The More You Read, The More You Learn

Why learning is important..."It is critical that a company create the kind of environment in which people really believe they can learn, grow, and prosper. The focus has to be on developing people."


Google

Friday, November 30, 2007

Vista Print Holiday Cards

I have been doing business with Vista Print for some time now.

I have ordered business cards, postcards and other items with confidence knowing my items would be high in quality and would arrive in a timely manner. I have been completely satisfied each item I have ordered and received.

I often get emails informing me of special deals. Some products are free and I just have to pay for shipping. Great deal! Their site contains a listing of all free products available, so it's worth your while to check them out.

My thoughts now turn to Christmas Cards. Time is passing so quickly, I was thinking I may be too late in getting my cards out, but I found at Vista Print, I could personalize my card and receive it in as little as 3 days!

I am considering holiday photo cards this year for family and friends and now I know I still have time to order and get them mailed out. There's hundreds of designs to choose from and options that include folded cards, postcards and the new collage cards. That one's for me because I can never decide which picture to use! If you don't have your own picture, no worries...Vista Print offers approximately 70,000 free stock images.

Whether you are looking for Business/Corporate needs or personal, you can get it all at Vista Print.

Legislative Action Soon on Ten Week Paid Family Leave

A paid family leave mandate requiring all employers to provide 10 weeks of paid leave is expected to be considered soon.

There has been a lot of controversy regarding this issue. S-2249 is the bill number of the proposed paid leave mandate. The legislation is expected to see a final vote before the current session ends on January 8, 2008.

The bill would provide employees with 10 weeks of paid leave every year to care for a newborn, adopted child or an ill family member. It applies to all companies, even those with as few as two employees.

New Jersey Business Industry Association members are arguing that it makes no sense to impose the same one size fits all, paid leave mandate on every employer. Under this mandate, businesses will be out nearly three months without key workers and force them to pay increased costs related to temporary workers, overtime and lost productivity.

Assembly speaker Joseph Roberts and Senate President Richard Codey, made it clear they feel the current bill goes too far and would have to be scaled back before a vote could be scheduled. Roberts also said he believes the number of weeks in the current bill is too high and the inclusion of all small businesses is too severe.

I am sure employees are hoping this bill passes, while employers are fighting against this mandate.

Source: NJ Business & Industry Association

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Refinance Your Auto or Truck Loan and Save Money

I think it's safe to say that we all want to save money each month on our expenses. The cost of living is on the rise, mortgages are resetting and homeowners may find these are causing more money to leave our pockets.

If you have an auto loan, do you know what the interest rate you are paying? I was surprised to learn how many of my friends and associates don't know this.

Did you know you can refinance your auto loan as you could refinance your mortgage? Refinance Car Loans enables you to pay off your existing auto loan, but it is a faster and easier process than refinancing your mortgage.

The new lender will pay off your old loan and the title will get transferred to the new lender. Refinancing a car loan is basically used to lower your interest rate, thus reducing your monthly expenses. Auto loan rates are lower now, so why not take advantage of this?

If you had obtained a loan a year or two ago, maybe the interest rate was high due to poor credit and now you know your credit has improved. This will give you a lower interest rate. You have a couple of choices when considering an auto refinance loan. If you want to reduce the amount you are paying in interest, refinance with the same or reduced term. If your goal is to have smaller monthly payments, you can even chose to extend the payment term on your existing loan. Please note though that this may increase the total interest paid over the life of your loan.

If this is something you want to look into, take a look at RateGenius. They utilize an electronic document process that will provide a speedy refinance and at No Cost for using their service. They will find a lender for the terms you want and you may be able to enjoy not making your first payment for up to 60 days.

Stop paying ridiculously high monthly auto or truck payments. Keep more money in your pocket.

Fight Rental Housing Discrimination

I recently received an email asking for my help and/or advice on how to prevent discrimination when looking for rental housing.

The family that contacted me has a very sick child with a rare disease. The family was told to obtain a 'therapy dog' by their physician. For those of you who are not familiar with this term, according to Wikipedia: a Therapy Dog refers to a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, mental institutions, schools, and stressful situations such as disaster areas. A therapy dog is not considered an assistance dog, which assist humans and has legal rights to accompany their owners, but I do feel a certain compassion should be given to this family and not be denied housing.

