Monthly Archives: April 2012
Sending your kids off to college is a milestone in the life of any parent. Ensuring that they have everything they will need to succeed takes several months of planning. Along with the basics–clothing, dorm room décor, and toiletries–today’s college student also needs to be geared up with the right technology to succeed.
There are several things that parents and students often overlook when they are packing up the car on move-in day that can greatly improve the academic performance and overall enjoyment of college. Here are a few things to be sure to add to your college checklist before sending your student off this fall:
- Laptop computer and accessories. Most college campuses provide adequate access to students who need computers, but it is important that your student has his or her own laptop as well. The demands of college classes mean that your student will be doing a lot more homework and needs much more focus than in years past. Ensure that your student can set up to work anytime and anywhere. Along with the basic computer, be sure to buy replacement laptop batteries. Whether you need Toshiba laptop batteries, Sony laptop batteries, or any other brand, plan ahead and send them along with your student on move-in day.
- A smartphone. It is safe to say that most college students have a cell phone, but be sure that your student has a version of a smartphone. This is important for answering emails quickly and communicating with peers (and you!). Find out what the best deals are on the smartphones through your cellular service provider and buy a new one for the college student in your household–maybe you can even nab yourself one with a family plan.
- An e-reader. Many textbooks are now offered in electronic formats and college students can do all of their reading an e-reader. This offers convenience over cumbersome textbooks and makes it possible for your student to carry all of his or her materials with them all the time. You may even find that the cost of buying one textbook in an electronic format makes up the difference in cost of purchasing the e-reader in the first place.
- An mp3 or other personal music player. This may seem like a luxury item, but it’s a great tool for downloading class lectures. It also provides some tranquility for study time and some inspiration during overnight study sessions.
As you plan to send your student off to college, do not overlook the importance of personal electronics and technology. They will make a difference in the college experience for your student.
Crafting and jewelry-making are popular hobbies. Those who are lucky enough to be blessed with the creative streak are able to design their own clothing, jewelry, and other accessories while the rest of the world has to go out and buy it from other people. As a result, the creative designers who also have a touch of business savvy can turn their hobby into a lucrative business.
So how do you take your designs from your kitchen table to the homes of strangers? Technology has made it easier than ever to launch a jewelry design business that reaches the masses. Several websites make it possible for homegrown designers to display their talent, sell their merchandise, and turn a nice little profit.
An Internet connection is not the only piece of technology that will help your business flourish, however. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, you need to invest in software that can simplify the process. Jewelry business accounting software and craft business software can help you keep track of inventory, customer contact information, details of orders, expenses, and your overall bottom line.
Having the ability to keep all of your documentation in one spot will streamline every part of your business and make it much easier every time tax season rolls around. The best jewelry design software will be user-friendly but offer a high level of professional offerings to accommodate the growing needs of your business. Be sure to shop around for the one that offers the best options for your specific business and also one that can be adjusted based on your future business needs.
So how do you find the best software for your needs? You will want to start by taking a few notes on your business. These should include things like:
- The items and quantities usually kept in your inventory
- The number of sales you receive in a day, week, and month
- The average cost of your items
- How many hours per week you dedicate to your business
- What tax and shipping charges you anticipate
- Other business expenses like the cost of maintaining a website, office, and any outsourced work
Once you have this list, start your search for the right software to fit the bill. It is better to purchase software that offers more than you think you will need than to have to purchase extra software later on. Think of your future business when you make your choices on jewelry or craft software and then work hard to achieve that status.
You want to be sure to find the right contractor from the hundreds of Southern California pool builders and have your work done in a timely fashion.
The good news is that the field is wide open for homeowners who want to implement their own custom pool design. You do not have to go with a pre-determined template and can design a pool that is as personalized as the needs of your home. If you can dream it up, you can find a contractor to design, build, and maintain it.
Here are a few unique pool design ideas:
- Non-traditional shapes: Who says that you have to have an oval or rectangular pool? Why do you need your pool to follow traditional standards for depth and at predetermined proportions? Play around with ideas that use shape in creative ways. For homeowners who have limited space for a pool, this is especially helpful because you can make the most of your constraints and still have something that the neighbors will be talking about for years to come.
