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Weekend Wanderlust: Embracing the Elements in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

A weekend road trip is a perfect way to unwind after a long week of hard work. When the wanderlust hits, self-drive rental car options in Manila, Philippines allow you to explore the hidden gems and not-so-hidden retreats the Read more

The Right Way to Do a 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange is a tax-deferred method of selling one qualified property and acquiring another like kind of property within a specific time frame. It is a tool to let go of a property today and exchange it with Read more

Melbournian Magic: How Melbourne Set New Real Estate Records

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Melbournian Magic: How Melbourne Set New Real Estate Records

land for saleWe all know about the magic of Melbourne, especially when it has been named the most liveable city in the world for three years in a row. But it seems that the real estate market has taken things to a new level. News stories point out how house prices in Melbourne have hit a new record high, with the median pegged at $658,000. Crunching the numbers, this is a significant increase of 3.3% in just three months.

Although the world’s most liveable city is not expected to do any less, it is still a point of curiosity as to how Melbourne managed to set this new record. Let’s take a look at the different factors that influenced this outcome:

The location factor

Melbourne’s title is enough evidence to justify why house prices in the area have skyrocketed. But of course, there is more to this phenomenon. When it comes to land for sale, Melbourne has some of the most attractive lots. Melbourne has a thriving central business district that serves as a good starting point for both young and established professionals who want to further their careers. Of course, this means more options for entrepreneurial growth, too.

The lifestyle factor

The suburbs prove to be an attractive choice for Australians, as these areas fit the desired lifestyle in the country. Many invest in middle ring suburbs to get to a close distance from the city whilst having all the amenities they need to live a comfortable life.

Inner city residents have contributed to the growth as well, as apartment life has become more attractive for those in the city centre.

The migration factor

The most liveable city has also proven itself as a highly attractive location for interstate migrants, not to mention the many international immigrants that flock the area. People continue to see the attractiveness of Melbourne to the point that they choose to move here over many other locations in the Land Down Under.

These factors sum up one thing: Melbourne is truly one of the most – if not the most – attractive locations in Australia. It’s no surprise that Melbourne’s real estate market does so well.

How to Boost Employee Productivity in a Retail Store

Posted on by Joseph Stevenson in Information Facility | Comments Off on How to Boost Employee Productivity in a Retail Store

using portable radioAs the manager or owner of a retail store, it’s your personal responsibility to make sure that the business succeeds. But try as you might, it’s impossible to do everything yourself. One of your most important duties is to make sure that your employees can work efficiently and effectively.

Whether you’re a newly promoted store manager or trying to improve your struggling business, here are things you can do to improve productivity.

1. Get to know everyone – Some managers know little more than the names of their employees. Taking a personal interest in the people who work for you is not only good for workplace morale, it will also give you valuable information on their various strengths and weaknesses. This will help you delegate tasks to the right people.

2. Set aside time for coaching – Identifying and dealing with problem areas can bring underperforming employees up to par. Also, when employees have to constantly ask you what to do, it wastes your time and slows down store operations. Keep a close eye on your staff, find out where they struggle, and give constructive criticism.

3. Make communication easier – This is especially important for larger stores. You don’t want your customers waiting impatiently while your employees run around trying to find someone. Equipping everyone with an easy to use portable radio makes it a breeze to answer questions, ask for help, or make important announcements.

4. Avoid making sudden changes – Disrupting your employees’ routine overnight usually ends up backfiring terribly, no matter how good the new policies are. Introduce change gradually, and get your staff to support it by explaining the benefits it will bring. Think in weeks instead of days for major projects, and make sure that everything works smoothly before moving on your next big plan.

5. Lead by example – Finally, remember that your employees pay close attention to your actions. When there is a large discrepancy between what you say and what you actually do, they won’t take your words seriously. Always be willing to do yourself whatever you ask of them; if you expect people to put in overtime during busy seasons, don’t ever be the first one out the door.

It’s Not Always Insomnia: Why You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on It’s Not Always Insomnia: Why You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

trouble sleepingWe’ve all experienced it before: the frustration that comes with a sleepless night. Come morning, you dread to see the sun because you haven’t had a decent shut eye since you decided to lie down. Although there are cases when this might be insomnia or some other clinical condition, other factors might be the cause of this problem.

Your room

Sometimes, your room is what keeps you from sleeping soundly at night. A study notes how the color of your room affects the amount of sleep you get at night. The temperature is also a contributing factor, as the human body wants to cool down before sleeping. Then again, your mattress might be the culprit. The foam may be too worn out and you need a new one. In case you’re looking for a new king mattress, Orem has many stores carrying quality beds that will help you sleep better.

