Beauty. Fashion. Food. Travel. Lifestyle.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

When It's Time To Spread Your Wings

You love your family, you love your friends, but the wanderlust is calling you to far off lands and you know that if you listen to the call of the wild long enough, inevitably you are going to disappoint, or upset someone.

At any stage of your life, leaving behind your family and friends to embark on an adventure in a distant land is fraught with dilemma’s.  Why are you going - are you running away from something, or someone, when in reality, you just want to kind of like - go!

There is no ulterior motive, no big issue, just a feeling that you need to explore and see something of the world and just be you for a while, without the backdrop of your nearest and dearest.

When you are facing this conundrum in your 20’s, it’s a totally different dilemma to facing it in your 40’s. In your 20’s, your parents haven’t quite adapted to the prospect that their ‘babies’ have grown up, and want to fly the nest. The thought of any long haul trip or gap year brings parents out in a sweat, and worry beads form involuntarily on every Mum and Dad’s head.

But what about years later, when there are also Grandchildren involved, and your spouse gets the offer of an amazing job, relocation package AND the house of your dreams in - Australia and is already looking at the Australian Immigration website.

This is not going to be something that fills a gap for a year or so, this is a long term commitment, and you have some soul searching to do.

If your parents suddenly decided they were going to relocate for a happy retirement in a country that was simply a couple of hours plane ride away, you would encourage and support them in that decision. It’s not the same as living just in the next town, but it’s doable, and you can make it work for their sake.

But when you want to relocate to a country that is on another continent, that is an entirely different matter, there are so many things to take into consideration.

What do you do? Do you go down the seemingly selfish route of thinking it’s your life, a great opportunity, and your spouse, children will have such a better standard of living or, do you consider the negatives, such as your parents aren’t getting any younger, they are an integral part of your children's lives.

Worse still you may be an only child, now thinking about heading off on a journey that is going to cause your beloved parents a load of heartache and they will miss you terribly.

Whatever your situation, take your time to make the right decision. Australia may be right for you, but not right now. Don’t be dismissive of your loved one’s views and opinions, it’s a rare parent or friend that will actually hold you back by making you feel guilty.

Talk to friends and family before you make any major decisions about spreading your wings and relocating, for whatever reason, to another continent.

Buying Jewelry As A Gift

There are many great reasons why you might want to think about buying jewellery as a gift for someone. Jewelry is often going to be considered very personal, and so if you make the right decisions around it, it will generally mean a present which is going to go down pretty well. It is also the kind of item that someone can generally keep forever, which is a great kind of gift for anyone to have. If you are thinking about buying some jewelry for someone, however, you will want to know what you can do to make sure that you get it right. Let’s take a look.

The Style
Probably the most important thing of all is the style of the piece itself. You want this to match as best as possible the person that you are giving the ring to, and that is something that can of course be much easier said than done. In general, it is a matter of using your intuition and kind of following your nose with it. In that respect, you should find that you end up with a much better chance of getting them something they will really enjoy and feel is personal to them.

The Cost
The issue of money is an interesting one in jewelry buying. The fact is that you don’t need to splash out and spend loads in order to find an item which is beautiful or which is going to be well appreciated by your recipient. In fact, there are many ways to spend only a little and still get hold of a fantastic piece: such as using a blue nile coupon, or simply shopping around for the same piece in different places. The price is not as important as the piece itself, and whether you feel that it is going to be appreciated by the person in question.

Often, it will be a nice touch to personalize the item in some way, and there are many ways that you might want to think about doing this. For instance, you could have it engraved with some kind of message for the person, or a date if it is to be given for an important or momentous occasion. Any kind of personalization immediately makes an item of jewelry much more likeable and enjoyable, and means that the person will get a lot more out of it.

