Monday, June 27, 2016

3 Steps to Savings Security

Everyone should have an emergency fund of three to six months worth of mandatory expenses set aside – just in case; just in case you lose your job, just in case you get sick, or just in case your husband calls you up out of the blue and says “I quit.”

Building up that kind of fund will not happen as quickly as most of us would like (unless you have a rich relative or win the lottery). It will also not happen if you continue to put off your savings until … the kids are out of the house, the credit cards are paid off, or the mortgage is paid in full. It will really not happen at all if you use that fund to pay for new tires, or medical expenses, or other small items along the way. The emergency fund has to become a priority habit and has to remain off limits.

1. Put aside money at the first of each pay check. Most people wait until all the bills are paid and miscellaneous is spent before they try to save. Consider the emergency fund paying yourself and do that before you do anything else.

2. Cut all unnecessary expenses. If the money is tight then it is time to cut. Don’t get the sports package on cable. Even better, don’t get cable. Use your time to do something more constructive.

3. Get another job. Maybe your neighbors could use some one to mow their lawn or rake their leaves. Any where you can pick up a few extra bucks – and tag this money for the emergency fund and nothing else.

It takes more than money to build up an emergency fund. You have to form the habit of savings. These three steps will get you well on your way. The important thing is not how much you set aside (especially in the beginning) but that you train yourself to make savings a priority in your finances.

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3 Steps to Keeping Pets Out of Danger During Christmas

While the holidays can be a fun time for humans, they can be a disaster for our furry friends. There is so much excitement and events happening that they can become distressed and nervous by the time they are all over with. If you want to keep your pets out of danger, there are three steps you can take to do this. With the all the spending that is being done, these steps are perfect because they are free!

Keep Agitated Pets Away From Guests – If you know that your pet may bite or scratch someone when they become nervous, they should never be allowed in the public areas of the home when guest are there. You can end up with a pet that has to be put down because they have harmed someone who does not take it well. Have an area that is set aside for the animals so they do not become overwhelmed with all the activities.

Do Not Feed Animals Table Scraps – While you may want to reward your pet with their own “holiday meal”, this is not a good idea. Animals do not have the same digestive systems that we humans have and the food can be too rich for them. The table scraps may not kill them, but they certainly can lead to indigestion and or diarrhea and that can be uncomfortable for your animals. Instead, get them a special can of dog or cat food or a treat that they can have for the special occasion.

Keep Hazardous Materials Out Of Reach – Anything that can be choked on or that is poisonous for your pet must be kept out of reach. This includes tinsel on the tree, candles and electrical chords. Unless you can supervise your pet every minute of the day, they should be kept away from these hazardous materials. Pets do not understand that these are not toys for them. They react to sight and smell and many of these items attract their attention.

While the holidays can be a fun time for humans, pets do not understand what all the fuss is about. Keep them safe by allowing them privacy during holidays when there are unknown guests in the home and do not feed them table scraps. Make sure any hazardous materials are kept away from their reach.

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3 Steps to Employment

The holidays are here and if the only words that will bring you cheer are, “you are hired,” than this December is a great opportunity for you! With the employment rates hovering at all time highs, it may seem as if there are no positions available, but with creativity on your side, anything is possible. Follow these simple steps and you will be on your way to employment.

Networking

It is not a myth that the best way to get ahead is through networking. You need to create the opportunity to get yourself up on a platform to promote your ideas, passion, and experience. The best way to accomplish this task is through friends, former co-workers and bosses. Even family members are great resources if you can set aside your pride long enough to allow the help. These people most often believe in you, know your abilities and are willing to vouch for you. They are the proverbial, “foot in the door.”

Job Shopping at Holiday Parties

This year, the best way to get an informal interview is through scouting out company holiday parties. If your friend offers to take you to their company party, do not refuse! While at the party, act responsibly and be engaging. Leave a great lasting impression with the other employees in case you do land the job. Tactfully make your way to conversation with the managers/owners of the company. Be confident, professional, and personable. Listen for cues in the conversation to express how you would be an asset to his or her business.

Research

Being prepared is the key in showing you are responsible and have a vision for yourself as well as your potential employer. Once you have made it face to face with a manager/owner, knowing how to sell your self is crucial. Have your research done so you know exactly how you can profit the company with your fresh ideas to further its growth. Just imagine if you were the boss, and someone came to you with a convincing plan for how they could increase your revenue significantly, would you be able to refuse them employment? In business, the force behind many hiring decisions is money. Believe in yourself that you can bring them success and they will buy into your ideas.