- Foliage: Make your pool feel like it is more of an oasis and less an extension of your home with the use of foliage. This may include palm trees, shrubs, or flowers that are on the pool perimeter. This is important to making your pool a place where you can escape and feel like a part of nature. Talk to a landscaping specialist in your area or even the company that does your San Diego pool construction in order to plan the best plants for your region and purposes.
- Running water: Consider a small stone landing that accommodates a waterfall or even the use of fountain technology. This can be an elegant way to add shape to your pool area without sacrificing a lot of space. If you have children who will use the pool, this feature will make the pool experience even more exciting for them. You can get ideas for waterfalls, fountains, and other running-water concepts by browsing online or talking to your pool construction specialist.
Installing a pool is a great way to add some fun to your property and increase its resale value. Meet with a pool construction contractor to discuss the options for your home and how you can implement a creative twist.
Everyone wants to have healthy skin. Awareness about how the health of our skin affects the rest of our well-being is at an all-time high and as a result, people everywhere are striving to treat their skin responsibly.
People are learning to cover up, use sunscreen, and keep hydrated to maintain ultimate skin health.
While prevention is a great way to keep your skin looking and feeling younger, sometimes the damage has already been done. Many people need professional help to get their skin back to a state of health.
The first place that most people look for improvement is in their face, as this is the most obvious spot to improve aesthetics. Facials are a great way to improve your skin and see immediate results.
You can get facials in a variety of places, whether it is a spa in Los Angeles or a Beverly Hills dermatologist. You should talk about your specific skin situation with a professional consultant and choose which services you need based on those suggestions.
Some popular types of facials include:
- Hydrating facials: These facials give immediate results with no down time for the customer. Usually these facials are performed with crystal-free microdermabrasion and serums that are specific to your skin type.
- Resurfacing treatment: This type of facial is generally given over the course of a few visits and may need follow-up maintainence. Retinol and other active ingredients help stimulate collagen growth and reduce wrinkles and lines.
- Deep-pore clarifying treatment: This facial treatment is most often recommended for acne treatment. Generally, five sessions are recommended at three week intervals. Most patients will need maintainence follow-up visits as well. This facial has deep-pore cleansing, microdermabrasion, plus the addition of a medicated facial mask to rid the skin of all impurities.
- Stimulation peel: This type of facial is considered to be the strongest and most effective treatment, especially if aesthetics are the main concern. Most professionals recommend visiting three to five times over the course of several months at the start. A maintenance peel is then recommended every four to six months in order to maintain the original investment. Though it is a strong treatment, there is minimal to no downtime.
Talk to a professional to determine which facial is right for your skin correction needs. Begin enjoying the improvements in your health and appearance after just the first visit!
Summer is a popular time of year to get away for awhile. Thousands of families will travel during the hottest months of year to visit friends, attend family reunions and just get away from normalcy for awhile. Whether your idea of fun is sleeping under the stars or hanging out pool-side in a five-star resort, summer is the perfect excuse to set out for your own personal adventure.
Here are a few tips for planning the best summer vacation yet:
1. Opt for convenience. Everyone wants to save a little cash, but remember–a vacation is supposed to be relaxing. Park your car in an LAX parking lot instead of depending on your coworker to drop you off curbside, or pay a little extra for the SFO short-term parking that gets you closer to the airport hub.
2. Buy a few new things. Again, you do not want to spend all of your money before you even leave the house, but investing in a few new vacation-specific items will make the trip more fun. Shop for some new outfits or a new bathing suit, at least. Decide if it is time to upgrade your camera or get new luggage. Preparing for a trip is a great time to buy the items that you have been putting off.
3. Plan ahead. While everyone loves a good adventure, there is no reason that you should not plan ahead to make your vacation as stress-free as possible. With the help of the Internet, you can map out the best routes, places to stop for the night, and what to do at each stop along the way. If you are flying, find out the cost of leaving your car places like OAK parking and if there is a baggage cost that you can pay online ahead of time. There will enough unexpected things that arise during your trip–plan ahead in every area that you can.
4. Let loose. Unplug your laptop and turn off your cell phone. Try an exotic dish. Go on a daylong bike tour. Remember that the point of vacation is to get away from everything that is part of daily life and discover new things about yourself and fellow travelers. Come out of your shell and stretch your limits on your summer trip. You may come home with a renewed sense of self that sticks with you long after the vacation has ended.
