The Best Advice On Branding

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Branding 101

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Coffee at Work: Choosing a Machine for Office Use

coffee machines

coffee machinesCoffee machines are available in different types. There are traditional espresso coffee machines, bean-to-cup coffee machines and capsule coffee machines. If you are thinking of buying any of these for your office, understand their pros and cons before making your final decision.

The following are some of the most common types of coffee machines:

Traditional Espresso Coffee Machines

These are more affordable than the other ones types available. Ground coffee is used here, which is less costly than pods. Also, you can get more variety. You can readily set the quantity of water and the ground coffee that you want in your coffee depending on your preference. If you want to change the coffee’s intensity and flavour at any point of time, you can do so with great ease. But, when it comes to maintenance, these coffee machines can be quite burdensome, especially for an office. Also, you have to learn the method of filling and using the portafilter.

Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines

These come with grinders that you can use to freshly grind the coffee beans. The coffee you can get from this machine is completely fresh. These are automatic, allowing you to get your coffee just by pressing a couple of buttons. Also, you can choose from a wide range of coffee beans. This is good for offices, as people often drink coffee frequently. But, this can take up a whole lot of counter space. The machine is quite costly, too. Fortunately, you can rent these coffee machines for office use.

Capsule Coffee Makers

If you want an easy-to-maintain coffee machine that takes minimal time to produce a cup of coffee, a capsule coffee maker should be your choice. The pods are sealed, which tend to seal the freshness of coffee. The machine is small, light and easy-to-store. This could be great, if you don’t drink coffee too often. Although the coffee machine is quite affordable, the capsules you need to buy could be pricey. Also, you cannot get variety in this type of machine or control the intensity or flavour of the coffee.

Different offices have different requirements. So, it is important to understand the requirements of your office before deciding on a particular coffee machine.

Look ‘Stronger’: Fashion Takeaways from Kanye West

shirts

shirtsKanye West has another field of interest other than rapping: fashion. Whether that’s for good reason or not, it’s up for everyone to decide. But to be fair, Kanye has his credentials when it comes to the world of garments and clothes.

Back in 2011, he launched his own line of womens wear. Two years later, he partnered with A.P.C., a French clothing brand, the result of which is a fashion line that debuted in early 2014. If that doesn’t give the man behind “Bound 2”enough fashion cred, he has been teaching fashion students as part of his 250-hour community service.

So, yes, Kim Kardashian’s husband knows his thing about fashion. But what exactly can we learn from the rapper slash producer slash fashion designer himself? Here are three examples:

Love the basics

Although Kanye got famous for being flashy with his fashion choices, he keeps a basic look at times. There are photos of him where he only wears a plain white tee, a pair of denim trousers and Nike Air Yeezy sneakers.

The lesson here is how you should remain loyal to the basics in everything about fashion. Understanding that a 10 Deep Jersey shirt from 5Pointz.co.uk and a pair of jeans as the basic attire for streetwear can take you a long way. Knowing the simplest form of clothing – be it casual, formal, or what have you –gives you the edge fashion-wise.

Know your way with colours

Most people wouldn’t dare wear a brightly coloured ensemble from head to toe, but Kanye can pull that off. How does he do this? He knows his way with colours.

Fashion is similar to interior design. When you have enough of a colour, it becomes a neutral backdrop – no matter how bright the shade may be.

Embrace yourself

You can love or hate Kanye, but his personality and style will always stand out whenever you see him on the news or his music videos. This, perhaps, is one of the most important lessons you can learn from baby North West’s father.

With what you can learn from him, you can look “stronger” without imitating his style.

Swim Spas: Combining Exercise and Fun

hot tub

Most people would love to have a swimming pool, but balk at the expense and time it would take to make it happen. Luckily, there are many alternatives to full-sized pools like lap pools, hot tubs and swim spas. These offer all the benefits of water activities while being easy to clean and maintain. Hot tubs and spas are a great way for people to relax from long and stressful days. What makes them even more popular is that they are easy to maintain.

hot tub

Swimming is a great way to get exercise without putting pressure on the joints. In terms of proper hot tub maintenance, pool cleaning companies can do that for a fee. Installation companies suggest that more people are waiting to get water features included in their backyard, especially since they can be a good addition to their homes. Whether you want a tub or spa inside or outside, it will definitely increase your home’s value.

