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How I enjoy holidays parties without food guilt.

by Isabel De Los Rios
Just too good not too re-post…
Today I want to share with you how I keep up my healthy eating regimen even during all the holiday parties and events.

Actually, the strategies you’ll find below are NOT just specific for the holidays, you can use these methods for any social gathering and party that you may be attending.

Just last Saturday, I hosted my own little party for the parents from my kid’s school. It was really great. A lot of us only see each other during drop off and pickup so it was nice to get to know the other parents outside of the school parking lot.

Many of these parents don’t know me at all…so they don’t know how passionate I am about nutrition and health or that we are completely gluten free and don’t eat any processed food. My goal for the party was to choose foods that would make everyone happy, without having to resort to unhealthy “party” foods.
isabel
Here is what I served:

Corn chips (organic, non GMO) and home-made guacamole
Rice crackers and goat cheese
Raw cheese platter
Veggies and Greek Yogurt Dip
Fruit salad

The party was a huge hit! By the amount of food that was left (almost none) and the wonderful compliments I received, I could safely assume that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food and did not go home feeling lousy.

Now, a party at my house would be super easy to work with, BUT what if the party you’ll be attending is not quite an Isabel bash? What do you do then?

Here are my top 3 strategies for surviving your next social event or party. These are methods I personally use all the time so I am always excited about any social event or gathering regardless of the food being served.

1. Offer to bring something to the party. I very rarely go to anyone’s home without bringing something homemade (and my friends and family really look forward to it). The host or hostess is always so grateful and at least I know, if nothing else, I can eat the item I brought. Many of the items that I served at my last party (shown above) are also some of the items that I bring to parties. I have also been known to make cocktail meatballs (made from grass fed beef), chicken skewers (made from pastured poultry) or smoked salmon on cucumber slices. You may want to give your hostess/host a few options and see which one appeals to him or her the most. (Tip: Guacamole and fresh veggies is almost always a huge hit everywhere I go!)

2. Eat before the party. Do not arrive starving! If you really don’t think the party will offer anything that is an acceptable option for you, eat beforehand so that you are not partying hungry. If someone asks why you’re not eating, you can use any of the following responses and none of them would be lying: “I had a really late lunch and I’m not quite hungry yet. Everything does look great and I’ll be sure to try something out,” OR “I’m definitely going to grab something here in a sec. Thanks for asking,” OR my personal favorite, “I get pretty sick if I eat any wheat or dairy so I try and stay away from it. I definitely would not want to get sick at this great party.” As far as I’m concerned, none of those are rude, nor are they lies (especially the last one!) I actually use a very similar response for my children, “My kids get very sick if they eat wheat or dairy so I try and keep them away from it.”…No more explanation needed. I find that the people that truly care for you will want you to be healthy and would never want you to get sick, especially at their party!

3. Focus on something else besides the food. This is where having 2 toddlers really comes in handy (so if you want to borrow mine, please let me know). Many times, I really can’t even focus on the food and what’s being served because I need to tend to my children (every parent reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about). But, you may not have kids, or you may be attending this particular party without them. Focus on catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a long time, engage in conversations you don’t have the opportunity to have otherwise, and maybe even get your “groove on” on the dance floor (c’mon, what’s a party without dancing?). Keep your focus on the true goal of the party and that’s to enjoy yourself with family and friends, not to focus on what food is being served or what you should or shouldn’t be eating.

And most importantly, I want you to NOT beat yourself up if the party just doesn’t go the way you wanted. Maybe you had one too many cocktails, maybe the brownies were just too good to say no to, or maybe you just ended up eating every single thing that came in your direction. Leave that party behind you and move on. Today is another day and another opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. One party will not make or break your weight loss goals or your health.

The most important thing you can do is see it as one night or just one party, and not as a reason to let all of your healthy efforts go to the way side. I know this time of year can pose some challenges, so arm yourself with the tools above and remember that this season is about happiness, joy and the togetherness of family and friends.

