Ooey Gooey Grilled Cheese Recipes Just in Time for Fall

Comments (0) Food and Drink

fall recipes

Are you noticing a golden hue to the sunlight, the earthy aroma of bonfires and a slight chill in the evening air?

As autumn officially kicks in, we’re turning our thoughts to all the good things that come with the season, including football, cozy sweaters, apple orchards, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the warm comfort food that pairs well with crisp fall days. (more…)

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Putting the Men in Menopause – How doing so can lead to new and profound levels of...

Comments (0) Menopause

menopause

Female Menopause is NOT a ‘Women Only’ rite of passage. Far from it!

The process can -and often does- tear marriages and longstanding relationships apart, destroy families and cast hearts, minds, spirits- and inanimate objects adrift.

Female Menopause -mishandled- can be a nightmare for all parties involved, and women have done their mates and themselves a great disservice by shutting men out of the process and out of the bedroom. (more…)

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Seeking a Small Business Loan? Here’s What You Need to Know

Comments (0) Finance and Money

business loan

Small businesses still struggle to obtain credit; nearly half of those who applied for credit in 2016 didn’t get all the funding they sought, and 17 percent of those who didn’t apply for financing skipped it because they didn’t think they could get what they needed, according to the Federal Reserve Banks’ Small Business Credit Survey. However, a growing number of small businesses are turning to alternative sources of financing. (more…)

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Don’t become the “Bank of Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa”

Comments (0) Finance and Money

bank

Most people want to help their children pay for a quality college education, but it can be difficult to balance personal financial goals and funding your kids’ educational aspirations. When retirement savings is sacrificed for college costs, it can be a disservice to the entire family.

To help guide you in determining the best way to pay for your kids’ college while still funding your retirement savings, personal finance expert and host of the So Money podcast Farnoosh Torabi offers seven smart tips. (more…)

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Do You Have Testicular Fortitude?

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

fortitude

If you’re a woman do you even need it? Unfortunately there is still the idea that drive and getting ahead seem to be eternally equated with high levels of testosterone. Testicular Fortitude is a term to describe a person who is successful in their chosen field.

Well it seems that women are doing just fine without testicular fortitude; We have our own unique brand of fortitude and it is working. According to the Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2014 was the tenth year in a row in which the majority of research doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens went to women. Women now earn 57 percent of bachelor degrees and 59 percent of masters degrees. More doctorates are awarded to women than men in the humanities, social sciences, education, and life sciences and medicine. Women now serve as presidents of Harvard, MIT, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and other leading research universities. Their position in the corporate world has increased exponentially as well. (more…)

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50 Things Women Should Acquire by 50

Comments (0) Quotes for Women

50

By the age of 50, every woman should have acquired:

  1. An old boyfriend who makes you smile with melancholy when you remember him and an old boyfriend who makes you proud of how far you’ve come.
  2. A piece of furniture that has never been previously owned by anyone in your family that you bought with your own money and makes you happy.
  3. An outfit that makes you feel invincible if your future employer or man of your dreams calls to meet you in an hour.
  4. A set of lingerie that you would not be ashamed to be seen wearing.
  5. At least one scar on your heart where HE hurt you.
  6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
  7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.
  8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you.
  9. A dream so big it scares you.
  10. At least One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a pair of totally unpractical shoes.
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
  13. The belief that you are worthy of treating yourself with respect.
  14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, a push-up bra and a great pair of spankx
  15. At least One recipe you cook well to impress the fussiest of guests
  16. A place to go just to think… where you can be completely alone with your thoughts.
  17. At least one child who looks to you for guidance and advice…even if he or she isn’t your own.
  18. The knowledge on how to break-up with a man or confront a friend without losing your temper or your self respect.
  19. At least one lover who knew exactly how to touch you to make your toes curl.
  20. The memory of a kiss so powerful…just the thought of it could sustain you into old age.
  21. The medical history that runs in your family so you can take care of YOU!
  22. The ability to live on your own and not be dependent on anyone.
  23. An outfit that feels like you are in a cocoon and safe from the world…its usually fleece or flannel
  24. The ability to let go of the hurts from your childhood and embrace the fact that your parents did the best they could with the skills they had
  25. One secret that makes you smile.
  26. A memory that makes you cringe….because those memories were lessons that brought you to here
  27. A journal full of your deepest thoughts
  28. A person you can call at 4 in the morning because you’re in a bind
  29. The knowledge of what you are willing to accept and what you are not in a relationship
  30. Something you do that’s just for you and no one else.
  31. A piece of jewelry that has sentimental meaning
  32. An older woman in your life who embodies the traits you wanna develop in your old age.
  33. A spirituality that feeds your spirit and nourishes your soul.
  34. A soundtrack to your life that when you hear it on the radio you sing at the top of you lungs
  35. Someone or something you LOVE with your whole heart
  36. A to do list that never gets completely checked off
  37. Enough money to run away in case you have to
  38. A purpose to rise out of bed every morning
  39. The ability to look in a mirror and love the ripples and bumps and wrinkles that stare back at you….because you earned them all over time.
  40. The ability to say NO without having to add anything further.
  41. A hobby that you can get lost in for hours.
  42. A hole in your heart from losing someone you have loved deeply…
  43. Done at least one thing kind for someone that has no way to ever repay your kindness…
  44. A “Been there – Done that” T-shirt to starting over from scratch..whether it be from a divorce, a career change, a massive loss or surviving life’s curve ball.
  45. A photo album full of memories..even if it’s on a flash drive or saved to the cloud.
  46. A passport… Up to date and ready to be stamped for the next adventure.
  47. At least one grey hair, wrinkle and saggy body part…. If you don’t.. Something’s wrong.
  48. An accomplishment that’s all yours…outside of your children, not tied to your spouse…something you have done or created all on your own.
  49. The knowledge of who you are as a woman. What makes you happy and what is no longer tolerated.
  50. The understanding that 50 is not over the hill…its not even close to the hill…. There is no hill even on the horizon….cuz you still have shit to do….

NOTE: This was not written by Kalon Women. We would be happy to give credit to the original author if anyone knows who it is definitively

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The Beauty of Aging Love

Comments (0) Relationships/Marriage/Divorce

mature couple

How many of us, especially when we were younger, have looked at our parents or grandparents and shook our heads, not understanding how they could possibly still be together? The thought of them mature couple 2actually loving each other probably didn’t even enter our minds.

The still common perception about ‘old’ love is that at best it’s turned into a habit. After 20 or 30 or more years together, couples just seem to co-habit instead of LOVE living together, instead of LOVING each other.

It turns out that the rose-colored glasses that we wore in our ’20s and ’30s are not giving us the vision that we need. And it turns out that all kinds of older men and women are so fantastically in love with each other, that they make The Notebook seem like kid’s play. (more…)

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Smart Fashion Tips to Keep You Looking Stylish and Fabulous at 60 Plus

Comments (0) Beauty/Fashion/Style

fashion

Muumuus and mom jeans or spangled capris and Aloha shirts — is this really all the fashion world has to offer women over the age of 60? Do mature women who desire to dress fashionably for summer really have to choose between “frumpy and fogey” or “too young and trendy?”

Not at all, says Catherine Brock, who blogs about style on thebudgetfashionista.com.

“Reaching a certain age doesn’t mean you have to give up your love of fashion, or that you can’t be stylish,” Brock says. “In our youth-obsessed society, many fashion trends are geared for young women, but truly stylish clothing can work for women of any age.” (more…)

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Not Quite Divorced: When Your Financial Affairs Are Still Married

Comments (0) Relationships/Marriage/Divorce

divorced

We have all known couples whose marriages are basically over but, who, for the sake of their children, stayed together. They are not legally separated in the traditional manner and they are willing to forego a divorce to stay together as a family unit. It is a workable arrangement for all.

But what about couples who have adult children or no children at all? Why would they stay together in the netherworld of the “not-quite-divorced?” (more…)

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Are You a Manifestor?

Comments (0) Holistic Living/Life

manifestor

Do you wish you could just snap your fingers like a genie and make your desires all come true? Are you one of the people who have been learning, understanding and using The Law of Attraction, or does it all just seem like nice words with kind of vague concepts? Do your background and your upbringing have you relying on something other than your Self to pray for such answers?

Sometimes, if it appears too good to be true, it is. That is not the case when it comes to manifesting what you want. Regardless of your childhood trainings, you can learn to manifest with the best of them. I’m smiling when I tell you that you can walk across any lake once you learn where the rocks are. Yes, kind of like that. (more…)

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There Are Times When Your Happiness Depends On Walking Away

Comments (0) Business

walk away from job

Recently a very good friend was terminated from a position she truly thought was her dream job. Spending long hours, and expending enormous time and energy to do her absolute best for this job was something she didn’t mind doing. She was very good at what she did. The reason for the termination was nothing more than a personality conflict with her immediate supervisor who, by the accounts of many co-workers, was a difficult person to work with.

My friend is having a hard time getting over not having the job that she really loved and at which she excelled. Letting go of what occurred and walking away from a closed door is difficult. It is human nature to want to stop and bang on that door in the fierce hope that it will open up again and let us in. (more…)

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CHOLESTEROL is a Girl’s Best Friend – Debunking the ‘Lower is Better’ Myth

Comments (0) Health

cholesterol

Over the course of the past year, I’ve hosted several cream- of- the- crop Physicians and Naturopaths on the ‘Magnificent Menopause and Beyond©’ radio show and I’ve noticed a trend that fills me with hope; each one of these stellar guests has stated two things emphatically and with unflinching clarity:

  • Cholesterol is VITALLY important to overall health and vitality. Our bodies can’t and won’t function without it.
  • Statin drugs are one of the most dangerous class of drugs on the market and are setting up a new -and much younger- generation of Alzheimer’s patients, more numerous and younger than we’ve ever known before…

HOLD THE PHONE! Say WHAT??!!  -You heard me right.

As new studies come to light, it’s appearing more and more that we’ve been sold a bill of goods where this Cholesterol issue is concerned and as more and more folks succumb to the risks and dangers of low cholesterol and the rather horrific side effects of statins, the winds of change are starting to blow.

Low cholesterol is connected to some rather alarming issues and conditions, such as:

  • Elevated risk of death
  • Compromised immunity
  • Increased cancer rates
  • Increased heart attack and stroke risk (you heard me right)
  • Increased infections and death rates post-surgery
  • Increased mood disorder such as anxiety, pronounced mood swings and depression
  • Kidney malfunction
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Increased tendency toward suicide
  • Sexual dysfunction during midlife (for both women and men)

The numerous benefits of cholesterol have been known and documented for a very long time so how on earth did we stray so far afield?

It’s long been known that cultures having the highest cholesterol live the longest- and healthiest- lives.

It’s also long been known that cholesterol has MANY important roles to play in the body, from hormone production to Vitamin D synthesization, the creation of bile salts needed for proper digestion and liver function, and the proper functioning and protection of the human brain and the enhancement and support of the immune system.  Cholesterol is so crucial to human health and the proper functioning of the human body that at least 10% is stored in the brain itself and a vast and rich supply of it coats our spine and nerve endings.

Simply put, without enough cholesterol, our hormones decline and our bodies lie unprotected from infection, disease stressors and stress as a whole.

It’s commonly known that low cholesterol precludes the development of Alzheimer’s, and that Parkinson’s disease worsens in proportion to the degree one’s cholesterol is low. Higher cholesterol means less Parkinson’s symptoms and also less hot flashes and menopause-related symptoms in women going through the Menopause process.

Too, overall cholesterol rates have been on the decline over the past years yet heart disease and Alzheimer’s cases have been steadily on the rise. Hmmm….

Add to that the fact that low levels of cholesterol in blood tests, coupled with other readings such as triglycerides, etc. can actually INDICATE disease processes, yet doctors continue to push for -and blindly praise- low cholesterol readings.

Not quite what you’ve been told all these years is it?! Makes one also question the wisdom of ‘low fat’ diets… Your body and your brain need high quality fats- and generous amounts of them. How’s that for happy news?

A jaw-dropping truth is: There is NO scientific baseline documenting what ‘healthy’ cholesterol levels really are. It’s predominantly some fancy guesswork that goes into each and every cholesterol test.

Another tidbit that will blow your mind: there really is no ‘GOOD’ cholesterol, or ‘BAD’. Studies are proving now that cholesterol is the building block from which all our hormones are made and carried throughout the body- and without it, or with too little of it- our nerve impulses misfire, our fat soluble vitamins don’t get absorbed and certain ‘crucial’ tissues don’t replenish. NOT a good scenario!

When one really stops to consider this, it becomes very clear that the primary side effects of statin drugs are actually warning signs generated by the body to get our attention before it’s too late: memory impairment/foggy thinking and slow cognitive reaction, depression, mood swings, sexual issues and loss of stamina and strength to name but a few.

While it’s true that oxidative processes in the body are to be feared and avoided at all costs, HDL and LDL cholesterol molecules are only a small portion of the picture. Even healthy fats can, and do, oxidize in the body- if and when- inflammation is present, so it becomes clear that cholesterol is not the Bad Guy. Inflammation is.

What triggers inflammation? First and foremost: SUGAR and simple carbohydrates, followed by: food allergies and infection, environmental toxicities, cigarette smoking, nutrient deficiencies, stress, lack of sleep, hormone imbalances and a sedentary lifestyle.

Seems easier to just take a pill huh?

Perhaps that’s how we got into this mess in the first place; no one seems to want to take responsibility for their lives and/or health anymore but until we do we will forever blow hither and yon, twisting in the wind- one step forward, 5 back… and staring a fresh generation of YOUNG Alzheimer’s patients right in the eye while we tell them their cholesterol levels need to be lower…

If you’re ready to buck the system and get concretely on the path to Wellness, especially as a Menopausal woman, here are a few articles that will help you better understand cholesterol and its vast importance:

Article originally published in KW Magazine May 2013

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/the-cholesterol-myth-that_b_676817.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/22/debunking-the-science-behind-lowering-cholesterol-levels.aspx

http://www.ctds.info/low_cholesterol.html

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/magnificentmenopause/2013/04/04/got-fatigue-menopause-and-thyroid-issues

Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years. Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist. She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.  Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author, Public Speaker and served as co host of the syndicated radio show ‘Magnificent Menopause & Beyond©’. It’s her mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife

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11 Fears That Are Holding You Back

Comments (0) Entrepreneurs

11 fears

It’s been said that FEAR stands for “Forget Everything And Run.” It’s that uncomfortable, disconcerting feeling that causes us to take a back seat in our own life and prevents us from proactively moving forward to reach our goals and aspirations. Instead of facing a situation head on and taking control of the proverbial handlebars of life, fear causes us to turn the other way, freeze in our tracks, or poke our head in the sand.

One way to counteract fear’s adverse impact on your life is to recognize the type of fear that might be defining you and driving your actions – or lack thereof. (more…)

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4 Simple Tax Tips to Protect Boomers from Cybercriminals

Comments (0) Boomer Life

cybercriminals

Tax season is a busy time for everyone. From accountants and small business owners to families and individuals, especially as more people choose to file their taxes themselves. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time of year for cybercriminals who use the flurry of activity to swindle sensitive personal information from unsuspecting victims.

In fact, the Norton Cyber Security Insights Reports revealed that online crime has become so prolific, 36 percent of U.S. consumers believe it’s only a matter of time before a criminal steals their identity. (more…)

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Mama’s Mama Knows Best

Comments (0) Boomer Life

millennial mom

The millennial mom-to-be uses an app to track her fertility and pregnancy progress, pins nursery ideas on Pinterest and researches baby gear on YouTube. She reads online advice on everything from what to eat (or not), to when to talk to a doctor about prescription prenatal vitamins and what to do with the placenta after delivering.

Never without a smartphone in hand, armed with an app for everything, always connected or “on,” millennials were born in an era of emerging technology between 1980 and 1995, and have grown up in an ever-increasing digitally-enhanced environment. Access to technology and social media has defined every aspect of her life, including the expectant millennial’s approach to pregnancy. It’s a drastically different world than when her own mother was pregnant. (more…)

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Is Hearing Loss Affecting Your Memory?

Comments (0) Boomer Life

hearing loss

Intrigued by all the brain-training products out there to keep your mind sharp and spirits young? You may want to consider something else: A hearing test.

That’s right. Mounting evidence links untreated hearing loss to impaired memory and diminished cognitive function. What that means is, if you keep brushing off that suspected hearing loss of yours, your cognition may pay.

Researchers have found that when people with unaddressed hearing loss strain to hear, they tend to do more poorly on memory tests. They may figure out what is being said, but because so much effort goes into just hearing it, their ability to remember what they heard often suffers.

Experts believe this has to do with what they call “cognitive load.” That is, in order to compensate for the hearing loss and make out the words, people with untreated hearing loss may draw on cognitive resources they’d normally use to remember what they’ve heard. Experts say that untreated hearing loss may even interfere with the person’s ability to accurately process and make sense of what was said or heard.

In fact, research shows that people with poorer hearing have less gray matter in the auditory cortex, a region of the brain needed to support speech comprehension.

Other research shows a link between hearing loss and dementia. One Johns Hopkins study found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. Another found that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults. And a third revealed a link between hearing loss and accelerated brain tissue loss.

Some experts believe that interventions, like professionally fitted hearing aids, could potentially help.

The bottom line is we actually “hear” with our brain, not with our ears.

So if you think you may have hearing loss, do something about it. Make an appointment with a hearing health care professional, and get a hearing test.

After all, research suggests that treating hearing loss may be one of the best things you can actually do to help protect your memory and cognitive function.