Above all, what really matters is that you have shown a particular thoughtfulness when it comes to choosing the item of jewelry. If you can show that you have thought about the person’s personality, their taste and styles and so on, then it is going to be a much more successful present, and you will find that they are much happier with it. There is a real joy to giving a gift that works in this way, so it is something that you will want to work on - for the sake of the other person, and also for yourself.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

5 Things To Increase Your Daily Happiness

It is easy to get stuck in a cycle of feeling down and out of your depths. It is normal to feel this way now and again because it is not possible to be extremely happy all the time. It is, however, possible to do things every day that can increase your happiness and increase your ability to maintain a positive outlook. These could be small things or big things, but they can make an overall difference to your day:

Be kind to people
Being kind to people is an excellent way to make you feel happy because you know that you are doing something that will make someone else smile. Compliment someone's outfit, leave a bigger tip at a restaurant, or leave a happy note on the train for someone to find. These things don't take a lot of effort, but they might encourage other people to do more nice things for each other in the future, and one day it might come back round to you.

Forgive people
Holding onto grudges against people who have wronged you can cause you unnecessary stress. It is okay to feel angry at first, but after a while, you need to let it go. Forgiving someone doesn't mean that you are saying that they weren't wrong, or that you have to keep them in your life, but it will unburden you from any bad feelings and allow you to move on.

Reflect on the good things
Reflecting on the good things in your life, that you are thankful for is an excellent way to bring you out of your slump. You can sit and try and write a list of a few good things that have happened in the past, to remind yourself that things won't always be bad.

If you want to preempt this, you could start writing a list of gratitude when good things happen, even little things, like seeing a cute dog, that you can then look back on when you are feeling down.

Do something you love
Carving out time to do something that you love will help you to feel happier. If you are just always working and doing things for other people, then it is not surprising that you feel down. You need to have an outlet for yourself, where you can develop your hobbies, or just have a bit of fun. It could be that you go to a dance or martial arts class once or twice a week. You could also paint or knit. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you love it.

Learn about peace
Peace is something that many imagine a lot. Whether it is peace in the home or peace in the world, it is something that people are always searching for. You can have peace in your own life by making time for yourself through meditation or doing something you enjoy.

Peace on a larger scale can be more challenging to think of, but you can listen to positive messages spread by speakers like Prem Rawat, who has inspired many people to discover and practice peace.

Choosing The Perfect Wedding Ring (The Conundrum Solved)

Often it can seem like selecting the perfect wedding ring is a puzzle you have little time to invest in. After all, there is so much to get sorted for the big day. Even choosing your ring can seem like just another task on the list. However, what you need to remember is that after all the pomp and ceremony of the day, the one thing that you will have with you all the time is your wedding ring. To that end making sure you choose the right one is vital indeed. Something you can find out more about in the post below.

The first thing to consider is the color and type of metal that you want your wedding ring to be made from.  The usual choices being white gold, yellow gold, and platinum.

Of course, you will want to pick a metal that goes well with your engagement ring. Although, don't feel as if you have to have them exactly the same colors if you don't want to. In fact, yellow gold and white gold can work well together with the right rings, and as long as you don't wear them as a pair that often. The reason being that different types of metal are different hardness, and that means they can wear away at each other if you have them on every day.

Once you have established the type of metal you will choose, it's time to think about the stone. Of course, traditionally, the stones for engagement and wedding rings tend to be diamonds. The reason being that they are one of the most durable materials on earth and so represent the eternal nature of the couple's love.

However, do remember that you are free to choose any stone you like. Such as sapphires, rubies, or even emeralds. Of course, some couples decide to go for a plain band instead. One that doesn't have acne at all. It's entirely up to you.

After deciding to opt for stones, you need to think about the cut that you would like. In fact, the cut can make a massive difference to the overall look of the finished ring. Especially if it needs to match with your engagement ring, or has multiple stones.

In particular, princess cut diamonds tend to be one of the most popular choices for both wedding and engagement rings. The reason being that this cut provides excellent life refraction and will make sure that your stone glows and glimmers for years to come.

Style of the Mount
Finally, the last thing to consider when choosing your ring is the style of mount that you will choose. In fact, a simple floating mount is no longer the only option, with many brides opting for a more ornate or vintage style setting instead.

Of course, before you decide it's a good idea to see some rings with different mount in real life, even trying them on if you can. Then you can be sure you are making the right decision and will end up with the perfect wedding ring that you can wear every single day.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Mardi Gras 2020

Not Sponsored: Hey Everybody! Today is Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I thought I would share some of the festivities with you. The parades have been rolling for about two weeks now. After Mardi Gras starts the Lenten Season leading into Easter. Below is the Mardi Gras wreath I displayed on my door this year. I thought it was so pretty :) I really love the purple, green & gold ribbon and baubles in the wreath. I also love the king cake nestled in it.