In health and happiness,

 

 

 

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You can’t protect children by lying to them – the truth will hurt less

Parents try to protect children from distressing realities, such as illness, death or divorce. But if you don’t talk to them about the difficult stuff, they worry alone …

Meg Rosoff and daughter

Meg Rosoff and her daughter, Gloria. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

About a decade ago, a friend I knew and cared about deeply told me that she was having an affair with her child’s best friend’s father. “My God,” I said, swallowing hard. “That’s complicated.”

It was complicated all right. The families lived practically next door and were in and out of each other’s houses all the time. But neither marriage was good. And my friend swore that this was the real thing.

The problem was her daughter. She worshipped her mum, watched her like a hawk. And though she was only six, she was one of those strange, precocious children who gets inside adult heads and roams around, looking for stuff. Like the fact that her mother was madly in love with someone other than her dad.

“You can’t keep lying to her,” I said.

“No, no,” she assured me. “It’s not a problem. She doesn’t suspect a thing.”

I looked at her. “She knows. She doesn’t know what she knows, but she knows.”

And she did. If ever a child knew something was wrong with her family, it was Evie. She had developed a heartbreaking look of puzzlement in the company of her mother, searching her face for answers.

I notice those children now, the ones people lie to. Like all children, they are studying the world, struggling to learn the rules of engagement. Except that, for them, life doesn’t make sense because their instincts are negated. So they begin to twist in an attempt to accommodate a world full of half-truths.

An American woman visiting friends in London a few days after the school massacre in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, asked the friend’s family (two adults, three teenagers) not to refer to Newtown for the duration of their visit and not to turn on the news in case her children might overhear distressing stories. “We’re going to talk to them about it when we feel they can handle it,” she said. Her children were 13 and nine.

I know about lies because at an important juncture in my own family life, my husband and I did not tell our daughter the whole truth, with difficult and enduring consequences.

I had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that killed my youngest sister and for which my middle sister had just finished treatment. My daughter, Gloria, was seven. “I have cancer. But don’t worry, it’ll be fine,” we told her, failing to take into account her presence at my sister’s funeral a few years earlier. My husband and I didn’t say much more. Gloria didn’t ask any questions. To be honest, we were relieved. It was not at all definite that I would survive, and that’s not a conversation you want to have with a child. I didn’t even have it with my husband.

I went to hospital. And my daughter observed quietly when I returned, post-surgery, with a drain, stitches and bloody bandages, unable to lift my arm more than a few inches.

A week later, there was a second operation, followed by chemotherapy. I looked and felt awful.

It was about six months later that I realised two things. First, that although we’d been all jolly and casual at home about my illness, the other people in her life – her teachers and friends’ parents – were, quite innocently, showing nakedly shocked faces. “I hear your mother has cancer,” they whispered in voices that expressed to a sentient seven-year-old that something very awful indeed was going on. In addition, by not explaining the situation properly, we somehow neglected to make it clear that I was so ill because of the treatment rather than the disease. That was enormous.

Think about it. She heard I had cancer. Within days I was hospitalised. I went bald, lost weight, looked sick and exhausted, my right arm was covered with streaky bruises from the intravenous infusions. She had seen my sister in a similar condition a few months before she died.

Gloria, logically, thought that I was dying.

My husband and I didn’t set out to lie, but we certainly didn’t tell the whole truth. We didn’t tell because she didn’t ask. She didn’t ask because she sensed that it was a difficult subject.

Yet “protecting her” from what was going on turned out to be a gross underestimation of our child’s ability to measure atmosphere, to absorb pain and doubt and worry and convert it into a perfectly reasonable (but wrong) explanation.

Over the next decade, I learned that lies of omission can have consequences as devastating as “real” lies, the ones where you decide not to tell a child he’s adopted or that her sister is really her mother.

During those years, my bold, confident daughter became fearful. She began to experience night terrors, strange waking states in which she’d seem unable to connect and I’d be unable to console her. She became frightened of the dark, frightened of going to sleep, terrified of being the last person awake in the house.

Nowadays, as a writer of books for children and teenagers, I meet a lot of kids between 12 and 18 when I go into schools to talk about books. In those sessions, I started asking what frightened them. Spiders, they said, or death. Or someone close dying. “What about being the last person awake in the house?” I asked. And the reaction of the majority astonished me.