I also believe this dog should be considered a service dog, which is a type of assistance dog, specifically trained to help people who have disabilities other than visual or hearing impairment. Examples include psychiatric service dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and seizure response or medical response dogs. Service dogs are sometimes trained and bred by private organizations.

To date, this family has been turned down continuously and may find themselves homeless. This therapy dog is making it possible for this child to look forward to another day.

While continuing to get special care for their child, which required trips out of their state, this added burden is overwhelming for them.

In case you or someone you know has been discriminated against, see below:

What types of housing discrimination are renters protected from?
The federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S. Code §§ 3601-3619, 3631) prohibit landlords from choosing tenants on the basis of a group characteristic such as:

race
religion
ethnic background or national origin
sex
familial status, including having children or being pregnant (except in certain designated senior housing), or
a mental or physical disability.
What kinds of subtle discrimination are illegal?
The Fair Housing Acts prohibit landlords from taking any of the following actions based on race, religion, or any other protected category:
falsely denying that a rental unit is available to some applicants
advertising that indicates a preference based on group characteristic, such as:
skin color
setting more restrictive standards, such as higher income, for certain tenants
refusing to reasonably accommodate the needs of disabled tenants, such as allowing a guide dog, hearing dog, or other service animal
setting different terms for some tenants, such as adopting an inconsistent policy of responding to late rent payments, or
terminating a tenancy for a discriminatory reason.
How can a renter file a discrimination complaint?
A tenant who thinks that a landlord has broken a federal fair housing law should contact a local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the agency that enforces the Fair Housing Act, or check the HUD website at www.hud.gov. (A tenant must file the complaint within one year of the alleged discriminatory act.)

If the discrimination is a violation of a state fair housing law, the tenant may file a complaint with the state agency in charge of enforcing the law.

Also,instead of filing a complaint with HUD or a state agency, tenants may file lawsuits directly in federal or state court. If a state or federal court or housing agency finds that discrimination has taken place, a tenant may be awarded damages, including any higher rent paid as a result of being turned down, and compensation for humiliation or emotional distress.

Other tips:

Write to your local paper as the family described above has.
Notify your local news and inform them about the situation. I am sure the landlord wouldn't want bad press coverage.
Start a petition and get as many names as you can who agree you should not be denied housing.

What are your thoughts about this situation? Do you think this family should be denied housing? Please share your comments...



Source: Find Law

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Save Buckets

Now that everyone's mind is on shopping for holiday gifts, why not compare prices before you buy the items you are looking to purchase?

Take for example MP3 Players,which seem to be a hot item this year. You can use this online comparison shopping service to get the best price. Looking for a laptop?Why spend more than you have to?

Save buckets doesn't sell any products. They simply allow you to compare prices of items at many different shops. This will certainly save you time and money. There's also a unique benefit of My Price, which when having a certain item in mind and the cost is over what you want to spend, you can enter the maximum amount you want to pay for it and include your email address. My Price will then check the prices at all the available stores and notify you via email when the product reaches or falls below your maximum price. How convenient is that?

Look for the best deal by searching through the many categories. Be confident knowing that you are saving money and that buying online is secure through Save Buckets.

Be Kinder With Words

Was there ever a time you forgot the power of words? Words can have an enormous power to hurt, to heal, to uplift, or degrade or make or break reputations.

Words can literally change the way we see the world and how we view the people in it. To help our words to be 'good' :

Don't gossip. Gossiping can damage the teller, the listener and the subject.
Talk about ideas instead. They can educate and stimulate. Speaking poorly of others can make us feel self satisfied, but doesn't improve one's self. Even if the gossip is true, it probably isn't your business anyway to discuss. Practicing verbal restraint and not take satisfaction in news about another. When gossip is coming your way, do your best to change the subject

Think before you speak. Do you ever ask yourself who would benefit from what you're about to say? You might hurt someone's feelings or self esteem could be damaged if you make a comment without thinking first.

