Monday, December 5, 2016

10 Tips for Summer Travel

5 Tips for Summer Travel

The summer is one of the best times of year to do some traveling. Families and friends find time in the summer to go on vacations, anniversaries, honeymoons, and other fun excursions. We often make warm memories during these fun bonding times. However, these dream get-aways can turn into nightmares without good attitudes and proper preparation. Follow these five simple tips to get the most out of your summer traveling excursions.

1. Be Kind

Vacations are meant to be fun. You can be in the Bahamas or at Disney World and have a horrible time if everyone is grumpy. Respect one another. Respect others’ property and ask to use or touch someone’s possession before you just grab it. Respect each other with the words you use, also. No one likes to be verbally abused during a fun day at Six Flags.

2. Pack Well

Where are you going? Will you have easy access to a Wal-Mart? Then go easy on the food. Will you be in a place that has mosquitoes? Bring bug spray. Bring sunscreen and towels to the beach. Remember, you can never pack enough water, underwear, or socks. Pack based on where you are going. Make a list. Don’t forget the First Aid kit.

3. Check the Car

Are the tires inflated? Do you have any weird sounds that need to be checked out? Is it up to date with check ups? Have you put in coolant? Do you have umbrellas in the car? Have you gotten gas? Clean out the car. The trip will be much more enjoyable if you do not have to worry about the car breaking down in the middle of the trip.

4. Use a Cooler

Nothing is worse on a summer vacation than running out of food and being hungry or running out of water and being dehydrated. Put tons of water bottles in this thing. Most tourist traps have water for $2 and up. Beat the system and bring your own water bottles and refill them at decent water fountains for free.

5. Sleep

Okay, maybe there is one thing that is worse than being hungry. Being sleep deprived. Everything is worse when you are sleep deprived. You can’t be kind. You can’t think straight. You can’t have fun. Sleep eight hours a day at least. You will probably want sleep anyway if you are doing anything draining or outdoorsy.

Labels: 10 Tips for Summer Travel

10 Tips for Your Successful Audition on American Idol

American Idol is a popular singing competition hosted annually by Fox TV. The winner of the American Idol gets massive TV publicity and a recording contract. As a result, thousands line up for auditioning on American Idol that occurs in July and August every year. Below are some tips to help you get a successful audition on American idol.

1. Be prepared! Know the date, time and locations of the audition. It is extremely unlikely that an audition for American Idol will occur where you live. You will probably have to travel to the nearest auditioning location.

2. To get a successful audition on American idol, you should know your own voice, its strengths and weaknesses, and how best to show off its strength. The best way to do this is not to sing to your family and friends and then ask them for their opinion. The best way is to practice with 5-6 songs, record yourself on tape, and then play it back to yourself and to a few discerning music-loving friends.

3. Choose 1-2 good songs and rehearse extensively. Do NOT start at the beginning of the song. Choose the 15 seconds of the song that best show off your voice and do that over and over.

4. Wear something that will show off your best features. If you have nice legs, wear a short skirt. Do not wear a funny costume. You want to be memorable, but your clothes alone will not win the American Idol judges over. Choose something which can be worn in the summer heat for hours without becoming uncomfortable.

5. You’ll be waiting for hours before you get auditioned. Bring an ipod to revise your songs. This also prevents you from hearing what other people are singing, which prevents you from locking onto their key and going off-key with your own song.

6. Before the audition, you’ll be ushered into an auditorium to film crowd scenes for the show. The producers of American Idol may want the crowd to sing a few songs. DO NOT SING AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOICE. This is NOT the audition; protect your voice so that you can sing later during the real audition.

7. In the audition on American Idol, you’ll be screened in groups by low-level producers first. Every person has about 15 seconds to sing. Sing your heart out in 15 seconds.

