact, in most cases, you may not see any outward physical signs of abuse. Bruises, welts, or other visible marks of slaps, kicks, or punches are not always going to be apparent.

Such being the case, you need to be aware of other warning signs of possible abuse, including those listed below:

  • Frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries

  • Extreme change in behavior

  • Poor hygiene and lack of self-esteem

  • Loss of interest in familiar activities

  • Excessive fear of adults

  • Aggression toward pets or other children

  • Inappropriate sexual behavior

  • Difficulty concentrating

Call the authorities

If you notice a child repeatedly exhibiting any of the warning signs listed above, you should call the proper authorities. In most cases, this will be your local Department of Social Services’ Child Protection Agency. However, you can also phone the local police department, Child Help USA, or any crisis centers that may be in your area.

In emergency situations, it’s strongly recommended that you call your police department. Law enforcement officers can ensure the immediate safety of the child and seek medical attention for him or her, if necessary.

When you’re wondering whether you should report a suspected case of child abuse, always remember that it is much better to play it safe: report it and let the truth be established by an official investigation.

Information you will need to provide

While there are many reasons people may be hesitant to report suspected child abuse, one of the main ones is that they do not want their identity revealed and in the open. Fortunately, when you report suspected child abuse, you can remain totally anonymous.

There is some information you will need to provide, however. When you report a suspicious matter, be ready to supply the following details:

  • Name/s of the parent/s and home address

  • Detailed description of your concerns

  • Child’s first name, age, gender, and school of attendance

If you know of a child you think is being abused or neglected, it’s your responsibility to intervene right away. The best method of intervention is to phone the proper authorities as described above.

Even if you’re not 100 percent positive that the child is suffering abuse, you should act. You very well may be saving that child’s life.

06May
0

sports

There’s an interesting phenomenon with sports, when people say things like “we won” or “my team dominated yours.” The players who actually score the points, goals, or what have you have no idea who these fans are.

They may have grown up in entirely different cities, states, or even nations; and they probably have never laid eyes on one another in the flesh.  But whether you’re a fair-weather fan, hard-core true fanatic, or would prefer to undergo a root canal than sit through any sporting event, there’s a place for you . . . somewhere on the Internet.

Fantasy sports leagues have always been popular, but online sites have made it easier than ever to get involved. There are also the sports-centric social media sites — that is, websites dedicated to sports discussions — and a slew of other digital avenues for doing just about anything sports-related besides actually playing.

This raises the question of whether the digital age has turned us all into benchwarmers.

The costs of being a fan

Just like the rest of life, everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb. It’s easy to get enthralled in a fantasy league or sports-centered website, but when it’s perpetually at your fingertips, that can spell trouble.

Keeping close tabs on statistics, athlete gossip, and games can cut into work time, family time, and just plain real life. However, it’s no more dangerous than spending too much time on a dating site or news feeds.

That being said, any of these options can become dangerous if addictive behavior starts to develop. Anything that cuts into other aspects of your life in a negative manner can be cause for alarm and should be addressed.

Even the real benchwarmers go home when the game is over, but that’s not necessarily the case for fans on line. For some of them, the game never ends, and a single basketball game can turn into something that lasts as long as a cricket tournament.

A balancing act

This isn’t to say that fans need to be wary of getting too involved, because the camaraderie can be healthy outlet. It provides a sense of community, a healthy forum for sharing opinions, and possibly even the motivation to pursue your exercise regimen. However, it does require routine check-ins.

Everyone needs a hobby and a passion, and many people find it in their game of choice. They can connect with like-minded people online and form brand-new social circles devoted to a shared passion.

As long as your spouse and children aren’t complaining about you steadily checking your smartphone at dinner, and other aspects of your life are balanced, a little sports indulgence might be good for the soul.

06May
0

N.D.A., or New Digital Aesthetic, is a trend in current fashion. Although several expressions are making waves and turning heads for 2014, New Digital Aesthetic stands at the front of the pack.

It succinctly captures the aesthetic of a generation raised in a reality where the natural world and the digital universe constantly intersect. This way of viewing life is exactly what N.D.A. represents and explores.

It boldly asks the question many avoid: For a generation raised to inherit this standard of technology, where do the natural world and the digital collide?

How is this movement different from others?

Unlike other current trends such as Next Nature and Living Design, New Digital Aesthetic directly addresses perception. The other trends are of a more material origin.

Next Nature and Living Design both draw heavily from patterns, tones, and concepts supplied by elements in the natural world. N.D.A. may share this characteristic, but it grows increasingly distinct as it drifts into the space between digital and natural.

That space is the source of inspiration for all designs within this fashion trend.

What are the themes?

The New Digital Aesthetic can be described as an impression. In fact the process of creation for N.D.A. has been called “the study of perception.” This is the jumping-off point for all the creative energy.

The themes of this trend bounce swiftly between realism and surrealism until a sharp line can no longer be drawn between the two. This effect can be difficult to achieve because it means the designer must create something that speaks of both of these worlds.

In essence, the apparel of this trend acts as an ambassador for the realization that these two worlds are becoming increasingly connected.

What is the impact?

Unlike some of the work represented by this fashion trend, the message is well pronounced. New Digital Aesthetic doesn’t condemn or directly support our culture’s immersion in technology. Instead it applies a magnifying lens to the truth.