Confident people sometimes even have feelings of self doubt or worries. Consider sharing a kind word or compliment or smile with not only the people you know, but with strangers you come across on a daily basis. You might brighten someone's day. Look for the good in other people rather than the negative and this will keep you from not only using negative words, but being kinder with your words.

Also remember when being kinder with words towards other, include yourself also. Don't slam yourself about your faults, weaknesses or mistakes. Use them to promote self growth and tell yourself you will do better.

Source: Beliefnet.com

Join Revenue Sharing Boom

I am sure many of you have read success stories in the entrepreneur business world. Why not become one of these successes?

Now with Giblink, you can. You can promote, advertise and expand your business with the use of a business social networking opportunity also known as Web 2.0. This site will allow entrepreneurs and businesses to connect, share thoughts, ideas and also bring to life a business plan, all while helping each other. This is a new concept in online marketing that will allow you to succeed.

Here's some of the benefits to Giblink:

Everyone that Joins after you will be on YOUR Team.
You will get online continuing education!
Full phone support from two top earners!
You'll get taught a proven "passive marketing"
strategy that works.

Web advertising is growing in astounding numbers. There are millions being made by corporations. Are they sharing their revenue with you? NO

GoDaddy produced $100 million in revenue last year, Google reported a whopping $1.6 billion. What about other sites that you know are generating large sums of money...MySpace, You Tube?

With Giblink being the world's first revenue sharing community, they will be sharing 70% of the revenue back to their community members.

We've all heard the saying...you must be in the right place at the right time. Well, I believe the right time is now.

A Business / Social Networking site such as this, while offering a share in the revenue to it's members, is undoubtedly going to cause a huge global income generating wave.

Catch the wave! Click Here For More Information!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thinking Outside The Lines

How many tough challenges do you face in one day? Those pain in the neck problems that keep popping up.

Have you ever asked yourself why you haven't solved these challenges yet?

The same problems will come back again and again if you continue to apply the same problem solving thoughts to fix them. Maybe it's time to step back and take time to rethink the way you are approaching your challenges.

It's not about thinking more, it's about thinking differently. Sometimes you get caught up in thinking ruts. The 'way it's always been done' way of thinking.

If you start thinking outside the lines, you will see changes. Ask yourself what the risks might be if you tried something different and compare them to the rewards if you did.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Go Green with LED Christmas Lights

Now that Thanksgiving is over, our thoughts turn to decorating for Christmas. If you are like me, you have a few old tangled Christmas light sets packed away. Each year I would have to unpack each strand and plug them in to see if they're still working.

This year my home will be going 'green'. My old incandescent lights are not only old, but inefficient and bad for the environment. My choice this year will be to purchase LED Christmas lights. These lights will use less energy than the standard incandescent lights and last more than 50,000 hours.

They are constructed to be more durable, don't break as easily and don't contain that filament as my other lights do. I won't have to be concerned with over loading my electrical circuit breakers or worried about any fire issues because these LED lights are cool to the touch. The way incandescent lights work is electricity runs through the filament. Because the filament is so thin, it offers a good bit of resistance to the electricity, and this resistance turns electrical energy into heat. The heat is enough to make the filament white hot, and the "white" part is light. The filament glows because of the heat -- it incandesces

I also learned that if 20% of households switched to LED Christmas lights for the holiday period (averaging 30 days) it would conserve enough energy to power 200 households for an entire year. That is an amazing stat.

The famous Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York City will also be going green.This year, the tree will be decked out with 30,000 LED lights as opposed to the traditional incandescent bulbs to save energy and our environment.

Our environment issues cannot be ignored and with these small changes, we all can do our part to help save our environment. Join me and go green this year.

Smart Home Solutions

Remove Old Wallpaper
Combine equal parts of hot water and liquid fabric softener in a five gallon bucket. Pour into a tray. Using a paint roller, apply to the wall until it's saturated. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then carefully peel off. The water softens the wall covering and the fabric softener will break down the adhesive.