If you are like most people, you have probably been thinking about your wedding day for much longer than you have known your future spouse. Even if you are not the sentimental type, there are likely details about your wedding day that you have been dreaming about for years.
The most creative couples-to-be often come up with a theme for their wedding day that incorporates their individual personalities, identity as a couple, and favorite things.
There is a fine line between being tacky and pulling off a themed wedding with class. Follow these tips to make your themed wedding memorable and one that people will be discussing for years to come.
See if it has been done. Do a little online research and find out if other people have had themed weddings that are similar to your idea. One popular theme is a beach theme and you can get ideas from other couples who have had the same idea. Everything from the type of music used in the ceremony to beach wedding cake toppers can be found on the wedding websites of other couples who have gone before you. If you find another couple who has held a themed wedding that reflects your ideas, use their photos as inspiration for your own creative plans.
See what products are available. Depending how original your theme idea is, you can probably find premade items that will fit the bill. Think Halloween-inspired guest favors or Star Wars cake toppers. If you are unsure about how your theme will fit into your budget, do a little shopping research ahead of time and take notes on the costs. The more items that you will need to have custom made, the more your overall cost will be.
Be flexible. You may want to have your theme demonstrated in every small detail of your wedding, but this may not be a reality. Decide which items absolutely need to be part of your theme, like bridal clothing, and what items could be basic wedding design, like cake toppers. While you want to show your personality, any person who has planned a wedding in the past will tell you that you have to maintain a level of flexibility in order to stay sane. This is especially true in the case of a themed wedding. Be creative but remember to have some fun, too. It will make the planning process a lot more fun for you and the event more enjoyable for guests.
From the date an engagement is announced, strategies about everything from the invitations to the reception seating chart begin to be discussed and it can consume all of the free time of the couple-to-be. While there are stressful moments, most brides and grooms will agree that all of the details of their wedding day made a difference in the lasting memories they formed.
A wedding cake is more than just a dessert for the guests. It is part of the overall wedding day aesthetic and should be chosen with as much attention to appearance as taste. Coming up with a unique wedding cake idea takes some research and shopping around but will pay off on the big day.
Here are a few ways to come up with individual ideas for your wedding cake:
Look through photos. You probably have photos from your relationship out for the wedding slideshow and most couples have a digital trail of their relationship on social media sites. Take a fresh look at those photos with the thought of your wedding cake in mind. Look for colors, patterns, and themes that represent your love and present those ideas to your cake decorator. Complete the look with wedding cake toppers that reflect the theme. Think beyond the basic bride-and-groom wedding toppers; consider shapes like hearts or flowers or military cake toppers.
Consider non-traditional shapes. You do not have to pick out a cake that has the stacked layer look. Perhaps there is a building that represents your relationship or another shape that could add personality to your big day. Consider bride-and-groom cake toppers sitting atop a skyscraper or an actual cake that is shaped like a bride and groom. If you can dream it up, there is a cake decorator who can design it for you. Not only will a uniquely-shaped cake be photogenic, it will taste good too.
Shop for ideas online. If you see an idea for a cake online, that must mean it is not original, right? Not necessarily. Many times cake designers submit ideas to websites in order to garner publicity, though the cake has never actually been part of a wedding. You can find the latest ideas from cutting-edge designers by looking through leading sites in the wedding industry.
One of the best team-building exercises for a cheerleading squad is attending summer camp. It is a great way to welcome new members of the squad and rekindle the team spirit in the veteran members. Maintaining unity at summer camp is important to building camaraderie among the members of the squad that will last well into the cheerleading season.
Planning your squad’s look is an integral part of the camp preparation process. The way that a squad is dressed affects the confidence of its members and says a lot about the personality of the individuals, school, and team that are being represented. It is important to combine style, comfort and functionality when you are choosing cheerleading apparel for your summer cheer camp adventures.
Here are few planning suggestions when you begin the process of picking out cheer camp apparel.
Keep your identity. Is your squad strong in stunts? Do your cheerleaders prefer traditional or progressive cheerleading looks? What characteristics set your squad apart from the others? Decide the overall style that you are trying to achieve with your cheer camp look and build the specifics from there. You want your first impression to be one that accurately represents who you are as a cheerleading squad.
