28Jul
0

prescriptiondrugs

If you’ve ever thought that you’re paying too much for your prescription medications, you’re probably right according to this Consumer Reports article. Even those who have a standard medical insurance program that covers prescription drugs are paying higher prices than ever. Fortunately, there are many ways you can cut down your prescription drug costs without sacrificing your health and well-being.

Asking Your Doctor for Samples

Communicating with your doctor can help get the point across that you’re having trouble paying for your medications. Your doctor may offer you a month or two of free samples of medication or coupons to cut down on your out of pocket expenses. According to this article from the FDA, you can also ask your doctor about alternatives to pricey products. Show your physician your Medicare Part D prescription savings drug plan information to see if the medications you need are part of the plan.

Using Mail Order Services

Shopping through mail order pharmacy services can save big bucks on your prescription drugs, explains this Huffington Post article. Ask your doctor to write a 90-day supply with refills for your medication. You can send in your prescription by fax, mail or electronically to an online or mail-order service that participates in your Medicare Part D plan. Mail-order pharmacies don’t have as much overhead, so they can charge less money for the same medications. You can also enjoy the convenience of having your medication show up at your doorstep instead of having to head out to wait in line at a retail pharmacy.

Requesting Generic or Formulary Drugs

One way to cut down your out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs is to request generic medications instead of name brand. According to this feature from WebMD, choosing generic over name brand medications could save as much as 80 percent when it comes time to pay. Another way to save on your medication costs is to check with your insurance benefit program about its prescription drug formulary. A formulary is a listing of medicines that the insurer has contracted to provide at a discount. Choosing these medications over non-formulary drugs may also result in a significant savings. Combine generics or formulary drugs with a Medicare Part D prescription savings plan for the best level of savings.

Participating in a Prescription Drugs Saving Plan

If you enjoy the interaction with your pharmacist as well as the personalized services that you’ve come to expect at your favorite pharmacy, Medicare Part D plans are a good option to help cut down on your medication costs. Many independent and national chain pharmacies participate in these savings plans. You’ll likely find that most or all of the medications you need are discounted by these benefit programs. In addition to the savings you enjoy from your Medicare Part D program, you may get additional benefits or discounts from the pharmacy by using a customer loyalty card when you pay for your prescriptions.

26Jul
0

beautyjunkie

Everyone has their passions that border on obsessions, and when it comes down to it there are much worse things than being a beauty junkie. As long as you stick within a budget and only indulge in the really good stuff every now and thing, this is one of the safer hobbies to have. However, life can be tough for a beauty junkie when there are just so many choices and so little time.

Think you’re a beauty junkie? If you have a suspicion, you’re probably right, but there are still some red flags to watch out for. Remember that just because you stick with all natural products like organic oils or “only” wear makeup on weekends doesn’t mean you’re exempt. Beauty junkies come with all kind of quirks and kinks, just like makeup, and it’s what makes you unique.

1. The beauty aisle is your motherland

You can sniff out the beauty aisle at any super store and the idea of getting caught in a Rite Aid, CVS or Walgreens is sheer paradise. You know that a high price doesn’t equate to a great product, and you consider yourself the ruler of drugstore finds. There are treasures in there, and you can hone in on them instantly.

2. You use a tacklebox as an organizer

No matter how messy you are in other parts of your life, there comes a time for any beauty junkie that organization is key. However, not just any makeup bag will do. Maybe you have a tacklebox (or a few) for your goodies or a custom designed bathroom vanity.

3. Forget the fashion on the runways

You watch Fashion Week or soak up the photos for the inspiring makeup. You know that no outfit is complete without the right face, and that’s where your creativity begins. For you, the clothes are just an adornment to show off the makeup.

4. You live for makeovers

When your friends ask you to do their makeup, that’s where you really shine. It’s why you pick up shades that you love but just don’t work for your complexion. Plus, you really like trying to translate what they say they want into the end result. You take pride in listening to their desires then amping it up.

