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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Buzztalk - an entertainment blog about mystery news


Screenshot from Buzztalk in December 2018

Fans of viral content may like to investigate Buzztalk.org. This is a new site to me which brings together all the very best popular stories, mystery news, odd sightings and weirdest coincidences.
An entertainment blog about mystery news
The webmaster describes the site as ‘an entertainment blog about mystery news’, and the content covers such topics as Mythical Creatures that May Actually Exist and Most Mysterious Places On Earth No One Can Explain.
Articles reveal little known facts about sea creatures, paintings and locations, much as the sensational headlines of mass circulation newspapers used to tease content. Some of the articles seem to have been translated into English, and so the spelling and grammar is not always that great.
Lightweight news and random facts
Did you know that Vincent van Gogh’s self portrait with a bandaged ear actually shows the wrong ear bandaged, likely because he used a mirror to paint the image? No, me neither, but I found this out from reading one of the articles. Many other articles have synopses of tales which may have also been covered by Charles Fort in his publication ‘The Fortean Times’. The Bermuda Triangle, cryptids including many variations on the Loch Ness Monster and various humanoid forms are covered in several articles.
Unsolved mysteries
The site specialises in unsolved mysteries, and has many articles on strange natural phenomena as well as the stuff of myths and legends. For instance, it has long been thought that the English East Anglian Fens held a mysterious presence. Locals report seeing wraiths in the mist, having feelings of dread and of being watched. Black Shuck could be the cause, a black haired, red-eyed demonic dog-like figure. Alternatively, others will state that it is definitively the Fen Tiger which is watching. Sometimes, in the peasoup fogs which envelop the area in the right weather conditions, anything is possible.

Mysterious objects and places
Roman dodecahedrons defy all known description. They are not mentioned in any historical record, but the first was excavated in the 18th century and they have turned up in excavations more than 100 times since. The McMurdo Dry Valleys, on the other hand, are a natural phenomenon in Antarctica where the mountain formations around the area block the snowfall and glacier ingress. This leads to one of the most extreme deserts on earth. Likewise, Mount Roraima in South America is a microcosm of its own, with many flora and fauna which are unique to that rock formation alone.
If these mysteries and strange facts tickle your fancy, then head straight over to Buzztalk.org for further details.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tasty Decore - cakes, pastries and ice cream to order

Tasty Decore logo
Image provided and used with permission

Us Brits love our baking. The success of Great British Bake Off confirms we have a sweet tooth, as a nation.

The good news for our friends in the USA is that there is a company dedicated to the same pursuit of sweetness. Tasty Decore (Instagram feed) (Twitter account) is a cake, pastries and ice cream company catering to nationwide customers.

They had me at cake, but then they added pastries and ice cream. As stated on one of their Twitter posts: ‘Cake is the answer, no matter what the question is.’ And so is ice cream, too, if I’m honest.

Birth, christening, gender reveal cakes

The company offer birth, christening and gender reveal cakes iced and decorated in pink or blue according to the baby. In one version, a gold crown decoration tops an elaborately decorated two tier cake. The top tier is white and gold. The bottom tier is jewel colored in deepest blue or brightest pink, sitting on a gold cake holder circled in a matching ribbon. Gold and yellow icing everywhere, as would befit a new birth.

Themed, custom birthday cakes

For my 18th birthday, mum had someone make a cake formed in the shape of a synthesizer, because electronic music was, and still is, my favorite genre. Others go for wildlife, as shown by one of the many themed cakes which Tasty Decore have produced. African safari animals dominate, with giraffe and lion around the edges and an elephant cake topper. Another version, for a baby girl’s first birthday, has a giraffe and calf on top of a two-tier cake where the top tier is zebra striped and the lower tier marked like a giraffe.

For gamers, Tasty Decore crafted a Fortnite-themed creation, all green and white. Fans of dinosaurs (and just about everyone I know was or is a dinosaur fan) would love the Jurassic Park feel of the decorations on another cake, deep chocolate or licorice colored goo representing the primeval swamp, and what look very much like solid chocolate mini eggs dotted around among the smaller dinos. The red pterodactyl waits at the bottom of the green cake cliff, eager to catch any crumbs (or chocolate eggs) which might roll off the top.

