Humans are creatures of avoidance. We’ll avoid just about anything unpleasant for as long as we can, even if there are critical consequences to not avoiding it. We avoid renewing our driver’s licenses until the day before our birthday. We avoid taking our car in for an oil change until the “change oil” light is practically slapping us upside the head every time we start the car. We can even avoid unpleasant conversations with friends or family members by just not talking to them anymore except when absolutely necessary. It’s not a great strategy, but it’s an all too common one.

The consequences of that avoidance can be especially critical when it comes to matters of health, though. Your mind may not be ready for unpleasant medical procedures, but your body needs them to keep functioning properly. Technically speaking, you can get by without a car, but we can’t get by without a body. Bodies are kind of important in that regard.

Mammograms

If you’re a woman of a certain age, you’ll probably need to go through a mammogram. There’s been a debate among medical professionals regarding exactly when that should happen, though. Some groups say 40, some say 45, and some say 50 is fine. If you have a strong history of breast cancer in your family, younger is better. If you aren’t sure exactly when you should start, that’s OK. Have regular conversations with your doctor about the best time to get your first mammogram. Mammograms aren’t the most comfortable experience, but they can provide critical information regarding the health of your breasts. There is a risk of false-positives, especially if you’re a woman who hasn’t yet hit menopause. Those can be scary and frightening, so that’s another thing to consider.

We hear so much about breast cancer nowadays that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Should you be performing self-examinations? Should you expect to get a mammogram annually or every other year? Talk to your doctor if you aren’t sure what’s of you. There is no one-size-fits-all answer in most cases, but honest conversations with a medical professional can do a lot to ease your mind, regardless of which path you choose. But you do have to choose something; don’t just use the debate among medical professionals as a reason to ignore the whole thing.

Dental check-ups

When was the last time you went to the dentist? If it was at some point during the Obama administration, then you’re long overdue. Look, sitting down in the dental chair and waiting for a dentist to come at you with that tooth scraping tool is not a joyful experience. It’s just not. But going without regular dental cleanings can lead to plaque build-up, which can, in turn, lead to cavities, which means you’ll be spending more time in that chair than if you just got a check-up every six months or so like you’re supposed to do. Find a dentist whom you’re comfortable working with, whether that means looking into sleep dentistry or just looking for a dental office that employs a comfort dog to calm down anxious patients. It may even mean just finding a dentist who avoids trying to ask you personal questions about your life while he or she is three inches away from your face. It’s OK if you don’t look forward to the dentist; few people do. But it is possible to find an arrangement that works for you.

Redesigning Your Home

 

So it’s time to update the digs. Redesigning a room or a whole house, while being super labor- and time-intensive, can be majorly rewarding. There’s nothing like getting to show off your house when you’re super proud of it. Home decor is an art form all its own, and this is a great opportunity to exemplify your personal style and values.

 

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Should you hire an interior designer? Interior designers can certainly be pricey, with qualified ones charging around $100 per hour. On the other hand, they might save you money in the long run. They’ll be able to help calculate the actual cost of renovations, as well as the needed time budget. They may also know the best place to get furnishings, flooring, etc., as well as the best contractors to use. They can help avoid major mistakes, as well as making your home fit the aesthetic and needs of you and your family.

 

Structural stuff

We want the place to look great, but, of course, we also want it to function. This is the time to make sure window are treated, mold is killed off, and filters are updated. No matter how beautiful your home may be, if you’ve got a leak in the roof or wall, the room will be awful to be in. Fortunately, most flooring, window, and wall installation companies offer both looks and functionality. With floors, windows, and wallpaper, you may want to use a company that does installation as well as provide the products. On the other hand, you may be particularly handy; doing your own floors, for instance, could save you lots of money in labor costs, although it will be time-intensive. Remember, walls and flooring cover huge expanses in any room, so they can set the complete tone. While your final choice is really up to you, of course, you may want to opt for an option that is flexible within several styles, so the next time you redecorate, you don’t have to completely redo everything.

 

Decor

For most people, the most thrilling part of renovating a place is the decoration. It can be a fun challenge to put together flooring, walls, lighting, furniture, books, and your collections. Even if you’re updating your space, you will probably have lots of pieces of furniture or decor that you haven’t gotten rid of. You might use these as your starting place. That antique bookshelf might look out-of-place in a highly modernized interior, so if you don’t want to part with the bookshelf, you may want to make the room fit the style of the piece of furniture. On the other hand, this is also the time to make your space new and unique to you. You may like the idiosyncrasy of an antique bookshelf in an otherwise highly modern living room! If you want to make things super unique, you could commission a company to make decorative items or perforated lighting fixtures that you won’t find anywhere else. (This level of personalization is something that an interior designer would be excellent help with.) Whatever you choose, be true to your aesthetic, as well as the needs of your home.