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) offers a free, confidential online hearing check where people can determine if they need a more comprehensive hearing test by a hearing health care professional. Access the BHI Hearing Check at www.BetterHearing.org.

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Over 50? You’re at Risk for Shingles!

Comments (0) Health

shingles

A few years ago, a Harris Interactive-sponsored poll* found that Americans consider 50 to be the “perfect age” to live forever in good health. For many, the half­-century mark can be a time when experience and opportunity balance perfectly — as told by the saying “50 is the new 30.” At 50 there may be more time to spend on your hobbies or other activities that interest you. (more…)

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Put a Plan Behind Your Passion to Get in Shape

Comments (0) Health

get in shape

To lose weight and/or get in better shape consistently ranks as one of the top New Year’s resolutions. However, many resolutions to reach this goal fall short or last less than a month because a great idea is seldom successful without a plan to make it happen.

If you’ve tried and failed to get in shape or lose weight as part of a New Year’s resolution, it’s time to put a plan behind your passion. Below are five tips from BiPro’s 31 Ways in 31 Days challenge. They are appropriate for all ages and fitness levels, so use them to start your own wellness resolution, whether it’s on Jan. 1, March 1 or whenever you’re ready to make a healthy change. (more…)

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Seniors Face Many Challenges When It Comes to Downsizing

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Home and Garden

downsizing

For one reason or another, you’ve determined the house you’re living in has become too much to handle. Seniors, empty nesters or those moving from a suburban home into a loft or apartment in the city all face similar challenges when it comes to downsizing.

For example, after Judy Raphael’s husband was diagnosed with dementia and moved to a nursing home, it became difficult for her to take care of her large house the couple had lived in for 23 years. At first, Raphael tried to maintain the house by herself, but things started to pile up and soon the house was in need of serious repairs. (more…)

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Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

Comments (0) Health, Heart Health

heart disease

A single choice doesn’t matter most of the time. Having dessert one night, taking a walk on another and deciding to skip an outing with friends aren’t life changing choices. A daily choice is small, like a pebble. But like pebbles, when you keep reaching for the same choices, they can amass into something significant.

If you want to improve your heart health, science tells us that making simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. And better heart health is undoubtedly on the minds of many Americans. One in three adults live with one or more types of cardiovascular disease, according a review published in the journal Circulation. Over time, changes in the heart and blood vessels can lead to a host of devastating problems, including heart attack, heart failure and stroke. (more…)

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Impress Your Guests with These Holiday Prep Tips

Comments (0) Food and Drink

quesadilla

Shared meals and get-togethers are among the holidays’ best moments, but they can also be the most stressful. In fact, 90 percent of Americans feel stress during the holidays, a Healthline survey found – and holiday cooking was cited as one of the stress-drivers.

“Cooking family recipes and feasting with your loved ones is what makes the holiday season so special,” says Chef Jason Vincent of Giant restaurant in Chicago. “And there are some simple steps that are meant to relieve meal-prep stress and improve the taste of dishes so families can make the most of their meals in the kitchen and focus on celebrating traditions around the dinner table.”

If you ever wondered how chefs effortlessly whip up a big meal, wonder no more. Chef Vincent offers six tried and true tips for acing holiday meal prep along with a delicious recipe for your leftover turkey: (more…)

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How Small Changes Have a Big Impact on Your Health!

Comments (0) Health

exercise-tips

You want to be healthier, right? But try as you might, it always seems like something’s standing in your way. Time and money are two of the largest obstacles, and you may think it’s impossible to improve your health without a significant time or financial investment.

The good news is, however, that’s not true. Even the smallest changes can have a big impact on your health, and you can start improving your wellness today with these six simple steps. (more…)

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Help at the push of a button: The Most Reliable Medical Alert Systems Found By Reviews.com

Comments (0) Boomer Life

medical device

This was originally featured on Reviews.com: http://www.reviews.com/medical-alert-systems/

Nearly 90 percent of seniors say they prefer to live in their own homes, and most expect to stay there. It’s called “aging in place” and put simply: no assisted living facilities. Family members want to respect these wishes, but the risks are real. According to the National Council on Aging, one in three adults age 65 and older experience a fall each year, let alone other emergencies. The best medical alert systems address these risks with reliable devices that can connect seniors with help, keeping them safely independent — and giving family members one less thing to worry about. Our top pick, Bay Alarm Medical, goes even further with attentive, personable service. In an emergency, we’d feel comfortable with a loved one in the company’s hands.

LifeCall popularized the personal emergency response system (PERS) with infomercials in the 1980s — “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” — and while the technology has come a long way, their core function hasn’t: Press a button and you’re in touch with someone who can send help. (more…)

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7 Stress Relievers to Slow Down, Regroup and Refocus

Comments (0) Health

stress

Juggling family, work and obligations can be enough to stress anyone out in today’s hectic world. If you need a breather now and then, the Mayo Clinic suggests seven ways to slow down, regroup and refocus:

  1. Exercise – A quick jog in the midst of a chaotic day—or even a brisk walk around the block—can get feel-good endorphins going.
  2. Connect – Your stress instinct may be to wrap yourself in a cocoon. Instead, reach out to family and friends—doing so can offer distraction and provide support.
  3. Meditate – Close your eyes for a few minutes—visualizing places you enjoy can help quiet the competing thoughts crowding your mind and causing stress.
  4. Journal – Writing down your thoughts can help release pent-up emotion. Don’t think about what to write — just let it happen. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, either!
  5. Flex – Try yoga—just 10 minutes of controlled poses can help you slow down and relax. Take a class, or research online for some guidance to get started.
  6. Listen – Listening to (or playing) music is a stress reliever because it decreases stress hormones and reduces muscle tension. Set aside 15 minutes or so and let your mind absorb it.
  7. Laugh – Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response. Get the giggles in by hanging out with friends in the break room, reading a few jokes (or telling some!), or watching a half-hour comedy.

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The Important Roles Grandparents Play

Comments (0) Boomer Life

grandparent

Grandparents play a unique, important role in caring for family members of all ages. Here are some ways that you can help keep babies and moms safe and healthy.

Helping babies sleep safely

Grandparents can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. To help your grandbaby sleep safely, make sure you:  (more…)

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Fall Tips for Cozy, Comfortable Entertaining at Home

Comments (0) Home and Garden

fall tableware

Whether an afternoon tailgating before the big game or a fun-filled evening under the dazzling autumn stars, the forecast for this season’s entertaining is trending toward cozy, comfortable and outdoors.

“I think the big lifestyle shift right now is toward eating out less and entertaining more at home, and autumn is the perfect season for taking your get-togethers outside,” says Keith Winkler, marketing manager for dinnerware giant Replacements, Ltd. “Think about it — the temperatures are cooling down following our record breaking summer heat. You can have more people at outdoor gatherings than you can generally fit in your home. Plus, there’s more flexibility because you can easily have one or more set ups, whether that means setting up tables for dinner or having canapés and finger foods around a fire pit.”

Fall is a great season for ditching the paper and plastic and taking your dinnerware outdoors. Tableware industry experts say there are many positives to introducing your “good stuff” to Mother Nature. It won’t blow away like paper plates, and it’s far more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam.

Mix it up

While serving finger foods on small plates is extremely popular and encourages your fall entertainingguests to mingle, there’s a definite return toward the comfort and connection of a sit down meal. To set the perfect fall table, designers encourage mixing and matching patterns to reflect your distinctive style.

“I generally start with a pattern that sets the tone for the evening, one that reflects what I’m feeling for this particular gathering,” says Replacements’ designer Julie Robbins. “Whether that’s a cute salad plate that’s going to sit atop the dinner plate, or a fun color I want as my main design element or theme. I then add pieces that either draw out that feeling or ground the place setting to give me the ambiance I want for my entire table.”

Robbins says that may mean pairing a current fall favorite, such as a dinner plate in Woodland by Spode, with vintage American amber glass from the 1940s. She also mixes different pieces. For example, adding a hued glass accent salad plate creates another layer of dimension, while a bright goblet can infuse a much needed pop of seasonal color.

Light up your evenings

There’s really no need to go heavy on the decorations for fall outdoor entertaining. Bright leaves, pumpkins, seasonal berries and other naturals create the perfect autumn décor. Experts say you don’t need a floral centerpiece if you have nature all around you. Instead, use candles to light up your evenings.

“It’s time to upgrade from the Mason jar look by mixing glassware and candles,” says Robbins. “Lighting can truly set the mood for your gathering, which is why I’m big on creating an eclectic grouping down the middle of my table by mixing glass and metal candlesticks with hurricanes, clear decanters and other pieces I can use to hold candles. If you don’t think you have enough pieces, old tumblers make great votive cups, while you can also turn wine glasses and goblets upside down and place candles on the inverted base. This is beautiful for daytime entertaining, and when lit, creates a simple, warm feeling on those nights when you’re just starting to feel a nip in the air.”

Looking for more fall inspiration? Robbins and team suggest checking out Replacements’ website at www.replacements.com.

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The Dangers of Keeping Up With the Social Joneses

Comments (0) Boomer Life

social selfie

The desire to “keep up with the Joneses”—that is, match a lifestyle—has spread to social media, with the circle of “Joneses” wider than ever, according to recent survey by Harris Poll and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The results of the survey reveal a pattern: most of us feel envious of our social media friends who share lavish experiences and purchases online, but we also share lavish experiences and purchases online. (more…)

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Steps to Rebuild Your Self Confidence After 50

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Health

building confidence

Virtually everyone struggles with a lack of self-confidence at some point in their lives and it’s perfectly normal to feel unsure of yourself in certain situations. However, if you find a lack of confidence is holding you back from fully enjoying your personal life, or achieving your professional goals, it may be time to take action.

“There are actually steps you can take to rebuild your confidence, even when you’re struggling to feel self-assured,” says Susie Moore, a motivational speaker, best-selling author and life coach. “Confidence is a real-life super power that affects every aspect of your life, from your relationships to your career and social life, but it’s also more attainable than you think.”

Moore shares tips on how you can be your most confident self and live a fulfilled, unconditional life: (more…)

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Four-Point Joint Health Maintenance Plan

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Health

joint health

Keep on cruising with a regular maintenance schedule for your joint health!

Whether it’s a brand-new Bentley or a classic 1970 Mustang, most people have a car they dream about. If they’re lucky enough to own it someday, you better believe they’re going to take care of it. Regular maintenance is an essential part of keeping a vehicle in tip-top shape. The same is true of the human body, particularly the joints. (more…)

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Overcome Your Gym-Timidation!

Comments (0) Health

overcome gym-timidation

No one really relishes the idea of growing older and experiencing the health issues that can accompany aging. If there was one thing you could do to significantly improve your chances of staying mentally sharp, physically healthy and independent throughout your golden years, wouldn’t you do it?

Exercise has health benefits for people of all ages, and it’s especially important for seniors. Regular exercise can allow people 65 and older to live independently, reduce their risks of falling and breaking bones, and lower their chances of developing serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease, joint issues, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet only about 40 percent of Americans between 65 and 74 meet physical activity guidelines, and activity levels decrease even more as people grow older, the CDC says. (more…)

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Renovations for Empty Nesters

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Home and Garden

empty nest

Now that your kids have launched lives of their own, you may be considering how to maximize the extra space they left behind.

Making renovations can be a fun way to turn their now-empty rooms into a useful and/or relaxing space for your own enjoyment. And your timing could be spot on; a recent survey found half of empty nesters of pre-retirement age are opting to stay in their family homes instead of downsizing. (more…)

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Cellphone Memory Saving Tips for the Untechy

Comments (0) Technology Tips

senior woman with cellphone

We all love the convenience of modern cellphones. They’re so much more than just phones – they’ve become our cameras, calendars, mailboxes, entertainment consoles and internet browsers.

But all those apps, photos, videos and games compete for a limited amount of room in which to operate. If you’re not careful, your phone’s memory will quickly become the digital equivalent of a traffic jam. Suddenly, space is hard to come by, so everything slows down – and when it does, we no longer love our cellphone quite so much. (more…)

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Tips to Ditch Your Desk for Lunch

Comments (0) Food and Drink

ditch your desk

You’re running out the door, already late and thinking about that important 8 a.m. meeting. Lunch is the last thing on your mind. In fact, you usually just pick something up from the deli line or local fast food place and hurry back to your desk. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Only one in five people actually ditch their desks during their lunch hour. When you feel your stomach growl, it’s all too easy to grab something from the vending machine or – if you remember – to pack a cold turkey sandwich. But there are plenty of easy ways to spice up your lunchtime routine at work.

Here are some tips to improve your mediocre midday meal and ditch your desk : (more…)

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The Overlooked Vitamin E – Why You Need It!

Comments (0) Health

vitamin e

You get your fill of vitamins C and D by eating oranges and soaking in a little sun each day, which is good for your body and mind. Small habits like these can have a big impact on your overall health and help you feel your best each day. However, vitamins C and D aren’t the only vitamins your body needs to thrive. Take vitamin E, for example. This overlooked vitamin is essential to our well-being and yet, many people don’t know anything about it. Let’s take a moment to learn about the super vitamin, and what you can do to get your daily intake. (more…)

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Boomers and Boomerang Kids

Comments (0) Boomer Life

boomerang kids

Moving back home to live with parents after college no longer carries a stigma.

Boomers housing boomerang kids is the new normal, says blogger Mary Quigley in a recent AARP.org feature on the subject. Quigley cites one survey that found millennials believe it’s acceptable to live with parents for up to five years after completing college. (more…)

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Seniors Attempt Suicide at Astonishing Rates

Comments (0) Elder Care, Health

suicide in seniors

While teenagers are the age group most associated with suicide risk, the terrible truth is that another group is killing themselves at even higher rates: seniors.

Adults aged 65 to 84 are nearly twice as likely to commit suicide as 15 to 24-year-olds, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond age 85, the suicide risk is 70 percent higher.

What’s even more concerning is older adults are six times more likely than teens to complete their suicide attempts. Unlike younger people, seniors are more decisive and more likely to have access to lethal means.

Why are seniors attempting suicide at such astonishing rates? The Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line provides insight. At the country’s only free 24-hour crisis call center for seniors and disabled adults, trained volunteers speak with seniors for a variety of reasons. (more…)

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Heart Healthy Foods that Actually Tantalize Your Taste Buds

Comments (0) Health, Heart Health

heart healthy foods

What does oatmeal, beans and skinless chicken have in common? They are all heart healthy foods, yet don’t do a whole lot to tantalize the taste buds. Fortunately, eating for heart health doesn’t mean a life sentence of bland foods or boring flavors.

By thinking beyond the oatmeal box, you can reinvent your meals while keeping heart health top of mind. This is important for everyone because heart disease – which includes stroke and other cardiovascular diseases – is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.

Mindful eating is one of the best ways to maintain heart health. With these 10 heart-healthy foods, you won’t mind sitting down to a wholesome meal that supports the hardest working muscle in your body. (more…)

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Debunking Common Myths About Alzheimers Disease

Comments (0) Alzheimers Facts, Health

alzheimers

It’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, affects more than 5 million Americans and one out of every three seniors will die from it. Yet misconceptions surround Alzheimers disease.

Contrary to what many people think about Alzheimers, it’s not a normal part of growing older. And while there’s not yet a way to prevent, cure or even slow the progression of the disease, people with Alzheimers can benefit from detecting it early. During June – Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month – the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging everyone to learn the truth about Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)

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Tips and Recipes for the Perfect Summer Bash

Comments (0) Food and Drink, Uncategorized

summer bash

You’ll likely host a party or two this summer, and you want it to be an event guests remember. From dinner parties and backyard barbecues to an easy Sunday morning get-together, the most important thing at the end of the day is that you, along with your guests, have a really great time. Why entertain otherwise?

“Creating a seamless summer party is all about preparation,” says Nate Berkus, noted interior designer and artistic advisor to LG Studio. “I always tell people the most important thing is that everyone, including the host, is enjoying themselves. Make sure you brew coffee ahead of time, set out a pitcher of lemonade and decorate with a bouquet of fresh flowers. Don’t over-complicate anything from food to decor, and everything else will fall into place.”

Tips to Create the Perfect Summer Bash:

(more…)

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Seniors Most At-Risk for Identity Theft

Comments (0) Boomer Life

Seniors are one of the five groups most at-risk for identity theft, according to a report from U.S. News & World Report. Because your cellphone or smartphone likely contains personal information about you that may include your name, home address, phone number and financial account information, a lost, stolen or hacked phone can be a treasure trove for criminals.

Consumer Cellular, which specializes in no-contract cellphone service and phones primarily for people 50 and older, offers some advice for securing your cellphone: (more…)

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How Blue Light is Affecting Our Vision

Comments (0) Health

danger of blue light

It’s everywhere — inside as well as outside your home. As digital device usage increases, you’re exposed to more and more of it without realizing how it may affect your vision in the future. We’re talking about blue light. (more…)

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Healthy Aging Tips for Women [Infographic]

Comments (0) Beauty/Fashion/Style, Health

The fact is, aging women and men differ in the diseases they face and their exercise and health needs.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women around the world – closely followed by breast cancer. Because most medical conditions and ailments that women face can be controlled and sometimes treated, there is a great possibility of reducing the number of deaths attributed to these illnesses.

Research has shown that a healthy diet, exercise and regular medical checkups are the key ingredients for healthy aging for women.

In this infographic, The University of Florida Online took a closer look at health issues that face women as they age and strategies to help prevent many of the diseases and illnesses they face.
(more…)

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Will I Ever Get Enough Sleep?

Comments (0) Health, Uncategorized

insomnia

If you are struggling with insomnia, it can seem like you have many questions that are often hard to answer: “Will I ever get enough sleep? What am I doing wrong? What can I do to help get more rest?”  But experts’ understanding of insomnia is evolving, so why am I so awake?

