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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

Outsourcing Graphic Design: A Great Solution when Creative Juices Run Dry

Posted on by Joseph Stevenson in Information Facility | Comments Off on Outsourcing Graphic Design: A Great Solution when Creative Juices Run Dry

reliable graphic designThere are times when businesses need to outsource specific tasks rather than do them themselves. Data entry jobs, content marketing and finance and accounting are some of the common jobs most companies outsource.

In Birmingham, many companies either hire freelance web designers or firms like to do graphic designs for them. The reasons are endless. Just imagine all the benefits you’ll receive by outsourcing your visual arts to a professional. Letting a professional graphic designer do the job for you lets you avoid stress and focus more on your business goals. You also get value for your money.

Below are five things to consider before you hire a graphic designer:


Before you hire graphic designers, check their portfolios. Do they have a number of successful projects? How about the feedback from previous clients? Are they positive? Do your research and visit their websites to know all these.


If you already have people in mind, ask them how much time they can spare for your projects. This is important especially when establishing a relationship with any kind of designers. Make sure they can finish your initial project on time.


The skills of the designers you hire should match your marketing strategy. Does your marketing approach focus on youth? Then hire a designer who specialises in cutting-edge youth culture. To make sure your project is a success, look for a firm composed of experienced designers with well-rounded portfolio. This gives you an assurance that they can suit your requirements.


What is the purpose of your project? Will you use it for social media? An important factor of graphic design is getting your message across. Explain your purpose clearly to your designers. Also, lay out your desired deliverables, so it will be easier for them to give you exactly what you want.


The cost usually depends on your project. The more complex and extensive your project is, the costlier it gets. There are times that an hourly rate gets out of control. To avoid this, set the specifics of the deliverables you will be receiving and agree on a price. Do this before the project starts.

Graphic designers can help you get started with your marketing materials. Whether you choose to hire a freelance web designer or partner with a firm, do not forget these pointers for a successful project.

Eat the Right Way: The Healthy Way of Consuming Meals

Posted on by Derick Hill in Wellness Zone | Comments Off on Eat the Right Way: The Healthy Way of Consuming Meals

vitaminsThe way you eat or consume food can have a significant effect on your health in the future. It is important to develop healthy eating habits; think of food as nourishment to maintain a healthy body. By paying attention to what you eat and how you eat, you can give your body everything it needs.

Here are a few ways of eating healthier:

Eat With Others

Eating with other people offers emotional and social benefits. It can be extremely beneficial for kids, as you can teach them healthy eating habits. It also gives families and friends a chance to connect and learn from each other. Eating in front of the TV or computer, however, may result in mindless overeating.

Slow Down

Always take the time chew your food and enjoy your meal. Chewing food slowly can help you savor every bite and feel the texture of the food. Leisurely eating also provides sufficient time to send a message to the brain that you are full, allowing you to eat less.

Listen to Your Body

If you feel hungry, try to have a glass of water first to know if you’re just thirsty. Drinking water can help you avoid eating when you’re not really hungry. If you’re still hungry after drinking water, choose healthy snacks. Don’t ignore hunger, as it can make crave for sweet or fattening foods later on.

Go for Colors

Keep your meals interesting by incorporating different colors of fruits and vegetable. According to and stores offering pH balance vitamins, you can make fruits and vegetables more appealing by making a smoothie and adding nutritional supplements. This can provide variety in your meals and make things exciting for your taste buds.

Eat Your Breakfast

To jumpstart your metabolism, eat a healthy breakfast. This provides energy throughout the day and helps regulate your meal. It is also advisable to eat smaller meals throughout the day to have sufficient energy and keep your metabolism going.

Keep in mind that healthy eating isn’t just about minding what you put in your plate; it is more about developing healthy eating habits and thinking food as daily nourishment. It is always important to avoid unhealthy food items and enjoy what you eat.

Beyond Design: Considerations in Erecting a Fence

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Beyond Design: Considerations in Erecting a Fence

fenceRegardless of the type of property you have, you need a fence around it to establish the perimeter and keep it secure. Of course, for many, this entire process is just about choosing the right design and material for the fence, but there’s much more work that goes into it than that. You have to consider these other factors before you can build an aluminium slat fence in Perth.