8. If by some miracle you make it through the screening process and appear before Paula, Simon and Randy, the 3 American Idol judges, be polite. When asked questions, answer them sincerely and truthfully, and stress how much you really really really want to have a chance on the show. Believe it or not, sincerity and talent is the best way to get through to the judges. And also, you will be fact-checked if you pass the audition.

9. When asked to sing in the auditioning, take a second to inhale and close your eyes, and then sing like your life depends on it. Emotion should drip from your song.

10. If you get rejected, do not pout or throw a tantrum on tape, unless you want to be immortalized on TV as the crazy guy/gal on American Idol. Politely thank the judges, and walk away.

Labels: 10 Tips for Your Successful Audition on American Idol

10 Tips for Teens' Parents to Survive Middle School

The number one way to survive middle school is with humor, and lots of it. As soon as they walk in the doors they gain a new type of strange humor akin to the Three Stooges, and Beevis rolled together. Every dumb thing is funny and every funny thing ( to other humans) is just not funny.

This brings me to number two, Spend time with the middle school kids. The sooner you can imitate them and decipher their strange code, the sooner you can begin relating to your child again. Take one on one trips to buy jeans, school supplies, new haircuts, lunch, ice cream – anything to get some face time with your changing kid. They do still want the attention, they’ll just stop asking for it.

The third survival technique is giving positive attention. As I mentioned, they want attention, and lots of it. They are now smaller fish in a bigger sea so 1:1 time with anyone is rare. Use the time in positive ways, nagging 75% of the time will get you 98% further away from your kids.

The fourth is picking your battles. To stay positive, you just have to pick the important battles. They develop hearing “problems” also known as selective hearing. That being said, when you have their attention use it to drive home the most important issues.

The fifth is knowing what issues are vital to their success. Turning in work on time is number one. If they can master that than they will succeed. So much work is counted as an A if turned in or a zero if not. Many schools allow 1/2 a grade if it is a day late. It becomes insane trying There are several ways to know what work is due when so here is number six.

The sixth way to succeed middle school is knowing how to track assignments and test dates. Students are typically required to write them in an agenda or log each day. Many students become masters at only writing in enough to convince you they do it, but not so ,much that they have to do 2 hours of homework each night. Inspect inspect inspect and have some back up resources.

The seventh success is learning your other resources for assignments. Your student should have the phone number of 1-2 friends in each class to compare details with. Parents should have teacher emails, teacher website addresses and a few parents to compare notes with as well. Such as, “Hi Natalia, do you know if the kids have any big tests or projects coming up in Science class?” Teach the kids not to be afraid to use their resources.

The eighth tip is finding resources to assist with the work. Do you remember how to find the volume of an irregular shaped object? If water displacement didn’t jump out at you than like many, you’ll need others to assist with tutoring the kids. I really never liked converting inches to millimeters, finding prime factors, reducing fractions, or learning algebra formulas, but give me a five paragraph essay to proof and I am in heaven. Know your strengths and enlist siblings, adults, homework helplines, or even find answers on the Internet to answer questions you are not familiar with. Empowering students to find their own resources will make them even better learners. They get easily frustrated at this age so make sure they find the answers somewhere.

The ninth is following up. These kids can be asked twelve ways if something is complete and say yes yes yes until you ask the 13th way specifically asking if the teacher ever received the work and find out they did not. Papers are left in lockers, left on the bus, and usually on the table they completed the work on. Enforce habits to put work in subject folders ready to hand in. View on-line grade-books many schools offer, they can even send you an email when a paper is late or has a failing grade. Email the teachers if you smell trouble and keep the lines open. These kids need to be checked up on or they feel lost. They are happy to know you care and they measure your love this way too.

The tenth is obvious to me. Make certain they know they are loved. They won’t want you to post it on Facebook – ( which is another issue all together), but say it every day, hug them as they go by, and take a minute to listen to them. No one at school is listening for very long. They talk over each other at lunch, and then come home to lots more homework. The stories they tell are funny, they’ll make no sense, and even your younger kids will think them insane. Enjoy them for who they are and try to understand the explosion of hormones racing through them as they grow inches by the month. They’ll soon be taller than you, so look them in the eye now, and just say I love you!