‘Bakers make the world smell better’, is Tasty Decore’s bold assertion, and this is obvious, as everyone remembers the smell of freshly baked sponge, crispy on top and fluffy inside, hot enough to burn your mouth, but so delicious. Any day is made better with the addition of cake, but if it happens to be one tailored for a special day, the memories will be even better.

Christmas cakes

Hosting the family for Christmas? Tasty Decore offer a custom Christmas cake, traditional or not, according to preference. Fancy a Christmas cake with Rudolf antlers? They can provide. Glittery bauble decorations? Look no further.

Graduation celebration

The company’s Instagram feed has several examples of prom or graduation celebration cakes. Topped with a mortarboard, these cakes can be themed to show the qualification achieved, offered in square or round configurations as required.

Wedding cakes and favors

Wedding cakes and individual favors are a chance for creativity to shine, no matter who is producing them. My husband and I decreed that our wedding cake should be plain sponge, and so it was. With a rather delicious buttercream filling, if I remember. Some of Tasty Decore’s customers have opted for individual favors for their party which look like gingerbread girls decorated in different styles of dress.

Tasty Decore can produce more or less any cake to more or less any requirement, plus the company ships nationwide within the USA. Their Instagram feed has 150 examples of cakes and pastries for any celebration people might care to name, all ages and themes. Two and even three tier cakes are the norm, unicorns, superheroes and sports feature heavily. Hello Kitty and Disney, flowers and smileys have also been chosen by previous customers. The pastries range from baby celebration to kitsch and cheeky, wedding favours to birthday specials. The company’s aim is to provide a talking point as well as dessert.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

HailCo - auto hail damage repair and warranty

HailCo, Denver. Paintless dent removal specialists.
Image provided and used with permission.














HailCo in Denver, Colorado is the most trusted and experienced auto hail damage repair provider in the area. Whether you’re an old hand at surviving Hail Alley’s finest displays or a newbie in town staring at smashed vehicle windows and dented paintwork with dismay, HailCo can help.
 
After a hail storm, drivers of damaged vehicles are often advised not to move them, and certainly not to kick out broken windows. The August 2018 storm which hit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs killed five animals, injured several people and damaged over 500 vehicles belonging to employees and visitors. Some of those only had cosmetic damage, such as broken windshields and dented bodywork, but others were totaled, and not even a skilled paintless dent removal specialist could have repaired them. Many belonged to vacationers, who had little idea of the ferocity of the weather which Colorado can unleash at times.

In extreme situations, such as when an outdoor parking lot like this has been hit, the police will cordon off the area for everyone's safety. HailCo offers free vehicle pickups in many areas for evaluation and repair at their bodyshop. The team will, if necessary, then drop the repaired auto back again after the dents are removed. Paintless dent removal is nothing short of an art form, involving careful removal of the dings in the vehicle’s bodywork, often from inside the panel. Others will replace the broken windows and windshields, but HailCo’s team concentrates on making your vehicle’s bodywork look as good as new. Searingly bright workshop lights shone at various angles on the bodywork will show up dents, which are then marked for removal and painstakingly worked on.

HailCo’s operations cover the whole of the Denver metropolitan area, including Downtown, Cherry Creek, the DTC, Centennial, Englewood, Aurora and Parker.

The HailCo team are slick and experienced, with a fast turnaround for dent removals. Once the repairs are done, they will wash the vehicle as a courtesy and return it to you at a location of your choice in the Denver metropolitan area. As you might expect, they will also assist with filing insurance paperwork too. Many insurance companies offer a hail damage clause, so often the repair doesn’t cost as much as you might think. HailCo’s staff will assist with all areas of claiming, offering you and your insurers a free evaluation at the start of the process, as well as a Comprehensive Hail Damage Warranty for hail damage to your car and the repairs they perform. They will host the loss adjuster or insurance agent, show them the vehicle, and go over the paperwork with them to ensure both sides agree on the cost of repairs. There is nothing better than having an expert on your side in these situations, after all.