The citizens of New Orleans are always so creative with their costumes.
WWL TV's morning crew dressed up like The British Royal Family. 
I loved Sheba Turk (in black) as Meghan Markle (of course). Chef Kevin Belton as The Queen (hilarious)

A lot of places in New Orleans make King Cake. There are now both sweet & savory varieties.
I always get one from Randazzo's but I tried Antoine's and it was SUPER AWESOME.

You pretty much eat and party the entire time during Mardi Gras.
I ate at Deanie's Seafood Restaurant and Market. It's not fancy, but the seafood is EXCELLENT. 
Not on the menu are their ice cream pina colada's (ask for one ... THEY ARE SO GOOD).
Also order their GUMBO and MATE PLATE.

I made some shrimp creole the other night. It was really tasty.
I opened a bottle of Saracco Moscato D'Asti given to me for my birthday.

I decided not to cook for Mardi Gras. I ordered from Barrow's Restaurant.
I ordered their Shrimp Destyn Pasta, Crawfish Pasta Delight, Catfish King Platter, Catfish & Shrimp Combo Platter, Shrimp Po Boy, Oyster Po Boy and Baby Back Ribs. 
Local TV Stations show all the parades on television. So I can just eat and enjoy ;)

I love this New Orleans inspired "What New Orleans Birthday Month Are You?" by Zatarains

What's Mardi Gras without a parade!?! My favorites are Krewe D'Etat (a satirical parade). They made fun of local problems (such as New Orleans Sewage & Waterboard) to national issues (Epstein) to political issues (Nancy Pelosi "The Ripper", Trump of course etc). Bacchus is a night parade with beautiful floats.You can see all the parades on and on YouTube. Unfortunately two people died this Mardi Gras season. So now the city is looking at float safety and the people trying to catch throws from the riders on the float. See past Mardi Gras here.


The Dos & Don'ts Of Outsourcing (Apply Them To Your Business)

Outsourcing is the concept of paying other people/companies to do work for your business instead of doing it in-house. It’s extremely popular amongst small business owners - particularly those with home businesses and not enough room or resources for full-time employees. When done correctly, it can help you save a lot of money and streamlines your business processes.

Having said that, if it’s not done correctly, then it can have the opposite effect. There’s every chance you can start spending too much money on outsourcing and slowing down your business. This fear puts a lot of people off the idea - but you shouldn’t avoid it!

In general, outsourcing is beneficial. You just need to know what to do - and what not to do. On that note, here are the dos and don’ts of outsourcing that you should apply to your business:

Do: Work out the costs
Most companies outsource because it’s supposed to be cheaper. In the majority of situations, it will be. However, you still need to add up the costs before you choose to do this. Think about how much it will cost to outsource a service to a provider. Typically, this is easy to figure out as they will provide you with a quote for the service. Then, look at your alternatives. Calculate if it will cost more to handle things yourself or to hire someone full-time.

Sometimes, it might be cheaper to avoid outsourcing. How? Well, you might have knowledge of the service, so you can do it all for free. Or, you may have an employee with existing talents that can handle the job for a smaller fee - or for no fee at all. A good example of this is if you need graphic design work for your website or an advertising campaign. It’s natural to think about outsourcing, but you may have someone working in your team that’s got a graphic design degree or does this sort of thing in their spare time. In which case, you could save money by going to them instead of outsourcing.

Don’t: Outsource everything
It’s tempting to start outsourcing everything in your business. Normally, this happens when you outsource a service and are amazed by the results. You look at the facts and realize that you saved so much money by outsourcing, and you ended up with an incredible service. So, you wonder why you bother having full-time employees at all. You could just pay other companies to do their work for a much lower fee!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Some jobs are better when kept in-house. If you start outsourcing everything, then you increase the waiting times for different things, and you make communication a lot harder. The best way to look at it is to think about what jobs are essential. Who can you not do without? People that work closely with you will fall into this category - like assistants or receptionists. Sales teams will always fall into this category as they know your business best, and they have relationships with customers and leads. But, other things like marketing and accounting or HR can be done by other businesses or individuals away from your premises. So, these services are the best ones to outsource.