A few pointers to keep in mind when considering a hot tub are the following:

• Check local codes to see what the requirements in terms of fencing, covers and other add-ons.
• Know what types of covers are available and what is involved in cleaning and maintaining the hot tub.
• If the tub is inside a home, humidity controls will be needed. Check if you’ll need a dehumidifier.
• Make sure the deck or the foundation of a home can support the weight of a full tub with people in it.

By swimming against a propeller-generated current and enjoying features like under water treadmills or even bikes, swimming can be an alternative to your exercise routine. Some have DVD and music systems installed so that users stay motivated. These can be easily incorporated into most homes.

Make sure to get a tub or spa, which doesn’t require a lot of chlorine. Many maintenance companies use minerals like zinc, silver and copper to maintain clean water. They also make sure the skin doesn’t dry out. They also have enzymes, which keep bacteria levels low.

How to Afford the Makati Lifestyle

apartments

For young professionals in the Philippines, living in Makati is the dream. The city is home to the country’s business district, party hubs, shopping centers, and fancy restaurants. Find an apartment in the right area and all these—and your place of work—can even be just within walking distance!

According to ApartmentsMakati.com apartments and condos in Makati don’t come cheap because most options are prime real estate. In fact, they can be too expensive for a young professional’s salary. How can you keep paying the rent every month, start a savings account, and still fund your cool lifestyle?

apartments

Here are a few suggestions:

● Automate your money! Set up a payment option that will automatically deposit rent money to your landlord’s account during paydays. You won’t ever have to worry about making rent if you pay it off first!

● Save up for an emergency fund or paycheck buffer. You might have to tighten your belt for the first few months, but you’ll breathe easier knowing that when you’ve spent your paycheck during a night out, you’re not really broke.

● Set up passive income streams. Look into mutual funds, stock market investments, or business opportunities. There’s nothing quite like earning money even when you’re asleep! Even blogging can earn you a pretty penny without you realizing it.

● If you think you deserve it, ask for a raise! The secret to having more money to save or spend is earning more than you can use. Keep in mind that most employers won’t just hand you a pay raise, you need to ask!

Having the right money management skills can show that you can indeed have it all. You don’t have to deprive yourself of a social life, nor do you have to be stuck living so far away from the action. Don’t think twice about starting your new independent life and rent out that Makati condo or apartment.

Online Transactions: the Philippines’ Next Big Thing?

e-commerce

Thanks to the overall economic growth, accessibility of smartphones, and the young population of Southeast Asia, we face a more tech-savvy and sophisticated future. Of course, this means that there will be a stronger focus on the Internet in these areas, including the Philippines.

On top of active Facebook and Twitter accounts, Filipinos might take to another part of the technological revolution we are in today: online transactions.

e-commerce

The Opportunities

Dragonpay believes that e-commerce will have its own boom in the Philippines in the next few years, and will become a major driving force in the retail industry. This is just one of the areas that would benefit greatly once online payment systems become more mainstream.

Imagine how online payments can speed up and boost the way we trade today. Even without bringing cold cash to brick-and-mortar stores (or even without going to actual stores), it’s possible to buy and acquire a product or a service. Economy-wise, this can really fast-track the growth of the country – both in micro and macro scales – as it has proven before with how e-commerce empowered local brands across the region.

The Challenges

The problem, however, is that the online payment system isn’t ripe in the country yet. It needs time to gain traction. Circa-2011 data from the World Bank enumerate a few challenges for the Philippines when it comes to online payments.

For one, bank penetration remains at a low 27%. Only 3% of the population possess credit cards. Internet penetration is only at 32%, not to mention that the service is sub-par and overpriced. Most importantly, consumers aren’t aware yet about the capabilities of smartphones and online transactions in revolutionizing payments.

Online transactions have the capability to be the next big thing in the Philippines. Once it happens, there will be a lot more to expect from the country’s economic growth. The situation isn’t so bad, but for it to be good, we have a long way to go in dealing with infrastructure-related and consumer-related hurdles to put online payments under the spotlight, at the center of everyday economic activity.