Land title

First of all, you have to check with Land gate as to what type of title you have for the property. Depending on the type, you would have to follow a set of guidelines regarding the construction and dimensions of your fence. Land gate will find out if there are covenants you have to follow, especially in cases when the fence would divide a property. Strata titles also have different guidelines, thus making it imperative for you to give notice to the respective departments as early as possible.

Legal requirements

As a property owner, you have to know your legal responsibilities before building a fence. Know that all solid structures – fences included – within a distance of 3 metres from the road edge, and sporting a height of at least 1.8 metres, must have prior planning permission from the local authority. You have to process this permission yourself, abide by all building requirements, and define the right boundaries for the fence.

There are also different regulations for swimming pool fences, so you might want to research on that if your pool would have a fence. As for smart wood or slat fencing, strict rules apply regarding the gaps between slats. This provision differs from council to council, so you have to check in your area.

Letter to neighbours

The Building Commission in WA imposes that homeowners provide a written notice to the neighbouring owner whenever a renovation happens to the property. You have to indicate the boundary, type of fencing, and other details relevant to the construction. If the need arises, enter into an agreement with them regarding the terms of the project. Do note that, in some cases, you can split the payment of the fence between two owners who would benefit from the boundary.

Don’t just choose the design for your fence. Know your legal requirements and be a responsible property owner.

From Flop To Fab: Theatrical Performance Preparation

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on From Flop To Fab: Theatrical Performance Preparation

audio systemYou never want to risk technical glitches and audio system malfunction, be it during a concert or some other live performance. Sacrificing the quality of the whole production may lead to disappointment or embarrassment on the part of the cast and production crew, especially upon hearing negative backlash from the audience.

Don’t wait for the succeeding performances to flop. Here are a few key notes you can explore to produce a trouble-free theatrical experience:

Hiring Professional Production Agencies

According to, a theatrical production is almost always daunting, and partnering with a trusted entertainment production company is the solution to keeping the risks to a minimum. It is normal to target low production costs, but there would be more reduction in costs with a professional production agency. By booking services with a highly-skilled crew, you are certain that the audience can witness the spectacle and the vision of the whole cast and production team.

Checking Audio Systems

Ensuring pristine audio intelligibility, you need to be critical in choosing your equipment, and keeping them in good condition. What good is the script if not accompanied by the right music and sound effects? Keep in mind that your production partner should be able to analyze your need, from lighting to audio system arrangement. Faulty wirings and muffled sound systems can bring the whole house down. Any seasoned theater director knows how such a thing can put an end to everything that took months to put together.

Acquiring Transportation Services

Unloading and loading of cargo on time is an essential part of the production preparation. With a delay in the equipment and tools, the whole setup can be sabotaged. Make sure to acquire reliable transport services that fit your delivery and on-site service needs. For effective and full preparation, you also need to make sure the equipment arrives in excellent condition.

With so many things to accomplish, complete your tasks one by one so you don’t miss a single detail. By ensuring everything is handled seamlessly, you are certain to produce a fabulous performance rather than a theatrical bummer.

VA Loans: For the Heroes of the Country

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on VA Loans: For the Heroes of the Country

For the majority of military borrowers, Veterans Affairs mortgages or VA loans are the best lending program available in the housing market—especially now that banks are tightening lending standards. Though this may be the case, some people still do not have a very clear idea of what VA loans are.

Here’s a quick read on what you need to know:

housingUnderstanding VA Loans

VA loans are a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), which guarantees home loans for applicants that are currently serving or have served in the military. A VA loan allows you to purchase a home without any down payment and private mortgage insurance. Moreover, you don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify for the program; you are entitled to the same benefits more than once.

VA loans are available to over 22 million active military personnel and veterans. If you qualify for the program, the DVA and My Great Loan, a subsidiary of the Bank of England offering several loan products, suggest having a clear understanding of the program to navigate the application process easily.


Veterans, reservists, and members of the military and the National Guard are all eligible for a VA loan. Spouses of personnel who died while on duty may also apply. Active military members will be eligible after serving for six months. Members of the National Guard and reservists, on the other hand, qualify after six years. If they’re called to active duty, however, they can gain eligibility after 181 days.

You must obtain a certificate of eligibility from the DVA before you can apply for a loan. You can submit the form online.