These simple principles backed with hard work and determination will land you that job you have been eyeing. For a great example of this, watch the last episode of the fall 2010 season of The Apprentice. Both candidates had put in hard work, but in the end, Brandy had a plan for furthering the Trump organization and that is what sealed the deal. So this season, remember to follow these tips and enjoy your holiday party job shopping!

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3 Strategies to Improve Meetings

Picture this: You’ve called a mandatory work meeting. You’re yodeling about “recent developments” that didn’t change from yesterday, last quarter, last year.

Your co-workers are doodling. Squiggly lines, diagonal lines – a few are creative and draw goofy-looking caricatures that, oddly enough, resemble you.

However you draw it, you need strategies to improve meetings.

Avoid office-cooler gossip with an agenda

Prepare an agenda and email the agenda days – not minutes – before the meeting. This will give your co-workers time to prepare.

If, for example, the meeting is informative in nature and no problem needs to be solved, the agenda should provide bullet-points about the topics that will be discussed. In another example, a meeting that requires a definitive solution to a problem should note in the agenda what needs to be solved, possible solutions, and ask attendees to bring possible solutions to the meeting.

The agenda also serves as a way to steer conversation back to the subject at hand – especially if discussion turns into office-cooler gossip.

The clock rules

Schedule your meeting for a specific amount of time, then reduce the number by about 15 percent. A meeting schedule for an hour will last around 50 minutes, for example. With less time and an agenda, participants should be able to keep on task.

In the meeting room, set the alarm on your cell phone or bring a timer. When time is up, the meeting’s done. Don’t extend it into a marathon-length session if the issue didn’t get resolved or all the information communicated. The best solution is to reschedule another meeting for the appropriate length of time. But don’t fall into a trap of rescheduling meetings about previous meetings that rehash meetings of other meetings!

Is team effort needed?

Call a meeting only if it requires team effort or team communication. The meeting is a tool used to inform your co-workers and/or solve a problem with their help that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to solve on your own. Taking employees away from their daily tasks is expensive and a waste of time.

Improving the efficiency and productivity of your meetings may just keep your co-workers from doodling caricatures of you while listening to “recent developments.”

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3 Steps to Make Your Wildest Dreams Come True

I won’t say that finding and living the American Dream is an easy endeavor, nor will I fool you into believing it can happen overnight. But there are certainly expedited methods to realizing your deepest, most heartfelt dreams. I know how important those dreams are to you. I understand you’ve had visions, goals, and serious dreams for yourself ever since you were a child.

In this article, I offer you a helpful practice, and one that may precipitate the full manifestation of those deep, inner wishes and dreams. At first, the practice I suggest to you might seem ironic, contradicting, or foolish, but once you think about it for awhile, I think you will make the connection.

Focus on One Dream

People have many desires. It’s all wrapped up in the idea of the American Dream. My suggestion is that you sit in a quiet room, think hard, and discover one primary dream. Once you find it, you can more pointedly focus on that coveted dream. This is important. Don’t skip this step. This is number (1) one.

‘Boil It Down’

Focus on your main goal in life and make sure this is really what your dream is. You must understand your dream on various levels. Picture it, make a movie in your mind about what living this dream would happen to be like. If you want to be the servant who serves the president breakfast every morning, you must think of yourself in that role, imagine the emotional aspect, the physical aspect, and ask questions like, Why do I want this for myself? This is an important function and you must go through with it. This is step number (2) two, and you cannot spend too much time with this step.

Material Reminders

Here is where my advice becomes interesting. You may naysay me and ask, What dream has he accomplished for himself. Is he living the American Dream? I assure you, this deviation from topic will get you nowhere and ill-serve you. Material reminders are important because they continuously remind you of personal goals and dreams throughout the day. If you’re constantly thinking about your dreams, then you will realize them quicker. Read Annie Besant’s ‘Thought Forms’ for more on that. This is step (3) three, and it represents the physical realm of abstract desiring. Here is an example of a material method:

The Toilet Paper Method

I don’t have to preach to you (the choir, to turn a phrase) about the high level of concentration practiced in the bathroom. The bathroom might be the last place left in American society for individual solitude and true attention. Utilize it. Have your primary dream, which you have boiled down to a very focused point, printed on toilet paper (you can do that at Custom Printed Toilet Paper). In the heat of high concentration, you will be repeatedly focused on your dream as it keeps rolling, almost infinitely, while you practice modern hygiene. Don’t fall for ‘how nice the toilet paper looks’ with your dream printed on it. To make it effective — to make it work — you must use the toilet paper. This is only one method, and I only give it to you as an example. You may, and should, practice many methods of material reminders.