“That’s really scary,” they said.

It’s scary, I discovered, because it means you’re responsible. There’s no adult to help if a burglar comes in, or a monster; if there’s an emergency. It resonates with a bigger fear, the fear that adults won’t always be around to protect you. That your parents will die. That you, someday, will die.

I have no hard evidence that Gloria suffered so badly, and for so long, because of our failure to be more open with her about my cancer. But she remembers being very frightened when I went to hospital, not knowing if I’d come back. And she kept the terror to herself.

There are nights at the theatre you never forget, and one of them was a production of Ibsen’s Ghosts at the National with a then unknown (to me) actor called Simon Russell Beale. He played Oswald, whose father has died of syphilis after a life of alcoholism and debauchery. In the play, his mother sends Oswald away so he won’t ever know the truth about his father, and, particularly, so that he won’t ever follow the same path.

And yet he does. Ghosts always reads to me as a play about the futility of attempting to suppress difficult truths – how it does the opposite of rendering them powerless. The unsaid festers and grows until it infects everyone with poison, or in the case of Oswald and his father, syphilis.

I asked a counsellor who works at Great Ormond Street hospital with young transplant patients how he handles talking to very ill children and traumatised families.

“There are parents who can’t even bear to tell a child he’ll be operated on the next day,” he said. “And that’s really damaging. They think they’re protecting the child, but what they’re really doing is protecting themselves from their own appalling fear of loss.”

Parental fear underlies a great deal of the dishonesty perpetrated in the name of protecting children. I couldn’t survive if something happened to you so I must protect you at all costs, parents think. That’s not about the child, it’s about the parent.

I once wrote about teen suicide, and a lovely, articulate teenage girl emailed in response, saying she understood what it felt like to self harm and attempt suicide. She did both on a regular basis. “Have you talked to your parents?” I asked.

“I tried to tell my mother,” she said, “but she started to cry. She’s been under a lot of pressure with my depression and I don’t want to upset her more.”

 

Lies lead to more lies. The child who senses that the parent can’t cope with her vulnerability will hide the truth. Which leads to a situation in which communication shuts down altogether. Not that the pain of children can always be solved. It can’t. Any more than it can for adults. But the cases that chill me to the marrow are the “happy, well-adjusted” children who suddenly hang themselves, leaving desperate messages behind. What’s hidden will grow into a monster.

There is a theory that children’s literature should uphold the idyll of childhood, offering charming scenarios and happy endings to protect the innocent from life’s harsh realities. But children have extraordinary antennae for the things no one will explain. If a child has enough imagination to conjure dragons and monsters under the bed, he has enough imagination to figure out that something adults won’t talk about must be truly terrifying. Sex, for instance, divorce or death. And that’s where literature can help – by exploring the scary stuff with insight and, on a good day, wisdom.

Gloria’s wonderful primary school headteacher once told me that at about age seven to nine, kids start to change, emotionally. They start to separate from their parents, start thinking about death, worrying about being grown up. When I was about that age, I lay in bed, night after night, frozen with terror at the concept of eternal nothingness. I told no one, so no one told me that it’s possible to combat the fear of death with a life well-lived, that death can be a relief and a release, not just a terrifying conclusion.

If you don’t talk to kids about the difficult stuff, they worry alone.

I wish we’d talked to my daughter about my cancer. She was young, but she wasn’t stupid. It took a very long time for her to lose her fear of the dark, of being awake when all the grownups are asleep. Sixteen now, she’s wonderfully independent, funny, thoughtful and brave. Do you ever think about me having cancer? I ask her now. Does it ever worry you? “Not really,” she says. “But I worry about getting cancer myself.” That, given our family history, is perfectly reasonable.

And what about Evie and her mother? My friend came out with the truth soon after we spoke. Both couples have since divorced, both sets of children travel between the various families and everyone involved seems to have reconciled with reasonable equanimity to the change.

Give a child an unpalatable truth and she will figure out a way to process it. But “protect” her and the ghosts will whisper in her ear.