The scariest thing about getting older is the way it can rob us of our independence. The things we used to be able to take care of on our own can become almost impossible. That includes everything from driving to the grocery store to getting up in the morning and taking a shower. If you’re watching a relative go through something like this, you probably want to help. That’s a great impulse. You may even talk to your family members and decide that you have enough room in your house to invite your relative to live with you. Surely he or she be grateful, and the problem will be solved, right? It might be, but you need to be prepared for obstacles.

When they won’t go

You probably imagine your relative responding to your invitation with “That sounds lovely! Can you help me pack?” Some relatives will respond with gratitude and enthusiasm. Some will be more reluctant, although they’ll agree to it anyway. However, there are plenty of people who will just refuse to leave their home. They’ll say that they’ve lived exactly where they are for decades now, and it’s been working fine, so they’re not going to change a thing.

This should go without saying, but don’t make threats. Don’t say, “Come with me now, or we’re going to put you in a nursing home.” That’s probably not going to be effective, and it’s just not a very nice way to treat someone you love. Feel free to be frustrated, but try not to take it out on your relative. Why would he or she want to go live with someone who yells at others? You can try and join forces with other family members to explain the benefits of your relative moving in with you. You can express worry that your relative will fall down one morning and not be discovered for hours. But at the end of the day, your relative is still considered to be an adult capable of making autonomous decisions. There are very good reasons for that, even if it may temporarily make life harder for your family.

When they will go

If your relative readily agrees that it’s time to live somewhere else, that’s great, but you probably won’t be able to make the move that very same day. Give yourself a few days to get your house ready for a new member. You should also read up on any special medical needs your relative might have. For instance, if he or she relies on a cpap machine, you’ll want to know how to keep it clean and well-maintained. If your relative is diabetic, make sure you know how to help with blood sugar testing.
A few weeks down the line, once your relative is settled in nicely and the household has established a routine, it will probably be time to figure out how to sell your relative’s now-vacant house. Ask around and find a good real estate agent in your area (if you’re near Cincinnati, SW Ohio Real Estate is a good starting point). If your relative owns the house, you’ll need him or her to agree to sell first, so don’t skip that very important step. But gently make the reminder that an unoccupied house is a great target for vandals and thieves. It’s better for someone to use it rather than for it to just sit there. If your relative is resistant, that’s understandable. See if you can find a friend or another relative willing to rent the house for a while instead of selling it. Whenever possible, it’s always better to work with, rather than against, your loved one.

The focus on women’s health tends to revolve around childbearing, and for good reason: it’s a monumental life event that is both exciting and dangerous. But there’s a lot more to a woman’s health than that. Women have unique healthcare needs at every stage of their life.

Adolescence and young adulthood

Most women can remember getting the period talk from their mom. There were probably plenty of euphemisms like, “You’re a woman now” –which is a terrifying thing to say to someone without further context. Nowadays, doctors emphasize the importance of using the proper medical terminology. That way young women know that a woman’s body is not something to be ashamed of. It shouldn’t be spoken of like it is.

Most young women make their first visit to the gynecologist right before or after they first become sexually active, although some girls go earlier, especially if they’re dealing with painful periods or a related issue. Even for those in their late teens who aren’t sexually active, it’s not a bad idea to go anyway to start building a relationship with a gynecologist. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions; your doctor has probably heard them all. Women should get information on both STD prevention and pregnancy prevention during those initial visits. Doctors will ask questions about sexual history, but they don’t really care if you became sexually active at fifteen or thirty. They want to make sure you stay healthy and happy regardless of who you are (or aren’t) sleeping with.

Pregnancy and postpartum

The average age of a woman’s first pregnancy has crept up in recent years. It’s now around age twenty-six, although many women also wait until they hit thirty to try for babies. There’s a lot of hype around the idea that a woman’s fertility falls off a cliff the instant she hits thirty, but there’s really no science to back that up. Yes, fertility does start to decline as you get older, but the tradeoff is that many women are better prepared for motherhood both emotionally and financially.

Many women feel like their body is no longer their own the minute they get that first pregnancy test. Not only do they have a person growing inside of them, but they’re also getting advice from everyone and their neighbor on the best foods to eat, the best exercises to do, and whether or not they should try for “natural” birth. The best person to talk to about these things isn’t your Aunt Erma; it’s your doctor. Talk about the pros and cons and find a plan that makes sense for you. And don’t feel guilty if you suffer from post-baby blues or even postnatal depression. Both are incredibly common. They have nothing to do with a person’s fitness for parenthood.

