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Friday, December 2, 2016

Brett Maternowski, realtor, Tampa area, FL, USA

Image used with permission.
Taken from website brettsellsproperty.com

Florida is the most popular state to be a realtor; there are over 20,000 people employed in the sector according to the May 2015 stats on BLS.gov. This is perhaps not surprising given the demographic of FL residents - snowbirds, tourists looking for lettings, seasonal workers, people who come on the promise of a job, find one and never leave.


One of those realtors in the Tampa, Florida area is Brett Maternowski, operator of the wonderfully-named website brettsellsproperty.com. Descriptive website names work so well as they instantly offer an idea of the purpose of the site. Yessir, Brett sells property. He works with buyers and sellers to smooth the often confusing and frequently irritating process of disposing of or acquiring a house.


No matter how many times an individual, couple or family goes through the process of buying and selling real estate, it never gets any easier. Sure, property veterans will know the answers to many of the tricky questions often posed by title or repair negotiations, but a realtor with experience will still be an essential part of the process.


Brett works with sellers to help sell their house fast, and with buyers to match them to the best houses for sale. Each sale starts with a free home evaluation, and a knock-your-socks-off fully SEO-optimized online real estate listing syndicated to as many other real estate websites as possible. With the power of big hitters like Yahoo, Trulia and Zillow behind his listings, Brett gives a boost to any houses for sale. Then from contract to closing, he will help sellers with any queries and issues which arise. A real estate deal is much more than simply putting together the listing. Duties of a realtor include accompanying the inspector and appraiser, accepting delivery of their reports, negotiating on any corrective action required and co-ordinating the lender documents. At least they do when Brett Maternowski is your realtor.


For buyers, Brett offers an enhanced listings search option where a simple query form will offer further information on listings of interest. He will also set up a custom search which alerts buyers to houses for sale matching their criteria.


Once the search is on, the next thing to do is to sort out finance. Brett is on hand to help buyers with this area too, as he can advise on the best mortgage to look for and which lenders to visit. Some areas of Brett’s real estate business apply equally to buyers and sellers. The final bit of the maze concerns the negotiations from contract to closing, a delicate balancing act between buyer and seller to ensure that both parties get what they expect out of the deal. The only way to ensure this part runs smoothly is to have all the necessary paperwork to hand at the right time, and Brett will help even the most inexperienced buyer to navigate the legalities around title insurance, inspections and repairs. It is at this stage that many buyers suddenly find out about covenants and restrictions that no one mentioned before, but which could be a deal breaker. With more than 50 tasks to undertake between contract and closing alone, this is usually the realtor’s busiest time, especially when selling houses fast is a unique selling point.


For a personal real estate service in the Hernando, Land O Lakes, Lutz, Tampa, and Wesley Chapel areas, sounds like Brett Maternowski might well be your man.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Linkbutton, a new take on social media

The Linkbutton logo, image provided and used with permission

Linkbutton.com sounds like the next big thing for apps, websites and social combined. It’s not quite here yet, but coming soon for those social hounds who just have to be in on the next big thing. And this sounds like quite a thing.


Social media has become an integral part of marketing and online interaction in the last few years and there are sites for sharing just about anything these days, in any format. Like and share buttons appear on almost every post, while some employers will check a candidate's social presence as part of the hiring process.


Linkbutton.com is launching soon to join the party. Linkbutton.com is going to be a free site for users to link to their content, offering a choice of over 100 actions or call buttons (including BUY, CALL, SHARE, DONATE, DOWNLOAD or VOLUNTEER) from a personal or business account. The default action will be ACCESS, which will simply let readers read the posted content.


As with many other social media sites, the clue is in ‘social’. Having followers and being followed is the goal, according to the founders, although businesses will have profile categories to help drive followers to the right content. In true social media style, the site will also access links shared by other users. Those users could be businesses, individuals, brands or blog sites, who knows? In the modern always-on world, everyone and everything is a brand. Linkbutton.com is aiming to be a one-stop shop for all kinds of social media interaction. Users will be engaging with others in many ways; from simply liking a post about a business’ new range to ordering a meal, supporting a crowdfunding page, sharing their CV or resume with a company they’d like to work for, or booking tickets for a gig. For a more personal experience, linkbutton.com may be a lower key alternative for sharing photos and posts with people who are not on bigger social media sites.



Copyright: Getty Images
(Diversity People Connection Digital Devices Browsing Concept)
Credit: Rawpixel, Stock #: 521545050

The site has iOS and Android apps planned, although these are not active yet, so those users who habitually post on the move will be able to update quickly and easily. The one-stop-shop scenario may appeal to netizens who prefer their interactions all in one place, while the wide variety of media permitted will allow any active blogger, v-logger or business to share new content easily. (It is advisable to read the Upload Policy on the website before starting off though.)


As perhaps expected, Linkbutton Inc is already active on social media itself, as linkbuttonmedia on twitter and Facebook. This is a vital tool to build awareness ahead of the official launch. A search for the name brings up twitter users who have shared the company’s introductory video, showing a typical search engine query for sites where potential customers can see interesting content. Their website is simple and uncluttered, with a choice of personal or business accounts and examples of how both work. Action keywords are the way to share the posts, whether those posts are messages, photos, videos or links, so users can share a new blog post with the keyword ‘comment’, or a crowdfunding campaign by instructing ‘donate’. Businesses can post instructions including Menu > Order and Product > Buy among others. Maybe a transport company could offer links to their latest timetables or real time map, or a recruiter could designate individual ‘apply’ action buttons uniquely linked to each of their vacancies. The possibilities are endless.


The site sounds simple to use and benefit from, and is likely to appeal to an individual or company currently posting across several social media platforms but wanting to expand their reach. Linkbutton.com will allow those known for their blog posts to share videos, and those known for panoramic video shoots to showcase breathtaking still photographs all in the same timeline. Seemingly, linkbutton.com could well appeal to those who find larger social media sites to be too cluttered, overly complicated and intrusive, because as it is currently small, there will not be the wide attention given to bigger platforms.


No matter what topic users are promoting, they will be able to share the links via linkbutton.com, subject to the usual caveats about content copyright and decency, of course. The site aims to combine the best of all the big social sites and then some, as there is nowhere else offering quite the breadth and variety of options. Sure, there are plenty sites for link sharing, article promotion and video posting, but fewer where a link in a post leads directly to a takeaway restaurant’s menu and orders page or where a jobseeker can share their resume without having to go through a full application process.


Linkbutton. Buttons that link people to others via actions. Coming soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mymediclique Medical Network and Personal Research Center

Medical professionals tend to advise against self-diagnosis using internet resources, because not everything is as truthful and accurate as it could be. Mymediclique could be the exception to that rule, however, because it is a health information site offering access to medical research articles and opportunities to sign up for clinical trials. Other services include the ability to request custom research and be sent a personalised report on the chosen topic.