 

 

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What To Consider When Purchasing Your Office Furniture

Selecting new furniture for your office may not be the toughest task on your long list of things to do, but if you think it’s just a case of ordering the first things you come across that seem to fit the bill; you may be missing a trick. The furniture in an office can have a big impact on the way that everyone works and the wrong kind of equipment could cause problems in the future.

So whether you’re refurbishing your office or just looking for a few items that will improve your working environment; what should you be thinking about?

Comfort

Comfort should be high up on the list when purchasing any type of furniture and it is no different in the office environment. The last thing you want is for your workers to be complaining that they are not comfortable as this could possibly lead to health issues in the future and may mean people are off work for some time.

You also need to think about your clients and the fact that they could possibly be using the furniture at some point. If they end up sitting on an uncomfortable chair then it could reflect badly on your company and it may even put them off doing business with you.

It’s not just chairs that need to be comfortable either. Things like desks and tables still need to be ergonomic so that they are easy to use.

Productivity –

You may not think it but office furniture can have a great impact on the productivity of your staff. Not just because uncomfortable furniture will mean they are less likely to be able to concentrate but there are also issues of practicality. Will chairs with wheels on mean that your staff are constantly fidgeting or will it mean they can communicate better with people from other areas of the office?

It’s also important to think about productivity when selecting storage options. If it’s easy to store things and access them when needed then less time will be wasted searching through cupboards and cabinets to find what you are looking for.

The Growth Of Your Business

You may only have a few employees working for you at the moment but it is important to think about how you are going to grow as a business when conducting your office refit or refurbishment. It may work out cheaper to buy desks and chairs in bulk now rather than just buying a few for now and then purchasing them singularly as and when more people join the company.

You should also think about how technology is going to affect your working environment in the future. Things change quickly in the technology world and so you may need to make arrangements for future develops. For example, will you be incorporating video conferencing in the future? Thinking ahead will mean you are better prepared for your company’s impending expansion.

Space Planning –

How you arrange your office can have a big impact on the general atmosphere and productivity of the workplace. Therefore when you are choosing pieces of office furniture you should be aware of exactly how much free space you have and exactly where things will be going when they arrive. Over filling your office with equipment could lead to a crammed working environment which will not prove fruitful at all.

Cleanliness –

Hygiene is important in any workplace and so you need to take into account the type of material your furniture is made from. Something that shows stains and that isn’t easy to clean may not be the best choice in an environment where cleanliness is a priority.

Featured images:

Chris Mayhew works within an office environment and understands how important furniture can be to the dynamics of a workplace. He would recommend that anyone looking to fit out their office visits the Premier Office Solutions website.

 

 

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The Office Of The Future

FE_DA_100318_FutureOffice_OpenAs technology advances, attitudes and ways of working shift over time, our perception of the modern office changes accordingly, too.  But what does the future hold for the typical office environment and what can we expect to find?  Read on for an insight.

Open spaces

In the future, office environments will be more focused on creating open spaces for their workers.  An open environment is thought to be better for allowing people to commune, share ideas, let communication flow easier and foster feedback.

There will be less emphasis on people having their own desk areas that they sit at solidly for eight hours.  Instead, workers will move to different hubs or zones within the office to complete specific tasks.

Managers will also need to show a more visible presence on the work floor, with the days of bosses being segregated into their own office areas diminishing over time.

Technology and equipment

With strides in technology, the office of the future will be less reliant on some of the bulky, cumbersome pieces of machinery that has served them in the past.  Equipment to help workers do their jobs will become smaller and more efficient.

Modular Smartphones could replace computers and tablets, and there will be greater emphasis on using mobile equipment on the go.  Virtual keyboards that fit onto any surface will make working anywhere much easier.  Cloud services will mean more workers can edit or comment on information at the same time.

Workers will be able to keep their technology skills updated with the increase in e-learning services.

Pressure to reduce our carbon footprint and conserve energy will see offices striving to achieve a paperless environment, as well as using apps and devices to monitor or control energy usage.