Spritz Away Soap Scum
To make your own shower cleaner and save money, combine 3 parts water to 1 part bleach in an empty spray bottle. Add 1 tbs. of white vinegar.
Vinegar will dissolve the soap deposits and the bleach will kill mildew and prevents it from forming again

Make Wood Furniture Shine
If you want to keep your unfinished wood pieces shining, combine 2 parts olive oil and one part lemon juice or white vinegar. Shake well Spritz onto furniture and let stand for about 2 minutes, then wipe off with a paper towel. The lemon juice/white vinegar acts like a cleaning agent while the oil brings out the wood's natural shine.

Lift oil based paint off skin
After painting, do you have speckles of paint left on your hands, arms and face? Use olive oil. It sure is more gentle on your skin than paint thinner or mineral oil. Moisten a cotton ball with a few drops of olive oil and rub it on the affected skin. The molecules in the olive oil will attract the molecules in the paint, so the splotches will come off easily.

Gloss Indoor Plant Leaves
Here's a florist's secret: Shine the surface of leaves by rubbing them with a paper towel dipped in olive oil

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Have You Ever Considered HomeSchooling for Your Child?

With so much violence and negativity going on within our school system these days, no wonder more and more families are considering home schooling for their children.

Author John Caldwell Holt believed that the failure of school children was not in spite of the efforts of the schools, but actually because of the schools.

There are many reasons why a parent may want to home school their child(ren). Maybe it's believing they can give a child a better education at home, religious reasons, poor learning environment at school, want to personally and directly develop their child's character/morality, safety, drug use at school, negative peer pressure and so on...

Some parents after making the decision to home school their child(ren) use the public library, bookstores or even their church for resources, but did you know that the use of a community sponsored online academy is available for your use for FREE?

The K-12 Free HomeSchool offers all core curriculum for grades K through 12 tuition free. They offer video lessons, instruction, web adventures and a variety of learning styles to suit your child's needs. You can even choose to include Christian home courses to teach your child a Christian perspective.

Have you ever felt your child was not challenged enough at school? This may cause boredom. If your child was being held back from accelerated learning, at K-12 Free Homeschool, you have the option of letting your child work ahead as their ability allows. On the other hand, if your child seems to need extra time to learn, he or she can learn at their own pace without feeling 'forced', which can cause other problems.

K-12 Free Home School's mission is to deliver a relevant, comprehensive tuition-free home school program that will engage students with an innovative multimedia presentation that challenges the mind, ignites the heart, and enriches the spirit.

Know and learn about the options you have as a parent.


Concerns Regarding Diacetyl Exposure

There has been a rising concern about Diacetyl exposure in the workplace. Diacetyl, also called butanedione or 2,3 butanedione is used in microwave popcorn butter flavoring and has been associated with serious lung aliments.

This compound is also synthesized by chemical manufactures and gives butter and certain food flavorings a buttery flavor and aroma. This product is also used in snack foods, pet foods, candies, baked goods and other food products.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is taking action by initiating a safety and health information bulletin on health effects and exposure control. In April, the agency announced a national emphasis program under which it is focusing on the health hazards of the compound.

To receive the bulletin and guidance or find out the side effects and illnesses associated with exposure, CLICK HERE

Source: OSHA Compliance Advisor

Thanksgiving Myspace Graphics

Monday, November 19, 2007

Expose Your Blog to the Outside World

In reading blogs throughout the blogsphere, I have come across many great tips for the blogger. These tips when given the chance have proved themselves to be worthwhile.

Some tips explained the many ways you can obtain readers for your blog. When writing emails, include your blog url after your signature. If in business, include your blog url in the footer of your letters, brochures and newsletters. Leaving comments on other blogs and joining networking sites are just some ways to get exposure.

I wanted to pass along something I just read about and it seems like such a simple and ingenious way to give your blog additional exposure.

Why not have a blog business card to expose your blog to the outside world? You can get 100 Free blogger cards from Ooprint.com to attract new readers.

Personalize your card, advertise your content and draw the readers to you. Who doesn't have a business card these days? Well, a blog business card is the next trend.

How many times have you gone into the supermarket, place of business, mall or somewhere else and seen business cards left to attract clients and customers? Here's your chance to leave your mark with your own blog business card. Ooprint's "Business Card 2.0" has many different styles and designs to choose from.