This members-only site medical and dental information resource offers a social media side too, with groups focussing on topics such as allergies, women’s health, alternative medicine and digestive disorders. Once registered, users can find local providers and support from those living nearby with similar issues. They are free to comment on the articles in the subject groups and check out the latest medical research. Enlisting the team to find suitable clinical trials will incur a non-refundable fee and require provision of medical records.


The homepage has a short welcome video giving more details about the opportunities on offer. It offers an overview of the available services in less than two minutes, explaining that the medical experts on the site convert up-to-the-minute health and medical news into easy-to-understand language for the members. The article library is growing fast and that, together with the members’ shared experience, is the bedrock of this site. The icing on the cake is the chance to commission personal research from the team of experts.


Of course, no self-respecting site these days can survive without advertising, and the specific member-submitted advertisements on Mymediclique will showcase medical specialists in many different areas. In addition, the In the News tab carries information on food product recalls and new drugs coming to market.


Mymediclique offers a unique mix of social media support and medical expertise to help the members make informed decisions about their health and wellness. They can read up on treatment options for many of the most common modern health issues and add their own thoughts to the articles, maybe sparking a discussion as a result. It is not simply a diet or fitness site or an alternative therapy hangout; Mymediclique offers links to work published in medical journals and chances to contact doctors with new ideas on existing illnesses and syndromes.


It goes without saying that anyone using this resource should also consult their existing medical practitioner or specialist team before opting for treatment for any condition. The difference between Mymediclique and many other sites is that this one links directly to published medical research but provides a quick overview of the articles in everyday language. The social media side allows members to share experiences plus offering the chance to recommend professionals or courses of treatment to others. It is a clever mix of the social media and medical worlds which makes it unique.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Coupons Deli offers discount codes for the savvy shopper

An example of savings available from Coupons Deli.
Please note that this is an image provided for use with this
piece and is not an actual discount sheet.
Everyone loves to save money, especially when prices are rising but salaries don’t seem to go up quite as fast. 

Couponing is a quick and easy way to save a few cents here and there, but those cents can quickly add up. Before couponers know it, they will be able to make savings of three figures on their groceries, just by using coupons available online, or in free newspapers and flyers. Extreme couponers have this down to a fine art, and can end up paying mere cents for hundreds of dollars’ worth of shopping. Sure, it will probably wind the cashier up, but it’s good for the bank manager’s blood pressure.

There are many websites offering links to the latest discount coupons and online savings codes. Coupons Deli specializes in money saving offers for car oil and lube changes, offers for dating site membership, restaurant and shoe shop savings, although there are many other offers too. Customers on a budget can simply visit the site and click on whichever link they need to obtain full details of how to benefit from free samples and money off deals.




Many people in the USA find that cars are one of their biggest outlays. Coupons Deli can help, as they have discount codes for servicing and parts at national chains such as NTB, PepBoys, Muffler Shop, Brakes Plus, Grease Monkey and many more. Simply quote the code and save the cash, it’s as simple as that. Dating readers have a choice of offers for Zoosk.com, while shoe fans can find discount codes for Asics, Eastbay, Champs, Jordans, Shoe Station, and Payless, among others.


Foodies need not feel left out either, as Coupons Deli has offers for Popeyes, Black Angus and Longhorn Steaks as well as KFC, McDonalds, P F Chang’s, TGI Friday’s and pizza company Round Table. Perennial favorite Cheesecake Factory also has deals available through Coupons Deli.
 

Crafters can take advantage of long, dark winter nights indoors with a JoAnn’s or AC Moore coupon, readers will love the chance to stock up their Kindle with an Amazon coupon, and there are also discount codes for car rental, patio furniture and outdoor equipment, plus amusement park entry costs for those planning next summer’s getaways.


There are eight pages of coupon codes for every kind of person and interest on Coupons Deli. The Coupons Guy has even managed to find Keurig coupons, as if readers need any excuse to love this site any more than they already do after reading that list.
 

American couponing is a sight to behold, and with spiraling costs, the US lead may yet be followed by many other countries’ retailers eager to have potential customers spending their hard earned cash in store rather than queuing for the food bank or soup kitchen. Coupons Deli is a step in the right direction for those people needing to save money on essentials, or simply for savvy shoppers fancying a discount deal. And no one can resist a discount, surely?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vietnam Bamboo Travel: Indochinese organized tour specialists

Vietnam Bamboo Travel logo.
Image provided and used with permission.





Mention Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to the average person and they are likely to think of places seen in films and documentaries, twentieth century wars, ancient temples and communist rule. They may remember something of the refugees known as the Vietnamese boat people who fled after the Vietnam War and sought sanctuary in other Indochinese countries, or perhaps have heard of the Angkor temple complex, the Cu Chi Tunnels or the Khmer Rouge.


Vietnam Bamboo Travel is a specialist tour operator based in Vietnam. The company provides a range of tours and travel packages in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos which allow tourists to gain a flavor of the culture, history and geography of these countries. The most popular tours last between 14 and 21 days and can include crossing into both Cambodia and Laos from Vietnam.


Many of the tours involve river cruises along the Mekong, or cruises on a junk in Halong Bay. Local English-speaking guides are on hand to share their knowledge; an escorted tour is an ideal way for first-time visitors to gain an overview of the region. Returning visitors or those who may have more specific requirements can design their own itinerary from any of the hundreds of tours on offer. Everything from single day packages up to three week organised tours can be booked with Vietnam Bamboo Travel, which will bring to life names such as Hanoi, Saigon, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Bangkok in Thailand.


There are almost 200 tours to choose from starting from or based in Vietnam, eight which include sites in Cambodia and a further eight traveling to sites in Laos. Vietnam offers a wealth of choice for tourists, including national parks, kayaking, river cruises, centuries of history, beaches...and golf. There are opportunities for homestaying overnight stops as well as day trips from hotels. At Vietnam Bamboo Travel, the customer calls the tune, and can plan a bespoke trip of a lifetime to take in all the very best Indochinese sights. Weddings and honeymoons are also catered for, with the palm fringed beaches of Mui Ne providing an ideal location for newly married couples to relax after their big day.


Tourists who have heard family, friends or neighbors mention places such as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap or the temples at Angkor will have the chance to see these places for themselves. Vietnam Bamboo Travel offers all these options and more, in any length or combination. For those who cannot decide, there is also a choice of 75 multi-centre tours offering the best of Indochina in one handy package.


Each tour page has

  • an overview
  • day-by-day detailed itinerary
  • a list of included and excluded costs
  • a note of similar tours

Visas will be required for all trips, but Vietnam Bamboo Travel can provide assistance with obtaining these if needed, as well as with airport transfers and car rental. The international clientele have left some complimentary reviews and testimonials which show the customer service levels that future tourists can expect from the company.