Flexibility

Flexibility in the workplace will become the norm and accepted way of working for the office of the future.  On the one hand, this means workers will increasingly be able to dictate the hours and environment where they work to fit in with their lifestyle.  Changes in technology will make this much easier to happen.  Workers will also have much more say in what they get involved with and how they manage projects, rather than being reliant on guidance from hierarchical superiors.

On the other hand, flexibility in the workplace will mean a less rigid and structured environment.  Workplaces will become more fluid, to meet the ever changing demands of the business.  Pop up work environments will become more commonplace, with workspace design focusing more on adaptability.

Health and safety

The office of the future will be more health and safety focused, with specific emphasis on the individual.  As more and more employers recognise the necessity for good ergonomic office furniture to boost productivity, there will be a shift towards providing an environment that nourishes the worker.  Health-conscious designs of office furniture will promote physical activity in the workplace, reducing the reliance on a sedentary environment.  Treadmill workstations and using exercise balls to sit on instead of the office chair will become the norm.

Written by Crispin who enjoys keeping up with the latest technology and this post is a prediction. Written for Automatic Access.

 

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What Type Of Furniture A Company Should Buy For Its Employees

Office furnitureEmployees, equipment and even clients rely on the furniture that is in an office or other work setting every day. Chairs, desks, tables and filing cabinets contribute to productivity and comfort during working hours. It is not always easy to choose the furniture for an office. Many companies must decide between different features in order to find the right balance of size, comfort and functionality. Every business should look a few key features when choosing furniture for employees.

Adjustable

The furniture that employees use in an office or other setting should be adjustable. This means that tables or workstations can be raised or lowered as needed. Chairs should be adjustable as well. Chairs that have adjustable armrests and the ability to tilt in different directions will fit the shape and size of any body. Additionally, adjustable furniture is important in order to prevent workplace injuries that result from poor ergonomic positioning. Employees who are forced to operate in an awkward or uncomfortable position will be less productive and might even require regular medical attention for aches, pains and conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Comfortable

Comfort is very important. This is especially true for employees who will be using a few pieces of furniture for an entire day. Uncomfortable furniture will create problems that lower morale and that could affect performance. An uncomfortable metal chair will force employees to stop working and stand up or walk around frequently. An uncomfortable desk with hard edges and an overly high surface will make it difficult to stay organized. Some poorly designed furniture might even contribute to injuries because of hard edges and surfaces. Comfortable furniture will allow employees to focus exclusively on work.

Environmentally Friendly

Many offices are looking for ways to become greener. Part of this is done to lower the environmental impact of the business. It is also done to help the surrounding community and to address the environmental concerns of customers. Businesses should purchase green office furniture whenever possible. These are pieces made from sustainable materials like bamboo or recycled materials like steel or plastic. This reduces the footprint of the business. It will also encourage employees to follow good recycling and energy conservation practices while working.

Mobile Or Modular

The furniture that employees use needs to be functional and flexible. Modular office furniture is becoming increasingly popular for this reason. Modular furniture allows employees to assemble several small components into a single desk, workstation or cubicle. Employees can change the design of an area to meet personal needs and preferences. Mobile or lightweight furniture is also useful. This makes it possible to rearrange an office quickly or to move items to a new area in order to accommodate seasonal workers or construction.

 

Easily Repaired And Cleaned

Businesses will benefit from furniture that is easy to maintain and clean. Employees will be using the furniture constantly every day. This can wear down even the most durable chairs and cabinets. Furniture that has simple connections and solid construction will last for a long time and can be repaired in a few minutes when necessary. Pieces of furniture that are easy to clean because of the materials or the design are very convenient. This prevents spilled coffee or other accidents from ruining the appearance of the piece.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: depositphoto.com

Eleanor Parson is a blogger and suggests Coopers Office Furniture for employers looking to build or improve their office space.

 

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The Pros And Cons Of Business Cards For Small Businesses

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The traditional business card harkens from an era where a firm handshake and a “call me tomorrow to discuss” paved the way to a signed contract. Despite today’s proliferation of digital communications, for some businesses a traditional card still makes sense. Weighing whether to go digital to stick with the paper? Here are some pros and cons for leaving an impression with a printed business card.