After menopause

On average, women will experience menopause around age fifty, although there are exceptions. The associated hormonal fluctuations can be disconcerting and frustrating, which is why it’s so important for you to see your doctor regularly. There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription for dealing with the effects of menopause, but you do have options like hormone therapy and low-dose antidepressants. When you hit 65, you’ll become eligible for Medicare. Many seniors are surprised to find gaps in their Medicare coverage, but those gaps can easily be filled with supplemental insurance plans.

In every life stage, you should feel comfortable speaking honestly with your doctor and other medical professionals who treat you. Your doctor can’t help you if he or she doesn’t know what’s wrong. It’s up to you to speak up and be your own best advocate.

 

If you’ve searched for a job in the last few years, you’ve probably been asked to do an interview via a video conference. That can feel even more intimidating than just going into an office, shaking someone’s hand, and sitting down to talk face-to-face. Most people have a better idea of what to expect from an in-person interview, while video interviews can feel like a whole new world. Interviews are already stressful enough, so why would a company want to add to the stress? Are they trying to give their candidates a nervous breakdown? No, they’re not. Video conferencing technology like that offered by Polycom is both the present and the future, so you’re better off figuring it out now than refusing to engage with it at all.

Body language still matters

You hear a lot about sending the right signals during a job interview. That’s also true if you’re meeting with the recruiter over a video link. The position of the camera on your computer is absolutely crucial. Make sure it’s at eye level. That’s the most flattering angle, and it also allows you to look right into the camera as a way of approximating eye contact. Your interview still wants you to look at them, after all. Don’t look away, and don’t get distracted by other things in your house or office.

It’s best to try a dry run with your equipment a day or two before the actual interview. If you have a friend who is willing and able to help you out, set up a video call with them first. That will let you get comfortable with the technology, and it will also give your friend a chance to point out any issues on their end. If the person on the other end of the call can’t hear you, you need to get your sound issues resolved before the interview. Watch out for awkward lighting, too.

But how should you dress? Like you’re going to an in-person interview. Wear a nice shirt and pants, or wear a dress, or wear whatever makes you feel both comfortable and professional. Don’t wear a nice shirt and sweatpants, either. If you stand up without thinking, you’re going to look and feel pretty dumb. Dress well from head to toe, not from head to waist.

The benefit for companies

So what do companies get out of video interviews? Well, a video interview often acts as an intermediate step between an initial phone screening and an in-person interview. It may even be the final step in the process. If a company is interviewing candidates from out of town, it saves them the hassle of flying someone in and putting them up in a hotel.

Companies also utilize the technology for inter-company conference calls. That’s especially vital for companies with staff spread out all over the country or world. Consider the IT team. If part of the team is in San Francisco while the other staffers are in Austin, they can get together via video conference to discuss log management issues. Video conferencing feels more personal than telephone calls, and it allows people to look at the same charts and presentations together, even if they’re not in the same physical space. It saves money and allows the employees to feel more like a team, even if they’re in offices that are three thousand miles apart.

 

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Be A Hero! Spread The Word and Save Lives!

Encinitas, CA. National Volunteer Week is April 23-29, 2017. This is the time of year when many people strive to take time out of their busy lives to make a difference in the lives of others. TreasureLives, a suicide prevention and mental health awareness organization, is seeking assistance spreading the word about their missions of preventing suicides and destigmatizing mental illness.

This year, TreasureLives will be using all proceeds to fund their transition to non-profit status. Once this is accomplished, they will be able to receive grants for programs the organization strives to create and to produce and distribute more products promoting mental wellness.

TreasureLives teaches that it doesn’t take much to be a hero. The smallest act in your eyes can make an immense difference in the life of another. The simplest, most effective thing you can do is to spread the word via social media using TreasureLives’ hashtags: #TreasureLives, #PauseNotStop, #AwesomeHero, and #ZeroSuicides.

TreasureLives has outlined “A Dozen Ways to Donate.” These suggestions range from a simple act of sharing to hosting a fundraiser: the options include a variety of skill sets and time requirements. Visit http://bit.ly/TLs_Volunteer_Pledge by April 29, 2017, to make a volunteer pledge. You will be rewarded by having your name, company, photo, and/or logo on the TreasureLives Wall of Heroic Volunteers. You even have the opportunity to receive a special gift!