Indochina is becoming more accessible to tourists from all over the world. Those who have considered visiting this location should perhaps do so sooner rather than later in order to experience the region before it becomes the latest tourist hot spot. Vietnam Bamboo Travel can help their clients to enjoy a truly unique holiday with a tailor made trip to suit.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dragon Ninja Rush from Funtag Games on Android

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.funtag.dragon.ninjarush
Dragon Ninja Rush from Funtag Games.
Image provided and used with permission.
 

Run, jump and slide your way to ninja glory with Dragon Ninja Rush from Funtag Games.

You are the Ninja Boy, tasked with collecting coins while avoiding the endless boobytraps and enemies in your way. This game is very reminiscent of early classics like Super Mario and Manic Miner, as it is a simple side scrolling level up challenge.


Ninja Boy operates at the run; he can also slide under low hanging blocks, or jump over barriers to progress. There are plenty coins and gems just waiting for him to pick up, but the more he grabs, the better the score. The further he runs, the higher the score too. As with many free games, extra bonuses can be purchased, and extra distance obtained by watching a video in between levels. This option is not compulsory, and can be rejected with a simple tap. Likewise, the adverts after every level are easily swiped away so as not to get in the way of full enjoyment of the game.


The idea of Dragon Ninja Rush is quite simple, just like those retro games it evokes. Ninja Boy runs from left to right on the screen. The left hand button makes him slide under obstacles, the right hand button allows him to jump over them. His path is not smooth, so use of both is required from the start. If he can dodge the shurikens and the pits, bounce across the gaps and catch some coins along the way, he will progress through the levels. Dragon Ninja Rush tests a player’s reflexes and coordination in a fun and almost addictive way. As well as coins there are all kinds of other power ups and items for Ninja Boy to grab on his way, including rockets, wands and stars. In later levels Ninja Boy progresses to riding an animal (mammoth, bear, tiger or dragon) and travelling with a pet (dog, dragon, hamster or cat). He also has the chance to metamorphose into different characters (Ninja Girl, Ninja Supreme or Ninja Cyborg) after set amounts of coins are earned. Levels randomly change from day to night mode on each new attempt, while the layout of the levels changes randomly too, just to keep things interesting. Each level has an evocative name and jaunty soundtrack; players can easily see how far they have progressed in each level from the bar at the bottom of the screen.










Ninja Boy from Dragon Ninja Rush.
Image provided and used with permission.
Dragon Ninja Rush is available free on Android from the Google Play store and so far has a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0, with between 100 and 500 people having downloaded it. My phone is not the newest, but it runs smoothly and without glitches so on a newer model or a tablet it would be a positive pleasure to play. The tablet gamers would probably find it easier to play than the mobile players, due to the difference in screen size, in fact the game is optimized for tablets. Even given that I’m playing on a phone, I have taken to this one quite quickly. I’m often not much use at these games, but this one has me hooked. Just need to watch out for the spiky bamboo and the pits.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What is a Lifestyle Job and How to Find One

Almost everyone must have dreamed at one time or another of finding that elusive job that chimes with their existing lifestyle. The one which doesn’t feel like a job; where it’s almost an embarrassment to look at the monthly paycheck because it’s so much fun just going to work every day. The one which pays well enough that daily living is comfortable and unexpected bills are not a mad scramble for the last available penny.

A Lifestyle Job for the Salary
The official definition of a lifestyle job is a job which allows the holder to live a defined level of lifestyle to which they have aspired.

Often, a lifestyle job such as this starts out as a part time franchise, independent distributorship or similar operation, run alongside a dayjob to make some extra money. It takes up a few hours a week and brings in perhaps a couple of hundred pounds a month. Many people start off looking for extra income to pay for a holiday, their children’s schooling or a credit card bill. Once they have built up a customer base of their own, the option is there for franchise holders to take their involvement further. Using the tools and marketing provided by the company, they can opt to grow the business, recruiting new members to 'the team' or 'the downline' and benefiting from a cut of the value of any sales made by these new recruits. In an ideal model, this eventually provides enough income for the founder (and their immediate family) to live at a level typically higher than they would have managed without the entrepreneurial streak. It is often not sustainable beyond a single generation, but provides inspiration for younger family members and customers to try their hand at something similar. Even for part timers, a lifestyle job offering good chances of repeat business (health, nutrition and dietary products, homewares or cosmetics, typically) can provide a worthwhile strand of additional income.

Businesses which offer the option of residual earnings like this are often online operations using advertising or websites to sell products or concepts. They are popular lifestyle businesses as they are easily scalable and yet can still be run by one or two people. Such a network or multi-level marketing model may not appeal to everyone, but that is not to say that they are bad – many people have had great success from selling health and wealth-centric products and advice.

Business opportunities are often promoted by word of mouth advertising, linked in short social media posts, offered via advertisements or found through an online search for phrases such as ‘work from home jobs’ or ‘earn extra income’. Not everyone will make a success of every opportunity, and it is advisable to research thoroughly before committing to any franchise. Some people may even try several different companies before settling with one that best suits their way of working.

A Lifestyle Job for the Love
The other definition of a lifestyle job is something which chimes with the holder’s ethics, morals or existing interests. So an animal lover could end up working for a rescue charity, or someone interested in fashion could land a position as a buyer for a High Street store, for instance. These positions are often a great way to achieve high levels of job satisfaction, since the employee perceives that they are being paid for doing something they would be doing anyway. The pay may not be great but the feeling of being able to make a difference often outweighs the salary question.

These positions are typically found in many organisations. Large companies such as hospitals, academic institutions and councils have a wide range of roles to attract many different people, whether their skills lie in the vocational, practical or back room spheres. IT specialists, auditors, maintenance staff, retail workers, pastoral carers, rehabilitation workers, fundraisers and many more experts can be found working alongside the medical, nursing and clinical staff in large teaching hospitals, while universities and colleges also have the feel of being small towns in their own right at times, with professional help of all kinds available on campus.

Of course, for some people, it is possible to hold both varieties of lifestyle job. Their dayjob could well be in one of those specialist fields where they are using their existing qualifications and skills, while their sideline could be providing a little extra cash by running an independent business using the power of online marketing.

Just because it is sometimes possible to have your cake and eat it too.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

MacBack site buys used Apple devices for resale

MacBack logo. Image proivided and used with permission.



Having written about looking into buying a second hand MacBook yesterday, I have now found that the company behind tech.trade also has a sister company and site where users can sell their old Apple devices for cash.