 

The Pros

For many small business owners, marketing doesn’t come naturally. A business card is a simple and established way to network and get your small business known in the community. Here are some other advantages:

  • Deliver Important Information: A business card is meant to provide vital information about your business, including phone number, address and website. These details can help prospective customers find your business easily.
  • Create a Positive First Impression: Delivering a very practical and convenient marketing tool, the business card can help you make a great and lasting first impression.
  • Save Time: Handing over a business card takes less time than writing down your phone number, address and website.
  • It’s Inexpensive: Ordered in large quantities, business cards deliver some of the most inexpensive marketing tools you can find today. A business promotion expense, the printing and design fees can be written off on your taxes and paid for using your company’s business prepaid debit card.
  • It’s Effective: Although digital business cards are becoming more popular, many business owners prefer having something physical to hand out to potential customers they face to face. Business cards are especially effective if you’re in an offline or creative industry. Graphic design firms, arts and crafts companies, and painting services can showcase their unique talent and service in the design of a printed business card.

 

A Few Cons

You’ve worked hard to start your own business and are no doubt excited to promote it any way you can. It’s important to consider the appropriate channels to promote your business, and business cards may not always be the best solution.

 

  • Cost: It’s true that business cards are inexpensive, especially when ordered in large quantities. However, small businesses typically don’t need thousands of business cards at one time. Ordering business cards in small quantities can make them quite expensive. Additionally, there are situations when business information changes. This implies additional costs because you have to replace your old business cards with new ones. Business cards that stay in boxes whether because of excessive quantity or outdated information are simply a wasted expense.
  • Accessibility: Another essential drawback consists of the fact that you may forget to take your business cards with you. In this case, the only thing you can do is to write your telephone number and address on a piece of paper, which is quite unprofessional.
  • Organization: Consider your card recipient’s preferred way of networking. As people adopt digital forms of saving contact information, the business card may become a cumbersome requirement of time and file organization.

Being aware of the disadvantages related to business cards, more and more business owners opt for digital business cards, which deliver a fantastic way to showcase products and services. However, experts advise businesspeople to use these alternatives only to complement the paper business card, which remains the most valuable tactile reminder of a company.

Marilyn Smith specializes in covering the latest news of interest to small business owners, including business prepaid debit cards.

 

 

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The Secrets To Dressing For Success

dress_for_successLawyers of all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, practicing in various industries, and regardless of whether they’re a female or male need to know a thing or two about dressing for success. It doesn’t matter if you’re already an associate or you’re just finishing up law school, these tips will apply to interviews, company mixers, and your every day job.

Many people like to avoid dressing for success because they believe their skills and their talents should speak for themselves. And this is absolutely true. But you shouldn’t think of dressing for the job as a means of vanity. Dressing up, playing the part, and looking sharp while doing so is about coming off as confident, put-together, and intelligent. That’s right, the clothes you wear and the way you wear them can influence how others perceive you. And to lawyers who must constantly sell themselves to clients and sell their clients to juries, there’s no better way to make an air of distinction than with a great suit.

Here are a few secrets on dressing for success. You’ll look good, but you’ll feel good, too.

If The Shoe Fits…

A common mistake many people make when picking out clothes is not knowing their size. You might pick out a slick $5000 suit, but if it doesn’t fit right, you might as well be wearing a potato sack! Size plays a major part in dressing up for the job, so much so that it can make a cheap dress look great simply because it fits correctly.

If you’re unsure about your size, go to a tailor and get measured. Many department stores even staff their own tailors who are always available to make measurements. After you have a couple numbers to work with, the most important thing is to not be ashamed of them! If you think you’re too big or too small, it really doesn’t matter once you’ve got the outfit that fits right.

Talk to a personal shopper or a retail associate about finding colors that look best on you, styles that fit your body, and trends you can own. Stripes look good on just about everybody, and so do neutral colors like navy blue. You can’t go wrong when you have a few of these essentials in your closet.