5. But you also have a few secrets you’ll take to your grave

Like any great artist, you can’t give all your secrets away. Whether it’s the faux eyelash shadow from an eyeliner flare on your lower eyelid or just the right mix of cream and reds for a pouty lip, some things are just for you (and your gorgeous face).

 

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25Jul
0

bottleservice

Everyone deserves to live like JayBey every now and then, however bottle service (of course) comes at a premium price. Don’t get lulled into thinking you’ve found a one of a kind bargain bottle service. That’s a huge red flag that either that particular club is no longer on anyone’s radar or you’re going to get stuck paying a prime price for bottom shelf liquor. Hold yourself (and your part) to a higher standard and splurge when it matters.

While it’s tempting to live the A-list lifestyle every weekend, bottle service is best kept for the choicest of occasions. This is especially true in areas like LA or New York. Bottle service in smaller cities is a shadow of the real deal (who needs bottle service in Denver?), so choose your splurges wisely. Here are a few instances when bottle service isn’t a luxury, but nearly a requirement.

1. Bachelor/bachelorette parties

Hopefully the betrothed will only get hitched once in their lifetime, so this is worth celebrating. Skip the shady strip clubs and instead treat the future newlyweds to a night out they’ll truly remember. Anything that happens just once is worth going all out.

2. Divorce parties

On the other end of the spectrum, if someone does get divorced this is really something that should only happen once. Help them remember how fantastic the single life can be by showing them what a night out can drum up. Re-entering the single life can be a tough transition, but not when you’re at the helm.

3. Milestone birthdays

This can include the big 2-1 as well as entering any new decade. These handfuls of milestones don’t happen on the regular, which means you can certainly spend a little extra to ring in another 10 years. Once you’re an adult, birthdays don’t often matter as much, so be sure to celebrate the ones that do.

4. Bon voyage parties

If someone is leaving town for good (or just settled in a new metro), it’s time to bring out the big guns. However, bon voyage parties are getting a little overplayed. This isn’t for someone who just took a six-month gig abroad. Save it for the ones that are more permanent.

5. When you’ve made a huge accomplishment

Maybe your novel just got picked up by a publisher or you actually placed in a marathon. You know when the big stuff matters, so celebrate it in style.

23Jul
0

onlinemarketing

With so many companies turning to online marketing to reach new customers, it seems like many businesses forgot about the importance of offline marketing. While many people now shop and search for information while on the go from their smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, there are still offline marketing techniques that can help you gain more business. Before letting yourself focus solely on online marketing, think about how offline marketing can help you.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing includes some off the wall, unique and unusual forms of marketing. The rock band Nine Inch Nails skipped online marketing for one of its recent albums in favor of leaving small drives with the album attached in various locations for fans to find. The Duct Tape Marketing blog recommends leaving sticky notes behind, using chalk on sidewalks and placing business cards in random locations. According to this site, you can use banner stands of different sizes and leave those banners placed around your city to get more traffic.

Use Your Car

According to marketing blogger Brian Carey, vehicle wraps can work just as effectively as direct mail campaigns, launching a social networking page or creating an email newsletter. Carey points out that while a vehicle wrap can cost up to $3,000 upfront, once installed on your car, those wraps can last for up to five years. You can add your logo, company name, address or phone number to the wrap, and some companies will even let you completely design the wrap based on a design of your choosing. Everywhere you go, people will see your company name on display. If you run your own business, you can even write off a portion of the cost of your vehicle wrap on your taxes.

Combine Online and Offline Marketing

In today’s modern world, it’s nearly impossible for a business to succeed without some form of online marketing. Blogger Mark Krenn recommends combing online and offline marketing to drive more business to your company. Offering mobile check-in is one of the easiest ways to reach new customers. Those customers can use their smartphones to check in when they stop into your business, write a review on Yelp and even share a status update on Facebook. Krenn also suggests offering digital rewards and using hashtags.