MacBack (cool name, huh?) specialises in the purchase of used MacBooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs but will also take a look at any recent Apple device with the exception of iPods. The site is ISO registered for peace of mind and has a quick and simple quote request system. The quote is offered within 48 hours and once it has been accepted by the seller, payment is made to PayPal or bank account immediately.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. A Mac user can trade in their preloved, used but still usable, equipment and within a couple of days can have a downpayment towards the cost of the newest, shiniest, most up-to-date model. Current owners should follow the basic security procedures advised in the Apple support pages, and take a backup of all data on the machine before sending it off for sale. The MacBack team will securely wipe all data on any machine received in accordance with Data Protection Act and Government rules. This includes iTunes, iCloud and iMessage content, so users should ensure that they are logged out of all programs before parting with their device. There are no fees for the data wiping or courier pick up and the price sellers receive is likely to be more in line with market value than many resellers.

MacBack’s couriers will be despatched to the seller’s house to pick up the parcel. They will announce their imminent arrival by text. If, on receipt of the item, the team have any queries or issues, the seller will be contacted to discuss, and if necessary, a revised quote will be offered.

The MacBack site has a special contact area for those sellers with multiple items to trade in, as they work with educational and industry buyers to ensure that all items are sold on to the most appropriate places.

MacBack reminds me of the kind of trade in site operating for used mobile phones, but on a bigger scale. There is a huge market for secondhand tech, and I owned no less than four used desktops or laptops before finally deciding to make the break and buy a new device. Apple devices in particular have a good resale value, as new models are released regularly while the older models are still relatively up to date and function well even if they are several years old. My classic iPod is still working just as well as the day I was given it almost a decade ago, while the iPod Touch I use to play iOS games on is a bit dated in terms of the operating system but it can still handle many popular games. I have no reason to doubt that the same is true of MacBooks, iMacs and iPads once they have been carefully reconditioned and tested.

Users looking to sell their used Apple devices for a decent sum could do well to check out the price offered by MacBack before parting with their item to any reseller, as they may be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tech.trade offer competitively priced refurbished Apple products

Tech.trade logo. Image provided and used with permission.

After yet another problem with my Windows laptop I’ve found myself considering the option of buying a reconditioned Macbook or Macbook Pro. I’m no fan of Apple devices, and quite cheerfully admit that the cult of Jobs passed me by completely. My husband, on the other hand, is a Mac fanboi, and has several bits of Apple kit, both retro and modern. He swears that the reliability of iObjects is far superior to others, and believes that a Macbook would even be me-proof, which is a decent recommendation given that I have something of a reputation for destroying tech accidentally. Seeing as my current Windows machine has drilled through a hard drive failure and two rebuilds in under three years, I’m open to suggestions at this time. I use my laptop for at least four hours every weekday and closer to 18 hours a day at the weekends, so it needs to be robust. Luckily most of my work is saved or backed up in the cloud, so when the updates prove too much, I don’t lose too many files any more.

When I was told about tech.trade, a site specialising in refurbished Apple devices, I decided to take a look. There are other manufacturers available, but the refurbished Macbooks presently available at time of writing run from £150 to £700, depending on the grade of refurbishment. The three grades are Bronze, Silver and Gold, reflecting the quality of the machine at the time of refurbishment and the likely lifespan of the machine afterwards.

Tech.trade also have other machinery for sale, including televisions and smartphones, but the primary focus of the site is on Apple products. The prices are generally cheaper than eBay, which I found to be eyewateringly expensive for a decent spec product. There are several iMac desktops
available, a selection of iPads and iPhones and the MacBooks that originally caught my eye.

Personally, as a newcomer to Apple tech, and with limited finances available to spend, Tech.trade is a real find. The price of a refurbished MacBook is around the same cost as a new laptop from another manufacturer, and at least half the price of a new model. All refurbished models have 90 day warranty but then again, Apple offer a comprehensive repair programme through their stores too. Ten-day shipping is free for goods over £100. For those customers who must have their item immediately, if the item is ordered before 2pm, an extra £10 secures next day delivery.

With prices this good, anyone who has wanted to try an Apple product but doesn’t have the funds for a new one could be well advised to take a look at Tech.trade. I’m certainly going to keep an eye on the site in future to try and spot that elusive must-have MacBook at an affordable price.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Want to earn more and work less?

Living the Dream. With this opportunity you could too.
Image provided and used with permission.

I’m sure you’ve all seen these network marketing or MLM schemes where you can sell items and make some money but it’s signing up new recruits that makes the big bucks for you.

This one works in a similar way but seems a little different. If you watch the 17 minute promotional video I’ve just linked to, you’ll hear about a training program that will show you how and where to place advertisements to attract leads. Those leads are then converted into customers by the company’s dedicated sales team, and you will earn commission on any sales they make. To date, the company has paid over $67 million in commission.

The company does not class itself as an MLM or cash-gifting firm, but more as an online education source, where the firm’s partners learn how to use advertising to their benefit. In common with many online work-from-home programs, it accepts applicants from all backgrounds, but not everyone is deemed suitable. Around a quarter of all applicants are either screened out at the time of application or choose not to continue after the first 7 days’ free training.

The company claims to have paid out commission to over 3,500 people so far so some of them must be doing something right. The highest earners have already made over a million dollars, and a handful have been paid over $100,000 to date. Several hundred have earned over $10,000 in commission. The dedicated sales team who process the leads generated by the adverts are trained to sell high-value items, which I suspect may be the advertisements that the partners are earning commission from placing. Therefore, if this opportunity works the way it appears to, it would be a possible revenue stream for someone who travels widely or has other reasons for needing to earn money from working online. Placing the advertisements requires no technical knowledge whatsoever; there is no website to run and no follow ups to perform on the leads generated, as this is all handled by the sales team. Placing the adverts generally takes around 30 minutes. The company is active in over 40 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, the Philippines and Malaysia.

The founder of the company made his first million dollars by the age of 25, and the training new partners will receive is directly from coaches he has picked. Of course, the testimonials at the end of the video are from the highest earning partners, they always are. I’m guessing that for many people, the commission will be lower, and the big figures will take some time to build up. As a veteran of several MLM and independent franchise opportunities, you get out what you put in with these programs. Generally, you can earn enough to cover your costs plus a little extra to make life more comfortable.

The main glitch I see with this approach is if the advertisements are detected and blocked by ad-blocking software which many people use these days. However, if the advertisement can be placed via a paid campaign on social media, or simply a post (like this) with a link in it, then the potential for revenue is much higher. For those with some spare time and a good internet connection, an opportunity like this could be worth investigating.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cool Tumblers - you design it, they'll print it

Dish Washer Tested
A typical ecxample of Cool Tumblers' work.
Image available on the CoolTumbers.com website
 

Tumblers are incredibly useful items. Not only can they save your best shirt from coffee stains, they can also express your personality. From a company’s point of view, they are easy to customize and long lasting, making them a good corporate gift to regular customers, an ideal goody bag addition and a brilliant publicity tool.