There’s a Fee

While the costs of applying for a VA loan are a lot cheaper than other types of mortgages, they still require a one-time funding fee. The fee will depend on the amount of your down payment and on the military branch where you belong. If you’re from the armed forces and are getting a VA loan for the first time with zero interest, for example, you’ll have to pay a fee of 2.5 percent of your loan amount. If you make a 10 percent down payment, the fee is reduced to 1.25 percent.

Several lending institutions participate in the VA program and as most set their own discount points, interest rates, and closing points, you might want to shop around to get the best deal.

iOS Upgrade: Apple To Change How iPhone Users Chat

Posted on by Wileene Grace Olimpo in Information Facility | Comments Off on iOS Upgrade: Apple To Change How iPhone Users Chat

ipad-iphoneTech giant Apple Inc. has introduced its latest update to the iPhone operating system, which would bring big changes for how users send and receive messages.

Smarter features

The new iOS 8 now has a bunch of new messaging features, which includes interactive notifications, a keyboard that predicts what users will type, and a Snapchat-like self-destruct button.

“You don’t want to have to clean these up. Audio and video messages can take up space,” said Greg Joswiak, head of iOS product marketing, in a statement. “So they’re set to self-destruct unless you choose to keep them.”

New tricks of its own

With iOS 8’s new notification system, users would be able to respond without having to open and switch apps.

There is also a new video messaging system, which allows people to easily send video and audio messages. Users can record by lifting the Apple device to their ear and the message will automatically end if they lower the phone to send it.

The new operating system will be available this fall, the company announced during Worldwide Developers Conference.

Furnished vs. Unfurnished: Which Office Space Should You Get?

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Furnished vs. Unfurnished: Which Office Space Should You Get?

office space for rentIf you’re browsing through listing sites to find an office space for rent in Makati or anywhere else in the Metro, you might notice that most ads have the words “furnished” and “unfurnished” in the title. You’re probably wondering what these are and if they make a difference if you’re going to buy or rent an office space.

Here’s a brief comparison guide:

Furniture and Fixtures

A furnished office space has everything you want, from partitions to the most common office fixtures. It’s ideal for new businesses because you don’t have to worry about filling up an empty office. Although you have to be careful at some sellers who offer sub-standard materials just to raise the price.

An unfurnished office is empty. It doesn’t have anything else except for the electricity and water supply. This is for businesses that are planning to relocate, or those who already have or want to buy their own furniture and fixtures.

Office Design

As furnished office spaces have a few fixtures, you need to include these in the floor plan when designing. Depending on your needs, these might or might not limit you when thinking of projects according to preference.

An empty, unfurnished office space gives you all the freedom to design the area. In fact, the possibilities are endless. It helps plan the number of furniture and fixtures you can buy and install, so everything looks clean and identical.

The Selling or Rental Price

A furnished office space for rent or sale has a higher price than the unfurnished ones because you also pay for the furniture, fixtures, and other renovations. It’s worth the price, though, as you can move in immediately.

An unfurnished office space is more affordable, but if you think about the things you have to pay for to make it look presentable, then the price is almost the same with the furnished ones. The only advantage is you have more control over the space, but need more time to design it.

Furnished or unfurnished, the choice is up to you. Determine what your budget and what the business needs in an office to make a good decision.

Personal Protective Equipment: Keeping Tradespersons Safe in the Workplace

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Personal Protective Equipment: Keeping Tradespersons Safe in the Workplace

personal equipmentWorking in the construction industry is a demanding, but fulfilling job. As you turn your client’s dream home into reality or improve the real estate value of an office building, don’t forget to protect yourself from accidents. Falls, cuts and inhalation of toxic fumes are common health risks among tradespersons.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, dust masks, earmuffs or earplugs and goggles, reduce your risk of injuries at work. Here are some tips on buying and using PPE:

Listen to experts

With many options on the market, it can be difficult to find the best products, especially if this is your first time to buy some. When shopping for dust masks for instance, experts recommend choosing one that can filter as much airborne particles as possible. Some products can only filter 80%, while others can filter as much as 94%. Furthermore, you should be comfortable breathing while wearing it, otherwise, it may cause more harm than good. According to GTPro, a good dust mask should also allow you to wear a pair of glasses or goggles easily.