Scientific discoveries have shown that there are two systems in the brain that each play a role in helping us stay awake and fall asleep. The wake system sends out signals that put your brain into an alert, or awake, state. This helps you stay awake during the day. The sleep system sends signals that help you fall asleep and stay asleep at night. (more…)

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Take a Break

Comments (0) Quotes for Women, Uncategorized

KW Quote love yourself

KW Quote love yourself

Sometimes you need to take a break from everyone and spend time alone, to experience, appreciate and love yourself…

Great quote by Robert Tew – how often do you take a break for yourself?

 

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First Steps

Comments (0) Quotes for Women, Uncategorized

KW Graphic - Step

KW Graphic - Step

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Hitting the Pelvic Floor

Comments (0) Health

pelvic exercises

Have you made your annual New Year’s resolution? Make one more – try something new – something that takes a little effort but delivers big.

Try hitting the floor — your pelvic floor. No gym membership required. This is one set of muscles you can exercise virtually any time, anywhere: in the car, at your desk, in line at the grocery store, even during long elevator rides.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME) can help strengthen the muscles under the uterus, bladder and bowel, which tend to weaken after childbirth and around menopause. If you’ve experienced bladder leakage — one in three women will at some point in their lifetime — PFME is first line treatment, according to the American College of Physicians and the American Urologic Association. (more…)

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Tips to Make Sure Your Business is Up to Task in 2016

Comments (0) Business

women in business 2016

Is there any time of year more important for a small business than right now? The business you do in these months will go a long way toward not only determining your day-to-day success, but the very outlook for the rest of 2016. So how do you make sure your small business is up to the task and makes the most of the here and now?

Small businesses everywhere are asking these same questions, and to help, Susan Solovic, The Small Business Expert, offers these helpful tips. (more…)

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Love Your Heart with Omega 3’s

Comments (0) Health

love your heart

Across the globe, heart health is becoming a growing concern. In order to combat a rising epidemic of heart disease and other heart-related illnesses, more and more Americans are placing a greater emphasis on the critical role of nutrition and a balanced diet.

More than likely you’ve heard about the importance of a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and its associated health benefits. However, despite this knowledge, it can be difficult to consume enough Omega-3s through diet alone. Knowing where to find the best sources of Omega-3s can be key to a heart-healthy lifestyle. (more…)

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Moisture concerns: How to spot the good and the bad before it gets ugly

Comments (0) Beauty/Fashion/Style

middle-aged woman and moisturizer

From creams and gels to serums and oils, moisturizers are often at the forefront of a woman’s beauty routine. However, moisture can also be regarded for the negative effects it can have on skin, as in the case of sweat and surface wetness that can lead to a range of various conditions. These quintessential examples of “good moisture” and “bad moisture” demonstrate that we should consider both when it comes to a comprehensive skin care routine.

Dove Dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur shares the difference between the good and the bad, while offering her tips for achieving softer, smoother skin from head to toe. (more…)

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Four Tried and True Tips for Successful Entrepreneurship

Comments (0) Entrepreneurs

mature black woman

For some Americans, the best part of life starts at retirement. In a perfect world this new stage of life means no more answering to upper management, battling a 40 hour work week or being stuck in rush hour traffic. They can come and go as they please. And while spontaneous trips to the shore and the relaxing mood of an empty house may be a draw for some, for others, the novelty wears off quickly and there is an undeniable void. They feel a need to get back to work and often become entrepreneurs as a way to balance their desire for independence and their passion for success.

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurship is not just for the millennial generation. In fact, people over 50 are one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs in the U.S., according to a recent Gallup study. But what does this booming sector of the country need to know before making the leap post-retirement? Here are four tried and true tips for a successful entrepreneurship later in life. (more…)

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Is the extra year worth it?

Comments (0) Elder Care

mature asian woman

When my father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, he said that he would only go through treatment because he wanted just two more years. He was also quite afraid of dying all of a sudden, where before he hadn’t shown any fear of dying, only fear of suffering or wasting away. He really wants to be able to golf right down to the end.
(more…)

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What Makes Someone a Good Leader?

Comments (0) Business

woman leader

What is it that makes someone a good leader? What kind of qualities must you have in order to make tough decisions when required, inspire devoted loyalty from your team, and boldly steer your company through sometimes choppy waters toward success?

According to conventional wisdom, it is society’s extroverts—those who are naturally more assertive and sociable—who are best suited to leadership roles. This would seem a reasonable assumption to make—after all, extroverts are outgoing and can easily and happily perform the networking and public speaking duties routinely required of a leader. Conversely, it’s often assumed that introverts—those who are quieter and more passive in nature—are better suited to roles behind the scenes where less interaction is needed. (more…)

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Risk Avoiders are Also Opportunity Missers

Comments (0) Business

business risk

Small business owners, can you relate to these scenarios?

– It’s time to open a second retail store branch—and you fully intend to—but you’re not quite ready yet. You found a possible location but it doesn’t seem perfect, and besides, you’re not sure if the local marketplace conditions are right. Maybe next year would be better.

– Yesterday, you met the best natural salesperson ever. Instinctively, you know she’d be perfect for your team and she hinted that she might be in the market for a job change. You’d love to hire her, but the time doesn’t seem right to hire a new person—money is tight and you’re far too busy to go through the hiring and training process right now.

These hypothetical owners may think they’re just avoiding unnecessary risk. But if you read the scenarios again—and if you’re honest with yourself—you’ll have to admit their reasons reek of excuse making. And here’s the real problem, says author Tom Panaggio: Risk avoiders are also opportunity missers. (more…)

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Dry Winter Skin? Try These Tips and Tricks!

Comments (0) Beauty/Fashion/Style

dry winter skin

According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 81 million Americans are impacted by dry, itchy skin in the winter with the worst conditions occurring between the months of November and March. This year, representatives from the O’Keeffe’s Company are offering simple tips to help people prevent their hands and feet from developing these painful dry winter skin symptoms.

1. Hydrate to achieve relief.
Use a moisturizer made with a water base instead of oil. Oil-based products form a barrier on the skin that makes it difficult for the skin to draw in moisture. They also leave skin feeling greasy which can make it difficult for people to use their hands while performing daily activities. (more…)

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Your Last Act may be decades away, so plan accordingly!

Comments (0) Boomer Life

active seniors

Americans are living longer these days from an average 47 years in 1900 to more than 78 years as of 2010. We are also experiencing a deluge of adults reaching retirement age now that includes 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day.

By 2030, when the last of the baby boomers have turned 65, nearly one in five Americans will be retirement age, according to the Pew Research Center’s population projections. Money will be a big problem for many of them, especially if boomers develop health problems that affect their ability to live independently, says insurance expert and CEO of Life Care Funding Chris Orestis. (more…)

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Does Our Smartphone Obsession Come with a Downside?

Comments (0) Addiction/Codependency

smartphone obsession

We love our smartphones. There’s no denying it. In fact, we love them so much that we never want to put them down. Most of us constantly check for text messages, emails, and the latest Tweets and Facebook updates at all hours of the day, whether we’re in a meeting, at lunch with a friend, or just at home in front of the TV. Of course, it’s easy to justify our smartphone love. They help us get more done. They allow us to stay plugged into what’s going on at the office. They help us organize our schedules, remind us when to pick up our dry cleaning, and manage our growing social ne

But, says Vickie Milazzo, our smartphone obsession comes with a definite downside. She explains that our smartphones may be making us less rather than more smart and productive.

“Being overly tapped into what’s happening on our smartphones isn’t a good thing,” says Milazzo, author of the New York Times bestseller, Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman.

“It prevents us from making the most of a networking event because we’re texting and emailing the whole time. We suffer burn out from always being plugged into work, and as a result, our overall productivity suffers. Our relationship-building skills suffer because we aren’t used to communicating with people face to face. And in some respects, we stop thinking. For example, if your smartphone died, would you know when your next meeting was, what time your flight was leaving, who’s supposed to pick up the kids from school today? I know plenty of people who wouldn’t.” (more…)

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The Beauty of Our Wound

Comments (0) Beauty/Fashion/Style, Menopause

beauty of our wound

‘The wound is the place where the Light enters you.’ – Rumi

Four days before this past Christmas, Life delivered a kick to my gut that sent me reeling -on many levels- and drove me so hard to my knees, I struggled for two weeks before I could remotely regain my footing.

During this time, I was shaken to my very core. Unable to eat or sleep, or find my way in the bleak blackness of it all, I began noticing a very strange phenomenon.

As I struggled through my days and nights, folks started coming out of the woodwork complimenting me. ‘You look great!’ ‘There’s so much light in you!’

I’m a very private person, so these compliments came from folks who knew nothing about my loss, or the ensuing grief that threatened to consume me.

This got me thinking… (more…)

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10 Great Immunity-Boosting Foods to Fight off the Flu Season

Comments (0) Health

immunity boosting foods

Flu season has significant costs for everyone. According to a National Business Group on Health report, the flu indirectly costs employers about $76.7 million a year in employee absenteeism and other indirect costs. A typical employee has flu symptoms for five to six days and misses between a half day and five days of work.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicting flu activity to increase in the coming weeks and months, now is the time for employers to prepare. One important way is help employees boost their immune systems, the front-line for flu protection.

Get ready for the flu season by stocking the right foods in your kitchen. The 10 great immunity-boosting foods are: (more…)

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Over 50 and Looking for a Job?

Comments (0) Boomer Life

Menopause Mania

Yes, discriminating on the basis of age is illegal. But as any over-50 job-seeker will tell you, it happens all the time, often in ways too subtle to pinpoint. Yet a growing percentage of the population hopes to work past the traditional retirement age. So, in this era of aging baby-boomers, what are the best strategies for landing a job after age 50?

“The key,” said retail hiring manager Tim Applebee, “is helping the interviewer understand that you are the solution to his problem.”

Applebee offers five tips for showcasing your value rather than your age: (more…)

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Say No to Pills: Natural Ways to Improve Sleep Quality

Comments (1) Health

sleeping woman

Good sleep is like sex or money: You don’t really miss it until it’s absent from your life. So when my friends join in a chorus of how poorly they’re sleeping these days or how little sleep on which they’re forced to make it through their days, it’s difficult to reach any conclusion except that sleep deficits and disorders are an epidemic. In the U.S., statistics support this assumption that my small sampling of friends is representative of the population as a whole. Americans presented 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills to pharmacists in 2011, an increase of 130 percent in five years, according to a study by the journal BMJ. (more…)

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Treat the Patient, Not the Age

Comments (0) Health

pilates instructor

My Pilates teacher is a fantastic person. Seeing her long auburn hair swinging as she walks around a room greeting new students is an inspiring sight. Cate exudes health, is beautiful, and in top condition. She’s also 63 years-old even though she doesn’t look like the antiquated stereotype most people have of a woman that age. But when she suffered a minor back injury on a skiing trip and was sent by her doctor to a physical therapist, her looks and health were discarded and she became simply another ‘senior’ citizen. Her age, not her strength, determined the attitude and the condescension of her physical therapist and his office. (more…)

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What to Do About Hair Loss During Menopause

Comments (0) Beauty/Fashion/Style, Menopause

hair loss and menopause

‘Crowning Glory’… throughout the centuries, a woman’s head of hair has been romanticized the world over, and for good reason.

Not only does a woman’s hair represent sexuality, passion, beauty and lust- total unadulterated Femaleness; it also provides an accurate and very public picture of her innermost  health, and a glimpse into her personality as well.

On a sad note,  it’s now estimated that 1 in 5 Menopausal women experience significant hair loss.

It’s well documented that Menopause dramatically alters the texture of hair follicles, at times completely altering the wave patterns and structure of the hair, aside from the usual color changes so often associated with the passage of time and the onset of the Menopause process. (more…)

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Is Your Number One Business Goal to Make Money?

Comments (0) Entrepreneurs

woman making money

Picture this: You’re relaxing on your couch and watching your favorite crime drama after a long day at work. You’ve halfway tuned out during a commercial break when something catches your attention. “Come see what we have to offer. We’re proud to be second in area sales and customer satisfaction since 1992!” an announcer enthuses while a giant yellow No. 2 flashes on the screen.

Sure, it sounds absurd. But according to Joseph Callaway, author of the New York Times bestseller Clients First: The Two Word Miracle, while most of us pay lip service to our desire to be our customers’ first choice, our actions may say otherwise.

“Any time you don’t make the client your top priority, you’re tacitly agreeing not to be their top priority,” says Callaway, who, wrote Clients First along with his wife, JoAnn. (more…)

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Please, May I Have Lousy Service?

Comments (0) Business, Real Estate

lousy customer service

Have you ever bought a product or hired a company and said,“May I have lousy service, please? I’d like to be frustrated by the experience of doing business with you.” Doubtful.

We’ve all experienced lousy service – whether that’s due to long lines at the checkout, a botched order at a restaurant, over promises that were under delivered, or just a crummy attitude. Certainly nothing you’d ask for.

However, “good” service should be an expectation. And, depending on the product and the price, you have higher and lower definitions of “good.” For example, you do not have the same expectation at a fast food restaurant as you would a fine dining establishment. You pay more and expect more. You pay less and expect less. A real estate transaction is a pretty high priced item, so the expectation should be high. (more…)

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The Three-Legged Stool and Your Wellbeing

Comments (0) Health

Three Legged Stool

Not too long ago – just after World War II – few people in the United States brushed their teeth with any regularity. Now, the mere thought of going an entire day or night without brushing one’s teeth is simply out of the question for most.

Hopefully, someday in the near future, a similar attitude will prevail regarding mental well-being, says Dr. Matt Mumber, an oncologist and author of “Sustainable Wellness: An Integrative Approach to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Spirit,” coauthored by Yoga therapist Heather Reed.

“Human happiness and well-being are rudderless without awareness, which I define as the quality of paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment from an inquisitive, nonjudgmental and focused perspective,” he says.

An easy way to think of optimal wellbeing might be to envision a three-legged stool, says Reed.

(more…)

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The Perfection Deception

Comments (1) Beauty/Fashion/Style, Relationships/Marriage/Divorce

super woman

Be the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect friend, perfect boss, perfect hostess… the pressure to be perfect is everywhere in a woman’s life.

Is the road to happiness paved with perfection, or are women somehow being deceived?  Martha Stewart has built a phenomenally successful empire around perfectionism.  I think it’s harder for women since Martha came along.

It’s exhausting just to think about the “P-word”.  We think that everyone knows that perfection is non-existent.  If that’s true, then why is it so difficult for many of us to stop tilting at windmills?
(more…)

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Medication Accidents and Grandchildren

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Elder Care

grandparents and medication

Grandparents know children are curious and do everything possible to keep them safe as they explore. Grandparents love when their grandchildren come to visit, but they do not always remember to take extra precautions to put their medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight before their grandkids arrive. In fact, in a recent survey from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, nearly one out of every four grandparents said they store prescription medicines in easy-access places, including daily-dose boxes that children can easily open, and 18 percent said they store over-the-counter medicines in easily accessible spots.

Annually, more than 60,000 young children — or roughly four school busloads of children per day — age five or younger are treated in emergency departments (ED) for medication accidents or accidental ingestion of household medicines, according to Dan Budnitz, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Medication Safety Program. (more…)

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Eating Lighter and Brighter

Comments (0) Food and Drink

Eating Lighter and Brighter this Summer

Simple, fresh and delicious – that’s eating at its best. Less time in the kitchen means more time to enjoy the bright delicious flavors of just-picked berries, peaches, greens and other vegetables.

“It makes sense to eat lighter,” says Chef William Tillinghast, culinary academic director at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. “Hot weather slows down the digestion and heavy foods are harder to digest.”

Chef Tillinghast got together with Chef Jeffrey Floyd, culinary academic director at The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, to offer these five tips for enjoying summer’s gastronomic delights and eating lighter. (more…)

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What the Idea Generation Knows that Boomers Don’t Get!

Comments (0) Business

Innovative Young Woman

The world’s future leaders overwhelmingly believe that today’s businesses can grow only if they can innovate – and that today’s business leaders aren’t demonstrating they’re up to the task.

While that’s the thinking of nearly 5,000 millennials – the 20- to 33-year-old generation – at least one baby boomer, the innovator who transformed the U.S. travel industry with his creation of Travelocity and Kayak.com, agrees.

“The future for any business today depends entirely on its ability to innovate, and the youngest adults, ‘the idea generation,’ know that,” says Terry Jones, author of “On Innovation,” a light-hearted but practical guide for fostering and innovation. (more…)

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3 Things Your Employees Need from You

Comments (0) Business

what employees need

You want to grow your business and you’re pretty clear on what you need from your employees. Hard work. Efficiency. Innovation. Motivation. Results. But what do your employees need from you? If you’re thinking in practical terms—a steady paycheck, a quiet workspace, more training—you’re wrong. Well, at least you’re only partly right. According to Christine Comaford, author of the new book SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together, before they can meet your deepest needs, you have to meet theirs.

Safety. Belonging. Mattering.

“If this sounds familiar, it’s because Maslow said it first,” notes Comaford, “After our essential needs for food and shelter are met, our next level of needs includes safety, belonging, and mattering. Those are needed before we can seek self-actualization. What that means in a work environment is that people simply can’t perform, innovate, agree, or move forward until those three needs have been met.” (more…)

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Winterizing Your…SELF

Comments (0) Menopause

winterizing your skin

Around this time of year, we all start gearing up for the cold, blustery days of winter.