Hashtags are small identifying comments that you place at the end of Facebook updates, tweets on Twitter and other social networking posts. When users search for that same hashtag, your post comes up in the search results. Digital rewards let you thank customers for shopping with you. You can give customers a digital coupon when they check in or treat them to an email discount for registering an email account with your company.

It sometimes seems like online marketing might take over the world. You see email newsletter offers, digital coupons and store apps everywhere you turn, but online marketing alone won’t help your business succeed. Using some simple offline marketing techniques and using some techniques that work with your online marketing will help you reach more customers.

22Jul
0

skincare

If you’re interested in being proactive against wrinkles and blemishes, it’s time to reassess you daily skin care regimen. Too much sun and years of neglect can cause your face to look older. You might begin to feel like your appearance does not accurately reflect your age. Here are five ways to combat the signs of aging skin.

Cleanse

Our faces accumulate oil and dirt throughout the day, which can eventually lead to blemishes. If these areas become severe enough, they can lead to slight scarring. You can prevent blemishes by using a daily cleanser on your face. Try to find a product that won’t make your face feel dry afterward. Cleaners can reduce the amount of oil and germs on your face, cutting down on the amount of blemishes that form.

Tone

Toners improve the overall smoothness of your skin by removing oil and tightening your pores. This beauty product has the added benefit of preventing blackhead buildup. Like cleaners, it’s important for you to find a toner that won’t result in dry skin or irritation. Apply the toner to a cotton ball and dab it across your face for the best results.

Moisturize

If your skin gets too dry, your skin and lose its elasticity. This can result in wrinkles, cracking, and peeling. Use a daily moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out. If you will be spending significant time in the sun, then try to find a moisturizer and sunscreen combo. This can protect your face from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Sun damage can lead to significant skin damage, resulting in wrinkles and increasing your risk of skin cancer.

Exfoliate

Exfoliate once or twice a week to give your pores a deep clean and remove impurities from your skin. This process helps you remove dead skin cells on your face, which can clog pores and lead to blemishes.

Skin Tightening

This procedure can leave your skin wrinkle free and smooth. As we age, our skin gets looser and less elastic. This can lead to the formation of wrinkles around our eyes and skin. Consult a skin care professional to learn more about laser skin procedures.

You must take a holistic approach to skincare to maintain a youthful appearance. A daily regimen of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, followed by periodic exfoliation can help your skin stay healthy. Laser procedures can also make a significant different within a short period of time.

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.

20Jul
0

writing

As a web content writer, it’s not just about how good you are putting words on paper; it’s also about your search engine optimization (SEO) prowess. While not all web content writing jobs will require SEO or LSEO, the high paying ones will. It’s not easy to organically and naturally place keywords within content, especially when it seems like the phrases just aren’t a match for the requested article, which is why SEO writers get paid the big bucks. However, some of those old school writing hacks are actually great fodder for mastering SEO.

Whether you’re a trained writer with an advanced degree in creative writing or you’ve just always had a knack for it, the true test is whether you can succeed in writing content rich in SEO. You might be charged with creating brand new content for a website re-design, but the client is adamant that their SEO ranking stays the same (at worst) or improves (at best). If that seems like a daunting task, or you simply want to up your game, consider these “basic” writing tips that are SEO gold.

1. Read it out loud

Sometimes what seems natural to you (such as putting in a keyword like “endangered panda” into an article about auto manufacturing) just doesn’t read “right.” Always read your end product aloud to make sure the flow in on target. This is one of the easiest ways to spot red flags.

2. Have someone else read it

If you’re lucky, you have a partner or roommate you can bribe into reading your articles for you. Don’t highlight the SEO keywords or phrases, and simply ask them if anything seems out of place. If they can spot it, so will your editor and readers.

3. Put it to bed

When you’re struggling with a piece of writing, it’s always best to put it to bed (assuming there are no looming deadlines) and tackle it fresh in the morning. It’s amazing what a few hours away from a piece can help you see, and you might make your job a lot easier in the process.