Be careful when buying second hand items

Don’t be too quick in buying second hand equipment to save a few dollars. For instance, that hard hat your friend is selling may still look great. If it had been under the sun for a long time, however, the heat may have weakened the material and won’t give you enough protection.

Make sure it fits

A safety harness that’s a millimetre too big or too small can result in accidents. Don’t just focus on the brand and price when buying any type of PPE. Whether it’s from GTPro, DuPont or 3M, check the measurements carefully. Test or fit the product and see if you can move in it comfortably.

Replace PPE regularly

Assess your equipment regularly. Depending on the demands of your work, you may have to replace the equipment a few times within a year. Take note of the date you bought your tools, so it will be easy to remember when it’s time to replace them.

Never start working on a project without PPE. Depending on your arrangement with your employer or client, you may shoulder the expenses for your PPE, split the costs with them, or ask them to provide you with protective gear.

Does Whitening Toothpaste Really Work?

Posted on by Derick Hill in Wellness Zone | Comments Off on Does Whitening Toothpaste Really Work?

dental careThere are so many toothpaste brands out on the market that promise instantly whiter teeth. The question on most minds, though, is do these really work? The quick answer is, well, not really. Whitening toothpastes can get rid of surface stains to make teeth whiter, but that’s just about all it can do. You can also use it after a teeth bleaching procedure from your trusted dentist to maintain the results.

What’s In It?

Normally, whitening toothpastes have special abrasives to polish teeth gently and chemicals that dissolve or break stains down. A common chemical found in almost all toothpaste products that promise whiter teeth is blue covarine. This rests on the teeth’s surface to create an optical illusion, making the teeth look less yellow.

Double Checking

Using whitening toothpaste twice daily can make your teeth look whiter after three to six weeks. Be sure to check manufacturer recommendations, though. Using some variants excessively can lead to tooth enamel damage over time.


Whitening toothpastes can’t lighten stains deeper than the surface of your teeth. It also won’t change your teeth’s natural colour. If you still want to use this, find a brand with an approval seal from trustworthy dental organisations. This seal denotes the toothpaste’s effectiveness at getting rid of surface stains.

Better Options

If you really want to have whiter teeth, it’s best to consult your local dentist to know which cosmetic treatment procedure will work best. The most popular ones are laser bleaching, bleaching trays, and Zoom whitening.

Tray or Laser or Zoom

The main difference between laser bleaching and Zoom whitening is safety. With laser bleaching, there’s a risk of the teeth overheating during the procedure if it’s not done correctly. With Zoom, there’s no heat involved. Bleaching trays have similar results with Zoom, but Zoom eliminates the need to wear trays for about two weeks.

Whatever solution you decide to get to whiten your teeth, ensure your safety before undergoing it. This way, you’ll get a happier, whiter smile that you can proudly show off whenever you can.

Storefront Tips: Owning and Designing the Awning

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Storefront Tips: Owning and Designing the Awning

awningsThe first few seconds of a sales pitch are the most important part of the process. The mere opening statement is enough to make customers and clients decide if they want to do business or not.

When it comes to stores, a good storefront can advertise a business and possibly convert sales where there would otherwise be none. A store’s exterior signage may not be enough to draw people in. The façade is its first and foremost advertising. It needs to be inviting enough to be effective.

Walk anywhere in the Big Apple and you’re sure to see a host of attractive New York awnings decorating storefronts. These can provide storefronts with the necessary ambiance to draw in customers. They can create the perfect atmosphere and provide the appropriate tone for a pleasing shopping experience. Keep in mind that having one will provide ample outdoor shading.

Play with color combinations

Depending on the season and the theme of your store for the month, you can toy around with the colors of your New York store’s awning to create the vibe you want. Awnings can come with the store logo, brand, or catch phrases that will make the store more appealing to customers. A little back lighting can bring out the vibrancy in colors, which can make your store even more attractive.

Be creative and light your store up

Another trick to accessorizing storefront awnings is through the use of fancy lighting. Storeowners most prominently use this technique during holidays such as Christmas. The holiday vibe sets the tone for customers to line up outside your store.

Attractive awnings can turn New York passersby into potential customers. Stores can have multiple awnings; it is up to storeowners to be as creative as they can be in designing their storefronts. It only takes a little nudge to turn window shoppers into full-fledged shoppers. The little cozy shading can be enough to give them ample time to decide to enter your store.