It’s Better To Be Overdressed Than Underdressed

We all have this image that lawyers are always dressed to the nines, making sure to have their suits dry cleaned and their shoes polished. In reality, only a small percentage of lawyers dress so extravagantly. The rest of us might work in more relaxed settings where a full suit and tie isn’t necessary; maybe just some khakis and a nice sweater. While this might be perfect attire for the office, it’s not necessarily perfect attire for meeting with clients.

You know better that not all lawyers wear Armani suits, but your clients will be expecting someone with an air of confidence, someone who can fight their case like it was their own. Khakis and a sweater might not inspire that kind of confidence. The moral of the story is that you should always dress up, even when your office lets you sport a more relaxed feel.

Afraid of being overdressed? The old saying, “It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed” starts to ring quite true here. People might scoff at a person in ripped jeans and white t-shirt, but they’ll almost never second-guess a person in a sharp suit. When it comes to your job, you really can’t ever be too dressed up. So iron those shirts, fix up those blazers, and make sure you look presentable no matter where you’re going or whom you’re meeting with.

Have Personal Flair

There are a lot of business fashion trends right now. Pointy-toed heels are in for women, striped suits are starting to make a comeback for men, and so on. But no matter which styles you like the best, remember to always have a little personal flair accompany your outfit. Whether it’s a tie, a fun watch, or your favorite necklace, making the outfit “your own” will sell it all the more.

Be careful not to over accessorize or stray too far from social norms. Even if you’re a little bit ahead of the fashion trends, stick to mostly modern clothing and keeping it subdued. You’re in the business of helping others, so you should never wear an outfit that steals the spotlight for yourself.

From job interviews to networking events to client meetings, you never know how people are going to perceive you. Therefore, you should always set out to make the best first impressions possible by dressing for success. Wearing clothes that fit, are considered “dressy,” and have a little bit of a personal touch are a safe bet regardless of what your schedule looks like.

Pete is a blogger working for Cecil & Geiser. When I’m not posting to my Facebook page, I’m assisting the columbus injury attorneys in my office

 

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What is a Business Postcard and Does Your Business Need One?

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Every business owner knows that marketing is crucial to the success of your business. However, like most business owners in today’s tight economy, marketing budgets are smaller than desired, and what you do purchase must have a real impact on the potential client. Selecting marketing material that will set your business, service or product apart is what will give you an advantage over your competitors. It must be something memorable, it must be something colorful, and it must be something affordable.

The 4×6 Inch Card

One of the most effective and affordable marketing tools available are 4×6-sized cards. These postcards, created in full color and printed on a very high quality stock, can be used to pass out to potential clients in place of a business card, mailed out to potential clients, or used as a insert in local newsletters and publications.

The larger format cards can be designed to include pictures of your business, your product or the effects of your service. Offering so much more space and creative potential than a business card, they have multiple uses.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Every kind of business can benefit from these marketing tools. Photographers and art galleries can create beautiful postal sized cards to showcase works of art that are available or important gallery openings. Real estate companies can use them to promote their office or their sales reps. Retail centers can create beautiful 4×6 cards to distribute to promote special sales or new inventory.

The Results Are Fabulous

Standard business cards are a great reminder for people that want to use you for business in the future. However, postal-sized cards give the potential client a visual of what to expect from your company and it stimulates all of their senses. When their senses are stimulated, as any good marketing professional knows, people are more likely to react positively with a purchase because they want to fill the desire they have created within themselves for the product or service.

Better Marketing Budgets

From the financial aspect of marketing, mailing cards create a way for businesses to reach a large amount of people with a very limited cost. All businesses need to watch their advertising budgets, and using 4×6 cards can help these businesses meet these goals.

Postal cards can be printed in any quantity, with large amounts receiving better prices. Because they are easy to design and simple to produce, they can also be changed often to continue to meet the needs of the business. Once you have created a card, you are not “stuck” with that design. You are free to change it as often as necessary so that you always have the highest results from your efforts.

All businesses from every industry can and will benefit from using 4×6 cards to market their business. In fact, once you see the incredible results you receive from this marketing tool, you may wonder how you were ever successful without them.