To locate TreasureLives’ social media links, learn specific ways you can help and to pledge a volunteer act, visit http://bit.ly/Heroic_Volunteers. If you would like to make a financial donation to assist in TreasureLives’ transition to non-profit status, please visit http://bit.ly/0_Suicides. To donate via PayPal, go to http://bit.ly/TL_Donations. International donations are welcome. All who participate will be mentioned on a special Heroic Volunteers page on the TreasureLives website at http://bit.ly/TreasureLives.

Please run this article. If you wish to interview Melody Nolan, founder of TreasureLives, or for additional information, contact Cari George at treasurelives.media@gmail.com or call (760) 298-3144.

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MY SOCIAL DATABASE; NIFTY BRAND NEW TWITTER TARGETING TOOL

Amsterdam, January 2017. The Amsterdam-based Twitter targeting company My Social Database – daily analyzing data of 320 million Twitter accounts – recently developed a nifty new tool that exactly shows you which influencers on Twitter are of major importance to you, your product, brand or company. This generous Twitter data analyst now provides you with a free listing of your personal influencer Top 500, if requested before February 1st, 2017!

My Social Database delivers listings to marketers and other parties interested in enriched data. Their systems daily prepare new listings of branches, professions, and industries, whilst reading out Twitter data worldwide, and has these analyzed by their own unique systems and formulas. These listings are based on real-time data and are used for (international) marketing campaigns and twitter mailings.

Who exactly is of influence to your company? How do you identify them? And even get in touch? My Social Database constantly analyses the answers to these questions and came with a brand new tool; the influencer listing, providing a list of 500 influencers of relevance in an area of preference. On the website Mysocialdatabase.com, it is explained in a crystal clear way; you fill out the keyword (e.g. marketing) and within days you will receive the influencer listing of your choice in your mailbox.
http://www.mysocialdatabase.com/about-real-influencers

About My Social Database:
My Social Database started in 2012 with discovering and applying the unique opportunities of Twitter, essentially an open database constantly updated by all participants. The company developed groundbreaking tools to read and analyze all information of relevance, thus developing an enormous database containing 320 million targetable accounts. Selections can be made on anything, from language to hobby, from marital status to profession… www.mysocialdatabase.com

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DDC DS Banner

Denver, CO / January 23, 2017 – The DDC Group’s North American divisions (DDC) launch a suite of solutions to empower companies with a sturdier digital marketing presence. Companies today must look to effectively portray a clear online presence in the ever-changing digital world. They need a quality brand image, a contemporary website and a strategy to continually optimize their online platforms.

As a global business process outsourcing (BPO) provider focused on reducing costs and increasing efficiencies for companies, DDC recognized this critical issue and knew that they could solve the need for companies who are looking to strengthen their digital marketing performance and ultimately boost sales.

The solution to this issue: DDC Digital Solutions (DS). This service focuses on building and optimizing company websites for advertisements and SEO functionality. DDC DS spearheads effective company branding and pinpoints application development for mobile and tablet-friendly website functionality.

“We understand how a vigorous digital marketing strategy can transform your business in today’s busy world. Both consumers and businesses alike are changing the way they look for goods and services, and it is largely taking place on the web. This means that companies need to change the way they market to potential customers. Whether our customers are looking to rebuild their website, create a mobile app, or develop a strategy that offers measurable results, DDC DS is a powerful solution set that adds tremendous value to your marketing and sales enablement efforts.” noted Chad Crotty, Vice President of DDC FPO & DDC USA.

DDC DS is the one-stop shop for your company’s digital marketing needs. To learn more about how you can take a load off, visit www.ddcfpo.com or www.theddcgroup.com.

About DDC FPO & DDC USA

DDC FPO and DDC USA are the North American divisions of The DDC Group, a leading global provider of business process outsourcing (BPO) experts and solutions. With operations across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, DDC’s 3500-strong staff delivers services in more than 40 languages with cutting edge technology using ahead-of-the-curve industry standards. DDC continually strives to develop custom systems that meet clients’ needs, while enhancing the quality, cost containment and labor elasticity of their back office operations.

Businesses, professionals, and others who use social media to promote a brand often are unsure whether what they’re doing is effective.

Their usual ways of measuring success – such as how many leads or sales were generated – don’t really apply and that leaves them puzzled.

“Even people who are enthusiastic about social media aren’t always clear on what to expect,” says Jay York, senior social media strategist for EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com). “One problem, I think, is that people mistakenly focus too much on ‘likes’ and figure the more likes the better.”