What a great idea and it's FREE. Your thoughts?

Is Procrastination Keeping You From Making Money?

Procrastination is the opposite of decision. How many of us actually have conquered procrastination?

According to author Napoleon Hill who wrote Think and Grow Rich, says that people who have accumulated fortunes well beyond the million dollar mark, have the habit of reaching decisions promptly and if necessary, changed those decisions slowly. People who fail to accumulate money have the habit of reaching decisions slowly, if at all and changed those decisions often and rapidly.

He goes on to say that a majority of people who fail to accumulate money are easily influenced by the opinion of others. How often have you set your goals on something, only to have someone else destroy your desire?

Everyone has numerous opinions and if you are willing to listen and accept them, it will change your thinking. Once you reach a decision, you cannot be influenced by someone else's opinion. If you do, you will not succeed in any undertaking nor will you have desire of your own.

Well meaning people that are around you may destroy your confidence or ridicule your desires without realizing it. Maybe they will voice their opinion, or use humor, but the outcome will be the same.

Once you reach a decision, don't share it with too many people. Make sure the group you do choose to share decisions with are those who will be in complete harmony with your purpose.

If your goal is to make money, keep in mind that others are looking for the same opportunity to accumulate money. If you talk about your plans too freely, you may find that if you procrastinate, someone else has beaten you to your goal by making a quick decision.

So, a decision to keep silent about your plans is a good beginning. Show what you plan to do to accumulate money, before you tell the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Spruce Up Your Kitchen

Adding value to your home can be done simply by sprucing up your kitchen light fixtures.This is an inexpensive remodel and will improve your kitchen's appearance. The key to good lighting is the type of fixtures you choose and the placement of the lights.

Define each area of the kitchen separately. The main task space and the dining area should be lit independently. The variety in lighting fixtures are endless...contemporary, country, traditional, Old World and the range of materials can go from pewter, polished nickel, brass or colored glass.

Don't make the mistake of over lighting. This can make the kitchen get too hot. You want even lighting through out the room.

Pendant lights are often used over the counters and islands. Recessed cans are the least intrusive type of lighting. Decorative lighting options can include chandeliers and sconces. One trend seen is having a beautiful wrought iron chandelier over a breakfast table. If you want to create a focal point, try adding a fixture containing stained glass, crystal or antique brass.

Here's a Tip:
If you have cabinets that have a high gloss finish, the lighting should be more subdued. If not, the light will bounce off the cabinets and create too much sheen. If your cabinets have a matte finish, you could compliment them with a sparkling chandelier.

Remember that your kitchen lighting fixtures should blend with the style of the room instead of looking out of place.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Google's Reverse Telephone Book

This is for USA phone numbers.

Google has implemented a new feature which enables you to type a telephone number into the search bar and hit enter and you will be given the person's name and address. If you then hit Map, you will get a map to the person's house! It's a nationwide reverse telephone book.

If a child gives out his/her phone number, someone can now look it up to find out where he/she lives. The safety issues are obvious, and alarming.

Note that you can have your phone number removed or blocked. I tried my number and it came up along with the mapquest and directions straight to our house. I did fill out the removal form for myself, and encourage all of you to do the same.

In order to test whether your phone number is mapped, go to Google, Type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. 555-555-1212) and hit enter. If you want to BLOCK Google from divulging your private information, simply click on your telephone number and then click on the Removal Form. Removal takes 48-hours.

Please share this information with friends and family

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sending Business Holiday Cards

Should you send Holiday cards to your clients and customers? I think so...it's not only a tradition, but shows your clients/customers are important to you.

I believe you should send cards that are high in quality. This is a reflection of your company. You do not want your company to look cheap. Stick with traditional themes, so you don't offend anyone and send only Business Holiday Cards that are tasteful.

For more suggestions, ideas and advice on sending holiday cards, I found a useful blog by Cards Direct. One blog post: 3 Ideas for Recycled Christmas Cards gives you ideas if your company would like to be 'green' this year. A company that is environmentally friendly may think buying and sending a load of paper is a bit hypocritical.