Try something new. This may seem in contradiction to the first point, but you can combine both things successfully. Cheer camp is a great time to try out a new lettering, shades of school colors, or styles of cheer bows. Find out if you like the new ideas by testing them out in the off season then incorporate the ones that you like the best into your permanent cheer uniform rotation.
Don’t forget accessories. Cheer shorts, shirts, and shoes are obviously necessities of any summer camp experience, but do not neglect the other aspects of cheerleading that make camp so much fun. Decide if you will bring things along like megaphones, signs, and pom poms. Find ways to make the items fit your overall style theme but be creative. You do not want to look like every other squad; use accesories to help boost your individual appeal and have fun in the process.
While summer cheer camp is meant to be a learning experience, remember that it is also a chance to get away as a squad and have fun. Make your cheer apparel and accessory choices carefully for summer camp and find ways to have the gear add to the fun of the experience.
Cheerleading is a sport with many facets. Cheerleaders attend games in many different sports, compete, and often serve as the smiling face of a school to the rest of the community. This means that cheer clothing is often as varied as the activities required of a squad.
This also means an investment from parents and students in order to have the proper gear for every occasion. From traditional cheerleading uniforms to cheer shoes, the cost of being a cheerleader can seem overwhelming at times. Add on any special trips or competition costs, and it can be enough to deter even the most spirited of students from joining the squad.
In order to alleviate some of the costs of the sport, cheerleading squads often hold fundraisers. This is a great way to bring in the extra revenue needed to cover expenses and also serves as a team-building exercise for the squad. Finding a fundraiser that is lucrative and provides a needed good or service to the community takes some research, but with these tips you should be able to find one that accommodates the needs of your squad.
Consider your audience. Do you live in a metropolitan area or a rural area? What sports are most important to the people in your community? Do you have businesses in the community that will want to help you out? Decide as a group what the need is in your area and how you can create a fundraiser to accommodate it. This may mean a car wash at a popular local business or door-to-door sales of handmade items in school colors. Give your buyers something that they need or want and the money will raise itself.
Be realistic. Set a goal for the amount of money you want to raise in your fundraiser that is ambitious but realistic. There are enough pressures on students–do not add to it with too demanding of a goal. If a particular fundraiser does well, build onto the ideas and aim for a higher goal the next time.
Have fun. If you are having a good time, your customers will want to join in the fun. Think of creative events to bring in the community and approach every fundraiser with the same enthusiasm that you put into cheering at games and at competition. The key is to make it feel like a celebration–and everyone loves being invited to a good party.
This is certainly the case with cheerleaders who have several different components to their uniforms depending on the function. Cheer clothing does not just mean a uniform for game nights; cheerleaders also have to consider the appropriate wear for practice, pre-game activities, and competition. This usually entails an investment and cheerleaders want to be sure that the gear they buy today will last for several seasons.
Proper care of cheer clothing during the season is key to longevity of the uniform but so is the care that you take during the off-season. Throwing your cheer bag off to the side after the last game or competition of the season and hoping that your uniform will still be in pristine condition next season is unrealistic. Here are a few precautions that you can take during the off months to ensure that your cheer uniform investment will look just as good from one season to the next.
Have everything cleaned professionally. Spend a little bit of money to have a professional clean your cheer uniform, warm-ups and cheerleading shoes. Find out from your coach what places he or she recommends for this type of service, and organize a full-team drop off of gear at the end of the season. You may even be able to secure a lower rate with several customers. You have done everything together the entire season so do this one last thing together, and have your gear cleaned professionally.
Store it in original packaging. Keep all of the packagaing materials from your cheerleading uniform, including the boxes for cheerleading shoes. Return your items to the protective cover of these items during the off-season and store it all in a dry location. If you have already thrown away the packaging, invest in basic plastic storage bins and garment bags.
Don’t forget about it. Make it a point to check on your cheerleading uniform and gear like pom poms every few weeks. Pay attention to things like lighting that may fade your uniform and dampness or odor that could make your gear unwearable. Keep an eye on your investment to ensure that it is ready for wear next season.