Like squirrels gathering nuts, we scamper about with our wintertime To Do Lists: check antifreeze in car, clean out gutters, have chimney cleaned, stock up on hot chocolate, break out cuddly PJs and woolens… the list varies from household to household, person to person- but one thing almost always gets left off the list universally and without fail: the all-important act of winterizing OURSELVES. 

But just how do we do this- and why does it even matter?!

The short answer: It’s not as difficult as it sounds- and it matters- A LOT.

The long answer goes like this: (more…)

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Back in the Dating Game?

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Online Dating

online dating

If you’re back in the dating game after a decade or more, you know the world has changed mightily. Technology has changed the way we live, and it is more likely introductions will be computer-based than made by someone you know.

But there are things you should consider before you create your first computer dating profile or begin an online search for a soulmate. Kristi Dosh, writing for Woman’s Day, offers dating strategies you should know: (more…)

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19 Best Paying Jobs for Women in 2013 (Infographic)

Comments (0) Business

Women have entered almost all fields of professions these days. Be it armed forces of business, women can be found working in all environments. It is a fact that these days, women are starting new firms at twice a rate of all other businesses and according to a research it is projected that women labor force will increase to 78 million by the year 2018. Gone are the days when men used to earn and women used to stay at home. The job of a pharmacist is the highest paying job for a women in the year 2013 followed by that of a lawyer and Computer and Information systems manager. Even physicians and surgeons, chief executives and nurse practitioner jobs are some of the best paying jobs for women. Infact in jobs such as Registered nurses, school teachers, insurance underwriters, health service managers and community service managers, women outnumber men! Thailand is the country where the percentage of female entrepreneur is the highest in the world followed by Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and China. What is surprising to know is the fact that women owned companies employ 35% more people than all the fortune 500 companies put together and about 73% of working women had white collar occupations in the year 2009.

So what are the best paying jobs for women in 2013? (more…)

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She’s the Boss – Women Breaking Records (Infographic)

Comments (0) Entrepreneurs

black businesswoman

More women are breaking records – climbing higher as the boss!

She

by NowSourcing.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

(more…)

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Replacing Old Beliefs with New Empowering Ones

Comments (0) Boomer Life

Removing limiting beliefs

Most of us were raised by parents who had depression era scarcity beliefs about money and working harder.

Some of these beliefs may be instilled in your subconscious. Not convinced? Do any of the following sound familiar?

• I have to work long, hard hours
• I have to struggle and sacrifice
• I have to give up time for my family and friends
• I won’t be able to have fun or practice self-care
• I have to be everything to everyone
• Others needs come before my own

If you answered yes to any of these—but especially the last two–than you may be running around trying to please people and make sure everyone is happy. This is a sure way to have too much on your plate and have a scarcity of time. (more…)

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Women Flying Solo to See the World!

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Travel

women traveling soloSo you’re a woman and you want to see the world – on your terms. Join the crowd! More and more women are traveling alone or with girlfriends; an estimated 32 million in the past year, according to the Travel Industry Association.

“It’s the new trend in travel and, really, it’s a no-brainer,” says Ruth Yunker, an intrepid solo traveler and author of “Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Ways,” a humorous recounting of her extended stay in Paris as part-time resident, part-time tourist. “Women hold the purse strings, so to speak, and we don’t necessarily want to see and experience our travel destinations in the same ways men do.” (more…)

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Getting Back to Basics in Marketing

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Back to Basics in MarketingNew concepts are constantly emerging in marketing. We’ve seen the rise of “green marketing” — appealing to people’s environmental concerns by emphasizing recycled packaging and the like. And mobile marketing, finding new ways to get the attention of potential customers clutching hand-held devices.

There’s a lot to be said for new strategies, but it sometimes seems people get dazzled by novel approaches. They forget there’s one enduring strategy that never fails.

Honesty.

You can only do so much telling customers and prospective clients about who and what you are. At some point, you have to show them. And if the experience you provide doesn’t match with how you’ve represented yourself, your company, your practice, product or book, they’ll not only walk away — they’ll likely take others with them.

There are a lot of ways your honesty — or lack of it — can be revealed in the course of a day. Sometimes, it may seem like the price of being honest is just too high, for instance, when you’ve made a mistake you fear will seriously damage your reputation.

Do you own up to the mistake? Blame someone else? Cover it up?

I like Jason Fried’s answer.

Jason is the co-founder of 37signals, a company that produces a chat tool called Campfire for small businesses. A couple years ago, he wrote a column in Inc. magazine about what happened when Campfire malfunctioned, sparking a real wildfire of rage among his customers.

But, he wrote, “People don’t judge you on the basis of your mistakes — they judge you on the manner in which you own up to them.”

Jason and his business partner were honest about their mistake, and sincere and consistent in their apologies. They corrected the problem, of course, and also gave their customers a free month of service for the disruption.

By the end of their nightmare, Jason and his business partner were getting messages like this from their customers: “37signals has been giving a free lesson in customer service and honesty the past few weeks.”

While I don’t believe anyone reading this would intentionally lie to customers or in their marketing, there are many situations that test us! I find it helps to have the rules of engagement firmly in place before a situation arises.

Here are a few good “old-school” marketing strategies:

• Be honest about what you can do – and what you can’t. I’m a “yes we can” kind of businesswoman. I’ve succeeded in business because I know there’s almost always a way around an obstacle if you’re flexible and creative in problem-solving. I don’t back down from a challenge just because it’s something I’ve never done before. However, I also know there are some things I cannot do. Recently, I had a prospective, high-profile client who would’ve been a dream to bring onboard. In our many conversations, he talked about the kind of publicity he wanted and the general goals he hoped to meet. I knew we would have no problem getting him what he was looking for. But then, just as he was preparing to sign a contract, he shared what he really wanted: His own regular segment on a national network morning show.

To get that he would need more than a publicity campaign, so it’s unlikely we could make it happen for him. And I was honest about that. He didn’t sign on with us, but, more important, we maintained our integrity and he’s not disappointed.

• Keep your word. If you say you’ll pay a referral fee, pay it immediately. If you say you’ll have something done by a certain date, move heaven and earth to meet the deadline. If for some reason you can’t, let the customer know, tell them why and be prepared to help mitigate the consequences if possible. (The corollary rule on deadlines is don’t promise more than you can deliver!)

 Remember, there’s a fine line between attention-getting and trickery. In marketing, the competition for attention is overwhelming, so we draw upon all of our creativity to make ourselves stand out. That’s fine. Tricking people is not. In fact, some tricks — like the old bait-and-switch tactic — amount to fraud. Others may not have legal consequences but can be just as damaging. (I’m thinking of the congratulatory emails sent out by LinkedIn a couple weeks ago, telling members “You have one of the top 10 (or 5 or 1) percent most viewed profiles for 2012.” Many recipients were pleased and rushed to share their exclusive ranking on social media. Many weren’t so pleased when the Los Angeles Times reported millions of other members also got the emails.)

It boils down to the Golden Rule for business — do unto your clients, customers and prospects as you would like done unto you. Sometimes, it requires some really hard decisions. But in the end, integrity is the most valuable marketing tool in your arsenal.

Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms.

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Bringing the Next Generation into the Family Business

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Business, Entrepreneurs

Mother and Daughter BusinessWe often tell our client families that there is no “one size fits all” formula for transitioning a family business from one generation to the next. There are multiple variables in every family and business that impact how to best address the process in a given situation, making it challenging to offer tools like checklists to help with preparations. Yet, while each situation is unique, there are some experiences most businesses will face for which there is some common wisdom. One such situation is the experience of getting the next generation of family employees started professionally in the business.

Any transition is essentially a hand-off, much like runners in a relay passing the baton or a trapeze artist swinging from one bar to another. And, just like a relay team requires each successive runner to be in position and ready to run hard and well, the transition of a family business requires a new generation that is ready to take the baton-both in the right positions and adequately prepared. And, just like getting ready for the big race requires years of training and dedicated effort, preparing to transition the day-to-day management of the family enterprise from one generation to the next takes years of preparation before the successor generation is sufficiently ready to assume that tremendous responsibility.

While it is important to remember that succession of management authority is a process that should evolve over many years, it should be lost on no one that first impressions count. Anyone who has ever begun a new job can attest that early accomplishments often play a significant role in one’s long-term success. Of course, there are no guarantees for success, but a family member who starts his or her career in the business with strong objective success or as a clear contributor on a team will be more valuable to the company and likely have continued success than a family member who does not. With that in mind, here’s that checklist I mentioned earlier; a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” for onboarding new family employees in a family enterprise:

Do…

Plan ahead. The most important preparations happen years before the new family employee actually joins the family business, ideally when they go to work at another company. The self-confidence, credibility and learning of outside best practices that come from working elsewhere have immeasurable value for the new family employee once they join their family’s enterprise. Outside experience gives the new family hire instant credibility with other employees-credibility that can otherwise take years to develop, as some non-family team members may assume successes the family employee has at the business are thanks to their family connection. Even more important, however, is the self-confidence that is developed when a family member knows without a shadow of a doubt that he or she can succeed in the outside world, too.

Start the new family employee at an appropriate level. If you start them at a level that’s well above their skills and experience, then you risk overwhelming them and sending a signal to the rest of the organization that they will be given unfair advantages. If you start them at a level that’s too low-because you started at the bottom and they should, too-even if they come with years of outside experience, then you risk putting them in a boring work situation or causing them a lot of frustration that could lead them to leave. Of course, many families believe it is important that their family employees experience all aspects of their business(tiresome jobs included), and that approach has great merit; the only caveat is you may not want to have a college-educated and well-experienced manager bagging groceries for more than a few weeks.

Announce the new family employee’s arrival in a matter-of-fact manner. In most cases, it should not be a secret that the new hire is part of the family, and the rest of the company will figure it out quickly, so why hide it? A simple e-mail from the CEO along the following lines will typically work well: “I am happy to announce that my daughter, Jane Doe, will be joining the company as our newest marketing manager.”

Have the new family employee report to a long-standing employee and well-regarded non-family member. It’s not always possible, but there are great advantages to having the new family employee report to someone who is not also a family member. Most importantly, this kind of reporting relationship will increase the chances that the new family employee will receive accurate performance feedback.

At a minimum, provide the new family employee with the same performance feedback process as all other comparable employees. If all employees receive an annual formal performance review with informal “check ins” quarterly, then that’s what the new family employee should receive as well. As it can be challenging for a mid-level manager to provide objective feedback to a member of the owning family, it can sometimes be helpful to develop some support from the HR department or other senior leaders in the business for this process. In addition, there may be a desire to take a more proactive role in the professional development opportunities for family employees if they have the ambition and potential to eventually move into more senior roles in the business.

Involve the board. An outside board member can be helpful to both the older and the younger generation during the time when a new family employee first joins the family enterprise. This board member can provide an important perspective of impartiality to both generations, particularly during episodes of conflict.

Communicate. Too often, the new family employee or the incumbent feels frustrated, angry, confused or even delighted about a particular situation… and they keep that feeling to themselves. It’s important for all key parties to check in with each other frequently and informally, simply to keep the lines of communication open. Establish a tradition of a weekly breakfast or monthly lunch to ensure communication stays strong. Family members may have many qualities, but mind-reading isn’t one of them!

Don’t…

Create a job for the new family employee. This is really an extension of the second bullet point above. Just as it’s important to bring the new family employee into the organization at an appropriate level, it’s equally important that a job is not created for them. If the position is not genuine, then others in the company will know that… and they will likely resent the new family employee as a result. In addition, it can be difficult to objectively assess the performance and development of the family employee if they are not in a role or job that has to be done, that provides some accountability.

Put all the responsibility for the career entry and development of the new family hires on just one generation. Onboarding a new family employee in a family enterprise is a complicated and sometimes difficult process that is too big for any one person. It’s not the new family employee’s sole responsibility to make it happen; nor is it the sole responsibility of the incumbent. Successful onboarding is a responsibility that is shared by both generations.

If you keep the above items in mind while planning for the transition of your family’s business, you will take an important step toward increasing the likelihood that your family business will continue long into the future.

By David Ransburg

Source: www.efamilybusiness.com

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Setting the Right Career Goals – Ask Yourself These Questions

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Career GoalsWhether you want to advance your career or make the change to a new career, it’s up to you to make it happen.

“Sometimes hundreds of professionals are sending resumes for one open position, so you cannot leave things up to chance,” says University of Phoenix School of Business Dean Dr. Bill Berry. “You need to put a solid plan in place that will help you set the right career goals and obtain the skills you need to give you a competitive advantage.” (more…)

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You’ve Made a Mistake, Right?

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

business apologyIt seems our society has turned dodging responsibility into an art form. From celebrities who insist that a brush with the law was all a big misunderstanding to political figures who use spin and double-speak to blame everything on the other side, no one wants to admit it when they mess up. If you’re a business leader, the temptation to use this strategy is huge. After all, your customers are paying you to get it right, so the last thing you want is for them to know that you’ve made a mistake, right?Maybe not. According to Michael Houlihan, along with Bonnie Harvey of The Barefoot Spirit, when your company admits to mistakes in a constructive way, you won’t damage your brand in the way you feared. In fact, you have a valuable opportunity to gain respect and loyalty.

“You and your company are not judged by how well you do when you’re good, but by how well you do when you’re bad,” shares Houlihan. “The fact is, everyone—and every company—makes mistakes. Denying that they have happened usually exacerbates and magnifies an already awkward situation, because chances are, you aren’t fooling anyone and you appear insincere.

“In fact, in a very real way, trying to dodge responsibility can hurt your reputation more than simply owning up to the mistake in the first place,” he adds.

Houlihan speaks from experience. He and Harvey are the founders of Barefoot Cellars, the company that transformed the image of American wine from staid and unimaginative to fun, lighthearted, and hip. And when they started the company in the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse, they knew almost nothing about winemaking or the wine business.

“As you might imagine, we made many mistakes over the years as the business grew,” admits Houlihan. “Some of them even caused us to worry that Barefoot might not survive. So early on, Bonnie and I made a conscious decision to confront our mistakes, and to view them as opportunities to learn and grow. I believe that attitude is part of what ultimately made Barefoot Cellars successful.”

Honestly and humbly admitting to missteps, Houlihan and Harvey found, often diffuses a tense situation instead of exacerbating it. And as time passes, they say, people tend to remember more clearly how you handled the mistake as opposed to what it was.

If you’re ready to face up to your company’s mistakes and turn them into building blocks, read on for five of Houlihan’s suggestions on handling your next business “my bad”:

Cop to it. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to admit that your company did something wrong. Uttering that mea culpa involves swallowing your pride and acknowledging that you are not, in fact, perfect (which is an illusion that our culture encourages us to zealously cultivate). But the sooner you admit to the error, the more you reduce the drama…and the faster you can move on to the next, more important stage: what you are going to do about the situation.

“People actually like a little imperfection now and then,” points out Houlihan. “It demonstrates a level of authenticity, vulnerability, and humanity with which we all can identify. Plus, it’s harder to be angry with someone who says, ‘You’re right—I messed up,’ than with someone who insists the fault doesn’t lie with him…even though you know it does. And it’s difficult—if not downright impossible—to make any constructive progress if the responsible party refuses to admit there’s a problem.”

Recognize how it happened. If you admit fault but then put the incident behind you, guess what? You’ve just increased the chances that it will happen again. It’s very important to investigate how and why an error occurred, so that you can fix the faulty procedure or process. That’s why Barefoot made sure employees weren’t afraid to make or report mistakes (those involving technical errors, that is—Houlihan is adamant that bad behavior or an inability to perform should not be overlooked).

“Basically, our approach to mistakes was to say, ‘Congratulations! You found a new way to screw up, and that’s a good thing. We didn’t know that this could happen, but now that it has, we can keep it from happening again,’” recounts Houlihan. “Then we would brainstorm what went wrong and make technical adjustments. Honestly, I think that large siloed organizations where you can be demoted, passed over, or even fired for a mistake are missing the boat. That’s because real progress in progressive companies is often built on the backs of mistakes and the improvements they spark.”

Aim, don’t blame.
 What happens when a mistake involving your company really can be traced to someone else? While it’s easy (and temporarily satisfying) to point your finger and say, “Not my fault!” the truth is, if it happened on your watch and you are accountable for the finished product, you ultimately share the blame in the customer’s eyes. In this situation, get to the bottom of what happened and aim your focus on what you and your company can do on your end to prevent the situation from reoccurring.

“This lesson was driven home to me during a business trip to Chicago,” recalls Houlihan. “I was supposed to show some new wines to retailers, and the samples had been shipped to my hotel.

However, when the package arrived, the hotel didn’t check to see that I was on the reservation list—they noticed only that I wasn’t currently occupying a room—and they sent the package back. Technically, my lack of samples wasn’t my fault, because the hotel didn’t do their due diligence. But to my buyers, all that mattered was that the new wines weren’t there.

“From that point on, we at Barefoot worked to make sure that no package would ever be refused in error again,” he continues. “After some trial and error, every box of wine was ultimately decorated on all six sides with instructions to the hotel not to return the box, and details of when I would be arriving. We also included Barefoot’s contact information and instructed the reader to get in touch with the hotel manager, whom we had told to expect the package, before sending it back. Overkill? Not really. Because the problem was solved.”

Write it down. If you successfully resolve a negative situation that was sparked by an error, then rub your hands together and continue with business as usual as if to say, “Yes, it happened, but it’s all cleaned up now,” then you’re making a second misstep. According to Houlihan, if you don’t write down what happened and how to avoid it, even you are in danger of making the same mistake again, and the same is doubly true of others.