Aerial Films: Exploring the World from a Different Perspective

aerial filming

The scenic shots of cities, the panoramic view of oceans, and the slow motion explorations of sunsets are stunning, and they’re possible with the help of cameras mounted to drones and quadcopters. Aerial filming, however, is not as simple as making the drone fly and pressing the record button. It demands preparation and proper equipment to achieve stunning shots.

Here’s a short guide to get a good start:

aerial filming

Choose the right camera

Be it a bulky videocam or a compact camera such as the likes of GoPro and Blackmagic, you can use different cameras for aerial videography. As long as you know how to use it to achieve your desired results, it really doesn’t matter what brand or kind you will use.

The risks of camera shakes

Getting a crisp film is the first challenge of aerial filming. As the wind can make your equipment unstable, avoiding blurry and shaky videos becomes a tough task. Quadcopters, for one, are ideal in aerial filming, as they involve four propellers to maximum stability.

Be creative

While it’s tough to get your eye out from the viewfinder, it’s still possible to get stunning results. You are going to discover magnificent views from up above, so maximize the whole picture to get good results. Watch out for the clouds, the landscape, and the colors of the ground, to be on your way of filming a nice scene.

Be the best in flying

One of the most important things you can do to improve your aerial filming skills is to become a capable quadcopter pilot. Fly and shoot as much as you can. There is no substitute for practice, and spending your entire time sitting instead of flying your quadcopter daily and shooting will never produce a great film.

Aerial videography is an ideal way of capturing the world from a different perspective. Still, it requires preparation and skills instead of just knowing the basics of flying a UAV. So, get out, start shooting, and don’t stop practicing to master aerial videography.

Work Safely, Stay Healthy: 3 Important Tips for Plasterers

plaster

There are times that field experience and manual skills are not enough to keep you safe. Plasterers know this all too well. Slips, trips, and breathing problems are all common in the workplace. Most construction jobs are highly dangerous, even if the task at hand only takes minutes.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of accidents and injury to yourself. Industry experts like GTPRO recommend identifying tasks that require safe work procedures.

plaster

Be familiar with the procedures

Before starting work, it is best that you get to know the working environment. Review all your safe work procedures to ensure they are current and effective. Many accidents are avoidable if workers know adequate information, instruction, training, and supervision. Some of the most important things to consider is making sure you have a clean and organised work area. Do not skip safety practices, even if they take too much time.

Wear the appropriate PPE

Plasterers often use hazardous equipment such as drills, hammers, and heat strippers. To lessen your exposure to injuries, choose the appropriate personal protective equipment. This is an important point as there will be issues that that would affect other people while you are plastering. Wear odour masks, eyewear to protect against particles, and shoes safe for use on ladders. Always use the correct item for the job.

Ensure easy access to first aid kits

As a worker in the construction industry, you can look after your own health and safety by getting access to first aid kits. This is important so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries. Do not walk past obvious hazards that you can deal with easily. Companies promoting workplace safety like GTPRO suggest removing those hazards or inform someone who can.

Whatever the size of the job you are going to do, be familiar with the safe working methods and practices. Do your part in promoting a safer workplace.

Home Improvement Loans: Funding Methods and Associated Costs

Kitchen

Many homeowners like to update or add a new feature to their existing home for different reasons – old bathrooms, needing extra space, and an old kitchen, among others. Such projects usually require a good amount of funding, and financing has to be in place before work can begin. Fortunately, there are some financing options available for home improvement loans. Choosing the right option will depend on a number of factors – how much the project costs, money available, length of project, available equity in home, and possible future improvement projects.

Kitchen

Available Options to Finance Home Improvements

  • Cash: Many homeowners save up and pay cash for improvement projects. This is one of the best home improvement financing option available. There are no interest and finance charges to pay and since the home isn’t used as collateral, there is no risk of foreclosure.
  • Credit Cards: If the cost of a project is not too much, there is no reason why credit cards should not be used. Interest rates are usually high, and this option should be chosen if the debt can be paid off in a few months.
  • Unsecured personal loans: These loans are usually taken without offering collateral. Loans from friends and family are a better option than payday loans.
  • Home equity loans: This is a loan which is taken using the home as collateral, similar to a mortgage. This is a good option, as the amount is fixed and can be taken for a one-time project. Interest rates are fixed and tax deductible. Closing costs are part of the deal.
  • Home equity line of credit: This type of home improvement loan is taken with the house as collateral. Interest rates vary and can rise with the prime rate.
  • 401K loans: Some 401K plans allow people to take loans against their retirement funds. Interest rates are low and there are no qualifying fees. In case a person changes his or her job, the amount has to be paid back in full. There are penalties and taxes on the amount if it is not paid back in 5 years.