Your mind

Whatever’s on your mind before you venture off to Dreamland affects how easy or hard it is for you to sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists mental activities, such as concentrating and trying to remember things as some of the leading causes of sleep-related difficulties. Relaxing before bed helps a lot in combating this, as you want to clear your head before you snooze.

Your habits

The habits you do prior to sleeping also influence your slumber (or lack thereof). Smoking, for example, seems like a relaxing thing to do before bed for many, but the nicotine is actually a stimulant that acts like caffeine and keeps you up.

Late-night workouts are also bad for your sleep. Physical activity stimulates your body’s heart rate and metabolism. As a result, you end up feeling restless and experience random awakenings as the night drones on.

Some people like to watch TV or tap away on their smartphones before sleep, but this activity prevents your body from entering a relaxed state. The light that an electronic device emits tries to copy sunlight, thus sending signals to your body that it’s time to wake up. In effect, your body slows down the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for causing sleepiness and lowering body temperature.

These things keep you from having a good night’s sleep. Do something about it and you will have a sound slumber soon.

Designing for SEO: How Web Design Affects Your Search Engine Rankings

Posted on by Sharon Williams in Promotions | Comments Off on Designing for SEO: How Web Design Affects Your Search Engine Rankings

web and graphic designingSome business owners are the last to learn about the newest search engine optimisation practices. With many marketing strategies and an entire business to manage, it’s no wonder. SEO support is, however, important for companies that want to remain competitive in major search engines.

Every website needs to have certain design aspects to achieve the desired results of an SEO campaign. If you are planning to update your website, let this article guide you.

Avoid heavy graphics site

To be a true king of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you are going to need more than just a search-optimised site. You can achieve big wins with good graphic design, but keep in mind that large size images and flash animations can be slow. Not only will this create a problem for viewers using mobile phones, it can also be terrible for search engines. Heavy graphics can be a great tool to add some flare to websites, but it can also hurt your rankings. It’s better to have a website that has a combination of text and media, and a good design.

Proper use of HTML

When done properly, HTML designs can be interactive and amazing. If you want to represent calls to action as images, use HTML so that search engine spiders can crawl them. Make the robot and human like your site. It’s important to understand that design should not be a problem for your SEO.

Size of your site matters

You might think that design is all about pictures and aesthetic. SEO is primarily about text and keywords, as search engines love content. So it pays to have a site with many pages of quality content, rather than keeping it to a minimum number of pages. The size of your website has a significant impact on your rankings. You can write blogs, but include videos or infographics that sparks the interest of visitors.

The major challenge most business owners face is building good websites that also have good performing SEO tactics. It’s best to also focus on designing a site that wins attention and creates an engaging user experience.

Risk Management: The Secret of Eternal Business Life

Posted on by Teresa Harper in E-Biz | Leave a comment

risk managementAn effective risk management framework is essential if a business wants to survive. A start-up faces more challenges than mere competition. Sometimes, a company dooms itself from the start with inadequate infrastructure, poor working conditions, and offices that violate Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) protocols.

The Risk of No Risk Management

According to Strategic Safety Australia, a leading provider of OHS consulting and training services, most of their clients do not even factor these risks into their start-up plan. Because of this, most companies fail to prepare countermeasures, and end up looking at a failed business venture before they even get off the ground.

Preparing a competent risk management plan allows companies to prepare for the growing pains of running a business and have the right tools to become competitive in their field once they start. Being able to see the difficulties from far off can help businesses benefit from the opportunities such a situation presents.

Benefits and Obstacles to Risk Management

Shoring up defences on the health front can help employees work more effectively, allowing managers to get more value out of their person-hours. One of the biggest obstacles to applying effective risk management in a company’s framework, however, is that most business persons do not know how to do it. The obvious solution is hiring someone to set-up the risk management. Companies are hesitant to pay an outsider to assess the quality of their offices, however.

Risk Management: Investment and Insurance

This is the kind of short sightedness that predicts a company’s failure before it even begins. A shrewd businessperson should not care about spending a few dollars now to protect their investment in the future.

Learning and applying a risk management in a company is not so much an investment; it is more like insurance. Protecting employees and the company from physical dangers and from the penalties of the law should be high on an owners list of priorities.