Rejection

Finally, do not be discouraged by rejection. Dreams don’t, as I have stated, happen overnight — except for that one night, or morning, when it does, suddenly, seem to happen. But that takes fortnights of overnights, and you should not be discouraged, only motivated.

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3 Things that Should Be Included in BioShock Infinite's DLCs

Now that BioShock Infinite has been out for a little over a month, gamers are beginning to wonder what is planned for its three DLCs. While the main story of Infinite is complete, there are many interesting directions extra content can explore. Here’s a few things that should be included in the BioShock Infinite DLC.

More about Columbia’s monsters and Vigors
Fink witnessed what seems to be the creation of Rapture’s Big Daddies through a tear. However, it would be interesting if we saw exactly what he did, instead of just heard about it through the Voxophone. Another open issue is Vigors. Why doesn’t Columbia’s citizens use them like the people of Rapture did? Vigors are common knowledge in Columbia, and a few of them were shown at the Fair. Did Fink warn Columbia about the dangers of Vigors because he saw what Plasmids did to Rapture? To get a closer look at how Songbird or the Vigors were created would give gamers a chance to reconnect with Rapture, and flesh out Fink’s story more.

Elizabeth’s time as Columbia’s leader
When Elizabeth surrenders to Songbird, Booker sets out to rescue her. He crosses a foggy bridge where it’s snowing on the other side. Once inside, he finds several tears. One of them mentions he never came back to rescue Elizabeth. Losing hope, she finally gave into Comstock’s demands and attacked New York City in the 1980s. In Infinite, older Elizabeth gives Booker a note and sends him back to find young Elizabeth. However, we don’t know much about Elizabeth’s time as leader of the city. She created the Boys of Silence, but there isn’t many details. Was her reign worse than Comstock’s? Hopefully, a DLC will focus on Columbia during Elizabeth’s rise to power.

Booker and the Vox
After opening a tear, Booker and Elizabeth find themselves in a universe where he’s the hero of the Vox. This Booker apparently sacrificed himself for Daisy’s cause. Just like with Fink, this plot is mostly told through Voxophones. Of course, once the Vox see a very much alive Booker running around, they try to kill him for being a pretender. For a DLC, it would be great to explore exactly how Booker went from reluctantly helping the Vox to being their savior.

There are plenty of other directions the DLC in BioShock Infinite can take, like including more about Lady Comstock or the Luteces. They can also be used to introduce new characters, as some sources suggest. As long as the DLCs build on Columbia and gives the player new insights into its secrets, it is sure to be exciting.

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3 Things to Consider when Selecting Property for Flipping

I will be the first to admit a strong addiction to television shows that revolve around the practice of ‘flipping houses’ in order to make real estate profit. On one hand I am not much of a gambler by nature. On the other hand, the idea of making massive profits in a short amount of time is an idea that offers great appeal to someone like myself.

I have watched these shows for a couple of years now and when combined with the personal research I’ve done on the topic consider myself a good prospect for turning a profit in an endeavor such as this. There are a few things however, that could help maximize profits when making real estate transactions of this nature. These things should be carefully considered before purchasing a property with the intention of ‘flipping’ that house for real estate profit. This being said, flipping houses is a great way to turn an impressive profit with a minimal investment of time.

Keep the following things in mind when looking for the perfect property for your house flipping project and you should have a greater opportunity for success in the long run.

1) Location, location, location. There isn’t enough that can be said about this. In the right location you do not need to buy at a substantial discount in order to turn a respectable profit. The truth of the matter is that there are many areas in which real estate sales at a price that is above the actual “property value”. You must carefully consider the location in which you are considering buying. You do not want to buy a family style property to flip in a neighborhood that has struggling schools or a high crime rate. At the same time you do not want to try and work the ultimate bachelor’s pad right into the middle of a family neighborhood. Choose the location carefully when flipping houses and keep your end goal (profit) in mind.

2) Price. When flipping houses every penny you pay in the beginning is a penny of profit you won’t see on the other side. You want to negotiate the price very carefully. Make sure that you have all the proper inspections performed prior to purchase and negotiate according to the findings of those inspections as well. You want to place yourself in a position for prime profits when all is said and done. The lower the price you pay when flipping houses in the beginning the greater profit potential you will set yourself in place to receive.