Labels: 10 Tips for Teens' Parents to Survive Middle School

10 Tips for Successful Selling on eBay

During the last ten years, I’ve been a member of the Ebay community. I’d use the word “family”, which Ebay might prefer, but my mother doesn’t charge listing fees and my brother isn’t interested in a Final Valuation Fee! I’d like to share some tips I’ve learned along the way on maximizing your selling success – and hence, your financial bottom line – the Ebay way.

1. Don’t sell junk. If it’s broken beyond repair, filthy, musty, rusted, AND has a dollar value of $50 or less, don’t try to pawn it off on someone else. You’ll get the feedback that you deserve for selling “junk”, you’ll damage your Ebay reputation, and most likely be besieged by buyers who want to return the item. Plus, you’ll incur listing and final valuation fees from Ebay that will eat away at your final profit. If it’s junk, don’t try to make a quick buck from it – throw it away.

2. Know what you’re selling. Share that knowledge with your prospective buyers. When you’re writing up your listing for an item, include every possible bit of information that you have on the listing. There’s nothing worse than a seller who lists an item with one single photo and a two sentence description. The more information that you can provide, the higher the interest you’ll pique. Even if you have to do some research on the item, it’s worth the time and effort. People are much more inclined to to feel comfortable making a purchase when they have all the details they need to make an informed decision. Also, by including all of the information that you have on your item, you won’t be besieged by messages asking for that information from buyers.

Also, be sure to include your RETURN policy AND your shipping charges in the body of your listing, not just in the “Check Out” or other portion of the overall listing format. I don’t accept returns, and I state so, and why: I don’t accept them because of my low selling and shipping charges, and because I invite buyers to ask any and all questions prior to bidding. That way, buyers don’t have the excuse of saying that they didn’t see your return policy until it was time for checkout.

3. Take multiple photos UNLESS you’re listing a simple, inexpensive item. Ebay currently does not charge a fee for “Gallery” photos. If you’re selling an item that can be truly captured in one good – and I do mean good – photograph, go with that one photo. This applies to things that are relatively well known: a pair of Waterford Lismore wine glasses, a blouse, dress, gloves, brooch or pin, anything that doesn’t require photographic authentication (i.e., the word Tiffany inscribed onto a ring or bracelet, the Botkier authenticity plaque, the serial number for a Louis Vuitton purse). For items that you list with a sales price of $100 or more, you’ll get a quicker sale by downloading multiple photos. Ebay currently charges 75 cents for a total of six photos (including the gallery), and $1 for up to 12 photos. If you’re listing a Lagos, David Yurman, John Hardy watch or piece of jewelry, your buyers will want to see this item in several different sights: with the authenticity markings on the item, how the light hits it, the front, bottom, side views, etc. What’s an extra 75 cents or $1 going to really cost you, when the use of multiple photos validates your listing? Buyers LOVE to see as many photos of an item as possible!

4. Don’t sell single small, inexpensive items, like one blouse, or one skirt – especially if they’re ‘pre owned’ and most likely won’t fetch more than a $10 selling price. You’re far better off from a sales standpoint to GROUP multiple smaller items into a ‘lot’. Rather than listing two or three blouses in separate listings, sell them as a lot of three items, and be sure to STATE this in your auction heading. It really doesn’t make much difference if they’re of different styles or fabrics, or even different sizes. If you price the group correctly, a buyer may have an interest in one or two of them, but is willing to pay for the third item knowing that somewhere in his or her circle of family and friends, that third blouse will also find a home. You’ll save money on individual listing fees and shipping, as well as attracting more buyers willing to shell out shipping fees for more than one item. They’ll feel as though they’re saving on shipping, which they will be.

This principle applies pretty much to any small/inexpensive items that you’re selling, not just clothing. Don’t list your costume jewelry pieces individually! People will be much more intrigued by a “lot” of at least five to seven items.