Top 3 Investments You Should Have At The Age Of 30

Posted on by Mike Cage in Money Talks | Leave a comment

As young and energetic as you are in your mid-20s, you can expect a slight change of perspective in financial undertakings as you get older. Some say that attitude to risk can change with age. You are more likely attracted to longer term and higher risk investment options when in a younger age bracket, compared to someone who is getting close to retirement.

With a stronger sensitivity to financial investments, here are the top investments you should have as you reach the age of 30:

investments you should have1. Just like for global investors, real estate properties can work for you.

Despite economic challenges, a number of global investors prefer Australian real estate, which serves as a safe haven for capital. They find these properties as a good investment in a well-regulated and highly transparent growth-oriented market for doing business.  With the introduction of the Managed Investment Trust Regime in 2008, global investors flock to the Australian real estate market as some foreign investors qualify for a concessionary rate of withholding tax.

At the age of 30, you can utilize one of your unit sites while benefiting from the economic advantages in the Australian real estate market. Whether with a duplex or multi-unit development, an estate company like and other property developers in Perth can help you grow your investment and expand your assets.

2. Classic cars are a golden investment.

Classic cars are a golden investment, they say, as they offer a surefire return. A survey from The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) in 2013 revealed that classic cars outperformed traditional collectable investments, including gold, jewellery, wine, watches and furniture. The report suggests that classic car asset value rises to 28% while the value of gold drops to 23%.

With a dynamic market like this, you can invest in vintage yet functional cars. If you can find an excellent vehicle, it’s a good investment and not a short-term money spinner.

3. Retirement plans

The younger you are, the less you can be thinking about your golden years, and the less you are saving for those years. At the age of 30, you should, however, start preparing your retirement plans. This can give you more time to prepare gradually for financial shifts along with other expenses, including your child’s education, daily expenses, and even luxury goods.

Engaging in exciting investments is an indication of a development in your life as you turn a year older each year. Make sure to put your hard-earned money in good investments which are secured and can give you real long-term benefits.

Skin Cancer: Prevention and Myths

Posted on by Derick Hill in Wellness Zone | Leave a comment

skin careCases of skin cancer in Singapore are multiplying. Among the major types, there have been 4,044 reported cases of basal cell carcinoma, 2,064 of squamous cell carcinoma, and 415 of melanoma. Among the major types, melanoma is the least common yet also perhaps the most serious type.

Skin cancer is becoming a problem around the world. In the States, for example, in response to the growing number of cases, the American Cancer Society even launched a slogan, “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap!” This is meant to educate and remind people about four simple ways to reduce the risks of skin cancer; it means slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses.

For more accurate preventive measures, Thomson Specialist Skin Centre recommends that you should be aware of the truths and the fiction behind skin cancer. Separate the proven data from hearsay. Here are a few myths about skin cancer:

Myth 1: Only fair-skinned Asians develop skin cancer.

This is not entirely true. In Singapore, although skin cancer incidence rates have increased from 1968 to 2006, especially among older Chinese, a study has found that skin cancer rates among fairer-skinned Chinese is approximately three times higher than in Malays and Indians, who generally have darker complexions. Simply put, even dark-skinned individuals can develop skin cancer.

Myth 2: Skin cancer only appears on the sun-exposed part of the body.

There are skin cancers that commonly appear on sun-exposed skin areas like the basal cell carcinoma, but it can appear on practically any body part. This includes your soles, palms, and even areas under your fingernails and toenails.

Myth 3: Only men are susceptible to skin cancer.

Everyone is susceptible to skin cancer. As you age, the risk of acquiring diseases increases, but skin cancer can affect adults, young children, men and women.

According to the Trends in Cancer Incidence in Singapore 2004-2008 (Singapore Cancer Registry), there are 1,065 cases of skin cancer among men each year. Women with skin cancer have recorded 941 cases every year. Records only show that men have higher skin cancer tendencies, but this does not mean they are the only preys of the disease. As a matter of fact, skin cancer ranks 8th in both men and women in Singapore.

Among the risk factors of skin cancer, sun exposure is the most preventable. You can still have fun under the sun, but make sure to protect your skin with sun block, shades and hats. This can protect not only your skin, but also your eyes from developing cataracts, and your immune system from weakening.

Avoiding an Epic Fail: 3 Social Media Posting Rules to Live By

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Leave a comment

social media postingSocial media can be a very effective of generating traffic to your website, that is, if you get it right. When done badly, however, you can alienate consumers and hurt your brand. Stories about social screw-ups pop up here and there, yet many companies still don’t get it.