“When you are still smarting in the immediate aftermath of a fiasco, it’s easy to assume that you will always remember what you did wrong and that it will never, ever happen a second time,” Houlihan points out. “But often, as life goes on and your focus inevitably shifts to other things, your memory can get fuzzy.

Or you might fall back onto old habits unconsciously. And you certainly can’t pass your own experiences to everyone else in your company through osmosis. That’s why it’s crucial to take the lessons you learn and physically make them part of your company’s policies. This might mean writing a new procedure, checklist, or sign-off sheet, or drafting a new clause in a contract. But whatever you do, write it down!”

Resolve that it won’t reoccur. Along with your apology, assure the injured parties that it—whatever “it” was—won’t happen again. Voluntarily describe how the mistake happened and what changes you are implementing to prevent its reoccurrence. And most importantly, tell the other guy, gal, or group how you and your company are going to make things right. Most people will appreciate your thoughtfulness, resolve, and the action you are taking. And often, handling an error in this way will reinforce the fact that you are, ultimately, a trustworthy company that can be relied upon.

“I remember one situation in which Barefoot had put the wrong bar code on a store’s shipment of cabernet, which meant that the wine rang up for less than it should have,” shares Houlihan. “In this instance, it was us who caught the mistake, not the customer. But as soon as possible, I showed up at the store’s corporate office with a check for the store’s loss, plus the time and expense of dealing with the mistake. Then I described to the manager in detail how we at Barefoot were changing our internal processes to make sure that the bar code problem would never happen again. And guess what? That store thanked us for doing the right thing, and it didn’t stop ordering from us.”

“Once again, mistakes are bound to happen—even if you’re an established company, and especially if you’re a newer one,” reiterates Houlihan. “So don’t waste time and energy beating yourself up, and especially don’t try to create the illusion that you’re perfect.

“Remember, what people recall most of all is how you handle missteps and errors, not what they were,” he concludes. “So don’t miss out on these golden opportunities to show your integrity, reduce the drama, and improve the way your business operates. That is how you make mistakes right.”

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, authors of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built a Bestselling Wine, started the Barefoot Wine brand in their laundry room in 1986, made it a nationwide bestseller, and successfully sold the brand to E&J Gallo in 2005. Starting with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles and create new markets.

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6 Tips for Self-Publishing

Comments (0) Boomer Life

self publishingSelf-published books have transformed both the reading and writing landscape, with hundreds of thousands of authors now eschewing traditional publishing routes. Once reserved for distribution to a writer’s close family and friends, these books are now respected as an affordable option with every bit as much potential for becoming best-sellers as those produced by the New York houses.

“Countless books published this way have gone on to become best-sellers, from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to ‘Still Alice’ to ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad,’ ’’ says independent publisher Sheryn Hara, founder of the 30-year-old Book Publishers Network and author of the new how-to, “Self-Publish Successfully.”

“But it’s important to note that these don’t look like they were just spit out of the inkjet printer in your bedroom. You have to have a good product if you want even a shot at success. That means good content that’s well edited; a good cover; good layout; and a good print job. Additionally, you can expect to spend a lot of time and/or money marketing, promoting and getting publicity for your book.”

So, where to begin? First, of course, is getting the book written. But once you’re ready to publish, you can easily be overwhelmed with options: Do a Google search for “independent publishers” and you’ll get nearly 8 million results!

To help sort through the options, Hara offers these 6 tips for self-publishing:

  • Decide how you want your book printed. Consider your budget, time frame and individual preferences when evaluating options. They include Print-on-Demand (POD), which involves lower up-front costs and is beneficial if you need only a minimum number of books. However, there are quality issues with POD, and you must pay close attention to your contract, which may assign the copyright to the publisher. Most POD publishers do not provide editing services. Digital printing is another option for small print runs, and comes without many of the pitfalls of POD. Finally, there’s standard printing, which utilizes web-fed or sheet-fed presses.
  • How to choose a printer. Get quotes from at least three printers, and ask for samples of books and papers. Use only a printer whose main job is printing; most of these are located in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The most economical size books to print are 5.5 by 8.5 inches; 6 by 9 inches; or 8.5 by 11 inches.
  • Covers. People do judge books by their covers, so make sure yours is fantastic. It’s worth the investment to have it designed professionally. Now you must decide whether you want soft cover, hard cover or both. You may have a choice of gloss lamination or matte. If you go with matte, check to see whether the printer has a scuff-free version; otherwise, books returned from bookstores may look beat up.
  • Paper. For most books, you’re probably safe going with the “house paper” recommended by the printer. If your book has a lot of pictures, you may want to use gloss paper.
  • Bindings. “Perfect bound” is the norm for soft cover books; a layer of adhesive holds the pages and cover together. Most bookstores don’t like “saddle stitch” – staples used in the center of the book, or comb or wire binding, because you can’t print information on the spines. “Layflat binding” is used for computer, music and cookbooks, which often need to lie flat for functionality when in use.
  • If you plan to work with an independent publisher – a company you’ll pay to shepherd you through all the details, Hara suggests talking to former customers about their experience. Did the company follow through on everything promised in the contract? Did it meet deadlines? Were representatives accessible, especially if there was a problem? Was the customer satisfied with the final product?“Decide on your budget, and then look at the quality of books produced by publishers you’re considering. Frankly, the better the quality, the more the book will cost,” Hara says.

“Your pocketbook and your goals should help make the decision easier.”

Sheryn Hara is founder and CEO of Book Publishers Network in Seattle, a 30-year-old company whose clients have produced award-winning books.

For more information, visit www.bookpublishersnetwork.com.

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Getting Your Client Relations House In Order!

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Building Client RelationshipsIf you’re like most business owners, you probably assume your client relationships are pretty good. After all, you have enough clients to still be in business, which, in light of our recent economic death spiral, is saying something!

However, author Joseph Callaway says it’s possible you’re merely surviving instead of thriving because you’re only scratching the surface of what it means to truly put the customer first. He suggests you conduct a “spring cleaning” to identify and purge the bad habits that are gumming up this crucial area of your business.

“There’s something about springtime that makes you want to get your metaphorical house in order and start fresh,” says Callaway, who, along with his wife, JoAnn, is the author of the new book Clients First: The Two Word Miracle

“If you’re feeling that impulse but not sure where to start, zero in on client relationships. This is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

“Most business owners are so concerned with paying the bills that we instinctively put ourselves first,” he explains. “It’s a behavior fueled by fear. But when you really put the customer first, and put your own needs second, a whole lot of other things naturally fall into place. Decisions will become easier, your business will flourish, and your relationships will be based on true transparency.”

Callaway and his wife built their thriving business—Those Callaways—in a tough industry that’s had more than its share of challenges. To date, they’ve sold over a billion dollars’ worth of homes. Their book describes their late-in-life entry into the world of real estate, how they had their “Clients First” revelation, and how it has impacted their professional and personal lives. It also gives readers step-by-step advice on how to put their own customers first, as well as why each one works.

“Living and working this way is not easy,” Callaway admits. “Putting your customers’ interests ahead of your own—every time—will seem counterintuitive, risky, and sometimes even frightening, especially at first. Eventually, though, keeping your commitment to Clients First will start to feel more natural. And by that point, the benefits, rewards, satisfaction, and success will be rolling in—and you’ll be proud of the person and professional you’ve become.”

Here, Callaway shares ten bad habits (some fairly obvious, others much less so) that might be keeping you from putting clients first—and tactics to help you start sweeping them out with winter’s dust bunnies:

Bad Habit One: Making client interactions about you. Having a healthy ego can be a blessing and a curse. Yes, you need a strong sense of self in order to avoid being taken advantage of and marginalized by competitors and by clients. But when you start to believe that winning, recognition, and accolades are “the point” of what you do, you’ve veered off onto a destructive path. You become less likely to put the client’s best interests first if they interfere with reaching your own goals or with how others might see you. And while you may believe it’ll never happen to you, this is also the path that leads to moral ambiguity, cheating, and trampling others in the name of success.

“Plus, no client likes working with someone who has a patronizing attitude or constantly sings his own praises,” points out Callaway. “That’s why it’s crucial for you to redirect your ego and get out of your own way. Remember, your job is to be a champion for your clients, to solve their problems and find them satisfying solutions. Your job is not to be the most important person in the room or to put others down. Believe me, when you take care of your clients first and foremost, they will take care of you through their loyalty and appreciation.”

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: Notice how often you bring the story around to yourself. Stop doing that. Many people think building rapport is a matter of finding a common interest. They then dominate the common interest discussion by talking about themselves. Don’t. This is a form of arrogance and it takes your focus off the client.

Bad Habit Two: Worrying too much. If you’re like most people, you probably feel burdened with a myriad of worries, fears, and obligations. You assume that “it’s all up to me,” and you might even lie awake at night fretting over what isn’t right and what could go wrong. However, if you want to successfully care for your clients, you can’t expend the majority of your mental energy on worries and what-ifs. This puts you in the wrong frame of mind to think innovatively about how to meet customers’ needs. And taken to extremes, worries can effectively paralyze you and prevent you from moving forward at all. (Needless to say, in this state, you won’t be useful to clients or anyone else!)

“No, I’m not saying that laying this burden down is an easy or instantaneous process,” Callaway clarifies. “Far from it. It’s challenging to break what’s often a lifetime’s worth of mental habits. But here’s the beauty of Clients First: Success is no longer about you; it’s about your customers.”

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: Every time you find yourself fretting, do something for a client. Spend an hour solving a client problem you’ve been avoiding. Connect one client to another who might be able to help him. Email him a link to an article you know would interest him. Worry thrives when you procrastinate and hand-wring. Action is the antidote…so do something (anything) to back up your commitment to your clients.

Bad Habit Three: Letting apathy creep in. In the real world (and especially in a tough economy), you can’t always follow the popular graduation day advice and “do what you love.” Unfortunately, that reality often leads to apathy, disengagement, and an “I just have to make it till five o’clock” mentality. If that describes you, it’s time for a wake-up call: You can’t coast through each workday and give 100 percent in service to your clients at the same time. That’s why, regardless of how you spend your nine-to-five hours, it’s imperative that you choose (yes, choose!) to take pride in your work.

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: Make plans to do something this year that will help you get better at your job. Maybe it’s going to a seminar. Maybe it’s asking the client how you can serve him better. Maybe it’s shutting down your email so you can better concentrate on the task at hand. The better you get at what you do, the more rewarding it will be.

Bad Habit Four: Fudging the truth. You may think you’re always honest with your clients, but do a little soul-searching and you might be shocked at the number of little white lies, exaggerations, mis-directions, and lies of omission you’re guilty of. For example, “I’m not going to meet my deadline so I’ll tell him I’m sick to buy myself a couple more days.” Or, “This is probably not the best vendor for this particular client, but since she (the vendor) sends us a lot of business, I’m going to recommend her anyway.” Sound familiar?

“When you cultivate a reputation for rock-solid honesty—for laying out all your cards even when it doesn’t benefit you, for telling the whole truth, for never holding back or sugarcoating—you’ll gain customer loyalty that money can’t buy,” asserts Callaway.

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: You know that thing you’ve been wanting to say for a long time? Go ahead and say it. Don’t worry about the fallout. Bravely take the leap. You’ll find that most people want the truth. Give it to them and you’ll be joined together in a bond that never betrays.

Bad Habit Five: Being too professional. Yes, there is such a thing! Think about it: Do you see your clients as business opportunities and sources of income, or do you see them as actual human beings with likes, preferences, quirks, and stories? To truly put clients first, your number one goal at each meeting and during each phone call should be to invite them within arm’s length and make them less of a stranger.

“People want to do business with individuals they like—and they like people who like them!” Callaway points out. “Sure, it’s important not to cross certain boundaries, but there’s no reason you can’t strive to make a deeper connection with your clients by asking about their kids, their pets, their hobbies, and their jobs or businesses.”

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: Every time you meet with a client, ask at least one question that has nothing to do with business. Ask about their kids. Ask about their pets. Ask about their favorite food, or movie, or vintage car. The conversation will likely develop in a surprising direction. As you hear their stories and get to know their joys and sorrows, you’ll start liking them. And you’ll find it more natural to put them first as clients.

Bad Habit Six: Thinking that you know best. It’s true that you, not the customer, are the expert on your business. You are the one who knows how to sell real estate or market a product or properly install a heat pump. But does that mean that yours is the only opinion that matters? Of course not. No matter what industry you’re in, you need to turn your viewpoint around and make a sincere effort to see yourself and your business as your client does.

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: Call up an ex-client and ask her how she sees your business. Assure her up-front that your goal is not to win her back. You just want the truth about how she perceives you and the truth about what she as a customer really wanted from you. If you are willing to do this (and make no mistake, it’s hard), you’ll learn a lot about what needs to change.

Bad Habit Seven: Being stingy with time and money. We’ve all heard the expression “The more you give, the more you get.” And we understand its meaning when it comes to things like love, smiles, and kindness. But how does it relate to business? Well, you can give your clients honesty, competence, and care, and hope to get those things back. But if you give away your expertise, time, energy, and (gasp!) money, won’t you just go broke?

“Not necessarily,” says Callaway. “I remember being very apprehensive about donating a large sum of money to build a Habitat for Humanity house as a Christmas gift for our clients. I thought I’d never see that money again. But in the years since, I’ve learned that new clients chose us—and even that a bank gave us all of their foreclosures to sell—because they had learned of that donation. Now, you might not always give and get on such a large scale. But the principle works for all amounts of money, and it also works when you’re giving over-and-beyond service.

“Understand that giving to get isn’t like a financial transaction where you give and get right there and then,” Callaway adds. “There is no up-front agreement on what you’ll receive or when you’ll receive it. It may take time. But rest assured, whatever you give will come back to you with interest.”

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: Look for something to give away.Whether you give free popcorn to moviegoers or a free grooming to pet boarding clients or a gorgeous framed print to your interior design clients, you make them feel special. This will keep them coming back.

Bad Habit Eight: Not expressing genuine gratitude. Sure, you may close each interaction with a “thank you for your business” or some variation thereof. But that doesn’t mean that your clients walk away feeling the warm fuzzies that accompany being truly appreciated. People can usually tell when you’re just mouthing a catchphrase as opposed to really meaning it, and if they don’t feel valued, they’re more apt to take their business elsewhere. Plus, if you don’t tap into an attitude of gratitude, you’re more likely to take your clients for granted, which only exacerbates the problem.

“Clients, like anyone else, want to feel valued and appreciated—not just as sources of income but as individuals,” explains Callaway. “JoAnn and I have realized that there are many ways to say ‘thank you’ to clients, and not all of them are verbal. In addition to heartfelt words of thanks, you can show clients just how much you appreciate them by getting to know them personally, forgiving occasional bad behavior, and staying up-to-date in your field so that you can give them the highest level of service.

“Overall, strive to make politeness, consideration, and friendliness things your company is known for, and never justify treating customers with rudeness,” he adds. “And, of course, when it’s financially possible, give loyal customers a freebie, discount, or gift to show them you’re thankful for their business.”

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: List the reasons why you’re grateful for your clients. Obviously you’re grateful for the fact that they allow you to make a living. But chances are, they bring more to the table than financial rewards, such as their loyalty, their referrals, the lessons they’ve taught you, and the relationships you’ve built together. With this list fresh on your mind, any expression of thanks—whether overt or implied—will be delivered with a ring of truth that money can’t buy.

Bad Habit Nine: Doing it all yourself. When you truly care about the success of your business—and about the well-being of your clients—it can be hard to let go of any aspect of your work. The thought of allowing someone else to take over any area of responsibility is extremely worrisome; after all, what if they mess it up? What if, because of another person’s mistakes, you end up letting a client down or delivering subpar results? Out of those questions, as you’re probably aware, many micromanagers and I’ll-do-it-myselfers have been born. What ends up happening in both scenarios is that you become stretched too thin, feel overwhelmed, and (ironically) become less effective.

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: Delegate one responsibility to someone else. It’s okay to start with something small. The point is to pick something that another person can duplicate and get it off your plate so that you can devote more of your time and energy to the things that no one else can do. Yes, sometimes you will be left holding the bag, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But more often, you’ll have opened yourself up to winning in a situation where reluctance might have caused you to fail.

Bad Habit Ten: Writing off difficult clients. Sometimes, it seems that your job—and life in general—would be so much easier without that one client. You know the type: Maybe he just can’t be satisfied. Or she asks for way more of your time than she’s actually paying you for. Or perhaps every meeting and conference call is an ordeal featuring hostility, accusations, and very selective listening. Whatever the case, you’ve mentally written off this client. Perhaps you can’t actually fire him (in a bad economy, many businesses can’t afford this “luxury”), but you’ve gone into endurance mode. You’re just going through the motions required to get your monthly retainer check rather than truly looking for ways to meet the client’s needs. (And guess what? In many cases, this type of disengagement will lead to the client—and his money—leaving anyway.)

“In over fourteen years, my wife and I have never gotten rid of a single client—even when we secretly wished we could—and we believe this no-fire strategy has contributed significantly to our ultimate success,” shares Callaway. “Even when clients make your life a lot more difficult than it theoretically should be, your job—your professional reason for being—is to serve them. If you cannot or will not do so, it’s the client’s job to fire you, not the other way around. And here’s the payoff: When you make the choice to stand by all of your frazzled, frustrated customers, you will eventually reap financial and personal rewards. You may even become known in your company or industry as the guy or gal who can handle the toughest customers—and receive referrals as a result!”

SPRING CLEANING TACTIC: The next time a client makes you want to pull your hair out, get to the bottom of why he’s being so difficult. When you know that a client is throwing a fit because he has to lower his hourly rate to compete, for example, or is facing laying off an employee who’s been with him for years, you’ll be much less inclined to fire him. Instead, you’ll be inspired to go to greater lengths on his behalf!