If you outsource too many jobs, you end up with an unstructured business that’s unproductive and doomed to fail.

Do: Try and find companies that provide multiple services
When you outsource, try and find companies or individuals that can do more than one thing for you. If you look at the Timmermann Group website, you’ll see how some marketing agencies can handle all types of jobs. This is beneficial as it means you only have to pay one company to do everything from SEO to web design. The more services one company can provide, the better.

It’s all about ease-of-access for your business. Outsourcing five different companies for five different elements of your marketing strategy is madness. Similarly, working with multiple firms to deal with your finances is laughable. You want to try and keep things as condensed as possible. Why? Because it’s usually cheaper, and because it makes it much easier to communicate with your providers. You only have one company to deal with instead of five. This speeds up efficiency and makes everything more productive.

Don’t: Outsource to anyone
Another big advantage of outsourcing is that it minimizes hiring costs and reduces time spent looking for new hires. This is 100% true, it will cost your business far less money to actually outsource rather than hiring an employee. It’s all to do with the lack of benefits required, but also the lack of money being spent advertising the job, setting up interviews, and so on. In turn, the fact you don’t need to interview candidates or go through applications means you can outsource a lot quicker.

Unfortunately, this leads to a common mistake; hiring any old company. You’ve still got to do some research to ensure that you find the best business to outsource your services to. Spend time collecting a shortlist of potential providers and compare them with one another. The main things you’re looking for are the services available, experience, qualifications, and price. Then, be sure to check for any reviews or testimonials - these are the best ways of finding out how good a provider is. If the reviews are positive - and they have way more than the other companies you’re considering - then they should be the one for you.

Do: Provide as much information and guidance as possible
A common misconception about outsourcing is that the company you outsource to will know everything they need to know. Technically, they should have a vast understanding of the field they’re experts in. But, unless they’re psychic, they won’t know everything about your business or your specific industry. This is especially relevant if you have a very niche business that targets a precise market.

So, if you provide them with hardly any information and expect them to figure it out on their own, then you’re asking for trouble. Don’t be annoyed when they provide you with a service that doesn’t meet your expectations. Or, don’t be irritated if they keep coming back and asking lots of questions. You have to give them all the details they need to provide the best service for your business.

Don’t: Switch too often
If you are outsourcing, then you shouldn’t treat it like car insurance or a phone bill. When the contract is up, you may be tempted to look around for a better deal. But think about it logically. You’d need to spend time looking for a new provider, then you’d have to go through all the steps of introducing yourself, talking about the service you’re after, giving them information on your business, etc.

It takes up a lot of time when you’re better of sticking with your current provider. They know you, they know your business, and you know they do an excellent job. So, stick with them and you might even get loyalty benefits! You should only switch if you’re not happy with the quality of service you’re receiving.

There we have it, the dos and don’ts of outsourcing. Can this idea benefit you? Absolutely. Especially if you’re short on cash and want to grow your business. The way you approach and use advertising will ultimately decide if it’s successful or not. Luckily, you can increase your chances of success by following all of the advice laid out in the article above.

Monday, February 24, 2020

3 Helpful SEO Tips for New Business Beginners

When you’re starting a business, there’s an endless list of things to think about. Unfortunately, it can feel impossible to cover everything, which tends to make things like SEO take a back burner. That’s one of the reasons why so many new businesses fail so quickly.

Whether you have any marketing experience or not, you need to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get your business noticed and ranked on Google, Bing, etc. About 70% of marketing experts believe SEO is more important than pay-per-click advertising. That’s good for your business since optimizing your website for search engines doesn’t have to cost money!

Even if you’re a beginner with no marketing background, you can still utilize SEO and put some techniques into practice. Let’s look at a few tips you can use to get your business noticed online.

1. Put Effort Into Your Keywords

Even if you don’t have marketing experience, you’ve probably heard about keywords and how important they are for your business to be found. Keywords are what people will commonly use to search for what your business has to offer.

