Thursday, February 28, 2008

Welcoming guests

If you're someone with a constant stream of guests coming in, then you're going to need to have things like this bedding, which is not only easy to maintain, but creates an elegant look in your home. I always try to make my home as welcoming and friendly as possible, when we have guests staying with us, so I add things in the guest room that will make it easy for the residents to be completely at ease in their new surroundings. Whether it's as simple as an alarm clock or local maps, the point is to make and effort to be a good hostess. Every little thing in your home reflects you and the better it looks, the better you look! Yes, I know it's bit old fashioned, but it really does hold true even today.

another break coming up!

Just a little bit of work left, before I head out for a break for about ten days or so. As has been the case in all my trips in the recent past, they happen all of a sudden, so I have to scramble to finish off everything work wise and take care of all other things as to take home, things to be bought to be left behind, bills to be paid and so on. I wonder if there is something that I am forgetting? Probably is, and I'll only remember it once I reach my destination. Oh well, life's like that!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shopping decisions

When it comes to finding something specific, there really is not place like the Internet. Whether you are looking for a mini trampoline or something else, you are sure to find out all the information you need, right from the comfort of your home. This has really changed the way we shop and plan our purchases. We no longer have to go to store after store to find the best price, but can check all of that online itself. If you'd rather not leave your house, you can order it to be delivered right to your doorstep. If you need parts for a machine, that's easily available too. While some may argue that it has made us lazy and inefficient, I think that for the most part, the Internet has improved our lives.

Photo sharing sites

There are tons of photo sharing sites online, but the best of them has to be Flickr. I have been using the site for a couple of years now and am planning to take a professional membership, as in buy a membership, since the free accounts have several limitations. I have been taking photographs on a regular basis now, most of the time with uploading pics onto Flickr in mind, which is making me become more aware of my surroundings and take better pictures. It's certainly been quite an interesting journey.

Here's one I took last year.

Fresh corn on the cob...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Long term thinking

When one gets started on one's career, one never bothers to think about long term life plans, but it really makes sense to plan things like getting some life insurance quotes to set things for the future. It's always easier to budget one's money before one gets too used to spending it on fun stuff, which is what usually happens when one first starts out working. This really is the critical point when one has to make some tough decisions and think for the long term future, instead of just planning for one's next vacation. Interestingly, I think the newer college grads are starting to think this way, which is a really nice change.

Working as a freelancer

Long time since I posted here....most gaps are getting longer, since I have been busy with visiting family lately. I decided to take time off so I could devote myself completely to spending time with them and not have to meet work deadlines and stuff. Most people don't have an option to take time off each time someone visits, but that';s one of the things I really love about my job, and it's something that is very important to me. There really is no better way to work and I simply love the flexibility and options it gives me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Keeping medical information at hand

With the growing number of baby boomers in the US, the kind of products that are focused on them, is increasing quite rapidly. Take for instance, this medical bracelet which is to be worn so that your medical history is easily accessible no matter where you are. No one really carries all their information on a card or folder, but with this medical bracelet, it becomes so much easier to have the information on hand with you at all times. It's not just a marketing gimmick, it's a great idea that is sure to become quite popular.

When to work, when to take a break

Been on a slight break of sorts since I've got family over. I have just a couple of assignments to take care of and that's pretty much it. No point being busy and unavailable when family is visiting, right? What's the point of even visiting then? Being able to set my own work hours is probably the best part of being a freelancer, I think. I can't imagine working a regular nine-to-five kind of job now. Besides the two months I took off to move and set up home, I have only taken 4 weeks off to go home in October last year, which is much less than I usually do. Maybe this year will be better in terms of time off!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bypassing high markups in home decor

As someone in the retail industry, it is really a very exciting time to be a part of this very dynamic industry. The variations of retail stores are becoming more and more varied, which ultimately gives the choice and the selection to the consumer. Take DirectBuy for instance, which is one of the leading members only showroom for home related merchandise. Once a consumer signs up for directbuy, they have access to merchandise at manufacturer prices, that are not marked up and lets consumers buy branded merchandise at much lower prices. The mark up in home furnishings and home decor is usually around 43%, so the savings are rather considerable. It seems like the perfect answer for consumers who want to create a perfect home, but are hampered by the high prices in showrooms.

On taking better pictures

It's been ages since I posted a picture here, so I thought I must add a bit of color to the page and add a photograph or two. I have been taking a lot more photographs lately, thanks to my account at Flickr which is getting a lot of my attention these days. It has become quite addictive actually to see great photographs from one's contacts and to constantly try to improve on what one takes. I have started viewing things differently now, thanks to seeing great photographs at Flickr.

Here's one of my more recent photographs:

Finding information on medical stuff on the Internet

Ever since the Internet has become a widespread phenomenon, searching for health problems, doctors and medicines has become quite common. Whether you are searching for mesothelioma or arthritis, there are lots of articles and information available on the Internet for people to read. One does have to be careful to understand what one is reading though, since we're not doctors and a lot of information about health on the Internet is quite complicated. It is useful in combination with meeting doctors and specialists, but can be dangerous if followed by itself.

Retailers cutting costs and jobs

Retailers have been cutting back since the beginning of the new year, reducing staff, closing stores, shutting down catalogs and putting in place other measures to ensure their survival. The slowing down of the economy has affected a whole range of retailers and analysts are unsure of when the tumble will come to an end. JCPenney cut 150 jobs last week and will be combining merchandising and marketing operations for its retail and its direct sale businesses. The company will also close one of its call centers which takes care of its catalog orders and is run by 275 people.

Eddie Bauer is also making changes and will be working to make its operations more competitive and will be cutting its staff by 16%. The company will also be trimming its overhead costs which come to around 41%, which are higher than the industry standard of 35%-37%. Home Depot announced that it will be cutting jobs as well; around 500 jobs or 10% of its staff at its headquarters.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Baby boomers driving todays society

Most discussions lately tend to compare today against the golden times of the fifties and sixties when the US was booming. Maybe it is because it is an election year and people are taking stock, maybe it is because the baby boomers are starting to retire, or maybe it some different reason altogether. The fact remains that for the elder generation, the medicare advantage is one of the most discussed issues, whether it is in the newspapers or on television. Consumers today realize that the system today has lots of problems and want to relive the time when no one worried about getting medical attention as they do today.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Retailers hoping for high sales in February

After a dismal Christmas shopping season, retailers are hoping for some shopping magic to take place in February. With the Super Bowl around the corner and Valentine's Day coming up, retailers are hoping that shoppers will open up their wallets. According to survey's, shoppers will do exactly that. It is estimated that shoppers will buy close to 3.9 million television sets for the big game, which is a 50% rise in the number of televisions purchased last year, according to Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. Shoppers also plan to buy 1.8 million furniture items, up from 1.3 million pieces last year. The maximum spending will be done by young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

On average, consumers will spend $59.90 on Super-Bowl merchandise, up from $56.04 last year. In total, consumer spending for Super Bowl weekend is estimated to be $9.5 billion. According to Mike Gatti, executive director of Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a lot of smart shoppers put off buying major purchases such as televisions and entertainment centers till retailers offer special discounts.