4. Less is more

Some writers are really good at writing fluff, and that can be tempting when you’re facing a certain word count. However, this comes down to quality vs. quantity. If you do a bit more research, include a few more quotes or otherwise just try a little harder, it’ll show (and it’ll also appear in terms of your pay rate).

20Jul
0

digitalera

The Internet has turned us all into storytellers. This popular entertainment past time is no longer reserved for traveling bards or for slam poets. There are digital storytelling options for everyone, fitting a range of messages, content, and audiences. You can have incredibly niche interest and still find a platform and audience to fit your needs. Creators have ways of spinning tales through digital text, videos, animations, and sound. Online storytelling gives audiences access to a wide range of voices, multimedia, and audiences. Here’s how modern storytelling is changing the Internet.

Diversity of Voices

Online communications has leveled the playing field, allowing underrepresented groups to share their experiences with enormous audiences. Old school publishing and stage platforms privileged certain groups and excluding others. Digital communications allows minority groups to get a message across to their audiences through affordable and accessible content publishing and sharing options. Readers can thrive greatly when they are exposed to a multitude of perspectives.

New Media

Storytelling doesn’t have to be oratory. Digital content creators are continually finding new ways to tell their stories through a variety of media types. Just take a look at platforms that embrace new media – Vine, YouTube, and Medium showcase ways you can connect with your audience outside of traditional oral storytelling. Individuals and organizations can leverage new multimedia formats to convey complex messages.

Target Audiences

Online storytelling enables us to deliver content directly to those who might benefit the most from your work. Online advertising, demographics information, and social media sharing are just some of the tools modern storytellers use to connect with the right audiences. Your content might have very little impact if they reach thousands of people disinterested by the message and delivery. Your content will go further if you introduce it to audiences that are interested in the types of content you’re providing.

Measuring Impacts

When orators tell a story, they look at their audiences for non-verbal cues in body language and facial expressions. You can’t get this type of feedback while online, because you’re not able to see your readers’ faces. However, you can gauge how they are responding to your social media campaigns by paying attention to engagement metrics.

Online storytelling will change the way we interact and learn about one another. Whether you’re a podcast, video, or article creator, you have valuable tales to tell through digital mediums. Learn how to connect with the right audiences, and your creative content will flourish!

19Jul
0

Challenging yourself as an employee, no matter what your title, is part of career growth. If you don’t step up to the plate, other people will and you’ll be left in the dust. Don’t think of taking on new projects as taking on extra work with no benefit to you. Taking initiative is one of the most important things employers look for when considering promotions.

However, don’t expect to ever feel “fully ready” to tackle those project management roles, either. You’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone if you want to get noticed. Whether it involves putting together a portfolio, leading a group discussion or giving a presentation to the CEO, it might be scary but it’s worth it. Here are a few signs you’re ready for the big leagues.

1. You’ve been in your fair share of projects as a minion

You shouldn’t sign up to lead the first project you’re involved with, but if you’ve worked on plenty you’ve seen the basic structure. You’re able to lean from the mistakes of others and you’ve had a few dry test runs. If this is your 100th project (or it seems that way) you’re ready for a new role.

2. There’s a promotion coming up

This shouldn’t be your sole reason for volunteering to lead a group, but it can certainly play a role. If there’s a promotion coming up you think you’re suited for, there’s no better way to put your hat in the ring than by showing you’re a leader.

3. The project aligns with your skillsets

Bonus points if these skillsets are something your boss doesn’t know about, such as graphic design or creating a PR database. Show off what you’ve got, even if your skills and talents aren’t usually showcased with your job duties.

4. You’re excited about it

Does the project have aspects that excite you, intrigue you or you’re otherwise passionate about? This is a big sign that you should step up to the plate. You’ll naturally work harder when the subject interests you.

5. Your job has been laying people off

Just like number two, this shouldn’t be the only reason why you sign up to lead but it can be a factor. There will be times when you have to “save” your job and prove yourself, and this might be the ticket to make it happen.

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