For example, if you sell sandals and flip-flops and someone types “best summer sandals” in Google, you want your business to be the first thing that pops up.

There are a few ways to know you’re using the “right” keywords. First, think about what you would search for as it relates to your business. Write down several words and phrases. When you put yourself in the mind of a typical consumer, it’s a good place to start. You can also use keyword research tools, or look up what competitors are using to see how you can do better.

2. Optimize Your Content

Any good marketer will tell you that “content is king.” Google is putting more focus on page content than ever before, so make sure your website has fresh and relevant content that is easy to read and draws interest. It should look and feel natural to the reader instead of something that is just flooded with keywords for no reason.

It’s a good idea to update your content regularly and use the right formatting, including headings, sub-headings, and images to break up text and be more visually appealing.

3. Use the Right Page Titles

This might seem like a small tip, but it can make a big difference. Plus, it’s something many small businesses ignore, and they’re only hurting themselves!

When you’re creating your website, don’t ignore the titles for each page. You want to make sure they’re just as optimized as the other content on your site. Try to get some relevant keywords into your titles in a natural-sounding way. If you can get a keyword or two at the beginning of each title, you can improve your click-through rates and even your page ranking.

SEO can feel a little overwhelming for beginners. If you’re still struggling with how to get started, it might be a good idea to call a professional, like this digital agency in Philadelphia. But, once you put some time and effort into learning more about SEO, you’ll quickly see it can be your best friend when it comes to promoting your business effectively.

Homesick Birthday Party Candle Review

Not Sponsored: I've been wanting to try Homesick's Birthday Party candle. On the back of the box it states, "The sweet, buttery smell of freshly baked vanilla cake smothered in buttercream frosting. A room swirling with balloons, confetti, and gift wrap. The off key singing of friends and family, wishing you another magical year." Yep! It was that description that made me hit the purchase button. So what was my experience? The box was cute! It has stamped images of tiered birthday cakes, balloons and gift wrap. The candle is a nice size (13.75 oz). I gave it a whiff unlit and it was a very soft vanilla scent. It was nothing that made me JUMP to light this candle (not a good sign). The Top Note: Butter, Cream, Vanilla ; Mid Note: Vanilla,  Spice, Bakery ; Base Note: Vanilla, Tonka Bean I lit the candle and let it burn for hours. It didn't smell much! When I blew it out, I smelled a little vanilla. Now the candle is half-way down. I smelled a little more vanilla, but not that butter cream scent I expected. Maybe my candle is defective! LOL It got great reviews on the Homesick website. It burns cleanly. Very little smoke. It lasts a long time. It's hand poured in the USA. It's made with an all natural soy wax blend. Burn time is 60-80 hours. This candle was just a little too faint for me :(

supersweet(run & buy it) sweet(really good,buy it) bittersweet(ok, issues)not sweet(not good,don't buy this stuff) 
  Homesick Birthday Party candle is Bittersweet



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post.

Not Sponsored: Hey Everybody! My birthday was February 20th! It was extra special, because the year is 2020 (2.20.2020). I'm 48 years old you guys! I'm very blessed (I thank God for everything he has given me). I treat everyday as a celebration, but I especially love documenting my birthday. I like looking back to see what I wrote and what I was thinking ;) I have a thing for lounge and sleep wear. I purchased these party dot pajamas last year (long sleeve top 1, 2;  short sleeve top 1, 2, 3; shorts 1, 2; pajama pants 1, 2; sleepshirt 1, 2), because of their festive confetti dots. They feel really good and the colorful dots make me SMILE! I thought these sundae cupcakes on Williams Sonoma's website were the cutest. They are from the MORE Bakery out of Chicago. I first learned about them when I purchased these Christmas cupcakes. I'm always looking for something different and festive. Plus, they're moist and taste really good. I received some birthday goodies from my fellow blog friend Emmy of Scarberian Fashion Lover blog. Thank You Emmy! I love everything and I'm enamored with the birthday cake card <3. I received heartfelt and thoughtful birthday messages from Desle of Diva Desle and Jo of White Roses and Coffee blog. Thanks ladies. I had a really nice birthday.

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