5. Be smart about WHEN you start your listings. I’ve literally sold items within minutes of listing them. Keep in mind that your listing appears – and starts to run – immediately, unless you’ve set the default that you want to have it start at a specific time and date. (You do have that option on the Ebay listing form, although many people aren’t aware of it.) You can write your listings up during the day, even in bulk, and set them to start in the EVENING – the best time for new listings to appear! Don’t start your listings at 11:45 A.M. on a Wednesday. DO start them on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, anytime after 7:00 P.M. (I’m on Eastern time here.)

6. Research a fair price for your item before you list it. You may have paid $150 for that Waterford horse crystal sculpture five years ago, but what’s it worth today?

The real key to successful selling on Ebay isn’t an item’s worth – it’s what people are willing to pay for it.

Search for the same or similar items currently listed on Ebay. If you can, search online or major department/specialty stores web sites where you can find the item shown currently. (Be sure to include that information in your listing! “This Yianni Gosca topaz ring is presently being offered at under ‘Fine Jewelry’ for $625, plus tax and shipping.”) If you can wait, start an Ebay ‘search’ for your item, and have the site email you listings of the same or similar items when they’re just listed. You can modify your Ebay search request to receive emails for six months or longer, and you can also renew or stop the searched at any time. It’s a great way to see what the ‘competition’ is asking, and a great way to follow up on the auction (and the sales price) once the auction
has ended.

7. Use Paypal as your primary means of payment acceptance. Well over 75% of all Ebay sellers now accept Paypal. Yes, they do charge a fee for each transaction, but it’s safe and secure, and, of course, owned by Ebay now. Paypal is now the only means of payment that I currently accept, which I state in each auction. If there’s a problem with a seller’s payment, you do have the resources and backing of Paypal to help straighten out a situation – which has proved to be very helpful for me personally in the past. If you’re going to accept personal checks, don’t post feedback or send your item out until the check has cleared. Be very careful in accepting cashier’s checks. Take them to the bank yourself (a bit of a hassle you won’t need if you use Paypal!) and have them validated. Some individuals/groups are so savvy and clever now in forging cashiers/bank checks that even the banks have a hard time verifying them; often, they’ll give you the cash after a seven day or so wait period, to make sure that the document is indeed authentic.

8. Make your auction listing headline stand out! You only have x number of words to convey to the entire Ebay cyberworld exactly what it is that you’re selling, and why it’s so special that they should take a second look. Ebay has recently instituted a policy that forbids the use of the phrase “like new” in a headline; use words such as “mint”, “pristine”, “perfect” or other adjectives instead to describe an item’s condition.

What you DO want to include are the following: A specific, crisp and clear wording of the item. Let’s say that you’re selling a Botkier handbag, a Carlton doctor’s bag to be precise. DON’T list it this way: “Great bag! Botkier Brown Hobo Brand New With Tags!” Okay, we have your personal feeling that this bag is “great”, that it’s some shade of brown, and that it’s brand new with some sort of tags. Why not try this instead: “Auth Botkier Carlton Doctors Bag, Chestnut Brown, BNWT,$625!” Now what you’re telling them is that you verify authenticity of the bag (don’t waste space by spelling out the word ‘authentic’; everyone on Ebay knows what ‘auth’ means!), the style of the bag, its exact color (it’s not a light brown bag!), the fact that it’s brand new with tags, and that those tags show a list price of – wow! – $625. When a buyer looks at your sales price of $300, they’ll know that they’ll be getting a bargain.

I’m personally adverse to using the second line in a listing headline, the ‘caption’ space, for two reasons: a) it costs an additional 50 cents per listing, yet another fee that eats into your profit, and b) if you’re smart and WORK on a great headline, you don’t need a subcaption: you’ve already ‘captured’ everything a buyer needs to know in your headline. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, especially if adding a second line ups the value (“Comes with COA from original jeweler”, “Brand new with original box & dust bag”, etc.