Running around the average corporate campus to meetings, staff can easily ensure they stay hydrated with their own personalized tumbler from Cool Tumblers. Safer than mugs, more environmentally sound than single use plastic disposable cups, each tumbler can be printed with a custom design to the buyer’s specification. Prices are as low as $40 per unit, and potential customers can contact the company to discuss their order before buying. The Cool Tumblers site is configured to show prices in USD by default, but the top menu offers the option to display costs in many different popular currencies. So UK customers can expect to pay between £56 and £75 per unit and Euro customers between €66 and €89 per unit. The price decreases the more units are ordered.

The powder coating on the tumblers improves grip and the choice of stock or custom designs increases the appeal of these durable items. For school sports teams, frequent travelers, commuters and staff attending meetings away from their desks, a tumbler from Custom Tumblers is a useful accessory. The company also suggests that they are good for fundraisers, which makes sense if the ticket cost covers the cost of a free tumbler too.

Designs cover monograms, corporate logos, tattoo style designs, school and team crests and the customer’s own preference. It might even be possible to order a batch for a team with different designs on each tumbler according to the team members’ individual choices. Customers can always contact Custom Tumblers to discuss any questions.

Cool Tumblers’ tagline is We Like To Print, which may well be obvious from their website, given the amount of information they offer about their tumblers, the production and printing process. The firm specializes in custom drinkware from RTIC, YETI and other brands, and has a comprehensive means of contact, showing that customer satisfaction is top of the agenda. Custom Tumblers’ Facebook page is always an option for potential customers to use as a contact point, although the Contact Us page on the website is prominently flagged on more or less every page. The Feedback page is also available for anyone to fill in, while the terms and conditions and user agreement are posted for customers to scroll through before they place an order.

The Print on Demand nature of the Cool Tumblers’ business lends itself particularly well to digital printing, which is fully adaptable to today’s modern printing requirements. The latest printing technology offers pin-sharp reproduction, efficient production methods and the lowest cost possible. For those customers ordering inventory, this approach allows a much leaner approach to stock holding, which in itself cuts costs as the buyer is not having to store as much stock.

Sounds like Cool Tumblers have it covered when it comes to custom drinkware. Why not check out their website for further information.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tracey Kelley - hometown lender to the discerning


Image from FitzGerald Financial Group
Used with permission of Tracey L Kelley

Tracey Kelley may seem like rather an unusual name for a mortgage specialist website until you realize that it is named for the person who set it up. Many people seeking mortgages for residential purchase or refinance reasons are referred to their lender thanks to the testimony of friends, family or other clients. Many of these companies are individuals affiliated with larger financial groups, so potential customers can simply arrange everything with a local lender, even if their larger company is a nationwide name.

A hometown lender who is part of FitzGerald Financial Group, Tracey L Kelley is a mortgage banker specializing in residential purchase and refinance. This Maryland-based mortgage loan officer has closed thousands of mortgages, thereby helping many people buy or refinance their home. The problem with financing a property today is that what is current when a potential customer sees it online may not necessarily be the actual market picture by the time the loan or mortgage is closed. This applies just as much to mortgage costs and interest as loan prices and guidelines. Therefore it is always better to speak to an expert in the market, someone who has their finger on the pulse of what is actually being offered, right there and then. They will be able to give customers the up-to-the minute news about rates and prices, and will also be able to offer approval at the time.

The website’s blog cautions that ‘anything you read on this blog might be irrelevant by the time you are ready to buy a home or a close a mortgage transaction’ and suggests that personal contact is the best option. Plus, mortgaging or refinancing can be a pretty soulless job when done alone, as there is always the niggling thought that another provider may offer a better deal, if only time and patience were there to check out every possible option.

Tracey L Kelley’s site takes away a lot of this doubt, by displaying a list of current mortgage rates and a detailed scroller of mortgage and real estate news. There is a link to the Facebook page on the blog tab and a link to FitzGerald Financial Group on the Home tab. Potential clients have all the information at hand which they may need to decide whether Tracey L Kelley is the hometown lender for them.

FitzGerald Financial Group itself is a division of TowneBank, and prides itself on the personal experience provided by its lenders, together with the speed typical of online processing and approval. The team offers affordable loans and quick processing as well as the breadth of knowledge shared intelligence can bring. Plus, because all their lenders are local to the community in which they work, they have neighborhood networks and connections with others in the housing business, such as builders, realtors and appraisers.

For the best mortgage and loan options, it looks like keeping it local with a hometown lender such as Tracey L Kelley may prove to be a good option for many homebuyers.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Zigstat free SEO statistical & analytical reports

Screenshot of Zigstat website
Image taken with permission.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is vital to the success of any website. A good webmaster or website owner will know how to ensure their site has good SEO, but to the uninitiated it is often a dark art. Even for the best webmaster, having the stats of your site at your fingertips is useful information.

Zigstat.com can help decode some of the jargon and provide indicators of success by providing free statistical and analytical data on any website. Users provide the name of the website they are checking and in return can see a variety of stats about it. Data provided includes associated organic keywords, similar sites found by the same keywords and most popular sites providing backlinks to the website. There is also a screenshot of the home page, plus a host of SEO stats including the Alexa, Semrush and Moz Domain Authority ranks, popularity by number of visitors and traffic map by country.

The report also shows the page loading speed (vital for user engagement), earnings from advertisements and popularity on numerous social media channels. Thinking somewhat laterally, the analytics draw parallels between the subject site and similar sites on the same IP address, as well as contrasting the site’s success with those showing the same Adsense adverts.

Lastly, the analytics show the WOT Trustworthiness and Google Safety scores for the website as well as reproducing the WHOIS data and information on the domain name and registration details.

But why would anyone want to know this information about a site?

Sometimes, being able to contact the person who registered the site is important, for instance in cases of plagiarism or when serving a cease and desist notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A recent article from the BBC entitled How long will you wait for a shopping website to load? (Matthew Wall, BBC.co.uk Technology of Business Editor, 19 August 2016) suggests that if a site hasn’t loaded within three seconds, many potential customers will look elsewhere. It is also interesting for website owners to know which sites the web considers most similar to theirs, and how other sites perform serving the same ads as theirs.

Services such as Zigstat are not often widely recognized outside the professional website management realm. But anyone who has a website, no matter how large or small, will benefit from having free information on hand, on demand. A single snapshot of a website’s stats is all very well, but for those looking to grow their business, or see why orders have dropped, regular visits to Zigstat before and after making changes to the site can be beneficial and provide real insight into their own and their competitors’ performance.