Using postcards to help advertise her own art business, Ann Bailey relays these marketing tips for other small business owners. The online ordering company, Signazon(dot)com, offers easy set-up and design templates for quick card design, and takes care of all production so your company’s professional 4×6 advertising cards come ready to mail.

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/5548053540/

 

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Go Greener With A Garden Office

IMG_1362The time has long since passed that sheds and summer houses were used only as storage facilities or home extensions. A whole wave of garden offices and studios are combining the outdoors with the indoors to create eco-buildings that are green in more ways than one.
Saving expenses
Many business owners are choosing to skip the commute nowadays and run their business virtually or from home. Not only are they avoiding the rocket-high rentals on a city office building, but the maintenance too   on everything from heating bills to paying for internet and electronic equipment. Add in daily travel and food costs and it starts to become clear why this so-called ‘shedworking’ craze has taken off.
If this is something you’re considering, it pays to do some research. Find out how much a second line for phone and internet might cost and if you already have an existing shed or outhouse, research the steps you would have to take to insulate and light it effectively. Initial costs may seem high, so weigh up potential savings over time compared to leasing a serviced office and work out how the books will balance.
Built-in green features
There are all sorts of extra ways you can promote the environment from your own backyard. Building the shed yourself is much more cost-effective and satisfying, with a range of recycled materials available: used doors and windows, reclaimed laminate and even slates made from rainpipe guttering can help make the project a worthy one.
If you want to go all out for the environment, solar panels can be installed on the roof, again reducing your company outgoings over time. Then there’s the decoration. Use cladding or roll mat plants for your shed roof and you have an instant flood defence, insulation and the bonus of an attractive, natural look.
An alternative to a new shed one that has been used already. It’s worth visiting the local garden centres and asking if they have any ex-display sheds they want to get rid of – these will normally be heavily reduced in price, you’ll just need to do a little dismantling and rebuilding.
An eco-friendly business can still be achieved in the home at reduced cost but it may be the case that your home life and work life are not so easily separated, with kids in the next room or noise from the kitchen down the hall. A private space of your own is a precious thing and coupled with green savings, the garden office is a useful feature indeed.

Daniel Parkinson is a finance and business blogger who gets out his green fingers at the weekend. He’s currently writing a book about eco-business. He has used www.enviromat.co.uk on a number of occasions.

 

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Ordering Office Supplies For Your Small Business

AdobeCreativeCloud_promo122412In these tough times for the economy as a whole you certainly won’t want reminding of the need to remain afloat while other firms falter around you. This has not just affected small online companies but big names on the high street too. So it is now more important than ever to keep track of your spending on essentials such as office equipment and stationery.
Whether you run the enterprise from the comfort of your own home office, rent out premises in the city centre, or have rental space in a building on the outskirts of town, it is necessary to fit the place out with all you need to ensure the smooth running of the business.
No matter if you sell products direct to the customer, or supply other firms with the parts they require in keeping their operations going, you will be expected to maintain a tight ship with regards to your paperwork.
This means that you should take stock of all you own and the equipment pertinent to your organisation. Printing is a requirement for nearly all firms, in all industries (even if the majority of business is conducted online), so your printers need to have spare cartridges ready and the mail ready to send out, without any delay.
Office furniture and hardware is another consideration for any SME, irrespective of its sector. Staff will have to sit somewhere and if your company ever invites customers or prospective clients to your offices it certainly pays to devote time and effort on the right décor, in fitting with your brand image.
Personalised stationery may not be a must, but in some cases it can really help to get your message across to your audience. These are the kinds of decisions you will have to make as you contemplate what will be beneficial to your firm in the long run.
Even if you conduct your business at home, it is recommended you differentiate this room to the rest of your house as this can have a psychological effect on your work and how you go about it.
So when ordering the supplies you need from a dedicated office products and services company, make a definitive list of the things which are essential in maintaining the smooth flow of your operations. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you will be expected to invest in all the right areas, including the physical office space.

Article written by Shane Peters who recommends http://www.mgmofficesupplies.ie for office supplies.

 

 

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