9. Save a TEMPLATE for ease in listing your items. Most of the important information – item location, forms of payment accepted, etc. – will automatically be kept in that template and save you a ton of time each time you go to list an item. Another thought: Keep your listings ‘fresh’ by adding at least one new item every week.

10. Know the value of your FEEDBACK rating; this can make or break you as a seller! Try to resolve any and every issue before feedback is posted. This isn’t just logical, but good business and common sense as well. I NEVER bid on an item until I’ve check a seller’s feedback; it truly is your reflection to the Ebay community as to who you are as a seller and a person. That having been said, be sure to follow up with feedback of your own to your buyers – but WAIT until after they’ve received their purchase! Wait two or three days after you know they’ve received it; if they aren’t happy, you will know by then, and will have the chance to correct the problem before they post feedback for you. Posting feedback for your buyers isn’t just a good, courteous act; it also encourages your buyers to reciprocate with positive feedback for you as a seller.

Take advantage of Ebay promotional specials when listing as well. Right now, Ebay has lowered the price of each new listing by $1.50 (with some exceptions) until May 14th. If you’re listing five or ten items, this saving can be substantial! You generally don’t find out about these promotions until the day that they start, when Ebay will send out a mass email mailing, so be sure to check every email from Ebay when it’s received.

Selling on Ebay can be, and has been, a wonderful and fascinating experience! Over the years, I’ve made many online contacts through buyers who’ve turned into friends. It can also, perhaps, open the doors to an entirely new and financially rewarding career for you as well. Consider buying items in bulk lots from reputable sellers, and re-selling them yourself. Many a Power Seller was born this way!

Labels: 10 Tips for Successful Selling on eBay

10 Tips to Save Money While Living on a Budget

The Need to Save Your Money

Money is always on everyone’s mind. Many people need to watch what they spend. If you are not careful it can be easy to spend what you have and be left with very little. Young professionals, college students, and people younger, especially, have to watch what they spend. Having something in your savings account is important to your financial security. Here are 10 tips for easing some of the stress on your budget.

10 Tips to Start Saving Today

1. Make your own jewelry.

Check out craft stores where they sell beads and other items for making your owns bracelets and necklaces. It takes a little creativity and time but you can really create your own look this way.

2. Carpool when possible and combine errands to save on gas money.

3. Buy clothing that is easy to mix and match.

You can take your wardrobe a lot farther by being able to create new looks with just a few articles of clothing.

4. Use your local library, or school library, for your reading.

If you read a lot the savings will add up by doing this.

5. Check out movies from your local library instead of renting them. Your library is already paid for with your taxes, so, why not use it!

6. Order from the healthier side of the menu at the chain fast food restaurants.

You can eat healthy while still saving a buck.

7. When going to the coffee shop order tea, iced tea, or a regular coffee.

These are some of the least expensive options on the menu. Your savings can be $2.00 or more per beverage.

8. Ditch cable TV.

You can get your news online. You can also watch some of your favorite shows online through iTunes or even the network’s web site. You can, also, go with broadcast TV, as available in your area. You will need to purchase an antenna and will also need a digital converter box if you have an older analog TV. Aside from the low equipment cost it’s free to watch and you can usually get the major networks. You will not have all of the channels that are available to you on cable. If you are not a big television watcher then broadcast might be for you.

9. Frame and hang your own photography or artwork instead of purchasing them.

This will save you money and will add a personal touch to your home.

10. Buy store brands rather than using coupons for the name brands.

You will have to read some labels, but in many cases store brands have the same ingredients as the name brands. Clipping coupons takes a lot of time and you can save just as much, and sometimes more, by purchasing the store brand. If the store brand is the better product and you cannot do without it, then, go ahead and clip that coupon.