Here are a few things you should always keep in mind:

It’s Your Brand’s Voice

For many consumers, your Twitter, Facebook, and other social accounts are extensions of your brand. When a customer needs something with your business, or has an issue that needs resolution, they’ll likely just pick up their phone and tweet at your account instead of dialing an 800-number and having to hold for several minutes. If they’re interested, they will follow your account and work with you.

Make sure that your social media presence evokes the same voice as your brand. The Twitter accounts of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) do a pretty good job at it. The CIA’s first tweet and the NSA’s tweet about careers in the agency captured their voices perfectly.

Context will Always be an Issue

Whether it’s a national holiday, an upcoming event, or something in the news, always try to be sensitive and plug your business using only related events., an advertising agency in San Diego, says one way to amplify your brand properly and move audiences to take action is through creative, innovative, and appropriate campaigns. This means you don’t need to jump on every bandwagon, especially if you’ll only end up presenting your company in an inappropriate or poorly thought out way.

Sensitivity and Post Appropriateness

If a major event is happening in the world or in your target market, such as a storm, a major crime, or the death of a prominent figure, it’s best to hold off on anything that’s scheduled to go out. If it seems like a bad idea, it probably is.

It’s always better to hold off your tweets during solemn events than to take flak for tweeting about a big sale while everyone is mourning a tragedy.

They say that a bad reputation is better than no reputation at all, but this doesn’t always apply to marketing and advertising. In the unforgiving world of social media, any mistake or inappropriate campaign can come back and haunt you for years.

Wedding Monster Alert: Avoid Becoming Bridezilla

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Leave a comment

bridal hair and makeupPlanning a wedding can get overwhelmingly stressful, but you don’t have to go crazy and throw tantrums whenever things don’t go your way. Turning into a wedding monster or bridezilla will just complicate things. Learn to set limits and value other people’s opinions.

Here are a few other tips to avoid turning into the bridezilla nobody wants to deal with:

Avoid Micromanaging

While you want your wedding to be perfect, micromanaging will only cause more stress and anxiety. Learn to listen to suggestions. Appreciate the ideas that come from friends or your partner and get help when it comes to making decisions. Delegate significant wedding duties to the people you trust to make the planning less stressful. Take a few days off if things start getting too stressful.

Know Your Limits

Set limits to avoid becoming a bride monster. Establish financial limits for the venue, cake, or wedding car to avoid overspending. It is also best to schedule a specific time for looking at wedding catalogues or going for test bridal hair and makeup sessions.

Avoid the Dress Drama

While it’s normal to want to look good on your wedding, don’t purchase a gown that doesn’t fit you right, hoping that it would fit later on. Don’t go on a strict diet, hit the gym more often than you should, or cancel dinner dates with your fiancée just to get the dress to fit you. Choose a gown that fits, flatters your figure, and one that is easy to alter.

Consider Your Bridesmaids

When choosing bridesmaids dresses, let the girls take part in the selection process. Your bridesmaids will definitely look better if they feel comfortable in the dress they are wearing Choose dresses that flatter all figures, set a colour scheme, and allow them to choose their dresses.

Avoid Competition

Don’t aim for an extravagant wedding just to compete with other brides. Remember that a beautiful wedding isn’t all about having an expensive dress, inviting more guests, or having a big venue. A wedding is about the love between you and your husband-to-be, not a spectacular meant to impress.

Remind yourself that some things are just beyond your control. While you should always hope for the best, you must also be prepared for the worst. Learn to go with the flow and try to see the bright side in any setback.

Cooling Therapy Halts Brain Damage In Babies, Study Shows

Posted on by Wileene Grace Olimpo in Wellness Zone | Leave a comment

newborn-babyThe treatment of cooling newborn babies suffering from lack of oxygen at the time of birth significantly increases their chance of survival without neurological abnormalities to later childhood, a new study has claimed.

‘Remarkable’ study

The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that infants given with the therapy survived with a higher IQ at school age, compared to those treated with standard care.

“What is remarkable about this study is that 20 years ago people thought nothing could be done for this group of patients who can suffer devastating brain damage,” said lead researcher Prof David Edwards in a statement. “Now we have shown that something can be done.”

“This is crucial research – without it we could not have been confident this is a long-lasting and worthwhile therapy,” he added.

Long-lasting therapy

For the study, the babies were placed on a special mat and cooled for at least three days to determine if it may help reduce brain injury.

Edwards and his team think cooling works by slowing the production of harmful substances in the brain.

They said the findings confirm the cooling treatment has long-lasting effects.