Our world is slowly is slipping into the digital world’s embrace. It’s not always so easy to tell where our ideas are formed. Our dreams, beliefs, and vision are now in collaboration with the technology that is so readily accessible.

Even a quick search of “2014 Fashion Trends” will remind us of how these devices help us gain information about our world.

N.D.A. is a vision of tomorrow

New Digital Aesthetic is an involved commentary about our cultural perception. This idea is so strong, it has penetrated all areas of fashion and dialogue.

Luxury bags for men and women’s clothing reflect this idea. Its impact is believed to be so wide-reaching because it resonates with the world this generation already experiences.

Not every fashion trend has been able to so completely gather the bulk of ideas shared by such a large amount of people. That’s why N.D.A. has garnered so much momentum this year: It gives this generation a future they’ve already seen.

06May
0

Sometimes it seems as if the traditional terms for what constitutes “in style” as far as makeup and beauty are concerned have been smashed. Now more than ever, women are feeling perfectly comfortable about choosing not what the media promotes as worthy beauty products, but what women themselves decide is worthy. fashiontrends

This can mean following the latest runway trends, or choosing products and styles to suit oneself. Regardless of what a woman chooses to do these days, the following fact is undeniable: There are hundreds of choices in today’s market for every woman to meet her beauty needs.

Below are just a few of the elements that any woman can easily incorporate into her beauty regimen.

Fruit galore

These days, fruit is being used to stave off more than your hunger. A recent article in Vogue magazine featured a beauty product that uses fruit to ward off blemishes, rashes, inflammation, and many other skin problems that need addressing.

So for an especially fruity and refreshing day, you can now coat your skin with almond milk or a blueberry scrub. Whether or not users can snack on this lovely product has not been verified. Regardless, it’s a pretty intriguing idea.

Orange is the new red

Many women will likely remember a time when orange was one of those colors that received a constantly bad rap. It’s such a challenge to wear orange correctly that many articles have been written to detail the “how to” for wearing this infamous color.

Yet the runway has recently surprising women by bringing orange to prominence. Note, however, that orange has come into style as a lip color.

Fortunately, trends will be trends, and many women will probably hope that this one just goes quickly and quietly away. Most of us will feel safer and saner for it.

The traditional

Now that women have the freedom to use whatever makeup and fashion makes them happy, many are still opting for the traditional brands that stay within the limits. One example of a popular traditional beauty brand is Flawless Beauty and Skin.

These days, beauty companies don’t have to apply quirky standards to gain traction and popularity. All they need are products that get the job done, and done well by making a woman feel glamorous, refreshed, and utterly beautiful.

The extreme

Women have come a long way beyond liposuction, botox, and lip injections. Now we can try one of the hot new technological advances of 2014: fat freezing.

Yes, ladies, fat freezing is the new liposuction. Essentially, to get rid of excess fat, women undergo a non-invasive procedure to freeze the fat inside their body, which causes it eventually to die.

If that sounds just too weird, perhaps it’s best to stick to normal weight loss methods, such as workout at the gym and eating well, neither of which will ever go out of style. No matter what approach you take to beauty, there’s nothing like the reaching back to the traditional methods.

A little basic makeup, a pretty dress, and touch of self-confidence are all a woman really needs.

06May
0

customerservice

Contrary to what some might believe, there really is a right way and a wrong way to deliver customer service across any industry. You might think that being in an increasingly digital age means that the rules have changed, but common courtesy remains the same.

One of the most common customer service sins? Simply taking the customer for granted and assuming that just one person possibly not getting your best service won’t make much of a difference.

Failing to greet someone in your retail store might be an oversight to you (you’re busy), but a single negative Yelp review can put a startup into a serious downward spiral. If you talk to the companies who make it their sole task to provide customer service, they’ll tell you that so-called common courtesies aren’t actually so common.

A simple “Good morning” can make a world of difference, so each employee ought to be trained to understand and do this.

Where managers step in

Often, it’s not solely the fault of the employee who delivers poor service, but also his or her management. Lead by example, make sure all employees get training when they’re hired and they receive ongoing instruction, and encourage a personal touch.

There’s a fine line between delivering “company standard” greetings and sounding like a robot, so tread carefully. Treat customers the way you would want to be treated.

Another misstep is indulging in too much jargon between employees. Everyone might know the difference between a tall and grande (now), but don’t expect everyone to be schooled in your particular company’s lingo.

Any firm that has direct contact with consumers needs to address them appropriately. In-house jargon sounds pretentious, and you run the risk of turning off your customers.

Communication basics

Don’t forget that listening is a foundation for good customer service, because that’s often what customers want. This is especially critical when you’re handling a problem — whether the customer has a complaint, the product isn’t working, or this is the fifth store they’ve been to in search of a hot pink wig.

Hear the customer out, show her or him that you’re listening, and do your best to fix the problem.

How employees talk to customers is what most people think of when they consider “customer service,” but problems arise when workers speak too quickly. The right tone can also make a big difference; remember, there’s a thin line between curt and efficient. Encourage a conversational tone and a warm voice, especially over the phone.

Finally, avoid multi-tasking when working with customers because although it might feel efficient, it comes across as rude. Employees should proactively provide service and give customers their full attention.

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