HailCo in Denver, Colorado know their stuff. If you’re resident in the area, or a vacationer in need of a repair, HailCo can help out.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Bossy Girl Cosmetics: cruelty-free makeup for the discerning


Bossy Girl Cosmetics
Image provided and used with permission.



Now, I’m not a fan of cosmetics generally, but I like the sound of Bossy Girl cosmetics.

The name itself appeals, because I’m no doormat. The fact that the range is cruelty-free also appeals, because I prefer my makeup that way. I’ve worn cruelty-free brands for as long as I’ve worn makeup, and my skin prefers them, not to mention my ethics.

Look good, feel better

My professional dress code is draconian, so I have to be careful what cosmetics I wear (and how much). Bossy Girl allows me to subtly express my individuality without falling foul of the dress code. Founded less than a year ago, the brand is a fast-growing online favorite, with face and eye products to make any wearer look good and feel better.

Great prices too

The company is based in the US, and all orders are shipped from there, so some buyers may experience a slight delay in delivery depending on where they’re based. But that just heightens the delight when the goods arrive, surely?

Black Friday is in full effect as I write, so prices will be competitive, with discounts and offers across the board. Even at full price, these cosmetics don’t break the bank, though. Bossy Girl’s best selling products are eyeshadow palettes to suit any wearer, with a range of shades for all skin tones and personal preferences.

Face and eyes in this luxury brand

The company also offers false lashes, highlighter and contour palettes. I never managed to blend contour successfully in my youth, so anyone who can use this and make themselves look like they have chiselled cheekbones has my undying respect.

Bossy Girl is a luxury brand, with high pigment, so a little will go a long way for many people. As users might expect, there is a social media presence. The company is active on Facebook and Instagram, home of today’s beautiful people; the ideal platform to show off a new, vibrant cosmetic brand.

Bossy Girl cosmetics logo
Image provided and used with permission.
Love yourself

Bossy Girl wants women to love themselves as they are, not to try and change themselves into something impossible. The Instagram account features inspirational quotes as well as information about the range. Some of the quotes promote the value of hard work rather than wishing and doubt. Others offer sage words about believing in yourself no matter your shape, build or look.

Brand Ambassador

As with many firms these days, Bossy Girl offers Brand Ambassador roles, essentially affiliate marketing for those who use and promote the brand. I can see many people buying into the way the brand works, both the cruelty-free aspect and the positive image reinforcement. Of course there are the jokes too, but the underlying message is always positive.

Shiny eyes

For those who love statement eye makeup, Bossy Girl is a good brand to try. The shades are rich and vibrant, shimmering peacock shades of blue, orange and purple or smokey shades of grey and brown. Play it up or play it down, it’s up to you (and your dress code). There are neutral shades and bright colours to take you from work to the club, if needed. From top level meeting to dress-down Friday, Bossy Girl has you covered.

Bossy Girl cosmetics is a new and vibrant player in the cosmetics game. For those whose makeup starts with a foundation and continues with eyeshadow, this cruelty-free brand should be on your list to try out when you’re next restocking. For cruelty-free aficionados, Bossy Girl is another brand to add to your list. Interested buyers can head to the firm’s Instagram account to see the range and read the positive messages, or follow the company on Facebook to keep up with the latest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

JobHireHub - get more done with freelancers



JobHireHub logo
Image used with permission.



Every freelancer and gig economy worker has their favorite site. There are several big players out there, from rideshare providers to food delivery services to online content and more. Freelancers in creative digital and electronic fields whose work comes mainly from such gig economy sites will suggest that there are good times and bad times. In the good times, sleep is sacrificed to the cause of the next deadline. In the bad times, the freelancer may as well stay in bed, as they will be warmer there when the money runs out and the heating is cut off.