“Yes, this list may seem overwhelming at first,” Callaway acknowledges. “But trust me, it isn’t. If you commit yourself to your clients’ best interests, your bad relationship habits will begin to dissipate on their own. And over time, your clients will begin to take care of you just as you have taken care of them. By this time next year, I hope you’ll report that this year’s ‘spring cleaning’ was the longest-lasting, most effective, and most beneficial you’ve ever done!”

Joseph Callaway and JoAnn Callaway are coauthors of the New York Times bestseller Clients First: The Two Word Miracle .

For more information, visit www.clientsfirstbook.com.

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Females Lead With Impact!

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Female LeadershipA record number of women are Fortune 500 CEOs. Women are launching businesses at 1.5 times the national average. There are now 8.2 million American women running their own companies.

“The numbers are notable,” says executive and business coach Debora McLaughlin, author of “The Renegade Leader: 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance and Profits.”

“From 1997 to 2011, the number of U.S. women-owned businesses increased by 50 percent,” McLaughlin says. “And in 2011, the median compensation for female CEOs was 13 percent more than for male CEOs,” according to NerdWallet Financial Markets.

According to Catalyst, a non-profit organization, as of Jan. 1, there were 21 women running Fortune 500 companies, including IBM and PepsiCo, That’s up from seven in 2002-2003. Among the Fortune 1000 companies, there are twice as many, including the CEOs of Neiman Marcus Group, Cracker Barrel and Dun & Bradstreet.

“Nonetheless, business women still face hurdles,” McLaughlin notes. “Keep in mind, while 21 are Fortune 500 CEOs — a record high – that’s only 4.25 percent of the total and the figures hold for Fortune 1000 companies, less than 5 percent have a female at the helm.”

A recipient of the 2012-13 Women of the Year award presented by the National Association of Professional Women, McLaughlin watches the financial trends. While women are launching more businesses, they have an upward climb; studies show that women-owned companies are less likely to hit the $1 million mark and are more likely to fail.

“To claim, own and keep the keys to the corner office, women executives need to be seen, heard and to lead with greater influence and impact,” McLaughlin says. She offers three key tips:

• Develop your personal brand: Let people get to know you, your core story of experiences and how they relate to your drive and vision. As Steve Jobs said, “connect the dots,” then use transparent communication to share your story. People make better connections with people who tell a great story, and they’re most interested in the story behind the person at the top. Transparency encourages greater communication, team building and leadership.
• Develop and use your personal network. Find a mentor and be a mentor; seek out other women at your level; and accept the strength, ideas and energy your connections have to offer. It is no longer necessary to blaze trails alone, and women have more power than they may realize. According to a Dow Jones report, startups with five or more female executives have a 61 percent success rate. It goes further and says that odds of success “increase with more female executives at the VP and Director levels.”
• Stand for something; position yourself as a strong thought leader. It’s not easy being at the top. Women tend to distrust powerful women, and men may view women as weak or too collaborative and sensitive. Take a firm stand on something you care about deeply and rally the organization around that objective. You will gain the respect of your peers, customers and stakeholders.

As the numbers clearly demonstrate, business is changing. Women account for 73 percent to 85 percent of consumer decisions in the United States, which gives female CEOs yet another advantage — insight into their customers’ values, McLaughlin says.

Debora McLaughlin, best-selling author of “The Renegade Leader: 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance and Profits;” the forthcoming book, “A League of Her Own,” and CEO of The Renegade Leader Coaching and Consulting Group combines her experience as certified executive coach and as a top sales performer in New York City and Boston to help CEOs, business leaders and organizations achieve accelerated results.

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The More You Eat, the More You’ll Crave Them

Comments (0) Food and Drink, Health

What's for DinnerIt’s the question we ask ourselves almost every day: What’s for dinner?

Entwined in this daily dialogue is wondering whether we’ll need to dash into the grocery store on the way home from work. The next time we make one of those supermarket pit stops, Dr. Eudene Harry, author of “Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps,” would like us to veer in a new direction.

“When people shop on the go, they tend to gravitate toward old standbys and foods they can multipurpose with – usually not the most nutritious choices possible. But by substituting a few items on your list, you can not only look and feel more youthful, you’ll boost your resistance to certain cancers and other illnesses.”

Some of the most nutrition-packed foods not only taste great, they’re readily available at the grocery store and easy to prepare, Harry says.

“The more you eat, the more you’ll crave them.”

Here are five food combos for shoppers with healthy eating on their minds:

• Tomato, garlic, chicken and almonds: Tomatoes contain one of the world’s most concentrated sources of cancer-fighting lycopene, which is best absorbed from tomatoes that are cooked. Garlic has been used for centuries for various health purposes and is a known free-radical destroyer. Nuts help to lose weight, maintain healthy blood pressure and support moods; almond crumbs are a great substitute for bread crumbs on chicken. Pair these goodies with whole wheat couscous for a full dinner.

• Tempeh: With its high protein, fiber and isoflavones content, and meaty texture, tempeh is heavily utilized by vegetarians. It’s made from soybeans processed in a manner similar to cheese making. Like tofu, tempeh takes on the flavors with which it is cooked or marinated, including zesty-tangy balsamic vinegar – perfect for accentuating salads.

• Mashed cauliflower gone Greek: Mash some cauliflower with Greek yogurt! Not only does the “original” yogurt have a thicker texture and richer taste, it’s also denser in lactobacilli, the healthy bacteria that may delay the onset of cancer. And yogurt is low in fat and high in protein, which is essential for many body functions, including building and repairing muscle tissue, organs, bones and connective tissue. Rather than add fatty, cholesterol-filled butter and sour cream to starchy potatoes that stick to your ribs, why not pair two healthy options with mashed cauliflower with Greek yogurt and fresh black pepper for simple goodness?

• Sushi – wild salmon, minced cucumbers, shredded carrots, kelp, sesame seeds and rice: A sushi roll is much more filling and satisfying than a non-sushi eater would think. Many grocery chains offer ready-made rolls, but they are also fairly easy to make. A bamboo roller is a great start; place a sheet of nutrient-dense kelp as the first thing on the roller, and add, lengthwise, desired ingredients. Your first try is not likely to be perfect, but the tasty and healthy ingredients will be there.

• Fruit salad for dessert: Bring together chopped apples, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple with blueberries and grapes for a sweet and juicy post-dinner palate-cleanser. Lemon juice prevents fruits from bruising. If that’s not enough, combine the salad with Greek yogurt – perhaps blended with vanilla or almond extract – and fiber-filled granola for a parfait.

Dr. Eudene Harry holds a bachelor’s in biology from New York University and completed both her medical degree and residency training at Thomas Jefferson University. Currently the medical director for the integrative and holistic Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, she has practiced medicine for nearly 20 years, is board certified in both emergency and holistic medicine, and for more than a decade practiced emergency medicine as an attending physician in Level II trauma centers.

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Entrepreneurs Do Not Focus On What Was Lost

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Focus on SuccessAs we pass the five-year anniversary of the start of the economic recession in December 2007, many observers focus on what was lost:

• 8 million jobs
• 146,000 employer businesses
• 17.5 percent average individual earnings

But the businesses that survived the Great Recession and are thriving today didn’t focus on losses then – and they aren’t now, says Donna Every, a financial expert who has published three non-fiction business books and recently released her first novel, “The Merger Mogul,” (www.donnaevery.com).

“The entrepreneurs who are successful during times of uncertainty are so because they don’t rely on the standard approaches they’d use in predictable times, and they look for opportunities – the positives — in situations that would have been considered negatives five years ago,” Every says.

“It’s similar to how we deal with the weather. In places where it’s sunny most of the summer, we wouldn’t leave our house each morning packing coats and umbrellas just in case. The weather’s predictable. But in the winter and other seasons when the weather can quickly change, we head out with a different mindset.”

For businesses, switching gears to deal with inclement economic conditions involves adopting new perspectives and practices, she says.

“I incorporated some of these in ‘The Merger Mogul’ because it’s set during the recession and my protagonist, the mogul, had to adapt,” Every says. “He used many of the strategies I recommend to real-life business people for thriving during economic uncertainty.”

What are some of those strategies? Every outlines them:

• Build on what you have, not toward what you want: Instead of setting goals and then seeking out the resources you’ll need to meet them, assess what you have available and decide what you can achieve with that. This not only saves you the time and expense of pulling together resources you may not have, it also gives you the advantage of working from your business’s individual and unique strengths.

• Follow the Las Vegas rule: Tourists planning a weekend in Las Vegas will often set aside the amount of money they’re willing to gamble – and lose — on cards or the slots. That way, they won’t lose more than they can afford. During an uncertain economy, entrepreneurs should calculate their risks the same way. Rather than going for the biggest opportunities as you would in prosperous times, look for the opportunities that won’t require as much of your resources. Calculate how much you can afford to lose, and always consider the worst-case scenario.

• Join hands and hearts: Competition is fine when things are going well, but when times are tough, you need allies. Explore forming partnerships with other entrepreneurs so you can strategize to create opportunities together. With what your partners bring to the table, you’ll have more strength and new options to work with.

• Capitalize on the unexpected: Surprises can have positive outcomes if you handle them nimbly by finding ways to use them to your advantage. Instead of planning damage control for the next unexpected contingency, look at it as an opportunity. Get creative as you look for the positives it presents.

• When life is unpredictable, don’t try to forecast: Focus on what you can do and create now rather than what you can expect based on what happened in the past. In good times, that information can be a helpful and reliable way to make predictions, but savvy entrepreneurs don’t count on that in uncertain times.

“While the U.S. economy certainly is improving, there’s still too much uncertainty both here and abroad to go back to the old ways of doing business just yet,” Every says.

“If you’ve survived the past five years, you’ve probably been relying on many of these strategies – maybe without even realizing it,” she says. “Don’t abandon them yet, and if there are some here you aren’t using, work toward incorporating them, too.”

About Donna Every: Donna Every worked with Ernst & Young for 10 years before starting Arise Consulting Inc., a company that offers business training, and consulting services. She is a Chartered Certified Accountant with a master’s in business administration. She is the author of “What Do You Have in Your House?”; “The Promise Keeper”; “Arise & Shine”; and her first novel, “The Merger Mogul.”

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In 2013 – Think like a man!

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Think Like a ManSince the recession began in December 2007, more than 8 million jobs have been lost with unmarried women taking a large hit. “While the country’s economic decline has touched all Americans, its effect on unmarried women has been devastating,” said Page Gardner, President and Founder of Women’s Voices Women Vote (WVWV).

The timing is ripe for women to take greater control of their destiny. There is a severe shortage of talent in the labor pool and women graduate from college and have far more degrees than men. Another powerful tool that women have and don’t use is their buying power; women account for and influence over 83 percent of all buying decisions, that’s a lot of buying power. Women know why women buy and know how to convince them to buy more. They are the walking, breathing psychology behind buying. They also lead with both sides of their brain, exhibiting both the analytical as well as the creative.  Women have a higher value in today’s workplace, writes Claire Shipman, one of the writers behind ABC News’ “Womenomics” blog. Shipman points to a Pepperdine University survey that found that companies that promoted more females made more money.  Being unemployed can be the perfect time to reflect, reevaluate, rejuvenate and chart a brand new course.

Let’s begin by asking, ‘Who are you?’

Play the Match Game

The first thing you must do in the course of charting your own destiny is some ME analysis and ask yourself, ‘Who am I?  I know sometime women are afraid they don’t know the answer, but its time you found out.  If you could have any three jobs in the world, what would they be?  List them. Now, title three columns on a piece of paper, ‘Skills’, ‘Talent’ and ‘Passion’ and write down what yours are; it may take awhile.  Be able to quantify your skill set with examples; what have you done, where have you done it and how have you performed? Write down the number of hours per week you’re willing to work towards your passion and for how long.  Now with list in hand, is there a match between skills, talent and passion to what you’ve always done, what you’re currently doing or with what you want to do, which is the three jobs listed?  The key to charting your own destiny and having the career of your dreams, whether working for yourself or someone else is to match and connect your skills, talent and passion to your career.

Have a Bull’s-eye

Too many job seekers are reactive and send out tons of resumes and/or show up to hot, crowded job fairs without having a strategic approach. To hear Donald Trump’s famous words, ‘you’re hired’ you must have a strategic plan-of-action that includes research, networking and becoming an expert in the brand called you. Have a bull’s eye approach. Look at all companies large and small, for profit and not, federal, state and city agencies and educational institutions. Have a target list of companies. Do they have positions that you can transfer your skills, talent and passion?  When you take a bulls-eye approach you automatically position yourself above your competition because you have matched your skills, talent and passion to targeted industries, companies and positions.  Your time and effort in this endeavor will greatly enhance your job search experience and place you in a position of ultimate power.

Facebook, I Don’t Think So

Whenever you get the opportunity to sell your skills, talent and passion in person do so as nothing beats face-to-face networking.  As far as social networking sites go, they can be very useful but be careful when sharing career aspirations or making inquiries, let your information be short, specific and concise. Don’t use social sites to vent your frustration or tell the world how long you’ve been out of work. Never talk about or post negative comments about your current or previous employer. I know some of you may have to pop a Prozac on that one but don’t do it.  Employers are known to search your name so use a professional email name not SexyGraphicDesigner@gmail.com.

Think Like a Man and Know Your Value

Too many women devalue and disregard their skills. I’ve heard many women say, I only do volunteer work or I’m just a mother or l could never go after that job because it pays too much money. I can’t remember the last time I heard a man state that he could not pursue a job because it paid too much money; hello, really, a man is not going to pursue a job because it pays too much, yeah right. Know yourself, know your value. Honor, respect and think highly of your skills and talent.  Start saying a short, daily confidence mantra “I’m worthy” and add to it as you make that conscious shift in internal perception.

Create a unique resume

Before you start uploading, reloading, faxing, mailing or handing out resumes make sure you know the answers to these four critical questions:

  1. What am I qualified to do?
  2. Why am I qualified to do it better than my competition?
  3. Where have I done it?
  4. How well have I performed?

You should have some of these questions answered from playing the match game. Make sure you quantify your success and have three to five examples of accomplishments. Search the internet to see the latest resume formats and styles. Look into creating an internet-based resume. One website to check out is www.visualcv.com and sign up is free. Whatever approach you decide, make sure it is professional looking and error free. There are many free resources to help you develop an up to date resume. If you are not technically astute, seek the help of your tech savvy children, nieces and nephews. There are no longer any excuses for not having a sharp resume.  Remember a job interview is about what you offer, want and expect from the employer versus what the employer is looking for, needs, offers and will provide. Let your value provide the answer to their needs.

Listen-up

Research has proven that women talk to connect and share but the interview process is about how well your answers match the job requirements.  It’s still all about the match game. When you practice active listening, you will hear the interviewer giving you valuable information about the position, their needs and what they’re looking for. That is a perfect opportunity to directly discuss how you can meet their needs and satisfy their requirements. What’s the formula for listening? I have lots of tips on my audio CD but let this be your reminder: You have one mouth and two ears, so listen twice as much as you talk.

Original article posted in Kalon Women Magazine – January 2011 by Dickie Sykes

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Boomers Need to Think Retirement With More Urgency

Comments (0) Boomer Life

retirement planningThe economy may be recovering, but some of the changes wrought by the Great Recession may be long-lasting. Anyone planning for retirement, no matter what their age, needs to take those changes into account, says financial advisor Philip Rousseaux, a member of the esteemed Million Dollar Round Table association’s exclusive Top of the Table forum for the world’s most successful financial services professionals.

“People in their 40s and younger have some time to retool their plan, but baby boomers need to think with more urgency,” says Rousseaux, founder and president of Everest Wealth Management, Inc.

“A lot of boomers had all of their retirement investments in the stock market and, if they didn’t lose their principal, it will take some time for them to recoup their gains. Others moved their money to short-term savings, like CDs. But with interest rates so low, they’re actually losing money when you factor in inflation.”

Those are the two most common mistakes people make in retirement planning – having everything in either stocks or short-term savings is a bad idea, he says.

“Space your investments so they’ll come due as they’re needed,” Rousseaux says. “Plan some that can be available in the short term, for emergencies, and others that will be available as you age.”

Only 14 percent of Americans are very confident they’ll have the money to live comfortably in retirement, according to a 2012 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Here are Rousseaux’s suggestions for ensuring you’re part of that 14 percent.

• Don’t take risks you can’t afford. This is another common mistake. “Don’t put the bulk of your assets into anything that makes your principal vulnerable. Gambling that you’re going to win big on the market, or any other investment, means you also risk losing big.” A portion of your investment should have a guaranteed return.

• Seek any guidance from independent financial advisors. This has two benefits: Advisors who aren’t marketing their own products have no conflicts of interest. “You wouldn’t go to a commissioned salesman for advice on buying a high-tech product. Instead, you’d probably turn to a trusted friend or an independent expert source, like Consumer Reports. Take the same care with something as important as your retirement.” The second benefit is that independent advisors can devise creative, innovative solutions to meet the needs of individual clients. Those working for companies like MetLife are not free to think outside the box. And that’s especially important In this new, post-recession economy.

• Consider alternatives to the stock market. One of the effects of the recession is that the public realizes Wall Street is not a safe retirement plan. Even if it can get you there, it’s not necessarily going to keep you there.“There are a number of great, safer alternatives,” Rousseaux says. One of those is fixed, indexed annuities. “You loan an insurance company money and it guarantees you payments over a specified length of time. It’s a contract between you and the company,” he explains. Fixed-rate indexed annuities have a minimum and maximum interest payment that’s linked to a common index, such as the Dow. When the Dow goes up or down, so does the interest rate, but it never go below the guaranteed minimum or above the guaranteed maximum. “Your principal is safe and you can ride an up market without the risk,” he says.