Experts warn consumers about using contractor financing or lenders recommended by contractors. These loans may not be the best home improvement loans, as the sources can be deceptive. Processing fees, closing fees, and interest are part of the loan process, especially if you are going for home equity loans. When done responsibly, the money will serve to improve a home and quality of life for many owners.

Tax Accountants: Finding the One Suitable for Your Needs

tax accountant

Before, all consultants offering accounting and bookkeeping services provided all-inclusive services to their customers. At present, however, specialising in one area has become the norm. Some consultants have chosen to work in niche areas, so only targeted customers hire them.

tax accountant

When choosing an accountant to handle your tax matters, go for someone who will fit your accounting needs. You should be clear on the amount of client service you might need and are looking out for. Many professionals cater to specific clients and provide highly relevant services to them. The benefits include the following:

  • Field experts will attend to all your taxation and accounting needs. They provide appropriate solutions as and when required.
  • The services rendered will be tailored to your specific needs.
  • You can expect detail-oriented services.

Take the time to research different firms to find the accountant for your tax requirements. See if they have a website and look at their targeted clients. Check if the services they are offering those clients are the kinds you’re looking for. Go through the client testimonials. Make sure that the firm has good reputation and long-standing experience. Fix an appointment to meet with the professionals of the firm before taking a final call.

But, if you prefer the complete ‘end-to-end services’ offered by normal consultants for your accounting needs, general firms may be suitable for you. They are normally large accounting firms with fees a little on the higher side. This is because of the all-encompassing services they provide. The level of client services, however, will depend on the size of your company and the intricacy of your accounting needs. The bigger the company, the better the services will be.

Hiring the right kind of accounting firm for your needs will definitely give you peace of mind. It also help you get the necessary services at affordable prices.

The Charms of Italy Around Your Wrists!

nomination charms

Nomination charm bracelets have a rich history that date back to the olden times. These charms were worn to bring luck, signify status, and serve as a precaution against evil spirits. Today, high-quality nomination charms on sale are created primarily as fashion accessories. Italian bracelets have become highly in-demand because of their unique design that has metal links as against dangling trinkets that traditional bracelets carry with them.

nomination charms

Band, Not a Bracelet

If you scour any website on Italian charms, you will find that most of them have rectangular or modular charms that are held together by links. This gives the impression of a band rather than a traditional bracelet. Italian charms are usually devoid of hanging pieces that traditional charms have. These are known for their tailored and specific style.

Proudly Italian

Italian charms, needless to say, get their identity from the country of their origin. Centuries ago, Italian craftsmen soldered symbolic images made from metal, gemstones or words and flattened them to form metal links. The uniqueness is that these charms can be easily unlinked and linked repeatedly to create multiple designs. Also, such links may be added or subtracted from the bracelet to suit the user’s choice.

Thanks, Soccer Superstars!

Italian nomination charms gained popularity, particularly in Europe in the 1980s, when European soccer stars started sporting them. These became a fashion among soccer enthusiasts, which spread to America and everywhere else in later years. The trend today is to wear multiple bracelets that include a broader variety of links. This is because the total number of links in one charm is dictated by the user’s wrist size. Wearers also have the option of linking multiple bands by way of oversized mega links that hold several rows of relatively smaller links.

The Birth of Pandora Charms

These Italian trinkets have influenced the birth and growth of Pandora charms, which have interchangeable beads. They were first developed in the Scandinavian countries more than a decade ago. These are similar to Italian charms in terms of style but differ in design, as they allow trinkets, lockets, and beads to hang from the band.

Overall, Italian charm bracelets have become more of a fashion statement than anything else. They can be made from gold, silver, platinum or even white gold and are used by both men and women the world over.