The Runaway Ruca travel blog

The Runaway Ruca travel blog.
Image provided and used with permission.

There are many reasons why women choose to go off traveling on their own. It could be part of a healing process to get over a divorce or relationship breakup, or an opportunity to rediscover themselves – the self they lost in the Game of Wife – or life in general.

One such footloose and fancy free traveler is Kristina, founder of the Runaway Ruca support group and travel blog. Kristina is ready to show that “Life After Wife!”, as she calls it, can be happy, fulfilling and enlightening. Yes, she is a divorcee, but as she reminded me, she settled the terms and conditions of her divorce with (not from) her ex-captor HOLDING HANDS AND TAKING A WALK TOGETHER!!! THERE WAS NO ACRIMONY -- EVER! (Capitals and exclamations are all hers). Acrimony is not part of her vocabulary and apparently, she is still friendly with her ex.

Effervescent and intent on living life to the fullest, Kristina invites all of you to share a lively journey across the world. She is witty, loquacious and unapologetically open.

In case you’re wondering, Ruca is Mexican slang for old lady, but Kristina insists she doesn’t feel like one after leaving a 17 year self-described ‘Wife Sentence’ spent ‘suffocating in the stranglehold of suburbia’ and escaping from Spouse Arrest. She laughs that she ‘earned a PhD in the game of psych and a PhD minus in the Game of Wife’ and warns ‘I'm Your World's Worst Wifemare!’

She offers sagacious support for women over 40, experiencing, as she has, a Mid Wife Crisis, expounding on her own hysterical experiences and feelings. She talks to many ‘40 mumble mumble and above’ women who want more than anything to experience life on their own terms – really own themselves – but for various reasons, they simply cannot. Travel and exploration open a life they can experience for themselves, cultivate a sense of empowerment and a positive attitude to the future. This Mid Wife Crisis also manifests itself in a realization of and a desire for personal liberation.

At one point, Kristina didn’t even own a set of keys. Speaking for myself, as someone who is working to declutter my own marital home and my mother-in-law’s house at the same time, I can attest to the liberating feeling of packing something up and sending it off to a new owner, then carefully dusting the space where it once stood or stashing the empty hanger in a bag at the bottom of the closet.

Kristina, the Ruca herself, offers a weekly ‘Drink with the Shrink – Tell your Herstory’ on her blog. The Runaway Ruca group is open to women aged 40 and over who want to share experiences, find support, or simply read a hysterical and informative blog. The idea is to offer inspiration and assistance to those women who want to make more of themselves and their lives. Kristina’s unique vocabulary – she is a bard in her own right – offers phrases like Karma-geddon; Mid-Wife Crisis; Wife Sentence; Fib-liography; Thighs, Lies and Alibis. You get the idea. Kristina is a force of nature, let loose on the world to bring smiles and warm hearts wherever she goes. She has a zest for life and a firm belief that whatever will be, will be. In the meantime, she’ll live in the moment and take everything as it comes. She talks about ESP (Emotional Self Preservation), Dethroning Your Liar Power and how she had to recover from Post Traumatic DRESS DISORDER! A terrific idea. (Yes, I get that one too, as I own one dress – the one I chose to be married in.) Now quite happily orbiting Pluto, without a set of keys, proud owner of not much more than a carry on, she’s bestowing a breath of fresh air to the blogosphere and blowing away a few cobwebs while she’s at it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Heather Prescott Liebensohn - That Photographer Girl

Heather Prescott Liebensohn - That Photographer Girl
Image provided and used with permission, thanks Heather.

Heather Prescott Liebensohn is better known as That Photographer Girl for a good reason. She has been working for years with wedding parties, bands, performers, commercial enterprises and individuals looking for a fine art portrait or head shot. Given that depth of experience, it’s hardly surprising that her photography has been featured in National Geographic, a publication famed worldwide for quality photography.

For weddings, Heather can make the happy couple feel like celebrities. It’s about the only time most people will be a star in a photoshoot, after all. Working mainly in NY and CT, her portfolio includes having photographed Sir Elton John and Arcade Fire in concert, as well as many other performers and musicians, so she is used to unobtrusively making the most of her subjects. In her recent video, Heather describes her style as ‘lifestyle photography’. This means that the photographs are not stiffly posed but have some action in them. They may even be what some people call ‘in the moment’ pictures, where, as an observer of a scene, Heather will catch a relaxed look without the subjects even being aware that they are being photographed.

Lifestyle photography leads to memorable photographs, taken with the minimum of fuss and maximum of care and attention to detail. For those couples planning a destination wedding, Heather will make the most of that. Whether the wedding party is flying in to New York to celebrate amid the landmarks and skyscrapers, or flying out to enjoy a Caribbean break, Heather is willing to attend the ceremony and capture memories in the making. Described as ‘fearless’, she believes in ‘the small things’ as she quotes from Rob Thomas in the video, and this meticulous approach is what sets her apart from other photographers. This attention is what produces the natural photographs Heather takes.

All good photographers quickly learn the art of putting their subjects at ease, and a wedding photographer has to be particularly good at this, unobtrusively going about their work without disturbing the guests or disrupting the ceremony. While the guests are toasting the couple, the wedding photographer can often be seen pacing around taking atmospheric shots – close ups of the rings, the cake before it is cut, the first bottle of champagne as it sits chilling in the ice bucket. They also have to be able to deal with taking official photographs in the party’s chosen location, so may well have had to undertake some research before the big day. They may even arrive early so that they can scope out the possibilities. With Heather, all of this attention to detail comes with the territory and the result is wonderfully atmospheric shots, looking almost accidental in their construction.

Heather is a relaxed photographer; yes, the party will notice her taking photos, but she won’t intrude until it is time to bring everyone together for the traditional group photograph. She is proud of the fact that she takes natural-looking pictures, pictures of people in motion even if they are not. She uses sophisticated editing techniques to make the results look even better, turning ordinary people into rock stars for the day. The best photographers are easy going, and Heather will join in the party quite happily. Using her natural people-facing skills, she will offer tips and guidance to the guests as she photographs them, in order to take the best photograph of her subject.

Those brides and grooms who know about Heather’s reputation beforehand have been known to inform their partner that ‘Heather will be our photographer’, brooking no discussion on the matter. Other guests who have been asked to contribute towards the costs of the wedding have booked her as the photographer because they know of the quality of work she produces, every time. One look at Heather's website will tell prospective customers that. The website also has extensive details of her other work, prices and contact details.

For those couples planning a wedding in New York or Connecticut, or couples based in those states planning to marry abroad, Heather should be on the list of possible photographers. Even for those booking a wedding package from abroad, the option is often there to specify a photographer rather than use the standard service offered as part of the package. With this in mind, everyone has the opportunity to feel like a rock star on their big day.




Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Dillon Covers: Reproduction Fantasy Fiction Cover Art Posters

What do you get if you cross the work of a historical and fantasy author with world-famous cover artists?

If you’re Pauline Gedge and the artists are the husband and wife team of Leo and Diane Dillon, you end up with limited edition book cover art for your first four books. The promotional posters were not intended for sale, and were originally only produced as publicity for the novels. Child of the Morning (set in Ancient Egypt) was written in six weeks and published in 1977, The Eagle and the Raven (set in Roman Britain) followed a year later in 1978. After a gap of a few years, Stargate (fantasy) appeared in 1982 and The Twelfth Transforming (another novel set in Ancient Egypt) in 1984 under a different publisher. The New York-based couple were commissioned by the publishers to produce the definitive cover art for all of them, and for good reason. In their fifty year career (ended only by Leo’s death in 2012), the Dillons worked on over 100 books and won 22 awards, including two consecutive Caldecott Medals for their work on children’s books.

Those posters which survived soon became collectors’ items, as the Dillons did not generally license their work for widespread sale, and worked solely for the commissioning author or publisher. But, as Pauline Gedge’s career continued, her fanbase grew, and more people discovered her first four novels and their arresting cover art. Leo and Diane Dillon began their career by producing fantastical book covers and illustrations for author Harlan Ellison, himself known for speculative fiction of the highest order. Moving on to producing covers for paperback science fiction, the couple soon cemented their reputation in this field. Any self-respecting fantasy or science fiction reader will tell you that the cover art will sell as much of the book as the words inside it. Apart from the blurb on the back cover, the art on the front is the first thing any prospective reader sees. From that they may gain an idea of the personality of the hero or heroine or see an illustration of a pivotal point in the book.

It is no surprise then that these highly crafted promotional posters became much sought after items for specialist collectors. Now, it is possible to order full-sized reproductions of these landmark items. Head to Pauline Gedge’s website and click on the Dillon Covers page. For £13 (GBP) each you can order a full sized reproduction copy of each of the four famed cover art pieces from the Dillons. What’s more, the artwork for The Twelfth Transforming was never actually released as a poster, so this is a one-off chance for historical fiction fans worldwide to acquire the full set of these amazing works. Spanning the times from Ancient Egypt through the Roman Empire and into the realms of fantasy, the entire set of four reproductions brings to life the influential first four novels written by Pauline Gedge. There are another nine or so other novels that she has written since, including two trilogies - for those who like sequels or a series - but the first four are the ones which built her initial standing in the world of historical and fantasy fiction.

Yes, you read that right. For just over £50 (GBP) you can own replicas of the full set of cover art prints for Pauline Gedge’s first four books. As a fantasy and historical fiction fan myself, I am rather tempted by this offer. To top it off, the first three books, with covers based on the original artworks, are being reissued by Chicago Review Press.

With her first novel Child of the Morning, Pauline Gedge won the Alberta Search-for-a-New Novelist Competition. Her second, The Eagle and the Raven, won the Jean Boujassy award from the Société des Gens de Lettres in France and her fourth, The Twelfth Transforming, was awarded the Writers Guild of Alberta Best Novel of the Year Award. Her third, Stargate, was nominated for the Canadian SF and Fantasy Association’s 1983 Prix Aurora Award. It is only fitting that work of such renown should be accompanied by literary artwork of the same caliber.

With this offer, fans of the work of both Pauline Gedge and Leo and Diane Dillon have the chance to own a small piece of history. If these reproductions end up becoming as sought after as the original posters, buyers could be on to a winner here.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

PositiveSingles specialist dating app

PositiveSingles logo.Image provided and used with permission.

These days, there is an app for everything. Niche is king, and no matter what smartphone users want, there’s likely an app for it out there somewhere. When it comes to dating, it’s easy to find a specialist site and/or app that matches any requirement. I met my husband on one of those early specialist dating sites, and we’re not alone in meeting online these days as more and more sites and apps spring up.
 

PositiveSingles is a specialist dating site and app for those with STDs including herpes, HPV and HIV/AIDS. The company, registered in Canada, has been in operation since 2002, offering the chance of friendship, dating, relationships and romance to STD-positive singles worldwide. Like many other dating sites, most of the services offered are available to paid members only, with only a limited range of services that can be accessed for free. The trick is to get the subscription levels correct, a puzzle which not every app or site manages successfully.

Subscription-driven or not, there are 900,000 members on PositiveSingles in total, and the app has been downloaded somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 times, so they must be doing something right. It offers the chance for members to interact with STD-positive singles from many different locations, religions and races. The free initial access provides pattern locking security and allows users to browse and match anonymously but sending messages is not included. Those using the app for free can send winks to those they like the look of, and reply to other members’ messages. Subscriptions start at a cent under $34 a month, 3 months will cost $70 and 6 months $110. For UK readers, that’s membership starting from around £26 a month.

Not everyone is happy, with the most recent reviews being more or less evenly split between praise and complaints. The most recent updates to the app seem to have caused some people to complain, as they are unhappy with the restriction on formerly free services. However, that is in the nature of things – developers can please some people some of the time but will certainly not please everyone and definitely not all of the time. That’s why there are so many dating apps, because everyone is different, with varying ideas of what is important to them.

For those singles facing the future living with an STD, PositiveSingles gives the chance of a relationship without having to explain their situation every time they meet someone new. Dating is difficult enough as it is, let’s be honest. PositiveSingles also helps those who simply need support from similar people in their neighborhood, by bringing them together as friends. A shared experience helps users of the app pool knowledge, offer support and build new networks of friends on- and offline. The buddy system may well have started in the military and spread to gym members, but in truth, finding someone similar reassures anyone that they are not alone, and allows discussion of situations previously faced without help. For that fact alone, PositiveSingles is an important app.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games, free on Android


Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Image provided and used with permission.
 

From Universal Games comes the latest Android app: Bus Simulator Racing. And the home of the ‘tricky tapper game’ does not disappoint.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Basic instructions with female manga-style driver.
Image provided and used with permission.
Bus Simulator Racing was produced because the developer, like many people, loves the traditional and iconic London red double decker buses. I bet the drivers of the New London Routemaster buses never have to drive like this though! This is definitely a game, not a real life driving simulator. Players can see the whole bus viewed from above and behind the vehicle, rather than playing from the driver's viewpoint sitting at the wheel. As with all great games, the idea is simple – keep the bus on the road and chase the stars that are scattered in front of the vehicle. In practice, it is a test of dexterity and skill, and certainly not easy to play sitting upstairs on the local double deckers while jolting over the uneven town centre streets and twisty country lanes found in this area.



Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Level played in night mode.
Image provided and used with permission.
On the right hand side of the game screen are three handset buttons, on the left, the driving wheel. This is definitely a two handed game. The three buttons (right to left) are race, brake and handbrake. With sound turned on, there is a realistic engine noise as the bus sits on the road, engine revving, ready to depart. My tip for novice players is to turn the wheel in the direction of travel before hitting the race button. This will ensure that the bus is pointing in the right direction when it starts moving. And it moves fast! Players have to twirl the wheel with a finger or thumb while jabbing on the brake button with the other hand. This brings the rear brake lights on and results in the sound of tyres and air breaks squealing. I have had more than one Italian Job moment with the bus hanging off the edge of the road when I hit the brake too late, that’s for sure. As it is supposed to be a bus transporting school children from the depot to their school, this is not an ideal scenario. Just to add to the challenge the levels will show different weather conditions at random. This means players are having to drive in snow, rain or sunshine, as well as both day and night settings.


Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games
Typical gameplay screen..
Image provided and used with permission.
This is a game best played with the sound on, as the in-game music is suitably upbeat, while the sound effects are rich and frequent. On one side of the road lies rocky terrain. When the bus crashes here, players will hear a depressing crunching noise. On the other side is water, and going over that side will freeze the level with the sound of an almighty splash and an image of a plume of water rising upwards as the bus hits it.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Racing the bus over the bridge.
Image provided and used with permission.
The help menu is presented by a uniformed manga-style female driver who explains the basic rules quickly and simply. Through the settings menu, the graphics display sharpness can be adjusted from low to high, although the medium default setting looks sharp enough on a mobile phone screen. The app is tablet optimized, and my guess is that if players have a suitable device to hook their tablets into a 50” widescreen TV or similar, they will be able to play the game on a big screen with cinema-level surround sound. There are also options to adjust the maximum steering lock and a choice of whether the accelerometer feature is on or off. For newcomers to the game, off is the default, and if players are not used to racing games, this is the recommended setting.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
End of Level screen.
Image provided and used with permission.
The app is ad-supported, so at the end of each attempt there is at least one advertisement that players must dismiss or opt into if they want to continue the game. As with all of Universal Games’ recent offerings, this app is fully Google-integrated, allowing players to see the international best player rankings and enjoy multi-player games. Facebook login is an option too, so those players who are active there will be able to enjoy sharing their scores with their friends and perhaps challenging them to a round or two.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Splashdown!
Image provided and used with permission.
Bus Simulator Racing is a game for the modern era. With tricky gameplay, high level graphics, slick coding and interactive multiplayer mode, it has been downloaded between 1,000 and 5,000 times since release in late June. The vast majority of reviews are positive, showing that Universal Games is gaining a reputation for producing quality, fun games with a twist.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Image provided and used with permission.
 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Amazing Wedding provides overseas wedding services to Hong Kong residents

Wedding guests at garden party
Image provided by Amazing Wedding and used with permission.
 

Overseas weddings are a growing market. Couples who marry later in life, or those with a taste for travel, are increasingly choosing to marry abroad, maybe with a party or small ceremony at home too. For some couples, an overseas wedding is a status symbol, a sign that they have enough cash to splash to afford a luxurious celebration. For others, it may be a way of dealing with dysfunctional families, or simply a chance to visit a dream location. It is estimated that around eighty per cent of Hong Kong couples now choose to marry abroad in a church rather than hosting a banquet at home.


Weddings can be complicated enough to organize, let alone at a distance. A package deal, such as that available from Hong Kong-based Amazing Wedding, and sister company Amazes Travel, includes all the necessities for an overseas wedding in a choice of tropical or historic European locations.

There is a bilingual Chinese and English language blog to inspire both Chinese speakers and the many expats working in Hong Kong. The destination list, meanwhile, gives a choice of amazing locations which would be worth a holiday trip in themselves, never mind as a wedding destination. These are some of the most sought-after destinations in the world and any one of them would make a great location for an overseas wedding ceremony. A selection of recent venues includes:

Guam

An overseas wedding in Guam mixes many different cultures in a huge melting pot and serves them up under a tropical sky. For shopaholics, there are several malls, while the tropical backdrop makes for stunning wedding photographs.

Prague
The historic European city of Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quite apart from the architecture, an overseas wedding ceremony held here benefits from a large number of museums, galleries and theatres to keep the wedding party entertained when they’re not involved in pre-wedding arrangements.

Bali
The Indonesian island of Bali is another tropical paradise providing beautiful backdrops for wedding photographs. There is also a wide range of watersport options available to fill guests’ hours and enable visitors to make the most of their stay here.

Okinawa
Okinawa island is part of the southernmost prefecture of Japan, and has many distinct customs and habits unique to the area. For martial arts fans, Okinawa is a centre of karate, while the typhoon-proof buildings provide a safe haven for the wedding celebration even if the weather does turn bad.

Greece
Couples whose interest in history goes back to ancient times might choose to hold their wedding in Greece. Imagine the ruins of a temple in the background of the ceremony, or alternatively, the sparkling sea glittering in the sun. The whitewashed stone walls of the volcanic caldera of Santorini set the whole scene into an undeniably mythical location against the azure blue sea and form a magical spot for any wedding.

Organizing a wedding through Amazing Wedding couldn’t be simpler. So long as couples book at least six months in advance, the team will take care of every aspect, including all the prewedding details such as dress and tux fitting, finding and booking the ideal venue with all the trimmings and flights to the destination. Once in the resort, as the big day approaches, Amazing Wedding organizes a rehearsal, then makeup and hair styling services and transport to the venue. After the ceremony and the obligatory photographs, there is the option of having a dinner banquet and after party so everyone can relax.

The website is constantly changing and currently features photos from overseas wedding ceremonies in Bali, Okinawa, Hokkaido, the Maldives, Guam, Phuket, Samui, Prague, Australia, Greece and Hawaii. Click on any photograph to see detailed options on the venues in that location. Chapel weddings, garden settings, water backdrops, private villas and beach ceremonies are all offered, depending on the choice of venue. The indoor and outdoor locations vary in size from 10 to 100 guest capacity, and feature sunset views, privacy and with some venues, the option to be the only wedding hosted on that day. Some locations are a drive away from the main town or city, while some of the European venues offer a wedding blessing service only, with the actual civil wedding ceremony taking place elsewhere close by. Some locations will also request that couples need to arrive a day before and depart a day after the ceremony. This is standard practice; in some countries, couples wishing to marry have to be resident in the country for a set number of days before the ceremony, if only to give enough time for the pre-wedding administration. Applying for the certificate to marry, meeting the celebrant, rehearsing the wedding and checking last minute details all take time – and being as it’s a wedding the happy couple’s relations will not want to be left out.

For Hong Kong couples looking for a touch of something different about their wedding, an overseas ceremony organized by Amazing Wedding could be the perfect choice.