Small Savings Add Up

These tips will be a great start to conserving your income. It’s good to always look for ways to save. It’s not always about saving the large amounts. Sometimes it’s the many small expenses that eat away at our budget. If you can find many ways to save a little in a lot of areas you will find that the savings really add up. Good luck and enjoy your savings!

Labels: 10 Tips to Save Money While Living on a Budget

10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex

Talking about sex to a teen can be a very nervous experience but there are some things parents can do to make the session less heralding.It would be easier if the child or children had discussed sex with the parents before their teenage years but if not these tips should help.

1. Remember that your teen is not a child and yet is not an adult either. So your mental approach is important.
2. Choose a time when you and your young one are both most relaxed.
3. Speak in appropriate terms for the age of the teen and in a dignified manner. Use dignified terms of sexual lingo and not what is most popular amongst
teens. Do not belittle the young person as if he were a pre-teen even a toddler.
4. Conversations are two way not a monologue. So allow the teen to express his or herself while you listen intently.
5. You may have his favorite dish or a light snack while you talk.
6. Avoid reacting hysterical about something the teen may say that disturbs or upsets you. Remember the conversation is also a nervous one for him too. If
you react adversely you may stifle the youth from willingly approaching you whenever he may really want to about a troubling issue.
7. Make it a private affair between you, the parents, and the teen alone. Avoid making the situation more nerve recking by discussing it before others.
8. When appropriate make the conversation somewhat relaxed and light hearted.
9. Share with the teen how you felt when you were young and how you feel now about him and the subject as a parent. Make sure it is a point that will be
beneficial toward your objective in the discussion.
10. Finally, Keep the conversation at a reasonable length (not too short where your point is not gotten across and not too long that the attention of your teen
goes on a year long vacation to Alcapoco. If after discussing sex at a moderate length and you need to talk still further, do so at another appropriate time in
the future.

Labels: 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex

10 Tips for Successful Bidding at Online Auctions

Online auctions are a great way to purchase items these days. Sites suchas Ebay, UBid or Yahoo auctions can find you that perfect product you arelooking for. However, not everything you buy is top quality, nor iseveryone who sells ethical. Before actually bidding on an item, there are10 things you should do.

1. Know what you are bidding on, and what its value really is. If it is anitem seen in retail stores, make sure the price is reasonable, especiallyif you are going to be paying shipping. Make note of whether the item inquestion is a new,reconditioned or used product. This will help you come up with your maximum price.

2. Check multiple online auctions sites before placing a bid. Professional auctioneers will list the same item on multiple sites, andthose sites that are not as popular as Ebay may have a lower price for thesame exact item. Often there are less bidders as well at these sites,which will give you a greater probability of getting your item at a lowerprice.

3. View the merchant’s rating. Most auction sites have a rating system for sellers which is based on buyer feedback. Note how many transactions that the merchant has had. A 98% satisfaction rating on a merchant with 400 transactions holds more weight than a merchant with 100% satisfaction rate with 3 transactions. Also, if you can view the complaints, see what they
were specifically, such as slow shipping or if the item was not asspecified.

4. Check what type of warranty the seller offers. Be wary if you have toaccept a product when no replacement is offered if the item is defective. Reputable sellers will have some sort of replacement procedure if youritem arrives broken, or if you are unsatisfied with it.

5. Understand the payment options. Some merchants only accept certaintypes of payments, such as PayPal. Others accept credit cards, checks,money orders, etc. You need to make sure that you are able to pay with theproper method of payment. If you win a bid and cannot pay, this can result in your auction account being cancelled.

6. Read the product description thoroughly. If there isn’t quite enough information for you, contact the seller. They should be happy to give youmore information if you request it. You are spending money, so get all theinformation you need!

7. Know what your maximum price is for the item, and stick to it. Do notget into a bidding war, as you will end up paying much more than you should. Also take into account what the shipping cost is when calculatingyour maximum bid. Most sellers have the shipping cost in the product description, or will provide a UPS or USPS calculator for you to calculate shipping.