With pension plans a luxury of the past and Social Security not a guarantee for the future, Rousseaux says whatever your age, it’s important to start planning now for retirement by creating your own private pension.

“The good news is, our life expectancy grows every year,” he notes. “It’s up to you to ensure that you have a great quality of life when you decide you no longer want to work.”

Philip Rousseaux is the founder and president of Everest Wealth Management and Everest Investment Advisors money management firm.

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Are You Always On Their Mind?

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Lead Generation FunnelLeads, leads, leads. They’re probably always on your mind. Where to find new leads, how to respond to them quickly, and what it takes to convert them into clients.

While you may spend plenty of time focusing on the best way to find new leads, have you thought about the valuable, qualified leads that may already be in your existing database? Why not spend some time working those leads? Consider these four best practices for stirring up your database and finding new opportunities.

1. Research and reach out
Spend some time discovering the types of leads that are sitting in your database. Even better? Segment those leads so you have a better handle on the best strategies for reaching out to a specific group. Your database likely includes dormant leads, newer or active leads, past customers, and referrals.
Market Leader research has shown that 90% of buyers would use the same real estate agent or recommend him or her to their friends and family. All it takes is one well-timed communication reminding existing leads that you’re available.

2. Work in your database every day
The first step in working in your database every day is making sure it’s up to date. Dedicate a few hours to updating information, deleting old contacts, and segmenting.

Once your database is updated, make working in it a daily habit, even if it’s just for a few minutes. When you do a bit of maintenance every day, not only is it a less daunting task overall, but you’ve also eliminated the time-consuming barrier of updating your whole database prior to sending out a campaign. Instead, it’s always primed to send appropriate, timely, and relevant communications.

3. Set up ongoing campaigns
Now that your database is cleaned up and organized, take the time to set your most promising leads up on a yearlong drip campaign. Start now, so that when the peak spring and summer buying season gets here, you’re already top-of-mind, having established yourself as a valuable resource and increased your name recognition.

4. Always communicate with relevance and value
While any communication you send out is better than nothing, always take the time to make sure you’re sending something that’s relevant to your audience and that demonstrates your value as a real estate professional. Show leads that you’re an expert they can trust by taking the time to send useful information like MLS listings, demographics, facts about interest rates, and market trends.

By spending some time giving your existing database a little bit of attention, you’re increasing the possibility that as soon as one of those leads is ready to buy or sell, you’ll be the first agent they call. The average real estate client only spends one day interviewing agents and only interviews one agent overall—make that agent you!

For more information, click here to download the full report from Market Leader.

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The P’s of Marketing

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Letter PMarketers have grown up with the foundation of the four Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion and place. These are as relevant today as they were when first coined for both online and offline efforts. However, as time passes and the discipline of marketing becomes more complex and more enabled, additional factors come into play to augment and enhance the foundation, especially as marketers navigate a fragmented marketing structure encompassing online and offline data and tactics. Here are five key factors that have the power to impact marketing performance:

1. Predictive: Using modeling and predictive analytics, marketers can better determine who is likely to purchase a certain item, and also when they’re most likely to purchase. This is helpful in increasing the effectiveness of campaigns and reducing waste. It also prevents a company from generating negative customer sentiment due to undesired contact or content.

2. Personalized: This goes hand-in-hand with using predictive analytics, but incorporates what’s known about customers. Factors range from the preferred mode of communication (e.g., are they more likely to respond to email or direct mail) to the type of messaging that resonates with them. Take for example two people living in the same neighborhood who are in the market to purchase an SUV. Perhaps the same vehicle would fill the needs of both people, but customized communication tailored to their interests and needs would result in one being more outdoor-focused, featuring messaging and images as such, while the other features the same vehicle being used to haul materials for business. Don’t forget to customize delivery to a preferred channel — email for one, Facebook for the other. Doing so further creates a personalized experience based on the user’s preference.

3. Permission powered: A key way to engage customers and prospects is to have them opt in to receiving communications from your brand. Permission-based marketing is getting more specific in terms of types of products, mode of communication, frequency, etc. Review current personalization capabilities being provided to customers; they provide a detailed road map to help deliver more effective campaigns.

4. Peer reviewed: Peer reviews are important for specifics about a product’s performance. The value of peer reviews increases with factors such as location or keywords used by a reviewer to describe themselves. Customers may be more interested in the perspective of a fellow reviewer who is more like them than someone who is less similar to them. Enable shoppers to sort or select the reviews by ratings and various criteria about those providing reviews.

5. Proactive: Being proactive in implementing one or all of the factors above is important. Don’t wait for customers to tell you what they want, as they may do so by going to your competition. Don’t wait for a “critical mass” in your competitive set to start following these guidelines. Use it as a competitive advantage for better customer engagement and higher return on investment. Listen to your customers, anticipate what they want and when they want it, then deliver it.

Adding Ps to the marketing mix may seem complex and time consuming. While there is an element of complexity present, better planning and proactive solutions take time. The returns, however, can be great. There are a growing set of solutions available to marketers which can help even the smallest of businesses become better engaged and drive better results. It’s no longer for just the big companies.

The final P? Stay positive. While trends and buzzwords will come and go, the movement towards better engagement with the factors noted above is a win-win for businesses and buyers.

Source: Kamal Tahir is senior manager of product management at Experian. Kamal can be reached at kamal.tahir@experian.com.

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Choosing a Tax Preparer

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs, Finance and Money

Tax PreparationApproximately 60 percent of Americans enlist the help of a paid tax professional to file their income tax returns, as stated by the Internal Revenue Service. According to Jackson Hewitt Tax Service®, the nation’s largest privately held tax preparation firm, even more consumers may turn to a tax preparer this year to determine how the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 impacts their individual situations. But what are the advantages of working with a paid preparer, and what credentials should consumers look for when selecting a tax professional?

“With the sweeping last-minute tax law changes, even taxpayers who have filed their own returns in past years with do-it-yourself software should think twice this time around,” says Mark Steber , chief tax officer, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. “Many taxpayers may benefit from engaging a paid professional to ensure their returns are accurate, but need to know what questions to ask and what to look for in a tax preparer. A skilled preparer who understands your tax situation, including all the tax deductions and credits available to you, can provide you with the best possible outcome, because if you miss claiming certain tax benefits on a return, they are off the table – the IRS doesn’t claim them for you.”

When choosing a paid tax preparer, Steber encourages consumers to consider these five tips:

Engage now — The IRS will start to accept 2012 tax returns on January 30. You may need some time to find a tax preparer who best meets your needs, so you’ll want to start your search as soon as possible. It is important to ensure that your tax preparer is well-versed in all of the recent tax law changes and tax codes. The sooner you find the right preparer, the sooner you can start the filing process and ultimately get your refund, if you are owed one. Jackson Hewitt ‘s preparers are meeting with clients now to review documents and fill out returns in advance of the January 30 date.

Check the preparer’s background — Make sure to go with someone who is qualified and credible, so check your tax preparer’s history. You can conduct your own research through various sources such as the Better Business Bureau and state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants. You can also ask friends, family or co-workers for references to get a first-hand account of their experiences.

Make sure the preparer is knowledgeable — Make sure your preparer understands how tax law changes may affect you. Jackson Hewitt offers a comprehensive tax preparer training curriculum, including basic, intermediate and advanced courses, as well as ethics and ongoing update training.

Avoid preparers who ask you to sign a blank return — It is important to review your tax return completely and ask questions before signing it. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for what is reported on your tax return. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return. Check for errors such as incorrect social security numbers and addresses; these common mistakes can delay IRS processing of your return.

Use tax preparers who e-file — The majority of taxpayers today electronically file (e-file) their tax returns. E-filing is safer than filing a paper return, offers faster processing time, greater accuracy and confirmation the IRS has received your return. Jackson Hewitt offers free e-filing.

“Taxpayers who have purchased off-the-shelf tax software and plan to prepare their own returns should confirm that these products are up-to-date, as many late-breaking changes have occurred that may not have been integrated by the time of purchase. Similarly, if you are using a trained tax professional, confirm that their software is current and up-to-date as well,” adds Steber.

Source: www.jacksonhewitt.com

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Find Your Passion and Indulge in It!

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Business, Entrepreneurs

discover your passionMany of us want to pursue happiness, but we aren’t always sure where to find it. In his years as a successful entrepreneur creating and selling corporations to the likes of Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark, Richard Jaffe, one of the owners of the Phoenix Suns, found a few constants to guide him in business and in life.

“Love myself; live my values, and learn to give back,” says Jaffe, who gained respect as an inspirational leader.

The most important of these and the key to happiness, he says, is learning to love himself. It’s a recurring theme in the poetry he’s been writing for decades and recently published in, “Inner Peace & Happiness: Reflections to Grow Your Soul.”

“I’ve found that loving myself is fundamental to my happiness,” he says. “The one person I have a relationship with for my entire life is myself, so it’s essential to make that relationship my priority. When I have the inner peace that comes from loving myself, I don’t have to look to others to fill my emotional needs and wants.”

How does one learn to love him- or herself and to be happy? For Jaffe, it came from living and acting on his values in business and in his personal life, whether he was struggling or succeeding.

“These are the things that have worked for me,” he says. “Values guide my choices, and my choices affect how I feel about myself and how I interact with others.”

These are some of the values and tenets that have helped make Jaffe an exceedingly happy man.

• Find your passion and indulge in it. Jaffe has been expressing himself through poetry for 30 years – that is one of his greatest passions. “Poetry helps to provide me balance in life between work, family and other external commitments,” he says. “When I allow myself time to indulge in my passion, I recharge my spirit, my mind and my body.”

• Remember – givers gain. Even when he was a broke young entrepreneur, Jaffe and his wife of 28 years, Ann, always made sure to give to the community, to their temple, to charity. “Give even when you have nothing,” he says. “It always comes back to bless you, though sometimes from a different source.”

• Don’t rely on anyone else to make you happy. It doesn’t work, Jaffe says. When your happiness is dependent on your love for someone else, they control your happiness. Love doesn’t always stick around – sometimes it comes into our lives in order to teach us how to care. We have to rely on ourselves.

• Be the very best you can be at whatever you do. Don’t compare yourself to your competition, to history, to anyone else. Instead, raise the bar on yourself. “Even if I get knocked down at something, I can be happy when I know I gave it my very best effort,” Jaffe says. “I don’t always succeed, but I can give an even better effort the next time because I will have learned from being knocked down. Defeat is being knocked down; failure is the unwillingness to get back up!”

• Control your thoughts and keep them positive. “My kids used to come to me to complain when they were unhappy about something,” Jaffe says. “I would tell them, ‘If you do not like the way you feel, just change the way you think!’ It drove them crazy!” But they did eventually understand that their negative thoughts were making them feel bad. Jaffe says beware — thinking positively is habit-forming, at least for him.

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Do You Have a Blueprint for Success?

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

Vision of SuccessMany people who want to create success for the New Year don’t realize that in order to do that, they need to have a blueprint for success. What does that mean specifically? It takes two things to create a blueprint for success. The first thing you have to have is a clear vision of what it is you want to create. The more powerful your vision and the more you can feel your vision, the stronger it is.

So for example, if you want to make $500,000.00 in real estate in the year 2013, and you’d like to work maybe 30 hours a week or less, and you’d like to work with your ideal clients, then create a mission statement to that effect. I would recommend start off with the words, “I am so happy and grateful that I am making $500,000.00 or more in 2013, and I’m working 30 hours a week or less, and I am working with my ideal clients doing work I love.” Once you say that and you state it and you put it on paper, you should put it on an index card where you can read it out loud every day.

The next thing you do is to step into the visualization and really feel what it feels like. So for example, you step into it and feel what it feels like to be making $500,000.00 a year. You can imagine what you would do with that added income. Perhaps you could visualize yourself spending part of it and saving part of it, or giving part of it to charity.

Make your vision very vivid and make it like a moving picture, not like a snapshot, but like a just a moving picture of seeing yourself doing all of these things you want to do with this added income. Perhaps you’re already making $500,000.00, so for you perhaps in 2013 the big stretch would be $800,000.00, $900,000.00 or beyond; whatever is a stretch for you. Pick a figure that’s realistic and yet optimistic at the same time.

Once you’ve got that vision statement, you simply need to feel it. You need to feel what it feels like to have that income. Feel what it’s like to be working your ideal number of hours per week. Feel what it feels like to be working with your ideal clients. Experience the joy and the fun of being of service to these clients. The more you breathe into the vision, the more you’ll be able to feel it.

The key is to do this frequently. Every morning look at your vision statement, read it out loud with feeling. Take a few extra moments to really feel it before going to sleep. Your subconscious mind is very receptive. Put it by your nightstand and right before you go to sleep look at it, read it, and feel it. Let this sink into your subconscious mind that this is your vision. This is your intention for the New Year. It’s very powerful to have a vision statement.

The second thing to do to create a success blueprint is you need to be sure that you’ve cleared your self limiting beliefs. Here’s the process that I recommend to do that. Get out a piece of paper and create a T diagram. Draw a horizontal line across the page and draw a vertical line down the page so you have two columns. The left hand column is called your Self Limiting Beliefs. The right hand column is called your Empowered Beliefs. This next part requires that you become like a loving detective and search inside yourself as to what self limiting beliefs you would need to reprogram in order to reach your goal, in order to really manifest that vision statement.

Some examples of self limiting beliefs that stop people, (and the biggest one right now) is “I can’t reach my financial goals because of the economy.” So that statement is a self limiting belief that belongs in your left hand column. Another one that’s very common that people have is “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t have what it takes to succeed.” Over the years of coaching clients, real estate agents in particular, I’ve heard many self limiting beliefs that create an anti success blueprint.

Realize that self-limiting beliefs are not facts, they’re just beliefs. You’re not stuck with them. Do not judge yourself for having them, because at one point in your life these beliefs were survival strategies. Get as many down in the left hand column as you can. Take some guesses.

Once you’ve done that, go to the right hand column and for every self limiting belief you’ve written, write down your empowered belief. So if your self limiting belief says, “I can’t be visible” then write down “It’s now safe to be visible.” If your self limiting belief is “I’m not supposed to succeed” then write down “I am highly worthy of success and I’m supposed to succeed.” “I’m supposed to live my dreams.”

What you do after that is you want to totally release the left hand column, and one of the best methods to do that is called the “burn technique.” Simply cut the paper in half, burn the left hand column. Let it go in a ritual, and as it’s burning just say good-bye to all of the self limiting beliefs that you no longer need.

In the right hand column, I would recommend taking each of those empowering beliefs and putting each of them on an index card and then saying those empowered beliefs every day out loud with feeling to reprogram your self conscious mind. If the negative beliefs start to creep up again, simply use the power of your mind to interrupt those beliefs. Just say, “Stop.” Take a deep breath and put in an empowered belief. In this way you are maximizing your possibility of a Success Blueprint for the year 2013.

Just to summarize, be sure to create your vision statement with feeling and be sure after that that you dig down and bring to the surface any possible self limiting beliefs that could be getting in your way. Be sure you burn those, and then implant or install your new positive Empowered Beliefs and enjoy creating your Success Blueprint.

Dr. Maya Bailey, Multiple 6 Figure Income Business Coach for Real Estate Professionals, integrates her 20 years of experience as a psychologist with 16 years of expertise in marketing. 

For more information, visit www.90daystomoreclients.com.

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Exploring New Career Paths

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

New CareerThe current economic climate has many Americans adjusting their career paths, and exploring new opportunities—including starting their own businesses. Since 2001, the number of people who primarily work on their own has increased by 1.3 million to reach 10.6 million, a significant 14 percent, according to a recent Forbes article.

Read the following advice for those harboring franchise dreams, provided by Home Instead Senior Care.

Think demographics. Consider the population composition, nationally, globally and in your community. What are its needs, behaviors and preferences? How do people live their daily lives? You’ll want to identify where consumers in your target market spend their money and how they make financial decisions to determine what products and services they’ll find worthwhile. Then deliver on one of those products or services.

Doing what you love pays. Know yourself. Awareness of your preferences and natural strengths, and pursuing your interests is critical. You’re most likely to excel and work hard when you find the work meaningful and you are passionate about it.

Address unmet needs. The most successful businesses meet important yet unmet needs, which allows them to occupy niches with little or no competition. Apple with its iPhone, did just this — bringing together, in a mobile device, information useful to people while on the move. Home Instead Senior Care also founded its business on the unmet need of a growing senior population and the generation’s intention to age in place.

Don’t underestimate the power of good timing. Interest rates for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, for example, are at an all-time low. Starting a business when rates are favorable can help lock-in terms that free capital over time and reduce overall business costs.

Partner for success. Do you have a great business mind, but your spouse is terrific with people? Your talented spouse can balance weaknesses (and vice versa) that could otherwise hinder your success. A husband-wife partnership enables you to bring a robust and well-rounded skill-set to market. Those not quite ready to give a new business idea a try may consider buying into an existing franchise.

Source: Home Instead Senior Care

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From Zumba to Walking – Fitness Can Be Fun

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Health

Regular physical activity at any age can help you live longer, feel better and reduce health problems. But far too many people, including baby boomers, don’t get the exercise they need. According to the 2012 Participation Report from the Physical Activity Council (PAC), 35 percent of Americans over the age of 55 are physically inactive. Since regular exercise helps control blood pressure, body weight, cholesterol and so much more, boomers need to find ways to get their bodies moving so they can live longer, healthier lives.