3) Potential. While there are very few properties that have absolutely no potential to bring in a nice tidy return on the investment, some simply have more potential than others. Obviously you will be making some changes to the home in question in order to raise the profit potential. At the same time, you do not want to invest too much time, money, or energy into that process as each of those things take away from your bottom line profit. When flipping houses, you want the house that has the greatest potential with the least amount of labor.

There are many things you can do that will help you make more informed decisions along these lines. Partnering with a good real estate professional in the area is a great way to make the contacts necessary to earn a great profit. You should find that there are some that are more than willing to work with you in this capacity, especially if you intend to pursue this as a long-term investment strategy. You might also find that flipping houses becomes an addiction once you work out the kinks along the way. You should keep in mind however that real estate investing in general and flipping houses in particular is also a risky business venture. Arm yourself with knowledge of the benefits as well as the risks before taking a huge leap of faith.

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3 Thanksgiving Breakfast Ideas

When it comes to Thanksgiving, generally everyone thinks of the lunch and dinner feasts of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, yams, cranberries, stuffing, rolls, green bean casserole, and desserts. Many people don’t think about a Thanksgiving breakfast that will hold them over until the main feast.

A breakfast on Thanksgiving morning doesn’t have to be as big of a meal as the dinner itself, but breakfast should be added as a holiday tradition. This will enable the family to start the day with more reasons to be thankful and adding more memories to the holiday. With all the parades are on tv during the morning, create a meal that is light, portable, and easy to fix.

Pancakes and Sausage or Bacon

Fix a batch of pancakes with maple syrup. Better yet add blueberries, strawberries or chocolate chips to the pancake batter and serve with butter and whipped cream. Ok, we can include syrup, just switch out the traditional syrup with one of the other flavored syrups. Fry up some sausage or bacon to be added as a side dish. After all leftover sausage or bacon can surely be added to any of your Thanksgiving dinner dishes.

Fruit Trays

Fruit can be cut up into bite size chunks and served with a refreshing dip. Fruit trays can consist of strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, kiwi, mango, papaya, or any fruit that is a family favorite. Any dip for a fruit tray can be found in a cookbook or online. Tailor the dips to the family’s taste.

Crepes

Crepes are a thin pancake that can be filled with fruit or ice cream. Ok maybe ice cream in the morning isn’t something one would add to a breakfast, but it can add a whole new flavor to the crepes with the fruit filling. Make the crepes according to this Basic Crepe recipe. Slice strawberries, add blueberries, raspberries or any other fruit.

While there are more ideas that can be used for a Thanksgiving breakfast, these three ideas should help get the ball rolling

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3 Texas Hill Country Real Estate Guides

Finding real estate in the Texas Hill Country can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to look. Towns like Boerne, Canyon Lake, Bulverde and New Braunfels are rich with rolling hills, lush landscape and Texas wildlife. Spring Branch, Comfort, Schertz and Fredericksburg are also part of the Texas Hill Country, a place Texans consider a way of life rather than just a geographic location.

Many have abandoned life in the big city and opted for a more peaceful place to call home. With unmatched Southern hospitality, a culture all its own and a history as old Texas itself, the Texas Hill Country is an amazing place to live. It is the perfect place to purchase land to develop a ranch, settle into a quaint residential home or build a getaway dream house.

A lot of real estate in the Texas Hill Country can be pricey, so when looking to build (or buy) on a budget, I have recommended several real estate guides. Some of these guides are geared toward luxury living, but they all have something for the “average Joe.” You could be living in the Texas Hill Country before summer arrives. Wouldn’t you enjoy a quieter, more laid-back place to live?

Start searching for your spot in the Texas Hill Country using these 3 local real estate guides:

Texas Hills Magazine

www.TexasHills.com

I have to admit, I am partial to this publication because it is owned by a personal friend of mine, Kelley Glick, owner of Blue Sky Publications in Boerne, Texas. This premier real estate magazine is distributed in the Texas Hill Country, San Antonio and Houston-Galleria area. It is printed bi-monthly and more than 20,000 copies are put into distribution. A digital copy is conveniently featured online, the website is top-quality and easy to navigate. This real estate guide features a more upscale selection of homes for “Luxury Living in the Texas Hill Country.” The site also advertises some of the most successful and reasonably-priced real estate brokers in the area, making the process of finding your new home that much easier.