8. Take note of when the auction starts and ends. Also note the shippingtime (which most sellers note for you). This way you can decide if thetime it will take for you to actually receive the item is acceptable for you to place a bid.

9. Don’t be afraid to bid early. Putting in a bid will show others thatyou are interested in an item, enough to ‘stake your claim’, but don’t bid your maximum right away. This may make bidders who have a lower maximim bid move on to another listing of this item which has no bids.

10. Keep checking on your bid. Many auction sites have an option to doautomatic bidding for you up to your maximum, however there are advantagesto doing it manually. You can watch a bid right near where it ends and put in your bids to grab the item. Some bidders may not be paying attention to when the auction ends, or may have reached their maximum already. You can also invest in auction software called ‘sniping’ software. This automates the bidding for you in the last 5 minutes of an auction to get in the very last bid. Of course, others who use this type of software can makingbidding frustrating for you!

Follow these 10 tips and you should have a successful bidding experience -even if you don’t win the auction!

Labels: 10 Tips for Successful Bidding at Online Auctions

10 Tips for Travel to China

Traveling to China? Let me give you advice, from one big-nose to another (that’s what the Chinese call us westerners).

1. Pack cash. Crispy, unfolded, perfect cash. Normally the travel wisdom is to bring traveler’s checks or an ATM card. You can do that too, but in China, you’ll want to bring along at least enough cash to get yourself out of a crunch ($100 or $200). The Chinese do not like to exchange cash if it is folded, crumpled, or torn, so make sure the cash you bring is aesthetically pleasing.

2. Don’t stick your chopsticks straight up and down into your food. It may be a convenient place to stash them during dinner, but it looks like incense burning after someone has died, so it is very rude. By the way – if you are reading this thinking “No problem, I can’t use chopsticks anyway,” you might want to practice using some before you go. You won’t always find a fork.

3. Don’t worry about the water. Now, I didn’t say drink the water. I said don’t worry about it. The Chinese cannot drink the water without boiling it and neither should you. The good news is that no one will try to serve you unboiled water, and you will always have access to boiled water everywhere you go.

4. Plan to be stared at. You may be at the zoo to see the pandas, but the Chinese are at the zoo to see the Americans. Don’t be shocked if they ask to take a picture with you.

5. Bring along a Chinese takeout menu from America with some characters on it. If you wander into a restaurant without a translator, you can pull out your menu and point to your favorite dishes without worrying that the restaurant is serving you General Tso’s Dog.

6. China is strictly BYOTP – Bring Your Own Toilet Paper. Before you leave the hotel every morning, think about how long you will be out for, whether or not you will drink coffee, and whether you plan on going number ones or number twos. Then pack the appropriate amount of toilet paper.

7. Bargain. If you look like a westerner (or talk like one), then you look like a sucker. Whatever price the Chinese ask for, offer one fourth. This applies outdoors on the streets or sometimes in tourist shops, but not in department stores. You can ask if they can make it cheaper by saying “Keyi pianyi yi dian?” Or, when they tell you the price, you can simply retort, “Ni kai wan xiao!” (You are joking!).

8. Try some of the exotic foods. You never know when one of them might taste good. I wasn’t such a fan of kidneys or raw shrimp, but I quite enjoyed jellyfish and ram testicles. Who would have guessed?

9. Talk to the Chinese. Many speak English – they are required to learn it if they want to go to college – and they might approach you and strike up a conversation. Ask how they feel about hosting the 2008 Olympics, or tell them which Chinese historical site or traditional dish was your favorite.

10. In order to use the squat toilets, bring your pants to your knees, and squat, leaving your heels on the floor. Mastery of the skill takes practice, but there are enough Western style toilets in the country that the most ambitious tourists will never have to squat.

Labels: 10 Tips for Travel to China

10 Tips for a Safer and Crime-Free Christmas Season at Home

During the holidays police departments around the country strengthen security to protect citizens and businesses. You see more officers patrolling shopping centers and parking lots, paying special attention to those vehicles with shopping bags and articles in plain view that might be an easy target for thieves.