You can even Ask Miss Card Etiquette your questions involving 'card etiquette'. Here you can find useful answers to questions involving sending cards out to your clients and/or customers.

I even had a chance to view cards offered by Cards Direct. They offer 3 free samples of any card. The process is easy. Just click on request sample. The cards will arrive blank unless there is a pre-printed verse on the card. If you would like to personalize your card, the site offers help with this. What I liked best is as you are typing what you would like to say, the card is along side of the editing box, so you can view how your card will look.

With a huge assortment of professional holiday cards, my only problem was deciding which one I liked best because they were all of quality and beautiful to look at.


The Benefits of Exercise

There were two studies done that reinforce the importance of exercise. The first study showed that exercise improves depression symptoms and the other study found that a particular regimen can control blood sugar in diabetics.

In the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal, a study was published from Duke University Medical Center that found exercise could be as effective as medicine in relieving depression. The study had 202 men and women, older than 40 who were diagnosed with major depression. At the end of the 16 week study, 45% of the group exercise participants no longer met the criteria of major depression.

Researchers at Calgary and University of Ottawa found the benefits of exercise on disease. This study focused on Type 2 diabetes. 251 people over the age of 39 with the disease who did not participate in regular exercise. The group performing aerobic and strength training saw nearly 1% lower blood sugar readings. This can be translated into about a 25 to 40% decrease in the risk of diabetes related eye or kidney disease and a 15 to 20% decrease in heart attack or stroke.

Let's get motivated to exercise for healthy minds and bodies....

Source: Parks & Recreation Magazine ~ November 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Termites:A Year Round Problem

It is important when buying a home to have a termite inspection. This is not to be confused with a general house inspection. Having a termite inspection will entail looking for any evidence of wood destroying insects and organisms. The inspector will look at the interior of the home, including the basement or crawl spaces and the exterior of the home.

Don't be fooled into thinking that termites will not live in cold weather. Cold weather does not kill termites. It may slow them down or go into a hibernation state. Termites can be a year round problem.

There are different kinds of termites and you should watch out for drywall termites. This kind of termite does not live in soil, but lives in the walls of your home and must be treated differently.

To get more information about termites and how to kill them, make improvements to your home to keep them from getting into your walls and how to tell if you may have termites, go to Kill The Termites. This site offers guidance all homeowners shouldn't be without.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ask AC Associates

And, the answer is:

Nicole wrote asking:

The selling price is $479K...I owe $385K and I would
like to sell the house outright, but the market is
very bad right now and no one is buying...so how can
your system work for me and how does the bank not
call the loan due if they learn that I'm owner financing?

Hello Nicole,
I understand your question and the confusion you must be feeling.

Offering owner financing works wonders with sellers who own their property outright, but it can also work in a situation such as yours.

With a SIMULTANEOUS CLOSING, you would be able to obtain a buyer for your home using Owner Financing and a note buyer would purchase the newly created note at the same time.

The deal would work as owner financing, but you would not be the one holding the note in the end, a note buyer would.
At the closing, your mortgage would be paid off and you would be out of the situation. The money left after your mortgage was paid off, would be yours.

The new owner would then make the payments to the note purchaser.

Read more information by going to my website at:
http://acassociatesusa.com/simultaneousclosing.html

I hope I was able to answer your question. If you need more information or guidance, please feel free to reply to this post, email me or call my office.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Less Can Be More

Sometimes when looking for accounting methods for personal use or for your small business, less can be more.

Ever try using those complicated accounting applications that you need to be a rocket scientist and takes hours just to figure out how to even use the software? I have and it can be frustrating and cause you to make mistakes.

At LessAccounting.com their approach is simple. They give you an application that takes less time to figure out before utilizing. With a no nonsense approach, you have less hassles, less confusion, less time to waste before starting to managing your personal affairs or small business.

Your dashboard offers a home for your unpaid expenses and invoices. You can track payments, create small business reports, track mileage, send proposals and have a home for your sales leads and projects. In your contact management field, you can manage your employees, clients, accounts payable and addresses.