In that scenario, the savvy freelancer has three choices. One is to develop a handful of well-paying sites to sell content or advertise for steady work, building up a portfolio of regular clients and satisfied customers bringing more business. Another is to find a second string of sites where the work doesn’t pay as well, but the first time users are happy with the work provided, pay on time, and maybe become one of those regular clients in due course. The third option is to have a dayjob which pays the bills and allows for the freelance role to be an outlet for frustration and creativity alone, pin money which it’s lovely to have when work happens but doesn’t cause an issue when it doesn’t.


For those freelancers who have chosen the first or second route, there’s a new player in town. JobHireHub.com wants to be the new favorite site. Businesses will be able to shop global freelancers to find the best person for their job. Sure, other sites offer that functionality too, but JobHireHub.com’s owners are hoping that their unique selling point of lower fees will tempt many freelancers and their regular employers to try the site for size. At present JobHireHub shows only a few registered accounts, but as membership grows, so will the choices available to potential buyers.


Winner loser


In every marketplace there are always winners and losers. The very nature of business is that companies rise and fall according to their take on the market at any given time. As one falls out of favor there is always another to take its place. Websites and online marketplaces are the same. Remember MySpace? Friends Reunited? Bubblews? How about Facebook? That site has taken on all the functions of the previous three for many people. Facebook users sell things, contact people, write content, share work, and promote businesses. Even Jeff Bezos admits that Amazon will fail at some point. (The Guardian, November 16, 2018) but for now, it, like Facebook, is the online marketplace of choice for many. That doesn’t stop the competitors from wanting to try their luck, though.


New jobs


The one thing which Facebook and Amazon haven’t ventured into in great depth is finding their users new or additional jobs. JobHireHub.com fancies a slice of that gig economy market. The idea is to charge a flat job posting fee and a percentage of the completion fee. Other costs, such as transfer fees, may be incurred by the freelancer’s use of the their preferred payment mechanism.


Specialisms


Often, if a client is looking for a particular skill set, they will advertise on many more sites than when they need someone with more mainstream knowledge. This can be where new sites can capitalize, as they have fewer members, so more chances for advertisers to find a rare candidate with just the knowledge they need, rather than having to plow through hundreds of similar profiles.


Whether the client needs website design or software development, content creation, social media or campaign management, graphic design, logos or artwork, on a newer, less established site there is a smaller number of suitable workers to assess. It’s a trade off at the start between the chances of finding a suitable candidate easily and the risks of using a new site, unproven for quality management and vetting of both candidates and clients.


Any new website needs to be tested for traffic, for instance. The site has to stand up under an increasing number of visitors as popularity grows. Not every freelancer has the ability, or appropriate software, to perform these tests, but these tests are vital for a successful website. On a newer website with fewer members, clients have more chance of seeing whether there is such a person available to them than they would on a larger organisation’s page.


Affiliates


Unlike many other sites, JobHireHub has plans for a full affiliate program. So not simply paying rewards for every signup during a short, specific timeframe, but a proper affiliate program where top rated members can earn a lifetime commission from certain work produced by fellow freelancers whom they have referred to the site. Not necessarily a huge amount, but any reward is better than none. This revenue stream is in its infancy at the moment, but interested businesses and their associated freelancers are invited to sign up to see how it may benefit them. If a savvy business owner asks their favorite freelancer to sign up under their affiliate link, the results should speak for themselves. Check out the JobHireHub YouTube video for more information.


JobHireHub.com aims to offer a platform for all of the regular online freelance services. For those freelancers always on the lookout for a new marketplace, this could be a site to try. Businesses currently struggling to find someone who is ‘the right fit’ for a challenging role could also benefit from the smaller number of potential matches here. The lower fee structure is likely to appeal too. No one wants to spend more money than necessary for quality. In addition, this site has the added draw for the freelancers of an affiliate program allowing them to benefit from referring others.


A win-win situation for everyone is always a good outcome.



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Krenig leather wallets and purses: loved in Poland, new to the UK

Krenig leather goods
Image supplied and used with permission


Small leather goods are always an excellent idea for a classy gift that lasts. The wallet I bought my husband for Christmas in 2010 is still intact and heavily used eight years later, while the big flat red wallet my parents bought for my birthday five years ago looks as good as new despite being hauled out and pushed back into my handbag several times a day.