But we often forget that crime in neighborhoods also increases. Thieves start canvassing the streets in search of packages left in cars outside homes and families away for the holidays.

You might be feeling safer on these days while Christmas shopping, but it is also necessary to take some precautions at home to avoid becoming a target of crime.

“With the rise in internet purchases during the holiday season, thefts of packages being delivered or left at your front door is also becoming more and more common,” says Steve Jones, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Universal Protection Service, a company that offers fire, and life safety services.

Companies like this, along with law enforcement officials, offer these tips to reduce your chances of being hit at home by thieves this Christmas season and all year long:

1. Conceal wrapped presents from outside view.

2. If you need to store large items, such as exercise equipment or bicycles, in an outside building make sure they are safe.

3. If you have insurance, take some time to make sure it covers all articles of value in your home.

4. Be alert to strangers walking around in your neighborhood and report any suspicious activity to the police.

5. Make sure to lock all doors and windows every time you leave the house.

6. Don’t leave checkbooks, wallets and cash lying around the house.

7. Install automatic timers and motion detectors on both front and back porch lights

8. Ask a neighbor to pick up your newspaper and mail if you plan to be away from home for more than one day.

9. If you will be out of town, make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will return

10. Whenever possible take or update your home inventory by taking pictures or videos and keeping a list of serial numbers.

Remember that crime increases during the Christmas season. Don’t let thieves ruin your holidays. Don’t give criminals an opportunity. Keep these tips in mind as you rush around and make some time to take extra precautions for a better Christmas with your family and friends.

Labels: 10 Tips for a Safer and Crime-Free Christmas Season at Home

10 Tips on How to Survive a Job Loss

A job loss can end up leading to being in debt due to credit card expenses. It helps in advance to be prepared for a job loss. Here are ten tips on how to survive a job loss.

1. You can save up money in the bank. It is important to save at least a months worth of household expenses. Put the amount of money in the bank based on how much it costs you each month to take care of the household. If it costs $1000.00 a month then put $1,000.00 in the savings account at least.

2. Keep all of the bills paid up in full each month. This is important just in case you ever lose your job. You want don’t want to be stuck with past due bills from previous months. It is important to keep the power and heat and rent or mortgage payment paid each month including having enough food.

3. Don’t spend more on the credit cards each month than you can afford. If you pay off your credit card balance each month then don’t overspend one month since another extra expense might come up later on. You need to save money when you have extra money.

4. Constantly improve your skills each year. This will enable you to find a job more quickly. You want to be able to find a job that pays reasonable wages. It is important to improve your skills each year since it will help you be more qualified for better jobs.

5. Stock up on food in a pantry. You need to stock up on food in a can and other foods. This is important to save extra food just in case so you can save more money later on. You want to be prepared just in case you ever have to survive a job loss.

6. Don’t overextend yourself on too many payments on cars or the newest computer. You want to save money in order to get you to survive a job loss. You want to keep your budget always basics. Anything extra is luxury.

7. Always save as much money in the bank as possible. You never know how long it might take you to find another job. You want to have money to live on in between jobs. You need to be prepared in order to help yourself in advance.

8. If you have a mortgage payment then make sure that the mortgage payments on low enough that you would be able to pay it without going broke every month. Make sure that you have enough money saved in the bank to make your mortgage payments for at least six months or more. It might be difficult to save that much of money, but you will glad you have it just in case you ever need to survive a job loss.

9. Always live in a area where you can find a variety of different jobs. You don’t want to live in a small town that only have a few jobs available to people. The larger city you live in then the greater chance of finding a job more quickly.

10. In the event of needing to survive a job loss please always try to have positive thoughts. Don’t get discouraged. The situation will improve and get better over time once you find another job. You will be glad to have money in the bank when you prepare in advance.

Labels: 10 Tips on How to Survive a Job Loss

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