No prepayment is required to use this service. You pay as you go. You don't even have sign up fees. Their servers are secure, backed up nightly and also offer SSL encryption. There's more...LessAccounting.com even offers free tech support by the people who created this application.

Less is definitely more...

Passport Changes

If you are thinking about traveling, you should know that the rules have changed regarding a passport.

Some changes have occurred since October 2, 2007. If you are planning to fly to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, you need to know the following:

A US citizen traveling to one of the destinations mentioned above, you will now need a passport. If you are under the age of 16 and traveling with a parent,you need to provide proof that you did apply for a passport.
If you are driving across these borders or taking a cruise, you do not (yet) need a passport.

If you plan to travel in the next few months, start the process NOW or you may have to expedite the passport process. That service usually costs $157.00 compared to the regular price of $97.00

Getting a regular passport can take 3 to 6 weeks, compared to expedited service that can take 2 weeks.
There are agencies that can help you obtain a passport overnight or even the same day, but the costs will be much more and will vary.

If you are getting a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to apply. Visit your post office or town library which may offer these services.

You will need your original birth certificate with the raised seal, your drivers license and two 2x2 inch photos. Before you go to the agency for your passport, be sure to confirm what paperwork you may need.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Back in October, I had the pleasure of getting involved with the Alzheimer's Memory walk. I was able to add contributions to this important cause of finding a cure for this disease and help ensure that quality care be given to those affected by this disease.

November is time to bring more awareness of this disease and to urge people to get their memory screenings. This is an important factor in early detection and is the first step toward receiving the care you may need.

Ask you physician about having a memory screening or locate a screening location in your area for you or a loved one.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America website offers successful aging tips that you should read, learn and implement. Make sure you share these tips with your loved ones. It is never too soon to start preventive care.

Here are a few of these tips:

1) Participate in activities that stimulate your brain, such as reading, crossword puzzles, playing bridge, and other mental exercises.

2) Manage stress through techniques such as relaxation, meditation and yoga.

3) Control hypertension, diabetes and heart disease—risk factors for dementia—through physical exercise, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and avoiding obesity.

4) Follow a healthy diet and take vitamins, including vitamins C and E, and folic acid

You goal is having your brain cells function well by maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, think about giving a holiday gift of a memory screening to a parent, grandparents or other members of your family. It would truly be a gift of love.

Another idea would be in lieu of holiday cards, make a donation to The Alzheimer's Organization to do your part in helping to find a cure for this disease and also help to provide quality care for those who must suffer with Alzheimer's.

Remember Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, or loss of intellectual function, among people aged 65 and older.

Let's work together to help fight this disease and make sure that those afflicted receive quality care.



House Committee Passes Mortgage Reform Bill

WASHINGTON -- Members of the House Financial Services Committee voted
to approve a bill imposing sweeping changes on the mortgage industry,
including minimum standards for approving loans and some new liabilities
on those who scrutinize risky mortgages.

Committee members OK'd the bill by a vote of 45 to 19. The bill would mandate licensing for mortgage brokers and bank loan officers and set a minimum standard for all mortgages stating that borrowers must have a reasonable ability to repay. The bill was introduced by Democrats Barney Frank, Mel Watt and Brad Miller. Frank, of Massachusetts, is the committee's chairman.

This may hurt consumers by raising their costs for home loan financing, decrease competition, and give consumers less options for financing their homes.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Keep More Money in Your Pocket

My son recently leased a 2007 Hummer and to get the best rates, he found a site which allowed the car dealers to compete for his business. He didn't pay full price, but received a quote below wholesale price.

He usually asks for my help or advice, but this deal he did on his own. He felt confident by having the dealers contact him and present their quote, he'd then be easily able to distinguish where he'd get the best deal.

He found CarsBlvd and he just clicked on the year, model and make of the vehicle, hit submit and in a short time, he was receiving calls from the dealers. This was all provided for free, with no obligation.

I am also considering using this site to get a Honda Car Quote. Since I witnessed how easy it was, I want to also receive the best deal on my next new vehicle.

CarsBlvd also offers options such as car refinance, car loans, insurance, warranties, and impressively, a course on car maintenance.

It's a great feeling to know you received the best deal on a purchase. I'm proud of my son for getting the best deal possible and keeping more money in his pocket.