Wallets and purses from Polish manufacturer Krenig are of a similar high quality, available in black, brown and red and a variety of sizes. The company also produces card holders, pen cases and simple key covers, all of which match one or more ranges. There are three core ranges currently available in the United Kingdom; the El Dorado, the Classic and the Scarlet.


Krenig have been in business in Poland since 1989 and are new to the United Kingdom. The brand is expanding here and their stock should eventually cover the same wide variety of goods available on the continent. A quick online search reveals tantalizing glimpses of document holders and briefcases as well as the much smaller coin purses, flat and billfold style wallets available on their new UK site.


The El Dorado range features 18 items in a choice of black, red or brown leather. The wallets, available in several sizes, come in horizontal or vertical orientation and a variety of closures. The Classic range has almost 50 items, mainly in red or black. The choice is staggering, with wallets, key cases, flat wallet-style purses, billfolds, card holders and coin purses in both trunk and bellows styles. Fold close, popper close and zipper options are available. The Scarlet range is available only in a black and red design, and is mainly targeted at women.


Naturally, Krenig UK have a Facebook presence and prices on their site are also available in GBP or EUR. Free shipping is available for orders of £75 or over, there is a money-back guarantee (should it be required) and secure payment backed by PayPal. For serious stockists, a wholesale price list is available on request.


Of course, quality leather goods are rarely cheap, and Krenig is no exception. But for the price, buyers can expect a well made item, fashioned from 100% leather and built to last. Discerning buyers might consider beating the Christmas rush and securing one of these statement wallets ahead of the trend. The recipient is likely to thank you.


Quality shows. Krenig has it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Emerak 3: Test Your English Android app teaches English grammar

Emerak 3: Test Your English
Images from deviantart
Used with permission of developer, permission and credit to deviantart
   


Brain games and educational apps are big news. Everyone’s playing them. Word puzzles are recommended to help older people keep their brains active, while schoolchildren and language learners of all ages can use these games and apps as a fun way to improve their grammar skills and vocabulary.

Emerak 3: Test Your English is available for free on Google Play, and works with Android devices. It is the third
installment of the series, and combines arty background pictures courtesy of credited users on deviantart and music with serious English tests for middle and high school proficiency level students. The app has been adapted from the grammar books used in schools.

The game has three levels (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced), each introduced with a brief overview of grammar rules which serve as a reminder before playing. The aim is for the player to progress through the game, growing in knowledge as they answer the questions on each level.

Emerak 3: Test Your English is a non-profit, non-commercial
game, free-to-play for all, as its sole purpose is to educate and help players learn English in a fun and relaxing way. It has been shown for decades that making learning fun is the way to make it stick, and this game is certainly one of those ways. If players get a question wrong, they are reminded of the grammar rule which applies and invited to answer the question again. It is similar to the mandatory training tests that many people undertake in the working world, where they can try a test they failed again. Except that there is no relaxing music or colourful art distraction when taking a mandatory training test, that’s for sure.

The game was developed by a teaching assistant whose main role is helping out in English classes at a tuition centre. Their brother is a games developer who challenged them to create something for their students as a hobby, and the Emerak series of educational apps is the result. They are passionate about helping students improve their English by learning grammar and parts of speech. This is a rare skill, even in the United Kingdom itself, and even native English speakers could find themselves learning something by playing this game.

As a teacher or other provider of this game to multiple students, please be aware that it is non-commercial and not open for reuse without asking the developer’s permission. It’s a fun app, so users who want to share should do the right thing and credit the developer by asking for their permission. All the music and images in the app have been correctly credited where copyright applies, so users and sharers owe the same debt to the developer and the contributors.

This game app is designed purely to motivate and encourage student learners of English. It is an easy way to tackle grammar, which is a difficult element of any foreign language. By making grammar learning into a game, the developer is hoping to start a trend for similar apps. The Emerak series shows that learning is fun, after all.