“Though any amount of exercise is beneficial, ultimately adults should work up to getting at least 30 minutes most days of the week, as long as they feel comfortable and pain-free,” says world-renowned nutritionist Joy Bauer. “From taking a Zumba class to walking and stretching, getting regular physical activity helps the joints stay loose, maintains muscle mass, and gets the blood flowing — all of which make everyday tasks easier.”

The American Council on Exercise recommends older Americans choose exercise programs that include cardiovascular, muscle conditioning, and flexibility exercises. Low-impact, non-jarring exercises such as walking and swimming are good options. A key to sticking with a fitness program is making sure it’s enjoyable.

A fun new program for older adults is Zumba Gold, a low-impact dance-based workout designed specifically for boomers and seniors. Workout routines combine salsa, merengue, flamenco and cumbia moves with fun music. For those that would prefer to work out in the comfort of their own home, there is also a Zumba Gold “Live it Up” DVD collection that offers 3 discs with workouts, as well as advice from experts in the fields of nutrition, brain health, enhancing your well-being and more.

Workout Safety Tips

Whenever beginning a new fitness activity or program, make sure you do it safely.

Wear comfortable shoes that fit well.

Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids.

Listen to your body. If it hurts or it feels like too much, stop.

You also need to be aware of danger signs while exercising. Stop the activity and call your doctor or 911 if you experience pain or pressure in your chest, arms, neck or jaw; feel lightheaded, nauseated or weak; become short of breath; develop pain in your legs, calves or back; or feel like your heart is beating too fast or skipping beats.

“It’s important to see your doctor before beginning any workout routine to receive a thorough cardiovascular evaluation,” says Bauer. “Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, I recommend starting out slowly.”

Pick an Activity that You Will Enjoy

The best way to find a regimen that will stick is to choose something that you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stick with it and reap all the benefits the physical activity has to offer.

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A Guide for Parents with Boomerang Kids

Comments (0) Addiction/Codependency, Boomer Life

With a slowly growing economy and a still sluggish job market, there has been a continued increase in children moving back home after having lived independently on their own. These so called “boomerang kids” are popping up more frequently and when this situation is managed improperly, it can cause serious tension in a family.

However, many parents are viewing this “boomerang” as an opportunity. It can allow youth to begin saving money for the future, continue a job search or to get out of debt, but only when expectations are clear and roles are known.

Patrick Egan, chief retirement spokesperson for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans says, “This is not necessarily the troubling scenario it was once thought to be and this can actually be a very productive time for both children and parents if it’s handled well. When children move back home a closer bond can form between young adults and their parents, and this can lead to the young adults receiving financial, practical and emotional support from their parents.”

In May, sociologists Karen L. Fingerman and Frank F. Furstenburg reported that “in 1988 less than half of parents gave advice to a grown child in the past month, and fewer than one in three had provided any hands-on help. Recent data show that nearly 90 percent of parents give advice and 70 percent provide some type of practical assistance every month.”

This type of increased financial co-dependence between parent and child can lead to strain when living together again after a separation. If you are a parent with a young adult at home, it is important to communicate about expectations and responsibilities and to help your child build a solid financial foundation for their future.

Egan says reviewing these tips can smooth the transition and can guide both the child and parent through a tough time:

1. Set expectations

Discuss with your child how much he/she should contribute to household expenses and tasks. A key to making the transition easy on everyone is having clear expectations for everyone involved both financially and otherwise.

2. Review your insurance and taxes (and theirs)

Save time and money by seeing if your boomerang child is covered by your health and/or car insurance. Also see if you are able to claim your child as a dependent.

3. Consider having them “pay rent”

Consider having your child pay rent or at least a token amount for living expenses. This gets the child into the habit of paying a monthly amount. Or have a set amount of money go into a saving account monthly that the child could later use for a down payment on a house or car.

4. Help them keep busy

While waiting to get hired, your child could continue to expand their resume. For example, remind them to consider volunteering, joining a professional organization, connecting with a networking group or participating in an internship, even if it’s unpaid.

5. Focus on your own finances first

You may be tempted to use retirement dollars toward financial assistance for your child, but don’t derail your own financial plans. Make sure your savings and retirement plans remain intact. Not sacrificing your own livelihood and continuing to invest in important options like life insurance, disability income insurance and long-term care insurance is critical to maintaining your overall financial health.

Though you may not have planned on it, helping support your child after they’ve left home can be a springboard toward a healthy financial future for them. Following these tips can help ensure that the boomerang experience remains positive and the relationship remains strong.

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Tips to Help You Stick to Your 2013 Goals

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs

While approximately 90 percent of Americans break their New Year’s resolutions by January 31, there are strategies to help you stick to your guns and make your goals for 2013 a reality. Consider these tips from life coach, Dr. Maya Bailey:

• Be clear and specific. Dissect general resolutions, such as “I want to be more successful,” to come up with the specific steps to reach that goal. For example, define what success means to you: More money? More time to spend with family? More notoriety? This will help clarify the necessary steps for reaching your goal, says Bailey.

• Confront your mental blocks. Ask yourself what blocks and obstacles you will have to overcome to reach your goals, advises Bailey, and take inventory of your own self-limiting beliefs. Uncover the beliefs that have historically blocked you from moving forward and replace these with new, positive thoughts right away.

• Determine where you need improvement. Once you’ve conquered your self-limiting beliefs, figure out which areas of weakness tend to hold you back from reaching your goals: Disorganization? Avoiding people? Lack of consistency? Sometimes our bad habits derail us from reaching our goals, so seek to strengthen such areas, says Bailey.

• Have a timeline and a plan. Declaring a resolution is a great first step but if you don’t put some parameters around it, such as a deadline, chances are high that it might never happen. A plan and a timeline build in necessary accountability to your resolution, Bailey explains. Consider enlisting a colleague, spouse or coach to help in the accountability department.

• Keep the prize in mind. Did you know that most top athletes mentally rehearse and visualize themselves performing at their best? If you’re really serious about manifesting what you want this year, take advantage of this important strategy, says Bailey. Picture yourself a year from now having achieved all your resolutions for 2013, ready to take on the challenges of yet another year. This positive mental image will serve as an important motivator throughout the year.

 

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8 Must-Dos to Tackle Before the End of the Year

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Business, Entrepreneurs

All year long you’ve been in frantic motion. You’ve put out fires, solved employee snafus and issues, juggled conflicting priorities, fielded exhausting back-to-back meetings, telephone calls, and endless emails. You have motivated yourself and others and kept blocking and tackling month after month by leading and managing your company toward achieving the objectives and goals you set. In other words, it’s been a typical year in the life of a small business owner, and, suddenly, December is here, and 2013 is right around the corner. And according to Bill McBean, author of the new book The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t. with a little focused thought, the last month of 2012 can also be the most valuable one.

Sometimes the business world pauses to catch its breath in December,” says McBean. “This may or may not be true in your industry or company. But either way, you owe it to yourself, your customers, your employees, and your future to tear yourself away from the daily grind long enough to do some end-of-the-year or early-next-year reflection and forward planning.”

Typically, entrepreneurs and small business owners have trouble seeing above the action and the dust it creates. But maintaining a cool and measured perspective on where you are, where you’re headed, and—most importantly—exactly what you need to do to get there is crucial to next year’s success.

“Too many owners and their senior staff just get so caught up in the daily whirlwind that they lose sight of the realities of business ownership,” he says. “When that happens, success may not evaporate overnight, but it will, inevitably, slip away. It doesn’t have to be this way. It pays to step back and reevaluate your market and your company’s place in it by making sure your practices are in line with ‘the facts.’”

Here are eight “must-dos” to tackle before the end of the year:

Hold a 2012 post-mortem. Start by analyzing whether you’ve been an effective leader. A skill every great leader has is the ability to self-analyze, away from the high fives of success and the consistent pressure tight cash flow brings.

“This is a good chance to gauge the effectiveness of your leadership,” says McBean. “Good leadership begins with defining the destination and direction of the company and deciding how the business should look and operate when it arrives. If you haven’t done those things, you aren’t leading, and if you aren’t leading, no one will follow.

Do a top-to-bottom walk-through of your systems and procedures. Examine what is working and what isn’t. You may find that a system that once worked well no longer does (because the marketplace has changed, your competitors have changed tactics and strategies, or your customers’ needs have shifted) or that your business has fallen into bad habits that hinder success. In particular, look for inconsistencies in how employees handle tasks, especially those that directly impact customers and those who handle the data you use to make decisions about the business. This allows you to catch problems before they develop into crises.

Pinpoint your best customers. Give them a heartfelt end-of-the-year thank you. McBean insists that protecting your company’s assets is job one. Those assets are not just monetary—far from it. Customers are some of the most important. (After all, without them, no one gets paid.) What’s more, all customers are not created equal. Some are more profitable than others, and they’re not always who you think they are.

Don’t neglect your other big “asset:” employees. If possible, meet with each one individually. Even if it’s not a “formal” performance review, a quick end-of-year conversation one-on-one can help you shore up relationships, challenge low performers to do better, and reward and rerecruit your highest performers. (Rewards don’t have to come in the form of a big end-of-year bonus. You might offer an extra couple of days off, a gym membership, or a gift card for a spa treatment as a thank you for a job well done.)

“The idea is to show employees that you recognize and appreciate their contributions,” says McBean. “A heartfelt thank you, a compliment passed along from a customer, an inquiry into an employee’s goals and aspirations, or a simple handshake and acknowledgment can be incredibly meaningful. A good motto to follow is ‘Be firm—but fair, and show them you care.’”

Review your marketing campaign. Does what you’re doing make sense for you? Ask yourself some specific questions: Are you marketing aggressively enough to attack the market, or are you trying to coast by, letting your competitors stir up the market? Are you targeting the best possible markets and customers? Might a customer reward program improve repeat purchases? Would the money you’re pouring into ad placement be better spent on direct mail? Does a huge social media campaign really make sense for your company, or are you tweeting fruitlessly into cyberspace just because everyone else is doing it?

Meet with your accountant, your attorney, and other key advisors. These specialists almost certainly know things you don’t. Their perspective can be extremely valuable to an entrepreneur who has been chained to his or her desk all year (and, as a result, is out of touch with changes in the external business environment). Planning for a future you can’t predict is part of a business owner’s job, and these advisors can help you gather the information needed to get the “lay of the land” and make smart decisions.

“Successful businesspeople have a good grasp of business in general,” he adds. “By regularly touching base with important members of your larger network, you are educating yourself on the various aspects of the business world beyond just your industry.”

Kick off a cost-cutting, gross-profit-building mission. No one knows what the future holds. But it’s a safe bet it won’t be “smooth sailing.” More likely “choppy waters filled with sharks and the occasional iceberg.” When tough times and financial uncertainty loom, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand. And, one of the best ways to create cash is to find added gross profit and at the same time cut some expenses. That said, McBean suggests you ask yourself: What expensive ($$) mistakes did we make last year? How can we avoid them next year? And what can we do to build up the cash cushion that might help us get through any market corrections or uncertainty?

Set some realistic goals for next year. Then, dial up the “aggression factor” just a little bit more. In other words, aim high. Don’t be lulled into complacency or let the continued talk of doom and gloom handcuff you. You might be okay now, but that doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow and you have to keep pushing the market. Every company has competitors, and if it doesn’t and it’s successful, it soon will. Successful owners know they have to fight not only to win market share but to retain it as well, says McBean.

“Being an owner has its ups and downs, just like most things in life,” says McBean. “But it can be an immensely rewarding career, especially if you do a yearly check-up and prepare yourself and your business by building on the success of 2012 and prepare yourself and your business for 2013 and beyond.”

Bill McBean is the author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t

For more information, visit www.FactsOfBusinessLife.com.

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Triaging Your To-Do List

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Business, Entrepreneurs

“We Can Do It!” was a World War II-era battle cry that empowered women. Today, however, the expression for many women is more like, “We can do it — if there’s time.” By their 40s, more than 80 percent of American women are mothers, according to the U.S. census. Meanwhile, they also make up roughly half of the workforce, a percentage that has doubled since Rosie the Riveter’s proclamation. At least 50 percent of women say they don’t have enough free time and 60 percent feel guilty for spending what little time they do have on themselves, according to a survey published in an issue of Real Simple magazine.

Between motherhood and work, it is crucial that busy women also take time out for themselves, says Saniel Bonder, a wellness coach, Harvard graduate and author of the acclaimed new novel “Ultimaya 1.0: The Trouble with the Wishes of Leopold Stokes.”

“Putting things into a new perspective and realizing that a really good mother and home manager — or a mother who works outside the home — can’t be chronically tired and cranky is a first step to achieving a healthy balance between a mom and her to-do list,” he says. Mothering is a marathon, not a sprint, Bonder says. Unhappiness, failure and disappointment are guaranteed when a woman continues to drive competing interests at excessive speeds, he says.

He offers tips for managing a mother’s to-do list:

Make “me time” a priority every day. Set aside 5 to 10 inviolable minutes for triaging your day’s to-do list early on, when you’ve got plenty of energy and aren’t already overwhelmed. ” Do it with ‘Mother Bear’ fierceness. Go at it with ferocious intention to protect your “cub” — except in this case, the cub is your own total wellness.”

Serve everyone notice. Let your family, friends, and others who depend on you know that for everyone’s sake, you are going to take better care of yourself and you’re not going to try to be Superwoman any more.

Ruthless ranking. Rank each item 1, 2 or 3 in order of real importance. Make sure your priority is only the most important, and that you actually can do it.

Indulge your inner child. Make at least one of your daily No. 1 priorities something to pamper yourself something you know will really make you feel good but that you think you really don’t have time for and shouldn’t need.

Talk back to your inner critic. Do this out loud; shout it if you need to! Just say “no” a lot, to that fault-finding perfectionist in your head. You’re right. It’s wrong!

“Sustainability begins at home, and the true hearth of most homes today is the mother’s well-being,” Bonder says. Your children need to learn this from how you live, not just what you tell them.

Saniel Bonder received his bachelor’s in social relations from Harvard University, partaking in a unique curriculum that focused on the fields of psychology, culture and social behavior.

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Holiday Grief Coping Tips

Comments (0) Boomer Life

The glitz and glitter in the stores, special traditions and get-togethers with family and friends make the holidays a time of anticipation and joy. However, holidays can act as a trigger for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. While some people want to ignore the holidays altogether, some want to continue traditions. What can one do?

Diane Snyder Cowan, the director of Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center, Hospice of the Western Reserve, offers the following tips:

  • Recognize that the holidays may not be the same and you may feel intense feelings of grief. Try not to isolate yourself
  • Talk with family members and friends about your feelings and share stories about your loved one.
  • Plan ahead so you can be prepared when invited to holiday get-togethers. People who are grieving often do not have the emotional or physical energy to celebrate the holidays as have they done in the past. Let others know when you are not up to attending a gathering.
  • Consider honoring your loved one through a commemorative ritual. This can be as simple as lighting a candle in his or her honor, visiting a place that holds special meaning, or baking a favorite holiday dish.
  • Do what you want to do, not what you feel you should do.
  • Surround yourself with those who are supportive and understanding.
  • Allow someone else to do the baking, cooking and decorating this year.
  • If you go to an event, take your own car so that you can leave when you choose.
  • Shop using catalogs or the Internet or don’t shop at all this year.
  • Do something for others: volunteer at a soup kitchen or bake and deliver muffins to a homebound neighbor.

“There is no calendar for grief. Give yourself permission and time to grieve,” Snyder Cowan says. “The first year, things may seem surreal. You may still be in a fog. The second or third holiday season can be just as difficult as your new reality sets in. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Honor your time to grieve.”

Source: http://www.hospicewr.org

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5 Hidden Benefits of Exercise

Comments (0) Boomer Life, Health

With more than a third of Americans classified as obese, everyone from first lady Michelle Obama to TV news anchor Katie Couric is advocating exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s great, says Dr. Eudene Harry, author of “Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps,” but the benefits of exercise go far beyond fitting into those skinny jeans.

For one, it will give you younger looking, more blemish-free skin.

“The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed,” says Harry, who combines years of emergency-room experience with holistic medicine in her private practice. “The result? A healthier complexion!”

She adds four more hidden benefits of a good workout:
• Natural “feel-good” chemicals: Exercise releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happy, as well as relieve stress, and enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence. Exercise has also been shown to increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which gives us a natural high and allows us to sleep better.
• Constipation prevention: Exercise increases the contractions of the wall of the intestine, helping to move things along through the intestinal tract more easily, and decreasing the time it takes to pass through the large intestine. But wait an hour or two after eating before exerting yourself: Exercising too soon after a meal can divert blood flow away from the gut and toward the muscles, weakening peristaltic contractions (and slowing down the digestion process).
• Prevents brittle bones: Walking, jogging, dancing, weight training and yoga are all weight-bearing exercises that help strengthen bones. Swimming and bicycling are exercises that are considered non-weight bearing. During weight-bearing exercises, bones adapt to the impact of the weight and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
• Enhanced immunity: Physical exertion increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, resulting in better immunity against sickness. The increased temperature generated during moderate exercise makes it difficult for certain infectious organisms to survive.

Don’t overdo your exercise, or you won’t see all of these benefits, Harry says.
“Check with a physician who can advise you on the right activities and intensity level for your individual needs,” she says.

“For all the benefits of exercise, there are down sides if you go at it too vigorously for your physical condition. For instance, you can actually increase stress hormones, which can make you more vulnerable to illness, rather than building your immunity.”

Source: www.LivingHealthyLookingYounger.com

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