Boerne Area Real Estate Guide

The Boerne Area Real Estate Guide is another directory printed by Blue Sky Publications. Although the guide is not available online, many of the properties featured in publication can be viewed at www.TexasHills.com. The Boerne Area Real Estate Guide is a monthly publication, circulating 30,000 copies in Boerne and surrounding areas. It is a valuable real estate resource and Boerne’s first choice for printed real estate guides.

New Braunfels Real Estate Guide

I told you I was partial. This is another real estate guide from Blue Sky Publications, concentrating on the New Braunfels/Canyon Lake area, but also showing homes in Schertz, Bulverde and Spring Branch, This guide does not have its own website, but many of the homes in the printed real estate guide are shown online at www.TexasHills.com. This is a monthly publication, circulating 30,000 copies.

Well, what are you waiting for? Head for the hills!

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3 Suspended at Walt Disney World After Monorail Crash

In the wake of the Monorail crash at Walt Disney World on July 5th 2009 that killed the driver of one of the Monorails, Walt Disney World has suspended three employees with pay.

WaltDisney World representative Zoraya Suarez confirmed on July 9th, that the action against the employees was due to the monorail investigation and that it was still to be determined if it was due to disciplinary actions. The members that have been suspended after the crash are the monorail shop cast member, the monorail transportation manager that was on duty and a monorail pilot.

It had been reported, in the days that followed the crash that the Walt Disney World monorail manager was away at a Lake Buena Vista restaurant, relaying instructions through his two-way radio when the incident happened.

The National Transportation Safety Board has said that the victim, Wuennenberg, 21, had stopped his train and tried to back up to avoid the other train backing into him, after a switch failed to change position and all the two trains to pass one another. The NTSB, reports also that after their investigation at Walt Disney World, there have been no anomalies or malfunctions found with the train system.

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3 Supplements to Take After Working Out

Every man’s goal when they are lifting weights is to get bigger and to get more muscle mass on their body. You may not realize it, but supplements can play a huge role in reaching your true potential in gaining the muscle that you know you deserve. Supplements are just bridges to the nutrition that you are not getting from eating whole foods. But do you know what supplements work the best right after a workout. In this article I want to explain the three main supplements that should be used directly after you workout. Lets begin.

Whey Protein

If you could only buy one supplement at all, this would be the very first one I would tell you to buy. Protein is the essential building blocks to building lean muscle mass. Whey protein is great because it can be digested really fast. So what it does is goes and repairs the muscles that you have quickly broken down. You should take 25-50grams of protein powder right after you workout. If you can’t get to it as soon as your workout is complete, you can take it within 30 minutes. The reason why taking this supplement after your workout is important is because your body uses up the protein from you work out, so soon as you are finished with your training, the body is looking for more and more protein so that it can get to work repairing those damaged muscles.

Carbohydrates

Most men that are trying to put on weight are known as what the bodybuilding world call hard gainers. A hard gainer does not put on weight very easily, so have to eat more than the average person does. This leads me up to the second supplement that you will need to implement if you want gain weight. The supplement that I am talking about are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates is the force that gives your body the energy to do the workouts that you have been doing. When the “Low Carb Craze” happened, a lot of people jumped on the band wagon and they were calling carbs a bad thing. Not for the hard gainer. For us carbs can be our best friend . There are 2 kinds of carbs. There fast digesting or simple carbs. This would consist of soda, chips, honey, sugar, and juice. These are the somewhat bad carbs that most people tend to love. The other type of Carbs are complex carbs or slow digesting carbs. These consist of rice, potatoes, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and many others. If you really want to gain weight, you want consume simple carbs right after you work out. Simple carbs are mainly sugar. Sugar helps spike up insulin levels. Insulin helps rebuild your muscles faster. You should only take simple carbs directly after you workout. This should not be consumed during the day.

Caffeine

This is a great one for all of you coffee drinkers. The third supplement that you should be taking right after you workout is caffeine. Caffeine is a great way to build muscle fast right after your workout. It does two things for you. The first thing that caffeine does Is burn fat. So while you are building muscle, it gets rid of the fat that is being stored in your body. Another thing that caffeine does is that it also helps repair muscle faster. You should at least take the caffeine supplements after you workout or you just drink coffee straight black. Your tongue might hate you, but your muscles will thank you for it.

Supplements play a big role in helping hard gainers achieve the success that they want. Taking these three supplements right after you workout will help you reach your goals a whole lot faster.

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