So just what are the best ways to calculate whether you’re setting and achieving realistic marketing goals on social media? Here are a few things York says you should expect from your efforts:

• Growth of followers. You definitely should see growth in your number of followers, but beware of trying to compare your growth to others. A company with a well-established brand is going to see growth more quickly than a company that hasn’t had much exposure. Follower growth is a long-term game so you shouldn’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen as quickly as you had imagined.
Quality and quantity of reach. To understand social media’s reach compared to other ways of getting your message out, York suggests you think of a billboard. You can pay to put your message on a billboard alongside a highway where passing motorists will see it. But are those people in your target audience? Some are, no doubt. Many aren’t. With social media, you can find the people interested in what you’re offering. You can also use social media’s analytic tools to gauge how far and wide your message is reaching.
Engagement. The level of engagement on social media varies greatly. Some people just read or look at what everyone else is posting, but don’t post themselves. Others regularly post their own content, and they like and share what others post. Often they’ve attracted an enormous following. “Those are the people you want to go after,” York says. “Follow them and they may follow you in return. If they share one of your posts, then you’re reaching their large audience.”
Traffic to your website. Whenever you’re interacting on social media, one of your goals should be to send traffic to your website, so be sure to include a link. How can you measure whether this is working, though? One way is Google analytics, which will tell you not only whether your website traffic has increased, but also let you know where that traffic came from.
The immeasurable. Sometimes the impact of social media efforts can’t be measured. For example, if one person sees something a business posted on Twitter and mentions it to a friend, that friend might check out the company’s website. If asked how they heard about the business, that person will say it was through a friend – even though it was social media that got the connection started.

“There’s a science to managing a social media campaign,” York says. “If you want the best results, you can’t take a willy-nilly, anything goes approach. You’ve got to carefully determine the most effective ways of reaching your target audience, choose content that’s most likely to engage them, and monitor what’s working.”

About Jay York

Jay York is senior social media strategist for EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a firm that represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. York, whose extensive experience in social media marketing dates back to the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal, helps EMSI clients make sense of the vast realm of digital marketing, from creative social media to overall marketing strategy.

With high schools and colleges out for the summer, young people are looking for short-term employment, enjoying vacations or participating as volunteers for numerous causes.

But anyone who owns a family business also can take advantage of summer break by putting their offspring to work for Mom and Dad, and that doesn’t mean a favored position in management for the fortunate son or daughter.

Instead, they should be going out with a construction crew, handling a cash register, dealing with paperwork or working at whatever entry-level position might apply, says Henry Hutcheson, president of Family Business USA (www.familybusinessusa.com), a consulting firm.

“They can come in as regular hires, get to know some of the employees and gain an understanding of the business,” says Hutcheson, who also is author of “Dirty Little Secrets of Family Business.”

That learn-the-operation-from-the-ground-up philosophy can help pave the way for the day when Mom and Dad want to retire and the next generation needs to take over.

“To start preparing your children for the top position, they need to spend some time at the bottom,” Hutcheson says.

Among the lessons the summer will provide the younger generation:

  • They’ll start to learn if the family business is the right fit. The children can begin to gauge how interested they might be in the business, and the parents can begin to evaluate whether they are cut out for it. Often, families carry the expectation that the next generation will take over, but that’s not always the best scenario. Sometimes both the business and the child will be better off if the child chooses another career.
  • They’ll develop a deeper understanding of the business. If they do eventually inherit the business, they will perform much better in their leadership role if they have been exposed to all aspects of the job. Summer break is a good time to initiate them without making it a sink-or-swim endeavor. “Many family business owners go astray by giving their kids more responsibility than they should have or by shielding them from hard work,” Hutcheson says. “You want to avoid setting them up for failure, but you also don’t want to encourage a sense of entitlement.”
  • They’ll profit from other viewpoints. Parents shouldn’t assume that only they can judge how well the son or daughter is doing during this summer exploration. “Find employees who can give you honest opinions on how well your children are working out,” Hutcheson says. “Your children likely act differently around you than around others, so a third-party assessment can help in evaluating their strengths and weaknesses.”

“One of the other lessons they will learn from this summer experience is the same one all teenagers and young adults learn when they take a summer job – the value of hard work,” Hutcheson says. “It’s easy sometimes to create a comfortable ride for children, but the most valuable dollar they’ll ever get is the one they earn on their own.”

About Henry Hutcheson

Henry Hutcheson is president of Family Business USA (www.familybusinessusa.com) and specializes in helping family and privately held businesses successfully manage transition, maintain harmony, and improve operations. He is a popular speaker at professional, university and corporate-sponsored events, and is author of “Dirty Little Secrets of Family Business.”

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