Efforts vs. Results

In my opinion, focusing just on results can be damaging. Damaging to your self esteem, to your confidence, to your energy.

You should focus more on your efforts. You have control over that, not the results. In business, if you focus strictly on results, you can kill your drive.

What if you set a goal to have 10 new clients by the end of the month? BUT, if you did not get the results you wanted, you may feel a sense of defeat, rejection or be disappointed with yourself and loose energy to acquire clients the next month. All your energy went into focusing on strictly the end results, which may have lessened the quality of your effort. You can not control the outcome of clients decisions whether they want your product or service. Let go of something you can not control.

If you concentrate more on your efforts, you will feel more empowered. You have control over your efforts and how you present yourself to clients. By focusing on your efforts and not just the results, your efforts might improve and be more of quality. Maybe your efforts can include increasing the number of prospects that view your product or service by bringing more quality content to a web site or enhance your marketing strategies. That in turn will then bring the result of gaining a new client.

Focusing on your effort and putting all you have into that, will show new confidence and that attitude will come across loud and clear. Results will follow.

I believe the same holds true in your personal life. Thinking of going on a diet or decided to start an exercise routine? By focusing only on the result, you may loose sight of your effort. Therefore, feel discouraged or defeated if the result you crave isn't immediately satisfied.

Our efforts is what will make us feel and be successful.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Is Freelancing Right For You?

If you are an entrepreneur, you may want to consider acquiring help from a professional to get jobs done that you may have little expertise in. This will also free up your time to concentrate on developing your business product or service.

Hiring someone who specializes in freelance design will help create professional looking business cards and/or brouchures,a graphic designer who can create an eye catching company logo are important steps to complete before launching your new business.

Have you thought about the quality of your web site? A copy writer or ghost writer can supply your site with immediate quality content.

At a freelance marketplace, which you can easily find online, you will locate professionals to hire to get the work done quickly and within your budget.

On the flip side, if you are a professional wanting to find work doing what you love, you may want to register at a freelance marketplace as a free agent and have buyers looking for your services come to you.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007

An important issue is happening right now regarding the mortgage industry and the restrictions on borrowers qualifying for home loans.If you are a loan officer or a mortgage originator, this new bill introduced, may affect the way you will get paid or cause extinction in the future. It will also limit the choices consumers have in finding a residential mortgage loan to strictly large financial institutions.

In attempts to start regulating our industry, restoring ethics and responsibility within the mortgage origination industry, The Mortgage Reform and Anit-Predatory Lending Act of 2007 has been established.

To view the Complete Bill (HR3915) go HERE

After reading this new bill, you can show your disagreement by signing the petition by going HERE

What are your thoughts about this new bill? and, will this new Bill affect YOU?

E.coli Warning

If you are like me and do not watch the nightly news, you may have missed this important warning regarding the massive recall on frozen pizza.

Public heath officials are urging consumers to throw away any Totino's or Jeno's brand frozen pizza that contain pepperoni.

There has been a multi-state outbreak of E.coli. The manufacturer, General Mills have recalled all frozen pizza produced at their Weston, Ohio plant. More than 120 million of these pizzas have been distributed since July.

To date, at least 21 lab confirmed cases have been identified in 10 states. Tennessee, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylavania, Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin and South Dakata. At least 10 people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

View informative article and specific products covered in this recall by going HERE

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Smart Marketing and Branding

Do you have an idea, product or service you want to market? Do you know what steps you should take that would be effective in reaching your potential clients?

You can incorporate drip marketing as your strategy. This means doing something each month to keep your name in front of your current or potential clients. These clients need to see your marketing message continually.

Once you've developed your plan, you then need to figure how to execute this plan. Decide who your target market will be and develop your company's slogan or phrase.

In doing research on marketing strategies, I came across an article on Kolbrener. This company offers a unique Brand Evolution Process that will deliver superb results and increase your company's revenue. Their strategy includes: Interactive, Direct, Television, Radio, PR and Non-traditional.

It is necessary to have a company like Kolbrener that is sales-smart with special expertise to succeed.

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